2017 Football Equipment Reviews – Youth

As summer is upon us, we know many across the country are already dreaming of the fall. Football fast approaches, and we’ll spend the next few months anticipating our favorite College and NFL Football teams seasons, and in many cases, gearing up for our own. No matter what level you play at, having the right equipment for the upcoming year is essential. From helmets to pants, shoulder pads to receiver gloves, every player wants the safest gear that will allow them to perform at their best.

We at Sports Unlimited wanted to do our best in helping you prepare, by giving you some insight on newest products from the sports leading manufactures. Over the next several weeks, we’ll highlight some recently released equipment, focusing on the new technology and features. This will allow you to make informed decisions on your purchases for next season.

Our first installment looks at some of the new gear that youth football players will be wearing this year. While the speed of the game is slower, the importance of safety is no less. We’ll take a look at several pieces of equipment that will help protect the upper body of our future football stars, as they foster their passion for the game.

Helmet – Schutt Vengeance Z10 Youth

The most essential piece of football equipment is undoubtedly the helmet. Offering protection to the most valuable asset, a youth football helmet is worthy of upgrade investment. While the Schutt Vengeance Z10  was released in 2016, it is now for the first time available in youth sizes in 2017. The only difference it has with its adult counterpart is the ABS Plastic shell. This shell is durable, lightweight, and required by most youth football leagues. The Z10 from Schutt is a top of the line helmet, packed with all their design features that offer a great fit and defense against contact to the head. A few notable features for the Z10 are its Titanium facemask, which significantly lightens the helmet and lessens the strain on a young players neck. It also comes with internal and external cheek stabilizers for reinforced protection.  Available in a range of colors and facemask styles to get the custom look you desire.

Shoulder Pads – Riddell Surge Youth

While youth football shoulder pads aren’t exposed to the intense impact hits of varsity pads, it is still important to have the necessary protection. Riddell has released a new high-end youth shoulder pad for 2017, unveiling their Riddell Surge and its premium look and feel. The most noticeable feature on these pads is the level of padded protection. Some youth pads can limited in the padding, but the Surge offers excellent coverage of the shoulders, chest, and back. The lower back is also looked after with the inclusion of matching back plate. With a velvet collar and flat pad design that sits low on the shoulders, the Riddell Surge is great option for next season.

Rib Protector – Xenith Xflexion Core Guard

You will typically receive sufficient coverage of the upper body with a good pair of football shoulder pads. But for those who play a position that takes extra hits, the added protection of a rib protector is just what the doctor ordered. The Xenith Xflexion Core Guard is a versatile option that allows you to customize the protection you receive. The rib pads on the Xflexion can be adjusted or removed, letting you use this as just a back plate as well. The Xenith’s also come with their own shoulder strap, letting you use them with or without shoulder pads. Size specifically to the dimensions of a youth player, the Xenith Xflexion is exceptional choice.

Back Plate – Gear Pro-Tec Razor Back Plate

The last piece to the upper body protection equation is the addition of a back plate. Some shoulder pads come with a back plate, and some rib protectors have one built in. But for those that don’t already have the lower back coverage they desire, than the Gear Pro-Tec Razor back plate is a perfect solution. Using the same technology found in their highly rated shoulder pads, the Razor back plate features Compressed HEX foam side panels and SAS-TEC foam spine inserts. These make for a lightweight, breathable protection of the lower back and spine. Works for all Gear Pro-Tec Razor and Z-Cool shoulder pads, as well as fitting most other brand pads with its universal T-nut and screw attachment.

Written By Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

Holiday Football Gear Sale

Coinciding with our sitewide holiday sale where you get $20 Off Orders Over $100, we are also running a holiday football sale that gives you 15% OFF FOOTBALL GEAR!

Holiday Football Sale

Whether you need a football helmet, shoulder pads, or just a wrist coach, this sale is for everyone who loves the game. No need for more explanation, 15% is the deal and it’s a deal worth taking!


How to Fit Football Shoulder Pads

Learn how to properly fit football shoulder pads to get the most coverage, performance, and safety from yours! Measuring shoulder pads is easy, once you know how to do it.

You spend a lot of money suiting yourself, or your child, up for the game. Helmets, chin straps, pads, cleats…they all help protect you on the field, but unfortunately, together they can all cost an arm and a leg! So to make sure you’re getting the most for your money, it’s incredibly important to find the right gear for your size. Improperly fitting football equipment, no matter how high-end and advanced, isn’t worth the box they put it in if it doesn’t fit you! This is why football shoulder pad sizing is so important.

