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What’s The Best Football Shoulder Pads? Buyer’s Guide & Review

Have you ever thought of making a good dive without the use of your shoulders? Football shoulder pads are protective gear that are necessary for a good attack on the field. But I have to tell you that buying the wrong one will surely bring an avoidable disaster. That’s why I put up this list of 11 best protective gear you can find on the market.[1] Are you ready?

PRODUCT

PRODUCT DETAILS

OUR #1 RATED

Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

  • Simple and lightweight, without compromising your professional performance
  • Promotes good freedom of movement
  • Minimizes the weight on your shoulders thanks to the curved design

OUR #2 RATED

Adams VS500 Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

  • Useful for almost all purposes and positions
  • Can handle large physical impact
  • Provides complete freedom of movement, thanks to the narrow front bow

OUR #3 RATED

Schutt Mid Flex 4.0 Youth Football Shoulder Pad

  • Very versatile, making it compatible with all players and positions.
  • Prevents the growth of bacteria and mold

OUR #4 RATED

Schutt Sports Varsity FLEX 4.0 All-Purpose Football Shoulder Pad

  • Provides maximum protection and absorbs shocks well
  • Good ventilation and air circulation
  • Promotes maximum versatility and full freedom of movement

OUR #5 RATED

Gear Pro-Tec Z-COOL OL / DL-Pro Select Football Shoulder Pad

  • Fully flexible and lightweight
  • Can provide a comfortable, custom fit
  • Can handle moisture and heat well

Best Football Shoulder Pads

1. Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity

If you’re looking for Schutt shoulder pads, then this prestigious XV HD football shoulder pad would be our suggestion. The high-density foam used in this pad is so amazing because we noticed that it offers a higher level of durability, cushioning and range of motion.

It is known that this is one of the best NFL football shoulder pads for receivers. It’s light weight and helps you to deliver professional field performance while playing.

Another amazing thing about this shoulder pad is that it makes attaching accessories easier. This is mainly due to the pre-drilled holes. You would be glad that this product has a curved design, as it ensures that your shoulders are minimally loaded.

PROS

  • Very durable and shock absorbing
  • Promotes good freedom of movement
  • Has pre-drilled accessory holes

CONS

  • Not a good fit for players with small physique

This popular and reliable protective equipment ensures better air flow due to its raised corrugation and gear holes.  

2. Adams VS500 Varsity

This multi-purpose variant of the Adams VS500 is also one of the best protective equipment for adult football players. It has a well-ventilated body pad, which means you’ll feel well and cool under any weather condition.  The shoulder pads feature special antimicrobial treatment. You can also easily remove the cushion pad. 

The Adams VS500 offers utmost protection provided by the integrated shoulder pads and narrow bow design. This football shoulder pad is intended primarily for adults for all purposes. It is suitable for almost any position. 

PROS

  • Useful for almost all purposes and positions
  • Well ventilated
  • Easy adjustment to the correct fit

CONS

  • Works only for adults

This particular adult football should pads promotes full freedom of arm movement with the help of its narrow front bow.  You can also customize it to ensure you have the right fit during every game by adjusting the belt buckles.

3. Schutt Mid Flex 4.0 Youth Football Shoulder Pad

Number three on our list is the Mid Flex 4.0. This product is great for anyone looking for Schutt youth shoulder pads that adults can also wear. We particularly like its versatility to provide the needs of every football position.

It features high-density perforated padding, so you feel protected on the pitch. Such padding also combines the use of a highly breathable mesh and vent holes. 

Additionally, this adult football shoulder pads has an adjustable system where you can attach the arches with three dots. The two dots on the back of the bow allows for a more comfortable fit. It also protects you while aiding freedom of movement with the help of its arch design.

This football shoulder pads also hinders the spread and growth of bacteria and mold with its antimicrobial solution.

PROS

  • Has an adjustable system
  • Can handle heat effectively

CONS

  • Problem size

It was designed to promote superior field performance while ensuring excellent heat management. 

