Football Hip Pads

Football Hip Pads

The importance of good padding cannot be stressed enough in a rough contact sport like football. The hips in particular are vulnerable to injury when a player falls or gets tackled.  Luckily, the right pair of hip pads can help absorb impact and protect you from injury.

Benefits of Football Hip Pads

With football being a contact sport, its players are unfortunately susceptible to hip injuries. Fortunately, the proper hip pads can protect them from injuries by absorbing the brunt of the fall. Hip pads cover the upper thigh and the hipbone, protecting the hip and pelvic bones from impact. While some come integrated into girdles, many models can be added on via pockets or snap attachments. They’re made of plastic or foam, which can come in high or low densities to prioritize defense or mobility. Many designs use foam with a harder plastic coating to keep them lightweight yet protective. 

Hip pads are required in high school and college football, but they’re less commonly seen in the NFL and pro leagues. They’re especially important in youth leagues, as developing bodies are more fragile. The youngest players typically wear high-rise hip pads which cover extra area around the hips to keep them from harm. 

Things To Consider

When looking for hip pads, you'll want to consider the following:

  • What type of hip pads are you looking for?
  • What position do you play?
  • How much do you want to spend on hip pads?

What are you looking for in football hip pads?

  • Maximum protection
  • To be lightweight
  • Easy to take on and off
  • Compatible with your football pants


While some hip pads are sewn in, pads sold separately most commonly come in snap-on or slip-in style.

Snap-On Pads

Football Snap On Pads

Snap-on pads are attached to the girdle via snap attachments which click in place. They span the upper thigh and hip bone, with high-rise pads meant specifically for younger players covering more area. They’re more likely to have a harder coating, but come in both lightweight and heavier forms.


  • Quick and easy to snap in
  • Denser or sometimes vinyl dipped, meaning a harder shell for protection 
  • Can be changed to fit nature of position, unlike pre-sewn pads


  • Can be less secure than pockets
  • Common vinyl or plastic coating means pads are heavier

Slip-In Pads

Football Slip In Pads

Slip-in hip pads are inserted into a girdle’s pockets rather than snapped over them. The pockets make for an extremely secure, sometimes sealable fit. They’re commonly found in both lightweight foam and plastic-coated forms, giving players the option to prioritize streamlined speed or heavier protection. 


  • Pockets make for extra secure fit
  • Can be customized to suit agility or protection
  • Inexpensive and can be bought in bulk


  • Fitting pads into pockets can be slightly more cumbersome
  • Needs replacement more frequently


Hip pads are a standard part of football gear with plentiful options across different brands.

Under Armour

Under Armour’s compression shorts more than live up to the brand’s reputation for  high-performance athletic apparel. While they don’t make attachable hip pads, they have girdles with tough yet breathable hip padding built in and a few plain girdles made with pockets for slip-in pads. 


McDavid offers some of the more advanced and streamlined designs in football gear, and its hip pads are no exception. While they tend to be pricier, they balance flexibility and toughness impressively well; this means you don’t have to compromise mobility for protection or vice versa. 


Champro has affordable, good value equipment across a number of sports including football. They offer one of the widest selections for hip pads and related gear, with varieties of attachable and integrated hip pads in both lightweight and heavier forms. They also have integrated pads meant for both practice and gametime.


Are hip, thigh, and knee pads required to play football?

Hip, thigh, and knee pads are all required in youth league, high school and college level football. In the NFL only thigh and knee pads are mandated, while hip pads are recommended but seldom worn. Younger players with developing bodies need added protection to avoid injuries. Pro-level football prioritizes speed over protection, carrying the philosophy that the best defense is to move too fast to be tackled.

How do you put on football hip pads?

Most standard football pants come with pockets for thigh and knee pads, but few come with slots for hip pads. Pads for the hips are typically attached to the belt of the pants or worn in the girdle, a compressive garment under the football pants that holds additional padding. Some girdles have pockets to slip the pads in, while others have attachments for snap-on pads. 

What sizes do football hip pads come in?

Hip pads for football come in sizes of youth and adult, with youth fitting those 13 and under. They can vary in thickness and density to suit a player’s needs for protection and agility, with lighter foam pads allowing more mobility and heavier pads catering more to defense. Hip pads for children are often high-rise, covering more of the hip area for protection.