With the new football season on the horizon and pre-season training underway there’s no better time to update your footy gear for the coming season.
Shin pads are a necessary part of the footballers kitbag and in preparation for the new term we’ve revisited one of our favourite products, the S1 Shin Pad.
The first thing you need to look for when considering shin pads is protection, but all to often we see players wearing the smallest pads they can buy. The thought process is a tiny shinpad means less weight and less restriction, but you don’t need to compromise. We’ve been on the look out for a pair of ‘shinnies’ that we feel do the job rather well, a pair that protect without being restrictive; in short – a pair that just plain work!
Which is how we came across S1 Sport, who feel that they have come up with the ultimate ‘gimmick-free’ shinpad, or rather shinpad, ankle and achilles protection pad.
We kitted Scott out with a pair of S1 Pads as he hadn’t used them before, here’s his report:
The S1 Pads come in a small material bag, inside of which are the pads and the strapping. If you’ve also got the ankle protectors, they come in their own little bag too.
Being honest, the design certainly isn’t eye catching. The pads are red and white with the S1 logo on the front, the ankle protectors carry the logo on the ankle cup and the mesh strapping is plain black.
How they look isn’t too important though, after all the armour will be hidden under my football socks.
In terms of design function, here is where the S1 is very different. The black strapping is wrapped around your leg and fastened with two straps using possibly the strongest velcro on the planet! Once on, the shin pad then sticks to the front of the strapping, again using the ultra strong velcro.
I’ll start out with what the shin and ankle guards are made for, protecting my legs from opponents.
The hardened shin guard is pretty straightforward; it’s a piece of lightweight, slightly-flexible plastic over a high density foam. Under tests we found the pad did its job of stifling the force of direct impact well. It’s hard to compare how well it absorbs a random kick, but it certainly didn’t let us down.
The ankle protection come from the two ‘cups’ that you’d normally find on any ankle guard, however on the S1 ankle guard there are two layers of Neoprene that house an ergonomically shaped disk that protects the most delicate part of the ankle and prevents the guard from moving around whilst on the player’s foot and it does this well.
Another feature of the ankle guard that’s something of a rarity on the ankle protection are two ‘bars’ of foam that run down each side of the Achilles’ tendon, adding a surprisingly thick, spongy layer of protection to one of the most notoriously vulnerable places for injury.
Shin and ankle guards are not the sort of thing you ‘want’ to wear. For me it’s definitely a case of having to wear them.
I’ve been in the ‘cut my sock camp‘ for some time as comfort and lack of restriction is important to me. So, being honest, I was apprehensive about strapping on shin pads.
Here’s the thing with the S1, and where I feel they really stand out as a leader in the shin pad market, I hardly noticed I was wearing them. After a couple of games I realised that as they’re light and hardly move in my sock I managed to forget I had them on almost instantly.
Even better, I didn’t have to use any sock tape as these pads stay in place thanks to the mesh strapping.
Thanks to the mesh strapping system, it is easy to clean the S1.
It’s really convenient to be able to pop the mesh that’s in contact with your legs into the wash with your socks, and have them come out clean and smelling fresh before your next game. This goes for the ankle pads too, which have been washed several times.
One piece of advice, place the strapping and pads into the material bag they came packaged in before you wash them, otherwise that velcro attaches to everything you’ve got in the washing machine.
In terms of hygiene, S1 really push home the prevention of problems such as shin pad eczema, rashes and abrasion, caused by traditional shin pads. As the S1 shin pad has no direct contact with the leg, only the strapping, sweat passes straight through and does not get trapped between the shin pad and the skin, leaving the skin free to sweat and breathe naturally.
I thought it would be hard to appreciate a pair of shin pads and ankle guards, but I really like the S1’s.
They are light, don’t move even without tape and are easy to wash. It doesn’t sound like much but these factors push the S1 pads to the top of my ‘must haves’ list.
Price: Shin Pads £14.99 Ankle Guards £7.99
Order: Direct >>