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Stay Healthy with the Best Football Shoulder Pads

  1. Schutt Air Maxx Flex 8008 All Purpose Football Shoulder Pad
  2. Douglas JP34 Junior Football Shoulder Pad
  3. Rawlings Combat 36L Football Shoulder Pad
  4. Schutt Sports Varsity O2 Maxx Football Shoulder Pads
  5. Bike BASH74 X-Treme Lite Shoulder Pad
  6. Riddell EVX 18Y Youth Football Shoulder Pads
  7. Rawlings Combat 36L Football Shoulder Pad
  8. Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads
  9. Xenith Flyte Youth Football Shoulder Pads
  10. Champro Youth Scorpion Football Shoulder Pad
  11. Buyer's Guide

One of the biggest challenges football players face is staying healthy for the duration of the long season.  The best way to stay 100% healthy is by having the right type of safety equipment for your position.

Shoulder pads are a critical piece of equipment for every player on the field.  Check out our detailed lists below for advice on finding the right type of best football shoulder pad in 2022 for your age and position so you can stay healthy and protected throughout the season and post-season.

Best Football Shoulder Pads of 2022 Reviewed in Detail

Schutt Air Maxx Flex 8008 All Purpose Football Shoulder Pad - Best Football Shoulder Pads Overall

It would be tough to deliver a list of the top five pieces of football safety equipment without including at least one entry from Schutt. The Air Maxx Flex 8008 all purpose shoulder pads not only deliver the highest level of protection, they also work well for athletes in a variety of positions. This makes them perfect for players who work both sides of the ball or those who spend some time on special teams in addition to their offensive or defensive position. The Air Maxx Flex 8008 also feature the high quality TPU cushioning that holds firm and dissipates impact to keep players safe from injury during violent collisions. These high tech pads are also very lightweight which makes them ideal for players who are in constant movement on the football field.

Douglas JP34 Junior Football Shoulder Pad - Runner Up

Douglas has a full line of high quality shoulder pads for players at specific positions. The SP25 is one of their efforts that works particularly well for players at multiple positions. The SP25 features great flexibility and mobility to make throwing, catching and blocking passes easier than it would be in a more rigid or cumbersome pad. Quarterbacks, tailbacks, special teams players and players in the defensive secondary can all benefit from the unique features the SP25 were developed with. These pads are also very lightweight to make them a great choice for today’s much faster style of game play. If you play the read option or any style of hurry up offense these pads may be the perfect fit to help take your game to the next level.

Rawlings Combat 36L Football Shoulder Pad - Honorable Mention

Rawlings has taken protection on the field to the next level with their Siege series of football shoulder pads. The SRG SGE4 has a load of features designed specifically to keep any player on the field safe and performing at the highest level. The SRG SGE4 starts out with an ultra light and super low profile construction. This keeps football players quick, mobile and as fresh on the field in the final minutes as they were in the first quarter. These high tech pads are also designed with mobility in mind. The excellent range of motion makes throws, catches and tackles easier all while providing the highest level of protection for today’s fast paced game.

Schutt Sports Varsity O2 Maxx Football Shoulder Pads - Consider

Schutt has scored another “touchdown” with their second entry in our top five adult shoulder pads. The O2 Flex are lightweight, have great air flow and are incredibly comfortable. Schutt has added large vent holes to this top notch effort to ensure that players stay as cool, dry and comfortable as possible during long games on the field. These pads also have a unique feature that makes them more flexible than other pads on the market. These pads are designed to allow players at a variety of positions to move freely and perform at their highest level on the field. Despite the heavy focuses on movement and comfort, Schutt certainly didn’t lose sight of the primary goal. These pads have all the necessary features to keep players safe on the football field.

best Bike BASH74 X-Treme Lite Shoulder Pad

Bike BASH74 X-Treme Lite Shoulder Pad - Best Adult Football Shoulder Pads

The BASH74 X-Treme Lite Pads from Bike have some excellent features that make them a worthy competitor for some of the more expensive adult shoulder pads out there. These pads are easy to secure and adjust for a proper fit and are built for good mobility. The X-Treme Lite pads are very slim and low profile to allow for great on field movement with sacrificing the level of protection. These pads are durable, built well and work at a variety of positions. They also come in a bit cheaper than some of the other selections on our list making them a great choice for players who don’t have an abundance of money in their budget for the most expensive equipment.

