Shinpad Showdown - Featured Image

If we’re not getting emails, tweets or Facebook messages about football boots, one thing people ask us about is shinpads; what to buy, which are the safest etc. 

Shinpad Showdown - Featured Image

But, unlike football boots, shinpads aren’t something we get to see loads of ads, tech specs or reviews on, so it’s kind of tough for us to give out  advice on something we know comparatively little about.

So we thought we’d test out a few of the different types of shinpads to see which styles we prefer, and unlike our list of the most expensive shinpads on the market, we went for styles that are relatively cost effective.

We tested out each models over a few training sessions, kickabouts and matches to see which style we preferred the most.


Nike T90 EXP Shinpads - Shinpad Showdown


Slip-in shinpads are brilliantly easy to just pop in your socks and start a game. Usually a plastic or carbon frame backed by impact-absorbing foam, there’s nothing simpler than just sliding a slip-in pair of shinpads as part of your pre-match ritual.

You can also count on slip-in shinnies to be really lightweight. It’s no surprise the F50 and Mercurial Vapor both have matching slip-in shinpads as part of their range.

Slip-in shin guards are also among the cheapest you’ll be able to find. Thanks to their simple design, you can pick up some styles for next to nothing – great for a casual player.


As well as being slip-in, they’re also slip-around! Guard-stays often aren’t enough to tame the errant menace of slip-in shinnies, meaning you might have to shell out a little extra on a set of sleeves to keep them in place. It’s no surprise we often see professional deploying a heroic amount of tape to hold them in place!

Coverage is also an issue – whilst lightweight and easy to slot in, there’s also a lot of exposed leg on display, meaning they’re often not the safest.


adidas Predator Clip-on shinpadsPros:

Probably the newest style of shinpad in the game, the clip-on style of these adidas Predator clip-ons is something to behold. They’re a great looking bit of kit that are really impressively constructed.

In terms of impact-protection, these shinpads offered the most of the styles we tested. Wrapping thick foam and plastic round the shins and extending to the calf, it’s no surprise team-mates quickly took to nick-naming them the ‘Robocop shinnies’!


The style is inherently bulky, and whilst that’s good for protection, the design does feel a little clunky on your legs for the first few games – something that might not fly with players who want to feel lightweight.

Clip-on shinpads also require you to have a specific shape of leg. If you’re chicken-legged like me, they can slip down your legs whilst you’re running, or even worse, if calves are too thick, they might feel restrictive and destracting.


S1 Shinpads - Shinpad Showdown


Admittedly, whilst there are more generic strap shinpads on the market, we’ve opted for the S1 Sports model. Simply the daddy of strappy shinnies, these things don’t budge when they’re in place.

Like the slip-in shinpads we tested, the S1 are low-profile and un-intrusive, and are adjustable to just about any log width or size. Additionally, the S1’s can take a knock.

We’ve been using our pair for well over a season now, and barring some superficial scuffs on the shell, they’re in great nick.


As petty as it sounds, the S1’s aren’t as user-friendly as the competition. The s1’s harness-style straps do mean you can’t just throw them down your socks and crack on with the game, but that seems to be the cost of having them stay more-or-less motionless during a match.

And honestly, we’d probably have spent just as much time and effort taping up the other two models.


S1 Shinpads - Winners of the Shinpad Showdown

After testing all three styles out, you’ll find most staffers playing with the strap-style S1’s on a weekend. The lack of a need for tape, sleeves or guard-stays is a real feather in the S1’s cap, and they are wonderfully protective for their low-profile size and shape.

We contacted S1 to see if they planned on celebrated their win in the shinpad showdown – and they replied by saying they’d give every reader 33% off their online prices until March 31st 2013 (or until stocks run out)!

Just head to S1’s official online store and enter the discount code ‘footyboots’ in the pop-up window to claim your discount!

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  1. says: Mike

    I use slip-in shinpads ’cause I don’t like the bulky feeling you have with other kinds. They do have the problem that sometimes they move around but instead of buying special sleeves I wear a kids sock (I previously cut the lower part) and problem solved.

  2. says: Lozboi2

    I have s1’s and found them a nightmare! I now have some slip in nike ones that came with the little sleeve and they DO NOT MOVE

      1. says: Lozboi2

        Maybe I didn’t have em tight enough. Wasn’t a big fan. I was supposed to be a distributor and they designer said the strapping is supposed to not rub on you but mine did

  3. says: Rick

    I’ve had them all. From cheapy pairs to Nike Mecurial Blades carbon fibre, Diadora Gamma Carbonio, C6 Agility, Brine G10. I spent a tonne of money trying to find what fit the best, felt the best in game, helped with the least amount of sweat and also felt most comfortable. What I realised was carbon fibre shin pads were just damn too stiff and after a white didn’t feel comfortable and rubbed. The Nike sleeves were absolutely rubbish and were ready for the bin after a few games. The Brine sleeves were great. The C6 had no give in them making them uncomfortable unless the mould was taken from your own shin. In short I tried a pair of S1’s and fell in love. So comfortable and felt so protective. It’s a great system. Lozboi2 not really sure what you were doing wrong and couldnt get them to fit or feel comfortable but everyone who I know who’s tried them would never go back to slip in’s again. The S1’s are so adjustable as they would fit any type of shin out there, fat, medium, skinny whatever, you can adjust them and make them fit. I always tell people looking for some new guards to try the S1 because they are a GO!!!

  4. says: c.f.

    the s1 definitely looks like the best, not bulky like the clip-on and other strap ones, but much more securely in place than normal slip-ins (which I use, and are good enough for a casual player I suppose). if I ever play more seriously I will try the s1, see what happens.

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