When you’re out on the ice, the last thing you want to think about it is whether or not your gear is going to protect you as you block a shot, take a hit, or collide into another player at top speed.
Selecting a pair of shoulder pads can be a relatively straightforward thing to do, but there are a few different aspects and features you will want to consider before you make a selection. If you’re leveling up your game as a hockey player, you’re going to want to make sure you find a pair of pads that offers durable and robust protection when you’re skating on the ice.
That’s why we’ve written a short guide on what you need to consider when choosing a pair of shoulder pads, and hand selected the best hockey shoulder pads on the market.
If you’re in a rush and just want to know the top pair, we have concluded that the top pair of shoulder pads is the CCM Jetspeed FT1. But if you’re looking to compare a few different models, we have you covered and you can read through our individual reviews below.
Considerations When Selecting Shoulder Pads
Hockey shoulder pads have one main purpose: to protect you from injury and keep you healthy. The armored padding covers key areas such as your collar bone, spine, ribcage and sternum.
But not all shoulder pads were made or sized equally. And it’s important for you to understand the differences to ensure maximum protection.
How Should My Shoulder Pads Fit?
When you’re fitting your hockey shoulder pads, the caps should rest on the curvature of your shoulders. The padding should also cover your collar bone and rib cage.
Hockey shoulder pads don’t typically cover the entire stomach area because it may hinder your movement, but they should cover the entire chest and upper portion of the stomach. Other components include a removable stomach pad for extra protection during high intensity games.
How to Select the Correct Size
All of the major online retailers like Pure Hockey will have sizing charts for each specific brand. But in general, the main aspects you’ll need to measure in order to find your correct shoulder pad size are: height, weight, and chest circumference.
Assuming you have a good handle on your height and weight, you probably don’t know what your chest circumference off the top of your head. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward to figure this out — all you need is a tape measure.
To size your chest: Take said tape measure and start from the center of your chest. Wrap the tape under the armpits and around your chest. Whatever the tape reads will get you the measurement needed.
You can then cross check all of these three measurements against the respective brands’ charts to select a size. Note, these are typically designated in Small, Medium, Large, and Xtra-Large.
Finding an accurate measurement is beneficial especially when you’re ordering hockey shoulder pads online. It’s essential that you select the product with the correct sizing so you don’t waste time on returning products that aren’t ideal for your size or don’t fit at all. Luckily, most retailers offer free return shipping nowadays.
Are My Shoulder Pads Too Big?
Sometimes players rock out on the ice with shoulder pads that are too big for them. Don’t be that guy. You’ll look ridiculous and it will definitely slow you up and impact your shot and pass game.
Remember that your shoulder pads should fit securely over your shoulders, ribs and back. If your neckline droops and exposes your collar bone then you may need a smaller size.
You’ll know your shoulder pads are too big if you experience the following:
- Shoulder caps droop over the deltoid instead of resting on the shoulder
- The neckline pulls down to one side exposing the shoulder
- Bottom of the shoulder pads hang past the rib cage
Are My Shoulder Pads Too Small?
Your hockey shoulder pads should never restrict your movement. If the shoulder pads hug your neck too tightly — it can hinder your movement, and be uncomfortable. Another way to tell if your shoulder pads are too small is if the shoulder caps point upwards instead of outwards.
To test the fitting you can raise your arms above your head. If the shoulder pads dig in towards your face you may need to change the sizing and bump up a size.
Another rule of thumb is that your padded armor shouldn’t expose your ribcage. And lastly, always remember that the key areas mentioned should be covered at all times.
Shoulder Pad Components
Hockey shoulder pads have a specific structure to protect your key body areas when you’re playing. The materials used to construct them are typically dependent on the brand.
Here are the components of hockey shoulder pads that make up the armor:
- Collar bone protector
- Shoulder cap
- Bicep protector
- Ribs guard
- Velcro strap
- Abdominal strap
The Velcro straps are typically used to adjust the armor so it fits snug on your body. Some brands have Velcro straps under the shoulder caps to adjust the position of the pads for a customized fit.
Best Hockey Shoulder Pads
When playing hockey you need shoulder pads and armor that are lightweight and comfortable to move around in. The CCM Jetspeed FT1 hockey shoulder pads are just that.
