Tackle with Confidence: Top 12 Rugby Shoulder Pads in the UK!

What Are The Best Rugby Shoulder Pads?

Back in the good old days of my childhood, rugby was a raw and rugged affair, and the mere thought of shoulder pads would have had us chuckling. American Football? Now, that was a whole different story with their excessive padding – we couldn’t help but poke fun at it. Fast forward to today, and I’ve come to appreciate the practicality of shoulder pads, especially when nursing an injury that just won’t quit or dealing with an old one that lingers like an uninvited guest.

So, in this laid-back guide to the cream of the crop in rugby shoulder pads, we’re shining a spotlight on the top 12 choices gracing the UK market. Because, let’s face it, times change, and so do our perspectives on what’s essential for a kick-ass game on the field.

Shock Doctor Men’s Shock Skin Ultra 3-Pad

Shock Doctor Men Shock Skin Ultra 3-Pad

When it comes to protective gear in sports the Shock Doctor brand know a thing or two. From their mouthguards to their rugby shoulder pads they offer high-quality protective gear at a very reasonable price.

In total there are three protection points with this item and they are both shoulders and the sternum. Most notable is how the contoured padding moves with the body as you run. Constructed from supportive four-way stretch material with anti-odour and moisture wicking fabrics which guarantee’s that this is a very rugged item that won’t end up smelling like the changing rooms. Another positive are the chafe free seams which are a welcome addition as nobody likes the annoyance of seams chafing their skin.

To sum up: very affordable and from a brand that can be trusted to provide good quality protective gear. With excellent customer feedback and 5 stars on Amazon this is well worth taking a look at.

Shock Doctor Men's Ultra Shock Skin 3-Pad Impact Shirt - Black/Grey, X-Large

Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am

Optimum Men’s Tribal R.L. Protective Shoulder Pad

Optimum Unisex Senior Tribal Protective Top

The Optimum brand are were known for their high quality yet very affordable rugby protective gear. The Tribal R.L protective shoulder pad is a prime example.

Made from strong Lycra the Tribal T.L is lightweight and durable. In total there are five points where padded protection is provided these are the shoulders, sternum and biceps. In addition, the inner padding is 15mm thick which is a very good thickness providing ample protection. Furthermore the padding is removable and therefore can be machine washed which is obviously a bonus. The length of the shirt is extra long which makes it easier to tuck it in and keep it in place.

To sum up: Offering plenty of protection and coming in a whole rainbow of different colour options, the Optimum brand is a good buy for those looking for good quality protective rugby gear on a budget.

Optimum Unisex Senior Tribal Protective Top, Black/Blue, XX-Large

Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am

Visit Optimum Amazon UK Store

Gilbert Rugby Atomic V3 Body Armour

Gilbert Rugby Atomic V3 Body Armour

The Gilbert brand is synonymous with rugby and they have been making some of the best rugby gear for some time now. The Atomic V3 body armour is one of their bestsellers.

First of all there is a choice of three colours with these shoulder pads, these are green, red and blue. In terms of protection there are three points which are the shoulders and sturnem. In addition the padding is 5 mm thick which isn’t the most but this is the preferred amount for a lot of rugby players. Made from four-way stretch material and Fastwick fabric which allows for fast drying when wet. The technology behind the Atomic V3 accelerates the pull away of moisture from the skin which consequently keeps the body dry and a lot warmer.

To sum up: this is a very good rugby body armour shirt with some good features especially the Fastwick fabric technology. If you are looking for some good comfortable shoulder pads then these may be the ones for you.

Gilbert Men's Atomic V3 Body Armour, Black/Volt Green, Medium

Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am

Canterbury CCC Rugby Protection Vest


Regarding quality, lightweight, and breathable sportswear, the world’s original rugby brand, Canterbury, tops the list. Canterbury CCC Rugby Protection Vest is one of the best examples designed to shield the chest and shoulders from harm during intense rugby matches.

