4 Best Hockey Shoulder Pads

This guide will help you choose the right pair of hockey shoulder pads for your needs. After considering many options and deliberating for a lengthy amount of time, my choice for the best hockey shoulder pads is the CCM Tacks 9080 Shoulder Pads.

One of the first things I learned while playing sports as a child is the importance of protective equipment. All it takes is one errant puck or stick that can lead to a significant injury if you’re not careful. Shoulder pads not only protect your shoulders but the rest of your upper body, as well.

The CCM Tacks 9080 are a great blend of protection and mobility. They offer a personalized fit, superb comfort, and feature materials to absorb shock and impact. Not only that, but they offer great value and help keep you cool and dry, even after a long and grueling game.

However, in addition to these pads, there are many others worth considering as well. Some are great for those on a budget, while others are great for those who want a little more protection or value their mobility and agility.

Keep reading to learn a bit more about some of the most popular and high-quality hockey shoulder pads on the market today. No matter your age, skill level, or what position you play, shoulder pads are crucial in keeping you safe and injury-free on the ice.

Top Hockey Shoulder Pads

Here are my recommendations of some of the best options, as well as a quick little review of each of them.

1. CCM Tacks 9080 Shoulder Pads

  • Best for: A great overall pair of shoulder pads.
  • Protection: D3O smart protection, foam and other materials.
  • Comfort: Comfort mesh liner and removable belly pad.
  • Mobility: Molded PE floating spine and dual-layer stretch.

If you want shoulder pads that offer incredible protection and mobility, for a good value, these are worth a look. On the protection side, the pads feature D3O smart material and foam in the shoulder caps and other areas to protect everything from your spine to your kidneys.

All of this combines for great protection against both shock and impact. When it comes to mobility, the floating PE spine protection keeps you safe as you move, and the stretchy base allows for a very personalized fit to ensure the pads move with you, not hold you back.

The performance of these pads can also be fine-tuned due to the many ways they can be customized for a better fit. There is an adjustable strap system, a removable belly pad, custom bicep adjustment, and even dual-layer stretch.

While there is really no downside to these shoulder pads, there are many options for adjustment and customization, and you need to ensure everything is in the proper position. If something is accidentally moved or left in the wrong position, it could impact the protection offered.

==> You can also get it on HockeyMonkey.com (USA), HockeyMonkey.ca (Canada) or HockeyWorld.com.

2. STX Ice Hockey Surgeon RX3.2 Senior Shoulder Pad

  • Best for: Hockey players on a budget.
  • Protection: Flexible foam for light protection.
  • Comfort: A great and anatomical fit.
  • Mobility: Minimized weight and bulk and the presence of pliable and flexible material.

All the gear required to play hockey can certainly add up. If you are looking for a way to save and stick to a budget, these shoulder pads are a good choice. They are well under half the price of other options out there and provide a lot of value.

These pads provide an anatomical fit, with flexible foam to not only minimize weight and boost mobility but also keep you protected. These pads have good coverage through all the areas of importance, and they can be used for other sports and activities as well.

While affordable for nearly any player, these are a little thin in the chest and shoulder area, and may not offer as much protection as other options on the market. So if you are an elite player, you may want something with a little more bulk and protection.

==> You can also get it at Walmart.

3. Bauer Vapor 1X Lite Hockey Shoulder Pads

  • Best for: Those who want a light and low profile look.
  • Protection: Hyperlite foam and composite protection.
  • Comfort: Light and comfortable materials with a tight fit.
  • Mobility: 25% weight reduction and less bulk than many other options.

Protection is important, but you don’t need a bulky set of shoulder pads to get it. These pads from Bauer are a great example of that. They are incredibly lightweight (25% lighter than previous models) and have a variety of unique technologies included in their construction.

This includes the aerolite 2.0 shoulder caps with a low profile and the Hyperlite foam throughout the back, sides, and front. The Curv composite protection on sensitive areas like the spine and the sternum is also a nice touch and shows they put time into protecting your entire upper body.

The comfort materials used ensure that these pads won’t be annoying to wear, and the fit of these pads is also great, largely due to the many points of adjustment. Despite how light these pads are, they still offer pro-level protection for any player.

