Elbow pads are an essential part of every hockey player’s uniform for a variety of reasons. Elbow pads are designed to protect the elbow, biceps, and forearm from injury during play. Without a great pair of elbow pads, a fall or a hit can cause severe damage and potentially ruin your career as a hockey player, whether you’re amateur or pro.
We have found that the Bauer Supreme TotalOne MX3 Youth Elbow Pads are the best in the business for young hockey players. They are durable, moisture-wicking, and extremely comfortable, unlike many others on the market. They are also reasonably priced, making them an excellent value for your athlete.
But don’t just take our word for it. In this article, we will cover tons of information that you need to know when choosing elbow pads for your youth player. There are several factors to consider when selecting pads, such as materials, size, structure, and price (to name a few). Let’s walk through the process.
There are multiple ways for a hockey player to injure their arms during play and practice. Elbow pads are designed to protect not only the player’s elbows but also their biceps and forearms. Without this critical piece of equipment, a player can become seriously and even permanently injured.
Elbow pads provide protection from impact when a player falls, hits the boards, or is slashed by another player’s stick. In particular, young players tend to lean or reach backward when falling, which almost always results in an impact to the elbows. Without the protection of the pads, that could end really badly.
When playing in a competitive league, players may encounter opponents who use their stick to slash other player’s arms and wrists. Elbow pads are designed to cover not only the elbow joint but also the forearm and biceps. This is also critical protection for your young athlete.
Getting the right size pads is a critical component to giving your hockey player the protection he or she needs while playing. You want the pads to fit snugly to allow maximum mobility of the arms, but also be loose enough to avoid any discomfort. You also want to make sure that they aren’t too long or too short, as that will cause a whole different set of issues.
There are two ways to figure out what size elbow guards your hockey player needs. One way to do it is to use the manufacturer’s sizing guidelines that are provided. This can help if your hockey player is new to the sport, and you’re just starting out. If you want a more tailored fit, you can physically measure the arm for the correct size. We’ll talk about both styles of fitting and how they differ.
Most elbow pad manufacturers will have a sizing guideline on the product page online, or somewhere on the packaging if you’re shopping in a store or at a pro shop. These guidelines are typically based on the player’s height and the length of their arm. They generally run small, medium, large, etc. and each size will have a range of heights and arm lengths that are recommended for that size.
Many people choose to just look at the height on the sizing guideline and leave it at that. That is not a terrible idea, since the guidelines are based on the average size player. It is an excellent tool for you to use, especially if your athlete is just getting started in the sport.
If your hockey player is in between two of the sizes on the guideline, we generally recommend that they size down instead of up. As previously mentioned, this will allow more mobility of the arms during practice and play. When it comes to elbow pads, less bulk is better since the athlete is using their arms to do just about everything.
If you prefer to get a more precise fit, you might choose to measure your athlete’s arm with a tape measure. This is a simple measurement that is quick and easy to do. Ultimately, it’s worth the little bit of extra effort to make sure your hockey player is safe and comfortable.
Here’s how to take the arm measurement:
- Have your athlete extend their arm out to the sides of their body in the shape of a ‘T’
- Using a tape measure, take a measurement from the middle of the forearms to the middle of the bicep
- For the most precise sizing, go ahead and measure both arms, as they might be slightly different
- Use this measurement to guide your decision when looking at the sizing guide
Since most of the sizing guidelines have arm length as a part of the guide, you can make a more informed decision. If your athlete’s height puts them in one size, but the length of their arms puts them in another, opt for the size that is based on arm length. This will help to ensure that the arm is covered as much as possible from the glove to the shoulder pad.
An elbow pad is a complex piece of equipment with many different functions. It is designed to protect the player’s arm from the wrist to the upper arm. However, it also needs to leave a little bit of a gap in certain places for mobility reasons.
When putting the elbow guard on your athlete, the first thing you want to do is secure all of the straps and check in with them to see how it feels. If the arm is comfortable yet secure, you’re off to a great start! Make sure that when you fasten the straps, they are not pinching or pulling on your athlete’s skin.
You want to look at the strap that comes across the forearm and make sure it is snug and secure. This will help protect your hockey player’s arm from a slash from another player’s stick. This piece should be large enough to cover the majority of the forearm.
The upper part of the elbow pad needs to go up high enough to almost touch the shoulder pads. If it doesn’t, you will leave some exposed area that could be injured by a major hit, a puck, or another player’s helmet (among other things). But you don’t want the elbow pad to go all the way up underneath the shoulder pads, either, as that will cause discomfort and likely a lot of chaffing.
Last but not least, you want to take a look at how far the elbow pad comes down towards the wrist. You want the pad to get almost all the way to the glove, but not slide under the glove. This will allow your athlete to use his or her wrists in their full range of motion without being hindered by the elbow pads.
