In this buyer’s guide, we’ve reviewed the best football girdles for sale in 2021.
We’ve looked at some integrated and traditional options, including a youth football girdle for younger players.
After that, we’ll discuss some key things to consider when buying, to help you find the perfect football girdle for your specific needs.
Best Football Girdles
First, we’ll take a look at 11 of the best football girdles for sale in 2021, including integrated and traditional pants.
- Alleson Core Integrated
- Shock Doctor Shockskin
- CHAMPRO Tri-Flex
- Under Armour Traditional Girdle
- Cramer Hurricane
- Wilson GST
- Riddell Power Recon
- McDavid Rival
- CHAMPRO Bull Rush
- Adidas Techfit Ironskin
- Nike Boy’s Hyperstrong Core
1. Alleson Core Integrated (7-Pad Football Girdle)
If you feel like you could use some extra knee protection, or simply prefer the feel of a longer integrated girdle, this is a fantastic pick.
You can actually remove the knee pads, which is perfect for the warmth of the pre-season, or in other situations where you’re looking to keep a little cooler on the pitch.
Alleson have gone for a well-rounded integrated football girdle design, which features nice, low-profile EVA pads as opposed to hard shell protectors. As a result, this is a lightweight, nimble football girdle, but the EVA foam still provides plenty of protection.
These are no ordinary EVA pads though. They’re actually well ventilated, ensuring you don’t get any “warm spots” – the pads won’t act as sweat sponges like they might on some cheaper girdles.
You get a compression fit as standard, and the seams and material can withstand hundreds of hours of football without so much as a thread coming loose. Unfortunately though, these pants do fit a little big in the youth sizes – you may need to go a size down.
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2. Shock Doctor Shockskin Girdle
This girdle is quite unlike any other on the market at the moment. It really goes against the grain – so much so that Shock Doctor don’t really even call it a girdle – they label it an “impact short”.
For starters, while these football shorts use foam, it’s included everywhere, rather than in specific locations covered by pads. As a result, it’s a little heavier than most other options, but you don’t really notice the weight, especially as a lineman.
Secondly, this football girdle doesn’t actually utilize compression. It’s supposed to have a “relaxed fit”. This design actually works really well, and offers excellent freedom of movement. However, you don’t get any of the circulatory/recovery benefits that come with compression fabric.
Despite not having that much material in direct contact with the skin, this is still a fairly breathable pair of shorts.
Although this girdle is quite expensive, it’s probably the most comfortable option on the market at the moment, owing to the design of the protective layer. Since the entirety of each leg is covered, and there are no real edges to any of the padding, so the weight is evenly distributed. Meaning, it still feels like you’re wearing any old gym shorts as you run around, even though you still have high impact protection.
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3. CHAMPRO Tri-Flex (5-Pad Football Girdle)
Looking for a more traditional (or cheaper) short-cut option?
Like the Shock Doctor football girdle we just reviewed, this option is designed with flexibility in mind. The seams are engineered to move with you as you stride forward, twist to the side, or step back. This ensures you’re as agile as possible, without sacrificing durability.
Another unique feature of the Tri-Flex is the design of the hip pads. The hip pads rise above the waist, providing that extra bit of protection for the vulnerable part of the hips that regular football girdles simply won’t cover.
The pads themselves come with a sort of hybrid design. They’re made of EVA foam and won’t become sweaty, but feature a hard plastic shell for a little extra protection. Overall, they do a fantastic job, as long as you don’t mind the feel of the hard plastic shock plates.
There’s also a cup pocket (but no cup included), and these pants come with a compression fit. We can’t really fault them considering what they cost.
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4. Under Armour Traditional Girdle (6-Pad Football Girdle)
If you’re after the additional flexibility that being able to use your own pads brings, or want something to carry a LVAD, this non-integrated football girdle could be just what you need.
Obviously, having the pads separate to the actual girdle can make it easier to get them properly clean, and it makes the actual pants cheaper. But you’ll need to find the right pads, so the whole purchase may be more expensive overall.
This traditional football girdle is a great no-nonsense option. As you’d expect from Under Armour, it has a snug compression fit, and features great moisture wicking technology.
Part of the reason it’s so breathable is the mesh panels used. Because there’s so much mesh, the actual girdle is much more flexible than it otherwise would be, meaning it’s super comfortable to wear on the pitch.
