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

Football shoulder pads are quite essential to wear during a football game. Football shoulder pads are important components of a football player’s protective gear. This is mainly because the shoulder pads not only provide protection but also ensure that you play at your peak with rested and protected mind. 

To find the perfect football shoulder pads on the market, you need to identify which one can lessen impacts without slowing you down. It is also advisable to search for the most innovative brands offering this product.

Getting the strongest and most technologically advanced shoulder pads for adult and youth football is important. Below is a list of ten best shoulder pads you can count on:

1. Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

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 and cushioning.

The use of this material also increases the range of motion of the pad. It is known that this is one of the best NFL football shoulder pads for receivers. We are also impressed with the lightness of this product. It’s lightweight 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.

It is built for high performance. Also, this popular and reliable protective equipment ensures better air circulation due to its raised corrugation. Promotes a good flow of air through gear holes.


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


  • Not a good fit for players with small physique

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2. Adams VS500 Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

This multi-purpose variant of the Adams VS500 is also one of the best protective equipment for football players. What we like about this product is that it has a well-ventilated body pad. This means that you feel well and cool in the field too. You will feel good in any weather.

We also love the fact that it can help players stay up to date after every game. This is possible with the special antimicrobial treatment included in the product. If necessary, you can also easily remove the cushion pad. We are also pleased with the maximum protection it offers.

This type of protection is provided by the integrated shoulder pads and narrow bow design. This shoulder pad is intended primarily for adults. You can, however, use it for all purposes. It is suitable in almost any position. This is mainly because its construction can have enormous physical effects.

Promotes full freedom of movement with the help of the narrow front bow. We are also glad to inform you that you can customize it to make sure you have the right fit during every game. You can adjust it with the help of your belt buckles.


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


  • Works only for adults

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3. Schutt Mid Flex 4.0 Youth Football Shoulder Pad

Number three on our list of best shoulder pads for football is the Mid Flex 4.0 to anyone looking for Schutt youth shoulder pads that adults can also wear. We like its versatility. It is designed with its versatility being considered and therefore not surprising, as it is suitable for the needs of every position or player on the football field.

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. With such features, we can say that it is designed for comfort.

You would be happy to hear that it has an adjustable system. You can attach it to 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.

Another thing we love about this product is that it promotes the spread and growth of bacteria and mold because it uses an antimicrobial solution. We are also pleased to say that the bow has additional strength due to its high ripple.

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


  • Very versatile, making it compatible with all players and positions.
  • Has an adjustable system
  • Prevents the growth of bacteria and mold
  • Can handle heat effectively


  • Problem size

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

We can also say that Schutt has done a great job in making the FLEX 4.0 All-Purpose Shoulder Pads. We think it’s an excellent choice for those who want to invest in a shoulder pad that gives them maximum protection. What we like about this product is that it effectively absorbs the impact caused by hard knocks.

This is possible with the second foam layer located in the shoulder pad. It has good ventilation. It promotes air circulation with the help of built-in vents.

I’m also pleased to say that Schutt is known to meet recommended safety standards. Expect this shoulder pad to be safe for use. Thanks to the deep cut in the arch design, you can also enjoy maximum versatility and freedom of movement.

It also works for different positions, including wide receiver, defensive back, running back and quarterback. There are also many sizes – from small to twenty.


  • Provides maximum protection and absorbs shocks well
  • Good ventilation and air circulation
  • Safe to wear
  • Promotes maximum versatility and full freedom of movement
  • Works well for different football positions


  • Compatible with adults only

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

On our number five comes this impressing Gear Pro-Tec shoulder pad. One thing we noticed about this shoulder pad is that it’s lightweight and flexible. We also like its ability to give users a more comfortable and personalized fit. We think this is possible with its adjustable 1-inch belts that have uncut buckles.

The removable and adjustable waterproof clavicle of this shoulder pad ensures a more personalized fit. We also like the patented moisture transfer technology used in this product. This technology allows the shoulder pad to dry within three hours of after a game or training.

