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While soccer goalies are required to have some specialized equipment, such as a unique jersey and goalie gloves, there are actually no particularly specialized shin guards for soccer goalies. Instead, the goalie should look for whatever shin pads or guards are most comfortable for their own body and playing style. Like any good soccer shin guards, goalie shin guards should be lightweight, breathable, and not restrict movement or comfort in any way. As goalies are prone to some pretty rough contact with the ball, it is important for them to have commensurate body, knee, shin, and ankle protection. Here are some shin guards well-suited to the needs of a goalie.
BodyShield LegGuards by Storelli
Storelli BodyShield LegGuards aren't technically shin guards, per se. However, they are ideal when used in tandem with shin guards. These sleeves include a pocket for your choice of shin pad, allowing you to use whatever guards you already have. The benefit here is that Storelli LegGuards provide significant protection against scrapes and cuts on the rest of your leg. These guards provide a layer of comfortable yet protective padding to protect everything below the knee.
BodyShield Leg Sleeves by Storelli
These Storelli BodyShield Leg Sleeves are extremely similar to the Storelli LegGuards on this list, with the notable exception of a lack of ankle protection. While usually more protection is the way to go, there are a number of reasons to consider this option over the LegGuards. It can be tough to find a pair of ankle guards that properly fit, so it's nice to get the protection and comfort of the Storelli BodyShield line without being locked into their ankle guard.
Mercurial Flylite SuperLock Shin Guards by Nike
Nike's Mercurial Flylite SuperLock soccer shin guards are some of the most advanced shin guards on the market today. They don't come cheap, but they are worth every dime for their unparalleled comfort and durability. After a certain point, there isn't a whole lot you can do to increase the protection offered by a pair of shin guards. The trick is getting them to be comfortable and wearable in-game without compromising that protection. These Mercurial Flylite shin guards are lightweight and breathable thanks to unique built-in airflow channels. Nike's SuperLock design means that the guards stay in place for the duration of the match.
Mercurial Flylite Soccer Shin Guards by Nike
These Nike Mercurial Flylite shin guards make great shin guards for soccer goalies. You'll notice they are quite similar to the Mercurial Flylite SuperLock shin guards on this list, with the obvious exception of the "SuperLock" designation. While the SuperLock technology is useful, it isn't always necessary depending on your setup. "SuperLock" basically means there are little spikes on the outside of the guard that attach to the fibers of your your soccer socks to help hold them in place. If you wear shin guards inside something like the Storelli BodyShield LegGuards however, the internal pocket already ensures a sturdy fit, meaning you might as well not waste the extra dough on the SuperLock technology and get these shin pads instead, which feature all the other distinct advantages of the Nike Mercurial Flylite technology.
Pro-S Elite Soccer Shin Guards by G-Form
G-Form has reimagined what a shin guard can and should be with these ultra-lightweight soccer shin guards. Instead of the traditional pad and sleeve design, these Pro-S Elite shin guards combine the components into a single, seamless sleeve. Attaching the protective padding to the sleeves themselves allows G-Form to make these the best lightweight shin guards while also reducing overall bulk. The design also allows for the padding to better conform to your leg for optimum comfort.
X Foil Soccer Shin Guards by Adidas
While some companies try to improve upon the traditional technology of shin guards, these X Foil pads from Adidas prove that when it comes to protective gear, sometimes the classic approach is the most effective. These are simple and sleek, yet highly functional, making them ideal shin guards for soccer goalies. These pads feature a reinforced front plate and a cushioning memory foam backing for optimum performance. The compression sleeves are sure to hold the pads in place while also ensuring long-term comfort.
Protegga Shin Guards by Nike
One of the weirdest trends in shin guard design has to be the fact that most pads are produced in an inorganic oval or rectangular shape that doesn't really reflect the contours of most players' legs. Nike's Protegga shin guards are one of the best efforts at combating this trend. The anatomically correct shape and contours of these pads are designed to be so comfortable you'll forget you're even wearing them. In addition to this comfort, the pads are actually larger than most standard shin guards, providing better coverage and protection for goalies who need it the most.
Pixie Pro Shin Guards by Reusch
Reusch's Pixie Pro shin guards are a good option for goalies who prefer to wear shin guards with elastic straps rather than the compression sleeves that are more common on high-end shin guards. In addition to the unobtrusive elastic band, these shin guards are intended to be secured by your socks. Normally this isn't a super secure method, but that is where the removable ankle guards come in handy. In addition to being up there with the best shin guards with ankle protection—which is a must for soccer goalies—these guards anchor the shin pads for a more secure fit.
Ghost Graphic Soccer Shin Guards by Adidas
The Ghost Graphic shin guards by Adidas make great shin guards for soccer goalies. The thick padding provides shock absorption as well as enhanced protection against impact, which is a must if you're tending goal. The shape is relatively simple and symmetrical, but manages to provide considerable coverage. For a low-budget option, you can't do much better than these soccer shin guards.
Pro Soccer Ankle Guards by G-Form
Every goalie has their preferred soccer equipment, including their favorite goalie gloves, their favorite cleats, and their favorite shin pads. If you already wear shin guards that you enjoy, there's no reason to feel like you have to switch. One addition I have to recommend, however, is ankle guards. Good ankle protection is imperative for a goalie, and these G-Form ankle guards provide sleek, lightweight, effective protection in spades. If you're considering guides to choosing the right soccer shin guard and you don't have built in ankle padding on your list, I implore you to consider picking up some ankle guards.