Elbow pads are made from a variety of materials and are typically multiple layers thick. There is a stiff outer coating, a cushioned foam layer, and then fabric on the inside, directly against the skin. This structure is typical for most manufacturers, although some of the lower-priced options do not have the extra layer of fabric on the inside.
The elbow pads’ outer shell is typically a very hard plastic that has some durability and recoil to it. This allows the pads to endure hits and slashes while remaining intact. The outer layer of plastic is directly responsible for the elbow pad’s integrity and, therefore, the safety of the arm beneath.
The inner layer is generally a thick foam padding for cushion, shock absorption, and comfort. The higher-end elbow pads have more technologically advanced materials, which can include lighter foam than the others. This gives the player an obvious advantage over other players who may have pads with much heavier foam inside.
The fabric on the inside is also for comfort, as the foam would directly rub against the player’s skin without it. Today, most manufacturers are making pads with a moisture-wicking fabric on the inside to help keep the sweat from sitting and staying directly on the athlete’s skin. Some brands are even starting to include an arm compression sleeve on the inside of the pad. Doing this is excellent for keeping the pads in place, wicking away moisture, and making sure the athlete is comfortable.
In the world of hockey equipment, there tend to be three tiers of pricing for products such as elbow pads, shoulder pads, shin guards, etc. There are super cheap products, moderately priced, and high-end. A good rule of thumb is to shoot for the middle if you’re trying to get the right equipment, but still, be mindful of your spending.
The cheapest equipment on the market is usually not the right choice, particularly in the case of protective gear for your hockey player. In youth hockey elbow pads, we’re talking $20-30 price range. It seems great for your wallet, but these products are typically made from low-quality foam and no plastic shell. These will not provide the protection your athlete needs in a fall or a nasty hit.
The moderately priced products, ranging roughly from $30-60, can be a great purchase when you’re on a budget but still want good coverage for your athlete. Most of the products in this price range will have a plastic shell along with foam and a fabric wrap around the outside. They might not have all the bells and whistles such as moisture-wicking inner liners, but they will get the job done and won’t break the bank.
The high-end elbow pads can range anywhere from $60-150, which seems pricey but remember that you get what you pay for. These products usually have elite-level design elements, maximum mobility, excellent protection, and are very comfortable for your athlete. If your child is serious about hockey, plays competitively, or is on a travel team, you might want to splurge for the best product you can get.
Although this article is not intended to promote one particular elbow pad over any other, we did find some information that we think will be really helpful to you. We researched tons of elbow pads for youth players and found that there are a few brands and styles that stand out amongst the rest as the very best on the market.
Here is a little bit more information about each of them, along with some pros and cons to help you find what will work best for you.
The youth elbow pads from the Bauer Supreme line are an excellent value that won’t break the bank. You can feel safe putting your child in these for a practice or a game. They are anatomically designed to fit and will be both comfortable and protected during play.
These pads feature an injected cap with a foam covering for extra protection against impact. All areas of these pads include the moulded foam for maximum protection from the bicep all the way down to the forearm. The strong plastic and moulded foam combine to create one of the most durable youth elbow pads on the market.
In addition to the moulded protection, the foam in these pads also offers ventilation. This helps the player’s skin breathe and avoid chaffing and rubbing during the game. It also helps prevent moisture buildup inside the pads.
- They have a super durable plastic shell
- They include moulded foam to fit the shell
- They are designed with an anatomical fit for precision and enhanced mobility
- They are super lightweight, which allows your athlete to move faster without feeling weighed down
- They are in the moderate to high-end price range for youth elbow pads
As mentioned before, you get what you pay for with most things in life, including elbow pads. These pads are worth the investment and will last a long time if you take care of them (more on that later). Your hockey player will be comfortable, fast, and protected.
This is another pair of pads from the Bauer Supreme line, and they are also an excellent value for the price. They tend to be cheaper and a little less durable than the supreme MX3 pads, but still a great elbow pad to consider.
These pads have a 3-strap system for securing the elbow pads to the arm. This helps to ensure that the pads stay in place during the game or practice. It also helps keep them from sliding up or down the arm, causing unnecessary exposure to slashes and hits.
These pads are comfortable for your athlete and wick away moisture and sweat to keep them as dry as possible. The pads are flexible enough to allow plenty of movement but stiff enough to help your child avoid injury during impact.
- These are very affordable for the quality of the product
- They have an excellent 3-strap system for securing them to the arm
- They are moderately durable construction
- They feature a moisture-wicking inner lining
- The only drawback is that these pads offer moderate protection, rather than high protection. Because they are so flexible for comfort, the protection level on a low, medium, high scale is medium.
Overall, this is an excellent choice for your child’s hockey experience. You can feel good about putting these pads on your hockey player for a safe and comfortable experience. They are an excellent value for the money.
The Tour Hockey pads are excellent for beginners. They are flexible and comfortable to wear and can withstand many impacts, which tends to happen when youth players are just learning how to skate. The inside material is a synthetic, moisture-wicking fabric to help keep your athlete comfortable.