Let me take a few minutes and run down the best way to measure and fit football shoulder pads, so you know you’re getting the most coverage and performance out of yours. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be in good shape:

  1. Grab a friend or a parent. Measuring yourself can be awkward, and may lead to inaccurate readouts and ill-fitting shoulder pads.Shoulder Pad Chest Fitting
  2. Measure your chest. Standing up straight, have someone wrap a flexible measuring tape around your upper torso and record the measurements. Think about wearing a tight fitting shirt to get the most accurate, next-to-skin measurements possible.
  3. Measure your shoulder width.   Again, standing up straight, stretch Shoulder Pad Shoulder Fittingthe tape over the contour of your shoulders, between the AC joints (those are the joints between the tops of your shoulders), and record the measurements.
  4. Weigh yourself. Typically, youth shoulder pads are sized by weight class, so to properly fit youth shoulder pads, it’s important to know your exact weight.

Once you have these numbers written down, you can start shopping for new football shoulder pads. SU has a huge selection of youth and adult shoulder pads for every position, age range, and budget, from the top brands like Schutt, Riddell, Douglas, and Bike…just saying.

When you find the shoulder pads for you, simply consult the size chart found on the product page, and use your shoulder pad measurements to know which size to select.

Now, once you receive them, it’s important to know how to put on football shoulder pads. You should also make sure they fit properly, and deliver the coverage and mobility you need before using them. When you get your pads, make sure to:

  1. Bring the pads down over your head. Align the shoulder pads carefully, and be sure not to scratch your eyes or nose when putting them on.
  2. Secure all straps and laces. Each shoulder pad front connector and strap system is different, depending on brand and position, but no matter what the configuration, make sure to properly connect the front and back of your pads. Then tightly buckle all belts and straps Shoulder Pad Fitto get a snug, comfortable fit against the chest and back.
  3. Check the fit. Once everything is secure, ensure the shoulder pads fit properly. The padding shouldn’t be pinching your collar, and should sit comfortably on your shoulders. Typically, about 1″ of padding should extend from your shoulders.
  4. Check coverage in the front and back. The shoulder pads should fully cover your sternum and upper shoulders, as well as your scapula and rhomboid. Confirm this full coverage by extending your hands above your head. Properly fitting and measured shoulder pads should still cover these areas when lifted up.
  5. Move around and double check the fit. Perform some on-field
    actions in the new pads Shoulder Pad Movement(even if it looks a little weird), to double check comfort, fit, and coverage in game-like situations.

Follow these steps, and you’ll get the absolute best coverage, performance, and comfort from your shoulder pads, no matter how much you spend on them.

And remember, if you have any further questions or concerns regarding your pads, or any other football gear for that matter, you can always consult Sports Unlimited’s Shoulder Pad Buyer’s Guide, or our huge library of football gear buyer’s guides, that cover every aspect of everything football from football helmets to thigh pads.

By Brandon Porter.Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.

Football Gear Buyer’s Guides

Learn everything there is to know about football gear with Sports Unlimited’s football buying guides! With fully illustrated, interactive guides on football helmets, shoulder pads, pads, neck rolls, facemasks, and more, there’s no football equipment question we can’t answer.

We know how hard it can be finding the perfect football helmet, shoulder pads, cleats, and pads for you or the player in your life. With so many choices out there, from so many brands, in so many styles, the decision is completely overwhelming!

Do I choose by price?

Do I choose by popularity?

Do I choose by style?

Do I just close my eyes, click, and hope for the best?

Just like G.I. Joe, we here at Sports Unlimited think “knowing is half the battle.” The more you know about shoulder pads, helmets, facemasks, and all of the other complicated equipment out there, the easier it is to choose which one is right for you right? Well, to make life easier, and learn you a thing or two, we have created some amazing and in-depth guides for all of your equipment.

 Have you ever wanted to know the differences between a quarterback’s shoulder pads and a full-back’s shoulder pads?

 Have you ever sat back and thought; what makes an ROPO facemask different from an NOPO facemask?

 Has not understanding the use of TPU cushioning in Schutt helmets kept you up at night?

 Well fret no more my football friends! Give these guides a once over and you’ll know everything you ever wanted to about our entire selection of equipment.

 In all seriousness though, these guides are a great source of information on:

  • Proper sizing

  • Technology

  • Brand information

  • Design features

  • Materials

  • Age-appropriate choices

Most of our buyer’s guides even feature a comparison chart, so you can instantly see the differences and features of our most popular products!

 Fully illustrated, with easy-to-read content, our football buyer’s guides will teach you everything you need to know about: