Lacrosse is the fastest game on two feet, and it is played with metal sticks in hands. High-speed impacts and collisions are commonplace, and so is dislocated shoulder/collar and broken bones.
Therefore, you need the best lacrosse shoulder pads with optimal features to keep you safe while you enjoy your game.
Below is a comprehensive reviewed list of the best shoulder pads on the market.
Table of Contents
- Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads for Men On The Market: My Top 5 Choices
- Best Youth Lacrosse Shoulder Pads: My Top 2 Choices
- Types of Shoulder Pad
- Look Out for the Following Things When Selecting the Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads for Men On The Market: My Top 5 Choices
Known for its supreme lacrosse equipment, Maverik never fails to deliver. When it comes to shoulder pads, their EKG line is especially interesting for it complies with the newest NOCSAE performance standard ND200, offering an external cardiac guard.
What you need from a shoulder pad is protection that doesn't compromise your mobility. That being said, the pads should cover the shoulder area, chest, ribs, and biceps without being too heavy. The Maverik Max EKG shoulder protection has it all.
The first advantage you get with these shoulder pads is the traditional design that offers a perfect fit. It's produced in a medium and large size, and you can adjust the comfort fit arch to customize the fit, coverage, and drape.
Next off, it includes the durastretch panels across the torso area. And these panels move with your body offering a great range of motion. It also has anaform chest and spine plates, designed to endure high-velocity impacts.
On top of everything, this shoulder protection has a Quickdry lining that absorbs moisture and allows air circulation for cool, dry skin.
Players like that these shoulder pads offer great protection without restricting your movement. However, I've noticed a goalie report with a negative review of the thickness of the pads in the shoulder area, so it's something that Maverik could improve.
Overall, it's a decent product for the price, definitely not the most protective gear you can find, but it does offer a cardiac guard, rib protection, and doesn't restrict your mobility.
- EKG protection
- Torso protection
- Allows mobility
- Spine plates
- Not protective enough in the shoulder area
Here we have one fantastic model of shoulder pads from Nike, the Vapor 2.0, first released in 2017. Even though this model appeared four years ago, it is still very popular on the market due to its lightweight, flexible design.
Nike Vapor 2.0 is a perfect model for youth who need more freedom in movement and flexible pads that will follow their growth. As an entry-level player, you won't be able to perform well enough with heavy gear, yet you still need protection. Nike Vapor 2.0 offers the perfect balance of maximum protection and lightweight design.
This shoulder pad features an ergonomic design that follows the line of shoulder caps and collar bones to prevent the most common injuries. It includes integrated stretch zones that allow a bit of flexibility to entry-level players who haven't grown into their pads yet. These strategically placed zones also allow more freedom in movement and support swift actions.
This model also includes bicep pads, especially important for young players who are not quite used to fierce, aggressive checks and close contact.
You can purchase them in medium and large sizes, and black color with a neon green stripe that makes you more notable.
After four years, the price is still very high. In fact, this is one of the most expensive high-end products of this sort, and while it inevitably does exhibit high quality, I personally find it a bit overpriced.
- Perfect for youth
- Bicep pads
- Ergonomic design
#3. STX Lacrosse Stallion 500 - Superior Flexible Materials
It wouldn't be a lacrosse gear list without at least one STX product. As always, this brand brings us a pure quality achieved with smart shape, high-grade materials, and flawless design.
STX Stallion 500 is a smartly designed shoulder pad that covers all the vulnerable areas of the upper body yet doesn't weigh too much or limit your movement drastically; how?
The key lies in the innovative materials that offer thick protection without compromising the weight. Namely, a brand new hybrid of foam, HD2 Foam, is integrated to all high-impact zones, strategically protecting you where it is needed. It also includes the bicep pads that offer a bit of extra protection when those checks are a little too fierce.
Furthermore, along the ribs and torso, the HEX Pro, integrated rib protection shields your chest and offers the optimal air ventilation for a more comfortable experience. Additionally, the entire torso pad is designed to be flexible and offer more freedom in movement and a perfect fit.
As for the perfect fit, this STX Stallion 500 shoulder pad has the functional click-and-fit buckle system that buckles you up safely and keeps the consistent fit throughout the entire game.
Finally, while you are moving, the smartly placed stretch zones move with you, now slowing you down or limiting your movement. As a young player still learning the skills, this is of crucial importance to you, so these pads are made for you specifically.
- Strategically designed
- Superior materials
- Maximum protection
- All key areas covered
Next off, we have a more of a budget-offer, yet, unquestionably effective in providing the necessary protection. It's the TRUE Frequency 2.0 pads with arm extensions and a unique antimicrobial liner.
Three critical points of your upper body, shoulders, sternum, and spine, are covered with compression molded, cross-linked EVA panels of foam. Undoubtedly, this upgraded type of foam gives unmatched bone protection and lets the player focus on the game.
Usually, shoulder pads come with bicep pads at best, but this special model includes removable arm pads with both lateral and bilateral modifications. When things heat up, you'll learn to appreciate these handy additions that bring your safety to a significantly higher level.