These pads are made of durable but flexible materials. The plastic cap offers moderate protection with a fabric coating over the entire thing and foam on the interior. The foam pads on the inside are custom-made for this specific product, which gives them superior durability inside the plastic cap.
There is not only a moisture-wicking material on the inside but also a ventilation system. Hockey players often get overheated due to the multiple layers of protection in their uniforms. These give your player’s arms a chance to breathe and get some ventilation to avoid that.
- These are very affordable
- The aesthetics are great. These pads look really cool.
- They feature ventilated pads for air circulation
- There is moisture-wicking fabric on the inside
- They have highly durable plastic caps
- They have custom-fitted interior pads
- They only have a two-strap construction, which can make the fit a little less precise than a three-strap system.
- They are a bit more expensive than other pads but still affordable
CCM has a variety of different elbow pads for youth hockey. The pads in the Tacks line are specifically designed for players who want more mobility in their arm movements but still need quite a bit of protection. For example, if your athlete is an aggressive player who likes to play hard, get in the shot lane, dig in the corners, etc. they might need a little bit of extra protection.
These pads are unique because they feature elite-level D30 foam technology. This is a type of foam that is soft and pliable when inside the pad. Still, upon impact, it hardens and helps to distribute and dissipate that impact for maximum protection. This type of foam is found in a lot of senior-level and pro equipment for hockey players.
JDP construction is another elite-level element in these elbow pads. This type of construction in the elbow joint functions, almost like a shock absorber. This construction, coupled with the D30 foam strategically placed in the elbow donut, allows for maximum protection of the elbow joint.
- Elite product with all the bells and whistles!
- Shock absorption in the elbow joint and the foam
- 2-strap system that secures the pads to the arm
- The moisture-wicking fabric inside to keep your athlete dry
- They are a little bit more expensive than beginner-level pads
- The length is a little bit shorter than the other pads we’ve discussed, leaving the potential for exposure of the forearm to slashes and stray pucks
With proper care and maintenance, most elbow pads can last for many years. Your athlete is at a higher risk of outgrowing the pads than destroying them from heavy use. But that being said, there are still some necessary care procedures you should consider as it pertains to the pads.
In most brands of youth hockey elbow pads, the first thing to wear out is the strap system. Whether the straps become over-stretched or the Velcro loses its grip, this can be a serious hazard. Some pads are designed in such a way that straps can be easily replaced, while others are much more difficult to fix, and you may need to replace the entire elbow pad.
If you find that your straps need to be replaced, your first course of action is to call the manufacturer. Ask if there is a replacement procedure and what it entails. It could be a straightforward process of getting new straps shipped to your house and replacing them.
However, it could also be a major pain that involves sewing new straps onto the old pads. Unless you’re really good at sewing through hard plastic, this may not be a viable option for you.
The majority of manufacturers include an inner layer of a moisture-wicking fabric such as nylon or neoprene. This is an excellent feature that helps prolong the pads’ life by limiting the amount of sweat, oil, and dead skin that gets into the pads. However, simply laying them out to dry after each use can help even more when it comes to keeping the moisture from destroying the foam on the inside of the pads.
There are also several products on the market that are moisture absorbing items for gym bags, shoes, etc. These work great for helping to absorb the moisture from your athlete’s equipment. When you lay the gear out to air-dry after a game or a practice, you can also place these moisture absorbing bags or balls inside the pads to help get the moisture out before it causes mold and mildew.
We all know that hockey equipment also gets extremely dirty and smelly over time. It is perfectly okay to wash your athlete’s gear (or better yet, teach them to do it!). Simply put some warm water and OxiClean or another mild cleanser in the bathtub and let everything soak. Then pull it out and lay it in the open air to thoroughly dry before putting it back into the bag.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can spray the items with an anti-bacterial spray while they are drying. If you’re more concerned with smell than bacteria, spray an odour-reducing spray on the items, or sprinkle them with baking soda. Both are safe, effective ways to get rid of the odour caused by moisture buildup.
A regular part of maintenance and caring for elbow pads and all hockey equipment is to inspect them for damage on a regular basis. The main thing you are looking for is a cracked plastic shell and foam that is starting to break down. Since most elbow pads are covered in fabric, you will have to feel around with your fingers to inspect the plastic shell beneath.
Although it’s not a common occurrence, cracks can happen. If you find a crack in the plastic shell of your athlete’s elbow pads, the best course of action is to buy a new pair. It is nearly impossible to pull out the shell and replace it with a new one, but your child’s safety depends on that shell being intact, so just get new ones!
There are tons of things to consider when purchasing elbow pads for your youth hockey player. Regardless of your budget, be sure to pay close attention to the details. You want to get something that will be both functional and comfortable.
Remember that safety is the most important thing to consider when purchasing any equipment for your young athlete. Although it can be tempting to go cheap, think about what the risk may be! We hope this guide helps you to make the best choice for you and your child.