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The Best Padded Shirts

Last updated on October 21, 2021
Best Padded Shirts

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Padded Shirts

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

McDavid Sternum Shield HEX Tech Padded Shirt

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


Sternum Shield HEX Tech Padded Shirt

This adult and children’s compression shirt is made with moisture-managing technology and mesh fabric to keep athletes dry and ventilated. It also features a Large Hex pad for protection from hard hits, pitches and balls.

Overall Take

The Safeguard You NeedThis machine-washable padded shirt can be worn for hockey, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, football and rugby.

 Runner Up

TUOY Breathable Compression 6-Pad Padded Shirt


Breathable Compression 6-Pad Padded Shirt

Available in vest and short-sleeve styles, this quality-made padded shirt features six pads made with 10 millimeters of professional foam. It also has flexible Lycra/polyester/Spandex construction for your comfort.

Overall Take

Superb Safety and SupportYou will be ready to perform at your highest level when wearing this breathable, comfortable and protective sportswear.

 We Also Like

Boly Breathable Multi-Sport Compression Padded Shirt


Breathable Multi-Sport Compression Padded Shirt

This comfortable padded shirt is designed with anti-collision polyethylene EVA particles for your safety. It has a breathable, hexagonal pad that provides you with the physical protection you need for your chest, ribs, back and shoulders.

Overall Take

Thick, Sweat-Wicking FabricThis protective shirt goes the distance for you when you're playing your favorite sports.

 Strong Contender

Jellybro Ultra-light Multi-Padded Shirt For Men


Ultra-light Multi-Padded Shirt For Men

Made with a high-elastic EVA emulsion cushion system, this flexible, breathable and padded shirt has strategically-placed pads to keep you safe and confident when playing sports.

Overall Take

Complete Upper-Body CareYou won't believe how well this lightweight shirt shields your upper body — right where you need protection.

Buying Guide

Whether they play sports professionally or just for fun, experienced athletes know how important it is to wear protective clothing. Contact sports cause injuries, and a hit to the chest or other delicate part of the body can be mild, moderate, serious or even life-threatening.

Recovering from these injuries also gets harder as we age, so it’s important to safeguard your well-being. Padded compression shirts are good for contact sports like football and baseball, and they are also recommended for skiing, mountain biking and snowboarding.

These shirts use high-tech materials to provide added layers of padding to the most vulnerable parts of the body, including the chest, ribs, back and shoulders. Basically, the more protection you have in these spots, the less likely you are to suffer major injuries in those areas if the worst should occur.

The padding for such tops can be made from EVA foam, and “EVA” is the acronym for ethylene vinyl acetate. This soft, elastic material is made into tough rubber or foam, and it is a safe alternative to PVC that’s used in clothing. EVA is also used in pool noodles, shin guards, bike saddles and footwear, so you’ve likely encountered it before.

Most padded shirts have hexagon-shaped pads on the chests; this shape is ideal for protection and mobility. For full upper-body protection, look for long-sleeved shirts that have additional pads for the ribs, shoulders, elbows and backs. You can also find padded vests and short-sleeve shirts.

Stretchability and breathability are essential for padded shirts, as they are made for athletic use, so you should not have any restrictions on your movements. Look for shirts made with Spandex and Lycra. Mesh construction and mesh panels in the underarms are helpful for ventilation; other materials that wick away moisture are also good choices.

What to Look For

  • The majority of padded shirts have from 10 to 20 millimeters of Hg, which signifies medium compression.
  • Measure the chest circumference before ordering a padded shirt and check the product page for a sizing guide. If in doubt, choose the smaller shirt, since you will be better protected from tighter padding.
  • Not all padded shirts can be machine-washed, so read the label first. If you do not follow the directions, the pads could come off the machine.
  • Hand-washing is the safest best for padded shirts.
  • Be sure to wash your padded shirt often, because they tend to accumulate odors.
  • Be sure to choose breathable materials, especially for sports played outdoors in the heat.

More to Explore

Football is one of the highest-contact sports around. The first pads for the game were reportedly made from wool and leather, and they were sewn into the jerseys.

Harnessed shoulder pads (pulled over the head and attached at the chest) were invented around the turn of the 19th century and made from leather and canvas. In the coming years, those pads became larger and covered the chest.

Today’s padding is much sleeker and more efficient, and it affords better mobility, comfort, protection and ventilation.

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