best hockey shin guards

Hockey is a high-contact sport that involves flying pucks, sticks and body checking, so having the right equipment is important for performance and safety. A hockey player's shins, knees and calves can be especially vulnerable. This is why it's so important to get the right shin guards for your level of play. As you read on, we'll break down how to choose the most protective shin guards available and list some of the best ice hockey shin guards produced by major brands.

To see more options, check out our full selection of ice hockey shin guards.

In this article, we’ll cover:

List of the Best Ice Hockey Shin Guards

1Bauer Vapor 2X Pro Hockey Shin GuardsBauer Vapor 2X Pro Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
2CCM Super Tacks AS1 Hockey Shin GuardsCCM Super Tacks AS1 Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
3Warrior Alpha DX Hockey Shin GuardsWarrior Alpha DX Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
4Bauer Supreme 2S Hockey Shin GuardsBauer Supreme 2S Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
5True XC9 Hockey Shin GuardsTrue XC9 Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
6CCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Shin GuardsCCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
7Warrior Alpha DX3 Hockey Shin GuardsWarrior Alpha DX3 Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
8CCM JetSpeed LE Hockey Shin GuardsCCM JetSpeed LE Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
9Sherwood Rekker Element 1 Hockey Shin GuardsSherwood Rekker Element 1 Senior Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now
10Bauer NSX Hockey Shin GuardsBauer NSX Hockey Shin GuardsBuy Now

Overview: The Bauer Vapor 2X Pro hockey shin guards offer some of Bauer's most advanced technology. The front of the Vapor 2X Pro features a Deep Pro Volume kneecap and X-Lite shielded shin cap, while the back offers calf protection with Bauer's Curv Composite calf guard. Crafted from lightweight materials, these hockey shin guards offer premium protection and ultimate comfort.

Key Features:

  • DynaFlex locking strap system for an adjustable fit
  • Thermo Core comfort liner
  • Flexible HD foam knee wrap cover

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Overview: CCM has constructed the Super Tacks AS1 hockey shin guards with protection and comfort in mind. Their JDP knee cap and anatomic PE shin cap are durable as well as lightweight. These shin guards have a removable liner that features a knee cut-out to lock the lower leg into the guards. They also have a compressed molded HD-foam calf protector for safety and comfort.

Key Features:

  • D30 Smart Material knee cap
  • Tape groove on the shin cap
  • Length adjustable calf strap

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3. Warrior Alpha DX Hockey Shin Guards

Overview: The Warrior Alpha DX hockey shin guards are designed to offer elite players the protection and performance they need for a high-intensity experience. Lightweight molded slash guards and calf guards offer protection and mobility, while Warrior's Shell Skin Texture provides shock absorption to the back of the legs.

Key Features:

  • Odor reducing WarTech FNC liner
  • Sling Wrap strapping system
  • Engineered knee pocket provides a snug fit

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4. Bauer Supreme 2S Hockey Shin Guards

Overview: The Bauer Supreme 2S shin guards have an anatomical fit that provides incredible protection. A molded PE calf guard and Vent Armor foam knee wings give protective coverage in vulnerable areas without sacrificing mobility. The IX foam liner offers a comfortable and snug feel while adding shock dispersing protection.

Key Features:

  • Thermo Max+ lining
  • Y-shaped locking straps
  • Molded shin cap with AMP segmentation

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5. True XC9 Hockey Shin Guards

Overview: Designed to appeal to a wide range of hockey skill levels, True XC9 hockey shin guards feature a moisture wicking liner that keeps players dry and reduces irritation during long practice sessions. These shin guards are constructed with an anatomical fit, with strapping that’s strategically placed for security during physical gameplay.

Key Features:

  • Removable liner
  • Lightweight construction
  • Anatomical fit

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6. CCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Shin Guards

Overview: CCM's Tacks 9060 hockey shin guards give players of all levels pro-level comfort and protection. Molded PE knee caps and shin caps are durable and lightweight, and compressed foam inserts protect the calf while remaining comfortable. An upper lock strap and length-adjustable calf strap give hockey players the ability to adjust snugness for a personalized fit.

Key Features:

  • Removable liner featuring a knee cut-out
  • JDP molded-PE knee cap
  • Tape groove built in to the shin cap

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 Overview: The Warrior Alpha DX3 hockey shin guards feature a premium strapping system that provides a snug fit that’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time. An engineered knee pocket locks the leg in, allowing for movement without the shin pad slipping during play. This snug fit allows for maximum responsiveness and improved impact dispersion.