best Riddell EVX 18Y Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Riddell EVX 18Y Youth Football Shoulder Pads - Best Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Riddell is a company that knows player safety and they go above and beyond on this high quality youth shoulder pad. The EVX 18Y Youth Shoulder Pads are engineered for the highest level of shock absorption and durability. These rugged pads can stand up to hit after hit without breaking down and will continue to keep your players safe throughout the long and difficult season. The Riddell EVX 18Y also features a low profile design which allows for a high level of movement without diminishing the level of protection. These pads are also designed to work well for a number of levels – players from Pop Warner up through junior high school can benefit from the protection these high quality pads can provide.

Rawlings Combat 36L Football Shoulder Pad - Best Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Rawlings designs equipment with both safety and performance in mind and they certainly hit the mark with the Youth Spartan Football Shoulder Pads. These pads are flat and very low profile allowing players to move freely around the field. The low profile design also makes the Youth Spartan pads one of the most comfortable pairs of youth shoulder pads available. To go right along with the low profile design, the Youth Spartan pads also feature an anti-microbial, moisture wicking interior which helps keep players cool and dry in all types of weather conditions. It isn’t just comfort that landed the Youth Spartan pads on our list, these pads also provide incredible protection for your players on the field.

Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads - Best Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Schutt specializes in producing top quality football safety equipment so it should really comes as no surprise that one of their efforts would land in our top five shoulder pads list. The Mid-Flex All Purpose Youth Shoulder Pads are very flexible and designed to fit youth players of all shapes and sizes. This allows you to keep every player at every position on your team well protected during the big game. The Schutt Mid-Flex All Purpose pads also feature large vent holes for maximum air circulation to keep players comfortable during all weather conditions. These pads are also easy on, easy off by way of a 3 point attachment system and elastic straps making them an excellent choice for both practice and game situations.

Xenith Flyte Youth Football Shoulder Pads - Best Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Finding the right shoulder pads for the taller players on your team can be a real challenge. That is exactly where the Douglas JP32 come into play. These durable, resilient pads work perfectly for the youth players on your team who are above average in height and work very well to protect those taller players at all positions. Despite being crafted with the taller player in mind, these high quality pads are anything but obtrusive. The JP32 have a low profile design for excellent arm mobility during catching, throwing or tackling. These pads are comfortable and rugged – two things you need in a good youth shoulder pad.

Champro Youth Scorpion Football Shoulder Pad - Best Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Douglas is known for producing top quality football safety equipment and the JP36 is their top youth shoulder pad. This pad fits well on taller youth players and has an extended shell to provide the best possible protection. The JP36 features a simple double hook up with elastic straps that allows for the best possible fit for every youth player on your team. In addition to being safe your players also need to be mobile in order to succeed on the field. These pads provide the ultimate in protection while allowing for the best possible mobility – making for the best possible situation for your players on the field.

Buyer's Guide

While playing football, having the proper shoulder pads is extremely necessary. They help increase the range of movements and protect the shoulder joints, surrounding bones, and connecting muscles. Since protection against injuries from sudden impacts, accidental fall, accelerating football, and many others is the main purpose of the football shoulder pads, getting the best product from the market is paramount.

However, as a football shoulder pad has several features varying from one product to another, choosing the best is not a piece of cake. The task is worrisome, daunting, and becomes quite intimidating at some point of time. That's why we have discussed some relevant factors about football shoulder pads, which will help you to select the perfect fit for your upcoming tournament.

What Are The Major Parts Of A Football Shoulder Pad?


The first part to focus on is the neck. It is the V-shaped or circular opening through which you can slide your head. Once done, the protection pad will sit on your bones while the cups will cover the ball and socket joint of the shoulder girdle.


