The Best Football Shoulder Pads

If you’re a football player, you’ll know how important it is to wear the right protective gear. Football shoulder pads are designed to protect you from serious injuries by absorbing and dispersing energy from an impact. This makes them essential for protecting the shoulders and upper body while playing football.

We researched dozens of football shoulder pads to identify the best of the best, based on factors including quality of materials, durability, affordability, and Amazon reviews. We then narrowed down our search to 5 of the top-rated football shoulder pads available today.

Best Football Shoulder Pads Overall
Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads
These lightweight, high performance shoulder pads are the best choice for most football players.

Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads are our top pick among the football shoulder pads we looked at. They stood out to us during the course of our research thanks to their sturdy construction and lightweight, functional design.

The 5 Top-Rated Football Shoulder Pads

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Football Shoulder Pads OverallSchutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads4.5
Best Football Shoulder Pads for InjuriesAll Star Football Injury Shoulder Pad Cushion4.1
Best Budget Football Shoulder PadsCHAMPRO AMT-1000 Varsity Football Shoulder Pad4.0
Best Youth Football Shoulder PadsSchutt Sports Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pads4.7
Best Adult Football Shoulder PadsSports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult Football Shoulder Pads4.7

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Football Shoulder Pads Overall: Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads are designed to be lightweight while maintaining high-performance standards. They feature raised corrugations for superior strength and airflow, and a high-performance arch to minimize weight.

Other key features of these lightweight, durable, and comfortable football shoulder pads include high-density EVA foam, 7mm vent holes, and pre-drilled holes for accessory attachment. These shoulder pads also have a longer cut to accommodate multiple athletes playing various positions. Reviewers of these football shoulder pads say they are comfortable and well made. Others comment that the pads have a sleek and minimal look.

Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads Key Features: 

  • All purpose shoulder pads
  • High-performance arch
  • Strong and lightweight
  • High-density EVA foam

Best Football Shoulder Pads for Injuries: All Star Football Injury Shoulder Pad Cushion

Best Football Shoulder Pads for Injuries
All Star Football Injury Shoulder Pad Cushion
These comfortable, cushioned shoulder pads for injuries are designed to fit under regular shoulder pads.

Need a little extra cushioning to help prevent aggravating a shoulder injury? Check out the All Star Football Injury Shoulder Pad Cushion. These comfortable, cushioned shoulder pads are designed to fit under regular football shoulder pads without adding too much bulk.

The shoulder pads are designed to absorb and disperse the energy from impacts. They are ideal for any football player with an existing injury, or those who are especially prone to injuries. Reviewers of these football shoulder pads say they have a slim profile and provide excellent protection.

All Star Football Injury Shoulder Pad Cushion Key Features: 

  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Designed to fit under regular shoulder pads
  • Absorb and disperse energy from impacts

Best Budget Football Shoulder Pads: CHAMPRO AMT-1000 Varsity Football Shoulder Pad

Best Budget Football Shoulder Pads
CHAMPRO AMT-1000 Varsity Football Shoulder Pad
These high-quality football shoulder pads have a low-profile, flexible design.

If you’re looking for a high-quality pair of football shoulder pads that won’t break the bank, check out the CHAMPRO AMT-1000 Varsity Football Shoulder Pad. The affordable shoulder pads feature a low-profile design that allows for a greater range of motion. They also feature swivel front and back connectors, allowing them to move with the player during the intensity of play.

Other key features of these well-designed football shoulder pads include extensive built-in padding, a secure T-Hook and strap attachment system, and convenient accessory attachment points. Reviewers of these shoulder pads are impressed with their lightweight, tough, and comfortable design.

CHAMPRO AMT-1000 Varsity Football Shoulder Pad key Features: 

  • Low-profile design
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Swivel front and back connectors
  • Extensive built-in padding

Best Youth Football Shoulder Pads: Schutt Sports Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Best Youth Football Shoulder Pads
Schutt Sports Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pads
These all-purpose youth football shoulder pads offer varsity style protection.

