How to Buy a Football Helmet
Football Helmets play one of the most vital roles in player-protection on the football field. All helmets at DICK'S Sporting Goods are youth sizes, and meet the standards of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
*Please note that no helmet can completely prevent an athlete from injury.
A helmet's outer component is called the shell.
- Strong, durable construction
- Made up of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plastic or polycarbonate alloy, designed to withstand hard contact for years
- Ventilation throughout the shell increases air flow, for heat management and additional comfort
- Specific helmet models have an air system that assists in tightening helmet pads to your head's specific shape, providing a custom fit
Two different types of padding may be used to cushion the inside of your helmet's shell.
Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU) foam
- Does not require compression time or a "break-in" period, as opposed to regular foam
- Absorbs a significant amount of shock upon impact
- Offered by select brands
Vinyl Nitrile foam
- Efficient shock absorption
- Comfortably protects the athlete
- May need to break in, so padding is not too tight against the head
Padding is either pre-sized or inflatable. You can also purchase thicker or thinner pads to adjust your fit. If you choose a helmet with inflatable pads, you will need the proper helmet pump. Purchasing a helmet with inflatable pads provides a custom feel.
- There should be no space between the temple and the helmet, and the jaw and the helmet
- Padding along the top and back of the head, as well as the jaw line provides comfort and protection
- A well-fitted helmet should have no movement or shifting against the padding
*Please refer to our fit guide below to learn more.
All DICK'S Sporting Goods helmets come complete with a shell, facemask, and chin strap. Facemasks can also be purchased individually. If you decide to buy one separately, make sure that the facemask you choose is compatible with your helmet.
Made of carbon steel or stainless steel, facemasks are lightweight, strong and durable. There are a variety of different designs to maximize protection and enhance performance. Consider the following with your position in mind:
- Oral Protection Only – Clear field of vision, ideal for quarterbacks, defensive backs, and wide receivers
- Jaw and Oral Protection - More protection for blocking and hitting, ideal for running backs and tight ends
- Nose and Oral Protection – Protection for receivers and running backs, while still having a clear field of vision
- Nose, Jaw and Oral Protection – Beneficial for linemen who encounter constant hard hitting
- Eyeglass and Oral Protection – Protection for linemen and other players who experience hard contact
Some brands define their facemasks by bar design, and can be position specific or multipurpose.
- Reinforced – Refers to the reinforced bar at the top of the facemask. This strengthens the facemask and minimizes the chance of vertical spreading.
- Double Wire Configuration – This adds stability and strength. It also decreases the opening in the facemask and protects against contact. This design minimizes the chance of horizontal spreading, important for linemen or for other positions where you either block or tackle and end up in the pile.
- Single Wire Configuration – This eliminates a bar running in the "east-west" direction. This design will suit you if you play a position where visibility is critical.
- U-Bar – This often times is called a bull ring. As with a Double Wire design, the U-Bar also is designed to protect against contact.
- Skill Position Players – Designed for skill position players since the side bar is angled back for better peripheral vision. Slightly longer.
Select vendors are now incorporating a quick release feature, which allows easy access to a player during an injury situation.
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Helmet Fit Guide
A helmet won't do you any good if it does not fit properly. Follow this guide to find the proper measurements and fit.
Measure Your Head
1. Have a friend or parent take your measurements to ensure accuracy.
2. Wrap measuring tape 1" above your eyebrows, around your head.
3. This is where your helmet will rest.
4. Record your circumference.
Once you have your measurements, refer to the specific size chart on the product page.
After Purchasing your Helmet
1. Put on your helmet.
2. If you have inflatable pads, you will now need to pump air into the designated areas.
3. Pump air until the helmet feels snug front to back, and side to side.
4. If your helmet has interchangeable pads, you can change out thinner for thicker ones, so your head is secure.
5. The helmet should still be sitting 1" above the eyebrow.
6. Interlock your fingers and press down on the top of the helmet.
7. You should feel pressure on the crown, and not on the brow.
8. There should be no space between your temple and the helmet, and your jaw and the helmet.
9. Test moving the helmet left to right, up and down. There should be no shifting or twisting of the forehead or skin against the pads. All should move as one.
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Chin straps attach directly to your helmet and come in hard or soft styles. There should not be any slack between the strap and the helmet, providing a snug and secure fit for the player. All custom DICK'S helmets include a chin strap.
Mouthguards protect your mouth and teeth from injury during rough play. DICK'S also offers mouthguards suitable for players with braces.
Eye shields and visors fit into your facemask, without obstructing your vision. While they are not required, they act as an extra eye protection piece. Be sure that they are compatible with your facemask. Check with your coach to see if your league allows them.
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Customize Your Helmet
DICK'S Sporting Goods makes it possible to customize your helmet with your team's signature colors in just four easy steps.
STEP 1: Choose your style HELMET
STEP 2: Choose your helmet COLOR
STEP 3: Choose your FACEMASK
STEP 4: Choose your facemask COLOR
All helmets will come with a hard or soft chin strap, depending on which style you choose.
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Helmet Comparison Guide
The Helmet Comparison Guides are a handy resource for customers. With information on size, position and design, these guides will steer you in the right direction when choosing helmets from DICK'S Sporting Goods. Please note that helmet styles may have been added or removed. Check our helmet page for the latest available products.
Schutt Helmet Comparison Guide
Xenith Helmet Comparison Guide
Riddell Helmet Comparison Guide
1. How do I know if my helmet fits right?
Once you have determined your measurements and size, you can refer to our helmet fit guide to learn how to test whether your helmet fits properly. For a well-fitted helmet, be sure that it sits approximately 1" above the brow, and there is no shifting. You should have a secure fit against the pads front to back, and side to side. There should be no space between your jaw line and the padding, as well as the temples and the padding.
2. Do the helmets with inflatable pads come with a pump?
Each custom helmet comes with a shell, facemask, and soft or hard chinstrap. Helmet pumps are sold separately on our helmet accessories page.
3. What are the benefits to purchasing my own helmet?
It is important to have a helmet that is in good condition for safety reasons. By purchasing your own helmet, you know how many seasons it has been used, and what kind of condition it is in. We recommend that you inspect your equipment throughout and at the end of each season, to ensure maximum safety.
4. Do face masks come with eye shields or visors?
All of our helmets come included with a shell, facemask, and soft or hard chin strap. Eye shields and visors are sold separately on our helmet accessories page.
5. Do all facemasks fit into any helmet?
Only compatible facemasks will be available for you to choose when customizing your helmet through the DICK'S website. If you are buying a facemask separately, you will want to check compatibility.
6. What are the NOCSAE standards?
Voluntary test standards have been developed to reduce head injuries by establishing requirement of impact attenuation for football helmets/face masks. These standards have been adopted by various athletic groups, including the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations.
7. How do I know if my helmet meets the NOCSAE standards?
Every helmet sold at DICK'S is NOCSAE approved and must bear the seal, "Meets NOCSAE standards" with the logo. This seal and logo must be visible, and is permanently branded or stamped on the outside of the shell.
8. What if I don't like my custom helmet?
Because your helmet has been customized, we do not accept returns. Before purchasing, make sure that you have taken the proper measurements, have the correct size and review the design/colors you have chosen.
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