Lacrosse is a physical sport. Players need to be protected to prevent injuries and keep themselves playing longer. After all, you’re no help to your team if you are sitting on the bench with an injury. That protection, as many players know, comes at a cost. You’re weighed down, your natural range of motion is impeded, and it can be uncomfortable to wear, especially in hot weather. To avoid this situation, you need the best lacrosse pads.
In a lot of these ways and others, players look at padding as a necessary annoyance. Thus, the end goal, when looking for a good lacrosse pad set, is to find gear that limits as much of this annoyance as possible, while still being protective. This careful concoction of protection, comfort, and performance is not easy to find.
That’s why we’ve created this buyer’s guide. This page will answer important questions, with regards to buying lacrosse pads, like what to look for, where to buy, what brands make the best pads, what specific products to pay attention to and much more.
What are the Best Lacrosse Pads?
So, what are the best lacrosse pads? Based on quality, durability and cost, the best lacrosse pads are:
- Maverik Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
- STX Lacrosse Impact Shoulder Pads
- Epoch Lacrosse Integra Shoulder Pads
Read on to see why…
What Qualities to Consider in Lacrosse Pads
Here are some qualities you should look for from great lacrosse pads, whether it is an arm pad, chest pad, rib pad or any other form of padding.
Lacrosse shoulder pad sizing is one of the most important considerations. If your gear doesn’t fit properly, it could compromise its ability to keep you protected. Not to mention, it will be very uncomfortable. Lacrosse Unlimited is an excellent source for sizing all of your lacrosse pads. They have a detailed lacrosse shoulder pad sizing chart, as well as info on sizing other types of pads.
Level of Play
Youth players don’t need quite as much protection as advanced or pro-level players. The higher you climb up the competitive ladder, the bigger the players are and the harder, more aggressive they play, which means you need greater protection. Additionally, some padding is required to be worn, while other pieces are not. This can vary depending on your league and if you are playing men’s or women’s lacrosse.
Your lacrosse chest pad and other gear are not just designed to protect you from incoming hits. They also protect you from the hits you issue to opposing players. If you play very aggressively and seem to always be in the middle of the action, whether on offense or defense, you want to wear the more traditional lacrosse shoulder pad for maximum shielding.
Lacrosse pads are cumbersome. Their added weight doesn’t just slow players down, it causes them to sweat, a lot. If you’re playing a day game in the middle of summer, this can be more of detriment to your performance than anything else. The best lacrosse pads have specially engineered ventilation systems that wick away sweat and produce cool air flow.
Lacrosse pads strap and secure to the body in different ways. Some pads use velcro, while others use buckles or other fasteners. Velcro is the most popular, even at high levels of play. Players like that it is easier to adjust on the go. Velcro is also typically cheaper than a lacrosse chest pad with buckles. The drawback to velcro is it can lose its stick over time.
There are various styles of pads. Traditional shoulder pads offer the most protection; some will even provide under shoulder pad protection! Hybrid shoulder pads don’t always include the lacrosse arm pad protection like traditional sets, but this gives the wearer better movement. Shoulder pad liners offer another degree of less-protection, more maneuverability.
Ultimately, how much protection you want is up to you and what you are comfortable with. If you feel you can get by with just a lacrosse shoulder pad lining, then you can take advantage of enhanced mobility. On the other hand, if you place safety above agility, then you can go the max pad protection route and encase yourself in pads, from a lacrosse chin strap pad to a lacrosse elbow pad and so on.
The final thing to consider is the amount of heart protection that your padding offers. The fastest recorded lacrosse shot traveled at approximately 120 MPH. If that were to strike a player in the chest, it could have enough deadly force to stop the heart. Many of the top players wear padding with extra protection around the chest. This is particularly common to see on a lacrosse goalie chest pad. If you are playing at a high level of the game, heart protection is not something to ignore.
The Best Lacrosse Pad Brands
Apart from knowing where to buy, you also want to know the best brands. After all, you’re trusting them with your body’s protection, so you want to ensure that the brands behind your protective equipment are one of the best in the industry. The following brands have strong reputations, in terms of lacrosse padding.
Nike: Nike is a known and respected brand, no matter what sport you’re playing. They don’t just make lacrosse pads; they make padding for many different sports, which means they know how to protect an athlete.
