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Shin guards. It's deeper than you think.

Updated: May 13

If you are buying new shin guards for your field hockey player, there's more to it than you may think. Here is my list in order of worst to best.

  1. Soccer shin guards - (sigh) if you must.

These work if you have nothing else, and your player is 10 years or younger and just trying out the sport. If I have to be honest: Don't use these. They don't have any protection over the protruding bone on your ankle. Your player will get hit there with a stick, with a ball, or with both. It hurts. I'm not even going to give you a link, because if you're going to buy new shin guards then just skip over this option, and buy field hockey shin guards. You are playing field hockey, after all.

2. Soft STX shin guards - beginners, young only.

These are great if you're just trying out the sport. If your kid is young and not playing at a very competitive level, these will get the job done, and most importantly, you can throw them in the wash. If you have a sense of smell, you'll thank me.

3. Hard shin guards - your player's legs will thank you.

Anyone who has played more than a year and wants to continue in this sport, quickly moves on to these shin guards. They aren't as straight forward as you may think. Pay attention to size, that can make a difference. It's not one-size-fits-all.

When you use these shin guards they are worn with the intention to be worn with socks, your team socks, your uniform socks or just long, knee-length socks to put on over the guards. So, make sure you have those long socks to hold the shin guards in place. BUT, EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, you'll need a special kind of socks for UNDER the shin guards.

Hox Socks - an irritating necessity.

Every field hockey player or player's parent should buy stock in Hox socks. They are expensive, but necessary. Wearing these thin socks under the shin guards prevents sweaty shins and rashes. On hot days, kids have forgotten the hox socks and it has led to terrible rashes and irritated skin. So, it just can't be avoided. You need them.

Also noteworthy, players make a big deal about the style of hox socks. One should get the craziest style they can find. Boring is, well.... boring.

Finally, the hard shin guards can not be tossed in the wash (like the soft.) The rubber on the inside will tear. How should you prevent the strong aroma that will eventually come from wearing shin guards outside in the sun, exercising, and sweating day after day? If you figure it out, please report back! Moms and Dads on sidelines and in carpools everywhere have been begging for that answer.

See you on the field!

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