Schutt Sports Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pads feature a lightweight, all-purpose design. They are constructed with dual-density padding combined with breathable mesh and 7mm vent holes for maximum airflow and ventilation.

The sturdy football shoulder pads come complete with an elastic belt that attaches to the arches at 3 points for less movement and consistent protection. They also feature an extended body length for added impact protection. These youth shoulder pads are perfect for all positions on the field.

Schutt Sports Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pads Key Features: 

  • Lightweight, all-purpose design
  • Extended body length for added protection
  • Dual-density padding and breathable mesh
  • 7mm vent holes for maximum airflow

Best Adult Football Shoulder Pads: Sports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult Football Shoulder Pads

Best Adult Football Shoulder Pads
Sports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult Football Shoulder Pads
These adult football shoulder pads feature a universal design that helps encourage a full range of motion.

If you’re an adult football player looking for a comfortable pair of shoulder pads that offer excellent protection, check out Sports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult Football Shoulder Pads. The pads feature lightweight, breathable dual-density foam that softens impacts during play. They also have a flat design for comfort and ease of motion.

Other standout features of these well-made football shoulder pads include a 2-in-1 belt system that eliminates grab points for opposing players, and 7mm vent holes to filter air away from the body. These adult football shoulder pads have a universal design, making them suitable for all positions on the field.

Sports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult Football Shoulder Pads Key Features: 

  • Dual-density foam padding
  • Flat design for comfort and ease of motion
  • 2-in-1 belt system
  • 7mm vent holes

Who Should Buy Football Shoulder Pads

Football shoulder pads absorb and disperse energy from impacts, protecting you from injury on the football field. This makes them a must-have item for any football player. It’s also vitally important to protect your head while playing football. Check out our review of the best football helmets if you’re looking for a high-quality helmet to protect you from impacts.

There are several different types of football shoulder pads to choose from, including youth and adult shoulder pads. If you’re prone to injuries or have an existing injury, football shoulder pads for injuries are also available. They’re designed to fit under regular shoulder pads to provide additional padding and protection.

Best Football Shoulder Pads Overall
Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads
These lightweight, high performance shoulder pads are the best choice for most football players.

Important Features to Consider

Football shoulder pads should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when choosing a pair of shoulder pads that will last you for years to come.

  • Padding. Look for a pair of football shoulder pads that have sufficient padding to prevent injuries. Pads that feature high-density or double-layered foam are excellent options.
  • Ventilation. Choose a pair of football shoulder pads that are well ventilated to prevent overheating. High-quality pads feature ventilation holes or channels to keep you cool.
  • Size. Measure the circumference of your chest and shoulders, and choose a pair of shoulder pads that fit snugly without being too tight.
  • Lightweight. It’s important to choose a pair of football shoulder pads that are light enough to be worn for extended periods of time.
  • Durability. The best football shoulder pads are designed to be durable enough to withstand impacts. Look for a pair of pads with a tough plastic exterior that will absorb and disperse energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do football players wear shoulder pads?

Football shoulder pads absorb some of the shock of an impact through deformation. They also distribute the shock across a larger area. Both of these functions help prevent players from becoming injured.

What size football shoulder pads do I need?

It’s important to choose football shoulder pads that are the right size for your frame and stature. Determine your size by using a soft fabric measuring tape to measure the circumference of your chest and shoulders. Football shoulder pads should fit snugly without being too tight.

How long do football shoulder pads last?

This will depend on the quality of the pads you purchase. As a general rule, a good pair of football shoulder pads should last you for at least a year.

What do you wear under football shoulder pads?

Most experts recommend wearing a compression shirt under football shoulder pads. These shirts conform to the shape of your body and help wick away moisture.

Other Football Shoulder Pads We Reviewed

Best Football Shoulder Pads Overall
Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads
These lightweight, high-performance shoulder pads are the best choice for most football players.