4. Schutt Sports Varsity FLEX 4.0 All-Purpose Football Shoulder Pad

The Schutt Sports FLEX4.0 is an excellent choice for those who want to invest in a shoulder pad that gives them ultimate protection. It effectively absorbs the impact caused by hard knocks.

This is possible with the second foam layer located in the shoulder pad. With the help of its built-in vents, this football shoulder pads promotes air circulation and good ventilation. 

Schutt is also known to meet recommended safety standards so it is safe for use. Thanks to the deep cut in the arch design, you can also enjoy maximum versatility and freedom of movement.

PROS

  • Provides protection and absorbs shocks well
  • Safe to wear
  • Works well for different football positions

CONS

  • Compatible with adults only

The Schutt Mid Flex 4.0 Youth Football Shoulder Pad also works for different positions, including wide receiver, defensive back, running back and quarterback. It also comes in many sizes – from small to twenty.

5. Gear Pro-Tec Z-COOL OL / DL-Pro Select

One thing we noticed about Gear Pro-Tec is that it’s lightweight and flexible. We also like its ability to give users more comfortability. The removable waterproof clavicle and adjustable 1-inch belts have uncut buckles gives it a more personalized fit.

Its patented moisture transfer technology allows the shoulder pad to dry within three hours of after a game or training.

PROS

  • Fully flexible and lightweight
  • Adjustable
  • Ideal for attackers

CONS

  • Does not work for players that hold skill position in the field.

It uses the Z-COOL moisture management system, which works by pushing out hot air and pulling in cold air. This adult football shoulder pads also uses an antimicrobial fabric and a moisture absorbent, which makes it more convenient to use. Therefore, the Gear Pro-Tec Z COOL OL/DL-Pro works well for attackers because they are the least runners.

6. Schutt’s Sports Varsity AiR Maxx Flex 2.0

Many consider the Varsity AiR Maxx Flex 2.0 the best shoulder pad for high school quarterbacks and broad receivers for maximum protection with the help of its back plate and small arc cut.

This design not only provides shoulder and sternum protection but also offers freedom of movement and flexibility. This ensures that you perform well on the football field. 

The open-cell foam construction of the AiR Maxx Flex football shoulder pads is quite impressive too. It consists of small and tiny chambers that can trap air, which is beneficial as it makes taking and handling hits more effective. 

PROS

  • Promotes a high range of motion
  • Flexible
  • Can handle hits, thanks to its small tiny chamber design

CONS

  • It takes several days to break-in

You can also choose a custom fit to ensure you do not feel uncomfortable. Schutt AiR Maxx Flex is also designed to be effective with running and jumping.

7. Schutt Sports Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pads, Small

If you’re looking for a shoulder pad for young football players, we recommend Schutt Y-Flex 4.0 multifunction pads. We like it’s lightweight, all-purpose design that is suitable for young athletes who want varsity-style protection.

It has an elongated body length that is known to provide additional sternum protection without compromising mobility. Another positive feature of this shoulder pad is that it is compatible with all football positions.

It also promotes maximum and sufficient airflow. This is due to the double padding system, the highly breathable mesh material, and integrated 7 mm vent holes.

PROS

  • Has a lightweight and compact design
  • Highly breathable
  • Promotes proper and maximum airflow
  • Adjustable and customizable

CONS

  • The padding used is thinner than others

With these features, this particular product can reduce the impact normally caused by trapped body heat. It also allows adjustment by three points due to the adjustable elastic strap that has a 3-point attachment to the arches. This provides you with extra protection while ensuring that the shoulder pad stays in place.

8. Gear 2000 Youth Intimidator

In number eight comes the Gear 2000 Youth Intimidator Shoulder Pad as it is one of the most powerful and best football shoulder pads on the market today. It has a flat and discreet construction due to its built-in smooth epaulets that adapts perfectly to your body.

It weighs only about a pound, so you are sure that it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your shoulders when worn. Another benefit of this shoulder pad is that it keeps you cool and absorbs sweat well. The ability to absorb sweat is made possible by the use of a highly effective moisture management system. 

