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Do You Need Shin Guards for Mountain Biking?

A person on his mountain bike in a forest trail.

Mountain biking is a fantastic way to get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks involved in this activity. One of those risks is the possibility of suffering a serious injury to your legs, specifically your shins.

When it comes to mountain bike gear, do you need to wear shin guards? While it is possible to mountain bike without wearing this type of protection, doing so increases your risk of suffering a serious injury.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of wearing shin guards while mountain biking.

Where Are Your Shins?

A woman holding her shin and her white shoes.

Your shins are the long, thin bones in your lower legs. They are located between your knees and your ankles. Your shins are very vulnerable to injuries, especially when they come into contact with hard surfaces.

When you pedal a mountain bike, your shins are constantly moving back and forth. This repetitive motion can put a lot of stress on your shins, which can eventually lead to pain and inflammation.

What Are Shin Guards?

Shin guards are designed to protect your shins from injuries. They are typically made from hard plastic or lightweight metal.

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Some shin guards also have padding to help absorb impact. Shin guards work by absorbing the impact of a fall or collision, which prevents your shins from coming into direct contact with a hard surface.

Do You Need Shin Guards for Mountain Biking?

A cyclist equip with shin guard and a ramp.

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. One of those factors is the type of mountain biking you are doing.

If you are planning on doing some light mountain biking on easy trails, you probably won’t need to wear shin guards. However, if you are going to be doing more extreme mountain biking (on rough terrain), it is a good idea to wear shin guards.

Another factor to consider is your own personal risk tolerance. If you are the type of person who likes to play it safe, you will probably want to wear shin guards. On the other hand, if you are more adventurous and are willing to take a few risks, you may not feel the need to wear them.

Can Shin Guards Affect Your Mountain Biking Performance?

Some people avoid wearing shin guards because they feel that they will affect their mountain biking performance.

While it is true that shin guards can make pedaling a bit more difficult, the increased level of protection they offer is usually worth the minor decrease in performance.

How To Chose The Best Shin Guards For You

Black shin guards on a lawn.

There are a few things you should consider when choosing shin guards for mountain biking.


First, you need to decide what material you want your shin guards to be made from. As we mentioned before, most shin guards are made from either hard plastic or lightweight metal.

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Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Hard plastic shin guards are typically cheaper and lighter than metal guards. However, they also offer less protection.

Metal shin guards are more expensive and heavier than plastic guards. But, they offer better protection from serious injuries.


Another thing to consider is the size of the shin guards. You want to make sure that the guards fit snugly against your shins. If they are too loose, they will not offer the level of protection you need.


There are two main styles of shin guards: ones that cover your entire shin and ones that only cover the front of your shin. Full-length shin guards offer more protection than shorter guards. But, they can also be more uncomfortable to wear.

Short guards are less obtrusive and usually more comfortable. But, they do not offer as much protection as full-length guards.


Some shin guards also have padding to help absorb impact. This can be beneficial if you are planning on doing some extreme mountain biking.

However, padding can also make the shin guards more expensive and heavier.


You can also decide what color you want your shin guards to be. Most shin guards come in either black or white.

Some people prefer black because it is less visible and won’t show dirt as easily. Others prefer white because it makes it easier to see if the guards are properly positioned on your shins.


Finally, you need to consider the price of the shin guards. Shin guards can range in price from around $20 to $100.

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The more expensive guards usually offer better protection and are made from higher-quality materials. But, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to get a good pair of shin guards.

What Type Of Shin Injuries Happen Without Protection?

There are a few different types of shin injuries that can occur when mountain biking without shin guards.


One of the most common shin injuries is a contusion, which is a bruise caused by an impact. This can happen if you hit your shins on the pedals or the ground.


A more serious injury is a laceration, which is a cut caused by something sharp. It can happen if you hit your shins on a rock or a branch.


A person in the hospital with broken legs.

The most serious type of shin injury is a fracture, which is a break in the bone. This can happen if you hit your shin with a lot of force.

How To Prevent Shin Injuries?

The best way to prevent shin injuries is to wear shin guards. But, there are a few other things you can do to reduce your risk of getting hurt.

Avoiding Rocks And Other obstacles

One of the best ways to avoid shin injuries is to simply avoid hitting your shins on rocks and other obstacles. This can be difficult, especially if you are riding on technical trails.

But, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and try to avoid hitting your shins.

Wearing The Proper Shoes

Another way to reduce the risk of shin injuries is to wear the proper shoes. Mountain biking shoes usually have some padding on the bottom to help protect your shins.

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The wrong shoes can affect your shins in two ways.

First, they can make it easier for you to hit your shins on obstacles. Second, they can make it more difficult for you to pedal, which can lead to more falls.

So, it is important to make sure you are wearing the proper shoes when mountain biking.

Wearing Long Socks

You can also wear long socks to help protect your shins. This is especially helpful if you are wearing shorts. The socks will provide an extra layer of protection between your skin and the ground.

Long socks won’t stop all shin injuries. But, they can help reduce the risk of bruises and cuts.

Shin Guards Can Protect You While Mountain Biking

A cyclist with full gear with his mountain bike.

In conclusion, whether or not you need to wear shin guards for mountain biking depends on the type of biking you are doing, your personal risk tolerance, and what features you want in a pair of shin guards. However, shin guards are an important piece of safety gear for mountain biking and can help prevent serious injuries.