The Best Football Pads In 2021: (The Ultimate Guide)

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Best Football Pads: Overview

Every good football player has a great set of pads. Have you ever seen any player make a tackle, or truck a defender without one? Yeah, me neither. In this article, I’m going to go over the best football pads for every position on the gridiron.

The right football pads will make a huge difference in your play level. If you were constantly worried about pads digging into your skin, or falling off every time you take a hit, would you be able to make plays? Of course not! You have awesome plays to make for when you release your season highlight reel! (And then maybe get some offers if you did it right).

So, with that in mind, here are the top football pads currently on the market, and the pro’s and con’s of each.

Best Football Pads At A Glance

Best Football Pads For Quarterbacks

Schutt Sports Air Maxx Flex 2.0 Skill Shoulder Pads

Best football pads

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The most important thing to consider when buying quarterback pads is if the pads allow arm movement, and protect the quarterback at the same time. Quarterbacks will love the Schutt Sports Air Maxx Flex 2.0 Skill Shoulder Pads. These pads are designed with open-cell foam that comes with microscopic foam, to give a lighter feel while not sacrificing protection. It also comes with the D30 energy lock technology. In addition, you can also attach a backplate to these, which I would definitely recommend if you’re a quarterback.

Here are some quick insights into the Schutt Sports Varsity AiR Maxx Flex 2.0 Football Shoulder Pads

  • Contains an open-cell foam with microscopic air chambers
  • Powered by D3O energy lock technology
  • The D30 is lightweight, soft, and flexible and is positioned over the shoulder for optimal impact absorption
  • High-performance arch design minimizes the weight of the item with our sacrificing hitting zone protection

These pads give quarterbacks the ideal arm range movement necessary to throw bombs, but also to be protected in case he takes a hit. Overall, these are some of the most terrific pads for quarterbacks on the market, and I’d definitely consider looking into them even further.

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Best Football Pads For Linemen

Douglas SP MR. DZ Shoulder Pads

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When it comes to linemen, they need to have bigger, tougher pads. This goes for all part of linemen gear, especially their cleats. This extra size will make it easier to give and take hits, which is a crucial part of a lineman’s game.

Here are some quick insights into the Douglas SP MR. DZ Shoulder Pads

  • Designed for OL & DL
  • Flat Pad Design with 1.5″ Belt and Buckle System
  • Air-Management Technology
  • Wider neck allows a greater field of vision.

The Douglas SP MR. DZ shoulder pads are made for o line and d linemen. It has a wider neck gap which gives amazing field vision. In addition, these pads provide unrestricted arm mobility, built with top cushions for maximum comfort while tackling and blocking. The Douglas SP MR. DZ pads give you the ultimate protection to let you block impressively and tackle effortlessly.

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Best Football Pads For Runningbacks

Xenith Velocity Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

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The Xenith Velocity Varsity Football Shoulder Pads are a perfect fit for runningbacks. These all-purpose pads are incredibly light, only 3.5 lbs. Runningbacks can’t be slowed down by their pads, they have defenders to run over! They’re incredibly flexible and have an unmatched range of motion. They also fit well on most people and are extremely versatile.

Here are some quick insights into the Xenith Velocity Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

  • PLAY FASTER: At 3.5 lbs., Velocity 2 is the lightest varsity-level shoulder pad in football.
  • FLEXIBLE. A durable shock cord connects the chest plates for maximum flexibility to contract and expand with player movement.
  • UNMATCHED RANGE OF MOTION. Low-profile padding and optimized neck roll allow a greater range of motion with the head and arms.
  • PERFECT FIT. Injection-molded design hugs the body so your shoulder pads move with you.
  • VERSATILE. Optimal chest and back coverage protects without sacrificing performance, making it the perfect pad to outfit an entire team.

The Xenith Velocity Varsity Football Shoulder Pads are a great option for any runningback looking for a new set of pads. These will let you play so fast, your coach might even consider moving you to wide receiver. In these pads, you’ll run like Tyreek Hill and run people over like Derrick Henry.

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Best Football Pads For Wide Receivers

Schutt Sports Varsity Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Football Shoulder Pads

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A good set of wide receiver pads should let you lift your arms high enough to reach for the ball, but give you enough protection from hits. Your arms should be able to have a good range of motion, and quarterback pads are this way too. You’ll often see that wide receiver and quarterback pads have the same type of pads because of the need for a range of motion.

