I can’t believe it’s been so many years since my kids were new to youth soccer. My oldest still loves the sport. (My youngest decided that it wasn’t for her!)
He is now a few inches taller than me and looks more “handsome” than cute in his uniform. But, I miss those early days.
He’s far more serious about the sport now. No more chasing butterflies on the field!
When he first started playing, he hated it! He put up such a fight as I wrestled him into his long soccer socks. (Florida kids revile socks.)
I explained he had to wear shin guards to protect his legs because sometimes kids miss the ball and kick each other instead. (“Sometimes” is an understatement!) And while his Lightning McQueen crocs were his favorite shoe at the time, he still had to wear special big boy soccer shoes on the field.
Pork Chop dripped sweat and cuteness in equal measure. After his first game, I was so proud of him that I immediately posted his photo online for all my friends and family to see.
After seeing the photo, one of my cousins called me, laughing, and told me he was wearing his soccer socks and shin guards wrong. I was a first-time soccer mom. Nobody told me how any of the stuff should be worn!
Needless to say, I didn’t even think to ask anyone how to put on shin guards. I thought I knew how!
I had put my son’s shin guards on incorrectly then posted the photo on Facebook for everyone to see!
That’s how we learned how to wear shin guards and socks…
Sure I played soccer as a kid, but that was a long, long time ago and not for very long. I was an Air Force brat. The kids played pick-up games of soccer in our base housing neighborhoods every day. However, we didn’t play for the same coach at the YMCA for years like my kids did before moving up to other leagues. We were always moving.
To be honest, I never thought that this would be something I would write. I figured that I’m kind of an airhead and lack the soccer experience that most other soccer moms have.
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Then, a year later a friend of mine messaged me asking how to put them on her kid. She played soccer in high school but also couldn’t remember. She was not the only person to text me asking how to put those darn things on her kids over the years. So I finally decided to actually write this “how kids should wear their soccer socks and shin guards” guide and share some of our experiences with the different types of shin guards.
First, let me emphasize that shin guards are a MUST-HAVE for youth soccer. These kids kick each other in the shins constantly. No joke. Some kids think it’s the worst part of the sport and others (like my crazy son) think it’s the best.
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I didn’t even know there were different kinds of shin guards for kids. My son (and later my daughter when she also started playing soccer) preferred the different styles of shin guards at different ages.
- Show your new soccer player videos or photos of kids wearing shin guards so they know what to expect.
- Remember that one size fits all doesn’t always work for kids! My youngest has always been smaller than 99% of kids her age.
How to wear shin guards?
Well, it all depends on the type of shin guard. We tried several different kinds with our son. We’ll run down how to put on each of them.
Pork Chop hated his shin guards the first season. I bought him traditional shin guards which are the type he wears now that he’s older, except his legs are much larger than they were a decade ago.
Guys, he limped around the field like his legs were taking turns being broken. It was the most pitiful sight. (He was barely four at the time.)
This type of shin guard is strapped on over soccer socks.
So I got him this softer shin guard…
These were easy to slip on over his soccer socks. This is a good option for most kids. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for my child. He scratched at his ankles and cried.
Ultimately, I got him shin guard socks. These are soccer socks with an inner pocket and hard plastic inserts.
We had a winner. He wore these things for the first four seasons he played! Plus it solved the question of whether shin guards go over or under socks. It’s one piece. You can’t make it any easier.
So yeah, I definitely recommend shin socks for the little players. We call these toddler shinguards because they are the easiest to put on toddlers without a fight! However, if you’ve already bought the soft stirrup version or the regular velcro and hard plastic version, here is how you put them on.
(They graduated up to more protective versions as they get older and more rational lol!)
How to put on shin guards on a new soccer player
- First, put on the long socks and pull them all the way up. They usually are long enough to go up the thigh!
- Then, you are going to put on the shin guards over the sock.
- Pull them up high too, taking care to make sure the ankle padding is positioned correctly if the type of shin guard you purchased includes that.
- Then take the top of the soccer sock and fold it over the shin guard. So to answer a popular question, soccer shin guards are worn both over and under soccer socks.
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Are you a new soccer mom? Is anything confusing you? I’d love to help. Leave me a comment or email me!
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Athletic Lift says
Ok, I’m dumbfounded. I thought it was always worn on a bare leg?! Then again, now that I’m thinking about it, it would totally chafe a player’s skin with all their movement.
Christina Yates says
You don’t know how relieved I am to realize I’m not the only first-time soccer mom who didn’t automatically know all the dress code rule, though my kidlet is 9 and beginning her soccer career in U11; she’s played “back yard soccer” since she started walking, but this is her first year playing on a team. I knew shin guards were required–and with my kidlet’s predisposition to being accident prone, even if it was just “suggested”, she’d be wearing them–but totally thought HOW they were worn (under / over the socks) was purely a matter of preference until her first practice when the coach told her she needed to wear long socks over the shin guards. Oops!
Lol! You wouldn’t believe how many people Google how to wear them each spring and fall! I wish my kids’ coach had told me before I plastered my son’s photo on Facebook!
You are good.
What brand/style of shin guards you like the best?
My favorite brand and style were whichever ones he’d wear without fussing! It changed as he got older. Now he is old enough to know that they are for safety but when he was a little guy, it would be whichever style would stay on. For the first few seasons, the soccer shinguard socks (where the shin guard was a part of the sock) were the best for us.
I came across this after googling about wearing shin guards, as at my son’s first soccer practice this week he was the only kid with shin guards on the outside of his socks. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who has done this. And now back to the store I go to get some soccer socks.
Lol no you aren’t the only one.
Thank you for this!
very informative article. BUt will you please write one more article from where i can buy best chin guards?
I was totally feeling lame, but I had to Google, “how do you wear shin gaurds?” Luckily I found your post and it was perfectly what I needed to know 😀
Don’t feel lame! You looked it up instead of putting them on your child incorrectly 🙂
J. Ivy Boyter says
Thank you for this! S starts soccer on Saturday. Because I’ve never been athletically inclined, I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how any of this works. At least I can go out there now and pretend I do 🙂