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10 Best Shin Pads for Kids UK 2023 | Nike, Adidas and More

There’s no denying that football is the country’s most popular sport. Many of us started playing when we were young, simply kicking a ball in the streets or the park. However, if your child is looking to take the sport more seriously and start playing for local youth teams, then they’re going to need much more than a ball. 


Shin guards will protect your kids from accidental bad tackles and stray studs, which can not only be painful but, in some of the worst cases, cause severe injury and may even deter them from playing in the future. Luckily, whether they're aiming to be a top scorer or a great goalkeeper, there is a suitable set for them out there. Read on for our guide and top picks from brands like Nike, Adidas and Mitre.

Last updated 14/07/2023
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Table of Contents

How to Choose Shin Pads for Kids in the UK – Buying Guide

Buying anything for kids can be a minefield, especially when it's something that directly affects their safety. We're here to help with this guide, where we'll be looking at the different styles of shin pads available and who these are best suited to, as well as how to find a pair in the perfect size. 

1

Consider Their Role Within the Team to Determine a Suitable Coverage

Consider Their Role Within the Team to Determine a Suitable Coverage

Before you dive straight into buying a pair of shin pads, it is worth considering your kid's ambitions when playing football. What position are they planning on playing? Now, we understand that children are perhaps less disciplined when it comes to the tactical side of the game, but understanding what their role is in the team is important.


If they are the sort of player who likes to get stuck in and make tackles, like defenders and midfielders, then it makes sense to look for extra protection as they will be making more contact with other players. Therefore, picking a style of shin pad (more on these in a moment) with better coverage is a wise idea.

 
If your child seems to spend more time in goal or as a player (or attacker) with the ball at their feet rather than trying to win it back, lighter shin pads may be more suitable. This is because they weigh less and have better flexibility, which allows for better movement. Remember though, the lighter they are, the less protection they have. 

2

The Level of Comfort and Protection Varies From Style to Style

So, with the considerations about your child’s game in mind, or just the fact that you’d prefer to wrap them in cotton wool, it’s time to take a look at the various styles of shin pads available. Each has its pros and cons, so we’ll consider them individually. 

Slip-On Shin Pads Will Be Lightweight, but Often the Least Secure

Slip-On Shin Pads Will Be Lightweight, but Often the Least Secure

First up, we have the slip-on shin pad. These are a new style that has become increasingly popular with professional players due to their lightweight nature and minimal restriction on movement. To get them on, they simply slide into the front of your socks and, hopefully, the socks are snug enough to keep them in place. If not, you always have the choice of taping them on.

 
However, while many children may want these because their favourite players wear them, there is a downside. Namely, that they can move around a lot if you don't use tape, which will be frustrating for your child and mean they have to spend time messing about with them instead of playing. 

Strap-On Are the Versatile Option if They're Still Finding Their Feet

Strap-On Are the Versatile Option if They're Still Finding Their Feet

The strap-on shin pad has been popular for many years and is a great versatile option. They have strong guards yet aren't overly clunky, resulting in high protection that doesn't compromise manoeuvrability. If your child is just getting started and doesn’t know their position yet or likes to play in various positions, these can be a solid option.


This style of shin pad works similarly to the slip-on. However, there’ll be no need for tape, as they have elasticated Velcro straps to secure them in place. It’s worth considering the number of straps here – usually, there is one or two, and as you'd imagine, two will keep them more stable and set in place. 

Sleeve Styles Are Considered the Comfiest

Sleeve Styles Are Considered the Comfiest

Sleeve pads are fitted by your child wearing another sock-like structure underneath their team’s socks. They have a hole for the leg to go through, then on the front, there will be a pocket that the shin guard slides in. These are generally considered the most comfortable of all the options and one of the most stable.

 
There are a couple of things to note, though. One is that you’ll need to remember to pack an extra bit of gear, which isn’t always easy when you’ve got a lot going on as a parent. Also, as they come as single sets, if your children play regularly, you’ll need to be putting them through the washing machine frequently. In that case, you might have to buy a couple of pairs. 

Ankle Protectors Safeguard More of Your Child's Limbs

Ankle Protectors Safeguard More of Your Child's Limbs

The last style is the one that offers the most safety. These not only cover your child’s shins but have an additional part on the bottom, which has smaller pads to protect the ankles from any crunching tackles or accidental kicks. So, if you have a kid who likes to get stuck in and enjoys the physical part of the game, then these will be ideal. 


That said, while they are extra safe, they are also big and clunky. This could end up slowing your children down while playing, which can be detrimental to their game. Not only that, but they’re not exactly the most fashionable either, so you may have to use some of your persuasive powers to make them wear them. 

3

Be Sure to Check the Length of the Shin Pads

Be Sure to Check the Length of the Shin Pads

Finally, you’ll want to consider the size. If they’re too big, they’ll restrict your child’s movement, which will impact their ability to play and end up frustrating them. Likewise, if they’re too small, they won’t offer the best protection. Many recommend that shin pads should cover around 50 to 60% of the size of your child’s calf.