Durable, breathable, and constructed from high-quality materials, this safety vest allows the players to move around freely without sacrificing protection – credit goes to the lightweight construction—the ideal balance of polyester, foam, and elasticised fabric results in an ideal quick dry sportswear.

One distinctive feature of the CCC Rugby Protection Vest is the strategically placed padding in high-impact areas. They provide additional protection from common impacts and collisions. The moisture-wicking characteristics of the breathable fabric ensure that users stay dry and comfortable over long periods of play. This protective gear has a sleek black style.

To sum up: Performance, comfort, and safety are guaranteed by the lightweight, breathable, and flexible design of the Canterbury CCC Rugby Protection Vest, available at the best price.

Canterbury Core Protect Vest Seniors Black L

1 used from £31.04
Free shipping
Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am
£36.99 £41.99

Visit Canterbury Official Store

OFFLOAD Men’s Rugby Shoulder Pad R900

Offload Men Rugby Shoulder Pad R900

When it comes to ideal protection from harm on the rugby field, nothing beats the cutting-edge OFFLOAD Men’s Rugby Shoulder Pad R900. DECATHLON’s rugby line, OFFLOAD, is a brand for players by players. Thanks to the brand’s assortment of equipment and accessories, anyone can enjoy playing whenever and wherever they choose.

The outstanding material of Rugby Shoulder Pad R900 ensures that players will be protected from harm without sacrificing their ability to move quickly. The padding on the shoulders is deliberately designed to absorb shock, providing extra protection from collisions and hits prevalent in rugby. Thanks to its quality stitching and high-quality, long-lasting materials, this shoulder pad will never disappoint. The ergonomic design and control perspiration keep players cool and dry thanks to its lightweight and breathable material.

To sum up: This product is a great protective gear that gives rugby players all the breathability, lightweight, and durability they deserve!

View Decathlon UK Prices

VIPER V-FIT Rugby Shoulder Pads (UK Brand)

VIPER V-FIT Rugby Shoulder Pads

Viper Sports is a UK-based brand famous for its premier protective gear for rugby, providing endless safety and confidence. The Viper Rugby Shoulder Pads are cutting-edge body armour that protects your biceps, shoulders, and sternum.

Viper Rugby Body Armour uses Flexitop technology to be lightweight and durable, made of high-quality materials. This IRB-compliant body armour ensures excellent performance and reliability. Fit and comfort are key to these shoulder pads. The elasticated cuffs and collar keep the pads in place during hard hits and assaults. There is no need to re-adjust or any discomfort!

A narrow-fit body armour goes discreetly beneath your rugby shirt, adding protection without limiting mobility or agility. The Viper Rugby Body Armour includes a shoe bag for easy transport and storage to make your purchase even more enticing.

To sum up: With Viper Rugby Shoulder Pads, get ready to protect and improve your rugby performances. Thanks to its lightweight design, superior protection, and personalised fit!

View Amazon UK Prices

Canterbury Vapodri Raze Pro Vest Protection Aids (Unisex)

Canterbury Unisex Vapodri Raze Pro

Another model by Canterbury and to be honest in terms of features and materials it is pretty much the same as the previously featured model. The reason we have included it though is because of how good it actually is.

The Vapodri Raze Pro is used by many professional rugby players which is a good indicator of its quality and overall functionality. So if it’s the best shoulder pads you are after then the Vapodri Raze Pro fits the bill, there really isn’t a better one out there.

Canterbury Unisex Vapodri Raze Vest Protection Aids, Black/Red/White, XL UK

Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am
£20.24 £37.00

Best Junior Rugby Shoulder Pads

Canterbury Unisex CCC Protection Vest

Junior Canterbury Shoulder Pads Protection Vest

If you are looking for a durable option with exceptional quality for young players, Canterbury will never disappoint! Canterbury makes the greatest junior rugby shoulder pads.