The next thing I like about these pads is the adjustable top clavicle. It offers customization and enables you to create a perfect fit for your position and range of motion.
Finally, you'll love TRUE Frequency 2.0 for it incorporates a TRUE liner, non-absorbing, odor neutralizing fabric that is treated with antimicrobial substances to inhibit the development of bacteria and bad smell.
All in all, when we take everything into consideration, this product displays an amazing price-to-quality ratio. It's antimicrobial, comfortable, provides a high level of protection, and most importantly, doesn't interfere with your freedom to move.
I wouldn't say it's the creme da la creme, yet it will perform well on all level players and won't fail to deliver when you need it the most.
- Removable arm pads
- Unconventional materials
- Special foam
- Not the highest quality available
Here we have another incredible model from Maverik's EKG Line, the Maverik MX EKG. Youth is thrilled with this product, claiming it offers just the right combination of flexibility and protection, guards all the critical areas, and allows undisturbed movement.
Being an EKG Shoulder Pad, this model also has a special cardiac shield that complies with the latest NOCSAE Performance Standard-ND200. It actually addresses commotio cordis, a rising issue in all contact sports, and strives to prevent heart failure.
What is more, these pads include the removable bicep pads that could prove essential for some players suffering hard checks and unforgiving actions.
This model is almost identical to Maverik MAX EKG Speed, yet it costs significantly less, and it's more of an entry-level piece of lacrosse gear. It's super-lightweight and mobile, and you can still get top dodges and flawless shots with these.
They have a bit different shoulder caps, more closed and, I would say, more secure than the MAX Speed model does. And the entire chest area seems more flexible on the MX EKG model than the MAX Speed pads.
MX EKG also has a ventilated liner on the inside, offering air circulation and an overall pleasant feeling during the game. It doesn't retain heat or cause uncontrollable sweating, which is essential.
The price is accordingly lower than the price of the MAX Speed. With that in mind, this model is more accessible and affordable to high school players and beginners.
- Beginner-level pads
Best Youth Lacrosse Shoulder Pads: My Top 2 Choices
As a young player, you are probably looking for affordable shoulder pads made of hard plastic that won't break under pressure and will provide the necessary protection. STX designed the best shoulder pads for you.
STX Lacrosse Stallion 200+ is like a more affordable version of STX Lacrosse Stallion 500. On the other hand, it definitely reminds me of Maverik's EKG line, because just like their models, it meets the NOCSAE standard for cardiac protection implementing the external sternum plate.
Once again, I'd like to emphasize how important this is for a young player who is not entirely ahead of the game yet and can easily be injured.
Next off, this model includes the shoulder caps made of hard plastic; hence the chances for shoulder injuries are minimized. Unlike hybrid models, these heavy-duty shoulder pads did not reduce the amount of coverage to optimize the weight; you are fully covered.
The STX Lacrosse Stallion 200+ lacrosse pads integrate pinnie holders and removable biceps pads that you can adjust and customize to create the ultimate comfortable fit. Also, as you gain weight, you can adjust them to follow your physique adequately.
Especially added for young players, these pads include the ID label to ensure you don't mix up your gear with someone else's.
The price is very affordable and, I can say with certainty, adequate for the quality you get. Plus it is available in the widest range of sizes on the market.
- Meets the NOCSAE standards
- Removable Bicep padding
- Thick Plastic Caps
- Id label
- Chest plate
- Could be more durable
What we have here is the most budget-friendly product today, the Warrior's Burn Next Youth Shoulder Pads, first released in 2018. At first glance, I can tell this is a heavy-duty set of padding that will create an impermeable shield over your upper part and guard you against those heavy checks.
The first thing I find worth mentioning is that these pads include pre-formed shoulder caps and floating external sternum plate, or pad, as Warrior puts it. Critical points in the shoulder and sternum area are reinforced with polyurethane for best protection and resistance.
Throughout the entire structure, Warrior placed dual-density foam that offers comfort and keeps you safe. And the fully-adjustable straps enable you to find just the right fit and have enough freedom in movement during games.
Another great addition is the built-in rib pads. These, together with the dual-density foam, provide young players with maximum protection and the best lacrosse performance.
Just like the STX Stallion 200+, Burn Next is available in a wide range of sizes, being suitable for lacrosse players of all ages and builds. It features an all-black design that looks very elegant and high-end, despite the incredibly affordable price.
I couldn't find any negative reviews; therefore, I would recommend these shoulder pads for entry-level players who are just getting used to lacrosse.
- Great Shoulder Pads for Attack
- Cardiac protection
- Adjustable velcro straps
- Extra small, small, medium, large, extra-large size
- Chest plate
- Dual-density foam
- No special collar bone protection
Types of Shoulder Pad
The most crucial piece of protective gear for a lacrosse player is the shoulder pad. Players who play attack and midfield get checked the most. A lacrosse shoulder part is the only way to protect the vital organs and the skeletal muscles around them.