PROS

  • Has a flat and discreet construction
  • Can absorb sweat well, thereby keeping the player cool throughout the game
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable fit and length

CONS

  • Not as durable as others

Another thing that makes a good impression about the Gear 2000 Youth Intimidator Shoulder Pad is its affordable price, plus the fact that it makes use of a material that can handle moisture effectively also makes it able to dry completely within a few hours after use.

9. Sports Unlimited Prospect Youth Football Shoulder Pads

The Sports Unlimited Prospect Youth football shoulder pads might end your search for the best football shoulder pads. We are so impressed by its lightness as it uses lightweight materials and elastic bands.

With these features, you can travel comfortably at full speed. It also provides additional impact protection and ensures that you feel comfortable with the help of its double-layer foam body cushion.

This youth football shoulder pads also provides maximum coverage in terms of protection, thanks to its extended body length. This means that it has a cushioning that extends across the arches. With this advanced cushioning, your back and abdomen are safely protected.

PROS

  • Provides a high level of protection against access
  • Universal sports design
  • Well ventilated and breathable

CONS

  • Not suitable for adult football players

Another notable benefit of this shoulder pad is its universal design that promotes full freedom of movement. In that sense, it’s perfect for multiple positions. It is also well ventilated and breathable as heat can escape because of its breathable inner channels.

10. Gear Pro-Tec Z-CooL Youth/ JV

The last shoulder pad on our list of best football shoulder pads is the Pro-Tec Z-COOL Youth / JV football shoulder pad. What we find so good about this all-purpose shoulder pad is that it is light and works well for all young football players, regardless of their position.

It uses a moisture transfer technology that speeds up sweat evaporation. We also discovered the breathability and moisture absorption properties of this product while using it. It has Z-COOL padding that removes moisture from the skin and will keep you dry throughout the game. We also noticed that it’s completely breathable with the air release clavicle padding system that you can easily adjust.

PROS

  • Works for multiple positions and players
  • Breathable and adjustable padding system
  • Promotes a comfortable, custom fit
  • Prevents perspiration

CONS

  • Not compatible with skill positions

Another advantage of this youth football shoulder pad is that it provides a comfortable and personalized fit thanks to its adjustable 1-inch belt with uncut buckles.

Things To Consider Before Buying Football Shoulder Pads

Consider these six things when buying football shoulder pads:

#1. OVERALL CONSTRUCTION

Overall construction entails the architecture of the shoulder pads, aesthetics, and how quickly it appeals to your sense of judgement.

It has to be of high quality and strong enough, as this resistance makes it possible to deal with the most severe hits. Note that football is an exciting but challenging game. There are actually cases where it is pushed and pulled on the field. 

In a number of instances, a player’s shoulder pads get ripped on the field because its construction could not afford the luxury of receiving excess pressure from opponents. If you want to gain extensive protection from your shoulder pads, spend sufficient time analyzing it.

#2. WEIGHT OR BUILD

All shoulder pads have different weights depending on the material used to construct it, the proportion of such materials, and the size of the pads. These three make up the weight of the pads, which can affect the player’s movement.

Best Shoulder Pads 1

As a football player, you should know how much weight you are willing to bear on your shoulders in addition to the weight of other protective equipment like helmet, backplate, and knee pads. If the overall weight of the football gear on your body is too much, you may find it difficult to move on the field.

Nonetheless, you shouldn’t buy utterly inferior shoulder pads that can not afford any reasonable impact when other players hit you. To make sure of this, ensure the pad is not made of puffed foam or some bloated materials that is intended to make it look big.

It doesn’t matter the brands that is producing the pads, you’ve got to evaluate them to see if they are still strong and durable enough to prevent multiple hits and impacts. There must be a balance between lightness and durability to ensure your protection and comfort on the field.


