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Best football shin pads for 2021

A reliable pair of shin pads is a must-have for any football bag. We’ve picked out the best you can buy right now.

a selection of the best football shin pads

There’s nothing worse than a swift kick on the shins. It takes just one mistimed tackle, just one flick of a defender’s stud, and suddenly you’re lying on the floor desperately trying to hide the tears in your eyes. And failing.

So, it’s a wonderful thing that a special human being came up with the idea for football shin pads. With a decent pair of shinnies strapped to your legs, you can go flying down the wings without fear of falling down in excruciating pain. You’re definitely not invincible, but suddenly that beefy Sunday league centre-back doesn’t seem quite so terrifying.

Choose the wrong pair, however, and you’ll soon be turning slower than the team bus in the peak of rush hour. Although you could try styling them a-la-Grealish, a clunky pair of shinnies will always make you feel uncomfortable out on the pitch, so you’ll need to make sure you’re buying the right size, weight and shape for you.

Since this can be a bit of a nightmare, we’ve picked out the best shin pads you can buy in 2021 - with a little something for all positions and budgets. Right then, let’s dive in (without any shin pain in the process).

7. adidas Tiro Match Shin Pads

Image from adidas.

A real bargain to start this list off. Simple and effective, that’s the remit of the Tiro Match shin pad. A little more ankle padding for those who prefer that style, the adidas Tiro offers a comfortable option with more protection than the Prime Minister walking down the high street.

These shin pads are packed EVA-backed hard shields, meaning you can enter 50/50 tackles safely in the knowledge that your shins will survive. Single strap hook-and-loop closure helps you to get a pure, secure fit meaning that sweet volley you dreamt of? It’s still well within the realms of possibility.

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6. Nike Mercurial Lite Shin Pads

Image from Nike.

These Nike Mercurial Lite shin pads balance awesome protection with a low profile and lightweight feel, letting you move with complete freedom. Most players absolutely hate it if their shin pads feel too heavy or cumbersome, but these are so light you’d be forgiven for having to check if you’re actually wearing them.

The snug compression sleeve ensures they’re ridiculously easy to get on and off, while each pad is designed specifically for both the left and right leg. This is hands-down the best choice for any speedy wingers out there, but they’re also strong and comfortable enough to suit just about everyone. That’s exactly why these Nike shin pads are worthy of this list.

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5. G-Form Pro-S Shin Pads

Image from Greaves Sports.

Okay, yeah, these are a little expensive, but the G-Form Pro-S has been nothing short of revolutionary. If you’re after some premium, high-end shin pads this season, then you’d have difficulty finding a better bang for your buck. These are elite shin pads, so I guess it’s only natural for that to involve some elite prices.

Unlike most other guards, the Pro-S combines the padding and the sleeve together in one seamless design, meaning that you never have to worry about them slipping out of place. Just as importantly, this RPT soft padding isn’t simply soft and light, but also hardens on impact to serve up the best protection money can buy.

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4. adidas X 20 Pro Shin Pads

Image from adidas.

Just like the boots of the same name, the adidas X Pro is all about speed, speed and, that’s right, even more speed. While wearing a pair won’t turn you into the next Kylian Mbappe, these shin pads use a lightweight compression sleeve to make sure you can really unleash your explosive pace (if you have any).

Inside, you’ll find some rather innovative moulded EVA cushioning, which is designed to wick away any excess moisture and keep your legs dry. Obviously, this means you’ll feel a lot more comfortable when working up a sweat, and you won’t need to keep bending down to readjust them every five minutes. Very comfortable and very, very fast.

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3. Nike Charge Shin Pads

Image from Nike.

If you’re just after a standard pair of shin pads, you could do a lot worse than the Nike Charge. Once you get over some of the absolutely insane colours you can buy, you’ll notice that this is a pull-on stirrup design which keeps the pads locked firmly in place. These are about as reliable and as cheap as shin pads can get.

The real highlight here, however, is the contoured foam on the back. While you should expect all modern shinnies to feel pretty comfortable, the Charge essentially feels like it’s an armoured extension of your leg. They might look a little bulkier than others on this list, but you can take it from me that you’ll eventually forget you’re even wearing them. Until you get kicked that is.

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2. adidas Predator Pro Shin Pads

Image from adidas.

The Predator is a trusted name in the boot world, and adidas kicks out a pretty decent shin pad under the same name too. Another fairly pricey option, but these will easily last you the whole season or more. Based on the popular Freak model design, these spikes will leave your opponents shirking any chance of a 50/50 with you.

A stud-proof flexible shield wraps around the front of an integrated compression sleeve, built for comfort and protection. The moulded EVA backing will let your shins breath, avoiding that mid-season, grim bag stench. Oh and just to add to the quality, they harden on impact too offering even more strength.

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1. G-Form Pro-S Compact Shin Pads

Image from Greaves Sports.

We’ve already included the Pro-S on this list (which is amazing), but we prefer the Compact edition. It’s a little sleeker, a little lighter, a little more ready for today’s modern game. Super flexible, you’ll feel like you’re only pulling on a calf compression sleeve, not a shin pad. This doesn’t mean it won’t protect fully though, as G-Form’s body mapped, impact- absorbing RPT® symmetrical impact zones harden as they’re struck.

The moisture-wicking fabric is breathable, keeping you dry throughout the season. An absolute joy to play in, these G-Form shin pads are built for the professional game but they’ll have no problems protecting your precious shin bones in a Sunday league grudge match. All without breaking a sweat.

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All of the above shin guards will help you make the best possible start to the season. To make sure you save some extra cash on your football boots and even kids' shin pads too, compare prices with us and bag the best deal possible. You’d probably be a little silly not to. 

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Kevan Thorpe

Quintessential grassroots journeyman. I've had more "you look like Gareth Barry" comments than I have career goals.