For the second straight season, we have researched all 704 NFL Starters to get a full picture of the helmets, cleats and gloves worn by NFL football players. While completing this research is a tall task, it provides us with valuable information about what the world’s best football players wear. We have calculated the brand share and even honed in on some of the specific models these pros are wearing. For this article, we’ll be focusing on the league’s best pass catchers – the Wide Receiver.
About the Research: This research focuses on the helmets, cleats and gloves of the 704 NFL Starters. We tracked 352 Offensive Players (32 QB’s, 32 RB’s, 96 WR’s and 160 OL) and 352 Defensive Players (64 DE’s, 49 DT’s, 64 OLB’s, 47 ILB’s and 128 DB’s). For this research, injuries were not considered, the best players at each position were selected. We used both ESPN and OurLads as a resource for our depth charts. The research was conducted from Week 15 to Week 17 (Dec. 20 – Jan. 2).
Our final note is to remember that players switch equipment all the time (sometimes even at halftime), so there is no way to ensure 100% accuracy throughout the season. Our findings still offer the best representation available of what brands and models are most popular among NFL Starters.
Helmets Worn by NFL Starting Wide Receivers
Wide receiver is one of the most dangerous and vulnerable positions in football. We’ve all seen it before – a WR running across the middle, catching a pass and getting lit up by a defender. While the NFL has made progress to protect the “defenseless receiver”, these hits will always be part of the game. This is why NFL WR’s wear these incredibly high-tech and protective helmets. Let’s take a look at the most popular helmet brands and models the 96 starting WRs are wearing.
Schutt | Worn by 51% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
For the second straight season, the most popular helmet brand amongst NFL starting WRs is Schutt. Wide receivers are all about lightness and speed and Schutt makes some of the lightest helmets in the game. The most popular Schutt helmet was the Schutt F7 – worn by 27 of the 96 starting WRs. The Schutt F7 weighs a little over 4 pounds and is one of the most comfortable helmets on the market. The F7 is a 5-star rated helmet and excellent at dispersing rotational force – something WRs experience often when running across the middle. The helmet disperses this contact with their “tektonic plates“. These plates are on the top of the shell and move independently from the rest of the shell to disperse that contact. There are several NFL speedsters rocking the F7 including Tyreek Hill, Ja’marr Chase and Cooper Kupp. Overall, an incredible helmet and perfect for WRs. You can check out the Schutt F7 from $500-$1000 on Schutt’s website.
The other popular Schutt helmet is the Schutt Air XP Q11 – worn by 20 of the 96 NFL starting WRs. Despite its classic, old-school appearance, the Schutt Air XP is still a very popular helmet in the NFL. The Schutt Air XP Q11 is the same iconic, timeless shell with the most up to date padding from Schutt. As I mentioned earlier, WRs are all about speed and lightness and this helmet weighs in at only 4.1 pounds. Protection aside for a moment, this is one of the best looking helmets for a WR. I’m all for the new technology and high safety ratings, but sometimes it’s nice to see a simple, classic shell on the field. NFL veterans, including Julio Jones, Davante Adams and Keenan Allen, are rocking the Schutt Air XP in 2021. The Schutt Air XP Q11 is currently a pro-model only but you can get the similar Schutt Air XP Q10 for $450 from Schutt.
Riddell | Worn by 46% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
Coming in second this year is Riddell with 46% of the brand share amongst NFL starting wide receivers. It’s rare to see Riddell not finish first in any helmet category, but that’s the case with WRs. The most popular helmet, just like in the QB article, is the Riddell Speedflex. The ‘flex is worn by 39 of the 96 starting WRs, which makes it the most popular helmet model. The Speedflex is the perfect blend of modern styling and top of the line protection. The hexagon panel on the front, the shell, and the facemask all work to flex to absorb energy and protect it from reaching your head. This helmet is worn by some of the leagues’ best, DK Metcalf, Deandre Hopkins, and Deebo Samuel. It’s a great choice for wide receivers and you can get one from Riddell for $470.
The other Riddell helmet, chosen by WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Marquise Brown, is the Riddell Speed. The Speed was once the most popular helmet in the game, but it’s usage has been on the decline since the release of the Speedflex. The Speed is still a 5-star rated helmet and one of the lightest in the game – weighing only 3.7 pounds. It’s super streamlined design makes it one of the best looking helmets in the game. You can still get a Riddell Speed for about $350 and up.
