The best soccer headgear
When you think of soccer, your first instinct may not be to think about head injuries. However, soccer can be a tough sport, and a soccer player's head can take plenty of punishment throughout the course of a match. That's why soccer headgear is an important piece of safety equipment, whether you're serious or casual about playing. Soccer headgear protects a player against concussions and other injuries by covering the head and keeping it from contact with the ball, the ground, and other players.
If you're ready for some new soccer headgear, read our buying guide for expert advice and reviews. Our top pick, Unequal Halo 3 Protective Headgear, helps you maintain control of the ball while protecting your head from all kinds of danger.
Considerations when choosing soccer headgear
Soccer headgear can be made from a number of different materials. The outer shell is usually made from either cotton, nylon, or a synthetic mixture of multiple materials. Most of the padding in soccer headgear is made from high-impact foam.
While some headgear is intended to cover the entire skull, others focus primarily on a concentrated part of the head. One of the most common styles of soccer headgear is the halo design. This is a wide strip that goes all the way around the head, leaving the crown exposed. You can also find protective headbands to protect your head, but they're thinner than most standard headgear and may not protect as well.
If protection is of greater concern than comfort and weight, you should opt for the thickest soccer headgear available. Keep in mind that thicker headgear might give you less control when heading aerial balls. If mobility and comfort are more important than safety, then thinner headgear is a better option.
Three different organizations offer their own standards for soccer headgear. Look for certifications from ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials), FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), or NFHS (National Federation of State High Schools). All of these organizations offer regulatory guidance over the safety of sports equipment.
If you play soccer in a humid or hot climate, consider headgear with cooling technology. Various brands have their own cooling technologies, most of which use lightweight nylon materials that keep you cooler than cotton. Note that avoiding a case of "hot head" costs you a little extra.
Though having a reversible design on your soccer headgear is more of a style choice than one that involves safety, reversible soccer headgear gives players the option to change their look whenever they want.
Most soccer headgear has fixed padding sewn into the garment. However, some models have padding that can be removed for washing or replacement. This feature is convenient because it can give you an increased level of customization as well as longevity.
Most soccer headgear costs between $10 and $100. For $10, the headgear is basic protection without many features and is made from cotton or other natural materials. For $50, you can expect many different styles, including full head and halo styles. These are usually more durable than lower-priced headgear. If you spend $100, you can find professional-grade gear with the most advanced design and materials.
Q. Do most leagues let players use soccer headgear in a game?
A. Yes. As long as your headgear is of a style sanctioned by the league, you should have no problem wearing it during a regulation game. Check your league's rules before purchasing if you want to be 100% sure.
Q. Will wearing headgear while playing soccer reduce the risk of serious injuries like concussions?
A. Yes it will. Studies have proven that protective headgear used while playing contact sports significantly decreases the likelihood of concussions and other serious injuries.
Soccer headgear we recommend
Best of the best: Unequal's Halo 3 Protective Headgear
Our take: Great for both protection and ball control in-game.
What we like: Extremely lightweight design. Headgear cools by adjusting to your body temperature.
What we dislike: Can start to rip after extended use.
Best bang for your buck: Full 90's Sports Premier Performance Soccer Headgear
Our take: Innovative halo design that's sleek but keeps you safe.
What we like: Fits surprisingly well for multiple head sizes. Cool Max fabric evaporates sweat. Different color options available.
What we dislike: Some users found the ear areas uncomfortable.
Our take: The smart choice for any goalkeeper who wants full cranial protection.
What we like: Full head coverage. Extremely comfortable. High-impact foam keeps your head safe from the toughest hits.
What we dislike: Only intended for use with goalkeepers.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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