Training can be hard on the body in unexpected ways. If your shins bear the brunt of your intensity, investing in a high-quality pair of shin guards can keep you moving when the workout gets tough.
In this Athletic Muscle guide, I’ll be covering:
- When should you think about buying shin guards?
- What should you look for when buying a pair of shin guards?
- And my top 5 shin guards.
If you want to jump straight into our top picks, here is the list. However, please continue to see why we picked these.
|View on Rogue Fitness
Bar Grips Shin Guard Sleeves
|View on Amazon
THEFITGUY Weightlifting Shin Guards
|View on Amazon
Robust Fitness Shin Guards
|View on Amazon
Rx Shin Guards 2.0
|View on Rogue Fitness
Overall #1 Pick
When it comes to finding a CrossFit shin guard, you can’t go wrong with RockTape’s RockGuards. This durable shin sleeve boasts 5mm perforated neoprene for a balance between strength and breathability. Unlike many shin guard options, these are multi-purpose and built for cross-training.
The RockGuards are made to fit snuggly and act as a calf compression sleeve as well as a shin guard. As a result, they’re effective for preventing shin splints and calf cramps while running. Even so, some people have had challenges finding the right size. Be sure to use the measuring chart and buy a size up if you’re in doubt.
RockGuards have both a foot strap and silicone grip ring to hold them in place, as well as a zipper to make them easy to put on and take off during a workout.
Top 5 Best Shin Guards For CrossFit Workouts
Check out our list below for a summary of our results. Keep on reading to learn more about your shin guard options!
- RockTape Rock Guards (Best Overall for CrossFit)
- Bar Grips Shin Guard Sleeves (Has the most customizable options)
- THEFITGUY Weightlifting Shin Guards (Focused around weight lifting)
- Robust Fitness Shin Guards (Built with extra compression)
- Rx Shin Guards 2.0 (Easiest to put on and take off)
What Are Shin Guards & What Do You Need Them For?
As the name implies, shin guards are a training accessory that protects your shins from damage during high-contact movements. They’re used in a variety of sports, from mountain biking to soccer.
Shin guards are also a great accessory for training in the gym. Using a CrossFit shin guard can protect your shins during high-impact exercises like box jumps. It’s not uncommon to bang one’s shins with a barbell during deadlifts or other weightlifting exercises, especially when trying to complete them for time.
CrossFit shin guards also protect your shins from painful rope burn or bruising caused by a strong J-hook during a rope climb.
Finally, the best shin guards for CrossFit will also protect you from bleeding. This protection will ensure that you don’t introduce any bacteria to your bloodstream that could keep you out of training.
Read Also: The Top 3 Best CrossFit Climbing Ropes
What Should you Consider Before Buying Shin Guards?
There are a few different factors to consider when buying a shin guard. First and foremost is quality. You want something that isn’t going to come apart after a few uses. Ideally, your shin guards should last for at least a year. Of course, the lifespan will vary based on how frequently you train and your form.
Another thing to look for with shin protection is mobility. You don’t want something that’s going to impede your movement or be uncomfortable to wear during your workout. Features like silicon grips and foot loops also help hold the shin guard in place during intense exercise.
Breathability and wetness protection are also essential when choosing shin protection. Look for an option that either drains well or has moisture-wicking capabilities. There are many brands of shin guards that are made for cross-training events, like Spartan races, and are made to dry quickly.
Finally, we look for something that’s not only easy to put on and take off but a shin guard that does what’s promised. While it’s not uncommon to still experience slight bruising or tenderness under deadlift shin guards or CrossFit specific shin guards, there should be a noticeable difference from going bare legged.
Five Top CrossFit Shin Guards
Bear Grips are an American-made brand of shin sleeve. This company is very responsive to customer feedback and has made numerous improvements over the past two years based on athletic input.
Unlike many other shin guards for CrossFit, Bear Grips wear and feel more like a knee sleeve than compression socks. Even so, users have commented that they fit comfortably over leggings and ankle compression socks for an extra layer of protection.
Bear Grips have foot stirrups, a silicone anti-slip band, and zippers for easy access. As these shin guards aren’t leg-specific, you can switch them to your liking. Additionally, you can purchase Bear Grips in singles or doubles, which is nice if you damage a single sleeve during an intense workout.
The only overarching complaint about Bear Grips is that the logo overpowers the sleeves— a purely aesthetic concern.
THEFITGUY weightlifting shin guards boast a wrap-style rather than a sleeve. The three velcro straps make it easy to adjust the fit to your calf’s unique contouring and make it easier to put them on and take them off between movements. With a 5mm neoprene front, this option works great as deadlift shin guards and creates a protective barrier during rope climbs and box jumps.
These shin guards haven’t been tested for cross-training, but many users have reported wearing them without any issues. The wrap style also makes them ideal for seasonal training, as they can be adjusted to fit over leggings.
One caveat when buying THEFITGUY shin guards: they’re only 11.8 inches long. A few customers have reported that the length isn’t adequate for their height— measure your shins before you buy.
Robust Fitness has managed to create an excellent pair of sleeve-style shin guards that are breathable and quick-drying paired with durability. These shin guards are ideal for cross-training athletes and those looking for extra compression to reduce stress fractures and shin splints while exercising.
These shin guards have a foot loop and silicone ring to hold the 5mm neoprene in place and a zipper for ease-of-use. A few users have reported the zipper breaking relatively quickly, but also noted that the shin guards were still fully functional without it.
Rx Smart Gear has long been an industry leader for CrossFit and weightlifting equipment. The Rx Shin Guards 2.0 are an upgrade of their original model based on user feedback. These wrap-style shin guards come in a one-size-fits-most format for calves measuring 11″-21″. These shin guards are easy to put on and take off between sets without having to remove your shoes.
One of the upgrades made with the Rx Shin Guards 2.0 was to remove the flared ankle to allow for better mobility and movement.
Wearing a shin protector during activities like rope climbing and plyo box jumps can offer more protection than long socks without restricting your range of motion. The best shin guards for CrossFit are the ones that last as long as you do.