Designing the Perfect Shin Guard

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Writing about shin guards brings up a great deal of irony for me.  Playing the game my entire life, one thing was clear...everyone hated wearing them or didn’t care about them.  I could categorize myself as someone that hated wearing them.  They got in the way while I was playing, I didn’t think it hurt that bad when I got knock on the leg, and I was always adjusting them when I was playing.  Looking back, my efforts to avoid wearing them or replace them with cardboard, always seemed futile.  The inevitable fact remained, YOU HAVE TO WEAR THEM.  The irony continues with launching a soccer company with the flagship product being a shin guard.  

MATERIAL

So…if we were going to build a shin guard it had to be the greatest shin guard ever made.   How to do this?  Well…the first step is using a material that’s just all around better then the rest.  

  • Strong

  • Light-weight

  • Anti-Bacterial

  • Resistant to moisture

  • Eco-Friendly

  • Odorless

  • Ability to manipulate in multiple shapes

  • Unforgettable

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This just happened to be the same material in applications ranging from cutting boards to skyscrapers….BAMBOO.  

That’s a good start…we found the ultimate material for a shin guard.  Now…we had to create a design that we would want to wear.  This will definitely be a challenge, considering the disgust we have for the retched device.  So…the goal must be to create an unnoticeable shin guard. Meaning, you don’t have to keep adjusting them, they stay out of the way of your touch, but always provide a sufficient amount of protection.  Obviously this isn’t an easy task, but it's something that the world needed. We’re happy to put this impossible mission on our shoulders. 

THE TEARDROP SHAPE

What we noticed about every other shin guard, is their design is usually rectangular.  Looking at the structure of our legs, this made no sense. Since humans aren’t ridged squared off creatures, we thought a shin guard should mirror the shape of your leg. This is where our patented teardrop shape was born. Matching the curvature of your leg, our design has a natural and unnoticeable feel, while protecting 7 inches of shinbone in the high impact zone.  

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OPTIMAL PROTECTION

Shin guards are there to provide protection, but what’s the major goal of that protection?  Should it cover the ankle, shin, calf, knee etc? According to major studies, the primary goal of a shin guard is to protect the leg from fractures in the high impact zone.

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The high impact zone is positioned in the center of the ankle and knee, where the leg is susceptible to fractures in a game.  At younger age groups, protecting lower parts of the shin and ankle is more of a priority. Younger players are still learning the game and their touch/skill is still developing.  This creates a higher need to protect other parts of the leg as there're more accidental impacts.  As a player grows, so does their game.  Older players become more predictable and the need to protect those areas are outweighed by the need to allow your foot and ankle the freedom it needs to play.  As we grow up, the game becomes more skillful and that need begins to retract.  That being said, it was essential they were not only strong, but stronger than anything we’ve seen before. The theatrical video below is not just a eye catching promotion, but proof that the LEGEND 1 can take a hit.  

 

 
 

 

So the combination of all these factors has resulted in the design you see today.  This design partnered with incredible properties of bamboo has provided the soccer industry with the perfect shin guard.  


ATTACHEMENT

So how do you attach your shin guards?  We’ve seen it all and have outlined all of the problems. 

Velcro strap

Problem:

  • Uncomfortable

  • After continued use, the Velcro detaches too easily

Tape – Athletic or Electrical

Problem: 

  • You never remember to grab tape and always asking someone else for it.

  • You have to get the tightness perfect or you lose circulation.

  • One-time use

  • Tape loosens up during the game and guards start to fall.

Pre-wrap

Problem: 

  • You forget to grab some and then ask someone for tape.

  • One time use

  • It’s hard to find prewrap unless you’re freinds with your trainer

The answer?


COMPRESSION SLEEVES

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We provide our customers with two custom sleeves to ensure their shin guards don’t move while playing.   Our high quality athletic compression material not only allows for no movement during the game, but helps promote circulation, blood flow, and reduces chances of injury.  Simply put your sleeves on first, your sock over the top and slip in your shin guards. 

In addition to the benefits of securing your guards, compression sleeves aid in muscle recovery.

Wearing compression sleeves enables blood flow to circulate quicker, which helps your muscles recover from physical activity. Keeping oxygenated blood flowing to muscles is important for performance. The more oxygen the cells have, the better they will function. During exercise, the body produces lactic acid as a waste product. If this lactic acid is not removed from the muscles, it can contribute to soreness and decreased ability to perform. 

Recent studies show that with an optimal level of consistent compression, the walls of the arteries will dilate, increasing the blood flow through them. Arterial blood flow has been shown to increase up to 40% during activity and 30% during recovery. This means more oxygen and nutrients flowing through the body! On the other hand, the walls of the veins will constrict under compression, which helps to increase the velocity of blood flow through them. Increased velocity of blood flow through veins means that deoxygenated blood and lactic acid will get back to the heart quicker, which will help to increase the rate of recovery and decrease muscle soreness! Compression will also help to stabilize the muscle and decrease the amount of muscular vibration, resulting in decreased fatigue.


MANUFACTURING

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Lastly, we wanted to build a shin guard that we could stand behind…not just literally.  It was essential that we manufacture in the United States.  Nearly every shin guard/all soccer products on the market are outsourced to different countries.  Cheap labor and decreased quality standards allow for companies to squeeze the most profit out of their product. Outsourced production primarily benefits the countries where production takes place. There’s an estimated 14 million outsourced jobs, which is almost double the 7.5 million unemployed Americans. Those jobs being returned would be enough to also hire the 5.7 million who are working part-time.

Our goal is to produce quality soccer specific products produced in the place we call HOME.  We're proud to manufacture in the great state of Michigan!  With 4 years of research and development, we had to come up with a process to build shin guards that’s never been done. Our advanced engineering techniques allow us to manipulate a natural material, but still take advantage of it’s incredible characteristics. We’re able to provide a thin/minimal bamboo outer shell, but allow for and incredible strength-to-weight ratio. 

To wrap this up, we take great pride in the LEGEND 1 and hope to prove to the industry that we’re able to produce high performance and eco-friendly products right here in the USA.  

Is it the perfect shin guard?  We think so, but I think you should try them out for yourself.  Until next time...

 

Sean Person

Co-Founder

Legend Soccer Co.