Football often involves some very violent collisions. It’s all part of the sport, and every player knows that going in.
Regardless, that’s not to mean that you cannot take specific measures to ensure that you’re well protected and prepared for all kinds of contact on the gridiron.
Protective gear is a vital part of any football player’s uniform, and a back plate is one of the most indispensable items among all protective equipment.
This guide here will show you the best football back plates to buy whether you are a young or adult player.
Best Football Back Plates For Youth Players In 2020
1. Schutt Sports Neon Football Back Plate
This Schutt youth back plate is designed using EVA foam.
The high-density foam offers effective impact absorption and cushioning, besides making the back plate very comfortable to wear.
Additionally, the EVA foam offers excellent breathability when the player has been wearing the back plate for long periods.
The passing has 5mm vent holes, which enhance airflow for cool and dry comfort.
At the same time, the back plate comes with a breathable mesh that is not only very lightweight but is ultra-comfortable as well.
Measuring 12.5” x 6.25” in width and height, respectively, this back plate is ideally suited for smaller sized players.
It provides a universal fit guaranteed to be compatible with all Schutt shoulder pads and most competitors’ shoulder pads as well.
- Has eye-catching, Hi-visibility neon binding
- Very lightweight
- Tough, rugged construction
- Has high impact EVA foam cushioning
- It doesn’t come with screws for attaching the backplate to the shoulder pads.
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2. Battle Back Bone Back Plate
The unique curved shape of this back plate provides a very comfortable fit that contours to the player’s body.
At the same time, the curved shape disperses energy much better than a flat back plat does.
The underside of the back plate comes with high impact foam backing, which shields the spine area from hard hits.
The foam also enhances the player’s comfort while wearing the back plate.
The sturdy attachment straps keep this back plate securely fixed close to your back, so it doesn’t flop about while the player runs.
Besides, the plate is so sleek and lightweight that you will hardly feel it’s there.
You don’t have to worry about this back plate hindering your movement or slowing you down while on the gridiron.
- Available in a range of vibrant colors
- Tough and durable
- Curved design offers maximum energy disbursement
- Comes with high impact foam backing
- Hardware is included
- The youth-size runs quite small, only for kids of up to about 7 years old.
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3. Schutt Sports Neon Football Back Plate
The whole pint of a back plate is to provide additional protection for blindside areas that are exposed, and the Schutt Neon youth back plate does that incredibly well.
To begin with, the high impact EVA foam on this back plate offers an unrivaled amount of protection.
The foam is lightweight, so it does not add unnecessary weight to the back plate.
At the same time, however, it offers excellent shock absorption, thereby reducing pressure immensely.
The brightly colored neon binding on the back plate makes it easy to identify the player wearing the back plate.
It also helps the wearer make a statement when they are out on the field.
- Ultra-comfortable fit
- Has breathable, lightweight mesh
- Strong and durable
- Offers a universal fit
- Has EVA high-impact foam
- The included connectors loosen up quite easily
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4. EliteTek Football Back Plate
The best feature of this back plate is that the padding is detachable.
This way, you can take the back plate apart for easy cleaning, so you don’t end up with smelly and moldy football gear.
The padding on this back plate is 1” thick which means that the player would be getting sufficient cushioning for effective impact absorption and unrivaled comfort.
Another handy unique feature is the adjustable straps, which can rotate 180°.
The 180° rotation means that you can attach the back plate to a variety of shoulder pads styles, therefore giving it a universal fit.
The durable straps and high-quality snaps mean that you will be using this football gear for years to come.
- Excellent high-quality back plate
- Detachable padding allows for easy cleaning
- The adjustable straps can rotate 180°
- 1” thick heavy-duty padding
- Easy installation with all hardware included
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5. Xenith XFLEXION Back Plate
The Xenith XFLEXION back plate is designed for use by all players, including varsity players.
So, you know that it is built to last and offer a high level of lower back protection.
This back plate is exceptionally lightweight, weighing a mere 2 pounds.
This makes it ideal for all youth players, including very young kids who need gear that’s incredibly sleek and lightweight.
The back plate features tough and menacing construction.
So you know that it will hold up well to the hardest hits, keeping the player adequately protected all along.
The coated nylon straps are adjustable for a customized fit of the back plate.
They are also extremely durable, thereby providing a secure attachment.
The heavy-duty padding works well to protect against the hardest hits.
- Very tough construction
- Comfortable fit
- Has heavy-duty padding
- Incredibly lightweight
- Durable coated nylon straps
- The screws provided are of inferior quality.
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Best Football Back Plates For Adult Players In 2020
1. Battle Back Bone Back Plate
Most back plates are flat, which is what makes this Battle back plate unique, seeing as it has a curved shape.
Besides the aesthetics, the curved shape is also better at dispersing the force of impacts.
Thereby, offering superior protection for the player’s lower back.
At the same time, this back plate comes with a high impact foam backing, which lines the interior of the protective gear.
The lightweight foam ensures that the back plate is comfortable to wear.
Additionally, it also allows for free movement so that the player can perform optimally on the field.