Key Features:

  • Molded slash and calf guards
  • Premium strapping system
  • Strike Yellow moisture reducing liner

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Overview: With a removable inner liner and anti-microbial interior, the CCM JetSpeed LE hockey shin guards are crafted for easy care as well as protection and comfort. An anatomical shin cap provides a close and secure fit. PE foam on the calf and thighs protect without adding bulk. CCM's upper locking strap and adjustable calf strap add to the security and give a customized feel.

Key Features:

  • Anti-microbial interior liner
  • Improved strapping system
  • Lightweight PE foam construction

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Overview: Military grade Viconic impact protection strategically placed in the knee cap to disperse impacts. Anatomically molded shin cap gives you a precise fit. A 3-point calf closure system with padding helps keep the pads secure and provides extra protection. An antimicrobial liner helps eliminate odor causing bacteria.

Key Features:

  • New deep fit anatomical knee cap
  • Anatomically molded shin cap for precision fit
  • 3 point calf closure system with HD foam calf

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Overview: Bauer's NSX hockey shin guards are constructed with molded knee and shin caps and  PE foam calf inserts and MD foam knee wing protection. The anatomical fit and elastic strapping system offers a snug and comfortable feel without restricting movement. The liner features hydrophobic mesh technology to reduce drying times.

Key Features:

  • Elastic strapping system
  • Molded PE foam calf insert
  • Anatomical design

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How to Select and Wear Hockey Shin Guards

Shin guards protect the front of hockey players’ legs from the top of the knee to just above the ankle. You should always select a shin guard that’s sized to cover this area. You should also consider a style of hockey shin guard that's appropriate for your age, skill level, position and personal style of play. We'll cover these factors later, but regardless of which shin guard you are thinking about purchasing, it's vital that you wear them properly for best protection. Wearing shin guards can be broken down into three easy steps.

  1. Identify your right and left shin guard and place on the appropriate leg with the knee centered in the inner pocket of the knee cap
  2. Secure the calf and knee straps tight enough to hold shin guards in place
  3. Cover with your hockey socks and wrap the lower leg with hockey sock tape for added security

Steps to Measure for Hockey Shin Guards

Wearing the wrong size hockey shin guard can hamper performance and increase the chance of serious injury. Oversized shin guards will be bulky and restrict movement, while shin guards that are too small will leave open gaps in protection from pucks and sticks. It's fairly easy to measure hockey shin guards for optimal fit - simply follow the steps below and use our shin guard sizing chart to find the correct shin guard size. 

  1. Wear and lace your hockey skates as if you're ready to hit the ice
  2. Sit on a chair that allows you to bend your knee at a 90-degree angle with your skate blades on the floor
  3. Measure the distance between the center of your knee and the top of the skate boot
  4. Round this measurement to the nearest inch and refer to our size guide chart to find the appropriate size

Hockey Shin Guards Sizing Chart

Factors to Consider When Selecting Hockey Shin Guards

After you've determined the right size, it's time to look at a few other things before you purchase your shin guards. Below we'll discuss the best ice hockey shin guard style for your position, skill level and fit.

Considering Your Position

Hockey players who play different positions on the ice have different needs from their equipment. Defensemen will want more shin guard protection since they're often in harm's way when blocking shots. Smaller, more agile forwards may want a lighter, slimmer shin guard. There may even be considerations based on the way you play your position. For example, a forward always grinding in the corners might want more coverage against opposing players’ sticks. By contrast, a forward who prefers to keep to the open ice might not be as concerned with greater coverage.

The Player Skill Level

You should also consider your skill level and the amount of time you spend on the ice. Beginners or casual drop-in players may not need the advanced ice hockey shin guards designed for elite players, and intermediate players may be searching for something that falls in between beginner hockey shin pads and professional grade shin guards.

  • Beginner or Low Impact: Recreational hockey players and beginners will most likely do just fine with a standard style shin guard. These are usually a classic fit made from hard plastics with a basic foam liner that offers protection for low-impact hockey games.
  • Experienced to Competitive: Experienced players may want a little more protection than basic hockey shin guards provide. But they might not necessarily want to blow their equipment budget on elite hockey shin guards.  Experienced players will typically want to look for a shin guard with a calf protector and firmly locking shin guard straps.
  • Intermediate to Advanced: Elite players not only need the best protection, they'll also want shin guards that won't hinder performance. These shin guards are made from lightweight materials, conform to the lower leg better and can be much more comfortable than shin guards designed for the average hockey player.

