best lacrosse shoulder pads

Shoulder pads may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of lacrosse equipment, but their importance cannot be overstated. The best lacrosse shoulder pads are designed to protect players from any impact from sticks, balls, and even other players who might deliver brutal, rapid, dangerous checks during play. 

Whether you’re looking for gear for an attacker, middie, or defender, the best lacrosse pads are out there - you just need to know what to look for. 

Read on for our complete guide to lacrosse shoulder pads and chest protectors. 

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • List of the Top 10 Overall Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
  • Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads by Type
  • How to Choose Lacrosse Shoulder Pads
  • Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pad FAQs

To see more options, check out our full selection of lacrosse shoulder pads.

List of the Top 10 Overall Lacrosse Shoulder Pads

If you’re looking for the best lacrosse shoulder pads and liners on the market, we’ve rounded up the top 10 for you to start your search with.  


Type: Youth, Adult

Key Features: Quickdry Liner wicks moisture away to keep you cool and dry throughout your game.

Our Review: Maverik M5 EKG Speed lacrosse shoulder pads are made with comfort in mind. Their lightweight design doesn’t sacrifice protection for the chest or back while allowing arms full range of movement.

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Type: Youth, Adult

Key Features: T.A.C.™ system is designed for a custom and comfortable fit.

Our Review: STX Cell 5 lacrosse shoulder pads focus on giving players a custom fit. The T.A.C.™ system gives you a fit that’s contoured to your specific body. Players also love the option to have the bicep pads attached or not.

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Type: Youth, Adult

Key Features: These shoulder pads come with additional shoulder and arm protection from errant balls and stick checks.

Our Review: The Maverik M5 EKG lacrosse shoulder pads take protection to another level. Combining the EKG chest protection designed to deflect and disperse impacts away from the heart, with additional shoulder and arm protection, these shoulder pads are designed to keep you safe whether you’re stepping in front of a shot or battling with other players.

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Type: Youth

Key Features: EKG chest protector redirects impacts away from the heart.

Our Review: The Maverik Charger EKG shoulder pad is designed to help protect younger lacrosse players, offering extra protection for the shoulders and upper arms while keeping youth comfortable. 

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Type: Youth

Key Features: Dual-density foam adds extra protection under the pads.

Our Review: The Warrior Burn Next Youth lacrosse shoulder pads provide high levels of protection throughout the pads. With dual-density foam, polyurethane reinforcement in the sternum and shoulders, and built-in rib pads, youth players will stay safe while learning the game of lacrosse.

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Type: Youth, Adult

Key Features: The pad breaks are designed to conform comfortably to a player’s body while providing freedom of movement.

Our Review: The TRUE Zerolyte shoulder pads are all about free-flowing movement. Designed to provide a high level of protection, they still allow players to move freely around the field. They also have adjustable/removable shoulder caps and bicep pads for customizable protection.

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Type: Youth

Key Features: Hard plastic shoulder caps increase protection while players battle for possession.

Our Review: The STX Stallion 200+ lacrosse shoulder pads bring extra protection for players’ shoulders (and biceps, if players so choose). The pads also help keep pinnies in place with integrated pinnie holders and have a built-in ID label to ensure easy identification

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Type: Youth, Adult

Key Features: Ultra-lightweight padding keeps players safe while not restricting movement.

Our Review: The Nike Vapor Elite Lacrosse shoulder pad liner is designed to provide the necessary protection for a player’s chest and back while maximizing their freedom of movement to maneuver their arms for shots, checks, and scooping up loose balls. Ultra-lightweight padding keeps players moving while still protecting the chest from impact.

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Type: Youth, Adult

Key Features: ZRB Technology maximizes protection for key impact areas while the liner allows for freedom of movement.

Our Review: The TRUE Zerolyte shoulder pads liner focuses on free-flowing movement for players, while injection molded high-density foam reinforces the chest protector, keeping players safe from impacts. Even with the high-density foam, the TRUE Zerolyte liner keeps players cool and dry with moisture management lining. 

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Type: Youth, Adult

Key Features: Built-in stretch zones, courtesy of GeoFlex II technology, give players full mobility while keeping them protected.

Our Review: The STX Cell 5 lacrosse shoulder pads liner combines flexibility with the GeoFlex II system and the T.A.C.™ system for a custom, comfortable fit for all players. The liner does not sacrifice protection of the player’s chest yet maximizes comfort and mobility.

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Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads by Type

Best Youth Lacrosse Shoulder Pads - Maverik Charger EKG Shoulder Pad - '22 Model

The Maverik Charger EKG shoulder pads provide a high level of protection for young players, making them the best youth lacrosse shoulder pads on the market today. While players at all levels need to be aware of the safety features their gear offers them, young players especially should have maximum levels of protection. The Charger EKG has extra shoulder and bicep protection while the EKG chest protector helps distribute impacts to the chest away from the heart.


