Lacrosse shoulder pads are probably the most important piece of protective gear for many lacrosse players. Offensive players, attackmen and midfielders get checked the most, and shoulder pads help protect some of your most vitals organs and the muscular-skeletal around them.
Dislocated shoulders and broken ribs are not fun and they keep you out of the game for some time. Defenders want to protect themselves, but do most of the checking and would prefer pads that are lightweight and unobtrusive.
Types of Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
Lacrosse shoulder pads vary in size and protection. Pads with more protection will be longer in the arms and will go down further on the chest and back. There are two types of shoulder pads in lacrosse:
- Shoulder pad liners are designed to be snug fitting, low profile pieces that offer sternum and collar bone protection but do not have bulkier shoulder padding or arm padding. Liners are primarily worn by more advanced players that are shedding padding for better mobility and are playing either middie or defense. Liners trade less protection for more mobility. An example of what a liner looks like is below.
- Traditional lacrosse shoulder pads offer more protection than liners and are worn by advancing youth players and older offensive players that are getting checked often. Most advanced attackman opt for shoulder pads rather than liners even at the high school and collegiate levels as they want the extra shoulder and arm protection. Youth players should wear the most protection possible.
- Small – height 4’3″-4’6″, weight 50-90 lbs., age 6-10
- Medium – height 4’6″-5’6″, weight 90-150 lbs., age 11-13
- Large – height 5’6″-6’+, weight 150-200+ lbs., age 14-17+
- Extra large – height 6’+, weight 200+, age 18+
If your shoulder pads are too tight, you won’t be able to move like you want. if they are too loose, you expose yourself to injury.
Features To Consider When Buying Shoulder Pads
- Breathability – the majority of shoulder pads on the market will have ventilation technology throughout the pads to manage body temperature. One thing to look into is if the pads flex as you breath. Some of the top price-point models will feature elastic segments in the chest that stretch to allow the player to breath easier. Not only will the pads expand as you inhale, but they will contour to the players rib cage and provide better protection.
- Strapping System – make sure to look into how the pads latch onto the players body. Believe it or not many of the competing manufacturers have attempted different strapping systems over the years to improve the overall feel of the pads. Most shoulder pads use Velcro, but others use plastic buckles. Velcro is the most dependable and cost effective, but unlike Velcro the buckle system will not make your jersey fray and lose its strength of adhesiveness over time.
- Heart Protection – it goes without saying that lacrosse is a dangerous sport. The ball travels at a high rate of speed and sometimes players get hit in the chest so hard it makes their heart stop. Many lacrosse pads offer a removable air bladder system that can be placed under the pads to protect the heart. Manufacturers are aware of this and have been working hard to prevent this by placing an extra sternum plate for added protection. Ultimately, the best way to prevent this tragedy is to get shoulder pads that offer a sternum plate or an air bladder system which is essentially a bag of air that is Velcro’d inside the pads.
Check out the 9 Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads on the market right now:
1. Maverik Lacrosse Men’s Rome RX3 Shoulder Pad
2. STX Lacrosse Cell 3 Shoulder Pad
3. STX Lacrosse Cell 3 Shoulder Pad Liner
4. adidas Performance EQT Berserker Speed Lacrosse Chest/Shoulder Pad
Designed to provide protection in all the right areas while providing superior range of motion, fit, and moisture wicking elements for ideal performance in all seasons. Anatomically designed for maximum mobility and protection. Sternum guard element with dual density compression molded EVA foam. Lightweight construction with climacool technology.
5. Brine Clutch Shoulder Pad
6. Warrior Adrenaline X2 Hitman Adult Shoulder Pad
7. Warrior Youth Rabil NXT Shoulder Pad
8. Maverik Lacrosse Charger Shoulder Pad