Gear Guides

Shoulder Pads Buying Guide

No hockey player wants to end up on the bench from from an upper body injury at any point. Finding proper shoulder pads is the first step in avoiding this scenario and protecting yourself on the ice. So it’s essential to find a pair that fits properly and is comfortable.

What we cover:
Key Features
Other Tips
Related Resources

Key Features

While most shoulder pads are constructed with universal features, here are some key variations to keep in mind:

Adjustable Biceps:

If you’re growing like a tree and/or have certain tightness/looseness preferences up top, your best bet is to find a pair of pads with adjustable bicep protection.

Removable Abdominal & Rib Pad:

If you’re nervous about exposing your ribs to any loose pucks or shots, consider looking at shoulder pads that offer removable padding in the torso.

High-Density Sternum Protector:

Several mid-to-high-performance padding companies offer additional protection in the sternum for those playing at more advanced levels of the game. These go a long way in protecting your chest when you’re diving headfirst for a blue-line clapper.


The first step to estimating your shoulder pad size is to get an idea of how big your chest is.

To do so, take a soft tape measure around your torso (right under the armpits). This should give you a rough idea of where to start. Here’s how chest measurements usually play out in relation to age groups on SidelineSwap:


Any pair of shoulder pads, when fitted correctly, should cover not just your shoulders, but also your rib cage, upper biceps/triceps, and collarbone. Your chest and back protectors should meet at the top of your hockey pants (or within three inches). Your bicep pads should meet as close as possible to your elbow pads; lastly, your collarbone shouldn’t be exposed. If your shoulder pads are overlapping any of your other pads, consider a smaller size.

Mobility is the name of the game. How do you plan on doing a massive fist-pump celly if you can’t even move your arms and shoulders?

Other Tips

  • Like everything in hockey, the fit you get varies from model to model, brand to brand.
  • The straps around your midsection should feel snug, not like they are suffocating you or dangling loosely in the wind.
  • If you have questions about the sizing and fit of a pair you’ve been eyeing on SidelineSwap, feel free to reach out to the seller, or our team of experts, to get all the helpful info you might need.

Related Resources

How To Size Hockey Shoulder Pads
How To Clean Hockey Shoulder Pads
Best Hockey Shoulder Pads For Mobility

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