We looked at 20 other football shoulder pads. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best football shoulder pads list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for the keen football player. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Football Shoulder Pads for Injuries

Adams Adult Shoulder Injury Pad

Adams Adult Shoulder Injury Pad

These vinyl-coated, non-absorbent pads are designed to fit under regular football shoulder pads. Reviewers say they offer excellent additional protection.

Key Features: 

  • Vinyl coated
  • Non-absorbent
  • Cushioned padding
  • Extra protection for injuries

Cost: $33

Adams USA 29 Fabric Covered Shoulder Injury Pad

Adams USA 29 Fabric Covered Shoulder Injury Pad

These lightweight football shoulder pads for injuries feature spacer mesh fabric on the bottom that effectively wicks away moisture from the body.

Key Features: 

  • Well ventilated moisture management
  • 1/2 inch thick EVA foam
  • Lightweight for easier movement
  • Spacer fabric mesh

Cost: $32

Athletic Specialties Adult Football Shoulder Pad Cushion

Athletic Specialties Adult Football Shoulder Pad Cushion

These large adult-sized football shoulder pads for injuries are designed to fit under regular pads. They feature comfortable 1/2 inch thick coated vinyl padding.

Key Features: 

  • Superior fit and function
  • Designed to fit under regular pads
  • 1/2 inch thick coated vinyl padding
  • Non-restricting underarm straps included

Cost: $25

Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Adams USA JR200 Youth All Purpose Football Shoulder Pads

Adams USA JR200 Youth All Purpose Football Shoulder Pads

These heavy-duty youth football shoulder pads are suitable for most positions on the field. They feature a dual-density padding system that offers maximum comfort, protection, and support.

Key Features: 

  • Cantilever design helps disperse impact
  • Dual-density padding system
  • 7mm vent holes
  • Great for most positions on the field

Cost: $56

Adams USA Youth Yt200 Blocker Shoulder Pads

Adams USA Youth Yt200 Blocker Shoulder Pads

These practical and functional youth football shoulder pads feature cushions covered in heavy-duty, water-resistant material.

Key Features: 

  • Dual-density foam cushions
  • Cantilever design helps disperse impact
  • Tough plastic components
  • Several sizes available

Cost: $44

CHAMPRO Youth Scorpion Football Shoulder Pads

CHAMPRO Youth Scorpion Football Shoulder Pads

These secure and durable youth football shoulder pads feature a cantilever design that disperses impact and shock.

Key Features: 

  • High impact polyethylene construction
  • Sliding 1-inch wide elastic straps
  • Pre-drilled holes for customization

Cost: $40

Douglas Protective Equipment Commando Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Douglas Protective Equipment Commando Youth Football Shoulder Pads

These sturdy youth football shoulder pads feature an extended front for extra sternum protection. Reviewers say they are a great product at a good price.

Key Features: 

  • Shock-absorbing cantilever design
  • Extended front for extra sternum protection
  • Dual-density foam construction
  • 7 sizes to choose from

Cost: $40

Riddell Pursuit Youth Shoulder Pad

Riddell Pursuit Youth Shoulder Pad

These functional youth football shoulder pads feature a flat pad design that sits low across the player’s shoulder, minimizing interference with the rotational range of the helmet.

Key Features: 

  • Flat pad design
  • Integrated deltoid pads
  • Z-fit belting system
  • Several sizes available

Cost: $60

Riddell Surge Youth Shoulder Pad

Riddell Surge Youth Shoulder Pad

A well-made pair of youth shoulder pads with a built-in backplate. These pads also feature a comfortable velvet collar and adjustable PVC belts.

Key Features: 

  • Flat pad design
  • Built-in backplate
  • Comfortable velvet collar
  • Adjustable PVC belts

Cost: $90

Schutt Mid Flex 4.0 Youth Shoulder Pads

Schutt Mid Flex 4.0 Youth Shoulder Pads

These stylish and functional youth shoulder pads feature perforated dual-density padding combined with breathable mesh and 7mm vent holes.

