Football Equipment Buying Guide

Football players need good protective equipment before taking the field to make sure they remain safe during the game. Regardless of the position all players wear certain pieces of protective gear however; additional padding may be necessary depending whether the player is an offensive or defensive player.

What follows is an overview of the types of protective football gear available.

What equipment do football players wear?

All players wear certain pieces of protective gear regardless of the position.

  • Helmets
  • Face masks
  • Shoulder pads
  • Thigh Pads


Additional padding such as neck rolls, elbow pads, hip pads, tailbone pads, rib pads may be necessary depending if the player is an offensive or defensive player.

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How do I know what size helmet to buy?


  • First determine the correct size by measuring the player's head 1" above the eyebrows with a tape measure or calipers
  • The measurement taken will be used to determine the sizes offered with the various helmet models
  • The chin strap should be directly snapped to the helemt leaving no slack for a secure and snug fit
  • Press downward with your fingers interlocked on the top of the helmet, the pressure should be on the crown of your head not the brow


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Can I use any facemask for my helmet?

No, facemasks are designed to fit certain helmets, skill level and position.

Skill level:

Facemasks come in three different types of metal and range in strength, weight and price.

Carbon Steel is a standard moderately weighted metal facemask. This facemask is great for new, or younger players.

Stainless Steel are lighter then the Carbon facemasks and still just as strong. They are used by serious more skilled players like high school and college players.

Titanium is the lightest, strongest facemask made. Worn by serious or pro players.


Facemasks are not all the same they are designed for specific models and positions. There are two types of facemasks, open cage and closed cage.

Open cage:

  • Has two or three horizontal bars and no vertical bar above the nose for better visibilty
  • Preferred by quarter backs, wide receivers and defensive backs

Closed cage:

  • Has two, three or four horizontal bars and vertical bar the length of the facemask over the nose to keep player's hands and fingers out of their eyes
  • Preferred by linemen


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What to look for when buying football pads

Shoulder pads

The pads should fit over the players shoulders and chest area, and secured with buckles and snaps. For added comfort some players wear a cotton tee with foam pad cushions under their shoulder pads.

Determine the size and fit for proper protection

  • Stand up straight with arms at your side
  • Measure across the player's back from shoulder blade to shoulder blade, then add 1/2" to determine width size


Consider the position played when choosing shoulder pads, different functionalities are required on different positions

  • Offensive line prefer lighter padding for flexibility and better range of motion
  • Defensive line prefer stronger padding for harder hits


Thigh pads

  • Constructed from plastic and made to protect high-impact areas
  • Fits pockets inside the football pants or girdles with pockets designed to insert pads


Knee pads

  • Constructed from plastic and made to protect high-impact areas
  • Fits pockets inside the football pants


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What kind of football pants do I need?

There are 3 types of football pants available: Integrated Pad Pants, Slotted Waist Pants and Snap-In Pants.

Integrated Pad Pants
The integrated pad pants have a 7 piece set of pads pre-sewn directly into them. Having the pads sewn in reduces the cost making them popular for youth and adult football teams.

Slotted Waist Pants
The slotted waist pants have slots on the inside band of the waist and are designed to be worn with a full length football belt.

Snap-In Pants
Snap-In pants are made with snaps sewn into the pants making it easier to line up and snap the pads in place. These pants are preffered by youth football teams.

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