Canterbury Junior Rugby Shoulder Pads give young rugby players protection and confidence. They protect young shoulders from hits and collisions during play. These pads are made of sturdy elastic fabrics and reinforced stitching for long-lasting performance and defence. The lightweight design lets young athletes play freely. The comfortable fit and reliable shielding make this an excellent choice for young rugby players seeking safety and comfort.

To sum up: Young rugby players searching for solid gear on the pitch can consider the Canterbury Junior Rugby Shoulder Pads, which provide durable protection and a stylish fit to boost your confidence.

Canterbury Unisex Youth Ccc Rugby Protection Vest, Black/Whte/Silver, MB UK

Free shipping
Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am
£29.99 £34.00

New 2020 Gilbert ATOMIC V3 Rugby Body Armour

Gilbert ATOMIC V3 Rugby Body Armour Shoulder Pads

For streamlined shoulder pads that protect young shoulders and sternum, the Atomic V3 by Gilbert is an ideal option. Gilbert’s sleek Atomic V3 body armour covers only the essentials with flexible zone padding.

Young players must resist the heaviest hits and wear feather-light armour that doesn’t hinder their agility on the pitch. The Atomic V3 pads come with a 4-way stretch that increases the full range of motion. The material accelerates moisture removal from the skin, keeping the body dry, eliminating the chill feeling, and giving maximum comfort. Along with its great performance, the Atomic V3 body armour also looks great in the Black Charcoal design. The range from Small to 2 Extra Large Atomic V3s allows adult local club players to play at their best without stress.

To sum up: For rugby players seeking lightweight yet essential padding for their shoulders and sternum, the Gilbert Atomic V3 is a great option due to its streamlined design, flexibility, elegance and a 4.2 rating on Amazon.

New 2020 Gilbert ATOMIC V3 Rugby Body Armour Shoulder Pads Base layer Short Sleeve Top - Black Charcoal (LB)

Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am

Optimum Inferno Rugby Protective Top Shoulder Pads

Optimum Inferno Rugby Protective Top Shoulder Pads

With decades of experience, Optimum Sports is well-known for creating innovative activewear for young and adult players.

Optimum Inferno Rugby Pads include all the characteristics a young player deserves. The International Rugby Board and World Rugby have approved them. The design is minimalistic and distinctively Optimum with stunning combos. EVA cushions the padding and protection to the critical zones to provide safety while you play. It is a lightweight option with a removable and washable Lycra top, making it easy to care for and carry. It also offers maximum absorption.

To sum up: Lightweight creation, certified safety features, and premium materials offer dependable protection and comfort with cushioned EVA padding, easy-care Lycra tops, and optimum absorption.

Optimum Junior Inferno Rugby Protective Top Shoulder Pads, Black/Orange, Small Boys (XXS)

Free shipping
Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am

Best Women Rugby Shoulder Pads

Canterbury Women’s Pro-Protection Vest

Canterbury Women Pro Protection Vest

Canterbury once again proves to be among the most reliable and trustworthy sports brands for men, women, and junior players. Canterbury Women’s Pro-Protection Vest is another ultimate option for women in protective gear.

This rugby vest is specially made to protect the female chest, biceps, and shoulders from harm in contact sports. The design is both lightweight and breathable. Thanks to its ergonomic design and long-lasting, flexible materials, you may play with complete peace of mind. The quick-drying method developed by VapoDri is a plus, along with enhanced breathability with mesh panels. This product offers a snug fit, as designed with women in mind.

To sum up: Female rugby players participating in demanding contact sports will benefit greatly from the Canterbury Women’s Pro-Protection Vests’ breathability, lightweight, mobility, protection and a 4.7 rating on Amazon.

Canterbury Women's Pro Protection Vest, Protect Chest & Shoulders, Breathable, Lightweight and Flexible, Black, 8

Last update was in: July 4, 2024 1:51 am

Visit Canterbury Official Store

Gilbert Atomic Zenon WRX Rugby Body Armour

Atomic Zenon WRX Ladies Rugby Body Armour

Atomic Zenon WRX Women’s Rugby Body Armour by Gilbert, a world-renowned sportswear brand, combines cutting-edge style with dependable protection for women.

