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Do Football Players Wear Cups?

The common question among football players is whether or not they wear cups. Football is an impact sport which has helmets, shoulder pads, hands, and feet flying all around the field.

Football players don’t wear cups. The cup can interfere with running strides and many players believe it slows them down.

In this article, we’re going to look more at both the male and female cups and how they can both benefit and hurt a football player.

What Is A Cup For A Football Player?

A cup is a protective piece of plastic that protects a male’s reproductive parts. It’s a form of protection to ensure that no severe contact is made directly to it. Similar to how a hard plastic helmet protects the head, a cup is worn to protect the private parts.

A cup is typically made of hard plastic which sits on a jockstrap or some sort of spandex material. It is in the shape of a male’s legs and provides enough comfort and space for players to move around.

cup in football

Overtime, cups have pretty much remained the same, as there’s been no new innovation to cups. The same cups that were worn 20 years ago are still shaped and worn the same way today.

Do Football Players Wear Cups?

As the years passed, more and more football players started to forego wearing cups. Football players, by nature, have thick legs from all of the power-lifting they do. Wearing a cup causes chafing and discomfort which can leave a player’s inner thighs feeling chafed.

The way the pants are designed (tight to the body, almost as a second layer of skin), a cup is uncomfortable to wear throughout an entire practice or game.

For this reason, football players oftentimes do not wear cups as they get older. However, when playing youth football, oftentimes players will wear cups, as the parents insist the younger player protects themselves.

Wearing a cup helps younger players feel as if they’re completely protected in all areas.

What Happens If You Don’t Wear A Cup?

A cup is not a necessary piece of equipment in football. It’s optional, similar to how rib pads or high socks are optional. The referee will not check to make sure every player has a cup, it is simply at the discretion of each individual player.

If you’re a parent and you’re concerned about your player’s safety, we recommend checking out these cups, which can help protect your player and make him feel more comfortable.

On the health side, not wearing a cup could result in a player getting hit directly in their private parts. We can’t tell you exactly what will happen (I’m sure you can google it), but players do get hit there accidentally and it can cause some short-term pain.

If a player takes a hard blow below the belt, it can cause some major discomfort and even long-term health problems. Although very unlikely, it could happen if hit directly in the right spot.

Do Females Wear Cups In Football?

Females can choose to wear cups in football if they please. Here is an example of a female cup if they choose to purchase one.

female cup for football

Female cups are similar to that of a male, that they are made to protect the private parts. They are typically in the shape of a male cup but provide a better fitting for a female.

Similar to a male, if the parent thinks it will help protect the player from head to toe, it may not be a bad idea to buy a female cup. Again, it’s not mandatory for a female to wear a cup in football, it’s an optional piece of equipment.

See Our Complete List Of Helpful Football Articles Here

What Are The Best Cups For Football

We recommend going to your local sporting goods store and measuring the cup to fit the athlete. Although, purchasing online is never a bad idea if you’re looking to get one soon. The sizing charts on the box are typically accurate and fit according to the player’s pants size.

If you’re looking to buy a cup, here are our picks for the best cups to purchase for football season

Shock Doctor

Shock Doctor is a great company that understands the impact and ways to protect the body. They have created a whole line of cups and impact products that can be found here.

Shown above is the jockstrap which is a great solution for players who play multiple sports and need a simple solution.

Shock Doctor also has a spandex solution which can be found here. The spandex solution is for players who want to wear spandex for working out, but can also use the cup when necessary.

Shock Doctor Cup For Football


Football players are not mandated to wear cups, although it is a common practice for younger players to wear them.

Players who are concerned about protecting their private areas should always error on the side of caution and wear a cup. As mentioned, people who are just starting out or younger should try wearing a cup to feel comfortable, especially with football pants.

The cup can feel awkward as player’s thighs get bigger, especially as they start lifting weights in preparation for the season. This can cause the cup to feel more uncomfortable, than players who are younger wearing a cup.

As players get older, it’s less likely they will wear cups because it’s not “cool” to wear cups. It also may hinder an athlete’s performance and cause discomfort to those with thicker thighs.

We recommend wearing a cup as if you would rib pads, it’s your own choice and if you’re comfortable with it then wear it. If not it’s completely up to you and you accept the factors that come with not wearing one, and the potential risk of possibly getting hit in that area.