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When participating in an extreme sport like football, it is extremely important to equip yourself carefully to avoid injury. One of the items to equip is the shoulder pad. A quality pad will help protect your chest and shoulders from shocks. So how to choose the best football shoulder pads? Let’s find out with Scott Fujita!

In-depth reviews of the 10 Best Football Shoulder Pads in 2023

1. Xenith Element Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

Linebacker is a combination of defensive midfielder and defensive defender. Their pads also need to be hybrid. If you are looking for the perfect fit for roadsiders, choose Xenith Element Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pads.

With lightweight protection, you’ll be able to move with ease, which every paving provider needs. These pads also don’t restrict movement too much and come with straps to keep you in place in the pad. Four more pluses of these pads are that they’re breathable, moisture-wicking, four-way stretch, and are compressed.

Xenith Element Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pads for Adults - All Purpose Protective Gear (Medium)
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Coverage for all purposes.
  • Lightweight.
  • Durable.
  • Affordable.
  • Easy maintenance.


  • If you have a broad shoulder, it will be quite tight.

Hybrid is a balance between movement and coverage for the modern player who doesn’t need position. If you’ve reduced coverage and still have success, these pads are for you. Xenith shoulder pads designed for committed athletes. Without sacrificing protection, light weight and low profile allow full range of motion

Bottom line

The Xenith Element Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pad is one of the best football shoulder pads for any trailblazer looking for a new set of pads. You will be able to cover like a defensive defender and attack like Ray Lewis.

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2. Schutt Sports AiR MAXX Football Shoulder Pads

Schutt Sports AiR Maxx Flex 2.0 Football Shoulder Pads are suitable for any quarterback. With small shoulder pads and larger chest and flank protectors than the general-purpose versions of these pads, they give Quarterbacks the ideal range of arm range of motion needed for throwing and sneaking, and at the same time protect signal callers from devastating sacks.

Schutt Sports AiR MAXX Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pads, 2X-Large, All Purpose
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Highest level of protection.
  • Mobility.
  • Flexible.
  • Modern design.
  • Designed for quarterbacks.


  • Not enough information.

Air Management padding sits in the main over-the-shoulder hit area, while at the front and back are heat-managed padding with perforated EVA coated with high-density 3D molded EVA to provide ventilation and spread impact. 

Performance stitching at the shoulder provides a better fit to the body. Redundant Energy Lock technology and TPU cushioning give you the highest level of protection available. The Tactical Dome design provides sleek protection where it’s needed.

Bottom line

These pads are designed with open-space foam with “microscopic air chambers,” allowing for a more compact and lightweight design that still absorbs blows. Air Maxx Flex 2.0 pads include a high-performance dome design as well as D30 energy locking technology. 

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3. Xenith Element Skill Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

For any position on the football field, the Element line of shoulder pads is designed to be a lightweight solution. Choose from Skill, Combination, or Liner depending on your position and playing style, then further customize your fit with removable clavicle and deltoid pads. 

Anti-bacterial foam and removable padding make cleaning and maintenance simple. The no-frills bezel-less design ensures device managers don’t have to scramble for game parts.

Xenith Element Skill Varsity Football Shoulder Pads for Adults - All Purpose Protective Gear (Small)
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Good for speed players.
  • Lightweight.
  • High maintenance.
  • High durability.
  • Affordable price.


  • You should check the size carefully.

The short chest visor and integrated back plate prioritize range of motion and speed for skilled players. If you’re a DB high on a jumping ball or a wide crotch who leans back for a back shoulder catch and doesn’t want to affect range of motion then Element Skill is designed for you.

Xenith shoulder pads designed for committed athletes. Without sacrificing protection, light weight and low profile allow full range of motion. Removable padding makes cleaning and maintenance simple. 

The cordless design and buckled straps provide durability and reliability in all seasons. The belt and buckle adjustment system eliminates unnecessary tops and straps, and ensures the buckle stays snug.