The attachment straps are quite strong and offer a secure fit close to the player’s body, so the back plate doesn’t flop about during the game.
This way, the sleek and lightweight backplate doesn’t slow the player down, and neither does it hinder their movement.
- Comfortable contoured fit
- It weighs just 1 lb.
- Curved design enhances disbursement of energy
- Has strong and durable construction
- Has heavy-duty foam
- The included screws are of inferior quality.
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2. Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool Varsity Back Plate
The first thing you will notice about this back plate is the tough-looking rivets, which give it a fierce menacing look.
This reinforced polycarbonate back plate is exceptionally lightweight yet incredibly tough, thereby offering rugged protection from hard hits.
And that’s not all there is to this protective gear.
It features a unique Airflow Foam Evaporative Cooling System that offers excellent breathability.
The perforated closed cell foam cushions the player and also absorbs impacts.
As a result, it allows for breathability of the back plate.
In addition to the 3D airflow and evaporative cooling foam system, the patented Z-COOL moisture transfer system further aids with keeping the play cool and dry when they are suited up.
- Features a patented moisture transfer system
- Has ventilated foam for increased airflow
- Lightweight but tough construction
- Offers great protection
- Not suitable for players who have a larger physique
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3. Gear Pro-Tec Foam Razor Back Plate
The SAS-TEC foam spine inserts on this back plate provide superior protection for the spine even when the player takes extremely violent hits.
In addition to the SAS-TEC foam spine insert, the side panels of the back plate are made from compressed HEX foam.
The corrugated exterior shell is hard-wearing and offers rugged protection season after season.
The superior grade materials used to construct this Gear Pro-Tec Back plate guarantee unbeatable comfort and protection similar to that found in varsity level backplates.
This way, you can rest assured that the protective gear will provide a reliable, durable service for years to come.
- Extremely durable and hard-wearing
- Provides enhanced spine protection
- Has breathable compressed HEX foam side panels
- Hardware is included
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Not suitable for larger-bodied football players
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4. Schutt Sports Neon Football Back Plate
Have you ever gone to a football match where you cannot see the player you’re supporting because they all look the same when looking down from the bleachers?
Well, if they are wearing a Schutt Sports Neon football back plate, then you might finally be able to tell your son apart from the rest of his teammates.
This backplate comes with neon blinding around the edges, which offers Hi-visibility even from afar.
The high impact EVA padding on the back plate offers impressive shock absorption for ultimate protection against violent hits and tackles.
At the same time, the padding is covered by a lightweight mesh that guarantees the breathability of the back plate.
- Has high impact EVA padding
- Comes with a breathable mesh
- Lightweight construction
- Provides an ultra-comfortable fit
- Fits on most shoulder pads brands
- The included connectors are not of the best quality.
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5. Battle Back Bone Back Plate
The minute you take a look at this back plate, you can tell that there was a lot of attention to detail while designing it. For starters, there’s the shape of the backplate.
While most other back plates in the market are flat, this particular Battle back plate is curved.
The curve is not just for aesthetics.
It helps to provide better disbursement of energy upon impact.
Therefore, offering improved lower back protection.
Additionally, the curved shape sits more comfortably on the player’s back than a flat plate would.
- Sleek and lightweight design
- Has a unique curved shape for better disbursement of energy
- Provides a comfortable fit
- Has high impact heavy duty foam interior
- Offers a universal fit on most shoulder pads
- It can take some time to attach the backplate
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What Is the Purpose of a Back Plate in Football?
A back plate is meant to support a player’s lower back, therefore decreasing the among of impact on the lower spine.
Apart from protecting against lower spine hits, the back plate also helps protect the kidneys from hard impacts.
The kidneys and spine are among the most vital organs on a human body, so you’d want to guard them as best as you probably can, don’t you agree?
Lower back hits are not as common as the hits to the lower abdomen, but some players are more susceptible to lower back hits.
Take a wide receiver, for instance. Anytime a wide receiver is running a slant, squaring in, or making any sort of comeback play, they expose their spine and lower backs to the defender.
As such, a wide receiver is more likely to sustain a lower back injury than say, a lineman.
A back plate is essentially an extension of the shoulder pad, designed to attach to most shoulder pads easily. For convenience, these pieces are easily removable so you can put it on or take it off as desired.
Back plates are quite lightweight too. You will hardly notice that you’re wearing one until you take a hit.
Benefits of Football Back Plate
The primary advantage of wearing a back plate is that it helps reduce impacts to the lower back. Thus way, the piece of protective equipment protects the player’s lower back, spine, and kidneys.
When wearing a back plate, there is no guarantee that you won’t get injured.
However, there is a guarantee that the resultant pressure and impact of the hit will be drastically reduced, thereby eliminating or lessening any resulting damage.
OA player who is wearing a back plate can play with more confidence, knowing that whatever happens on the gridiron, their vital organs are well protected.
Besides, if a player is wearing a back plate, then this gives the coaches and parents some peace of mind.
Nobody wants a career-ending injury hanging over their heads, which is precisely what a kidney or spinal injury would do.
