Schutt & Youth Custom Football Helmets – Top Picks for 2016

Youth football helmets have one job – to protect young players from injury. There’s no two ways about it: football is an impact sport. It’s physical, and it can be downright dangerous at times. Head injuries are commonplace in a sport where tackling is the primary component of the game. These injuries can lead to serious or permanent damage. But the right equipment – a helmet in particular – can prevent injuries, or in the very least, minimize impact.

But which youth helmet is the best choice?

  • Xenith X2 Youth Custom

    Overall Rating

  • Schutt Sports Youth DNA Pro Plus

    Overall Rating

Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard III Football Helmet
  • Schutt Sports Youth AiR XP Hybrid

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Here are my top three picks:

#1 – Xenith X2 Youth Custom Football Helmet

Xenith designed the X2 helmet with one thing in mind: safety. I hear a lot of helmet manufacturers touting about how their products prevent head injuries, but few can really deliver safety that’s on the same level as the X2.

Xenith X2 Youth Custom Football Helmet

What makes X2’s the best youth football helmets?

For starters, the X2’s shock absorbers actually adapt to the intensity of the impact. This minimizes sudden head movements from both rotational and linear forces. Xenith also designed the shocks to shear on the inside to deflect some of the rotational forces.

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The fit of the youth football helmets is another key component in safety. To provide maximum protection, the helmet needs to stay in place and stay on the player’s head. What I really like about the X2 is that it actually adapts to the player’s head in a few different ways.

  • Silicone fit bands adapt to the side of the head.
  • When the chin straps are pulled in, the helmet is drawn in to the back of the head.
  • The chin straps also pull the jaw shock absorbers and chin cup into place to protect the player’s jaw.

I’ve seen impacts that are so hard, players’ helmets fly right off their head. With the X2, this won’t happen. In fact, the helmet actually gets tighter and more secure on impact – exactly when you need it most.

What about comfort?

It doesn’t matter how safe a helmet is, players won’t wear them if they’re not comfortable. Xenith designed the X2 to be lightweight and well-ventilated for maximum comfort. Plus, the built-in dual-density comfort pads eliminate pressure points completely.

The X2 is so comfortable, you won’t even realize you’re wearing it.

Available in three sizes (small, medium and large), and a myriad of colors, the X2 is a smart choice for youth football players from beginners to eighth grade.

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#2 – Schutt Sports Youth DNA Pro Plus Football Helmet

Schutt is a well-known name in the industry, and the DNA Pro+ helmet is one of my top picks. It’s not quite on the same level as the X2 as far as safety goes, but it’s an excellent choice for anyone on a tighter budget.

The first thing you’ll notice about this helmet is that the inside has TPU cushioning. Most youth football helmets simply have foam padding, but TPU cushioning is the better option because it offers improved shock absorption.

Schutt Youth DNA Pro + Football Helmet - Front view

Front View

Schutt Youth DNA Pro + Football Helmet - Side View

Side View

Aside from the TPU cushioning, this helmet also includes a two-piece SUREFIT air liner system that’s inflatable. I tend to like helmets with inflatable features because they offer a comfortable but supportive fit that adapts to the unique shape of your head. They also help prevent headaches, which is a common complaint with other youth helmets.

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The SUREFIT system can be inflated using the Schutt inflator pump, which is specially designed for Schutt helmets. The pump simply attaches to the air-LOC inflation ports for easy pumping.

With this helmet, Schutt improved on ventilation for a more comfortable wearing experience.

 Schutt Helmet Inflator Pump

Schutt Helmet Inflator Pump

Along the front side of the helmet, you’ll find the DNA jaw pads. These keep your jaw in place to minimize hit impact. There’s no chin strap included with this helmet, so you’ll need to purchase one separately.

The shell of the DNA Pro + helmet is large and offset. Built with ABS plastic, the shell can withstand high impact without any issues. The front opening is larger and contoured, which gives players an extended field of vision. I’ve seen other helmets that limit a player’s vision so much, it impacts gameplay – and ultimately, the player’s confidence. With the DNA Pro +, there’s plenty of room to see, so gameplay will not be affected.

Like the X2 and other youth football helmets, this helmet comes in three sizes (small, medium and large), and a wide range of colors.
Overall, the DNA Pro + is comfortable to wear and offers the protection players demand without limiting their field of vision.

If the Xenith X2 is out of your price range, this helmet is the second-best choice.

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#3 – Schutt Sports Youth AiR XP Hybrid Football Helmet

Schutt Sports Youth Air Standard III Football HelmetA classic look with a comfortable wear, I like the design and thoughtful construction of the Air Standard III. This is the second of the Schutt youth football helmets to make my list, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the top choices in youth helmets.

First, this is a stand-off helmet, which tends to be the preferred choice for players and coaches. What this means is that there’s a space between the helmet shell and the player’s head. The Air Standard III uses a traditional standoff shell.

The interior of the helmet features Schutt’s comfort liner. The Air Standard III’s liner has an extended surface area and foam padding inside of the liner for added comfort. Along the side of the helmet is a pair of DNA jaw pads for comfort and added protection.

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Schutt includes a chin strap with a soft cup that meets NOCSEA standards. The faceguard is included, too, for added protection.
Helmets such as this one tend to be the best option for very young players, but are still a smart choice for older players as well (up to 8th grade). The only reason I ranked this helmet in third place is because the interior padding cannot compare to the first two helmets listed here. I prefer the shock absorbers found in the X2 or the combination of inflatable and TPU cushioning found in the DNA Pro +. That’s not to say that this helmet isn’t safe or comfortable – it is. It’s just not quite as optimal as the first two.

That said, the Air Standard III is affordably priced, easy to wear, and comes in a wide range of sizes and colors.

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Bottom Line

So, here are the best football helmets that we could find online. And now that we have reviewed it, we hope that it helps you find the right gear that fits your needs. As we all know, proper gear definitely gives you a better chance to perform at a higher level which is what we all want out of these sports gear.

Also, if you are looking for the top linemen and running back shoes then head on over here.


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