Vicis | Worn by 3% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
This season only 3 starting WRs wore Vicis football helmets – Brandin Cooks, Byron Pringle and Chris Conley. Cooks and Conley were in the Vicis Zero1 and Pringle rocked the Zero2 model. Vicis is one of the newest faces in the helmet game, but they’ve already made their mark and their usage is going up every year. Vicis helmets are the top-ranked helmets from both the NFLPA and the VT Helmet Rating Scale. Their helmets are the best in the game, but their newcomer status and odd-shaped design seem to deter some players. Check back next year to see if their usage grows in 2022. Check out the Vicis Zero2 on Vicis.com, starting at $700.
Cleats worn by NFL Starting Wide Receivers
Cleats are an incredibly important piece of equipment for all wide receivers. WR’s almost always choose a “skill” football cleat. These cleats are low-cut, lightweight and built for speed. Skill cleats allow WRs to run intricate routes, cut hard and put on the burners. Let’s take a look at what brands and models the best WRs in the world are rocking.
Nike | Worn by 63% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
Once again, Nike is the most popular cleat brand among WRs. This season, 63% of NFL wide receivers were wearing the swoosh on their feet. There are several popular Nike cleats, but the most popular pair was the Nike Vapor Edge 360 Speed. The 360 Speed is a super lightweight, low-cut cleat that released in 2020. The cleat features Nike’s newest traction plate – the “edge” plate. This traction plate is a 2-piece traction plate with sharp studs placed at the outermost parts of your foot. This allows wide receivers to get in and out of breaks fast and turn on the jets down field. Some of the shiftiest WRs in the game, including Cooper Kupp and Kendrick Bourne, have been rocking the Vapor Edge 360 Speed. Lucky for you guys, this is also one of the most affordable cleats on the market – $95 at Dicks.
The second most popular Nike cleat amongst NFL starting WRs is the Nike Vapor Edge 360 Pro. This cleat is incredibly similar to the 360 Speed we talked about earlier, but has covered laces and a thin sock cuff. It’s going to be a little bit heavier than the Speed. but has the same “edge” traction plate. These are another great option for WRs and worn by NFL guys, Deebo Samuel and AJ Brown. The Vapor Edge 360 Pro is $120 from Dicks.
Adidas | Worn by 25% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
Coming in at second, we have Adidas. This past season, we saw 1/4 of NFL starting WRs rock the Three Stripes. The most popular model among them was the Adidas Adizero 11.0. The Adizero is Adidas’ skill cleat line and the 11.0 is the latest one to release. These cleats are notorious for being lightweight and built for straight line speed. These cleats are worn by Adam Thielen, Tyler Boyd and other great pass catchers. You can grab these cleats for $120 from Dicks.
The other popular Adidas cleats are the Adidas Adizero 11.0 SK Primeknit. This cleat is super similar to the regular Adizero 11.0 we just talked about, but has a primeknit upper and a higher ankle cuff. It’s still a super lightweight cleat, but the primeknit will give you a little extra support. Both these, and the regular 11.0, have a traction plate with sharp triangle studs that’ll help you dig in the dirt and blast past defenders. These cleats are worn by some of the fastest in the game, including Marquise Brown and Darnell Mooney. You can get the Adidas Adizero 11.0 Primeknit for $150.
Jordan | Worn by 9% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
This season, we saw 9% of starting NFL WRs wearing Jordan Branded football cleats. Over the past couple seasons, the Jordan Brand usage has been on the rise – up 3% from last year. Some of these players are wearing general release Jordan cleats, but most of them are players signed with Jordan Brand. Davante Adams, Jarvis Landry and Chase Claypool are all Team Jordan and have worn tons of different models throughout the season. These guys get access to exclusive colorways which, unfortunately are unavailable to the public. If you want a pair of Jordan cleats, we suggest you check StockX and GOAT.
Under Armour | Worn by 3% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
Lastly, we have Under Armour with 3% of the total brand share amongst NFL starting WRs. Under Armour has been on the decline lately – down 5% from last season. This could be partially due to this past off-season, where they ended their on-field licensing agreement with the NFL. UA gear is still allowed on the field, but the logos must be covered up. DK Metcalf, Justin Jefferson and Julio Jones are the only starting WRs still repping Under Armour. DK and Jjettas are both in the Under Armour Spotlight, which is $120 from Dicks.