It uses the Z-COOL moisture management system, which works by pushing out hot air and pulling in cold air. It also uses an antimicrobial fabric and a moisture absorbent, which makes it more convenient to use. It works well for attackers because they are the least runners.


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


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

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6. Schutt’s Sports Varsity AiR Maxx Flex 2.0 Football Shoulder Pad

We also recommend the Varsity AiR Maxx Flex 2.0 shoulder pads offered by Schutt. Many consider it the best shoulder pad for high school quarterbacks and broad receivers for maximum protection. Protects with the help of its backplate and small arc cut.

This design not only provides protection but also offers maximum freedom of movement and flexibility. This ensures that you perform well on the football field. The open-cell foam construction of this shoulder pad is quite impressive.

This construction consists of small and tiny chambers that can trap air. This is beneficial as it makes taking and handling hits even more effective. It’s good that it is made with a lightweight design.

You can also choose a custom fit to make sure you do not feel uncomfortable when you’re out in the field. It is also designed to be effective with running and jumping.


  • Provides maximum protection for quarterbacks and wide receivers
  • Promotes a high range of motion
  • Flexible
  • Can handle hits, thanks to its small tiny chamber design


  • It takes several days to break-in

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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 the proven and reliable Y-Flex 4.0 multifunction pads from the reputable Schutt brand. 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 protection without compromising your mobility. Another positive feature of this shoulder pad is that it is compatible with all positions on the football field.

This means that any footballer, regardless of position, can benefit from it. It also promotes maximum and sufficient airflow. All thanks to the double padding system used in this product, as well as the highly breathable mesh material and integrated 7mm vent holes.

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


  • Has a lightweight and compact design
  • Works as a general-purpose shoulder pad and is compatible with all positions
  • Highly breathable
  • Promotes proper and maximum airflow
  • Adjustable and customizable


The padding used is thinner than others

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8. Gear 2000 Youth Intimidator Shoulder Pad

In number eight comes the Gear 2000 Youth Intimidator Shoulder Pad as it is one of the most powerful shoulder pads on the market today. We found that it has a flat and discreet construction thanks to its built-in smooth epaulets. The flat structure of this shoulder pad adapts perfectly to your body.

What we love about this shoulder pad is that it’s easy. It weighs only about a pound, so you can be sure that it does not put a lot of pressure on your shoulders when you’re wearing it. Another benefit of this shoulder pad is that it keeps you cool throughout the game and absorbs sweat well.

This ability to absorb sweat is made possible by the use of a highly effective moisture management system. We are also pleased that you can adjust your fit or length with the front strings. That way, you can be sure that it fits your body well. So make sure your comfort on the field is not compromised.

Another thing that makes a good impression is the affordable price. 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.


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


  • Not as durable as others

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9. Sports Unlimited Prospect Youth Football Shoulder Pads

The sports unlimited prospect youth football shoulder pads might end your search for the most reliable football shoulder pads. We are so impressed by the lightness of this shoulder pad. It’s light enough because it uses lightweight materials and elastic bands.

With these features, you can safely travel comfortably and at full speed. We are also impressed by the high protection this shoulder pad offers. It provides additional impact protection and ensures that you feel comfortable with the help of its double-layer foam.

It also provides maximum coverage in terms of protection. This is possible, thanks to its extended body length, which means that it has a cushioning that extends across the arches. With this advanced cushioning, you can safely protect your back and abdomen.

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. You can even use it everywhere. It is also well ventilated and breathable. Heat are able to escape because of its breathable inner channels.


  • Lightweight and elastic, making it comfortable to wear
  • Provides a high level of protection against access
  • Provides extended body length for maximum protection
  • Universal sports design
  • Well ventilated and breathable


  • Not suitable for adult football players

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10. Gear Pro-Tec Z-CooL Youth/ JV Football Shoulder Pad

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. With that, we can say it improve your performance while keeping your body cool during the game. 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. This will keep you cool throughout the game. We also noticed that it’s completely breathable with the air release clavicle padding system that you can adjust easily.

