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The 7 Best Hockey Shoulder Pads of 2019

When you have pucks flying around the ice, players coming to hit you, and contact with the boards and ice looming every shift, hockey shoulder pads are not something to cheap out on.  We have researched dozens of shoulder pads, working hard to find you the best pads for your game.  So let’s cut to the chase – The Best Shoulder Pads of 2019 in our opinion are the CCM Jetspeed FT1’s.  These pads will protect you from hits and pucks by using no less than three of CCM’s proprietary foams – HD foam in the chest, Ufoam for less sweat absorption to keep you feeling light, and CCM’s Zotefoam for the torso.  These pads feature protection, mobility, and will stay lightweight all game long which is why we believe they are your best bet.

Want to complete your upper body protection?  Check out our article on the best hockey elbow pads for your game here!

Light Weight And Fantastic Protection

Most Protective Shoulder Pad

These pads protect you as good as you’d think by looking at them.  They rank at the top of our list not only because of that, but because CCM focused on a high mobility design that will keep you going bar down every shift!

CCM has taken their shoulder pad game to the next level with the Jetspeed FT1.  Most top tier shoulder pads nowadays will offer you great protection without a doubt, but CCM has done several things to elevate their game.  Three different foams, adjustable bicep protectors, and the ability to remove portions of the pads depending on your needs make this set of shoulder pads a one size fits all approach that works amazingly well.  Check out this Jetspeed FT1’s comments he left after leaving a 5 star review – 

When 2nd Place Is As Good As 1st

Best Overall Shoulder Pads

CCM’s strides with the Jetspeed FT1 have not gone unnoticed by rival Bauer – They shaved 25% of the total weight compared to the previous model, all while retaining a pro level of protection

Bauer has focused in on weight reduction across the entire shoulder pad this year to create a balanced shoulder pad that doesn’t hinder your movements or shots.  The Bauer Vapor 1X Lite succeeds in dropping weight without dropping protection – making sure you don’t have to compromise.

Protection At A Better Price

Best Value Hockey Shoulder Pad

You never want to cheap out on protection for your body, and with the CCM Super Tacks Shoulder Pads being a bit older model, you can now find it on sale to get top of the line performance at an excellent price!

CCM’s Super Tacks line focuses a bit more on fit and comfort compared to the Jetspeeds quest for all out light weight.  With this in mind CCM has used many of their proprietary foams to help dissipate impacts, and uses their anatomical 3D fit system with anti lift construction to provide a set of pads that conforms to your movements.  What does this mean for you?  It means not feeling like you are wearing body armor on the ice, and being able to skate and move freely and without restriction.

Our Recommendations

Light On Weight, Heavy On Protection

CCM’s strides with the Jetspeed FT1 have not gone unnoticed by rival Bauer – They shaved 25% of the total weight compared to the previous model, all while retaining a pro level of protection

Buying Options

The Lightweight Choice

These pads protect you as good as you’d think by looking at them.  They rank at the top of our list not only because of that, but because CCM focused on a high mobility design that will keep you going bar down every shift!

Buying Options

Budget Friendly Pants

Coming in just over half the retail price of our top pick and runner up, these pants still offer great protection for the price

Buying Options

Our Research and Findings

Choosing the best hockey shoulder pads can have a huge impact on your game.  From absorbing hits to taking shots, understanding the differences in each model and brand is imperative to make the right decision for your game. We are going to be talking about the best hockey shoulder pads released this year, for all players and skill levels. Read on for reviews that break down everything you need to know from manufacturers specs, strengths of the equipment, possible weaknesses, and finally value to you as a hockey player along with our final recommendation.

We will be reviewing the best senior hockey shoulder pads from all the big players including CCM, Bauer and Warrior to help you get excellent performance and reliable protection, so you can go bar down more often. We will lay out the shoulder pads and evaluate them on protection, durability, fit, weight, and cost. These shoulder pads will all deliver high performance and are sure to help your game, but we want to help you make the right choice for your needs.

Check our our top hockey gloves comparison to get the best protection for your silky mitts!

CCM’s top of the line shoulder pad with Rocketframe composite technology for unparalleled lightweight protection

Our Rating:

5/5

US / CA Best Prices

Top of the line protection and full motion flexibility with a great cooling system very light to boot

Our Rating:

5/5

US / CA Best Prices

Smart Cap technology and the Wartech FNC liner give these shoulder pads the best in protection and sweat wicking liner technology.

