American football is a national pastime in the United States, and still leads in popularity when it comes to spectator sports. This list compiles the top ten football brands for equipment and apparel, for players from rookie to professional.
Nike supplies some of the world's best football apparel and cleats. The company was founded as Blue Ribbon Sports, but formally changed its name to Nike, Inc. in 1971. Nike's logo features a curved check design known as the "swoosh" which has become recognizable across the world. The company is based in Beaverton, Oregon and has many retail and manufacturing stores in other countries. Nike specializes in apparel and cleats for American football. The company gained great traction within the football industry when they reached a deal with the National Football League (NFL). Since 2012, Nike has had the rights to NFL apparel, meaning that every NFL jersey features the highly coveted Nike swoosh. Nike not only dominates the professional league of football, but the collegiate level as well. Nike currently sponsors many of the top college football programs in the United States including; the LSU Tigers, the Clemson Tigers, the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Georgia University Bulldogs, and the Oregon Ducks.
Under Armour is a major athletic apparel company that manufactures football cleats. The company was founded in 1996 when former University of Maryland football player, Kevin Plank, wanted an athletic shirt that would absorb sweat. Today the brand is still headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, but has many additional offices in other countries. Under Armour sells many different styles of apparel for football, including undershirts, long sleeves, and compression shorts, all featuring their sweat absorbent material. Under Armour is a major sponsor of collegiate football, sponsoring teams such as the Auburn Tigers, Boston College Eagles, Maryland Terrapins, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Current pro athletes who wear Under Armour include; Tom Brady (QB New England Patriots), Anquan Boldin (WR former NFL player), Myles Jack (LB Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Peterson (CB Arizona Cardinals), and Julio Jones (WR Atlanta Falcons).
Riddell Sports Group is a leading manufacturer of football helmets, pads, helmet reconditioning, and other football-related equipment. The company was founded in 1927 by John T. Riddell who was the coach of a high school football team. The company had two major innovations during its early years; the first was removable spikes for cleats, the second was the plastic shell helmet which was invented in 1939. The company is headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois and sells equipment worldwide. Riddell is currently an authorized helmet supplier of the NFL and also supports youth leagues such as USA Football and Pop Warner. Peyton Manning was famous for wearing a Riddell helmet during his career.
Adidas is the second largest sportswear manufacturing company behind Nike, with the company being most popular in Europe. The company was founded in 1949 in Germany by Adi Dassler. The Adidas logo features a three stripe design that was created upon the brand's 1949 release, when the company unveiled its soccer cleats. Today, the company produces American football apparel and cleats alongside its extensive collection of sports apparel. Adidas sponsors many collegiate football programs, most notably the University of Miami Hurricanes, UCLA Bruins, Louisiville Cardinals, and the Arizona State Sun Devils. Many current NFL players are also sponsored by the brand, such as Aaron Rodgers (QB Green Bay Packers), Alvin Kamara (RB New Orleans Saints), Adam Theilen (WR Minesotta Vikings), Von Miller (OLB Denver Broncos), and Patrick Mahomes (QB Kansas City Chiefs).
Schutt is another brand specializing in football helmets and pads. The company was founded in 1918 by Bill Schutt with his featured product being the basketball net. In 1935 the brand was the first to mass produce football facemasks, and in 1962, the NFL made face masks mandatory for players. Many NFL players still use Shutt helmets and shoulder pads in the NFL.
Xenith is one of the newer brands on this list, founded in 2006 by Vin Ferrara (former Havarard University Quarterback). After suffering numerous head injuries during his playing days, Ferrara believed there had to be better options for helmet safety. After three years of development and research, Xenith launched their first helmet in 2009. The company's headquarters are in Detroit, Michigan. Production now includes shoulder plates, back plates, rib protectors, and visors. It hopes to grow in popularity as the awareness for head injuries increases. Currently Xenith has partnerships with NFL running backs Frank Gore (Buffalo Bills) and Nick Chubb (Cleveland Browns), who both wear the Xenith helmets.
Cutters Gloves produces excellent athletic gloves for baseball & football, featuring their "C tack grip technology". The company was founded in 1997 by Jeff Beraznik who was unsatisfied with current football gloves on the market. He combined elements of industrial gloves with current models, leading to gloves with a higher performance model. The gloves are designed to withstand all types of weather and are even machine washable. Julian Edelman is one of the brand's biggest partners in the NFL wearing Cutter's gloves every single game. Former star NFL wide receiver Andre Johnson has also spoken highly of the brand.
Wilson Sporting Goods makes footballs and used to provide uniforms for some NFL teams. It was originally founded as a meatpacking company, but in 1915, former president of the brand Thomas E. Wilson began to produce sporting equipment such as baseball shoes and tennis rackets. It was not until 1931 that the company was formally changed to Wilson Sporting Goods. The company gained major attention within the industry in 1941, when the NFL made Wilson the official ball of the league. The NFL has continued their tradition of using Wilson balls to this day, with the brand continuing to have an established reputation.
Douglas Sports is a popular brand for football, producing shoulder pads, back plates, rib cage protectors, and other equipment and accessories. The company was founded in 1967 and initially manufactured industrial fabrics, but by the end of the 1970s the company had started producing a wide range of sporting goods equipment. The brand specializes in shoulder pads and makes different designs for each player's position, such as quarterbacks, wide receivers, and defensive backs. Six-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady has been wearing the same Douglas shoulder pads since his playing days at Michigan, and refuses to take to the field with anything else.
Battle Sports is the newest company on this list, founded in 2009, and specializing in football equipment. Battle Sports Has gained popularity in recent years with its new mouthguard style and high quality backplates. The company also produces athletic towels, chinstraps, and skull caps for football players. Many current NFL and NCAA players have been using their equipment recently, and have started a trend in youth sports. In the 2019 season, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf made his league debut wearing a mouthguard designed by Battle Sports to look like a pacifier. Battle Sports is known for its iconic mouthguards which each feature a unique design and colors. The company recently reached a partnership agreement with Growth of Game by becoming their official camp sponsor.