The 10 Best Youth Shoulder Pads

Updated December 20, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Youth Shoulder Pads
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
If your kids are involved in physically challenging contact sports, like football, lacrosse or hockey, you already know the importance of making sure they are well protected. Check out our carefully selected tough kids' shoulder pads that can help minimize the risk of serious injury to any athletes in youth teams. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best youth shoulder pad on Amazon.

10. Bike Rattler BYSH12

These Bike Rattler BYSH12 not only deliver the extended body arch padding your young athlete needs to protect both the chest and back, but they're also made from storm-proof nylon taffeta that evenly disperses moisture during heavy activity.
  • budget-friendly price
  • internal air cushion reduces impacts
  • tend to run a bit large
Brand Bike Rattler BYSH12
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Adams ASPII

The Adams ASPII 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-4060-P
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Bauer Youth Supreme 150

The Bauer Youth Supreme 150 have an unconventional, anatomical fit that wraps around the body with thermo-formed shoulder pads and bicep guards. Because it fits tightly, it tends to run a bit small and can be difficult to get on and off.
  • built-in rear kidney panels
  • hook and loop arm-strap system
  • hydrophobic mesh liner
Brand Bauer
Model 1045368 150 SHOULDER PA
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Gear 2000 Intimidator

The Gear 2000 Intimidator features smooth epaulets and a flat construction for a less bulky, slimmer profile that some players may prefer. The quick-release drawstring in the front is perfect for younger players who still need help tying their shoes.
  • choose from 6 sizes
  • dries completely in 4 hours
  • best for beginners
Brand Gear
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Maverik Lacrosse Charger

The Maverik Lacrosse Charger has a stylish color-block design your young athlete will want to wear all the time. With multiple adjustable Velcro points and four different sizes, a comfortable, optimum fit is easy to achieve.
  • extra sternum protection
  • lightweight shoulder padding
  • designed for lacrosse use only
Brand Maverik Lacrosse
Model 3001037-charger-shoulde
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Barnett Vision II

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 safety
  • a little stiff in the arm area
Brand Barnett
Weight 5.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Wilson TDY Rush

These Wilson TDY Rush models have been specifically constructed with a technically-advanced, contoured fit for accommodating the new Heads Up and Tackle Sure tackling techniques that are taught to many youth football leagues.
  • thin and sleek design
  • relatively comfortable to wear
  • fabric traps unpleasant odors
Brand Wilson
Model WTF976120XL
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Rawlings Momentum

The Rawlings Momentum provide reliable protection, comfort, and style, thanks to their built-in clavicle channel build-ups and the usage of open cell foam where needed for comfort and closed cell foam for providing protection.
  • cantilever construction
  • ideal for all positions
  • difficult for small kids to fasten
Brand Rawlings
Model CHA112
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Schutt Sports Flex 2.0

The Schutt Sports Flex 2.0 has 7-millimeter vent holes, raised corrugations, and internal channels that have a double layer of perforated foam for maximum ventilation. The elastic strap system is flexible enough to fit a variety of body types.
  • sturdy internal quilting pattern
  • rugged and aggressive design
  • antimicrobial protection
Brand Schutt
Model 80105704
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool

The Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool feature patented moisture transfer technology, which combines the use of both waterproof foam beads and 3-dimensional air circulation in order to provide excellent performance, body cooling, and drying.
  • buckle-style fasteners
  • 7 different sizes are available
  • great impact protection
Brand Gear Pro-Tec
Model 1362637-P
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

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 can now 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 on December 20, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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