Our Rating:

4.5/5

US / CA Best Prices

CCM’s dryfoam technology give these shoulder pads a lightweight and breathable feel, with great protection.

Our Rating:

4.5/5

US / CA Best Prices

Aerolite technology makes these shoulder pads ultra lightweight with proven durability.

Our Rating:

4/5

US / CA Best Prices

D30 Smart foam and anti-lift construction make these shoulder pads anatomically fitting and very comfortable.

Our Rating:

4/5

US / CA Best Prices

A very comfortable and lightewight shoulder pad for every style of player

Our Rating:

4/5

US / CA Best Prices

Read on below for our in depth reviews of the best of the best in terms of shoulder pads and upper body protection.  If you are interested in learning about how to properly fit your shoulder pads, scroll to the bottom of the page!

Remember, protecting your head is even more important than your body!  Check out our top hockey helmets article to protect your melon!

The Best Hockey Shoulder Pads of 2019


1. Bauer Vapor 1X Lite - Best Overall Shoulder Pads

Specifications and Features:

  • Aerolite TechnologyA key feature in this years Vapor 1X shoulder pad, the curve composite and aerolite technology reduce the overall weight and increase protection in key areas.  
  • 4 Way Free Flex – The chest protector is designed for increased mobility and freedom for shooting and stick handling.
  • 37.5 Fast Drying FabricThis proprietary technology is featured on other 2018 Bauer products to help evaporate sweat, and keep your core temperature down with optimal ventilation.

Advantages:

  • Full Motion FreedomEveryone hates being restricted by a bulky set of shoulder pads, but you also can’t cheap out on protection. The Vapor 1X utilizes a Free Flex bicep guard and extremely flexible chest to make these one of the best shoulder pad for maximum mobility.  
  • Lightweight Protection – Bauer doesn’t disappoint in making these one of the lightest shoulder pads out there with the Curv composite and Aerolite technology. The form fitting and ultra lightweight protection lets you bounce off every hit you take.
  • Cool Core TemperatureThe Vapor 1X utilizes the new 37.5 sweat wicking technology to create one of the best shoulder pads for keeping you cool all game.

Disadvantages:

This is one of the top models out this year, so the price point is on the premium side but the investment will pay off in durability and longevity.

BOTTOM LINE:

The Bauer Vapor 1X lives up to its name with these shoulder pads feeling lighter than air. You’ll notice right away the increased freedom you’ll feel as these shoulder pads were designed to move naturally with your body. Stick handling and shooting with the Free Flex Bicep guard is very natural and gives you unrestricted mobility. They won’t let you down in the protection department using some of the newest technology out there to create a high performance shoulder pad. I am a big believer in the Vapor 1X for three reasons; lightweight, flexibility, and great protection. These are a great investment for any caliber of player and are one of the most popular choices amongst all available shoulder pads for a reason.

Ice Hockey Warehouse created a great shoulder pad basics article that can help you decide if a contoured, modern fitting shoulder pad like the Vapor 1X is for you!


2. CCM Jetspeed FT1 - Most Protective Shoulder Pads

Specifications and Features:

  • Rocketframe Composite – An adaptable fitting composite shell with a neck comfort pad offering excellent protection and comfort.   
  • Zotefoam Technology – CCM uses molded Zotefoam to give you exceptional freedom of movement while also being very lightweight.
  • Dryfoam Technology A water repellent lining that absorbs less sweat to keep you dry and lightweight all game.

Advantages:

  • Adaptable FitThe JetSpeed FT1 give you some adjustability in the shoulders and neck area, which helps make sure they sit on every players body correctly. This along with the molded Rocketframe composite shells give you top of the line protection.
  • Lightweight Construction – Everything about the JetSpeed FT1 was designed to be lightweight and flexible. CCM uses a variety of different foams to give you the ultimate lightweight and anatomical protection from your shoulder pads.
  • Superior Durability –These have proven to be very durable shoulder pads with a great life span for the price. The variety of high quality foams used in these shoulder pads prevent wear and tear over time meaning these shoulder pads will protect you for years to come.

