Hard Shells Resist Impacts to Shield Shins
Lacrosse involves constant physical contact, so sturdy shin guards are essential. Look for guards constructed from rigid plastic or polycarbonate shells. These solid exteriors disperse and deflect blows from sticks, balls, and opponents’ limbs. Hard shells prevent painful bruising or minor fractures, providing a protective barrier between the field and a player’s lower legs.
Cushioning Materials Absorb Shock
While the outer shell handles blunt force, inner cushioning manages impact. Dense foams or gels line the interior, hugging the shin’s form. As external shells flex inward, these soft layers compress to absorb kinetic energy. Quality padding returns to its original shape, prepared for the next collision. Insufficient cushioning transmits excess shock through to the bone.
Secure Fit Through Straps and Fasteners
A loosely-fitting shin guard defeats its own purpose by shifting upon impact. Integrated straps wrap behind the calf to fix guards in place. Look for robust fasteners like metal buckles that won’t inadvertently unclip. Elastic bands with Velcro retain their tension and stay firmly wrapped. For additional stability, some guards extend up the leg with a sleeve above the calf.
Adjustments Accommodate Different Leg Shapes
With adjustable straps, players dial-in the ideal fit for their build. Wider Velcro bands suit fuller calf muscles, locking on more securely. Separate upper and lower straps allow custom tightness over the ankle and below the knee. Flexible or hinged sidewalls conform better to tapered legs for comfort and responsiveness when running.
Featherweight Materials Enhance Mobility
Today’s high-tech compounds yield protection without cumbersome bulk. Guards weighing 15 ounces or less give players free rein of motion. Structural polymers like polyurethane and ABS plastic are light yet tough. Ventilation holes pepper the shell to further drop grams. Players remain quick on their feet without straining their legs lugging hefty equipment.
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Cushioning Materials Absorb Shock
The hard outer shell of a lacrosse shin guard handles the initial force of impact, but without proper cushioning underneath, all that energy gets transferred straight to the player’s shin bone. Ouch! That’s why high-performance guards integrate shock-absorbing padding between the shell and skin. Materials like EVA foam, poron, and gels compress on impact, dampening the blow. According to a study by Brine, their Triumph shin guards with 3mm of high-density foam reduced force by nearly 40% compared to guards with standard foam.
Cushioning not only absorbs impact, but also keeps the shell from digging into the shin. As lacrosse dad Mike explains, “My son used to complain that his cheap guards hurt more than the hits! Upgrading to thicker, softer pads made a huge difference in comfort.” Proper cushioning is crucial for goalies in particular, as they sacrifice their bodies to block shots. Bruce, a college goalie, recalls, “I added some DIY foam to my old Brine shinguards and can’t believe the bruises it saved me. I won’t step on the field now without maximum padding.”
So when picking out new shin guards, look at padding quantity and quality. Compress the interior to test shock dampening. Optimal guards have enough responsive cushioning to absorb the hardest on-field impacts without bottoming out.
Secure Fit Through Straps and Fasteners
After choosing a lacrosse shin guard with an impact-resistant shell and shock-absorbing padding, the next key factor is a snug, stable fit. Shin guards that shift and slide out of position leave players vulnerable to bruising hits. According to sports medicine doctor Chris Johnson, “An ill-fitting shin guard absorbs 50% less impact energy than one that stays put.”
Integrated straps are crucial for keeping guards anchored in place during intense game action. Longer straps wrap securely behind the calf while smaller Velcro bands grip the ankle and upper shin. Robust metal or plastic buckles withstand pulls and collisions better than flimsy plastic. As high school coach Will James advises, “Check those straps for quality – I’ve seen cheap ones pop open far too often.”
Many players also recommend shin guards with an adjustable sleeve or sock that extends above the knee. The extra coverage and compression keeps guards locked in, especially for quick and physical defenders. “As a defenseman, I’m constantly moving and jostling for ground balls,” says college player Liam. “The upper sleeve on my Maverik M3’s is a game-changer for security and stability when I’m hustling down the field.”
Choosing lacrosse shin guards with sturdy, well-placed straps and adjustable sleeves or socks ensures ideal compression. Players can fine-tune the fit for their body type and position for unwavering protection even in the heat of match play.
Adjustments Accommodate Different Leg Shapes
Lacrosse players come in all shapes and sizes, so shin guards with adjustable elements provide a more customized fit. Straps with Velcro fasteners allow you to dial in the ideal tension – not too loose and not constricting. As per STX’s guidelines, straps should compress but not dig into the calf. Wider Velcro closures work better for larger leg muscles while smaller straps suit slim calves.
Hinged or flexible sidewalls are another useful adjustment feature in shin guards. They curve to conform to tapered or rounded shins for better comfort and responsiveness compared to stiff, straight guards. “I used to get bad rubbing on my skinny shins from ill-fitting guards,” says high school midfielder Ruby. “New hinged shin guards from Warrior wrapped cleanly around my legs – no more irritation!”
