Player’s safety is one of the most important points that the NFL and other football bodies have been emphasizing in recent years. Not only does safety allow players to have prolonged careers, but the sport is also tough and more competitive, with players taking a few more risks. This is why shoulder pads are an integral part of player’s protective gear, especially young players that are hoping to progress into the NFL.
In this article, we elaborate some of the many top-rated football shoulder pads that youth players can use to help them improve their game and feel safer while playing. Instead of taking too many risks, players now have the opportunity to play the game at a full pace and prevent potential neck and shoulder injuries by protecting their shoulder with protective shoulder pads.
Before we consider the most important features that a youth player needs to consider when getting a shoulder pad, it is essential that we look at a few of the shoulder pads first. There are various types and a huge collection that you may choose from. However, we have decided to review some of the best shoulder pads that are currently being used to ensure that you have a lot of confidence on the field as a youth player.
The first shoulder pad on our list of the best youth shoulder pad is the Schutt Sports Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pad. Shutt has been heavily scrutinized for their top quality shoulder pads, and they are one of the top brands on the market today. This shoulder pad from Schutt is a versatile shoulder pad that can be found in a wide range of different sizes for every player. This shoulder pad has been made to give a lot of protection while keeping its weight to a minimum.
The protection area is predominantly on the inside, and this features mesh which is used to cover the padding on the inside. Since it uses dual-density padding, you don’t need to worry about its ability to absorb shock. It also absorbs shock from various angles, and this ensures that your body has been effectively protected.
Compared to some of the other shoulder pads, this pad has an extended length. The extended length offers a lot in terms of protection. The additional protection ensures that your body has been sufficiently protected and it also stretches down towards the torso for added coverage. The mesh is highly breathable and absorbs most of the moisture from sweat.
Since this pad has been designed for all positions on the football field, you will notice that the padding is a little thinner. When playing in the trenches, one can easily see that this shoulder pad lack some protection that players who are blocking or running into their opponents might need. Additionally, this shoulder pad is light and allow you to make quick cuts and sharp turns.
This shoulder pad fits to perfection, and it allows you to choose the right size efficiently, and it works for all the on-field positions.
- Versatile for all positions and fits greatly
- Allow player to make quick cuts and sharp turns
- Padding is a little thin for some players.
The second shoulder pad on our list of the best youth shoulder pad is the Gear 2000 Youth Intimidator Junior Shoulder Pad. Young players are at the most risk when playing football. This is not because they are smaller, but many of them do not always possess the right technique required for the game. Since they lack some technique, they can benefit a lot from having the right protection for tackling or even bumping into an opponent player.
Since children need something to get used to, the use of shoulder pads that have a low-profile design seems beneficial for them. These pads are also much flatter than most of the others, which allows the young players to comfortably slot into them and wear them for long periods.
This shoulder pad features an effective strapping system, and this does not stretch. The benefit of this strapping is that the pads will fit as expected and you don’t need to worry about them coming off loose upon contact with another player. Durable pads have been added on the inside, with comfortable mesh that will absorb most of the moisture from sweat and perspiration.
This shoulder pad is mainly designed for young players. It will not be a comfortable fit or a good investment for college players due to size. This pad does not stretch, so the young player runs the risk of quickly outgrowing it while growing at a pace.
Since most children need to start somewhere, Peewee football is the answer for many parents. These pads are slightly pricey for the size, but you can never spend too much money to protect your kids.
- Made for Peewee football players
- Retains its size and absorbs impact
- Includes a moisture management system
- Durable design for all positions
- This shoulder pad could be a little above your budget
The third shoulder pad on our list of best youth football shoulder pad is the Xenith Xflexion Flyte Youth Football Shoulder Pad. The Xenith brand has been around for a long time and has established quite a reputation in the football industry. The Xenith Youth Xflexion Flyte Shoulder Pads is one of their top shoulder pads for almost every player.
This shoulder pad set might seem intimidating when you look at it, but it is also stylish, and you can see all its safety features clearly. This shoulder pad is light at just 4pounds, but its injection-molded plates are what will offer your body the best possible protection. Some of these shoulder pads also have padding on the sides for more protection.
Instead of worrying about elastic cords that will constantly need to be tightened and readjusted, this shoulder pad uses a belt system, and this makes it effective for retaining the right position and ensuring that you are perfectly protected. It does come with a pre-installed backplate, but you can also add your own specific backplate for more protection or comfort.
Aside from some players saying that this shoulder pad is a little heavy, there are not much negatives to be found about this shoulder pad. It offers a great range of movement and will even absorb most if not all of the body moisture. Additionally, this shoulder pad also has a floating sternum plate, which ensures that your sternum is never at risk.