Disadvantages:

The length in the front of the shoulder pads extended down a bit further than I was used to with my old shoulder pads but I only noticed it briefly and it was not an issue during game play.

BOTTOM LINE:

The JetSpeed FT1 is a very lightweight and mobile shoulder pad designed for skilled and physical players alike. The molded zotefoam and the adjustable neck pad give these a unique fit for every player. The biggest thing I liked about these shoulder pads was how big your range of motion is and how easy shooting felt while wearing these. The Rockframe composite also gives you all the protection required to take and give hits all season long. The performance and durability you’ll get from the JetSpeed FT1 is well worth the investment for your game. 


3. Warrior Alpha QX

Specifications and Features:

  • Smart Cap Technology – A multi-impact protection technology that minimizes the impact shoulders from take from a hit.
  • Wartech FNC Liner – The liner is a collaboration with Polygiene, designed to keep you cool, dry, and completely odor free.
  • Ventilated Performance System – The internal jacket, separating your pants from the liner keeps them light and dry all game.

Advantages:

  • Superior Mobility – The Alpha QX shoulder pads utilize quick strike technology to give you a superior fit, focused on mobility. These shoulder pads are completely unrestrictive when skating and handling the puck.
  • Top Tier Protection – Warrior puts protection at the top of the list in these shoulder pads with additional kidney guards.
  • Lightweight Feel – The Alpha QX shoulder pads give you a very lightweight and comfortable feel all game. The ventilated performance system really improves airflow to keep you cool even during a big shift.

Disadvantages:

The bicep protectors were a little stiffer than I prefer, but they also offer better protection.

BOTTOM LINE:

The Warrior Alpha QX are the best shoulder pads that combine a mobile feel with top level protection. The performance you get from these pads are fit for anyone dishing out big hits or scoring the big goals. The biggest thing for me was the flexible construction and adaptable fit that doesn’t hurt your mobility on the ice. These aren’t the most expensive shoulder pads you can buy either so it is a great price point for the performance and durability you get out of these.   

Taking hits and blocking shots can take a toll on a player through the season – Keep your lower body safe and check out the Top Hockey Pants of the Year – Check our article out!


4. CCM SUPER TACKS - Best Budget Shoulder Pads

Specifications and Features:

  • Anatomical 3D Fit – Featuring anti lift construction to keep these pads anchored down on you for consistent protection.
  • Dual Core HD Foam – Shoulder caps made of high density foam with D30 smart material to help you soak up any blows with ease.  
  • Shaped and Moldel Sternum Protection – Additional high density floating sternum protector gives you more protection in a key impact area.

Advantages:

  • Top Tier Protection – The CCM Super Tacks are one of the best sets of shoulder pads on the market if protection is what you’re concerned about. These give you the highest level of protection with extra padding on the spine, sternum, and even a removable torso protector.
  • Durable Construction – These shoulder pads give you a professional grade level of protection and durability with the dual high density foam shoulder caps and anti-lift construction that moves with you. These shoulder pads will protect you hit after hit and are very durable.
  • Anatomical Mobility – For the level of protection CCM has included in the Supertacks, it’s surprising how free and unrestricted you feel wearing them. These are one of the best shoulder pads for combining protection while keeping in mind mobility for puck handling, without having to give up one or the other.

Disadvantages:

Since they are made up almost completely of foam, they get a little nicked up but the protection or performance isn’t adversely affected at all.

BOTTOM LINE:

The CCM Super Tacks come to the market as one of the best shoulder pads for a professional level of protection and a comfortable fit. The anatomical design with anti-lift technology ensures you won’t take any hits without your shoulder pads being in the exact position to optmially protect you. This also helps in puck handling, as the shoulder pads are designed to move with you and not hinder your mobility. The CCM Super Tacks shoulder pads are a great investment if you need the best protection, but you don’t want a bulky outdated set of shoulder pads. 


5. Bauer Vapor X900 - Lightest Hockey Shoulder Pads

Specifications and Features:

  • Aerolite Technology – Used throughout the chest and kidney protectors, Aerolite technology reduces the overall weight of the shoulder pads while providing advanced protection.
  • Tapered Fit – A classic shoulder pad fit, the Vapor X900 has a wider profile at the top and a standard fit throughout the lower section of the pads.
  • 37.5 Fast Drying Fabric – This technology is seen in other 2018 Bauer products to help evaporate sweat, and protect against odors and bacteria.

