You spend a lot of money suiting yourself, or your child, up for the game. Helmets, chin straps, pads, cleats…they all help protect you on the field, but unfortunately, together they can all cost an arm and a leg! So to make sure you’re getting the most for your money, it’s incredibly important to find the right gear for your size. Improperly fitting football equipment, no matter how high-end and advanced, isn’t worth the box they put it in if it doesn’t fit you!
Let me take a few minutes and run down the best way to measure and fit football shoulder pads, so you know you’re getting the most coverage and performance out of yours. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be in good shape:
- Grab a friend or a parent. Measuring yourself can be awkward, and may lead to inaccurate readouts and ill-fitting shoulder pads.
- Measure your chest. Standing up straight, have someone wrap a flexible measuring tape around your upper torso and record the measurements. Think about wearing a tight fitting shirt to get the most accurate, next-to-skin measurements possible.
- Measure your shoulder width. Again, standing up straight, stretch the tape over the contour of your shoulders, between the AC joints (those are the joints between the tops of your shoulders), and record the measurements.
- Weigh yourself. Typically, youth shoulder pads are sized by weight class, so to properly fit youth shoulder pads, it’s important to know your exact weight.
Once you have these numbers written down, you can start shopping for new football shoulder pads. SU has a huge selection of youth and adult shoulder pads for every position, age range, and budget, from the top brands like Schutt, Riddell, Douglas, and Bike…just saying.
Now, once you receive them, it’s important to know how to put on football shoulder pads. You should also make sure they fit properly, and deliver the coverage and mobility you need before using them. When you get your pads, make sure to:
- Bring the pads down over your head. Align the shoulder pads carefully, and be sure not to scratch your eyes or nose when putting them on.
- Secure all straps and laces. Each shoulder pad front connector and strap system is different, depending on brand and position, but no matter what the configuration, make sure to properly connect the front and back of your pads. Then tightly buckle all belts and straps to get a snug, comfortable fit against the chest and back.
- Check the fit. Once everything is secure, ensure the shoulder pads fit properly. The padding shouldn’t be pinching your collar, and should sit comfortably on your shoulders. Typically, about 1″ of padding should extend from your shoulders.
- Check coverage in the front and back. The shoulder pads should fully cover your sternum and upper shoulders, as well as your scapula and rhomboid. Confirm this full coverage by extending your hands above your head. Properly fitting and measured shoulder pads should still cover these areas when lifted up.
- Move around and double check the fit. Perform some on-field
actions in the new pads (even if it looks a little weird), to double check comfort, fit, and coverage in game-like situations.
Follow these steps, and you’ll get the absolute best coverage, performance, and comfort from your shoulder pads, no matter how much you spend on them. For another perspective on these steps, check out our video on sizing youth shoulder pads, starring our favorite SU football player, Zach.
And remember, if you have any further questions or concerns regarding your pads, or any other football gear for that matter, you can always consult Sports Unlimited’s Shoulder Pad Buyer’s Guide, or our huge library of football gear buyer’s guides, that cover every aspect of everything football from football helmets to thigh pads.
||By Brandon Porter.
Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.