If you’re new to the game of football; coach, player, or parent, covering all the bases of youth protective football equipment can be a daunting task. Proper equipment in football is key to improving player protection and performance. We’ve put together a list to cover your youth athlete from head to ankle in the proper gear to make sure your season is a successful one.
CORE PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
The foundation of every football player’s equipment repertoire is the core equipment. These are the necessities, often mandated by the league or team, and are usually not optional.
Youth football players in their Youth X2E+ helmets huddle before an all-star game
FOOTBALL HELMET + FACEMASK
The football helmet is the single most important piece of equipment for any football player, regardless of age or level of competition. Designed to protect the head from impacts that are common on the football field, finding the right helmet for your player is the most important piece for the upcoming season. Helmets consist of a hard-plastic exterior shell, internal padding and compression technology throughout the interior, as well as a chin-cup and facemask. With the plethora of options available when it comes to youth football helmets, it’s important to do your research on the best helmet for your individual athlete.
From the athlete’s perspective, the most important aspect of the helmet is comfort, as an uncomfortable, obstructive helmet can be one of the most frustrating equipment challenges to encounter on the gridiron. Additionally, a light-weight design is extremely valuable to youth players. All too often, youth helmets are too heavy for young players, often resulting in “bobblehead” football where players cannot support the weight of the helmet through their head and neck. Therefore, finding the right helmet for your youth player comes down to pairing protection with player comfort and enjoyment such as Xenith Shadow XR Youth or Youth X2E+.
XENITH SHADOW XR YOUTH
The best helmet available for young athletes on the market today is Xenith Shadow XR Youth. It is #1 on the Virginia Tech youth football helmet ratings. It has the same novel polymer shell and Rheon energy control layer as its varsity counterpart which makes it a supremely durable and protective football helmet. What sets Shadow XR Youth apart from competitors and its varsity helmet counterpart is its optimized youth fit and overall smaller size. We analyzed thousands of data points around the size and shape of the youth athlete’s head to create a better fitting helmet just for them. We were able to tune the RHEON™ shock specifically for youth athletes based on the severity of impacts they encounter in their games, while also decreasing the overall size of the helmet. This decrease in overall size puts less strain on a youth athlete’s neck and spine and allows them to be more in control on the field. Our VP of Product Innovation, Dr. Grant Goulet, chats about Shadow XR Youth here.
Xenith Shadow XR Youth Football Helmet
Xenith X2E+ Youth
At #3 on the Virginia Tech Youth helmet ratings with a lower weight and price than other top-rated competitors, X2E+ Youth is the best value football helmet on the market. X2E+ features an ABS plastic shell and, our original, single-stage-shock energy control layer.
Don't just take our word for it. You can check out the Virginia Tech Youth Helmet Ratings here: https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/youth-football-helmet-ratings.html.
The facemask of the helmet is important to help players avoid facial abrasions and dental issues, while also serving as a unique opportunity for players to express their individual style. Facemasks are offered in a variety of styles based on position, and more eccentric designs have become common throughout both the NFL and CFB as protection and style come together to create this trend.
We offer a wide array of unique facemasks on Xenith.com, allowing players to express their individuality and take the field with confidence.
Shoulder pads are another critical piece of equipment when it comes to protection for youth football players. Shoulder pads are worn under the jersey and help protect players when blocking, pushing, tackling, and general impacts to the body. Shoulder pads consist of a hard-exterior shell (usually plastic) with integrated foam padding throughout the interior. Shoulder pads protect players by absorbing and subsequently re-distributing the impact that results from an on-field collision. Shoulder Pads are often position specific, most commonly available in lineman, hybrid, and skill variations. For youth, the most important shoulder pad attributes are strong protection, comfort, and a lightweight design, similar to our Fly and Flyte shoulder pad models.
A youth football player in his Flyte shoulder pads.
The FLY shoulder pad is varsity level protection in a youth pad. Injected molded plates plus sizing straps with metal grommets make this the most protective and durable youth pad we offer.
FLYTE shoulder pads are our lightest offering and our number 1 selling pad with our retail partner, Dick’s Sporting Goods. FLYTE’s high-impact foam absorbs hits while the pads shaping doesn’t limit movement.
Although this is usually a part of the helmet, it’s important to note as it’s a crucial piece of protection for the football player. The Chin Cup is a dual function piece of equipment helping to protect the chin while also ensuring fit throughout the helmet. Chin Cups are used in conjunction with straps to help secure the helmet in place and ensure maximum protection for the athlete for the jaw and chin. Xenith offers two models of chin cups, our Hybrid Chin Cup, which is a soft interior shell with a hard exterior shell, and our 3DX Chin Cup which is a hard outside shell with a silicon liner for ultimate protection.
HIP AND TAILBONE GIRDLE
Most leagues require hip and tailbone pads for protection from falling, or impacts from other players. These pads can be purchased in the form of a padded compression girdle, or separately from the girdle, and looped into the pants with a belt. Our retail partner Dick’s Sporting Goods has girdles from different brands at a range of prices.
KNEE AND THIGH PADS
Knee and thigh pads are usually foam pieces that slide into the football player’s pants. These pieces are lightweight and provide the player protection from the ground or impact from other players but also allow mobility on the field. Dicks Sporting Goods currently has knee and thigh pad sets for sale.
Back plates attach to the back of the players shoulder pads and are often worn by running backs and quarterbacks to provide lower back protection from helmet or body impacts. Many other position groups can utilize back plates for their protection aspects as well. Truthfully, backplates are also a fashion piece as well, as they provide customization and player personalization in the form of colors and styles.
VISOR OR EYE-SHIELD (OPTIONAL)
Although technically this piece could also fall in the “Accessories” category, the Visor or Eye-shield is a common helmet accessory that players add for both protection and style. The visor can be beneficial in protecting the eyes, while also working to eliminate glare under the lights on gameday. Most commonly, however, visors are seen as a fashion statement on the football field, with social media constantly filled with the buzz of the latest on-trend visor look.
Youth football player wearing a Xenith Blue Eyeshield
CORE GUARD (OPTIONAL)
Core guards offer protection to the lower back and ribs and are usually worn by quarterbacks or players with specific protection needs. They may limit mobility which is why they are only used by players who need them.
ON FIELD ACCESSORIES
Hand warmers can be extremely important for skill position players, especially quarterbacks as they seek to keep their hands warm during cold weather games. Other positions who can benefit from a hand warmer include Wide receivers, running backs, tight ends, linebackers, and defensive backs.
Towels are most often used by quarterbacks and centers, both of whom need to keep their hands dry to keep the football secure in any weather conditions, but can be used by many positions who need to keep their hands dry during the game: Wide receivers, running backs, tight ends, linebackers, and defensive backs.
Players often wear headwear such as bandanas or gaiters under their helmet to help manage their hair as well as provide additional style for their uniform as a whole.
Youth football players line up before the snap
There you have it, the most comprehensive list of gear available – from head to ankle. And with free shipping on orders over $25 on xenith.com, you can get all this delivered to your door seamlessly.