The rivet can be considered as the connecting part between the outer plastic shell and the inner cushion padding. This part is usually manufactured with strong and durable material so that all the components of the shoulder pad can remain at the same place, no matter what your playing style or field position is.

Epaulet Or Flap

The flap is an extended part of the football shoulder pad, which is added at the extreme top. It provides extra protection to the shoulder joint, scapula, and other parts of your cervical and radicular region.


Cup is smaller in size than the flap but has the same shape and sits underneath the outer epaulet. To add extra protection, the cup is extended downwards to cover the humerus bone of your upper arm.


The auxiliary, sometimes known as the Bias, is an extra inner cushion padding that can absorb the shocks from sudden impact with other players or the ball accelerating.

Central Body Cushion

Along with protecting the shoulders, the entire pad's structure is designed in a way so that it can protect your chest, especially the rib bones, which are quite delicate and can suffer a fracture during accidental fall or collisions. So, to prevent such disasters, a central body cushion is present in the shoulder pad covering the entire chest till the diaphragm.

Belt With Buckle

The belts with buckles or hooks will help you secure the pad around your body, especially the chest and the upper abdomen. Hence, the protective gear wouldn't become loose while playing the game.

What Factors Should You Consider To Select The Best Football Shoulder Pad?

Field Position

It would be best if you consider your dedicated field position first before selecting the football shoulder pads. The features of the gear will vary according to the position you will be playing in. For example, if you are a quarterback, you don't need extra flap covers on the shoulder region as the inner padding is capable enough to absorb the force of impact. But, if you are playing in different positions, you need to have multi-position pads with a strong and secure fitting, and a hard outer shell casing to protect you against any injury.

Fitness And Size

Once you have selected the products according to your field position, you need to focus on fitting the gear around your chest and shoulder region. Usually, the neck region is large enough to avoid any problem while sliding your head through it. But you need to consider the fitness of the shoulder pad size when you have multiple flaps or cups on the shoulder joint, internal chest cushion padding, and other such parts.

Construction Design

The next factor you need to think about is the design of the football shoulder pad. The construction must be strong, robust, and sturdy. The outer shell should be strong enough to prevent the shocks from collision reaching your bones and muscles down the arms and the shoulder. Similarly, the chest padding should be thick to absorb maximum momentum at collision with another player or the ball.

Weight Of The Pad

Also, you need to think about the weight of the shoulder pad and consider a product that you can wear comfortably. If the weight is more, you will have difficulties moving your arms and shoulders in different directions. Hence, playing football will become a daunting task for you.

What Are The Features You Need To Look For In The Shoulder Pad For Playing Football?

1. Different types of polymers are used in the manufacturing of the internal padding. Some brands even offer customization of the padding’s thickness according to your body needs.

2. In certain football shoulder pads, you can see small holes present on the outer shell. These holes not only improve the ventilation but also help you in staying more comfortable during the games.

3. A buckled belt is present at the sides with which you can secure the vest padding tightly around your chest and the shoulders.

4. The flap and cups play an important role in protecting your shoulder girdles, the collar bones, and the upper arms from any type of injury.

What Are The Different Football Shoulder Pad Accessories You Can Buy?

To make your football shoulder pad more powerful and protective, you can add several accessories to the gear. For example, the backplates will help protect your cervical spine with half the thoracic part if you are playing in the middle of the field. Neck rolls can also be used to prevent snapping of the neck bone and protect the tendons and cartilages from permanent injuries. Rib guards will help in protecting your rib bones starting from the sternum or the breast bone.

Football Shoulder Pad FAQ

Q. Does the football shoulder pad come with adjustable closure at the middle of the chest structure?

A. Yes, in some of the football shoulder pads, you can find a cross lace closure system with which you can place both the chest pads correctly over your rib bones to avoid any accidental injuries.

Q. Can I add more flaps on the outside in a football shoulder pad?

A. No, you cannot add extra flaps on the outside of the product because they are riveted to the internal cushion padding at the time of manufacturing.

Q. Why do I need to consider the field position while buying a football shoulder pad?

A. Considering the field position is essential for purchasing a football shoulder pad because the protective features vary from one product to the other based on your position.

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