Separating the lower and upper straps is also advantageous for getting a customized fit. Players can tighten the calf strap for security while loosening the ankle strap if it bites into the Achilles. “My Nike shinguards with separate straps don’t pinch my ankle bone anymore,” notes club player Diego. “The adjustable tension makes a world of difference.”
Seeking out shin guards with adjustable fasteners, flexible sidewalls, and segmented strapping enables fine-tuning for the optimal fit. A secure yet comfy compression around the calf and shin results in better protection and mobility.
Featherweight Materials Enhance Mobility
Lacrosse is a fast-paced, agile sport. Shin guards that are excessively bulky and heavy impede players’ speed and mobility. Modern high-performance shin guards are constructed using featherweight materials that provide rugged protection without weighing players down.
Advanced polymers and compounds like ABS plastic, polycarbonate, and polyurethane are very lightweight yet durable enough to withstand high-velocity impacts. Ventilation cutouts along the guards’ shells further reduce weight while aiding breathability. According to Nike’s testing, their new Vapor shinguards weigh 25% less than previous models but absorb just as much shock.
“I used to dread sprinting up and down the field wearing those old school shin guards that felt like bricks strapped to my legs,” says college midfielder Aaliyah. “My new lightweight Maverik guards are like a second skin – I can move so much faster and quicker without the extra pounds bogging me down.”
Seeking out lacrosse shin guards constructed using featherweight compounds ensures rugged protection without restricting players’ speed, responsiveness, and agility. Unencumbered legs give players the edge they need to excel during intense, end-to-end match play.
Ensure Adequate Ventilation to Reduce Sweat
Lacrosse is an intense sport played in hot weather, soproper airflow is crucial for keeping players’ legs cool and sweat-free. Shin guards constructed from moisture-wicking fabrics with ventilation zones prevent overheating and discomfort.
Strategically placed perforations along the shell allow air circulation to evaporate perspiration. Unbreathable materials trap sweat, leading to chafing and irritation. Coach Amanda strongly advises her players, “Cheaper shin guards without ventilation will have you baking – spring for the breathable ones to stay cool out there.”
Moisture-wicking internal lining also keeps sweat from building up inside guards. STX engineer Luis explains, “Our Link shinguards draw sweat off skin with a high-tech liner. Breathable construction is vital for active sports like lacrosse played in the heat.” The antimicrobial treatment in many liners prevents odors too.
When selecting lacrosse shin guards, check for perforations, mesh panels, moisture-wicking fabrics and other design elements to promote airflow. Proper ventilation keeps players’ legs drier, cooler and comfortable even during intense game play in hot weather.
Pick Guards That Cover Ankles and Lower Leg
For comprehensive protection, lacrosse shin guards should extend well past the shin bone itself. Models covering the ankle bone, Achilles tendon, and lower half of the calf offer an expanded protective zone against hits and blows.
“I used to wear small shin-only guards that left my ankles and calves exposed,” says youth player Jayden. “I got caught by a nasty ankle check that could’ve been prevented with better coverage.” Longer guards protect more of this vulnerable area.
Full calf coverage is especially important for defensemen who constantly work along the sidelines. Coach Harris strongly advises, “There’s a lot of errant checks and collisions down around the corners and end lines. Make sure those calves are covered if you play defense!”
For comprehensive protection, players should select shin guards extending a few inches above and below the primary shin zone. Full ankle and lower calf coverage shields more of the leg against incidental hits and checks during intense game play.
Select Sizes Appropriate for Age and Position
Lacrosse shin guards come in a range of sizes to suit players of different ages and positions. Using the proper sized equipment enhances fit, comfort and safety.
Youth players should choose guards based on their age range, as younger kids need extra small sizes with less bulk. Teen sizes fit older youth players with more defined leg musculature. “My 6 year old struggled with cumbersome adult shinguards slipping around,” says mom Katie. “Size-appropriate youth guards stayed put and let him play unrestricted.”
Position also impacts ideal sizing. Midfielders and attackers favor smaller, low-profile guards offering maximum mobility. Bulkier, extended guards provide more coverage for vulnerable defensive positions. Coach Stevens advises, “Size up on shin protection if you take a beating as a defender – don’t sacrifice safety for some extra speed.”
Consulting manufacturer size charts helps players get the right lacrosse shin guards for their age and position. Proper sizing enhances comfort, flexibility of movement and protection on the field.
Compare Brands Like Brine and Warrior for Quality
When selecting lacrosse shin guards, it helps to compare top brands known for excellent protection and durability. Companies like Brine, Warrior, STX, and Maverik engineer high-performance gear designed for the rigors of the sport.
Brine emphasizes robust yet flexible protection, with offerings like the Triumph shinguard featuring thick Ventek foam padding secured by an adjustable calf wrap. Warrior prioritizes comprehensive coverage, like the Ritual shin guards extending extra inches up and down the leg.
“I switched from an off-brand pair to Brine shinguards and immediately noticed how much morepadding there was,” says youth player Jada. “Major brands really know how to build proper protection for lacrosse collisions.”
Researching brands known for specialized lacrosse equipment can help identify models offering superior materials, construction and features. Trusted names provide the best combination of durable protection and comfortable flexibility demanded by this fast-paced contact sport.