Bottom line

Guard is specially designed for skill position players. By prioritizing range of motion, Xenith Varsity Element Skill football shoulder pads are designed for skill players. Crafted with a short chest pad and integrated back pad, you’ll have maximum range of motion to help your rear shoulder catch without your shoulder pads getting in the way.

4. Riddell JPK Plus Shoulder Pads

Great for junior or advanced young players, the Riddell Power JPK + JV / Youth Football Shoulder Pads – All Purpose packs all the features of a professional-grade shoulder pad into a small template for young players. To the popular JPK line, the shoulder pad is an update. For extended protection, it includes changes to the pleats and patches along with an attached backplate. 

Riddell JPK Plus Shoulder Pads, Large
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Specially designed lid for added protection.
  • Allows maximum movement.
  • Air management lining to absorb sweat and keep players dry.
  • Made of super durable plastic.
  • Affordable.
  • The deltoid pads are removable for simple cleaning.


  • Bulky at first.

The JPK+ includes Riddell’s Integrated RipKord Technology, a release mechanism in the shoulder pad that allows trainers and paramedics to easily remove the pad in the event of an injury. 

The STAC Shoulder system allows the cap and headband to lie flat, providing maximum AC joint protection while allowing for maximum range of motion. The versatile model includes a mid-length arch to give giants more protection up front. It also includes an attached 1″ PVC belt and back plate.

Bottom line

Running backs require protective shoulder pads for maximum protection from shots and splits and to provide full range of motion to catch the pass. And the Riddell JPK Plus is one of the best football shoulder pads that gives you both.

5. Sports Unlimited Prospect Football Shoulder Pads

Check out the Sports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult Football Shoulder Pads in case you’re an adult football player looking for a comfortable pair of shoulder pads that offer great protection. The pads have lightweight, breathable dual-density foam that cushions impacts during play. They also have a flat design for comfort and ease of movement.

Sports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult Football Shoulder Pads
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Biothane belt for the perfect fit.
  • Amazing cooling and breathing mechanism.
  • Machine washable.
  • For multi-position.
  • Easy to clean.


  • Foam thickness could be better.

These gears are designed to help you get around the field without getting hurt. With an incredible blend of lightness and durability, these gears should be on your list if you want perfect mobility and protection.

This product is designed with flat pads that rest low on the shoulders and thus successfully provide much more comfort. Allowing your neck and head to move completely, this design will help you forget you’re wearing protective gear! Dual density foam provides perfect protection on impact.

Bottom line

Adult Football Shoulder Pads are not limited to sports prospects making for some great protective gear. It is one of the best football shoulder pads available in the market.

6. Schutt Sports Varsity O2 Maxx Football Shoulder Pads

This versatile shoulder pad is a great choice for any football player. Even paved or QB/WR models with less padding can take advantage of this upgraded buffer. The Schutt Sports Varsity 02 Maxx football shoulder pads feature TPU padding for enhanced upper shoulder comfort.

Schutt Sports Varsity O2 Maxx QB/WR Shoulder Pad, Black/Purple, Medium
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Lightweight.
  • Flexible.
  • Ventilation dome.
  • Energy lock technology.
  • TPU Air Maxx Cushion.


  • High price.

The best thing about these pads is that they come equipped with AiR Maxx TPU padding that is strategically placed around the shoulders to facilitate shock absorption. Ideally, this product features energy-locking technology that gives the football shoulder pads a flexible, lightweight and soft texture you’ll always love.

This is a product with vent holes to facilitate adequate airflow and this minimizes heat build-up. Plus, you’ll love that this product gives heavy hitters maximum shoulder protection. In addition, this is a product that is characterized by a lightweight and flexible material that minimizes impact.

Bottom line

Do you want to invest in one of the best football shoulder pads you can buy on the market today? These Schutt Football Shoulder Pads are among the best the market has to offer in 2023. They feature enhanced cushioning protection for extra protection for heavy hitters.