Some of the favorite Nike Lacrosse Arm Pads are:
- Nike Vapor Elite Shoulder Pad Liner
- Nike Vapor 2.0 Lacrosse Shoulder Pad Liner
- Nike Vapor 2.0 Lacrosse Arm Pads
Compared to Nike, Brine doesn’t have quite the broad reputation. But, when it comes to lacrosse, they are one of the most respected brands in the game. The Brine Clutch shoulder pad series is particularly coveted because of its excellent blend of protection and weight reduction. This lightweight, but protective, mentality extends to the Brine Clutch arm pad and Brine Clutch elbow pad, so you can get full protection without being too weighed down.
Other Brine pads include:
- Brine King Shoulder Pad
- Brine King Superlight Chest Pad
- Brine King Elite Shoulder Pads
In the world of lacrosse, STX is one of the most heavily relied upon brands there is. The beauty of STX is they have equipment for entry-level players and professional-grade lacrosse athletes. So, no matter what your skill level, there’s STX gear ready for you.
Here’s part of the STX selection of the best lacrosse pads:
- STX Lacrosse Cell 3 Shoulder Pad
- STX Stallion 500 Shoulder Pad
- Stallion 50 Youth Shoulder Pad
The beauty of Maverik is that you can find pads to suit any preference. If you want speed, then the Maverik M3 Speed pad is an excellent choice; if you care about comfort, the Maverik Rome NXT shoulder pad is one of the best lacrosse pads for you.
Other Maverik protective equipment includes:
- Maverik Rome RX3 Arm Pad
- Maverik Rome NXT Arm Pad
- Maverik M3 Speed Shoulder Pad
Warrior uses many of the same model names on their pads as they do in other equipment. So, if you’re familiar with Warrior’s EVO, Regulator or Burn products, then you’ll feel right at home with their repertoire of pads, like the Warrior Burn arm pad or Warrior Burn Hitman lacrosse shoulder pad.
Other Warrior pads include:
- Warrior Ultralyte Shoulder Pad
- Warrior Regulator Arm Pad
- Warrior Hitman Shoulder Pad
Our Top Picks of The Best Lacrosse Pads
There are a lot of lacrosse pad products on the market. Each brand usually has multiple different sets, built with varying preferences of player in mind. Navigating the vast ocean of possibilities can be difficult. To make the hunt a little easier, we’ve included some of our top picks for the best lacrosse pads.
1.) Maverik Lacrosse Shoulder Pad
Maverik Lacrosse Charger Shoulder Pad Overview
As mentioned in the breakdown of the Maverik brand, their shoulder pads come in a variety of different styles. This Maverik product is designed for entry-level youth players. As such, it has moderate protection that is appropriate for the age of the players.
The floating upper arm and shoulder pads create a necessary degree of mobility and don’t restrict a young player’s natural movements. They will protect the player’s wings from giving or receiving hard checks.
The center of the chest pad is reinforced with a sternum chest plate. Heart protection is always something to think about when buying lacrosse pads. Youth players aren’t the most accurate bunch with their shots, so it is entirely possible that a rogue shot will hit a player instead of the net.
There is also a padded collar around the top of the pads, which helps improve neck comfort. Maverik uses velcro straps in the construction of this protective gear.
As a youth shoulder pad, this is not designed for intermediate or advanced play. It will not hold up to those levels of impacts.
- A youth pad designed by one of the most prominent lacrosse equipment companies
- Floating shoulder and upper arm pads create protection and freedom of movement
- Sternum chest plate helps protect the most sensitive area of the body
- Only usable in youth leagues
- No cooling air vents or moisture wicking technology
- Floating arm protection
- Sternum chest plate
- Velcro straps
- Padded collar
Verdict: The Maverik Lacrosse Charger Shoulder Pad is a great youth product. It has everything you could want: protection, affordable price, good mobility and even features to enhance player comfort.
Who the Maverik Charger Shoulder Pad Is Good For
Any youth lacrosse player can benefit from these pads. They are appropriately sized and offer superb protection. As the player graduates to more advanced levels, however, these pads will need to be replaced, as they are not suited for more prominent players and harder collisions. So, intermediate and advanced players will want to look at different pads for their protective needs.
