Football shoulder pads

The 10 Best Football Shoulder Pads for Youth and Adults 2020

Are you looking for the best football shoulder pads? Well, have come to the right place because this review will give you everything you need to pick the right shoulder pads for you.

With the best shoulder pads options on the market, from a variety of brands, you will be well-informed before making your purchase. So, without further ado, let’s hop into the nitty-gritty of shoulder pads.

Top 10 Best Football Shoulder Pad Reviews for 2020

Here are the best football shoulder pads for youth and adults 2020:

  1. Schutt Sports Varsity FLEX 4.0
  2. Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity
  3. Xenith XFlexion Velocity
  4. Schutt Sports Youth Flex 2.0
  5. Sports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult
  6. Adams VS500 All-Purpose
  7. Gear Pro-Tec Z-COOL OL/DL-Pro
  8. Gear 2000 Youth Intimidator
  9. Schutt Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose
  10. Schutt AiR Maxx Flex 2.0

1. Schutt Sports Varsity FLEX 4.0

When it comes to shoulder pads, Schutt has been a mainstay for decades. These are great shoulder pads for wide receivers, but quarterbacks, running backs, and defensive backs can use this product as well.

Expect these shoulder pads to help with mobility and versatility. Every down, the shoulder pads will not weigh you down. Instead, you will not even notice them on.

  • Shoulder pads only weigh 4 pounds.
  • Very affordable product.
  • Quick shipping.
  • Pads fit sizing chart perfectly.
  • Not a great option for linemen.
  • Only come in one color.

If you are looking for top-rated shoulder pads, they do not get much better than Schutt. They also will replace the product if it ever becomes defective.

2. Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity

This version of shoulder pads are high-quality, and any football position can use them. You will be able to see the careful construction and design in how these best football shoulder pads on the market fit and protect you play after play.

Another feature you will like is the breathability. You will not sweat to death when wearing these pads. Instead, the lightweight nature of these pads is what you will focus on.

  • Constructed of EVA foam that is shockproof.
  • Opponents will not be able to bring you down by your pads.
  • The pads only weigh 3 pounds.
  • Amazing full range of motion.
  • The cost could be a problem for some.
  • May take some time to get used to these pads.

You will find quality with these lightweight football shoulder pads. They are top-notch, and for many, these pads are the gold standard to follow.

3. Xenith XFlexion Velocity

Schutt is not the only football brand you should keep an eye on. Xenith should be on your radar, too. With great designs and construction, Xenith has propelled itself to the top of the football world. This specific design is perfect for high school football and beyond.

Of course, these shoulder pads are for receivers, but they are good for defensive backs, quarterbacks, and running backs, too. Some of the features you will like with this brand include chest plates that are extra-flexible and super lightweight.

  • Constructed with a shock cord.
  • Ultimate range of motion.
  • Protective plates for the spine and sternum.
  • One of the heavier models at 5 pounds.
  • Cost is not affordable for all.

Perfect for XL football players, these shoulder pads are meant for stability and protection. With a chest strap that is similar to a belt, you will not have any problem being out on the gridiron. By minimizing vicious blows, your shoulder pads will watch out for you.

4. Schutt Sports Youth Flex 2.0

These best youth football shoulder pads are also great to football players at the intermediate level as well. As a great all-purpose option, every position from offensive to defensive players can use these pads.

The extended body length of the pads bring about added protection that every football player should have. This product uses an all-purpose arch to fit most body styles.

Also, you will not have to worry about sweating in your equipment because it has been treated with antimicrobials. Lastly, for maximum ventilation, there are the 7 millimeters (mm) holes for added breathability.

  • Double-layered padding will keep you extra-protected.
  • Padding material is very flexible.
  • The product weighs less than 3 pounds.
  • An easy-to-clean option.
  • Great coverage across the check and back.
  • Fits a little smaller than the sizing chart.
  • Hook straps will wear down over time.

A lot of people have enjoyed using these best shoulder pads for youth football. Many have worn these pads to practice and felt protected. When it comes to gameplay, they are not worn quite as much because they do not seem to hold up as well.

5. Sports Unlimited Prospect Pro Adult

With a sensational pad construction, you will love the way they sit low on your shoulders. As some of the best shoulder pads for football, Sports Unlimited makes quality products that are cheap enough for anyone to purchase.

With a flat pad construction, the pads lay low on your shoulders. This allows for a very comfortable fit with a full range of movement.

The foam is also a nice aspect of this product. As a breathable, lightweight product, the material will cushion any blow that comes your way. There is also a biothane belt that keeps the shoulder pads snug against your body. This makes for the best football shoulder pads for high school athletes.

Without any grab points, your opponents will not be able to bring you down as an offensive player nor will they be able to tackle you if intercept the ball and take it to the house.

  • 7 mm vents for breathability.
  • Machine washable.
  • Weighs 4 pounds.
  • Can attach a backplate.
  • Perfect for wide receivers.
  • Sizing chart can run too big.
  • Not as heavy-duty as other brands.

