The right football pants are a make-or break-piece of every football player’s gear. They have to have proper ventilation and the right stretch for mobility while keeping pads in place to protect the lower body.
Benefits of Football Pants
Football pants are specially designed to hold a player’s leg padding and ensure they can run freely. They’re made of a stretchy fabric like nylon, lyca, and polyester that allows athletes ventilation and freedom of movement while holding pads in place. In the early days of football, pants were made of simple canvas, but modern designs are streamlined to allow athletes maximum mobility and comfort. Today’s pants are glossy with a stretch, often customized to a team’s colors.
Some football pants come with pads already sewn in, while others have pockets or snap attachments on the inner lining of the pants to fit pads and lock them in place. While they can always fit thigh and knee pads, some don’t have space for hip or tailbone pads which are instead worn in the girdle.
Things To Consider
When looking for football pants, you'll want to consider the following:
- What size pants do you normally wear?
- What color football pants do you need?
- How much are you willing to spend on football pants?
What are you looking for in football pants?
- Included padding
- To work with existing pads
Football pants come in slotted, integrated, or snap-in forms.
Integrated Pad Football Pants
Football pants with integrated pads already have thigh, knee, hip, and tailbone pads sewn to the pants themselves. They commonly come with all seven integrated pads but some pants only have knee and thigh pads, which are required in both youth and pro league football.
- Simple and easy to get on
- Less expensive than buying pants with a separate set of pads
- Useful for practice
- Pads cannot be swapped out to customize for different positions or preferences
- Must be replaced or repaired if pads are damaged
Slotted Football Pants
Slotted football pants have pockets on the inner lining of the pants that pads slip into. They fit thigh and knee pads, while pads for the hip and tailbones are usually attached to the belt. The pocket fit is extra secure and generally preferred by college athletes and professionals.
- Pocket fit provides extra security
- Widely available in both youth and adult forms
- Customizable pads for preferences or positions
- Slightly more cumbersome
- Pads must be occasionally replaced
- More expensive than snap-in pants
Snap-In Football Pants
Snap-in football pants have snap attachments on the inner lining for their padding. Snaps are available for the thigh, knee, hip, and tailbone pads, though sometimes the hip pads have to be attached to a belt. They’re quick and convenient, making them especially popular for youth leagues.
- Quick and easily attached pads
- Pads can be swapped out to suit preferences or positions
- Good for youth league players
- Pads are slightly less secure than slotted pants
- Less common in adult sizes or for use in pro leagues
Football pants are a staple of football gear, offered across many sports brands, including Russell, Schutt, and Under Armour.
Russel offers deluxe and more basic, affordable options in both youth and adult sizes. Its deluxe football pants are primarily for adults, with a high-stretch fit, and come in practice pants or glossier game pants. It also has integrated game and practice pants for youth football players.
Schutt has good value options in football pants for youth, varsity, and adult athletes. They sell football gear primarily and have a good variety of integrated, slip-in, and snap-in pants options at an affordable price.
Under Armour offers high-quality football gear for both youth and adult players at a slightly higher price. Its football pants are streamlined and crafted for heightened mobility with four-way stretch knit fabric. They offer integrated and slip-in options for football pants.
What sizes do football pants come in?
Football pants need a snug fit to hold the pads in the right areas for adequate protection. They come in youth, varsity, and adult sizes from small to X-large, measuring by the waist. A small is 22 to 24 inches, a medium is 24 to 26 inches, a large is 28 to 30 inches, and an X large is 32 to 34 inches.
How much do football pants cost?
Football pants can cost around $20 for a basic, inexpensive pair or around $50 for a more streamlined and higher quality design. They can also be customized to fit a team’s colors for an added cost. Integrated football pants can be slightly more expensive, around $60 for a high-quality pair, but they do not require purchasing a separate set of pads.
What parts of the body are the pads in football pants supposed to cover?
Football pants come with pads that cover the hips, tailbone, thighs, and knees. Some pants have slots or snaps for every single piece of padding, while others only have compatibility for knee and thigh pads. This is because hips and tailbone pads are optional for professional leagues and can be worn in a girdle or attached to the belt. Integrated football pants typically come with a complete set of pads.