Shoulder Pads vs Shoulder Liners

Shoulder Pads vs Shoulder Liners

It’s no secret that men's lacrosse is a contact sport, so you should invest in a good set of equipment. Having said that, there is a grey area which can cause some confusion. Shoulder pads are mandatory for every level of play in the USA, with the exception of professional lacrosse, while in the rest of the lacrosse playing World you will find that the wearing shoulder pads is optional.


Now at the the start of 2022 US Lacrosse ruled to require all boys lacrosse players to wear shoulder pads that meet the 2022 NOCSAE ND2000 standard. In short, what it entails is that going forward, legal shoulder pads must have improved protection in the center of the chest to help reduce the risk of commotio cordis.

What is commotio cordis?


Ok, so some people have compared commotio cordis in lacrosse to being struck by lightening, it's rare but it does happen. When it happens it can be fatal.

Within the rest of the lacrosse playing World, shoulder pads are an optional piece of equipment for men's lacrosse players. That has meant that the pre rule change shoulder pads can still be worn around the World, just not in the USA. Sadly very teams or retailers in the US thought to collect up those older models of pads to donate to start up programs around the World.

Will shoulder pads be made mandatory in other Countries? That's a question we really can't answer but if they are let's hope manufactures and retailers are given plenty of notice. Combined with all the supply chain issues since Covid and the requirements for all players in the US to wear only the new spec shoulder pads, there's been times in the past year you'd have more luck finding rocking horse poo then a pair of the new shoulder pads in a lacrosse store in the States.


So should you wear lacrosse shoulder pads or liners? What's the difference? The main difference between these two styles of padding is the amount of protection and coverage that they provide. Liners are designed with defensemen or midfielders that want more mobility with limited protection. Regular shoulder pads are bulkier and tend to feature a hard cap on the shoulders and biceps. The choice of what to wear really does come come down to whether you want the coverage or the movement.

With the rule change only coming in back in January 2022 you should expect to see a good number of new models of shoulder protection this coming year. 

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