Lacrosse equipment can get real expensive, real quick if you’re unfamiliar with how standard lacrosse equipment is priced. If you find yourself on the hunt for some high quality shoulder pads, it is a good idea to do your research on how much lacrosse shoulder pads typically cost. Luckily, this article will do most of the heavy lifting for you.
The average cost of lacrosse shoulder pads is $81, with the lower end shoulder pads being $15 and the higher end shoulder pads being $135. Higher priced shoulder pads do not necessarily equate to higher quality, so it is a good idea to try on a couple of shoulder pads prior to purchase.
I did not come up with the numbers above off the top of my head. This data was gathered from multiple lacrosse retailers to calculate the numbers above. Below, you can sort through these 15 real price examples to get an even better gauge of what the standard price of lacrosse shoulder pads looks like.
Average Cost of Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
Shoulder pad prices were recorded from three different major online lacrosse retailers: lax.com, Lacrosse Monkey, and Sportstop.com. From these sites, 15 different shoulder pad brands were analyzed. In the infographic below, you can see exactly how these prices matched up against one another.
The shoulder pads with the lowest price point is the Maverik Charger 2016 Shoulder Pads at $15. The shoulder pads with the highest price point is the Nike Vapor Elite Shoulder Pad Liner at $135. According to the data, the average cost of lacrosse shoulder pads is $81.
All of this data has been summarized in the table below:
|Lowest Cost of Lacrosse Shoulder Pads||$15|
|Highest Cost of Lacrosse Shoulder Pads||$135|
|Average Cost of Lacrosse Shoulder Pads||$81|
At What Price Point Are Shoulder Pads Considered Too Expensive?
If you don’t know any better, you may find yourself getting swindled out of a hundred dollars or more for a pair of shoulder pads that is practically identical to every other pair of shoulder pads out there.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve spent over a hundred dollars on a pair of shoulder pads before and, quite honestly, I couldn’t tell much of a difference. This is not to say that the shoulder pads were subpar. In fact, I still use those shoulder pads years after having made that purchase, so it has definitely withstood the test of time. However, I am fairly certain that I would have had the same quality experience had I invested into one a “middle tier” pair of shoulder pads.
If I were to do it all over again, I would not have made that purchase. In my experience, the differential margin between upper tier shoulder pads and middle tier shoulder pads is slim at best. If you want to invest that sort of money into lacrosse gear, I would divert those fund into a phenomenal lacrosse stick and a top of the line helmet instead.
Investing into a reliable lacrosse stick should be priority number one because this is the only piece of equipment that can make or break your lacrosse experience. It’s hard to enjoy lacrosse if your stick is holding you back from being able to properly throw and catch.
I would also splurge a little extra money on a high end lacrosse helmet because I need to have full confidence that my head is thoroughly protected every time I step onto the field. Concussions are a real possibility in lacrosse. The best preventative measure for concussions is to invest into a well constructed lacrosse helmet that has been produced by a renowned helmet manufacturer, like Cascade or Warrior.
A pair of shoulder pads is not a piece of lacrosse gear I would drop a load of cash on because its importance pales in comparison to a reliable stick and helmet. With that being said, it is still to your benefit to get the most out of your money and purchase the highest quality shoulder pads possible at an inexpensive cost. There are a few things I avidly seek out when purchasing new shoulder pads. This basic checklist is discussed in the next section.
What to Look for in Dependable Shoulder Pads
When browsing through shoulder pads, I always have a specific criteria in mind. For whatever reason, most lacrosse players tend to gravitate toward shoulder pads with a certain aesthetic or a higher price tag. A far better strategy for selecting a high caliber pair of shoulder pads is to run through the items outlined below.
Being an offensive midfielder, the very first thing I look for in a solid pair of shoulder pads is an appropriate amount of padding.
Offensive midfielders are consistently on the receiving end of hard poke checks from defenders. By equipping myself with sufficient padding, much of the force from these poke checks is absorbed into the material rather than my body. This way, my ribs and shoulders stay prime.
However, I would caution you not to settle for shoulder pads with excessive material. Often times, excess material restricts mobility and impedes your ability to maximize performance out on the field. I actually made this mistake with my first pair of shoulder pads. There was so much excess padding that every time I would run, the material along my shoulders would flop up and down like a pencil tapping against a desk. Eventually, it got to the point where I had to physically cut this surplus padding off.
So find the right amount of padding for you. If you are a defenseman, it is not necessary for you to have a pair of bulky shoulder pads because you typically won’t be victimized by stick checks. It is a different story if you’re an attackman. Attackmen are bombarded with forceful stick checks every single outing. Unless you’re a madman that likes pain, I would advise against purchasing a thin set of shoulder pads.
Velcros that Securely Fasten
Most shoulder pads come equipped with a Velcro fastener to make the process of putting them on and taking them off as painless as possible. Although this does make that process quick and easy, I have found that this Velcro mechanism can lead to some unforeseen issues.
With my current pair of shoulder pads, the Velcros have a tendency of coming undone when I’m out sprinting on the field. Although this is not a severe grievance, it is a minor inconvenience that could’ve been avoided had I ran the shoulder pads through some quick tests. After a while, it gets annoying having to refasten the Velcros every time I sub off the field.
To test that the Velcros will stay attached, see if they come undone when you rotate your upper torso. If they remain fastened, they are fit for the job. If they detach, I would ditch those shoulder pads for a different pair if you can.