This body armour is designed with female rugby players in mind, providing ample padding for their shoulders and sternum while allowing them to move freely and comfortably while playing. If you’re looking for a material that won’t weigh you down but will keep you protected from hard hits, this is it. With its snug fit and additional protection in crucial areas, its ergonomic design guarantees the utmost comfort and safety.

To sum up: Female rugby players looking for top-tier protection, style, and mobility can consider the Gilbert Atomic Zenon WRX Body Armour.

Final Words

Kitting yourself out for rugby protection doesn’t have to break the bank, mate. While you can snag some reasonably priced shoulder pads, the truth is, the pricier options often bring a whole new level of top-notch quality and functionality to the table. Think of it as an investment in your game – the more you’re willing to splash out, the better the payback.

Now, let’s talk winners. Each gem in our top 12 list isn’t just there for show – these bad boys are the bestsellers in the UK, tried, tested, and highly recommended by players who’ve been in the rugby trenches. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just stepping onto the field, consider this your ultimate playbook for snagging the gear that stands out in the scrum. Cheers to a game-changing match!

More rugby equipment buyers guides and reviews you may be interested in


Why do I need rugby shoulder pads?

Rugby is a high-contact sport, and shoulder pads act as a crucial line of defense against tackles, collisions, and scrums. They absorb impact, reducing the risk of injuries like shoulder dislocations or bruising.

What features should I look for in rugby shoulder pads?

Opt for shoulder pads with a balance of padding thickness and flexibility. The ideal pads provide enough protection without hindering your range of motion. Moisture-wicking capabilities, like those in FastWickX Fabric, are crucial for staying dry and comfortable throughout the game.

How do I determine the right size for shoulder pads?

Sizing is vital for effective protection. Measure your chest circumference and refer to the manufacturer’s size chart. Ensure a snug fit, especially around the shoulders, without restricting your movements.

What’s the significance of the Flexible Zone padding system?

The Flexible Zone system is a game-changer. It ensures that the padding molds to your shoulder’s unique shape, providing a customized and secure fit. This not only enhances protection but also contributes to the overall comfort of the shoulder pads.

Tell me more about FastWickX Fabric. Why is it important?

FastWickX Fabric is a performance booster. Its 4-way stretch technology allows for an extensive range of motions, a crucial aspect in rugby. Moreover, its rapid moisture-wicking properties keep you dry, preventing discomfort and maintaining optimal body temperature during intense play.

Is 5mm chest padding enough for protection?

Absolutely. The 5mm thickness strikes a balance between protection and flexibility. It provides adequate cushioning for impacts without compromising your ability to move freely on the field.

How does the jersey effect reduce bulk without compromising warmth?

The jersey effect is a design innovation that streamlines the shoulder pads, reducing unnecessary bulk. This ensures a sleek and comfortable fit without sacrificing the warmth needed to keep muscles limber in colder conditions.

Do these shoulder pads work well for a newbie like me?

Absolutely. Look for shoulder pads that cater to beginners, offering a combination of ease of use, protection, and comfort. Many quality options on the market are suitable for players of all experience levels.

Are these shoulder pads suitable for practice sessions as well?

Yes, most rugby shoulder pads are versatile enough to handle both matches and practice sessions. They provide consistent protection and comfort, making them reliable gear for various rugby scenarios.

Can I wash these shoulder pads, and how do I maintain them?

Check the manufacturer’s care instructions, but generally, many shoulder pads are machine washable. To ensure longevity, air dry them after washing and avoid exposing them to excessive heat, which could compromise their structural integrity. Regular maintenance ensures they stay in top-notch condition throughout the season.

Resources and suggested reading:

  1. D. A. Harris, I. R. Spears, Teesside University – The effect of rugby shoulder padding on peak impact force attenuation
  2. British Journal of Sports Medicine – An analysis of impact forces in an active shoulder tackle in rugby

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