Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
Shoulder pads are an essential piece of equipment for lacrosse players. They can help protect against major injuries, and some form of shoulder protection is almost always worn by lacrosse players. These shoulder pads resemble ones worn in other contact sports such as football or hockey. There is a lot more to learn about lacrosse shoulder pads.
What are lacrosse shoulder pads used for?
Shoulder pads are a piece of equipment that has padding covering the shoulders, chest, and upper back. They usually do not have a hard plastic layer as other types of shoulder pads do. Their main purpose is to protect the player from injuries that may result from hard shots, stick checks, or other potential physical trauma. Lacrosse can be a very physical game at times, and wearing shoulder pads will often alleviate injuries.
While this piece of equipment can be very beneficial and improve the safety of lacrosse players, it is not required in higher level leagues. Most lacrosse players will usually wear shoulder pads during games but not during practice. Some players may believe that wearing shoulder pads hinders their mobility and that the protection they offer is not worth the potential performance decline.
Things To Consider
When looking for lacrosse shoulder pads, you'll want to consider the following:
- What position do you play in lacrosse?
- What level of protection are you looking for?
- How much do you want to spend on shoulder pads?
- What level of lacrosse do you play?
The different types of lacrosse shoulder pads are traditional, hybrid, and shoulder pad liners.
Traditional style shoulder pads are the ones that most resemble hockey or football shoulder pads. They offer the most protection out of the three styles. This type offers some protection to the biceps, along with the typical chest, shoulder, and back coverage. Many players who prefer this style prioritize protection over mobility.
Hybrid shoulder pads look most similar to traditional style shoulder pads. They offer similar protection as traditional style pads, while also getting rid of some of the less useful areas. This style is lighter than traditional pads but does not always provide a sufficient amount of protection that some players desire.
Shoulder Pad Liner
Shoulder pad liners are the most common type of shoulder pads worn by higher level lacrosse players. They offer a similar amount of torso protection as hybrid shoulder pads while having no protection to the arms. This style is optimal for lacrosse players who emphasize mobility over full protection.
The most common materials found in lacrosse shoulder pads are polyethylene, polyurethane, and velcro.
- Polyethylene: Polyethylene is one of the most commonly used plastics. In shoulder pads that use plastic in their lining or as a shell, polyethylene is a common choice.
- Polyurethane: Polyurethane is a common material that has many uses and forms. In lacrosse, polyurethane foam is commonly used for the padding in shoulder pads.
- Velcro: Velcro is a commonly used binding material. It is used in many different lacrosse shoulder pads as the mechanism for tightening or securing the pads.
The most popular brands that produce lacrosse shoulder pads are Maverik, STX, and Warrior.
- Maverik: Maverik makes lacrosse equipment for both men and women. They make all different types of shoulder pads and focus on being lightweight.
- STX: STX makes equipment for lacrosse, field hockey and ice hockey. They make a few different varieties of shoulder pads targeted for different skill levels.
- Warrior: Warrior makes high quality equipment for both lacrosse and ice hockey. They make mostly traditional and hybrid shoulder pads with a few different levels of protection.
When considering which shoulder pads to buy, always consider the durability, cost, and different sizes available.
Lacrosse shoulder pads will often be pretty durable. Depending on how many hits or shots a player takes, shoulder pads should last for a few seasons. If the padding begins to wear down or rip, it is recommended that you replace the shoulder pads. Moisture can also penetrate the material, shortening the lifespan in some cases.
Most shoulder pads can be found anywhere from $60 to around $140. There is not much variation between the different styles, however, hybrid and traditional pads can sometimes cost more due to their removable bicep pads. Most companies will have different levels of technology within their shoulder pads which will affect the cost more than the style.
Most shoulder pads will come in sizes x-small to x-large. The most important factor in determining which size is appropriate for you is chest size. Other factors such as weight and height may also play a role. It is best to see if a company has a size chart for their specific shoulder pads to find the right size.
How do you put on shoulder pads?
Shoulder pads are relatively easy to put on. The first step is to always make sure all of the straps are undone and slide your head through the hole in the middle of the pads. Once that is done, take the velcro or hook straps on the sides and adjust to the preferred tightness. If your shoulder pads have bicep protectors, make sure to strap those in as well.
What are the benefits of wearing shoulder pads in lacrosse?
The main benefit of wearing lacrosse shoulder pads is safety. Shoulder pads provide protection to some of the most fragile and exposed areas such as the chest, shoulders, back and biceps. These pads protect against physical collisions or hard shots at a player.
Do PLL players wear shoulder pads?
Not all PLL players wear shoulder pads. While they are starting to become required in levels as high as the NCAA, the PLL does not currently require players to wear shoulder pads. However, lighter models such as shoulder pad liners are becoming more common in the PLL.