7. Schutt Sports Varsity FLEX 4.0 Football Shoulder Pads

The Schutt Varsity Flex 4.0 All Purpose Shoulder Pad is built to fit most people on the court, it is for the player looking for maximum protection and performance. Ideal for Fullback, Linebacker, Defensive End, Tight End, Defensive Line and Offensive Line positions.

Schutt Sports Varsity Flex 4.0 All Purpose Football Shoulder Pads, Black, Medium
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Unparalleled ventilation system.
  • Dual foam mattress.
  • Durable plastic outer shell.
  • Big vents.
  • Designed for multi-position.


  • You need to purchase the backplate separately.

Schutt has developed the new Varsity Flex 4.0 which is extremely lightweight and designed for protection. The Varsity Flex 4.0 All Purpose Shoulder Pad is for players looking for maximum protection and maximum performance. It is made to fit almost any player on the court. 

Athletes know that heat can play an important factor in athlete performance, the pad’s unique design helps athletes increase airflow to cool the athlete naturally. and minimize grip. Designed with EVA foam to provide athletes with maximum protection against blows while providing vital shoulder joint protection essential for all players in a skill position. 

For all seriously skilled athletes, the advanced features of the Schutt Varsity Flex 4.0 make these pads a must-have.

Bottom line

Schutt Sports FLEX4.0 is a great choice for those looking to invest in a football shoulder pad for optimal protection. It effectively absorbs the impact caused by strong impact.

8. Xenith Velocity Varsity Football Shoulder Pads 

If you are looking for the highest quality brand of football shoulder pads, Xenith will not disappoint. Among all, Xenith Velocity Football Shoulder Pad is the best choice. With foam padding and floating sternum support for maximum protection for your chest and spine.

Xenith Velocity Varsity Football Shoulder Pads for Adults - All Purpose Protective Gear (Large)
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Maximum breast protection.
  • Lightweight yet durable.
  • Allows wide movement in the field.
  • Easy maintenance and cleaning.
  • Removable padding.


  • A bit of restraint and protection around the player’s neck.

The Xenith Velocity Varsity Football Shoulder Pads are the perfect fit for running. These all-in-one pads are incredibly light, at just 3.5 lbs. Back runs can’t be slowed by their pads, they have defenders to run to! They have an unmatched range of motion and are extremely versatile. They also fit most people and are extremely versatile.

Bottom line

The Xenith Velocity Varsity Football Shoulder Pads are a great choice for any runner looking for a new set of pads. This will allow you to play so quickly, your coach may even consider switching you to a wide recorder. In these pads, you’ll run like Tyreek Hill and run everyone like Derrick Henry.

9. Gear Pro-Tec Razor RZ7 Football Shoulder Pads

Coming in at number nine in football shoulder pad reviews and featuring a stylish look is the Gear Pro-Tec Razor RZ7 Shoulder Pad. Low profile design helps to absorb most high impact from all directions. The flat panels make this football shoulder pad more comfortable.

RAZOR RZ7 (Skill) Shoulder Pads (EA)
3 new from $369.99
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Have a stylish look.
  • Offers a variety of cooling features.
  • Great impact absorption.
  • Provides proper airflow to absorb sweat.
  • Quite comfortable and durable.


  • Lack of sternum protection.

The Gear Pro-Tec RAZOR RZ7 shoulder pad breaks all the limits of design. Every detail is focused on the performance of the elite player. Advanced design, materials and construction culminate in advanced impact dispersion, versatile range of motion and versatility on the industry’s lightest weight platform. 

RAZOR has been the pinnacle of success in protecting America’s best athletes for over 20 years! Ensuring that your pad is as gentle at the end of the game as you are on the court, razor shoulder pads are designed with moisture-wicking fabric to prevent absorption.

Bottom line

The premium feature is the integrated grain selection in this Gear Pro-Tec RAZOR RZ7 shoulder pad. These beads keep young players safe and more comfortable when bumped in specific areas. In addition, the compressed HEX foam has been created to be moisture resistant and essentially waterproof to absorb sweat while playing.

