10 Best Youth Shoulder Pads | March 2017

If your kids are involved in physically challenging contact sports, like football, make sure they are well protected. Our selection of tough youth shoulder pads should help to minimize the risk of serious injury to any young athlete. Skip to the best youth shoulder pad on Amazon.
10 Best Youth Shoulder Pads | March 2017

Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 9
Best Inexpensive
With their dual density padding, high-impact PE shells, and tempered steel spring-reinforced arches, the Champro AirTech 3.2 shoulder pads are a relatively decent value for your young athlete when you're on a tight budget.
The Bauer Youth Supreme 150 will turn your kid's body into its own fortress. Their thermoformed shoulder caps, polyurethane foam, and polyethylene inserts are designed to keep the shoulders and spine protected during tackles.
The Rawlings Momentum shoulder pads provide relatively reliable protection, comfort, and style, thanks to their built-in clavicle channel build-ups and white/black color contrast. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to fasten them.
The Bike Rattler BYSH12 not only deliver the thick padding your young athlete needs, but they're also made from storm-proof nylon taffeta that evenly disperses moisture during heavy activity. But they tend to run a bit large.
  • extended body arch padding
  • internal air cushion minimizes impacts
  • customer service isn't very helpful
Brand Bike
Model pending
Weight pending
Good for young running backs, wide receivers, or quarterbacks, these Barnett Vision II pads offer both protection and ease of motion, thanks to their dual elastic straps, dual density PU foam, and heavy-duty nylon cushions.
  • authentic pro-style design
  • strong abs shell for added safety
  • the pads are a bit pricey
Brand barnett Sports USA
Weight 5.4 pounds
The Wilson TDY Rush shoulder pads have been specifically constructed with a technically-advanced, contoured fit for accommodating the new Heads Up and TackleSure tackling techniques that are taught to many youth football leagues.
  • thin and sleek design
  • relatively comfortable to wear
  • fabric tends to trap unpleasant odors
Brand Wilson
Model WTF976120XL
Weight 3.8 pounds
The Adams ASPII pads are designed with 140 gauge plastic, and feature open and closed cell foam padding, keeping the pads both lightweight and solidly built. Their extended breast and back pads also provide additional protection.
  • double-pivoting back
  • water-resistant nylon pad covers
  • self-adjustable side straps
Brand Adams USA
Model ASPII-80100
Weight 2.4 pounds
These Mid Flex 2.0 by Schutt Sports have convenient 7-millimeter holes built into their raised corrugations. Their internal channels also have a double layer of perforated foam for the highest level of ventilation possible.
  • sturdy internal quilting pattern
  • rugged and attractive design
  • treated with an antimicrobial system
Brand Schutt
Model 80115706
Weight 4.2 pounds
Designed for simplicity, the Football America Ultimate Series are all-position shoulder pads with a cantilever construction and a single elastic body strap, making them easy for kids to put on and take off quickly during game action.
  • removable body makes cleaning easy
  • pre-drilled holes for back plates
  • design improves visibility
Brand Football America
Model pending
Weight pending
The Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool pads feature patented moisture transfer technology, which combines the use of both waterproof foam beads and 3-dimensional air circulation in order to promote superior performance, body cooling, and drying.
  • buckle-style fasteners
  • 7 different sizes are available
  • superior impact protection
Brand Gear Pro-Tec
Model 1362637-P
Weight 5 pounds

Safety And Performance: The Parent's Dillema

As the parent of a child playing a contact sport like football, you are likely pretty torn. On the one hand, you want them to have fun and be a great player, but on the other hand, you would like to avoid trips to the hospital if at all possible. While it isn’t the best practice to send your child out onto the field wearing scant safety equipment, wrapping every piece of their body up in foam padding isn’t conducive to a good game either.

Luckily, the modern era in shoulder pad technology strikes a balance between safety and performance. It all starts with knowing what is best for your child. Taking a few things into consideration when choosing shoulder pads goes a long way to ensuring your child is having a blast on the field - while staying safe.

For instance, the position your child is playing has a big influence on what types of pads are good for them. If your child is playing a heavily physical position, such as a lineman or linebacker, it would make sense to offer them the most protection possible. In this instance, cantilever shoulder pads would be great for them, dispersing the impact from hit after hit.

If your child plays a position which requires agility and dexterity, such as running back, quarterback, wide receiver, or safety, the bulky design of a cantilever shoulder pad can hinder their performance. These positions don’t take as many hits as others, and need full mobility of their arms and shoulders to either throw or catch the ball. Professional players actually prefer smaller shoulder pads such as these. Then again, they are professionals. For a youth player, look to find an option which is both protective and allows them to perform at their highest potential.

Things To Consider When Choosing Shoulder Pads

After finding the type of shoulder pads you want to want to buy, it’s time to compare features. There are many features we can enjoy in shoulder pads today that early players only dreamed of. For instance, lightweight, breathable open cell foam is now used in some models which actually allows air to circulate through the pads themselves. This means more comfort, and less dehydration.

Also, consider how adjustable the shoulder pads are. If the player is young, will the pads grow with them? Many models offer adjustable shoulder plates, which allow for range of motion and factor in a small degree of growth. Another thing to consider is just how much protection you want. Some shoulder pads cover just the shoulders and sternum, while others go so far as to include built in back supports and kidney pads.

One consideration which may save you a lot of stinky car rides home is whether or not the inner pads are removable? Having a removable padding system makes for an easy wash. You will also always want to make sure you have got the right size shoulder pads on your player; too big and they can slip out of place, too little and they restrict your player and don’t absorb as much shock.

A Short History Of Shoulder Pads

American football has come a long way since the rather humble first game between New Jersey and Rutgers in 1869. Safety equipment didn't even make its appearance until nearly a decade later. Seeing a need to protect the shoulder blades on impact, L.P. Smock designed the first shoulder pads. They offered little protection, and were not much more than an extra layer of padding sewn into the players’ jersey. The lack of protection in American football players led to 20 deaths in one year, prompting President Theodore Roosevelt to threaten a ban on the sport unless changes were made.

Some changes were made immediately. The rather dangerous flying wedge formation was banned, and a set of rules was established for the burgeoning game. But safety equipment? Well, it took over twenty years to really come around. The first real shoulder pads didn’t make their debut until the 1930s. These shoulder pads roughly resembled the shoulder pads still in use today. They covered the shoulders and chest, had a pull-over design, and were tightened in the front by large laces. At first, players rejected these heavy pads. Glen Scobey “Pop” Warner was the first coach to make his teams wear protective equipment, ushering in a new era of safety awareness in American Football.

Shoulder pads were constantly improved upon, but the modern harness style was not introduced until the 1980s. This is when manufacturers started to use lightweight foam and plastics to create the shoulder pads. The 1980s also saw the introduction of the cantilever pads, which dispersed the impact of a hit into the pads rather than into the body.

Today’s shoulder pads are far superior, both in safety and performance. Players nowadays can enjoy materials that keep them cool, while also providing the necessary armor to protect their body for every minute of gameplay.

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Last updated: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information