#3. CUSHIONING OR PADDING SYSTEM

The cushioning or padding system is one of the major things that determines whether your shoulder pads can absorb a hit without affecting you adversely. Before you purchase any shoulder pad, try to check the technology behind it. Apart from the numerous padding systems in the market, there are three major technologies adopted by major brands in the industry, which are:

1. TPU CUSHIONING

TPU is the most advanced padding system. It is made of the seemingly indestructible Thermoplastic Urethane material. TPU doesn’t break down, compress, allow mildew formation, nor does it retain heat as with most of the other materials.

The TPU cushioning is found in a number of Schutt shoulder pads and protective gear, including the Schutt AiR Maxx Flex shoulder pad. With this padding system, you can take in enough hits without crashing down.

2. FLAT PADS

A flat pad design is the most commonly used for generic adult football shoulder pads. They are low profile built with high-efficiency cushions that absorb impact using the smallest amount of space. A flat pad design combines a closed and open-cell foam to successfully spread the force of a hit over the largest surface area surrounding the direct point of impact.

3. QUILTED BROCK BEADS PADDING

This type of cushioning system boasts of tiny padded bead-like shaped protrusion. These beads are filled with air and are spread across the chest, shoulder, and back region of the pad. When you sustain a hit, the beads release air, spreading it across the surface area underneath the shell. This cushioning system also ensures that air circulates around your body, to keep you relaxed through out the game.

#4. POSITION

Best-Football-Ankle-Brace7

There are different playing positions in field, and the one you play in should determine the type of shoulder pads you should buy. If you are still trying out several positions or playing on either side of the field, the multi-position pads will be perfect for you.

These pads are usually medium weight and designed so that they do not reach the sternum. With this design, it can support a good range of motion. Expect these pads to get thicker and heavier on your shoulders as well. This is necessary to be able to hit effectively.

#5. MOBILITY

Adult football shoulder pads have a direct impact on your range of motion in the field depending on its size, weight, bulkiness, and materials they are made of. The selected shoulder pad should be designed so as not to interfere with your mobility. To ensure this, it is better to invest in lighter football shoulder pads that can still do the job. You need protection while you are still mobile to avoid injury.

#6. VENTILATION

A well-ventilated shoulder pad will allow air to flow around you body, keeping you relaxed throughout the game. In most cases, there is adequate ventilation in the form of ventilation holes drilled directly into the shell.

Hot air can escape through these holes while fresh air can circulate. So you can feel comfortable, dry, and cool on the football field. You can also view products using Z-cool cooling technology. This technology uses waterproof beads for air flow in the cushioning actively.

Check our list of the best football gloves and college football helmets in this article.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Football players wear shoulder pads to absorb most of the impact when players are hit.[2] The pads protect the shoulders, collarbones, chest, and back. 

Football shoulder pads should sit comfortably on your shoulders and not pinch your collar.

The size of your football shoulder pad depends on your physique and position on the field. However, the main goal is to find a size that completely covers certain areas of the body, especially your collarbones or clavicles, deltoids, shoulder joints, and shoulder blades.[3]

There are different ways to clean shoulder pads depending on the material it is made of. However, the average shoulder pad have the same cleaning procedure, which involves the use of detergents or washing agents.

The major differences between adult and youth shoulder pads is price and weight

Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

Our #1 Best Football Shoulder Pads

  • Very durable and shock absorbing
  • Simple and lightweight, without compromising your professional performance.
  • Promotes good freedom of movement
  • Has pre-drilled accessory holes
  • Minimizes the weight on your shoulders thanks to the curved design

Enjoyed the article above?  Read our full review of the best DFS sites here:

Resources:

  1. The Evolution of Football Equipment. Retrieved from https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1642538-the-evolution-of-football-equipment#slide1
  2. What Do You Have to Wear in Football? Retrieved from https://www.sportsrec.com/6798470/what-do-you-have-to-wear-in-football
  3. How to Fit Football Shoulder Pads. Retrieved from https://www.hibbett.com/expert-advice/how-to-fit-football-shoulder-pads.html
  4. Protective Sports Equipments. Retrieved from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Protective_Sports_Equipments
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