When it comes to finding the size, there are two ways to go. You can either consider the length given in centimetres; for example, you might see one listed as 23.5 cm. Or, you have the option of following a sizing guide provided by the company.


In the sizing guide, they will have their alpha sizes (S, M, L, XL etc.) and give you a height recommendation, such as that a medium is suitable for children measuring 4 ft 7” to 5 ft 3”. Kids come in all shapes and sizes, though, so you can always get the tape measure out to see what fits best. 

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Top 10 Best Shin Pads for Kids in the UK

Now that you’re clued up on what to look for in a pair of shin pads, it’s time to show you some of our favourites that are available to buy online right now. Don’t worry, they’ll all be protective, and who knows? Some of them might even be considered cool by the younglings. 
Popularity
Products
Image
Price
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Puma

Kid’s King ES 2 Shin Guards

Puma Kid’s King ES 2 Shin Guards 1枚目

£8.73

Low Mid

Versatile Shin Pads That Work All Over the Pitch

2

Adidas

X Match Junior Shin Guards

Adidas X Match Junior Shin Guards 1枚目

£13.15

Mid

Serving the Kids Who Love to Tackle

3

G-Form

Youth Pro-S Compact Shin Guards

G-Form Youth Pro-S Compact Shin Guards 1枚目

£25.27

High

If They Work for Combat Sports, Why Not Football?

4

Nike

Children J Guard-CE Shin Guards

Nike Children J Guard-CE Shin Guards  1枚目

£7.02

Low Mid

Super Lightweight With Different Fitting Options

5

Mitre

Aircell Football Shin Pads

Mitre  Aircell Football Shin Pads 1枚目

£6.70

Low

Durable Protection and Maximum Comfort

6

Nike

Charger Youth Shin Pads

Nike  Charger Youth Shin Pads 1枚目

£10.00

Mid

A Contoured Inner Layer Ensures a Better Fit

7

Adidas

Ghost Pro Shin Guards

Adidas Ghost Pro Shin Guards 1枚目

£26.00

High

A Unique Pattern Design to Protect Skin

8

PP Picador

Kids Football Shin Guards

PP Picador Kids Football Shin Guards  1枚目

£14.99

High Mid

Extra Assurance Against Strong Tackles

9

TwoZero

Merchandise Shin Pads

TwoZero Merchandise Shin Pads 1枚目

£10.99

Mid

Offering Support In Multiple Ways

10

Sportout

Kids Shin Guards

Sportout Kids Shin Guards 1枚目

£9.89

Mid

Comprehensive and Comfortable Protection

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

PumaKid’s King ES 2 Shin Guards

Kid’s King ES 2 Shin Guards Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Kid’s King ES 2 Shin Guards Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£8.73
Low Mid
Reference price
£8.73
Low Mid

Versatile Shin Pads That Work All Over the Pitch

When it came time to choose our number one spot, it had to be a pair of versatile shin pads. After all, kids can change their minds pretty regularly. So, for that reason, we opted for these strap-on guards from Puma that will suit many different positions.


Furthermore, these particular strap-on shinnies have two elastic straps, making them that bit more secure when worn. In addition to that, they have the killer propylene and EVA combo that we've come to know and love. At a reasonable price and with a cool design too, these are great all-rounders. 

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No.2

AdidasX Match Junior Shin Guards

X Match Junior Shin Guards Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
X Match Junior Shin Guards Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£13.15
Mid
Reference price
£13.15
Mid

Serving the Kids Who Love to Tackle

With tough asymmetrical outer shells and EVA padding for optimal comfort, these are excellent shin pads from the ever-reliable Adidas. So good, in fact, that we imagine your little ones might even want to wear them when they're only practising in the garden. 


The ankle protection is known to be second to none, plus the compression around this part, although not made from EVA, is still silky and smooth to ensure no rubbing during wear. While they might be a little heavier than some, if your kid loves a tackle, these will serve them well. 

No.3

G-FormYouth Pro-S Compact Shin Guards

Youth Pro-S Compact Shin Guards Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Youth Pro-S Compact Shin Guards Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Youth Pro-S Compact Shin Guards Image 3
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£25.27
High
Reference price
£25.27
High

If They Work for Combat Sports, Why Not Football?

Unlike many of the other shin pads in our ranking, these G-Forms do not have a hard outer layer. Instead, there is foam padding that covers the front of the sleeves that hardens on impact. Therefore, your child doesn't have to worry about the pads slipping or sliding around.


They're a little on the expensive side when compared to the other options in our ranking. But, when you consider that these are regularly used for combat sports as well as football, you'll understand why. 

No.4

NikeChildren J Guard-CE Shin Guards

Children J Guard-CE Shin Guards  Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£7.02
Low Mid
Reference price
£7.02
Low Mid

Super Lightweight With Different Fitting Options

If your little one fancies some super lightweight shin pads, then look no further than the J Guard-CEs from Nike. Coming in at just 40 grams, these are by far the most agile option in our ranking, with most exceeding 100 grams. 


