Lightweight with protection around the head's circumference. Adjusts to your body as your own temperature changes. Great for overall ball control. Holds up in practice and on the field.
May suffer breakdowns with extended use.
Fits well for several ages. Helps athletes feel more confident and performance-focused. Made of Cool Max fabric to evaporate moisture. Available in multiple colors.
Could be more comfortable around the ears.
We love that this headgear looks like a headband. More importantly, it protects from heading the ball to unexpected falls. Head the ball with ease and also enjoy the warmth of this product in cold weather.
A bit slippery around the head when too hot.
Contains protective foams that provide security from high impact performance. Reduces injury and tested to endure the effects of brunt force. Comfortable to wear.
Specifically designed for goalies.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and it’s played by more young people in the United States than any other sport. As with any contact sport, soccer players put their bodies at risk any time they take the field. These risks can be minimized by good rulemaking, good refereeing, and good sportsmanship. Nevertheless, accidents happen and having the right protective gear can make a world of difference.
Protective headgear for soccer players is becoming more common in competitive leagues and pickup games alike. With concerns over concussions and other head injuries coming into the public consciousness, soccer headgear is seen more often on the field of play these days.
Shopping for soccer headgear is as much about comfort as it is about safety. In order to perform at your peak ability, you need to feel both comfortable and secure. A number of different styles of soccer headgear are available to the public today, and the options continue to grow. If you want to do all you can to protect your head on the soccer field, check out our picks for the top choices in soccer headgear.
There are a number of reasons why a soccer player may feel the need for protective headgear. Some have had previous head injuries they want to protect. Others want to be able to head the ball without worries of long-term trauma. The final group are players who simply know the risks associated with a high-contact sport like soccer, and they want to protect their skulls from the risk of serious injury. Many of the players who fall into this category are goalkeepers. It’s not uncommon for a goalkeeper to be at risk of getting kicked in the head or unwittingly running or jumping headfirst into a goalpost. For all these reasons, the use of soccer headgear should be considered by all players of the world’s favorite sport.
Some soccer headgear is designed to protect the entire head, while other models are focused on specific areas. Although full head coverage offers more comprehensive protection, it can also be more cumbersome.
Another popular option is the halo style headgear. This style covers all around the head, leaving the top open. Most halo style gear includes thick foam, similar to full head coverage models, but only around the lower part of the skull.
Protective headbands also cover the lower skull, but they are generally thinner and offer less protection than the other two options. You’ll need to choose your preferred model by balancing your desired level of protection with comfort and usability.
The thickness of materials is an important factor in determining which soccer headgear to purchase. The thicker the headgear, the greater the protection it offers. However, for those players who pride themselves on their aerial skills, thicker headgear could be a hindrance to accurate heading of the ball.
ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials), FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) and NFHS (National Federation of State High Schools) all have their own standards for what is considered acceptable soccer headgear. Verify that the headgear you choose meets the standards for your own usage needs. The more regulatory organizations that approve of the gear, the more assured you can feel that it’s gone through the proper testing channels for safety.
Wearing your soccer headgear too loosely could cause it to slip off, increasing your risk of injury. Adjust properly before use.
Some soccer headgear is designed to cover the player’s entire head. Although this style of headgear is most often used by goalkeepers, it is still a reasonable option for field players as well. If you want to have the added protection of full head coverage, then consider purchasing this style.
Some soccer headgear has the means to cool your head while protecting it. Different brands have different names for their own cooling technologies. Most often they use lightweight nylon materials that stay cooler than traditional cotton. These materials, however, tend to come at a slightly higher cost.
Some soccer headgear is reversible, giving you options when it comes to colors and design on the soccer field. Although this is more of an aesthetic feature, it’s one which players wanting to look their best at all times may want to consider.
While many soccer headgear styles on the market have fixed padding, some have an option to remove and replace the padding, usually made of some type of composite foam. Having the option to remove and replace your foam inserts gives another level of customization and longevity.
Peter Cech — goalkeeper of Chelsea Football Club — was one of the first professional players to wear headgear regularly in a professional soccer game.
Inexpensive: Soccer headgear between $10 and $30 will give you the basic protection you want without a lot of extras. Most of the headgear in this range will be made with cotton and other similar natural materials that my not be as durable in the long term as some of the composite materials in the higher price ranges.
Mid-range: To get mid-range soccer headgear, you’ll need to spend between $30 and $50. This will offer you a number of different style options. Within this category you will find a variety of coverage options, including full head, halo style, and a few that are somewhere in the middle. They will also be made of more durable materials than those in the lower price range.
Expensive: For between than $50 and $100 you can purchase professional style soccer headgear to protect you from any level of head trauma. The biggest difference between this price range and the lower ones is the research that goes into designing both the materials and the mechanics of the gear. Much of the headgear in this category will be found on professional soccer players throughout the world.
Don’t lend your soccer headgear to others — it may not suit them the same way it suits you.
In the inexpensive range, Full 90 Performance Soccer Headgear is a great option — it comes in three sizes that are each fully adjustable to the wearer’s individual needs. A mid-range choice we liked was Elite Tek Soft Padded Headgear. This headgear, although appropriate for soccer use, is actually endorsed by the IRB (International Rugby Board) because it offers such great protection from head injuries. Finally, in the expensive category, Full 90 Sprts FN1 Performance Headgear is ultra light and made of Dupont Coolmax fabric to keep you cool while protecting your entire head, front to back.
Q. Is headgear a requirement for most amateur soccer leagues?
A. No. Currently, headgear is not required for the majority of amateur soccer leagues. However, it is becoming more common as information on concussions becomes more available.
Q. Will wearing soccer headgear hinder my ability to head the ball effectively?
A. No. If worn properly, soccer headgear should not infringe on your ability to play soccer at your natural skill level.
Q. Do most leagues allow the use of headgear?
A. Yes. As long as your headgear meets certain minimum standards, you can wear it in a game setting. Be sure to check with your league authorities before purchasing to find out what is and isn't allowed.
Q. Does wearing soccer headgear reduce my risk of concussion?
A. Yes. Studies show that the use of protective headgear while playing any contact sport significantly reduces your risk of injury.
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