Having a broken rib or dislocated rib during a game is not fun; this will keep you on the sidelines for long.
Defenders who protect the goal do a lot of checking, attackers who try to ghost behind defense need speed and mobility; both will prefer lightweight and unobtrusive shoulder pads.
There are many lacrosse shoulder pads on the market; they vary in size and the protection they confer. Shoulder pads with longer arms that go further down the back and chest provide better protection.
The two types of lacrosse shoulder pads are:
1. Shoulder Pad Liner
These shoulder pads are designed to be low profile pieces and snug-fitting, which protect the collar bone and sternum. But they lack arm padding and do not have bulky shoulder padding.
Liners are mostly worn by advanced level players that are getting rid of padding for more mobility and are playing either in defines or midfield.
2. Traditional Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
This shoulder pad provides more protection than the shoulder pad liners. They are mostly worn by youth and collegiate players. They are also recommended for older players who get checked often.
Most attackmen prefer the shoulder pads to the liners, as they want an extra arm and shoulder protection. Advancing players should wear the most protection possible.
Look Out for the Following Things When Selecting the Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
Your shoulder pad of choice should have a form of ventilation technology to help you manage your body temperature during games.
One vital feature to look out for is to observe if the pad chest segment is elastic and allows you to breathe. The shoulder pad will not only let you breathe comfortably but should also contour your rib cage and provide maximum protection.
2. Strapping System
Look into how easy it is to strap the shoulder pad onto the body of a lacrosse player.
Different brands have tried many strapping systems with varying results. Some shoulder pads use plastic buckles; others use Velcro. Velcro is the most reliable.
3. Heart Protection
Lacrosse is a dangerous sport. The pace of the game can get frantic with balls flying at a high rate of speed, which sometimes hits a player's chest. This can stop the heart from beating. Some lacrosse shoulder pads offer a unique removable chest region system that is placed as a layer over the chest.
Other manufacturers are aware of the risk to the heart and have placed an extra sternum plate over the chest for added protection.
To prevent such an accident, purchase a shoulder pad that provides a sternum plate or an air bladder system, which is an air-filled bag velcroed inside the shoulder pad.
4. The Weight of the Shoulder Pad
Lacrosse is often called the fastest game played on two feet on the planet. It is a contact-heavy sport, requiring mobility and speed. As much as protective equipment is needed to play the game, it should not impair gameplay.
Lacrosse shoulder pads should be manufactured from high-quality, lightweight materials. Some shoulder pads are lightweight such that a player feels like he is wearing nothing.
Attackers looking to speed behind the defense need a lightweight shoulder pad, which will also offer protection from checks, slashes, cross-checks, and collisions as they charge at goal.
Regardless of your position of play and the choice of your shoulder pad, it should fit snugly to your body without impeding movement, as well as offering sufficient padding for the collarbone and sternum area.
Your pad should not be riding up into your neck. It should be a perfect fit that adequately protects your vitals during play. Shoulder pads come in sizes XS-S-M-L-XL, each brand having specific measurements.
Pay rapt attention to the size chart; an appropriately fitted shoulder pad should directly cover your chest without dropping too low. However, low profile lacrosse shoulder pads have a unique design, so don't get confused with that.
External Cardiac Protection
Maverik Max EKG Speed
Lightweight and Ergonomic
Nike Vapor 2.0
Superior Flexible Materials
STX Lacrosse Stallion 500
Unconventional and Highly-Protective
TRUE Frequency 2.0
Perfect for Beginners
Maverik MX EKG Lacrosse Shoulder Pad
Optimized Youth Shoulder Pads
STX Lacrosse Stallion 200+
Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads for The Price
Warrior Burn Next Youth
Frequently Asked Questions
How should lacrosse shoulder pads fit?
Lacrosse shoulder pads should fit snugly, yet not too tightly so that you can move freely and deliver passes, shots, and checks accurately.
The shoulder pads shouldn't go too high, touching your neck, nor too low and loosely; you should adjust them to find just the right fit that covers your shoulders, collarbone, and chest.
What are the best lacrosse shoulder pads?
This is not at all simple to answer since every player has his own preferences.
I love the Maverik EKG line, for it provides the best cardiac protection and doesn't interfere with my movement. So, to me, this is the best lacrosse shoulder pad you can find.
How to size lacrosse shoulder pads?
You can read a detailed explanation of the sizing in our buyer's guide.
However, the rule of the thumb here is that the sternum pads should cover your chest without dropping too low.
At the same time, the collar should be placed tightly to your body without impeding your movement.
Do lacrosse players wear pads?
I hope you found your favorite among the selection we made. Personally, I stick with the Maverik Max EKG Speed lacrosse shoulder pad.
I consider these the best lacrosse shoulder pads for they include external cardiac protection, allow just enough movement, and don't weigh too much.
Even the price is not too high for such a high-end lacrosse shoulder pad, so it's definitely worthy of your attention.