Best Youth Shoulder Pads Reviews

Schutt Sports Y-Flex All-Purpose Youth Shoulder Pads
A lightweight, all purpose design for the exceptional youth athlete looking for varsity style protection
Extended body length adds extra protection
Designed for all positions on the field
Gear 2000 Intimidator Junior Shoulder Pad
Low-profile flat construction
Smooth epaulets
Non-stretch strap system
Sports Unlimited Prospect Football Youth Shoulder Pads
Double layer foam
Extended body length
Internal channels

Best youth shoulder pads

Playing contact sports can be dangerous for an adult, let alone for a child. That is why you need to take all safety measures so that your kid can do what he or she loves without injuring themselves. You need to buy a helmet, mouthpieces, footpads, and much more, but one of the most important pieces is the youth shoulder pads. While some may argue that the head is the most crucial part of the body that needs protecting, which I entirely agree with, we must not forget about the upper body. After all, it holds some pretty important organs, don’t you think?

Shoulder pads are a piece of protective gear that encases the upper body of the player. It is used in football, rugby, hockey, and a few other sports that entail tackling or any other form of brutal contact. Many players focus on protecting their heads, but the upper body also needs protection. After all, there are so many impacts a shoulder can take until it breaks down one way or the other. Not to mention that a severe injury can bench a player in a second. Dreams get ruined, and people get hurt in every way possible.

There are two primary purposes for shoulder pads. The first one is to absorb the shock. When you have a couple of hundreds of pounds coming at you at high speed with only you as an obstacle, your upper body will take a traumatizing hit. A shoulder pad will absorb most of that shock, thus protecting your lungs and heart. You would be surprised how much the lungs can suffer as a result of such a trauma. Of course, thanks to the shoulder pads, the lung activity is somewhat restricted, but it is better this way than for your chest to absorb the shock I was telling you about.

The second purpose of the shoulder pad is to distribute the shock through a larger contact area. That in itself is protective. Imagine that you have a stick and you poke it in your leg. You will feel the sting for sure. Now imagine that you put a footpad over the same area and you poke again. You will no longer feel the sting, but you will feel some pressure over the entire pad. It is better, isn’t it? I imagine that my analogy is not the brightest, but the principle still applies. The shoulder pad will distribute the shock it absorbs over the entire upper body region. As a result, the upper body is protected from a shock concentrated on a single point.

Why not a compression shirt?

To be honest, I cannot imagine someone thinking that a compression shirt can do at least the same job as a shoulder pad. While a compression shirt can do a pretty good job during light practice, so to speak, it will never provide the necessary protection during the real game. That is because the players from the opposite team will not be careful as to not hurt you. They will come with all they have. A compression shirt is like putting a band-aid when an artery is severed. It is utterly useless.

So, if you are looking for youth shoulder pads for your child, never go for a compression shirt instead. That can lead to severe injuries. After all, depending on what your kid is playing, the game can include tackles, pushing, sacks, pile-ups, and more. All that time, the upper body is at risk, and only shoulder pads fit the situation, not a compression shirt.

What do shoulder pads contain?

While shoulder pads seem to be a simple piece of equipment at first glance, they are pretty intricate. They have a hard plastic shell. Some more expensive models used to have stainless steel, but I do not know if that is a common practice anymore. After all, that is pretty heavy. However, technology helped manufacturers create durable plastics, which is why most common material used for the shell is hard plastic.

Underneath the hard plastic shell, there is foam padding. Some even have gel padding, which seems to be more efficient. The padding’s purpose is to absorb most of the shock I was telling you about earlier. The pads fit over the shoulders, and they also cover the chest and rib area. After all, the ribs are not that hard to break, especially at that force of impact. The padding is secured in place with buckles and snaps so that it fits the player perfectly.

How to choose the best shoulder pads?

There are multiple models on the market. Some are cheaper while others have high prices. I would recommend going somewhere in the middle. After all, this is your child’s safety we are talking about. This is not the moment to be a cheapskate. Here is what you need to consider before making a purchase:

  • Fit – one of the most important things you need to keep in mind before buying youth shoulder pads is the fit. They need to be a perfect fit. A model that is too small will compress the chest too much and will limit movement. The shoulder pads limit the movement even if they are a perfect fit, but a smaller size is to be avoided. Plus, the chest needs room to expand as the player is breathing. At the same time, a size that is too large will not be as efficient as it should be. Injuries can happen regardless of the pads when you buy a size too big.
  • Weight – just like all sports, dragging something heavy on your back will decrease your performance. The model you buy needs to be protective and durable, but at the same time, it needs to be lightweight as to not limit the player’s
  • Ventilation – when you run for the entire game with padding on your back, you will sweat a lot. That is why you need some shoulder pads that allow proper ventilation. Improper ventilation can lead to overheating, which I suppose I do not have to tell you that it is not good for the player. It can cause fatigue, dehydration, and even fainting. Usually, adequately aerated shoulder pads have multiple holes in the plastic, and the pads are covered with breathable mesh.
  • Purpose – while some shoulder pads are meant for a particular position in the field, some are multi-purpose. Personally, I think it is best if you go for the one that is multi-purpose. That way you can be sure of the product’s protection no matter what your kid is playing.

