My (humble)view on this is that if you're new to MTB then the best way to approach this is to learn to ride the bike on flats first. That way you learn to actually 'ride' the bike rather than be a passenger on it.
By this I mean you learn how to be a part of the bike without having to rely on a mechanical attachment.
Then after a year or two learn to ride clipped to the bike. If you find you like it carry on and if not switch back to flats.
Sadly it seems the golden era of flat pedal (DH) racers seems to be dwindling after only a brief flirtation in the limelight. The only rider that seems to be carrying the torch these days is Sam Hill and he seems to be a bit hit and miss these days. Gee, Peaty, Minnar, they're all racing clipped in.
BTW your shins will be fine; it's almost never your shins that get clobbered by the pins but rather your calves. When you slip a flat pedal it's typically your calves that get gouged; they bleed profusly and your partner will curse you for bleeding all over the bed sheets, but strangely enough it doesn't ever hurt.
Most of the scars I've got on my calves were from gouges (gouge really is the right word) I never even knew I'd done.