Football is a rough-and-tumble sport. From tackling to blocking to juking a defender, the sport has a level of physicality few can match. That’s why having the proper protection is so essential.
While most football fans may be more familiar with larger, more noticeable protective gear like helmets and shoulder pads, these are smaller pads that are just as important when it comes to staying safe out on the gridiron.
When it comes to lower-body padding, you’ll need two thigh pads, two knee pads, two hip pads and one tailbone pad. Keep in mind that most of these pads can be bought in bulk, which means it’s not only much more affordable, but also easier to check off your list of equipment needs.
MATERIALS AND FEATURES
Rather than being bulky and constricting mobility, lower-body pads are made of lightweight materials like foam and durable plastics that are comfortable, yet dependable enough to help shield you from injury. These pads are also made to be breathable thanks to ventilated grooves that help circulate airflow so that you can stay cool in a heated play.
You may find pads that are dipped in a vinyl coating. These pads tend to be heavier, however, so they are better for multi-purpose positions and linemen. Quarterbacks and skill players will want lighter pads that won’t get in the way of mobility or weigh them down.
“SNAP-ON” OR “SLIP-IN”?
Before you buy a set of lower-body football pads, you’ll need to know whether your football pants are designed for “snap-on” or “slip-in” padding. Like the name implies, snap-on pads simply snap onto the inside of your pants for added security. With slip-in pads, they are inserted into the pockets attached to your football pants for a secure fit.
Football girdles, which can house hip pads and a tailbone pad, also offer either a slip-in or snap-on option. Check to see whether your football pants and girdle have the snap-on or slip-in feature before buying lower-body pads so you can make the correct purchase.
These football pads come in youth and adult sizes, so finding the right size is simple.
Depending on your position, you may want to invest in either rib protectors or a back plate for added protection around your midsection.
Rib protectors feature cushioned foam padding that surrounds your lower abdomen, covering both your ribs and lower back. These are lightweight and comfortable, designed with ventilation slots to help manage moisture and create breathability. These pads are ideal for quarterbacks, whose ribs are exposed when dropping back and passing the ball.
An alternative to rib protectors is a padded baselayer that fits securely underneath jerseys and shoulder pads. This system combines padding with compression technology for state-of-the-art protection.
In the end, whether you choose a classic rib protector style or the compression option is all personal preference, since both provide protection to the area when you’re playing.
In terms of sizing, most rib protectors can be found in youth and adult sizes, making for a quick shopping experience.
Back plates are made from foam padding that is encased in a plastic shell to help protect the lower back. They are usually attached to and hang from the back of the shoulder pads. Back plates can be great for skill players such as running backs, defensive backs and wide receivers who are likely to be tackled from behind. They also are lightweight, easily removable and come in youth and adult sizes.
Being protected on the gridiron is essential. Now that you know what to look for in football pads you’ll be ready to suit up and take the field in your new suit of armor!