Seek Out Guards With Molded Designs for Anatomical Fit
For optimal comfort and flexibility, look for lacrosse shin guards contoured to the shape of the leg. Molded shells and protective elements closely conform to the calf and shin’s anatomical form.
Pre-curved shells avoid awkward gaps that can catch on jerseys or allow impact forces through. Interior padding molded to match the shin’s contours helps stabilize guards while flexing naturally with a player’s movements. Per STX coach Chris, “A molded shape is crucial – you want the guard hugging the leg snugly without any random gaps.”
Strategically placed padding that follows the calf muscle’s lines minimizes material bulk. “I love how my Nike shinguards wrap my lower leg smoothly without added mass,” says college defender Maria. “The anatomical design fits like a glove for zero mobility restrictions.”
Seeking out lacrosse shin guards intentionally sculpted to match the lower leg’s natural form results in a more seamless, tailored fit. Contoured construction leads to better comfort, flexibility and responsiveness on the field.
Choose Options With Removable Liners for Cleaning
As sweat and grime inevitably build up inside lacrosse shin guards, look for models with removable liner pads that can be taken out and washed. Clean liners promote hygiene and help extend the gear’s lifespan.
“My son’s shinguards got so gross and smelly after a sweaty season,” says mom Amy. “Being able to throw the liners in the wash made a huge difference in keeping them fresher.” Lacrosse engineering brand Shock Doctor recommends washing pads after every 2-3 uses.
Removable pads also facilitate replacing just the liner when it eventually wears down rather than the entire guard. “The foam padding in my old Brine shinguards compressed after a few seasons,” notes college player James. “I saved money by just swapping new liner pads instead of buying whole new guards.”
For easier cleaning and maintenance, opt for lacrosse shin guards with removable, washable liner pads. Keeping guards fresh and replacing worn padding improves hygiene while extending the life of one’s protective equipment.
Look for Smooth Exterior Surfaces That Won’t Catch on Turf
The playing surface is another consideration when selecting lacrosse shin guards. Guards with a smooth exterior avoid snagging on turf or grass during play.
Rough, textured shells can grab the ground as players cut and pivot, causing awkward torque on knees and ankles. College defender Eric advises, “Get shinguards with slick plastic or polycarbonate shells – the turf slides right off them as you move.”
Exposed straps and buckles also introduce potential catching points. Some guards tuck all fasteners beneath protective flaps to present a clean surface. “My old shinguards had buckles that always got stuck in the grass,” says youth player Sam. “My new one-piece Brine guards with hidden straps are so much smoother.”
Seeking out lacrosse shin guards contoured to match the lower leg’s natural form results in a more seamless, tailored fit. Contoured construction leads to better comfort, flexibility and responsiveness on the field.
Consider Extra Protection Features Like Calf Plates
For players needing expanded coverage, some lacrosse shin guards include supplementary protection elements like removable calf plates. These optional add-ons safeguard more of the lower leg against incidental contact.
Hard plastic calf plates either strap or slide into place around the back of the calf for extra shielding. They defend against blows from all angles including opponents’ trailing sticks and elbows. “As a bigger, slower defender, I opted for shinguards with calf plates to protect against slashes,” explains high school player Luis.
While calf plates add bulk, they provide necessary extra armor for vulnerable positions. Coach Avery recommends them for “any player sacrificing their body in high-traffic areas like defensemen and enforcers in front of the goal.”
Supplementary calf or ankle plates on certain lacrosse shin guard models offer expanded protection for players needing it. Removable plates allow customizing coverage to one’s level of risk and positional demands.
Evaluate Price for Budget and Value
When selecting lacrosse shin guards, players must balance cost with quality and features. More protective or high-tech guards cost more but provide superior durability and performance.
Entry-level shinguards range from $20-50, offering basic protection sufficient for beginners and casual play. Mid-tier models from top brands like STX and Maverik span $50-100, bringing better materials and customizable elements.
Premium guards with the highest-grade construction and technology run $100-200. While expensive, they utilize advanced compounds like Aerocore or Triax to shed impacts. “The $150 I dropped on new Nike shinguards stung at first,” admits club player Liam. “But they’ve lasted forever without any cracks or breaks.”
Consider position demands, personal budget and projected usage when weighing shin guard costs. While pricier models offer elite protection and longevity, more affordable options work for limited recreational play.
Read Reviews to Learn From Other Players’ Experiences
Looking at lacrosse shin guard reviews helps identify models praised for comfort, protection and durability. Fellow players provide insights on real-world performance.
Positive reviews point out key benefits, like cushioning that absorbs brutal hits or innovative ventilation systems. Complaints reveal downsides such as insufficient ankle coverage or liners that compress too quickly.
“Reading reviews helped me avoid shinguards with annoying design flaws,” says high school defender Jordan. “I learned which pads stayed firmly in place and which moved around and slipped.” Fellow players share experience you can’t get from product descriptions.
Check reviews from competitive players regarding sizing, comfort and protective abilities. Draw on others’ first-hand shin guard experiences to determine ideal brands and models for your needs and position before purchasing.