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Shin guards or shin pads are popular pieces of equipment used in football, rugby, hockey, ice hockey and roller hockey. They are used to protect the player's shins from the ball, puck, or other players boots or sticks. They come in two securing styles, either the underfoot strap with ankle sock, or slip in using velcro straps. The basics are a plastic or composite curved form which has a soft backing and follows to some degree the shape of the shin. They are worn underneath socks.
There is not a lot written about shin guards or pads, as they are not the most interesting of the football players items used. We do know that in the early days players would stuff newspaper or dried leather into their socks to offer some protection against being kicked by the opposition players boots. The major manufacturers saw this as an opportunity and so the shin guards came into fashion. We are not sure however if the development came from football and rugby or if the origins of the modern guard came from the Americas and Ice hockey.
If you are interested in reading more about shin pads, have a look on Wikipedia.