Best Goalie Lacrosse Chest Pads - Maverik Max EKG Goalie Lacrosse Chest Pad

The Maverik Max EKG Goalie lacrosse chest pad combines Maverik’s EKG chest protector with flexible padding to protect the rest of a goalie’s front. Lacrosse goalies face the most front-facing impacts from balls, so having the best lacrosse chest protector is critical to keeping goalies safe. The flexible padding surrounding the chest protector allows goalies to move, unhindered, while still being able to best-protect their goal.


Best Attack Lacrosse Shoulder Pads - STX Cell 5 Lacrosse Shoulder Pads

Attackers in lacrosse are subject to a lot of abuse from defenders, so having the best lacrosse attack shoulder pads for protection is essential to keeping them in the game. The STX Cell 5 pads are the best lacrosse shoulder pads for attack because they offer customizable levels of protection, with removable bicep pads and a GeoFlex II system that allows them to move fluidly and get shots on goal.


Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads for Middie - Maverik M5 EKG Speed Lacrosse Shoulder Pad

Middies need speed, flexibility, and mobility to help transition from defense to attack while battling for loose balls, which is why they need the best lacrosse shoulder pads for midfield. The Maverik M5 EKG Speed pads are the best lacrosse shoulder pads for middies because they offer great protection, while allowing players to move freely, and the Quickdry liner keeps middies cool and dry.


Best Defense Lacrosse Shoulder Pads - TRUE Zerolyte Shoulder Pads Liner

Defenders have a tough job on the field, so having the best lacrosse defense shoulder pads is a must. They need to move quickly to stop dodging attackers while having the confidence to step in front of shots. For a slimmed down version that offers better mobility than the bulkier shoulder pads, the best lacrosse shoulder pads for defense is the TRUE Zerolyte shoulder pads liner. The combination of high-density foam for protection, with a focus on mobility, keeps defenders safe while allowing them to move freely.


Most Protective Lacrosse Shoulder Pads - Maverik M5 EKG Lacrosse Shoulder Pads

The Maverik M5 EKG pads provide extra protection across the chest, shoulders, and biceps. The Anaform chest and spine plates protect from balls and sticks, while the extra shoulder and bicep protection can help limit injuries.


Best Budget Lacrosse Shoulder Pads - Maverik MX EKG Lacrosse Shoulder Pad

The Maverik MX EKG lacrosse shoulder pads pack the protection needed to keep players safe while not breaking the bank.


How to Choose Lacrosse Shoulder Pads

When searching for the best lacrosse shoulder pads for a player, you need to look at size, position, and style of play. You want pads that will stay in place and allow you to breathe. Goalies need a completely different style of pads from any other position on the field, while attackers will benefit from extra protection.

To learn more, check out our complete guide on How to Choose Lacrosse Shoulder Pads.

New NOCSAE Rules for Lacrosse Shoulder/Chest Pads

As of January 1st, 2022, all lacrosse field players need to wear shoulder pads that are NOCSAE certified. Pads that meet this certification help protect against Commotio Cordis. 

Commotio Cordis is a sudden agitation of the heart caused by blunt impact to the chest area. The impact disturbs the heart’s natural rhythm and has the potential to cause sudden cardiac arrest. Pads that have the NOCSAE stamp meet the certification and are safer to use. 

To learn more, check out our complete guide on the new NOCSAE Lacrosse Shoulder Pad Certification.

The most important piece of information to look for when buying your new lacrosse shoulder pads is the proof of NOCSAE certification. There are plenty of options beyond that to ensure you get the fit, feel, and style you want for your game. 

Browse our full selection of lacrosse shoulder pads for men, youth, and lacrosse goalie chest protection. You’ll find the best fit for the lacrosse player in your life at LacrosseMonkey.

Best Lacrosse Shoulder Pads FAQs

What is a lacrosse shoulder pad liner?

A shoulder pad liner is the minimum amount of protection lacrosse players are allowed to wear. Liners reduce the bulk of full shoulder pads, while maximizing players’ mobility and arm movement.

Are shoulder pads required in lacrosse?

Yes, shoulder pads are required in lacrosse. All players must wear NOCSAE certified equipment as of the start of 2022.

Can you use hockey shoulder pads for lacrosse?

No, you cannot use hockey shoulder pads for lacrosse. You must use shoulder pads and chest protectors that are designed specifically for the game of lacrosse and that meet the NOCSAE safety requirements.

Are chest pads required in lacrosse?

Yes, all lacrosse field players and goalies must wear chest pads. They need to be NOCSAE certified.