How To Fit Hockey Shinguards

by Source For Sports How To's & Tips Hockey shin guards are designed to protect a player’s legs from pucks, slashes, impacts and skate blades, and are an important part of the complete protection series.

Hockey shin guards are designed to protect a player’s legs from pucks, slashes, impacts and skate blades, and are an important part of the complete protection series. Choosing a size and model will vary based on your personal preferences, playing style and position, but will also need to integrate with your hockey skates and pants.

Shin guards are designed with a knee cap that is padded on the inside, and a hard shell exterior that covers the front and sides of the leg from the knee to the ankle.  They are ergonomically designed to be wider at the top under the knee cap, and tapering down to a narrower profile at the ankle. Above the knee cap will be a flap that fits under your hockey pant

Other shin guard design details that will vary between manufacturers include:

  • Velcro fastening straps that offer a custom fit may either attach laterally or cross diagonally behind the calf for a more secure fit, and can vary from a 2-strap system or a 3-strap system.
  • Some designs offer a cap at the bottom of the shin guard that flexes with your ankle for greater forward flex in your skate.
  • There are some models with removable padding so you may wash them in your home machine.
  • The front molded piece can vary in width, which will have a significance if you are on defence and require more coverage, or a forward who is relying on speed to move the puck down the ice.

To determine the correct size shin guards, it is best to have your skates and hockey pants on first so that you can see and feel how they incorporate with the rest of your equipment. The first thing you have to decide is whether you prefer to have the tongue of your skate in front of the shin guard (over) or behind the shin guard (under). Generally if you play with your shin over the tongue, you will need a bit of extra length to compensate for the bulk of the skate tongue.

Shin guards are sized in inches. With a measuring tape, measure the distance from the centre of your kneecap, straight down the front of your shin to the point where your shin meets the inside of your skate -  this correlates to approximately 1 inch above the center of the outside ankle bone. This measurement will indicate the size of your shin guards, which are generally sized as follows:

  • YOUTH 8” – 10”
  • JUNIOR 11” – 13”
  • SENIOR 14” – 18”

Using this measurement as a starting point, try on the corresponding size of shin guards, checking that you have the Left and Right pads on the proper legs, and that your knee fits in the cap and is cradled snugly. Fasten the straps of the calf wraps, ensuring that they enclose your lower leg with no gaps. The lower bottom edges of the shin guards curve upward to fit the tendon guards of your skates like a puzzle piece; when properly fitted, there will be no gap between the ankle pad of the skates and the lower edges of the shin guards. If it is too long, you will have difficulty flexing your ankle; if too short, your ankle will be exposed and the calf wraps may not go all the way around your leg. You should be able to bend your knee and have ankle flex with no restriction of movement. When you put your hockey pants on, the top flaps of the shin guards should fit under the pant legs, giving a seamless covering from waist to ankle.

Having the right size of equipment will not only protect you on the ice, but will be comfortable and allow you to perform your best.

Check out our shin guards, and come to Source For Sports to experience the Pro-Formance Advantage Custom Fitting System that guarantees you get the right gear for your game.

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