Shin guards are arguably the piece of protective gear that is most influenced by personal preference. Finding a size and model is weighted heavily on your preferences, playing style and how you wear the pads. Some players prefer to wear their shin pads over the tongue of their skates, while others prefer to have the tongues in front. The former allows players to comfortably wear a slightly longer pad.
Finding the correct model is just like anything else - your play style and needs influence the decision of what model is best for you. Generally speaking, many defenseman choose a wider, bulkier pad for more shot blocking surface and additional protection. On the other hand, many forwards prefer a lower profile, tighter to the leg and lighter pad. These are simply tendencies and don't imply that a defenseman should buy one pad and a forward should always buy another.
When trying on shin pads, it is a good idea to have your skates with you. As mentioned, its tough to tell what the proper length of pad is without the skate on. You want to see where the pad fits in comparison to your skate tongue. You also want the pad to have a small gap if you wear it behind your skate tongue or if you put the skate tongue under the pad, you can usually go up an extra inch in size. Anything longer and your stride will be hindered. Each stride your foot will end up moving the pad up and out of place.
To get the correct size, you'll want to measure your shin. With your foot flat on the ground, measure from your ankle up to the middle of your kneecap. This measurement will give you an approximation of your proper size. As mentioned above, if you wear your shin pads on top of the skate tongues, bump the size up an inch. Once you have the correct size, there are a couple keys to ensure proper fit. The first is that you want to make sure your kneecap sits securely in the donut of the knee. The second thing is to make sure it doesn't come too far down your leg. With your skate on, you want to lean forward, simulating the flex of your foot during a hockey stride and make sure that the pad does not move. You do not want your skate to displace the pad, it should always remain with your knee in the donut.
The Rest of the fitting is all personal preference and making decisions based on the properties of each individual model. Think about things like how wide of a pad do you want/need, how close to or “deep” on your leg do you want the pad to sit and how much protection do you need for your level of play. Of course, money is a factor, too, because it always is. You may also want to continue the comfort and fit you have currently, so understanding which shin pad is most similar to your current pair of shin pads is a good idea as well - just ask your local Pure Hockey store employee or call/write to our Customer Service group and we will be happy to help you out!
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In the meantime, here's a helpful video to show you more on fitting shin pads.