Here are some quick insights into the Schutt Sports Varsity Flex 4.0 All-Purpose Football Shoulder Pads

  • Ideal for a range of positions- all-purpose pads
  • Adjustable straps to harness body securely in shoulder pads
  • Energy Lock redundant padding over multi-layer high-density EVA body cushioning provides the next level of protection
  • Perforated body and arches give unmatched breathability and comfort
  • Tactical Arches create a sleek fit with an exceptional range of motion

The XV7 All Purpose pad has a longer, but narrow, cut to accommodate multiple positions around the field. It is still a great set of pads for wide receivers. Energy Lock redundant padding over multi-layer high density EVA body cushioning provides great padding for the receiver. The perforated body and arches give unmatched breathability and comfort. Tactical Arches create a sleek fit with exceptional range of motion. These are a great set of pads, and I’d definatley look into them.

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Best Football Pads For Linebackers

Xenith Element Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

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Linebackers are a hybrid between defensive linemen and defensive backs. Their pads need to be hybrid as well. The Xenith Element Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pads are the perfect fit for linebackers. With lightweight protection, you’ll be able to move easily, which every linebacker needs. These pads also don’t restrict too much motion and come with belts to keep you secure in the pads. Four more pluses to these pads are that they’re breathable, moisture-wicking, have a four-way stretch (so you can get them on easily), and are compressed.

Here are some quick insights into the Xenith Element Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pads

  • ALL-PURPOSE COVERAGE: Hybrid is a balance of movement and coverage for the modern position-less player. If you drop coverage and still make hits, these pads are for you.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT PROTECTION: Xenith shoulder pads are designed for the committed athlete; lightweight and low profile allowing for a full range of motion without sacrificing protection.
  • EASY MAINTENANCE: Removable padding makes cleaning and maintenance simple.
  • DURABILITY: Laceless design and buckle straps provide durable and dependable wear every season.
  • RELIABILITY: Belt and buckle size adjustments system eliminates unnecessary bungees and straps and ensures a lock-down fit, every time.

The Xenith Element Hybrid Varsity Football Shoulder Pads are a great option for any linebacker looking for a new set of pads. You’ll be able to cover like a defensive back and hit like Ray Lewis.

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Best Football Pads For DBs (Corners/Safeties)

Douglas Legacy JD Shoulder Pads

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Douglas is one of my favorite, most trusted brands for football pads and they’ve never let me down. Defensive backs can’t be let down by their pads when they’re covering crazy fast receivers. The Douglas Legacy JD Shoulder Pads are the perfect option for defensive backs.  

“The JD’s lightweight, and streamlined design, makes it the perfect pad for the players that require a greater range of motion to play their particular position, such as defensive backs. The JD’s smaller epaulets, reverse cups, and swivel front gives the player more flexibility. The Air-Management system of open-cell foam, soft removable channels, streamlined design, help disperse the energy of contact to the chest and back of the player.”

Here are some quick insights into the Douglas Legacy JD Shoulder Pads

  • Works for all Skill Positions – QB,WR,CB,KP
  • Air-Management Technology
  • Cantilever design with elastic straps
  • Removable Channels and streamlined plastic
  • Douglas has a hard-hitting strategy for pad performance and player confidence. Hard-hitting action is as old as football, but the equipment has changed dramatically.

All in all, these are terrific pads for defensive backs. It has everything you could possibly need for when you’re in coverage and making tackles.

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Best Football Pads For Tight Ends

Douglas M50 Shoulder Pads

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Tight ends are one of the most important positions in football. They can be mismatch nightmares, and often carry offenses. Because of that, tight ends need to carry top-of-the-line football pads. The Douglas M50 Shoulder Pads are exactly that.

“The M50 pads are designed as a flat, low-profile set of pads, with belts and buckles. The Air-Management System, consisting of open-cell foam, a top redundant, and a streamlined plastic shell along with 1” belts and buckles, creates the flat pad design that helps disperse the energy of collisions. Its lightweight, streamlined design makes it the perfect pad for players that want solid protection yet a great range of motion. With larger epaulets, reverse cups, and solid front, this pad gives the player more stability to give and receive hits.”

Here are some quick insights into the Douglas M50 Shoulder Pads

  • Designed for OL, DL, LB, DE, and TE
  • Flat Pad Design with 1″ Belt and Buckle System
  • Air-Management Technology
  • A wider neck allows a greater field of vision.
  • More stability to give and receive hits
  • Lightweight 4.3 lbs

The Douglas M50 Shoulder Pads are a dream come true for all tight ends looking for a great set of pads. In these, you’ll be able to run fast, catch easily, and hit hard. I’d definitely check them out.

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FAQ’s:

Will these pads interfere with my helmet?

No, every top of the line football helmet won’t get in the way of top of the line football pads.

Can I use pads not designed for my position and still play well?

Yes, all football pads have to be safe, but you’ll want to get specific types for the best results. Keep in mind that some specific types of pads can be used for multiple positions and you’ll most likely do fine in them.

Conclusion: The Best Football Pads For Each Position

There you have it. The best football pads for each position. I hope you guys enjoyed the article and that it was helpful. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

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