This shoulder pad is quite pricey, so you might need to have a rethink before getting it for your child if he is not serious about playing football. However, serious children will surely make it worth the investment.
- Stylish design and quite durable
- It protects various impact points
- Floating sternum plate is included
- Absorbs moisture effectively
- Could be a little above your budget
- A little heavy for small players
At number four on our list of best youth football shoulder pad is the Sports Unlimited Prospect Youth Football Shoulder Pad, this shoulder pad is quite affordable when compared to most of the other shoulder pad on the market today. It is manufactured from durable materials, but with a minimal approach taken by the manufacturer, it is limited in terms of weight and size.
One of the top features of this shoulder pad is the foam inserts which main purpose is to absorb the impact. Instead of using large foam pads, three channels of smaller inserts have been used to ensure that the padding on the inside does not deform or lose the ability to withstand impact.
Much like some of the others, this shoulder pad features a universal use so it can be used by almost any position on the field. While this pad has lots of great features, it lacks a fundamental feature that is highly needed in football. Since most of the inserts have not been enclosed with double stitching, you may have to consider doing this yourself. Eventually, moisture will start to disrupt the stitching, and you might be feeling uncomfortable in the pad.
- Added protection length
- Elastic strapping for a comfortable fit
- Good moisture-wicking ability
- Features a universal design for all positions
- Might lack some overall durability
Having already discussed the quality of the Shutt brand, coming in at number five on our list is the Schutt Sports Youth Flex 2.0 All Purpose Shoulder Pad. This shoulder pad is designed for all the positions on the field, but still offers a stylish low-profile design and some additional padding for protection.
This shoulder pad also features a stylish design that is created especially for the top players on the field. Instead of looking like one of the average players, you will certainly stand out. It also has injection molded plates that sit in front of the foam pads, allowing the shoulder pad to absorb the maximum amount of impact possible.
One of the features that have stood out aside from the great ventilation it offers is the treatment of antibacterial properties that have been used with this shoulder pad. This reduces the need for you to wash it and keeps the foul stench from ever appearing while playing for long periods with a lot of sweat that builds up.
A notable challenge of this shoulder pad is that once you lock it in position, it may be hard to adjust. This might be fine for some players, but if you are prone to chafing, it could potentially aggravate the injury, and you may find it somehow difficult to get rid of it.
Shutt does not shy away from creating competitive shoulder pads, and youth nowadays have grown accustomed to the quality and value of the brand.
- Offers a vast level of ventilation
- Can be used for all positions
- Extremely durable
- Includes antimicrobial properties
- Not ideal for hobbyists but real game use
- Can cause some chaffing
Moving onto another elite brand like Riddell is one thing that we were bound to do. The brand not only features some of the very best football equipment, but their shoulder pads are also slowly making waves among youth players. Coming in at number six is the Riddell Sports Surge Youth Football Shoulder Pad which is a good option for top youth players.
It features a fundamental style that has been tried and tested countless times. Most of the weight has gone into designing the pad and to offer durability, but the injection-molded plates are hard enough to wave off any bumps. Additionally, its low-profile design ensures easy maneuverability for the players and makes it more comfortable.
All of the pads used in this shoulder pad are flat, and this makes it more comfortable for players when they need to use some agility on the field. This pad is also stylish and offers a range of versatility that works for all the positions on the football field. Additionally, velvet is added to the collar, which has been known to reduce the potential of chafing.
The PVC belt that is used for holding this pad in position ensures that it is designed to perfection for every player. The belt has numerous notches that can be used for adjustments, and the addition of a backplate offers blindside protection. Unfortunately, it feels a little heavy for some players that that makes quick runs on the field.
One might think that Riddell products will be one of the pricey options on this list. However, this is not the case, and all the sizes tend to be really decent.
- Features velvet collar for reduced chafing
- Adjustable PVC belt
- Multiple features that increase durability
- Flat design for optimal comfortability
- At first, they feel bulky
The seventh product on our list is the TAG ALT II 844 Youth Football Shoulder Pad. This shoulder pad was one that always seemed to be out of reach long ago, but nowadays, it is becoming more popular. The reason for this is the quality of technology that has been integrated to ensure optimal weight without sacrificing the safety features associated.
This shoulder pad has an extremely low-profile design that will definitely help to encourage sharp cuts by some players. It has been padded in sequence to ensure that none of the pads are bundled up, while the plate design is flat to ensure all players can comfortably move around in it.
Much like the top brands, the inner mesh does not only absorb all of the moisture. It has also been integrated to ensure that you are comfortable wearing this shoulder pad. Since antimicrobial properties are used to control the odors and some of the dirt, it is no secret that many players like it for this versatility and functionality.