One drawback of this product is the durability. Because they are so low profile and lightweight, they may not last as long as other pads that are bulkier and heavier. The mesh near the shoulder caps and arm protection is a space to be careful with, in particular.

==> You can also get it on HockeyWorld.com.

4. CCM Jetspeed FT1 Hockey Shoulder Pads

  • Best for: Players who value protection over everything.
  • Protection: Many different types of protective foam and Rocketframe composite.
  • Comfort: soft laminated water-repellent lining and neck comfort pad.
  • Mobility: Despite the padding, the freedom of movement is still there.

If you are a player who wants the most protection possible, these are a good option to consider. They have multiple different kinds of foam throughout the construction not only to protect you but also to keep you dry and comfortable. 

The Rocketframe composite shells also offer a lot of protection in key areas where you need it most. In addition to being functional, these pads are also quite comfortable. The soft and water-repellent lining is helpful and the neck comfort pad gives you additional comfort.

Despite the size and protection offered, these pads are still relatively light and simple to move in. Due to their quality materials and how much protection they offer, these are very durable and could last you years if they are used and treated correctly.

One downside of these shoulder pads is that they are a little expensive at full price. Also, while freedom of movement is still there, some players simply might not like how bulky they feel and appear. This is especially true for those players who rely on their skills and speed.

==> You can also get it on HockeyWorld.com.

Best Hockey Shoulder Pads: What to Look For

If you are looking for the best pair of hockey shoulder pads, here are a few factors to think about before making a purchase.


Hockey is a physical game. From sticks, to pucks, to hits, there is a lot to watch out for. As a result, when buying shoulder pads, you want to ensure that they offer high levels of protection. They should absorb impact, and protect the most vulnerable parts of your upper body.

While they will protect your shoulders, they should also protect areas like your upper arms, your chest, your ribs, and your spine. The best shoulder pads provide full protection, to ensure that no area is left vulnerable to a hard slapshot or a big body check.


It is also a good idea to consider the fit of the pads. You need to ensure they fit your shoulders, arms, and torso well. If the fit is wrong, or if you fail to select the right size, it can be incredibly uncomfortable to wear. Not only that, but it could limit how effective the protection is.

These pads are meticulously designed to offer precise protection in most cases. If you choose a size that doesn’t quite fit you right, it could leave you vulnerable in certain areas that the pads should protect.

Bulk and Design

While protection is important, if the pads are too bulky, it could limit your mobility on the ice. As a result, you want to choose some pads that are lightweight. This can help your movement on ice, and ensure you can still skate, deke, and shoot with the best of them.

If they are too bulky, you may find it hard to move your arms or body as quickly as you would like to. Of course, the design and bulk you prefer may depend on your playstyle and role on the ice. A large defender may be okay with a slightly bulkier pair than a fast winger.


While I hope this article has been able to help you find the right shoulder pads, I understand you may still have a few questions. Here are a couple of answers to commonly asked questions about shoulder pads.

How should shoulder pads fit?

Shoulder pads come in a variety of different sizes. These shoulder pad caps should rest comfortably on your shoulders, protect your biceps and cover your ribs. If the shoulder caps are too droopy, and the bottom of the pad goes far past your ribs, the pads might be too large.

How are shoulder pads constructed?

Most shoulder pads have four major parts. This includes shoulder caps, chest protection, rib protection, and spine/back protection. They can use a variety of different materials from foam, to mesh to a variety of other smart and protective materials.

How to maintain shoulder pads?

After a game, leaving your shoulder pads out to dry can help extend their lifespan. Also, keep them clean and treat them well when not in use. If things like straps or velcro become worn, they can often be repaired or replaced on your own or by visiting a local sporting goods store.

My Verdict

My choice for the best hockey shoulder pads is the CCM Tacks 9080 Shoulder Pads. They are incredibly versatile, not only offering top-of-the-line protection, but also mobility and a low profile. They fit very well, can be adjusted, and allow for maximum airflow to keep you comfortable.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey. Email: kale@hockeyhow.com

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