In a contact game like hockey, you need to know your gear has your back. Especially when you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can down the slippery ice and can’t quite make that turn in time.
During moments like those, only the best hockey shin pads will do.
Take to the ice with flying speeds and never worry about feeling the pain of a hard fall with one of these top picks!
Read on for descriptions of each product and a buyer’s guide to help you choose the perfect one for you.
Our Top Picks
Bauer Vapor Hyperlite
Best for Youths
CCM Tacks AS-V Pro
The number one top pick on this list of the best hockey shin pads is the Bauer Vapor Hyperlite. And there’s no question the title is deserved.
The Ergodynamic Lab knee cap featured in this product creates a deep fit that locks in your knee for optimum protection. No amount of jostling and falls will shift this product from its rightful place on your leg.
On one side of this product’s removable liner is an Exo-Lite calf guard, made from a molded foam that is designed to take every impact with ease. While the other side has Bauer’s amazing Thermocore cooling technology that quickly gets rid of any sweat and odors.
Lastly, its advanced Dynaflex anchor straps secure diagonally across your leg to maximize your comfort and safety.
- Ergodynamic knee cap
- Removable Thermocore liner
- Exo-lite calf guard
- Advanced strapping system
If you’re looking for something that offers nearly the same amount of protection as an elite-level product and won’t break the bank, the Bauer Xs are exactly what you want.
Equipped with the same Ergodynamic Lab knee caps as the Vapor Hyperlites, these hockey shin pads hug your knees perfectly. Allowing for an incredibly comfortable feel and outstanding impact absorption.
MD foam throughout the knee wing and thigh protector offers nearly complete coverage for your shin. The foam may be a slightly lower quality, but the design that Bauer has used definitely makes the Xs worthy of their spot on this list of the best hockey shin pads.
- Ergodynamic knee cap
- Good foam design
- Lower quality foam
When your kid’s just starting a new sport, even the smallest setback can scare them away. But with the CCM Tacks AS-V Pro, you’ll never have to worry about that setback being a shock from a fall.
A thick layer of D30 foam within the shin pads completely absorbs every hit, fall, and collision. A parent’s review even claims a 2 by 4 was broken over these hockey shin pads without their daughter feeling a thing!
Plus, the wide band used for the calf strap makes this product even more adjustable than the average shin pad. One quick tug will have your kid’s leg in a tight, secure grip. Ensuring nothing will shift from its proper spot during a game.
For youth pads, the price might be a little high. But the reassurance of knowing your kid can get on the ice without any worries is definitely worth it!
- Extremely adjustable
- EVA molded thigh and calf guard
- D30 Smart protection technology
If you’re looking for something with a low profile, the Warrior Alpha LX Pros are by far the best hockey shin pads on the market.
A compact foam allows for a slim fit that is perfect for players that like a quick and agile style of play on the ice. The wings of foam along the calf guard enhance this mobility by working with the bends and creases in your knee instead of against them.
Finally, there’s the amazing Fantom Stretch strap and Sling Wrap attachment system that secures everything in place. With its lay-flat design, Warrior guarantees the straps won’t get caught on your socks and mess with your stride.
Keep in mind the narrow bottom of these hockey shin pads isn’t the best for players who like to wear their gear over the tongue of their skates.
- More ankle protection
- Fantom stretch strap to secure your knee
- Lightweight protection
- Narrow bottom
Last but not least on this list of the best hockey shin pads are the CCM Tacks AS-580 Juniors.
Equipped with a removable, sublimated liner, these pads are completely customizable. Print your favorite design on the inside without having to worry about it wearing and tearing.
There’s also molded JDP technology around your knee and along the calf guard of this product. Designed to deflect and disperse any impacts away from your joints and towards the protective foams, your legs couldn’t be safer.
This product might feel a bit bulky at first, but the tape grooves built into the shell allow for an incredibly tight fit that easily makes up for that.
- Removable liner
- Good shell design
- Tape groove for a better fit
Hockey Shin Pad Buyer’s Guide
The size of your hockey shin pad will depend mainly on how you plan to wear it. Some players prefer the feel and look of a shin guard that fits over the tongue of your skate, while others prefer it to sit under the tongue.
To find the correct measurement, put on your skates and tie them as you would for a game. Now sit on a chair that puts your knees at a 90º angle. If you wear your pads under the tongue, measure from the top of the tongue to the middle of your kneecap. If you wear them over, measure from one inch below the top of the tongue to the middle of your kneecap.
You should also always round up when you measure between inches. The measurement that you find will translate directly to the size of shin pads you need if you’re getting Bauer and Warrior products. For CCM, it’s slightly more complicated.
Their hockey shin pads are grouped into Senior, Junior, and Youth. Each group has sizes small, medium, and large, plus extra large in the senior group. And each size has a 2-point measurement range. So a senior medium could be anywhere from 15 to 16 inches, while their large would be 16 to 17 inches.
The best materials for the shell of your hockey shin pads are either Polyethylene or fibreglass. Between the two, Polyethylene is more lightweight but fibreglass is stronger. If your play is focused more on speed Polyethylene is the better option. Defenders and more contact players should have fibreglass.
The foam materials from the three major brands each have a specific patented design and structure that is top-of-the-line. CCM’s D30 tends to be a little bulkier, which makes it better for high impacts. Whereas Warrior’s is the thinnest and best for players looking for a slim fit and Bauer sits somewhere in the middle.
Liners have two equally important jobs. You want something that protects you but that can also deal with your sweat and prevent any odor build-up. That’s why liners should always consist of various layered materials.
Against your skin, you want a sweat-wicking material like nylon or a fabric that has a Polygiene coating. Then you want some sort of comfort padding that will act as a barrier for the harder foam that stands between you and the outer shell.
Features like tap grooves are a great way to improve the overall feel and fit of your hockey shin pads. Without them, it’s much harder to keep your socks from shifting without making the tape so tight that it messes with your mobility.
If you like to wear your shin pads under the tongue of your skates, be sure to get a pair of shin pads that have an abrasion guard, like the AS-580s or the Vapor Hyperlites. That way, they won’t wear over time.
Removable liners are a great way to keep mold from growing in your shin pads. For players that use their hockey gear often and don’t have a lot of space to dry them out, this is a worthwhile feature.
Lastly, a good strapping system is essential. You need to know that the protective foams and materials aren’t going to shift from their proper spots. Something that has wider straps or secures diagonally is always a good idea.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between hockey shin pads and shin guards?
There are many sports that use some sort of protective gear on your shins. Each product is designed with a specific sport in mind. Due to hockey’s high speeds and tough impacts, shin pads tend to have more protective padding along the inside, while the padding in shin guards focuses more on comfort.
Are smaller shin pads better?
In general, it’s much better to choose shin pads that are the correct size. The only time players wear a smaller size than they should is in professional leagues like the NHL where mobility is sometimes valued over protection.
The Best Hockey Shin Pads Summed Up
No matter how fast you go and how hard you play, you’ll never have to worry about feeling the pain with one of these top picks of the best hockey shin pads!
Whether you’re looking for a tight, agile fit or 100% comfort, this list has it all.