Another decent feature of this shoulder pad is the closure that has been used. It does not have a closure that is locked, which means it will be moving around. However, you can lock it at the back and the front to keep it securely in place. The addition of a backplate is only found in the best pads to ensure more protection for all the impact-absorbing points.
- Protects all impact points
- Multiple lock points
- Easy to use for all positions
- Stylish design and offers comfortability
- Could be slightly above your budget
Technology has definitely made the world a better place and clothing or even sports apparel has been designed to be a little better. Coming in at number eight is the Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool Youth/JV Shoulder Pads which stands out for its ability to keep you looking stylish, while also absorbing most of the impact that comes from any direction in the game.
A low profile design is once again the focal point, and this means that the flat plates make this shoulder pad more comfortable for almost every player of any position. The inner foam has been designed to resist moisture. In fact, the manufacturer claims that it is basically waterproof to wick away all sweat.
3D air circulation is another technical feature that will keep you cool when you wear this shoulder pad. Instead of having too many breathable holes that could cause structural weakness, the holes will double down and help promote the circulation of air. Now every player can remain cool under one of this top-quality shoulder pads.
Some of the final features that make this shoulder pad stand out is the bead selection that has been integrated with the pad. These beads might not mean much to many players, but when we look at the science, we discovered that it would move around. Since it moves around in the pad, you have more comfort when shock absorption is needed in specific areas.
This shoulder pad is definitely designed for some of the young talents of the game. However, the lack of protection for your sternum means that you do have some vulnerability when you get hit from behind. Always remember to keep your sternum covered from shots, or you could get an additional backplate.
- Multiple cooling features
- Offers proper circulation of air
- Excellent impact absorption
- Looks stylish and quite durable
- Lacks sternum protection
Coming in at number nine is the Adams USA Youth Player Shoulder Pad, this shoulder pad is the perfect affordable option that offers you optimal protection and definitely keeps you from ever having to deal with injuries on your upper body part.
This shoulder pad has a dual-density foam feature that is stitched together. However, they are still separated to ensure that it does not lose the ability to absorb impacts. This foam pads are soft to the touch, but they can make a massive difference on the field. This is backed up by the quality of the plates that are used.
An impressive feature of this shoulder pad is the fact that it is not of the normal size. Yes, when you wear it, it will still feel really comfortable, but the padding stretches beyond the plates. This offers additional protection for your sternum, but a backplate has not been added. Even though it has not been added, you still have more coverage than an average player with any other shoulder pad.
The cantilever arch system is not one that most players are aware of. However, this feature allows you to adjust the height and feeling of the shoulder pad to make it more comfortable. The ability to do this will make it perfect for almost any position that you find yourself playing on the football field.
We have already mentioned that its affordability is on your side. This pad is not the lightest that we could find, but with all these features, it can provide excellent protection. However, it lacks maneuverability, and this makes it a tough one to choose.
- It is extremely durable
- Extended padding features
- Decent ventilation
- Not ideal because it lacks maneuverability
The last shoulder pad on our list of best youth football pad is the Riddell Sports 8053420 Pursuit Youth Shoulder Pad, this pad was designed to offer players the perfect combination of top-quality features while also to keeping weight to a minimum. It also features some stylish touches.
Since this shoulder pad features multiple padding around the plates and beyond, it allows the player to absorb impact from any location. Its locking mechanism is a little different, and the plastic connectors will definitely hold it in place. The only downside is that the plastic will eventually wear and tear and it is not designed for wet weather. However, the padding on the inside tends to wick away most of the moisture and sweat that is absorbed.
In some way or another, all its features will complement each other in the end and ensure that you have optimal durability. Our biggest concern is the bulky feeling of using this shoulder pad, which might not be ideal for small-statured players because it will ultimately weigh them down and affect their performance negatively.
Since your kid will be playing with some perfectly designed shoulder pads, it is worth noting that they will stand out. This shoulder pad is a good one for serious and dedicated youth players that need some protection.
- Multiple pads for optimal protection
- Injection-molded outer pads
- Locks into place firmly
- It features a decent weight and distributes impact evenly
- Might feel a little bit heavy to some players
Size and Fit
This is an essential point to note before getting a shoulder part for a young player, you need to be sure to get one that fits well and size the child accurately to avoid affecting their performance wrongly.
Getting the right size for a child is important, and while you won’t easily find shoulder pads that cover all the sizes, you will surely find a few. We recommend following the instructions of measurement that each brand put on their website or at their stores. Once you have these measurements, getting the right shoulder pad for your child would be as easy as you can imagine.