You get 6 pad pockets – 2 in the hips/thighs, 1 on the tailbone, and 1 cup pocket. No plastic shell is provided, meaning the level of protection is entirely determined by how tough your pads are.
While the price is great, this football girdle could be more durable. It seems that Under Armour have made the material a little thin in the pursuit of extra breathability.
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5. Cramer Hurricane (5-Pad Football Girdle)
Another mid-budget 5-pad football girdle with slightly higher hip protection is the Hurricane from Cramer.
The distinguishing feature of this football girdle is the level of engineering that was involved in producing the actual pads.
Rather than just sticking plain-old EVA foam on the knees, hips, thighs, and tailbone, Cramer have designed their own spider-web cushioning pattern.
Not only does this mean you get extra protection without added weight, it also makes the foam pads less likely to wear down, since less surface area is in direct contact with the other player or the ground when you make or take a hit.
This feature, combined with the 80% nylon construction, makes for an exceptionally long-lasting football girdle. The seams are also very well-made, meaning there’s no need to worry about the pants splitting over time.
While these pants are incredibly tough in-game, they must be washed carefully. If you don’t use a gentle-enough cycle, you may poke holes in the fabric, since like most other football girdles, it’s relatively thin.
Other than the 80% nylon, you also get some spandex for added flexibility, and there are polyester panels (in the crotch area for example) which offer excellent ventilation.
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6. Wilson GST (5-Pad Football Girdle)
For some athletes, having thick padding (like on the Cramer Hurricane we just looked at) simply isn’t necessary.
If you prefer to have low profile football pants, for example as a receiver (since speed is the name of the game), the Wilson GST is definitely worth checking out.
For starters, it’s only a 5-pad football girdle, so it won’t impede your knee movement at all.
However, for speed demons, the best thing about this football girdle is its overall weight. Since the pads are so thin, you can almost forget you’re wearing it.
The downside to this obviously is it won’t provide as much protection as a more substantial football girdle – we wouldn’t recommend it for linemen for example.
Another great thing about this football girdle for speedsters is its compression fit. The material is quite effective at wicking sweat away from the skin, ensuring you don’t overheat after a sharp sprint. This girdle offers excellent moisture management.
Considering how low-profile these shorts are, you won’t be too surprised to find that they’re quite cheap.
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7. Riddell Power Recon (5-Pad Football Girdle)
This is another quite low-profile integrated football girdle. However, it offers a much greater level of protection than the Wilson GST we just looked at.
The Power Recon comes with thick foam thigh pads, which are reinforced with internal hard plastic shock plates, rather than being plated with a hard shell on the outside. As a result, you get good overall protection, without the thighs feeling too cumbersome.
Riddell’s hip pads and butt pads are slightly thinner than the thigh pads, ensuring the girdle doesn’t weigh you down when sprinting. These pants also come with an integrated cup, rather than just a cup pocket, meaning you won’t have to go through the hassle of buying a separate insert.
Interestingly, Riddell have opted to use polyester as opposed to nylon (although there is some included spandex too). As a result, this football girdle isn’t quite as durable as some other options on the market.
However, polyester is faster-drying than nylon, meaning these shorts won’t get too sweaty, and they’ll be ready to wear again almost immediately after washing. Like with most other football girdles, air-drying is best – the pads can wear down if put in the dryer.
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8. McDavid Rival (7-Pad Football Girdle)
McDavid are similar to Shock Doctor – they’re a company dedicated to producing protective sporting equipment.
However, this is by no means a bulky football girdle. Although it comes with hard shell thigh guards, they’re quite flat to the body, and don’t weigh much at all. The seven pad design gives you plenty of protection, especially in the thigh foam pads, without sacrificing too much agility. In fact, the freedom of movement is excellent. Unfortunately, no cup is included – you’ll have to buy one separately.
What really sets this football girdle apart is its durability. If you’re absolutely fed up of football shorts that fall apart in the wash, or have had a pair tear on the pitch, this product may be worth the investment.
Each seam comes with 6 threads (most manufacturers use just 3 or 4), meaning they simply won’t split. Like the Riddell Power Recon we just looked at, this football girdle is made of mostly polyester, meaning it’s super tough.