Key Features: 

  • Adjustable belt system
  • Perforated dual-density padding
  • Breathable mesh and 7mm vent holes
  • Treated with an antimicrobial solution

Cost: $70

Sports Unlimited Prospect Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Sports Unlimited Prospect Youth Football Shoulder Pads

A premium pair of youth football pads with a range of great features, including double-layered foam protection, internal ventilation channels, and extended cushioning.

Key Features: 

  • Durable and lightweight
  • Extended body length
  • Internal channels
  • Double layer foam

Cost: $50

SportStar Youth Football Shoulder Pads

SportStar Youth Football Shoulder Pads

These durable youth football shoulder pads feature an anti-chafe fabric collar and a sturdy sub-arch and sternum pad.

Key Features: 

  • Airflow design ventilation
  • Anti-chafe fabric collar
  • Reinforced sub-arch and sternum pad

Cost: $50

Xenith Flyte Youth Shoulder Pad

Xenith Flyte Youth Shoulder Pad

A sturdy, lightweight pair of youth football shoulder pads with a low-profile silhouette. The strategically placed pads and sternum plate allow for unrestricted movement on the field.

Key Features: 

  • Flexible padding
  • Low-profile silhouette
  • High-impact foam shoulder caps
  • 4 sizes available

Cost: $109

Xenith Youth Fly Shoulder Pad

Xenith Youth Fly Shoulder Pad

These premium quality youth football shoulder pads have a lightweight build with injection-molded plates for unrestricted movement.

Key Features: 

  • Varsity technology
  • Designed for unrestricted movement
  • Lightweight build
  • Several sizes available

Cost: $140

Adult Football Shoulder Pads

Barnett VISION II competition football shoulder pad

Barnett VISION II competition football shoulder pad

These VISION II adult football shoulder pads offer both protection and ease of motion. Reviewers say the pads are lightweight, durable, and well made.

Key Features: 

  • Comfortable and secure
  • Designed for protection and ease of motion
  • Lightweight and durable

Cost: $90

Gear Pro-Tec Razor RZ7 Adult Football Shoulder Pads

Gear Pro-Tec Razor RZ7 Adult Football Shoulder Pads

These high-quality adult football shoulder pads feature injection-molded components, Sas-tec impact zone protection, and adjustable protective channel pads.

Key Features: 

  • Injection-molded components
  • Dynamic R.O.M arch hinge
  • Sas-tec impact zone protection
  • Adjustable protective channel pads

Cost: $350

Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool OL/DL-Pro Select Football Shoulder Pads

Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool OL/DL-Pro Select Football Shoulder Pads

These adult football shoulder pads feature Z-Cool’s patented moisture transfer technology. They are designed to completely dry in 2-3 hours.

Key Features: 

  • Superior impact absorption
  • 3D air circulation
  • Patented moisture transfer technology
  • Completely dry in 2-3 hours

Cost: $230

Schutt Sports Varsity FLEX 4.0 All Purpose Football Shoulder Pads

Schutt Sports Varsity FLEX 4.0 All Purpose Football Shoulder Pads

These adult football shoulder pads are designed to fit almost any player on the field. They feature a perforated body cushion combined with breathable mesh and arch vents for supreme breathability.

Key Features: 

  • Lightweight and well ventilated
  • Maximum protection and performance
  • Tackles heat and moisture
  • Choose from several sizes

Cost: $108

Schutt Sports XV7 Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

Schutt Sports XV7 Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

These high-performance shoulder pads are designed for adult football players. They feature adjustable straps to harness your body securely, and multi-layer high-density EVA body cushioning for superior protection.

Key Features: 

  • Perforated body and arches
  • Secure adjustable straps
  • Multi-layer high-density EVA body cushioning

Cost: $113

Xenith XFlexion Velocity Football Shoulder Pads

Xenith XFlexion Velocity Football Shoulder Pads

A premium pair of adult football shoulder pads, with a range of useful features, including aware-flow shock absorbers, injection-molded plates, and a flexible shock cord.

Key Features: 

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Designed for maximum range of movement
  • Floating sternum and spine plates
  • Available in 4 sizes

Cost: $252

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