Designed to provide you with maximum comfort and extensive protection for your torso, back, shoulders and deltoids — the materials are of the highest quality and will give you ultimate mobility. The CCM Jetspeed FT1 shoulder pads are made for the versatile player that specializes in defense as well as speed and agility.
They have a traditional fit which means the overall construction has a bit more bulky at the shoulders and around the torso. This fit is ideal for players that need to withstand heavy impact when maneuvering on the ice to score goals.
CCM Jetspeed FT1 hockey shoulder pads are constructed with extra padding to provide you with more protection. The foam and overall construction cover the front and rear shoulders, biceps and an added layer of protection for the chest and spine.
The shoulder pads includes premium durable material that can withstand many intense hockey games and could last multiple seasons before needing to be replaced. This is largely because they are made with CCM’s Ufoam that is lightweight but doesn’t compromise on protection.
CCM’s Jetspeed has a high mobility overall design made with HD foam and RocketFrame composite. In the torso section, Zotefoam is used to protect the chest and stomach from heavy impact. The torso area comes with a removable protection pad you can add for an extra layer of defense.
Lined on the inside of the Jetspeed FT1 hockey pads you’ll find Dryfoam technology that is a soft laminated material to repel water and keep you dry while you’re skating.
- Doesn’t hinder movement
- Made with durable material
- Lining is designed to keep you dry
- Not ideal for the fastest hockey players
Bauer is probably the most well-known brand on the market next to CCM. The Bauer brand makes hockey gear for all types of hockey players that’s light, durable and improves speed on the ice. The Bauer Vapor 1X Hockey Shoulder Pads are no exception to this.
These are the lightest shoulder pads you can get as Bauer has managed to reduce the weight by 25% without compromising on protection.
The Bauer Vapor 1X Hockey Shoulder Pads have a traditional fit. The structure isn’t quite as streamlined because it has added protection for the shoulders, biceps and torso. It’s designed for the hockey player that expects heavy impact during intense hockey games.
They also have extra layering for heavy-duty protection. The shoulders are heavily padded as well as the chest, back and ribs.
Although the Bauer Vapor 1X pads are on the slightly more bulky side, Bauer did a nice job designing these pads so they don’t hinder your movement. The shoulder caps are made with Aerolite 2.0 that are lightweight and doesn’t obstruct arm mobility.
Hyperlite foam is integrated into the front and back of the armor to protect the ribs, spine and chest from heavy impact. Curv composite is used throughout the structure for pro-level protection. You’ll find there are various points of adjustment throughout the construction for a customized fit.
The Bauer Vapor 1X Hockey Shoulder Pads are lined with 37.5 technology that absorbs moisture to keep you dry while you’re playing high-intensity hockey games. The texture of the lining is soft to provide better comfort throughout your game.
- Made with Curv composite
- Adjustable straps for a customized fit
- The structure is bulky
If you need hockey shoulder pads that won’t restrict your movement or weigh you down, the CCM Super Tracks AS1 pads may be the ideal selection for you.
They were made to provide ample protection for the top of the body with no padding at the bottom; this design increases speed and agility on the ice. This design is ideal for hockey players that play both defensively and aggressive. You’re able to move faster to stay on top of the puck while effectively checking and defending players from the opposing team.
The CCM Super Tracks AS1 showcases a contoured fit for an anatomical feel. The structure fits well over the top of your shoulders, chest and spine but has no padding around the midsection so you can move faster on the ice.
CCM’s Super Tracks AS1 shoulder pads are heavily armored around the deltoids as well as the chest, spine and biceps.
The overall construction is solid, made from a premium material that’s durable and lightweight. Starting from the shoulder caps they’re made with D30 technology and dual-core HD foam for shock absorption.
HD foam is integrated throughout the structure for optimized defense. The dual-layer stretch jacket provides an anatomical feel and the two-piece floating bicep allows you to customize your fit.
The CCM Super Tracks AS1 offer a perforated base with a mesh liner to keep you dry during high-intensity hockey games.
- Optimizes speed
- Anatomical fit
- Doesn’t protect the midsection that well
Warrior Alpha QX is a mid-range brand that offers an affordable shoulder pad solution without compromising on quality and protection. These pads have a superior fit that provides comfort, but doesn’t cause resistance when you’re moving on the ice.
