How do I buy the right leg and waist football protection ?

Are you new to American Football and are you still putting together your equipment? The proper leg and waist equipment are good extra pieces of protection to endure all those hard hits! This guide will help you to know what to look for when searching for that extra piece of American Football equipment.

With a full-contact sport like American Football you really want to be wearing the right protection, because the action on the field can be rough. The sport has a physical level that not everyone can reach. That’s why it is essential to have the right protective equipment.

And with protective gear we do not only mean the helmet and the shoulder pads. We also mean the smaller pads that are not visible all the time. The Buying Guides are here to help you select the right padding.

Leg protection

The padding you’ll be needing in this case are two thigh pads, two knee pads, two hip pads and a tailbone pad.

The thigh and knee pads are made out of a lightweight foam and durable plastics. These pads will you protect you against the impact and still sit comfortable on your body. The airflow will not be a problem because these pads have ventilated grooves.

Some pads come with a vinyl coating dip, these pads are often heavier which makes them more suitable for multi-purpose positions and for linemen. Quarterbacks and other skilled position players want to have lighter pads to maintain mobility and speed.

“Snap-on” or “slip-in”?

You’ll need to buy separate pads for some football pants. That means that the pants are non-integrated. The pads you’ll have to buy for this come in two different styles:

The first one is snap-on: You’ll simply have to connect the pads onto the inside of your pants.

The second style is slip-in: You’ll have to place the pads into the pockets which are attached to the pants for a secure fit. The pads will not move from their position.

You can also buy these pads as a complete set or in bulk. This is not just more affordable but also easier to check of your list of equipment, or as we like to call it: Player Kit.

Integrated football pants

An easy way to collect a pants and all the pads it an integrated football pants. This style of pants already has the pads sewn into the pants, so you don’t need to buy all of these separate. The pads which are sewn in are made out of EVA foams and protect you from collisions on the field. With this pants you’re ready instantly to walk on the field.

Most important is that the pants has the correct size and fit. The padding has to cover the right areas, otherwise it will not protect you as it should.


A girdle is meant to hold hip pads and a tailbone pad. These girdles also come in the same snap-on or slip-on styles. Always check the style your girdle has before buying the separate pads. The girdles are available in youth and adult sizes.

Some girdles come with the padding already sewn in, these also contain thigh pads already. So with this option you’ll only need a pants and kneepads.

Waist protection

Depending on the position you are playing, you might want to check out the different pieces that offer you extra protection during the game. The most well known pieces are rib protectors and back plates.

Rib Protectors

A rib protector is an extra piece of equipment that surrounds your lower abdomen and is made out of a cushioned foam padding to absorb impact. Rib protectors are lightweight an comfortable while they protect the ribs and the lower back of the player. These pads are ideal for quarterbacks as the ribs are exposed while passing.

An alternative to a rib protector is a padded base layer. This is a compression shirt that includes padding which is worn underneath the jersey and shoulder pads. It offers protection with padding in the shoulders, back and ribs. These come in youth and adult sizes, just like the rib protector itself.

Wearing a rib protector or an integrated compression shirt is personal preference. Both of the options provide added protection during the game.

Back plates

A back plate has foam padding which is encased in a plastic shell to protect your lower back. You can often see these on Running Backs, Defensive Backs and Wide Receivers. These positions have a chance of getting tackled from behind. Back plates are easily to attach to the shoulder pads and are very lightweight. They don’t cut down mobility and come in youth and adult sizes.

Protection is the most important part in the sport on all levels. Use this Buying Guide wisely and you’ll have your set of protection ready in no-time.