How the Equipment Fits

Different styles of hockey shin guards may fit differently, even if they’re the same size. Choosing a fit that isn't tailored to your style of play can hurt your performance, increase injury risk and reduce comfort. Hockey shin guards come in three styles that all have advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific style of play.

  • Traditional: A traditional fit hockey shin guard offers the most protection, but can be heavier and bulkier than other styles. Defensemen, beginners, youth and power forwards typically choose a traditional fit for the added protection over other styles.
  • Contoured: Contoured hockey shin guards have the lowest profile and provide the closest fit. Quick forwards that don't expect to block shots or take sticks to the legs will often choose these for their lightweight and comfortable feel.
  • Tapered: Shin guards with a tapered fit combine features from both traditional and contoured guards. The knee and upper half offer expanded protection while slimming down in the lower portions for improved mobility over traditional hockey shin guards.

Best Hockey Shin Guards by Category

Choosing the right shin guard doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Whether you need shin guards on a budget or you’re looking for the best junior shin guards for a youth player, we’ve got you covered.

Best Budget Hockey Shin Guards (under $100)

Bauer NSX Hockey Shin Guards: The Bauer NSXs are our best budget shin guards because of their anatomical construction and molded protective caps that offer comfort at a great price point. The liner uses hydrophobic mesh technology to keep players dry, and an elastic strapping system secures these shin guards in place.

Best Bauer Hockey Shin Guards

Bauer Vapor 2X Pro Hockey Shin Guards: The Vapor 2X Pros are Bauer’s top-of-the-line shin guards. Extra-lightweight materials allow for incredible mobility and protection. The X-Lite Shield shin cap disperses impacts of blocked shots, and an HD foam knee wrap covers the vulnerable areas on the sides of the knee. A removable Thermo Core liner rounds out comfort features that make the Vapor 2X Pro the best Bauer hockey shin guards available today.

Best CCM Hockey Shin Guards

CCM Super Tacks AS1 Hockey Shin Guards: CCM's D30 Smart Materials in the knee caps disperse shocks away from the knee. The anatomically fitting shin caps keep these shin guards stable while offering elite protection. The calf area also features the D30 Smart Materials and a removable line with knee cut-out offers superio

Best Warrior Hockey Shin Guards

Warrior Alpha DX3 Hockey Shin Guards: The Alpha DX3 shin guards make our list as best Warrior shin guards because of their elite level design and lightweight craftsmanship. The knee pocket and premium strapping system lock your legs into the shin guards comfortably and snuggly. The secure fit design absorbs shocks and impacts without coming loose. The Strike Yellow liner offers upgraded moisture wicking and keeps players dry and comfortable.

Lightest Hockey Shin Guards

Warrior Alpha DX Hockey Shin Guards: Warrior focused on using lightweight materials without sacrificing protection when they designed the Warrior Alpha DX shin guard. With Skin Shell Texture in the calf, lightweight EVA molded compressed foams and Warriors WarTech FNC liner, the Alpha DX has incredible comfort and protective engineering while remaining one of the lightest ice hockey shin guards on the market in 2021.

Best Youth Hockey Shin Guards

CCM JetSpeed LE Youth Hockey Shin Guards: CCM’s JetSpeed LE youth hockey shin guards are crafted with lightweight materials to allow for the mobility youth players need to improve their game. Anatomically designed shin and knee caps remain snug and absorb impacts, and PE foam calf and thigh guards add extra protection.

Best Junior Hockey Shin Guards

Sherwood Rekker Element 1 Junior Hockey Shin Guards: The Sher-Wood Rekker Element 1s are our pick for the best junior ice hockey shin guards out there because of their protective features and comfortable fit. Junior players will remain cool during play thanks to Sher-Wood's air flow venting for knee caps and an antimicrobial liner that wicks away moisture. Compressed anatomical foams provide wrap-around protection without restricting movement and flexibility.

Best Senior Hockey Shin Guards

CCM Tacks 9060 Hockey Shin Guards: We've named the CCM Tacks 9060 our best senior shin guards for the protective features adult players of any skill level will appreciate. The length-adjustable calf strap provides a customized fit and PE inserts in the calf offer protection and comfort. A JDP PE-molded knee cap and anatomically fitting shin cap gives durable protection with ample shock absorption and a stable fit.

Find the Best Selection of Ice Hockey Shin Guards at HockeyMonkey!

Now that we've covered all the factors that go into choosing the best ice hockey shin guards, you're ready to begin shopping. HockeyMonkey has you covered with all the best senior, junior and youth ice hockey shin guards on the market, so be sure to check out our full selection of ice hockey shin guards today.