10. Schutt Varsity XV HD Football Shoulder Pads

If you are looking for Schutt shoulder pads, then this prestigious XV HD football shoulder pad will be our recommendation. The high-density foam used in this mattress is amazing because we’ve found it offers greater durability, cushioning, and range of motion.

Schutt Sports Varsity XV HD All Purpose Shoulder Pad, X-Large
3 new from $179.95
as of September 25, 2023 5:50 pm


  • Lightest varsity shoulder pad.
  • Versatile shoulder pad.
  • Maximum comfort and coverage.
  • High performance arch design.
  • Features folds for extra strength.


  • The pads are too short at the front.

The making of attaching accessories easier is another great thing about this shoulder pad. This is mainly due to the pre-drilled holes. You will be pleased that this product has a curved design, as it ensures that your shoulders are subjected to a minimum load.

In addition, this integrates moisture and heat to allow airflow to and from the disc head and keeps it cool naturally. To ensure proper fit and coverage, the hook and loop padding can be repositioned. Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity is also designed with a low profile for improved mobility and durability.

Bottom line

It is known that this is one of the best football shoulder pads for the NFL team’s receiver. Lightweight and helps you deliver professional turf performance when playing. This universal and reliable guard ensures better airflow due to raised gear holes and folds.

How to choose your football shoulder pads: Useful tips

Football shoulder pads buying guides

Football shoulder pads buying guides.

1. Choose the weight or shape

When planning your position in the field, weight is an important factor to consider. To enhance freedom of movement during play, choose a lightweight football pad. You should not use your strength to support too much weight. 

Focus on making sure the shoulder pad doesn’t let you down. Ensure there is a sufficient balance between durability and lightness to ensure comfort and protection.

2. Look for the cushion too

Double check the mattress of the model you intend to purchase. A great cushioning system that doesn’t compress or break. TPU padding would be a great proposition due to the integration of chest, back and shoulders. 

It also retains heat and regulates the accumulation of mold and mildew. TPU material provides better protection, is long lasting and can withstand more impacts and forces.

3. Mind your position

Your position is very important when choosing a football shoulder pad. If you’re still trying out multiple poses or playing on the sides, then the multi-position shoulder pad will work for you. The pair is medium in weight and its design supports separate movements. 

The shoulder pads are more multi-position and thicker to allow for hitting. Keeping your position in mind while shopping will help you choose the best football shoulder pads.

Mind your position to choose suitable shoulder pads

Mind your position to choose suitable shoulder pads.

4. Flat padding should be noticed

Football shoulder pad should have a flat cushioning system. Cushions must be highly effective in absorbing impact effectively. It works with the least amount of space. A flat pad combines closed-cell and open-cell foam to transmit force over a large area. 

Therefore, you are sure to receive maximum protection without affecting your agility and mobility on the battlefield.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tips to choose the football shoulder pads fit to your size 2

Tips to choose the football shoulder pads fit to your size.

1. How do I find my shoulder pad size?

To ensure you get the most protection and comfort from your shoulder pads, it’s important that you purchase the right size:

  • Find a friend or parent: Measuring yourself is not easy to do and can lead to inaccurate measurements.
  • Measure your bust: Using a soft tape measure and standing straight, measure your entire upper body circumference.
  • Measure your shoulder width: Stand up straight, stretch the tape measure over the top of your shoulders and measure between the AC joints.
  • Self-weighing: Sometimes youth shoulder pads are sized by weight class, so it’s important that you know your exact weight.

Now that you’ve recorded these measurements, it’s time to find the right size shoulder pad for you! Each brand has their shoulder pad sizes different, so check out the following top brand size chart for your spot.

Closing Points

With a quality football shoulder pad, you will definitely feel a lot more confident when participating in the competition knowing that you are well protected. Make sure you’ve chosen carefully to purchase the best football shoulder pads for yourself. Follow ScottFujita for more useful buying tips. 

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