What Do Nfl Players Wear Under Their Shoulder Pads

Football players must choose the proper material to wear under their shoulder pads.  A simple t-shirt, a compression shirt, or a padded shirt can reduce the sweat, rashing, and sliding of the shoulder pads.

Why do football players wear shoulder pads

Below we will discuss different options to wear under shoulder pads:


This is probably the most popular undergarment when playing football.  T-shirts are lightweight and comfortable.  The options would be cotton and performance.

Performance t-shirts will keep you a bit cooler underneath the shoulder pads, whereas cotton will soak up sweat easier.  Cotton will reduce the sliding of the shoulder pads, whereas performance t-shirts do not catch the sweat as much and can cause a great deal of sliding.

Performance t-shirts are a bit more popular these days, as they are a cool version of a t-shirt.


The other advantage of wearing a t-shirt underneath shoulder pads is that they are affordable and most people have random t-shirts that will work underneath.

T-shirts will greatly reduce the rubbing of the shoulder pads and reduce rashes and irritation during hot days.

Compression Shirt

Compression shirts are a great choice to stay cool.  Compression shirts will conform to the body and do a great job of wicking the moisture away, creating a cooling sensation.


Compression and performance are similar, except that compression shirts are tighter to the body.  

Advantages of Compression Shirts

Compression shirts do a great job keeping the body cool when over exerting during a sport.  When overheated, fatigue may set in, which can reduce overall performance and success. 

Compression shirts are also known for helping muscles to rebuild after exercising.  They do this by increasing blood pressure to a sore muscle.  This helps rebuild and restore a broken down muscle. 

Compression shirts also help improve flexibility.  Stretching, lifting, and extending are improved with compression shirts.

Padded Shirts

Padded shirts are a great option to wear under shoulder pads.  Padded shirts provide extra protection for a player’s ribs, underarm areas, and shoulders.  

Football, being a contact sport, can sometimes cause some contact shock.  Padded shirts help to absorb this contact and give extra protection during tackling or being tackled.Ezoic

These padded shirts not only provide extra cushion, but also are made out of performance material, to help in the wicking process during hot temperatures.  

These padded shirts have soft pads usually made out of hexagons, creating a good cushion for contact and safety.

Flak Jackets

Flak jackets, or rib protectors, are a piece of equipment that football players wear to protect their ribs and lower torso, which are not protected by the shoulder pads. Most commonly worn by quarterbacks, they offer a layer of padded protection for the parts of the body that are exposed when throwing the football.

Depending on the brand, some flak jackets are put on and worn like a vest, while others can be screwed onto and attached to the actual shoulder pads themselves.


Football is considered a fall sport, but practices often begin in August, one of the hottest months of the year. It is therefore important to take precautions to prevent possible heat-related illnesses:

  1. Limit clothing to a single layer
  2. Keep any undergarments, especially under shoulder pads, lightweight
  3. Avoid wearing heavy clothing or long sleeves during warm weather
  4. Change sweat-soaked clothing whenever possible

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