What’s more, there are no special washing instructions. While we wouldn’t recommend putting them in the dryer, you can use a regular wash without worrying about destroying the EVA foam padding.
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9. CHAMPRO Bull Rush (7-Pad Football Girdle)
Want an extended football girdle with knee pads, as well as good hip/thigh protection?
The foam pads on the CHAMPRO Bull Rush are a little bigger than on most other football shorts. On the thighs for example, they actually wrap around the leg slightly.
As a result, this football girdle feels quite different to most other options out there – it’s a little bulky. But if you’re after extra protection or warmth, it can be worth sacrificing a little agility.
Another good thing about the Bull Rush is its price – it’s quite cheap in most sizes. However, the durability is lacking somewhat – the seams aren’t the best. You’ll need to ensure that you wash it on gentle settings to prolong this product’s usable lifespan.
Despite the amount of padding, these are actually pretty lightweight pants. Combined with the compression fit, they feel pretty comfortable to wear, if you can find the right size.
CHAMPRO have made this product available in four different colors, which is always nice – the darker ones tend to be the better option if you’re afraid of the shorts becoming too dirty-looking.
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10. Adidas Techfit Ironskin (7-Pad Football Girdle)
It seems a little silly, but one of the best things about this football girdle is actually the quality of the elastic waistband! It does a great job keeping the pants up, but isn’t too tight, and actually has a nice soft feel to it. Plus, the elastic won’t wear out easily.
That’s not the only reason this is such a good football girdle though. The price is great (surprisingly low for Adidas, in fact), and the design quality is second-to-none.
The Techfit Ironskin comes with Adidas’s signature climacool technology, which does a fantastic job at moisture wicking. Since these shorts have a compression fit, they’re in constant contact with your body, meaning any excess moisture is instantly soaked up and wicked away.
There are also strategically-placed vents around the girdle, allowing excess heat to escape. It’s almost impossible to feel too hot in these pants, especially given that they finish above the knee.
As you might expect from Adidas, you won’t find any plain old EVA on these shorts. The company have actually chosen to use a material called XRD, which works like memory foam.
The bottom line is this: more protection in less space. Meaning, you can play with complete confidence, and stop worrying about injury, without having to wear really bulky shorts.
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11. Nike Boy’s Hyperstrong Core (5-Pad Football Girdle)
Finally, we’ll look at a pair of youth football pants.
What Nike have done here is prioritize protection, which is what’s necessary when designing girdles for kids. The foam hip pads actually extend to cover the hip flexor, as well as the hip bone. Plus, there’s a hard shell on the thigh for better shock absorption.
Comfort is another thing Nike have chosen to focus on, because the last thing you want as a kid is to be distracted by an annoying pair of pants. The seams are positioned to avoid chafing, and there’s spandex to ensure that the shorts are plenty flexible. Note that the Hyperstrong Core comes with a compression fit, meaning it’s absolutely critical to get the right size.
There are plenty of colors on offer, meaning it’s easy to find something your son will love. What’s more, these are quite durable pants – just ensure to wash them on a gentle cycle.
The only thing we can really fault this football girdle for is its price – it’s a little more expensive than even some adult pairs However, in terms of overall quality, this is one of the best football shorts that money can buy right now.
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What You Need To Know
Now we’ll discuss some key things to consider when finding the best football girdles for your specific needs.
Integrated vs traditional football girdles
Do you have your own pads already, or are you looking for something with protection ready-installed?
Traditional football girdles will have slots where you’re supposed to place your protective padding. Most older football girdles are designed in this way.
On the other hand, integrated football girdles will have the padding ready-installed – stitched into the actual pants. These are the best football girdles for those looking for convenience.
Nearly every football girdle on the market in 2021 is some sort of integrated football girdle. However, you may find semi-integrated football girdles, which come with pads, some of which are removable (normally the knee pads).
Unless you already have pads you’re looking to use, nine times out of ten it’s best to pick a football girdle with integrated pads. It’s less hassle, and normally less expensive too.
What areas need padding?
Most football girdles will have either 5, 6 or 7 pads (or slots for pads):
- Right thigh.
- Left thigh.
- Right hip.
- Left hip.
- Cup (crotch area).
- Left knee.
- Right knee.
