Shin guards are designed with the primary purpose of protecting your shins from the hacks and slashes that characterize the game of hockey. They can also protect your knees in the event you fall while playing. Inasmuch as beginners tend to shy away from shin guards, they are recommended and where possible, you should go for mid to high-end models that also protect your calves.
Shin Guard Materials
All shin guards come with a plastic outer shell as well as a foam liner. The plastic shell has a joint under the knee that gives you flexibility and better fitness. Depending on your budget, there are cheap and expensive shin guards. The cheapest of them comes with a fairly thin shell and liner which is not as protective as the high-end models. The more the price increases, the higher the quality. The shell becomes thicker and the degree of padding increases.
High-end pads use different types of foam so as to supplement the usual ones. Some of the common foams include Poron XRD, Armor foam, and U foam. The advantage with these types of foam is that they give you high levels of protection and are not that heavy.
Shin Pad Sizing
Shin guards are measured in inches which capture the distance between the bottom of the shin shell and the middle of the plastic knee shell. In the event you are measuring yourself so that you can find the shin pad size that fits you well, simply measure your leg starting from the middle of your knee bone all the way to the top of the ankle bone. The measurement you get should help you find the appropriate shin guard size.
Preferences for Shin Guards
There are few different preferences when buying shin guards. Some prefer a tight fit while others want a loose fit. There is also preference in the way you wear them and how you tape them.
Tight or Loose
If you feel your current shin guards are a bit loose and you want a tight fit, a shin pad tape which is also referred to as a sock tape can help you secure your shin pads. These tapes come in a variety of colors and they have a slightly elastic or plastic feel.
Tuck or Flop
There are two ways you can wear your shin guards. You may tuck your shin pad underneath the tongue of your skate or simply put it over top. When you put it over, you tend to have a slightly longer shin guard which means added protective coverage.
With proper care, shin guards can last for over 5 years even if they are put into heavy use. If you spend most of the time in front of the net, finding shin pads with a good calf wrap can save you from the pain and bruises when you are hit on your calf. Some of the top brands to look out for include Reebok, CCM, Easton, Warrior, and Bauer.