Advantages:

  • Ultra Lightweight – The biggest thing that the Vapor X900 has over the competition is the extremely lightweight and breathable construction they have from using the Aerolite technology throughout.
  • Classic Fit – The classic style shoulder pads offers a looser fit on the shoulders while giving you a comfortable and snug fit on the torso and spine. This is the perfect choice if you aren’t looking for the new anatomical fit.
  • Impressive Durability – Although this isn’t Bauers top of the line model, the combination of durability and protection from the Aerolite technology increases the protective properties in high impact zones.

Disadvantages:

I’ve come to like the anatomical fit offered on some of the more high end shoulder pads, but these are a great budget friendly option for lightweight protection.

BOTTOM LINE:

The Vapor X900 shoulder pads are an excellent product for lightweight, comfortable protection and can be had at an excellent price point. Bauer uses their Aerolite technology throughout the shoulder pads complete with a foam liner that is designed to maximize cooling. With the tapered fit profile of the X900 shoulder pads, you have a ton of mobility when handling the puck and going bar down. These will not disappoint and are a great investment for any caliber of player, especially the skilled players that need unrestricted mobility and lightweight protection. 


6. CCM Tacks 7092

Specifications and Features:

  • Anti-Lift Construction – An anatomical 3D fit that adapts to your movements, preventing the Supertacks shoulder pads from lifting upwards.
  • Dual core HD Foam – The shoulder caps are reinforced with D30 Smart Material and High Density foam for lightweight protection.
  • D30 Smart Foam – A soft and forgiving foam makes up the shoulder pad liner, which absorbs impact force to help you bounce off hits better.

Advantages:

  • Top Tier Protection – The CCM Super Tacks 7092 are an excellent option for those who like the original Super Tacks but need to save a bit of money.
  • Durable Construction – These shoulder pads give you a professional grade level of protection and durability with the dual high density foam shoulder caps and anti-lift construction that moves with you. These shoulder pads will protect you hit after hit and are very durable.
  • Anatomical Mobility – With adjustable biceps, floating sternum protector, and removable belly & PE foam kidney protection, you can adjust these to suit your exact needs.

Disadvantages:

Being a bit more budget friendly than the Super Tacks, these were a but heavier, but hardly noticeable once you start working a sweat up.

BOTTOM LINE:

The CCM Super Tacks 7092 is an excellent budget friendly choice for those who have tried and love the original Super Tacks pads.  With nearly infinite amounts of adjustability and proection to match, this will protect your body and your wallet.


7. Bauer Supreme 1S - Best Shoulder Pads of 2018

Specifications and Features:

  • Flexorb Technology – Bauer strategically places G-Form and XRD materials to absorb impact energy and protect you all game.   
  • Powerlite Technology – The ultimate anatomical fit using a lightweight, moldable foam which contours to your body.  
  • 37.5 Fast Drying Fabric – This technology is seen on other 2018 Bauer products to help evaporate sweat, and protect against odors and bacteria.

Advantages:

  • Anatomical Fit – The Supreme 1S goes for a shoulder pad that fits the body closely for a very natural fit to any body type. The flexible foam is designed to move with you and enhance your game.
  • Superior Protection – The anatomical fit along with the Flexorb technology are designed to absorb and dissipate the energy from getting hit away from your body. These are top of the line in the protection department also featuring Curv composite technology in the target impact areas so you can battle all game.
  • Comfortable Ventilation –The Supreme 1S uses the new 37.5 sweat wicking technology and strategically placed air vents to maximize airflow and cooling.

Disadvantages:

The anatomical fit is very comfortable when you get used to it, but it took me a skate to transition from the classic loose fitting shoulder pad.

BOTTOM LINE:

The Supreme 1S gets the job done with one of the best sets of protective shoulder pads Bauer has to offer. The Flexorb foam technology makes sure you’re well protected in all the key areas. The great thing about the anatomical fit is the gap between your body and the shoulder pads is reduced, ensuring the pads absorb almost all of the impact. These shoulder pads are also not restrictive and give you an excellent range of motion when shooting and handling the puck. The Bauer Supreme 1S is a very durable and comfortable shoulder pad, and the long lasting performance you get is well worth the investment. 