Gloves worn by NFL Starting Wide Receivers
For wide receivers, gloves have become a must-have accessory. These sticky palmed gloves help wide receivers catch the football and make what used to be highlight reel level catches look routine. Every single wide receiver we tracked wears football gloves, so let’s take a closer look at the most popular brands and models.
Nike | Worn by 67% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
Once again, Nike is the most popular glove brand among NFL starter WRs. We’ve noticed a 6% jump from last season, which is impressive considering they were already dominating the game. Out of the 96 WRs tracked, 67 of them were wearing Nike gloves and the most popular was the Vapor Jet 6.0. The Vapor Jet line has been around for over a decade and the 6.0 is the latest model. These gloves are stunning, have some of the best grip and fit great on your hands. They fit similar to a second skin and making catching the football feel as natural as possible. Superstar playmakers, Ja’marr Chase and Cooper Kupp have both been doing damage in the Vapor Jet 6.0. You can grab the VJ6 from Dicks for about $45.
The second most popular glove, worn by 9 starting WRs in 2021, is the Nike Superbad 6.0. The Superbad line is another model that has been around for over a decade. These gloves are hybrid football glove and have both the sticky palm and a padded back of hand. These gloves are great for physical wide receivers or someone who just likes the extra protection. Devonta Smith and Michael Pittman Jr. have both been wearing the SB6 this season. You can grab the Nike Superbad 6.0 for $55 from Dicks.
Adidas | Worn by 19% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
In the number 2 spot, we have Adidas. This season Adidas accounted for 19% of the total brand share amongst NFL starting WRs. The most common Three Stripes glove was the Adidas Adizero X, followed closely by the Adizero 11.0. Both the X (10) and the 11.0 are part of the Adidas Adizero line which is notorious for being a lightweight glove and perfect for wide receivers. Some of the most sure-handed wide receivers, including Adam Thielen and Rashod Bateman wear Adizeros. You can grab the Adidas Adizero X here and the 11.0 here.
Jordan | Worn by 6% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
At number 3, we have Jordan Brand. Earlier in the cleats portion of this article, I mentioned that Jordan Brand is on the rise in the NFL and that’s the case with gloves too. This season, we had 6 starting WRs rocking Jordan Brand gloves – all of them in the Vapor Jet 6.0. Two of the leagues’ best, Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs, are wearing Jordan gloves. Something to note about Jordan Brand football is that they are exactly the same glove as Nike. They’re simply Nike gloves with a Jordan logo on them. With that being said, they are still some of the coolest looking gloves in the game. These Jordan model Vapor Jet 6.0s aren’t available to the public but you can get the regular Nike ones here.
Cutters | Worn by 4% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
This season, only 4% of NFL starting WRs wore Cutters gloves. Three of the four Cutters guys wore the Cutters Rev Pro 4.0. This is the latest receiver glove from Cutters but has the same, super durable, C-Tack grip. This palm is super dependable and lasts a long time. This grip allows Deandre Hopkins and Keenan Allen to snatch the football out of the air with ease. You can grab the Cutters Rev Pro 4.0 for $45.
Under Armour | Worn by 2% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
As you can tell by the 2% of brand share, Under Armour gloves are rarely worn in the NFL these days. The only starting WRs in them this season were UA athletes, DK Metcalf and Justin Jefferson. Both of them wore the Under Armour Spotlight model. These are a comfortable glove with sticky “Glue Grip”. You can get the Under Armour Spotlight from Dicks for around $50.
Gripboost | Worn by 2% of NFL Starting Wide Receivers
Lastly, we have Gripboost. Gripboost is one of the most interesting brands to keep an eye on. These gloves are relatively new to the space and superstar WR, Tyreek HIll, is a part-owner of the brand. These gloves are very sticky and are one of the best fitting gloves on the market. Two of the games fastest, Tyreek Hill (duh) and Marquise Brown, have worn Gripboost gloves this season. You can shop Gripboost’s gloves at Gripboost.com.
There you have it… the gear worn by the best wide receivers in the world! Let us know what you think about our report in the comments below!