A Guide To Buying Football Gear
Football paraphernalia, in general, isn’t cheap. From pads to helmets and everything in-between, it’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest gear. The good news is that various parts of a football uniform that can be purchased used, saving you money. The bad news (depending on how you look at it) is that certain items like helmets and cleats should always be purchased new.
If you can find a sports shop that sells quality used equipment, you can save hundreds of dollars by buying gently worn items. If you are shopping for your child, find out whether the school that your child attends offers used equipment. Some schools keep older football gear for students to use until they can get newer equipment. However, never put your child into anything that seems drastically outdated or worn out.
When Used Works
Second-hand sports shops can offer great bargains. You can do an Internet search to find one near you. Don't hesitate to purchase the following items second-hand.
Pads: Football pads (hip, thigh, shoulders, arms) should always be thick enough to protect the body. Many used pads have only been worn a few times. Never purchase ones that are missing filling or have a cracked outer casing. Also, take a good look at the straps, buckles and other connecting pad pieces. If any connectors are broken, frayed or loose, find a different set of pads.
Uniforms: The fabric pants and shirts that football players wear tend to be made from very sturdy materials. If you don’t see any rips, stretches, or obvious problems with a uniform, you can save a lot of money by purchasing a second-hand set. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at a used sports store, look online for used uniforms. Aside from game days, new uniforms are hardly ever worn anyway.
When To Splurge
While pads and uniforms can withstand a lot of game days, helmets and cleats cannot. This is vital information. Make sure to buy a good helmet that fits your child’s head. Helmets that do not fit properly or are too worn can hit a player’s skull during any given game. When this happens, your child can suffer a concussion. Likewise, cleats protect a player’s feet. A worn pair of cleats or ones that don’t fit properly can cause a rolled ankle, knee issues and foot problems. When you shop for cleats and helmets, here’s what to look for:
Helmets: A football helmet should fit a player’s head snugly. Make sure that there is no space between the head and the helmet. The helmet should not move when the player moves forward or backward. If you are buying a helmet for your child, do not purchase one without asking your child to try it on first. It is not uncommon for a helmet that fits properly to leave an imprint on a child’s face. In fact, a red mark caused by a tight helmet is a sign of safety.
There are all kinds of helmets on the market. Some helmets are more expensive than others, though cost is often based on band names. Prices range from $50 to more than $200. Instead of buying a helmet that looks great, purchase one that fits precisely. When it comes to your or your child’s head, you can never be too safe.
Cleats: Leather cleats form to fit a player’s feet, which is why they should never be purchased second-hand. Shopping for cleats is similar to shopping for other types of sneakers, though it’s important to purchase shoes that are made especially for the football field. Essentially, there are two types of football cleats: molded and detachable. Detachable cleats allow a player to remove the cleat part of the shoe to walk more easily. These shoes can also be worn off the turf. It is not possible to detach cleats from a pair of molded shoes. Because of their versatility and ease of use, detachable cleats tend to be more expensive ($150 or more) than molded cleats ($70 or more). Keep in mind that buying quality cleats is always the right choice, even if the cleats that fit a player’s feet best are on the pricey side.
When To Shop
Going the used equipment route means saving some cash, but you should know that there are certain times of the year when new equipment is cheaper than usual. Sports stores tend to put high prices on football gear at the start of the school year or football season. If you can wait until the summertime to purchase football equipment, you can save money on new gear.
On the other hand, if you happen to live in a town where football is extremely popular, equipment may never go on sale. In this case, it’s best to scope out the Internet for inexpensive gear. Just remember to try on all equipment in the store before you shop online.
You can save money when it comes to buying football gear. Just make sure that you don't compromise on quality when it comes to cleats and helmets.