How to Choose Hockey Shoulder Pads

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

Step one in choosing the right shoulder pads for you is fit. Nothing is more important than having proper fitting equipment as oversized or undersized gear will leave a player vulnerable and susceptible to injury. (For more information on sizing, see the Special Attention section at the bottom.)

Step 2

Step two in choosing the right shoulder pads for you is area of protection. Above all else, shoulder pads must ALWAYS protect the following areas; collarbone, upper chest, back, upper arms and your shoulders. If the piece of equipment does not protect these areas, it is not the right piece of gear for you.

Step 3

Step three in choosing the right shoulder pads for you is determined by which position you play. Forwards should seek to wear lighter weight pads with fewer restrictions on mobility. Defensemen should seek to wear larger, denser shoulder pads with protection beyond the required areas(extra rib, arm and back protection).

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

When sizing shoulder pads, it is best to always follow these general guidelines; - 22-24", SIZE: Junior Small - 24-28", SIZE: Junior Medium - 28-30", SIZE: Junior Large - 30-32", SIZE: Senior Small - 32-34", SIZE: Senior Medium - 34-38", SIZE: Senior Large - 38-42", SIZE: Senior Large * In order to determine your correct size, wrap a tape measure around your chest, below the armpits. This will help narrow down which pad-size is right for you.

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

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Funny or interesting story about this topic...

While modern pieces of hockey equipment are fabricated from high-tech materials such as fiberglass, foam rubber, polyurethane and plastic, it's nearly unfathomable to believe that their origins lie in rolled up magazines. Amazingly enough, the very first example of shoulder and shin pads date back to the early 20th Century when players decided to protect themselves by rolling up old magazines and stuffing them under their clothing (pants and jerseys).

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

Prior to high school I had never played contact hockey before. It was an exciting experience, learning how to give and receive body-checks is a vital part of being able to play good, smart hockey. Yet it wasn't until my first game when I found myself on the receiving end of a solid shoulder-to-shoulder hit that I realized how important having strong shoulder pads can be. That "wake-up call" left me with a bruised shoulder for a week and the knowledge that wearing the right pads can make all the difference between absorbing the impact of a solid body-check and being victimized by one.

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