Parts of the Hockey Shoulder Pad

The hockey shoulder pads are made up of six main components; they protect the shoulders, biceps, sternum, ribs, and the collar bone. If you’re a rough hockey player, you’re going to want shoulder pads that have heavier protection in the shoulder and sternum areas. 

Pure Hockey’s Shoulder Pad Guide has a great breakdown of these points as well if you want to check them out!

Shoulder Caps – The shoulder caps are typically lined with high density foams with a hard plastic exterior to take the brunt of the impact. The shoulders take the majority of the abuse in hockey, and this is a critical piece of protection.
Bicep Protector– The bicep protector is connected just below the shoulder caps, and is attached to your arm by a velcro strap. The bicep protector usually doesn’t include a hard plastic exterior to ensure full range of motion.
Sternum Protector – The sternum protector is the centerpiece of the shoulder pads, going right down the middle of your chest. It protects not only the sternum but also the ribs and the top of your abdomen.
Spine Protector – Similar to the sternum protector but on your back.  This will run from just below your traps down your back and sit a 4-6 inches up from your hips, covering your kidneys.
Rib Protector – The protective piece for the ribs goes around the sides of your body and should fit very close to your body. The exact fit is adjustable with velcro and is typically a soft foam, with some products having a hard plastic shell in certain areas.
Collar Bone Protector – The collar bone protector sits around the inner part of the neck hole and across the top of the shoulder pads, connecting with the shoulder caps. This is a vital piece of the shoulder pads as a broken collar bone can put you out for months. 


How to Size Hockey Shoulder Pads

Measuring your chest for Hockey Shoulder Pads

If you’re buying hockey shoulder pads online, its very important you measure your chest size properly. This is very easy and can be completed in literally just one step, and all you need is a soft tape measure!

1. You want to measure the circumference of your chest by using the soft tape measure positioned just below your armpits. This can be completed by yourself but it is much easier with the help of a second person to ensure you get an accurate measurement. Check out the picture below!

Senior Hockey Shoulder Pad Sizing

An important thing to remember when using our sizing guide below, is to always double check the brands sizing guide (which should be very similar to ours below) but can vary slightly from brand to brand. We’re going to use Bauer’s sizing guide as a reference, but keep in mind every player is built different and has a different preference on fit. 

Junior Hockey Shoulder Pad Sizing

When sizing for a Junior player, you need to remember senior hockey shoulder pads are also an option if none of the Junior sizes seem to line up. Junior hockey shoulder pads are usually recommended for players aged 8 – 14 years old. It is important to check shoulder pad sizing before the start of every season to ensure they have not outgrown the hockey shoulder pads. 

Youth Hockey Shoulder Pad Sizing

Youth hockey shoulder pads are important even for young players just trying to learn, typically from the ages of 4 to 9 years old but this is only an estimated age range and each shoulder pad should be sized for the player. If a youth players hockey shoulder pads are a little big or bulky it should be ok unless your child is playing at a high level. 

We can’t emphasize enough that the most important thing about buying new equipment is ensuring the size and fit are comfortable for the player to provide the maximum possible protection. We hope this hockey shoulder pad sizing guide has been useful, and if there are any suggestions on how we can make it better please leave a comment below!

Once you have chosen the shoulder pads the first thing you want to do is try them on and play around with the rib and bicep sizing. You want a fit that won’t move around when your playing, but is comfortable and non restrictive.  If you order the incorrect size (determined by trying on at home before using on ice) retailers will accept exchanges, sometimes even helping with shipping costs.

Super popular hockey forum HF boards has a great post on someone having a hard time fitting shoulder pads.  Checking out his post might help you out!


Conclusion

We have talked about some of the best hockey shoulder pads for all budgets today, and really it’s all about finding the best combination of protection and comfort for your game. I have tried all the shoulder pads discussed above and none of them will let you down in the protection department, it all depends on the specific feel you need for your game. These shoulder pads are going to be a valuable investment to keep you from getting injured and going bar down game in and game out. My personal favorite is the CCM Jetspeed FT2, I am a huge fan of the anatomical fit and the powerlite protection technology used in these shoulder pads and I believe they are well worth the investment for your game. If anyone has an opinion or question on any of the shoulder pads I have talked about, we’d love to hear from you

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