These final three are normally the optional ones. But note that if you do go for something with knee pads, it’ll fit a little longer, meaning it may feel slightly warmer. This decision is totally down to personal preference, but be sure to consider the climate you play in, as well as how often you tend to scrape your knees.
What’s the best padding material?
Foam/EVA is the most popular padding option, and in general, it does a great job. It’s super lightweight, and will flex with your body, which is just what you want. It also provides excellent protection, as long as a nice, firm blend is used.
Some integrated football girdles will include a hard outer shell on top of this foam padding, normally made of some type of plastic. While these designs can provide better shock absorption, they can feel a little cumbersome to wear.
What makes a durable football girdle?
Your football girdle is going to take a lot of strain in your average football match. It’ll have to stretch to match your body movements, take hits from opposing players, and withstand any impacts you make with the ground.
To ensure you’re buying a durable football girdle, look for something made of a high quality material. This is the key really, and it’s why some football girdles are so much more expensive than others.
The issue manufacturers have is ensuring a good thickness while maintaining breathability (which we’ll discuss more below). If you get a very padded football girdle, and the material is too thick, you’ll get really sweaty, but if it’s too thin it’ll wear out quite quickly.
Also have a good look at the quality of the seams. See what other buyers have to say about how well the stitching withstands the rigors of day-in, day-out football training/games. McDavid like to use 6 threads per seam for example to allow for better durability.
Another thing to consider is how you’re washing your shorts. Most products require a gentle wash, as nylon/polyester can be quite a fragile material when exposed to high heat.
Always air-dry your girdle. Putting them in the dryer is a recipe for wearing out the foam in the knee and thigh pads.
All modern football girdles are made of polyester/spandex or nylon/spandex blends, which are generally quite breathable, helping you keep cool and dry.
However, the most breathable football girdles will have specialized mesh panels for better ventilation in the areas you need it most. For example, around the crotch and inner thighs.
Getting a breathable football girdle is very important, even if you’re nearly always playing in below 50-degree weather. Trust us – having polyester/nylon in direct contact with extremely sweaty skin isn’t very comfortable. And the best football girdle for you is the one that’s the most comfortable.
The best material for breathability (and a moisture wicking) is actually polyester, as it dries faster. It’s also more durable (as we just discussed). However, it doesn’t flex as much as nylon does.
Finding the perfect fit
Girdles should fit like compression shorts. Meaning, they should be completely tight to the skin. This allows them to wick away sweat and capture excess heat emitted by your body, helping to keep you cool and dry.
You’ll find that girdles come in a massive number of sizes, from extra small all the way up to extra large.
It’s always a good idea to use the size chart included by the manufacturer, because every football girdle fits differently. However, ensure that you’re able to return the shorts if they’re not a good fit – no size chart is perfect every time.
But to use a size chart, you’ll need two measurements:
- A waist measurement. Grab a sewing measuring tape, and wrap it around your stomach just above the belly button. Ensure you’re breathing out to get an accurate reading.
- A chest measurement. Same deal, but wrap your measuring tape just under the armpits, ensuring it’s taut around your chest at its fullest part.
If you’re right in between two different sizes, always go a size down, unless other buyers/reviewers suggest otherwise. This is because the spandex normally included in football girdles can stretch a little bit, which means you’ll be OK if the pants are a little small. However, girdles that are too big can begin to fall down as you play.
Other features to look out for
Other than breathability, what are some good things to look out for?
- Having an integrated cup is always nice. If you don’t have one, you’ll have to buy a cup separately to put in the cup pocket, if you want crotch protection.
- Anti-odor linings and coatings can prove quite helpful, but are by no means essential. As long as you wash your football girdle after every use, you should be fine. Smells will only really begin to develop if you leave your pants sitting in sweat for extended periods of time.
- It can also be beneficial to find something with an incredibly lightweight design. Most options with EVA padding (or which require foam inserts) will be fairly light, so pick one of these options if you’re after maximum agility.
- Football girdles with a compression fit are always nice to have. Not only does this make your pants more comfortable (the last thing you want is something too baggy), it can also increase your blood circulation, helping with recovery and improving stamina.
You’re at the end of our buyer’s guide!
Still not sure which is the best football girdle for you? Drop us a comment below and we’ll get right back to you.