To get a better idea of which
shoulder pad will work for you, it's important to understand all of
the standard parts of a shoulder pad, and know what they do for you.
The size and type of these parts will vary by shoulder pad brand,
style, and position, and may determine which one is best for your
needs on the field.
Rivet - Attach the plastic shell
to the inner padding and cushions, and keep all of the shoulder
pad's parts in position.
Neck - An opening in the pads that
fits over your head, and is typically lined with comfortable padding
Epaulet - An extended piece of
the shell that provides additional coverage and protection to
Cup - Similar to the epaulet flap,
the cup hangs down over the shoulder for extended protection.
Auxiliary / Bias - A secondary
cushion to improve impact absorption and protection.
Main Body Cushion - The main
internal padding under the shell, which covers the chest to provide
Belt / Buckle - Available in a
wide variety of styles, from T-Hooks to belt straps, designed to
wrap around the body, secure the pads, and provide a customized
While most youth shoulder pads fit and
benefit every player similarly, adult shoulder pads are specially designed
and configured to compliment the skills needed at different positions on
the grid iron. The size of the shell, the type of cushioning, and the
features of a shoulder pad style will differ based on the position its
meant for. So to narrow down your shoulder pad choice, it's important to
know which position you play, and find the shoulder pads that will
complement that position:
To make sure you're getting the most
protection and comfort out of your shoulder pads, it's important to
purchase the right size. To find your shoulder pad size, check out this
video, or follow the simple steps below:
Find a friend or a parent.
Measuring yourself isn't easy to do, and can lead to inaccurate
Measure your chest. Using a
flexible measuring tape, and standing up straight, measure the
entire circumference of your upper torso.
Measure your shoulder width.
Standing up straight, stretch the measuring tape over the tops of
your shoulders and measuring between your AC joints.
Weigh yourself. Sometimes
youth shoulder pads are sized by weight class, so its important to
know your exact weight.
Now that you have these measurements
recorded, it's time to find your correct size shoulder pads! Each brand
sizes their shoulder pads differently, so check out the following top
brand's size charts, to get an idea of where you stand.
Once your shoulder pads arrive from SU,
you're going to want to make sure they fit correctly, and provide proper
coverage to your shoulders and chest. Try your pads on and:
Secure all straps and laces.
Properly connect the front and back of your pads with whichever
buckle or strap system they came with. Tightly secure them, so you
get a snug, yet comfortable fit against the back and chest. Don't
leave excess room between your body and the pads.
Check the fit. A properly fitting
shoulder pad shouldn't pinch your neck or collar, and should sit
comfortably on your shoulders. There should be about 1" of padding
should extend from your shoulder.
Check coverage, front and back.
Your shoulder pads should completely cover your sternum and upper
shoulders. You can check coverage by lifting your hands above your
head. A properly fit shoulder pad should still cover these areas
Check comfort and fit. Move
around a little bit and perform some typical on-field movements to
double-check the pad's comfort and fit.
All shoulder pads are designed to absorb
impact force to your shoulders and chest, and protect you on the field.
But some brands like Schutt, Riddell, and Douglas, have developed
advanced technologies to take shoulder pads further. New padding, shell
designs, and innovations improve performance, comfort, and protection,
taking your game to the next level. If you're serious about protecting
yourself and playing your best on the field, looking into the following
features in today's modern and advanced shoulder pads:
The uniquely innovative and indestructible
padding system found in Schutt's most advanced football helmets has
recently been reinvented in their high-end shoulder pads. Integrated
into the chest, shoulders, and back, Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU) never
breaks down, compresses, breads mildew and mold, or holds heat like
traditional foam padding. This material protects better, lasts longer,
and absorbs more impact force than any other padding system on the
market, and can be found in Schutt's AiR Maxx Flex shoulder pad line.
Found in most types and brands of
shoulder pads, Flat Pads are low-profile, high-efficiency cushions that
work to absorb the maximum amount of impact force, using the smallest
amount of space. These low-bulk pads combine closed and open-cell foam,
to spread the force of the hit over the largest amount of area possible,
to protect you while also keeping you agile and mobile on the field, and
reducing helmet interference.