Other players may opt to wear a back plate only because it makes them look cool.
Back plates do look pretty cool, especially when worn outside the jersey and left to flap about as the player darts from one corner of the field to the other.
However, keep in mind that this is not the appropriate way to wear a back plate. A floppy back plate will not offer you the protection you need upon collision.
Regardless, if for no other reason at all, wearing a back plate because it looks cool wouldn’t be the worst thing. After all, you’d still stay protected, no?
What to Look for When Buying A Back Plate
The last thing anyone wants is to have sweat pooling at their lower back because they are sweating excessively, all thanks to the back plate.
For this reason, a good back plate should have certain ventilation and circulation systems put in place. At the very least, make sure the back plate has vent holes.
This is done to encourage a free flow of air around the lower back, thereby transferring moisture away from the player’s body.
When the back plate is capable of wicking away sweat, then the player can stay comfortably cool and dry throughout the game.
The weight of the back plate should be ideal for its intended user regarding whether it is a youth or adult back plate, and also the age and body build of the particular player.
A good back plate should provide a lightweight fit that’s isn’t bulky. Make sure you can be able to move freely while wearing the back plate, without the gear interfering with any of your plays.
A heavy back plate will weigh the player down, thereby limiting their stamina and making them get tired faster. Of course, no one wants to be in such a situation.
It will be of no use to stay protected but have the protective gear interfere with your performance on the field.
So, the plate should sit comfortably on your lower back, such that it is hardly noticeable until you take a hit.
Besides being lightweight, a no-bulky back plate that can inconspicuously fit under your jersey is the best choice to go with.
Strength & Durability
How strong and durable is the backplate?
The idea is to invest in a solid back plate that will competently protect your lower back from hard hits.
However, at the same time, the back plate shouldn’t be so heavy and rigid that it affects your performance, and therein lies the real challenge when finding the best backplate.
A flimsy back plate could break off upon impact, thereby losing its function and even injuring the wearer in the process.
On the other hand, a rigid plate might restrict your movements, thus hindering your performance.
Finding a material that’s strong and rigid yet lightweight and comfortable is no easy feat. Nevertheless, that’s not to mean that such back plates don’t exist.
Reputable brand names, in particular, have mastered the art of manufacturing quality back plates to a tee.
Pay close attention to the material the back plate is made from and do your fair amount of research to ascertain the quality of a football back plate before making your purchase.
A high-quality football back plate should come with high impact cushioning capable of absorbing and dispersing the shock of an extremely hard hit.
Besides, the padding enhances the comfort of the back plate, so the player is more at ease with a good deal of cushioning.
As much as ample cushioning is desired, it should not be bulky or add to the weight of the back plate. So, the idea is to have thin lightweight cushioning with effective impact absorption.
Size & Fit
Just like with any other football gear, the size and fit of a back plate are very crucial.
The fit not only dictates how comfortable you will be while wearing the back plate, but it also determines the amount of lower back protection offered.
Back plates are designed for different kinds of users, be it youth players, teenagers, or adults. Therefore, it is essential to find one that fits the player perfectly for optimum comfort and protection.
Besides how the back plate fits against the player’s body, also consider how the back plate fits on your shoulder pad.
Most back plates offer a universal fit, which means that they are compatible with nearly all shoulder pads.
Always make sure you check whether the plate is compatible with your gear so that you don’t end up with something that you cannot use.
The coverage offered by the back plate is something else you would need to consider.
While some players may be okay with a narrow fit and coverage, others would like the back plate to be longer and cover a broader area on their lower back.
FAQ For Best Football Back Plates
How to Choose the Right Size of Football Back Plate?
First off, start by measuring the length and width of your lower back. Then use these measurements alongside the manufacturer’s sizing chart, which looking at the back plate you plan on buying.
The size of the football back plate you go for will depend on your skill level as well as the desired amount of coverage.
Smaller back plates tend to offer narrow coverage and, therefore, less protection.
These are ideal for youth players, especially those in positions that don’t experience a lot of blindside attacks.
Wider and longer back plates cover a larger lower back area and therefore offer more protection.
For this reason, these back plates are better suited for varsity players rather than youth football players.
How Do You Attach A Football Back Plate?
First off, you need to make sure the back plate comes with the necessary gear to attach it to the shoulder pads.
Step 1: Locate the two holes on the back of the shoulder pads where the back plate should be attached.
Step 2: Align the holes on both the back plate and the shoulder pads. On the back plate, the hole you select will depend on high low or high you want the plate to sit on your lower back.
Step 3: Insert the screws through the aligned holes, making sure they are tightly locked in.
An improperly installed back plate will be a huge hindrance and nuisance.
So, take a look at this video to get a better idea of how to properly attach the back plate to your shoulder pads.
Do All the Football Backplates Come with Screws?
Most football back plates come with the hardware you should use to attach the plate to your shoulder pads. In fact, all high-quality back plates should come with the necessary fasteners, i.e., T-nuts, screws, and washers.
In case you buy a back plate, and the screws and nuts aren’t included, however, then you could buy them separately from a store.