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.


  • Works for multiple positions and players
  • Keeps your body cool thanks to the moisture transfer technology
  • Breathable and adjustable padding system
  • Promotes a comfortable, custom fit
  • Prevents perspiration


  • Not compatible with skill positions

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Buyer’s Guide

Overall Construction

The overall quality of your football shoulder pad should be one of the points that must be considered. 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. That is, it is a must to review and evaluate the overall design of the shoulder pad. The quality of its entire construction should be good.

This should be done so that all forms of impacts can be handled. That’s how you know you’re safe on the pitch.

Weight or Build

Weight is an important factor when purchasing a football shoulder pad, especially if you want to make a selection based on your position on the field. This is important if you want to invest in a multi-position or generic pad. Consider the actual weight of the pad and its effect on your body.

Make sure you buy lightweight shoulder pads for youth football, as this can ensure that your movements on the field are not restricted. It should not be too heavy, in order not to slow you down and ruin your stamina, especially if you spend too much energy to carry the extra weight.

As easily advertised pads, therefore, they should first be evaluated 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.

Cushioning or Padding System

The cushioning of football shoulder pad also contributes significantly to your overall performance. This is the main reason why you need to carefully check the padding or cushioning system of the brand or model of shoulder pad you want to buy.

Make sure that the padding system used is durable and uniquely innovative. A good recommendation is the TPU cushioning, which means thermoplastic urethane cushioning. This material is often integrated into the back, shoulders, and chest.

The good thing about this cushioning material is that it does not break or squeeze. It also prevents the accumulation of mold and mildew. Also, it retains heat, which is often the problem with conventional foam padding systems.

The cushioning TPU material may instead provide the user with better protection. It also tends to last longer. Another advantage of this material is that it absorbs more impact compared to other padding or cushioning materials available on the market.


Your position also influences your final shoulder pad purchase decision. If you are still trying out several or more 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 many movements. Expect these pads to get thicker and heavier on your shoulders as well. This is necessary to be able to hit effectively.

If you are a receiver or a quarterback, keep in mind that both positions usually require movement. This is the main reason why shoulder pads with the right design are compatible with you if you are in any of these positions. The pads must be made of minimal plastic.

If you are positioned as an attacker, remember that you get the most frequent hits. This requires investing in a lineman’s shoulder pad that has the sternum and shoulders as the strongest reinforced parts.

The pad for this position must also withstand the arm-up movement required for football players in the position mentioned above. Knowing your position on the field and taking it into account during your shopping spree will undoubtedly help you to choose the most suitable football pads for your needs.

Flat Padding

You also need to check if the shoulder pad you want to buy has a flat padding system. This padding system, commonly used in various brands and types of football boots, refers to highly efficient and discreet cushions that effectively absorbs the highest impact force.

This function is performed in the smallest space required. It’s not that bulky, but it combines open and closed foam to spread the power of impact over a large area.

So you can be protected without affecting your mobility and agility on the football field. It also minimizes helmet interference. With all these possibilities, the flat padding should be one of the features you need to look for when buying a high-quality shoulder pad.


The selected shoulder pad should also be designed so as not to interfere with your mobility. To ensure this, it is better to invest in the lighter football shoulder pads that can still do the job. You need protection while you are still mobile to avoid injury.

Note that you may feel unnatural due to the limited mobility of the pad. If you realize that the shoulder pad you want to buy does not support safe movement, it may be best to find a new set.


You will also know that you invest in the best football shoulder pads when they are well ventilated. 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 circulation in the cushioning actively.

You can expect the beads to separate from one another after the pad receives an impact. They then absorb the force then let fresh air flow through your body. It promotes better ventilation in the pad’s shell, thereby ensuring that it lets hot air come out while letting cool air go in. This results in less accumulation of sweat.

Shoulder Pad Frequently Asked Questions

Why do football players wear shoulder pads?