Quilted Brock Bead Padding
Lightweight quilted layers of padding,
developed by Schutt, filled with tiny air-filled padded beads. Thousands
of these beads release their air after an impact, diffusing the force
over an incredibly large and efficient area, and reducing the force felt
by the player. Brock Beads also push cool air closer to the body and
improve air circulation.
Found in Schutt shoulder pad lines, like
the O2 Flex, XV Flex, and Varsity Flex, 7mm ventilation holes drilled
directly into the shell of the shoulder pads allow hot air to escape,
and allow cool air to flow through, keeping you cool, dry, and
comfortable on the field.
Developed by Riddell for use in their
pro-level SPX line shoulder pads, the IntelliArch is 11% thinner and
lighter than a traditional arch design, but with extended corrugations,
is actually more rigid and tougher, to absorb the biggest hits, while
keeping the player fast, flexible, and mobile.
Found in Gear Pro-Tec shoulder pads,
Z-Cool body cooling technology is three fold. First, waterproof beads in
the cushioning actively circulate air, and is actually improved by
sweating. Secondly, these beads separate from each other after an
impact, absorbing the force and forcing cool air around the body.
Lastly, improved ventilation in the shell allows hot air out and cool
air in, allowing for less perspiration build up.
Shoulder pad accessories allow you to add
to your shoulder pads, expanding their coverage and improving overall
protection. With all football gear, players balance protection and
performance, and by adding accessories, players add weight and bulk to
their shoulder pads. However, with the excessive force of hits and the
developing studies on the effects of football on the body, it's becoming
more and more important for players to protect themselves as much as
To stay safe and sharp out there, no
matter your age or skill level, understand what each shoulder pad
accessory can do for you, and decide whether they work for your game:
Shoulder pads come in a huge variety of
styles, designs, configuration, and price points. Some brands are known
for incredible innovation and technology, while others are popular for
their affordable performance and protection. Understand what each brand
has to offer, and see which shoulder pad would work best for your needs,
and your budget!
An industry leader, Schutt protective
football gear is known and trusted by countless youth, high school,
college, and pro NFL players. Their innovative designs, technologies,
and styles are of the highest quality, and perfectly balance comfort,
performance, and protection. Designed for players of all ages and skill
levels, Schutt shoulder pads are some of the most expensive, yet
highest-performing shoulder pads on the market.
Schutt shoulder pad features:
Stainless steel hardware
AEGIS anti-microbial fabrics
Raised corrugations for added
Large ventilation holes
Removable, washable pads
Popular styles include:
A household name in the world of
football, Riddell has been developing helmets, shoulder pads, and other
protective gear for the NFL for decades! Their high quality, innovative,
and pro-level shoulder pads are used the world over by players of all
ages and skill levels, and offer incredible protection and performance.
With full lines of pads for every level and position of player, there is
truly a Riddell shoulder pad out there for everyone.
Riddell shoulder pad features:
Stainless steel hardware
Air Management System to absorb
impact over the largest volume of air
Engineered Composite Sub-Arch improved
shoulder cushioning and arch-liner stability
BIOTHANE webbing straps and belts
Popular styles include:
Power Extreme SPX
Power Pro PM
Trusted by 85% of Division 1-A college
football players, and many NFL pros, Douglas shoulder pads provide
advanced protection at more affordable price-points. High quality,
innovative styles are built tough to take the hardest hits, and protect
players of every age and skill level.
Douglas should pads features:
100% urethane open cell foam padding
absorbs impact force efficiently, providing lightweight, low-profile
Removable channel system disperses
impact energy, directing it away from the more vulnerable spots on the
Custom pad system protects injured
players without having to add extra padding
Designed to protect players and deliver
lightweight performance, all in an affordable, no bells and whistles
package. Bike shoulder pads are popular amongst players of all ages and
skill levels, noted for their durability, traditional styling, and solid
Known in the industry for their Z-Cool
Technology, which keeps players cool and dry while improving impact
absorption, Gear Pro-Tech has developed some of the most interesting,
innovative, and affordable shoulder pads of the passed few seasons.
Trusted by top performing high school, college, and pro players, include
2008 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison!
Traditionally designed, affordable pads
for players from Pop Warner to the NFL, Adams is known throughout the
industry for high quality pads at amazing prices. Designed to protect
and perform against the biggest hits, without hitting the wallet, Adams
is continually a popular choice for players and parents alike.