The Warrior Alpha QX Hockey Shoulder Pads’ overall structure provides pro players with the ventilation they need to stay comfortable during intense games. Its lightweight structure doesn’t decrease your speed so you’re able to skate faster on the ice with more agility.
Fitwise, they offer a traditional type of fit. It’s bulky throughout the entire structure of the armor to provide more protection for key areas such as the deltoids, spine, ribs and chest. This design is ideal for the aggressive hockey player.
As mentioned in other pad reviews, this bulky design has extra padding throughout the structure to provide more defense for the aggressive hockey player. The shoulder area is well padded as well as the bicep and forearm zones. The chest and spine areas are covered with durable foam that has more shock absorption, which is essential during strong impact moments of a game.
The shoulder cap is made with Smart Cap technology for an anatomical fit. The sternum and spine protection plates are made with multi-impact protection foam for extra defense and comfort. Warrior Alpha has a two-piece bicep structure that can be adjusted for a customized fit.
Warrior Alpha QX Hockey Shoulder Pads are lined with WarTech FNC liner for moisture control and ventilation. The liner has a soft texture for comfort.
- Made with durable material
- Anatomical fit
- Ideal for heavy defense
- Lightweight construction
- Can be difficult to find proper sizing
The Bauer Supreme 2S Shoulder Pads are designed to give you the ultimate coverage and protection on the ice. This design is ideal for the aggressive hockey player that takes heavy impact from other players — either an enforcer or prone to getting hit often.
Although the pads are bulky because of the extra padding, the structure doesn’t restrict your movement. It’s also lightweight so you can move faster to score goals and move swiftly on the ice.
Bauer’s Supreme 2S Hockey Shoulder Pads has extra padding to protect key areas of the body such as the deltoids, biceps, chest, spine and midsection. The material used to construct the pads can withstand heavy impact and has shock absorption so you’re not thrown off balance when crashing into someone or falling on the ice.
Bauer’s Supreme shoulder caps are made with IX foam that adds a layer of defense. The foam fits to the contours of your deltoids for an anatomical fit. The Supreme 2S armor has molded HD foam integrated into high impact zones to protect you from injury.
The Bauer Supreme 2S Hockey Shoulder Pads are lined with Thermo Max+ for moisture-wicking. Bauer’s integrated liner is soft to provide extra comfort throughout the game.
- Integrated wicking liner
- Provides extra protection
- Includes AMP technology
- Doesn’t optimize for speed
The CCM Tracks 9080 pads are designed for players that need optimized speed and control on the ice. The structure protects the top of your body while leaving the midsection free so you can move faster on the ice without mobility restriction.
They have a tapered fit meaning that it provides heavy-duty defense on the top of the structure with a streamlined midsection.
Also, the pads provide you ample protection for the deltoids, biceps, spine and chest. PE foam combined with the D30 technology provides floating protection that allows the pads to move with you. This prevents injury in your key areas.
The CCM Tracks 9080 has integrated D30 and JDP shoulder cap construction that fits the contours of your deltoids. This technology pushes the force of impact away from your shoulders. PE foam and D30 technology are used throughout the construction of the pads
There are also adjustable straps integrated into the armor so you can customize the fit.
For wicking and added ventilation, the CCM Tracks 9080 pads are lined with mesh.
- Anatomical fit
- Easy to put on
- Adjustable straps
- Made with durable material
- Doesn’t protect the midsection
The Bauer brand manufactures their hockey gear not only to provide protection but to offer you comfort as well. The high-end brand designed the Nexus 2N hockey shoulder pads for complete coverage for optimized defense.
They have a traditional construction as it’s bulky with extra padding to prevent injury in key areas of the body. And they have padding around the deltoids, biceps, chest, hips and spine areas. The integrated padding provides comfort as you play as it’s lightweight and offers an anatomical fit throughout.
Bauer’s Nexus 2N shoulder caps are made with IX foam protection that fits the contours of your deltoids. The sternum and spine protection is made with Segmented MDP to push impact away from these areas to prevent injuries.
