Football has been one of the most-watched and most-played sports in the U.S. for years. Whether you’ve been playing your whole life, or if you’re brand new to the game, you need the proper equipment in order to play. The main pieces of gear you’ll need to play football are: a helmet, a pair of cleats, and a pair of shoulder pads. There are other things that complete your gear setup as well, including a mouth guard, a good pair of socks, football pants, and a jersey.
If you’re a beginner, you might be wondering where you can buy all of this gear. Once you make your purchases, you’ll probably also want to know how to properly clean and take care of your equipment. We’ve got answers to all of your questions below -- including how much all of this is going to cost you.
How to Clean Football Pads
If you live in a dry part of the country, try airing out your gear on a clothesline or laying it flat to dry outside. If you live in a more humid area, be sure to air out your pads indoors (or, try throwing everything in the dryer on little to no heat).
It’s best to treat pads with an anti-odor disinfectant spray immediately after use. Be sure to scrub the spray into the pads so that it gets deep into the material. A cloth or an old rag will work well for the scrubbing process. When you’re cleaning shoulder pads, be sure to separate the plastic shell from the fabric liner. Mix soap and water in a bucket and use either a soaked cloth or a sponge to wipe down the plastic shell.
If your shoulder pads have deep stains that aren’t coming out with just soap and water, we recommend using an enzyme pre-treat stain remover. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes to break up stubborn dirt. Next, put your pads in pillow cases and tie off the openings with knots before you throw them into the washing machine. The pillow cases will protect the pads as they get tossed around in the washing machine. You’ll want to wash your pads in warm water, on the gentle cycle. Add a standard amount of laundry detergent, but avoid using fabric softeners or chlorine bleach. When you’re done washing your shoulder pads, remove them from the pillow cases and hang them on hangers to air dry.
Can You Wear Baseball Cleats For Football?
If you find yourself asking this question, you’re not alone -- many people wonder the same thing. If you’re new to either sport, football cleats and baseball cleats can look pretty similar upon first glance.
There are several key differences though that make each type of cleat the best (and only) option for its respective sport. Football cleats have rigid sidewalls that help keep your ankles supported for quick lateral movements. In general, football cleats have much better ankle support than baseball cleats. You can buy football cleats in low, mid or high tops. Baseball cleats, on the other hand, feature much more cushioning in the midsole to account for the long periods of time that ball players are standing still/on their feet. Midsoles on football cleats are constructed more like soccer cleats. There is less cushioning all around, which makes the cleats lighter. This allows players to run and cut more efficiently. The biggest difference comes on the soleplate. Football cleats feature rounded rubber or plastic studs, and a flexible soleplate. Baseball cleats, however, have razor-like studs that are made of metal or hard plastic to dig into dirt or grass.
How Do You Break In Football Cleats?
Seasoned players will tell you: blisters are miserable. If you’ve just purchased new cleats, you must break them in before wearing them in a game. There are a couple of reasons why new cleats that haven’t been broken in yet will give you blisters. The first is that the cleat’s upper might be too stiff. The second is, the inside of the shoe does not yet conform to the exact shape of your foot, and therefore your foot will likely slide around and cause too much friction (which leads to blisters). Here are some solid techniques to break in your new cleats:
- Walk in your cleats. Walk around your house or a local park while wearing your cleats. By walking in them, you don’t risk contracting any blisters, but your cleats will start to mold to the shape of your foot. You could even try wearing them during a more leisurely sport like golf or frisbee!
- Flex your cleats. Do this manually, one at a time. Take your cleat in both hands, placing one hand on the toe of the shoe and one on the heel of the shoe. Bend, twist and flex the shoe in as many directions as you can for about 10-15 minutes. After you’ve flexed them, slip them on and walk around your house for a bit.
- Soak your cleats. You’ll need a pair of game socks, your cleats and a bucket of hot water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot -- you don’t want to burn yourself! Plus, if the water is too hot it could damage your cleats. Put your socks and cleats on, and lace up your cleats as if you’re ready to play. Sit on a chair or stool and place your feet in your empty bucket. Once you’re in position, fill the bucket with hot water until the water level comes up just below the laces. While your feet are submerged, wiggle your toes around to stretch the cleats in multiple directions. Do this for 10 minutes, and then remove your cleats and stuff them with newspaper to dry.
How much do football helmets cost? How much are football cleats? And how much are shoulder pads?
All of these are great questions! As with any sport, the cost of gear can add up pretty quickly. Football is a high impact sport. So, you’re going to want to make sure that the gear you -- or your kids -- are using is offering the highest level of protection possible. You can still achieve full protection with used gear. That’s where we can help.
Let’s do some quick math. Here is an example of an all new, 2019 gear setup for a senior level player, including the prices of three of the most popular pieces of football gear on the market right now:
- Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet: $299.82 on Amazon
- Under Armour Men's Highlight Select D Football Shoe: $90 on Amazon
- Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads: $139.82-$179.99 on Amazon
Conclusion: So when all is said and done, you’re looking at anywhere between $530-$570 for top-of-the-line, brand new gear.
Switching gears, here are three examples of used (or new but resold) prices for football gear being sold on SidelineSwap:
- UA Cam Newton (Limited Edition) Highlights: $85 asking price
- Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet: $150 asking price
- Schutt Sports XV HD Varsity Football Shoulder Pads: $130 asking price
Conclusion: Your total -- pre-negotiations -- comes to: $365
Remember, you have the power to message sellers on SidelineSwap to negotiate their asking price. You also have the ability to make the seller an offer directly. Any way you slice it, you’re saving money!
Best of the best
Sometimes price isn’t what matters most to people. If you prefer to have the latest model of cleats -- or if you want to wear the best-selling helmet on the market -- we get it! Here is a quick list of the most popular football cleats, helmets and shoulder pads from 2019.
Best Football Cleats:
- Adidas Adizero 5-Star 7.0 Cleat
- Nike Lunarbeast Pro TD Cleat
- Nike Alpha Shark Cleat
- Under Armour Highlight RM Cleat
- NIKE Vapor Untouchable Pro 3 Cleat
Best Football Shoulder Pads:
- Schutt XV HD Football Shoulder Pads
- Adams VS500 All-purpose Football Shoulder Pad
- Schutt Mid Flex 4.0 Football Shoulder Pad
- Schutt Varsity FLEX 4.0 All-purpose Shoulder Pads
- Schutt AiR Maxx Flex 2.0 Shoulder Pads
Best Football Helmets:
- Schutt Sports Vengeance VTD II Football Helmet
- Schutt Youth ION 4D Football Helmet without Faceguard
- Schutt Sports Adult Air XP Purple Football Helmet
- Schutt Sports Vengeance A3+ Youth Football Helmet
- Riddell SpeedFlex Adult Helmet