“Fit just as expected and good quality. My son began walking into everything in the house and shouting ‘nothing can hurt me now!’ “ Amazon Customer
“Fit great, and my son liked the feel of the pads.” Amazon Customer
Shop Maverik Lacrosse Charger Shoulder Pad here
2.) STX Lacrosse Impact Shoulder Pad
Overview of The STX Impact Shoulder Pad
This is another youth-sized lacrosse pad. These pads are lighter than the Maverik Charger set and offer a right blend of protection and flexibility. They are the best lacrosse pads for players between the ages of 6 and 10.
The plastic shoulder caps create good upper arm protection. This extends down to the elbows thanks to the additional bicep pads. These can be adjusted or even removed for a customizable wear.
The fit of the STX Impact is carefully contoured to match the shape of a player’s body. Not only does this make the pads more comfortable to wear, but it makes it easier to move around naturally. You don’t feel unnecessarily restricted.
Because these are youth pads, it is not recommended to use them in more advanced leagues. The level of padding isn’t appropriate for harder impacts.
- Great mix of protection and mobility
- Contoured fit to improve comfort, movement, and flexibility
- Optional bicep pads for a customizable fit and experience
- Added mobility is good, but sacrifices some protection
- No way to manage sweat or moisture
- Velcro straps can wear down easily
- Contoured fit
- Adjustable and removable bicep pads
- Plastic shoulder caps
Verdict: STX understands that young players don’t need the same level of protection as older, veteran lacrosse players. Thus, they’ve focused their efforts on making a lightweight and mobile set of pads. Any young player will have no problem speeding around in these pads.
Who the STX Lacrosse Impact Shoulder Pad Is Good For
These lightweight pads are the best lacrosse pads for a speedy young player that wants to be able to cut through defenders and get in close to the net. The age range for this product is roughly 6-10, and they are not recommended for older, more experienced players. Once you begin to move out of the youth leagues, impacts become harder, and these shoulder pads won’t be able to negate those heavy checks.
“Good pads, they cover a lot but offer good mobility and are light.” Amazon Customer
“This was a great lacrosse chest pad.” Amazon Customer
Shop STX Lacrosse Cell 3 Shoulder Pad Liner here
3.) Epoch Lacrosse Integra Shoulder Pads
Overview of The Epoch Lacrosse Integra Shoulder Pads
This is a feature-packed set of shoulder pads designed with performance in mind. From the AED Quick Release mechanism to the Phase Change Technology, this product oozes quality and sophisticated engineering that puts player safety first.
The AED Quick Release is a feature that no player hopes to use. If a player suffers a heart-threatening injury and needs the assistance of an automated external defibrillator, the AED Quick Release feature allows the front of the chest protection to be removed with zero struggle for more immediate access. This is a feature that could save a player’s life.
To help ensure that the AED Quick Release is never needed, Epoch pads are layered with compression molded, dual-density foam. The structure and layout of this padding is strategically placed to produce a more natural shape. This design helps to more accurately protect the player, while also promoting flexibility and movement.
For player comfort, the Phase Change Technology is a revolutionary system for heating and cooling the player, as needed. Similar technology is seen in the construction of space suits! The material can sense your body temperature and react to release heat or cool the body down.
- Cutting-edge technology for an unmatched experience
- Created with safety and protection in mind, but without being a hindrance to mobility
- Phase Change Technology is an amazing comfort feature that you won’t find elsewhere
- Elbow, rib and other pads have to be purchased separately
- Not the most expensive pads, but not the cheapest either
- Only available in one style
- AED Quick Release
- Phase Change Technology
- Compression molded, dual-density foam
Verdict: When you consider the price and quality of the features, there’s arguably no better shoulder pads for the money. You don’t have to break the bank to get protection and space-suit-quality comfort.
Who the Epoch Integra Lacrosse Shoulder Pads Are Good For
Advanced players that has a big concern for safety are ideal players for these pads. Also, if you play a long season in both cold and warm weather, the Phase Change Technology is an absolute luxury that you won’t want to go without. It will keep you warm on those chilly spring/fall games, but cool in the peak of summer.
“Comfortable and easy to move around in.” Amazon Customer
“Well made, reasonably priced, flexible and the fit is good.” Amazon Customer
“Was good quality, but smaller than I expected.” Amazon Customer
So, without a doubt, you need quality lacrosse pads to lacrosse. The best way to go about finding the quality lacrosse equipment is to make sure you do your homework. Take the time to research the best lacrosse equipment available and be sure to read what others have said about it. This way you make sure to set yourself up for success.