Ice Hockey Shoulder Pads

Ice Hockey Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads are one of the essential pieces of equipment used in ice hockey. While they are not visible to spectators, shoulder pads are one of the most important factors keeping hockey players safe. Every hockey player, no matter what skill level, is required to wear shoulder pads. There is a lot to learn about the different types of hockey shoulder pads.

What are ice hockey shoulder pads used for?

Ice hockey is one of the most physical and dangerous sports. Shoulder pads are made to protect the hockey player from possible injuries caused by falling or collisions. Hockey shoulder pads have a very similar design to shoulder pads in other sports such as football. Not only do they protect the shoulders, but they cover the chest, back, and other vital areas. 

Most shoulder pads are similar in design. They usually have a few different plastic panels connected to padding that allow for mobility along with protection. They also have either velcro or hook straps that allow the player to tighten the shoulder pads and keep them from falling off. Within each type of shoulder pad there are usually different fits or builds to shape a hockey player’s preferences. 

Things To Consider

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

  • What size shoulder pad are you looking for?
  • How much do you want to spend on shoulder pads?
  • Are you a skater or a goalie?
  • What material is most comfortable for you to wear?


The two different types of hockey shoulder pads include skater shoulder pads and goalie chest protectors.

Skater Shoulder Pads

Skater shoulder pads are the type of pads worn by all hockey players other than the goalie. They cover the chest, shoulders, back, and part of the bicep. This type of shoulder pads is lighter and allows for greater mobility than goalie chest protectors. 

Goalie Chest Protector

Ice Hockey Goalie Chest Protector

Goalie chest protectors are similar to skater shoulder pads except for a few main differences. They protect more of the arms and abdomen and have much thicker padding. They also do not usually have plastic reinforcements but are much heavier, emphasizing protection over mobility. 


The most popular brands that make ice hockey shoulder pads are Bauer, CCM, STX, and Warrior.

  • Bauer: Bauer is well known for their high quality hockey equipment and apparel. They produce many different types of shoulder pads aimed at different skill levels.
  • CCM: CCM is a premier hockey equipment brand. They make both types of shoulder pads and even offer some customizable options.
  • STX: STX makes equipment for lacrosse, field hockey, and ice hockey. They make skater shoulder pads for relatively cheap.
  • Warrior: Warrior makes high quality equipment for hockey and lacrosse. They make a few different kinds of each type of shoulder pad.


When deciding which shoulder pads to buy, always consider the durability, cost, and different sizes.


Shoulder pads can be very durable. If taken care of properly, they can often last up to 10 years. It is most common for the velcro straps to lose their grip or for moisture to ruin the padding. A lot of these problems can be repaired which will greatly improve the shoulder pad’s lifespan.


Hockey shoulder pads vary greatly based on the type. Skater shoulder pads can cost as much as $200 for the most advanced protectors while junior and recreational shoulder pads can cost less than $50. Goalie chest protectors can often cost much more and can even cost up to $600 for the highest quality set.


Most hockey shoulder pads will come in the size categories: youth, junior, and senior. Within these categories, sizes mostly range from small to x-large. Most companies will have different specific measurements for their own types of shoulder pads. 


How do you choose what size shoulder pad to use in hockey?

There are two main measurements that one needs to make in order to determine the appropriate size shoulder pads. The first measurement is the size of the player’s chest and the second is the player’s height. Matching these two measurements with a company’s size chart will often produce the most desirable size. 

How much do hockey shoulder pads cost?

Each type of shoulder pad has a great variation in cost. Skater shoulder pads can cost anywhere from $30 to upwards of $200 depending on the size and technology. Goalie chest protectors will usually cost around $60 to $100 for the lower quality protectors and up to $600 for the most advanced pads.

What are the different kinds of hockey shoulder pads?

There are two types of hockey shoulder pads, skater shoulder pads and goalie shoulder pads. Skater shoulder pads are designed for all non-goalies and offer protection to the shoulders, chest and biceps while also remaining mobile. Goalie chest protectors cover the whole arm as well as most of the torso and are much thicker in terms of padding.