Sports Unlimited provides a quality product for anyone looking for great protection. As some of the lightest football shoulder pads around, you will enjoy these season after season.

6. Adams VS500 All-Purpose

With a longer front arch, these shoulder pads from Adams provide an amazing range of motion. Ventilated cushions allow for greater air circulation. Whenever the shoulder pads get dirty, you can remove the cushions to wash them.

They also have an anti-microbial agent to keep the shoulder pads clean longer. An adjustable biothane belt will make it comfortable for you each down you play on the gridiron. These are great shoulder pads for linemen or linebacker athletes.

  • Lightweight construction.
  • Extreme sturdy material.
  • Perfect for middle school up to high school.
  • Cushion the blow of any hit.
  • Not ideal for wide receivers.
  • Straps can be difficult to maneuver.

Even with some difficulty working with the straps, these shoulder pads for linebackers will really wow you. You may not ever leave the Adams brand because of the job these pads will bring you.

7. Gear Pro-Tec Z-COOL OL/DL-Pro

Some of the best-rated shoulder pads on the market are from Gear Pro-Tec. They feature patented technology called Z-COOL. What Z-COOL does is this. First, it transfers moisture away from the body into the shoulder pads.

Next, with this amazing absorption power, it dries down over 2 to 3 hours. The material will not stink and you will not have to wash it week after week. With the tiny foam beads, sweat will be wicked away with ease.

Another thing you will like about this product is the sensational circulation. You will stay insulated during the cold games and cool during the hottest of temperatures. This is a must-have piece of technology that is some of the best selling around.

  • Super fast shipping.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Protects against the biggest hits.
  • Amazing freedom of movement.
  • Pretty expensive compared to the other options.
  • Sizing is a little smaller than expressed.

If you are looking for the most protective football shoulder pads on the market, as well as great wick-away technology, you have come to the right place with Gear Pro-Tec. By getting over the cost of these shoulder pads, you will love everything else the product has to offer.

8. Gear 2000 Youth Intimidator

Most youth football shoulder pad reviews have the Gear 2000 option. With a flat construction, this low-profile product will amaze you game after game. The strap system is also a great benefit for this product. You will not have to worry about stretching over time, which would affect your comfort and protection levels.

Moisture management is another thing that Gear wants to give to its customers. In 4 hours, your best QB shoulder pads will be dry in no time at all. With a flat construction, your range of motion will be better than you ever thought possible. For both practice and gameplay, you will love the way they work for you.

  • Excellent quality product.
  • Drawstrings are quick release.
  • These pads create for a perfect fit.
  • Not as expensive as some of the other brands.
  • Pads can be too thin for some.
  • Durability is not a strong as others.

Even though this product might not last as long as other shoulder pads, this option is great for the short-term. This is especially true if you are figuring out if you truly like football or not.

9. Schutt Y-Flex 4.0 All-Purpose

If you are looking for shoulder pads that have a variety of sizes, you have come to the right place with this next option. Popular shoulder pads for quarterbacks might be few and far between, but not with these all-purpose alternatives.

Ranging from XXXS to XXL, these lightweight shoulder pads are ideal for the youth athlete. With extra protection the leather of the body, these good-quality pads will be worth your while. Another thing you will like about these pads is the 7 mm ventilation holes. This allows for great airflow and breathable mesh that will not weigh you down as you play.

  • Adjustable elastic belt allows for a great fit.
  • Comes in the color of black/neon-green.
  • Only weighs 3 pounds.
  • Very compact design.
  • Pads are thinner than other brands.
  • Only for youth football players.

As some of the most affordable pads on the market, you will love the way these pads fit time after time. No matter the position, any football player will love this option.

10. Schutt AiR Maxx Flex 2.0

Schutt outdid themselves with our last model on the list. Not only do they have shoulder pads for running backs, but they also make pads for quarterbacks, wide receivers, the offensive and defensive line, all-purpose options, and skill positions.

Through the use of open cellular foam, air chambers that are microsopic help protect you from any major blows to the chest. By using lightweight technology, these pads are strong enough to protect you and flexible enough for a great range of motion.

  • Deep arch allows for added comfort.
  • Ranges from small to XXXL sizes.
  • Sizes run exactly as stated.
  • Takes some time to break-in the shoulder pads.

These pads are some of the highest-rated around. Check these shoulder pads out if you need a trusted brand. They may be a little pricey for some, but Schutt is the cream of the crop when it comes to shoulder pads.


No matter if you are looking for budget shoulder pads, or price is not an issue, you must do your research and create a list of benefits from shoulder pads.

Remember that some of the benefit focuses should be comfort, protection, price, breathability, and durability over time. Also, with brands from Gear, Schutt, Xenith, Sports Unlimited, Adams, and so much more, it can be hard to sort through options, prices, etc.

Check out reviews and take word of mouth examples to heart to help find the right shoulder pads. This way, you will be on the right track as you buy the best shoulder pads for you and your lifestyle. Then, all you will have to focus on is playing the game you love, no matter what day of the week you compete.