The bicep comes in two segments that can be adjusted for a customized fit and they’re made with molded PE. Bauer’s Nexus 2N shoulder pads are made with Thermo Max+ with Sanitize technology for wicking and ventilation control.
- Comfortable fit
- Adjustable straps for customized fit
- Minimal rib protection
The Warrior Alpha DX Pro has many premium features at a lower price point for the hockey player shopping on a budget. They still offer comfort and heavy-duty protection which is ideal for defensive players.
Warrior uses its Dynamic Strike technology found throughout the Alpha range that offers a premium fit and increased mobility not often found in heavy-duty armor. It’s the lightest and strongest hockey shoulder pads the Warrior brand has to offer.
The Warrior Alpha DX has a Dynamic Strike fit that’s streamlined for a comfortable and anatomical feel. The fitting type is tapered. It combines a traditional and contoured profile for ultimate versatility on the ice.
Warrior Alpha has a DX shell that’s lightweight but it’s able to resist heavy impact during extreme hockey games. They are designed for the forward that takes many hits while powering through the ice to score goals.
The shoulder pads are made with compression-molded EVA foam with the Warrior brand’s unique Shell Skin Texture added to key areas to provide high-level protection.
Warrior Alpha hockey shoulder pads are constructed to protect the shoulders, biceps and the entire torso area. Even though the construction is designed for heavy impact it’s not bulky and doesn’t decrease your speed or mobility.
The Warrior Alpha hockey shoulder pads have an FNC liner integrated inside the construction to keep you dry and it provides an extra level of comfort.
- Comfortable fit
- Made with premium heavy-duty materials
- Not ideal for beginners
Features to Consider Before Buying Hockey Shoulder Pads
Before you select a pair of pads, it’s important to consider a few things beforehand. Things like sizing, protection, build, and construction are all aspects.
We’ll dive into those here…
Hockey Shoulder Fitting Pad Profile
Before you buy your hockey shoulder pads consider what shape your body is. You’ll need shoulder pads that will fit the profile of your body to increase mobility and comfort. You get three different sizing profiles: traditional, contoured and tapered.
Let’s take a look at how each one is made.
The traditional fit hockey shoulder pads are considered to be a classic fit. This fit is ideal for players that battle in the corners and block shots. The structure of these hockey shoulder pads is bulkier for more protection.
Contoured hockey shoulder pads are more streamlined and fit closer to the body than the traditional hockey pads. The contoured hockey pad structure is designed for the speedy player that needs to move quickly on the ice.
These hockey shoulder pads are the least bulky out of the three fitting profiles. The structure is more of an anatomical fit that provides the best mobility and quickness on the ice.
The tapered fit is a combination of contoured and traditional hockey shoulder pads. The structure of the fit is bulkier on the top for more protection and has a streamlined slim fit at the bottom of the armor. The tapered fit is ideal for players who are defensive and aggressive players.
Tapered hockey shoulder pads offer the best of both worlds so players can move swiftly on the ice but with extra protection where they need it most.
How Shoulder Pads Are Built
The thickness of the shoulder pads will determine how much protection they offer. Recreational hockey shoulder pads have medium thickness foam integrated into the armor whereas pro-level pads are made with premium multi-density foams.
Hockey shoulder pads can be made with carbon fiber and composites because they’re light in weight and offer more protection than plastic.
The front and rear of hockey shoulder pads are connected in a one-piece design for recreational players. But for elite hockey players, the construction is split into two sections: two-piece panels with floating sternum guards.
For high-level hockey shoulder pads, all guards can be adjustable using Velcro straps for a customized fit.
Liners are made using high-level technology to control moisture and odor and to provide the best comfort for frequent players. Hockey pad liners are water-resistant and extremely light so as not to weigh the player down.
If you’re looking for a product that optimizes your speed, maximizes your protection, and not obstruct your mobility — then we suggest you go for the CCM Jetspeed FT1 shoulder pads.
CCM is known for making high-end hockey equipment, and the Jetspeed FT1 shoulder pads are nearly guaranteed to provide the protection you need on the ice. They come in all sizes so you’re able to purchase the correct fit for you.
If you buy any of the products on our top 8 list let us know how your shoulder pads worked for you: leave a comment below. We would love to hear about your experience with these products and it may help other players make the right choice too.