Of course, this does mean a thinner pad, so you'll have to be confident that your child isn't going to get crunched too hard. That aside, we also rate that they have different fitting options – they can be worn as a slip-on style, or with the provided straps if they prefer to wear them that way. 

No.5

Mitre Aircell Football Shin Pads

Reference price
£6.70
Low

Durable Protection and Maximum Comfort

We have to say, there is one big standout for us with these Mitre Aircell shin pads, and that's the amount of ventilation throughout. This will mean that as well as a better airflow to keep your child more comfortable, hopefully, the pads shouldn't be too smelly when they take them off either!


Even with their bargain price, these quality guards have been tested and approved for use at the highest levels of the game. With the anatomically fitting outer layer and dense foam too, your kid will be assured durable protection and maximum comfort. 

No.6

Nike Charger Youth Shin Pads

Reference price
£10.00
Mid

A Contoured Inner Layer Ensures a Better Fit

Nike is one of the biggest and best names in the game, so it's practically impossible to not include them in a recommendation list. The Charger Junior shin pads are ideal for children, as once they're pulled on and strapped up, they'll stay in position excellently


Furthermore, they're protective due to the style and comfy too, thanks to the EVA inner layer. Plus, not only is the EVA comfortable, but it's also contoured to ensure a better fit. Again, be careful when considering the sizes, as some buyers have found that these come up a little short.  

No.7

AdidasGhost Pro Shin Guards

Ghost Pro Shin Guards Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Ghost Pro Shin Guards Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£26.00
High
Reference price
£26.00
High

A Unique Pattern Design to Protect Skin

The Adidas Ghost Pros are built from propylene that offers complete protection with an inner layer of EVA cushioning for comfort. They're a sleeve style and come with compression socks which the shin pads securely fit. This style can be much easier for kids as they don't have to fiddle with any straps.


Also, while this isn't confirmed, we imagine the distinct pattern on the outside and inside provides slightly more protection, as companies often use this design to reduce the impact on the skin. The only issue is that some have found the compression socks to wear down quickly, meaning you might be forced to buy some extras. 

No.8

PP PicadorKids Football Shin Guards

Kids Football Shin Guards  Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Kids Football Shin Guards  Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£14.99
High Mid
Reference price
£14.99
High Mid

Extra Assurance Against Strong Tackles

Here we have our first look at some ankle protector-style shin pads. They're secured in place by placing feet through the bottom strap, as well as having an elasticated one further up the calf. In addition to the durable outer layer, the lining inside is also shock-absorbing, so you'll get a little bit more assurance should a strong tackle come in. 


Additionally, the design is ergonomic and shaped well to fit the lower legs. However, many buyers have had trouble finding the right size, even when using the sizing guide, so it may be worth contacting the company to double-check before purchasing. 

No.9

TwoZeroMerchandise Shin Pads

Merchandise Shin Pads Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£10.99
Mid
Reference price
£10.99
Mid

Offering Support In Multiple Ways

If your child has a favourite team, chances are that buying some merchandise from said team will make them much more inclined to wear their pads. As well as Spurs, there are several other options such as Man City and Liverpool. Just make sure they're a fan before buying a pair!


The shin pads are of the strap-on style, meaning they're a little more versatile with regards to offering protection without impacting movement. However, they do only have one strap, which, as we mentioned, won't be as secure as pads with two. 

No.10

SportoutKids Shin Guards

Kids Shin Guards Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Kids Shin Guards Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£9.89
Mid
Reference price
£9.89
Mid

Comprehensive and Comfortable Protection

First up, we have these sleeve-style guards from Sportout. They offer comprehensive protection with a propylene outer layer which should reduce impact and defend the wearer. Underneath that is a cushy EVA layer for comfort. Plus, there are ventilation holes at the top and bottom for better breathability. 


It's worth noting that while we've opted for the bright blue option, they also come in a few different colours that may be more preferable for your nipper. One downside is that the sleeve socks provided are known to lose their shape, so you might want to be careful with how you wash them. 

More Guides for Sporty Kids

More Guides for Sporty Kids

Does your child have numerous other hobbies and after-school activities that leave you wondering what to kit them out with? Find more guidance and recommendations below whether they love the pool, the pitch or the skate park. 

Summary

Hopefully, this article has given you a good indication of what to look for when choosing the right shin pads for children. With a little knowledge about their game and what style they feel most comfortable in, you should easily be able to find the perfect ones to keep them safe!


Author: Lewis Clark

Top 5 Shin Pads

No. 1: PumaKid’s King ES 2 Shin Guards

No. 2: AdidasX Match Junior Shin Guards

No. 3: G-FormYouth Pro-S Compact Shin Guards

No. 4: NikeChildren J Guard-CE Shin Guards

No. 5: Mitre Aircell Football Shin Pads

View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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