What are the best shoulder pads?

If you are in the market for the best shoulder pads, the good news is that you have where to choose from. The offer is vast, and plenty of sports equipment manufacturers compete in making the best products. What you need to do is follow the specifications and make sure that you buy the best youth shoulder pads you can find. Do not buy a random product. You could also read some youth shoulder pads reviews online to see what other people bought. They are the most qualified to tell you whether or not a particular product is what you expect it to be. In the meantime, check out the models I chose. Maybe you will find one of them suitable.

Schutt Sports Y-Flex All-Purpose Youth Shoulder Pads

Click here to buy it on Amazon

One of the best youth shoulder pads is brought to you by Schutt. It manufactured high-quality sports equipment at affordable prices. If you think that this is what your kid needs, then by all means, go for it. It is available in multiple sizes, from XXXS to XX-Large so that you do not have to worry about finding the right fit. One of them is bound to fit your child.

This is a very lightweight and all-purpose shoulder pad. It does not matter what sports your child plays or what position, this model will fit right in and provide the necessary protection. It has an exceptional design for an athlete looking for varsity style protection. It features an extended body length that increases the protection level, which will give you some peace of mind as well.

The dual-density padding combined with the breathable mesh and 7mm vent holes allow maximum airflow for adequate ventilation. The shoulder pads provide maximum coverage with minimum discomfort for the player. The adjustable elastic band features an attachment to the arches at three points for less movement and consistent protection. If you choose the right fit, this model will provide everything you need.

Gear 2000 Intimidator Junior Shoulder Pad

Click here to buy it on Amazon

The shoulder pad from Gear is yet another product that I think you will be interested in. It is a bit cheaper than the previous model, but that does not mean it cannot ensure the same protection. It features a low profile pad construction so that the player does not feel too bulky, but it is ideal for players in all positions in the field.

One of the best things about this model is that it features a moisture management system. The padding has perforations that allow moisture to flow away from the body. As a result, the body is adequately ventilated, which adds to the comfort of the player. It also dries up in 4 hours, which is a lot faster than other models.

The shoulder pad created by gear has smooth epaulets. The non-stretch underarm straps round out the pads and keep them secure in place. As long as you select the right size, this shoulder pad should provide the necessary protection for your child no matter what sports he plays or what position he has.

Sports Unlimited Prospect Football Youth Shoulder Pads

Click here to buy it on Amazon

The last product in my list of products worth considering is the one made by Sports Unlimited. Unlike the two previous models which are all-purpose shoulder pads, this is designed for football players. Even so, it can be worn by all players no matter their position in the field. It can take tackling and pile-ups without issues.

The Sports Unlimited shoulder pads feature a double foam layer. It provides the necessary protection against hits, but at the same time, the player feels comfortable in it. Of course, that applies only if the pads are a perfect fit, but that is something for you to determine before you make a purchase. It also has extended body length. The cushioning goes beyond the arches to protect to lower torso and back.

As for protection against heat, the Sports Unlimited model has internal channels that allow the heat to escape. Also, they prevent sweat from building up. The pad features elastic straps and is made of lightweight materials that will not cause any struggle during movement. As long as it is the right fit, the player should have the desired performance for the entire game.

My recommendation

Depending on what you are looking for, you need to make a choice, if I were you, I would go with the Schutt Sports Y-Flex All-Purpose Youth Shoulder Pads. In my opinion, it has everything your kid needs. It has protective abilities, proper ventilation, and comfort. I think it is among the best youth shoulder pads you can find on the market.


No matter what you do in life, it is said that safety should come first. As you can imagine, we all agree with that. When you play sports, it is even more so. I think it is absurd to get injured and probably affected for life because you practice a sport that you love. That is why you need to take all cautionary measures so that injuries do not happen. A shoulder pad can provide precisely that. As long as you know you need one, you can choose whichever you think best. Click here to buy on Amazon

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