Next on the list is comfortability. You need to be sure that you can go an extended of time wearing the shoulder pads of your choice. Between practices and games, you will have to wear these pads for hours on end. It may even be an every day occurrence if you are in the middle of the spring season.
Ideally, they should feel relatively snug along your upper torso so that they won’t flutter around in the middle of gameplay. Most shoulder pads have adjustable straps to take care of this problem. Even so, I would recommend trying out multiple sizes. Nothing is worse than making the trip all the way home only to realize that the shoulder pads you bought feel uncomfortably tight or uncomfortably loose.
Moreover, make sure that the shoulder pads do not ride up around your neck when you raise your arms. This limited maneuverability can manifest itself during your shooting motion, putting a damper on your accuracy as you extend your arms out and away.
So if the shoulder pads don’t feel right, don’t buy them. There are plenty of other options to choose from.
Lastly, you should be on the lookout for shoulder pads with superior breathability.
With the considerable amount of running demanded of lacrosse players, it should come as no surprise that it will get hot wearing all that gear. This is especially true if you play in a region where the climate is warm year around.
To help reduce the nauseating effect of the heat, it is important to find shoulder pads that are comprised of breathable material. Personally, I tend to lean towards shoulder pads that have a mesh material on the interior, like in the image below. I always found mesh material to be the most comfortable while still promoting breathability.
Everyone has their own preference. It is just a matter of experimenting through trial and error.
Shoulder Pads or Shoulder Liners: Which is the Better Purchase?
You may have seen that some of the protective shoulder equipment is advertised as shoulder pads whereas others are advertised as shoulder liners. The difference seems hardly noticeable at first glance, but it can have significant implications as to how well suited your protective shoulder equipment is to your individual needs.
Brief Summary of the Difference Between Shoulder Pads and Shoulder Liners
Shoulder pads feature a great deal of extra cushion and padding in comparison to shoulder liners. They offer a considerable degree of protection around the shoulder and arm area in particular. You may even find accessories attached that cover the outer portion of the arm.
Shoulder liners, on the other hand, are far more streamlined. The equipment is stripped of all non-essential padding, making for a superior lightweight construction. Although this sleek design is far less bulky relative to its counterpart, it is weak in the department of protection.
With that brief overview out of the way, let’s get back to the original question.
The Answer is Contingent on Your Position and Your Play Style
When pitting shoulder pads versus shoulder liners, what works best depends entirely on your position and play style. Generally, attackmen lean toward shoulder pads because they need extra padding to stand up to checks day after day. In contrast, defensemen are more inclined to choose shoulder liners because they don’t have to worry about potential stick checks coming their way. They rarely ever handle the ball. For this reason, it is much more beneficial for them to wear a lightweight set of shoulder equipment that is optimized for speed.
Midfielders go back and forth between the two. Personally, I preferred shoulder pads because I was entrusted with a lot of ball handling duties on offense. Needless to say, the extra padding certainly came in handy.
However, all of this positional nonsense flies out the window if you have an aggressive, scrappy play style. Those that put their body on the line every other play should invest into a pair of shoulder pads as opposed to shoulder liners. Safety should take precedence above all else.
But if you fall into the category of relying heavily on speed and mobility, shoulder liners may be the ideal choice for you. Just be prepared to wake up with some extra bruises in the morning.
What About the Goalkeepers?
To all the goalkeepers out there, don’t invest into shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are meant for field players. Invest into a lacrosse chest protector. Chest protectors are exclusively specialized toward withstanding the heavy forces of oncoming shots. If you wear regular old shoulder pads as a goalie, the likelihood for injury is very high!
Should You Invest in Rib Pads Along With Shoulder Pads?
Sometimes new lacrosse players are curious as to whether it is worth it to buy rib pads. To be clear, it is not required for lacrosse players to wear rib pads in game. However, it is mandatory for lacrosse players to wear shoulder pads.
In all my years of playing lacrosse, I have never worn rib pads. As of the time that I’m writing this article, I have yet to experience any major rib injuries from lacrosse (knock on wood!). If anything, this goes to show that playing lacrosse without rib pads is a viable option.
However, I understand that there are players out there that would feel more confident having additional protection. If you this fits your mold, I would advise you to go for it. Your mobility may take a minor hit, but your body will be well shielded from any forceful defensive checks.
In addition, I would also recommend investing in rib pads if you are recovering from rib injury or have had past problems with your ribs. Re-injuring yourself on the tail end of the road to recovery can be extremely demoralizing.
For your reference, I provided a table below of real rib pad prices listed on the sites of major online retailers.
|Rib Pad Product Name||Price||Source|
|Maverik Charger Lacrosse Rib Pad||$25||Lacrosse Monkey|
|STX Stallion 200 Rib Pad||$43||Lacrosse Monkey|
|Maverik Rome Lacrosse Rib Pads||$50||Sportstop.com|
|Epoch Integra X Box Lacrosse Kidney Pads||$60||Sportstop.com|
|Warrior Fatboy Rib Guards||$60||lax.com|
Shoulder pads can be costly if you are unfamiliar with the lacrosse equipment market. Fortunately, you stumbled upon this article so you won’t have this problem.
The point I want to drive home is that higher price tags don’t always equate to higher caliber gear. Don’t fall for the trap of shiny object syndrome. Test out the functional capabilities of the shoulder pads available and see for yourself if your shoulder pads of choice are up to standard. Only then should you finally commit to buying.