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All football players need to wear shoulder pads when they are playing the game. Shoulder pads absorb most of the impact when players are hit. They have a hard, adjustable plastic shell that is heavily padded underneath. The pads protect the shoulders, collarbones, chest, and back. Football is a very dangerous and interesting game, so the players need to protect themselves by all means to avoid injuries that might lay them off the pitch for some time. The shoulder pad is probably the essential part of a football player’s gear, and they must have it on at all times while playing.

How are football shoulder pads supposed to fit?

It is expected that your football shoulder pad will fit if you choose the right size and measurement. What you need to do is ask someone to measure it first. Avoid measuring alone, as this can make you feel uneasy and lead to ill-fitting pads and inaccurate measurements.

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The first thing to measure is your chest. Get up and wrap a measuring tape with the help of someone around your upper body. Note the measurement. Next, you need to measure the width of your shoulder. Just sit down and let someone stretch the measuring tape over the shoulder contours.

It is usually between the AC joints or the joints between the upper shoulders. Make a note of the resulting measurement. You then have to weigh yourself. This is essential if you want to invest in the best youth soccer football pads.

This is because these pads are usually sized by weight class. To set the pads correctly, you need to know your exact current weight.

Which size of football shoulder pad do I need?

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.

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Your chosen size should also have a comfortable opening at the neck, which does not restrict your movements. Also, a secure fit must be guaranteed, which guarantees not to slip after tightening. Also, to find the right size, every time you lift your hands, make sure there is enough space on both sides.

How do I clean football shoulder pads?

The cleaning of your used football shoulder pads should be done properly to ensure they continue to perform well in the field. The first thing you need to do is to take the pad out of your gear right after you return home from a football game or practice.

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Let the pads dry naturally by spreading them on the floor and drying before the actual cleaning is crucial to minimize the growth of fungi and bacteria. Moisten a cloth with water and wipe off the dirt from the pad. Take a dry cloth and wipe it on the pad to dry it.

Use a household disinfectant or a cleaning solution for gears to remove unpleasant and stubborn streaks from the pad and then disinfect it. Make sure the cleaning solution you choose is safe when used on plastics.

It is not only advisable to clean it yourself, but also to have your shoulder pads cleaned professionally right after the season ends. Through professional cleaning, the pads are reconditioned and disinfected.

Where can I buy football shoulder pads?

You can buy football shoulder pads at sports shops or department stores selling sports equipment. If you want to shop conveniently, you can also visit various sellers and online sites that sell these things.

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Just make sure you spend time checking the seller’s authenticity and finding the right size, so you do not end up with a buy that does not fit.

It may be an easy choice as to which shoulder pad is right for you, as you are shopping for an adult or a young player, but sometimes the players are in between and can choose one of the two options. It may also be helpful to understand some of the differences between the youth and adult shoulder pads in general. Not all Youth Pads are the same, and not all Adult Football Pads are the same.

What is the difference between adult and youth shoulder pads?

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Two of the first things you’ll notice are price and weight. In general, boys’ shoulder pads are cheaper than adult ones. This is because they are usually smaller and lighter (use fewer materials). This does not mean that young pads are not as safe as adults, but players that are getting hit are smaller than their adult counterparts, which means they need less to the pads. This allows the creation of pads that are easier to use for young players, so they do not carry much more pad weight than part of their body weight and, in return, are less expensive as players are likely to grow out of their youth pads faster.

How do football shoulder pads prevent injuries?

Shoulder pads are probably the most complex pieces of equipment that football players wear. Shoulder pads consist of a hard plastic shell with foam padding underneath. The pads fit over the shoulders and chest area and ribs and are secured with various buckles and snaps. Shoulder pads give soccer players their “broad shoulder” look.

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Shoulder pads do two things for the player:

  • They absorb part of the impact by deformation. Shoulder pads are tied in tight tracks and deform on impact.
  • Distribute the effect over a larger area, resulting in less pressure at the point of impact.

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