One of the first things that every player needs to look at is the overall design of the shoulder pad. The right shoulder pad will be comfortable and also fit the player irrespective of their on-field position. If you are the type of player that tackles a lot and gets a lot of hits, you might need some additional protection, especially around your back and sternum. This ensures that you are fully protected and your shoulder pad absorbs every impact effectively.
Another thing is that the padding should not be too much. While having more padding does ensure more protection, it can also be a little heavy on the player, thereby hindering their performance. A wide receiver or corner positions player needs some maneuverability. This maneuverability will ensure that the player does not have to worry about being obstructed by his or her own padding.
Not all shoulder pads have the same type of plates that offers protection. Many brands use bulky plates, and this is always a little harder to move around with. However, the flat plates are more comfortable to play with, and they ensure that you can take the impact without getting injured.
Additionally, these flat plates are injection molded, and they tend to last a little longer. The additional durability makes them ideal for longer periods before you start thinking of getting a new pad. Some players have also noted that the flat padding allows opponents to slide off when shoulder charging for their head. This will help a running back to break a few tackles.
On the inside of the shoulder pads, you will discover that foam is generally used for padding. Having foam will allow the pads to absorb heavy impacts and return to its original form in order to take another couple of shots from the opponents. Foam can also be combined with beads, making it stronger and allowing more impact to be absorbed. These beads are generally made from gel.
Sticking to the inner padding, you should consider the length of the padding or protection. Most shoulder pads will have a lot of protection behind the plates, but you might need some additional padding in quite a few cases. The top brands tend to have the padding stretch over the plates, allowing it to be more protective for certain shots.
Universal Position Pads
A common trend nowadays is the introduction of universal pads. These pads can be bought for the entire team, and this allows you to cover each position. However, we noticed that they cannot fully cover all the positions because some padding have too much and others having too little protection against impacts.
You might have to consider having multiple shoulder pads for each position. This will definitely ensure that the players are sufficiently protected for the positions they intend to play. A running back is one of the only positions that can make use of almost any shoulder pad type regardless of size.
In the world of football, there are various great brands to choose from. All of these brands offer different style and designs of football gears, but only the top ones tend to survive after some time. They are also more reliable. When selecting the right shoulder pads, you need to go for a brand that offers good and quality products. Brands like Riddell, Xenith and Schutt are good examples of brands you can check out for shoulder pads.
You might have thought that all shoulder pads are the exact same, but this is not the case. The top brands have been around the football scene for many years, and their quality definitely speaks for itself. These are three of the top brands that we definitely recommend for almost any player in the world of football today for quality shoulder pads.
Best Youth Football Shoulder Pads Frequently Asked Questions
Are Football Shoulder Pads Machine Washable?
This is not a feature that every shoulder pad has. Some are machine washable while some are not. You need to ask from the online retailer you are purchasing the shoulder ad from or the store owner if you are getting it offline. There are some shoulder pads where it is already written in their buying manual if they are machine washable or not.
Although some shoulder pads are machine washable, but you will need to remove the plates before putting them in the machine. This is just to avoid causing any damage to the plates and the shoulder pad itself. If your shoulder pad is not machine washable, you can simply scrub it with a clean cloth dipped into soapy water.
Will The Shoulder Pads Cause Chaffing?
This is a question that most players seem to ask before getting a shoulder pad. Shoulder pads won’t really cause chaffing, as long as the plates are covered by some cushioning. The chaffing incidents are extremely rare and only occur after a long period of playing. Many people also experience rash, but this could be an allergic reaction to sweat or weather condition of the playing field.
In the rare event that it happens at all, it could be due to some things that are not really noted. It could be because the shoulder pad is not well taken care of, while some cause chaffing due to the material used in manufacturing them.
Can I Use These Shoulder Pads Professionally?
As a young football player, you will definitely outgrow your shoulder pad someday, and you will need to get a new one that fits your size. Although, many young players might be able to use their college or high school shoulder pads because they have stopped growing but this not always the case.
Not every young player stops growing in high school, and there are some that once they hit the gym, you will outgrow their shoulder pads a little. It is best to find some professional shoulder pads if you feel that yours is getting small for you so you will be prepared before your games.
Are Shoulder Pads Position-specific?
This is a two-way question and we will elaborate it for you. Shoulder pads are generally made to cater for every player irrespective of their on-field position. You can simply wear a shoulder pad as much as you want so far it caters for your protection, and you feel secure wearing it. There are also shoulder pads that cater for specific positions; this shoulder pads are made to offer the necessary protection needed and also to boost the performance of the player playing the position.
But there are some cases whereby you need additional protection, or you feel you need a position-specific shoulder pad so you can feel at ease and rest assured of your safety while playing. Such shoulder pads also boost your performance and provide all the necessary protection you need.