Can You Use Lacrosse Gear in Hockey? (And Hockey Gear in Lacrosse?)

When you decide to start playing a new sport, one of the first things you need to do is buy the equipment that’s necessary to play.

Some sports, like soccer, are very cheap to play. All you really need is a good pair of cleats.

However, for other sports that require more equipment, like hockey and lacrosse, it isn’t so cheap.

If you can use the same piece of equipment between two sports, you’ll end up saving a lot of money.

Whether you’re a hockey player wanting to get into lacrosse… 

Or you’re a lacrosse player looking to start playing hockey… This article is the perfect guide for you.

In this extensive guide, we’ll show you whether you can use lacrosse gear in hockey (and vice versa). Plus, we’ll show you exactly what gear is interchangeable, and what gear you have to buy that’s specific to each sport. 

You’ll want to read to the end so you don’t miss anything.

Let’s dive in!

Here’s Whether You Can Use Lacrosse Gear in Hockey:

Yes, you can use some lacrosse gear in hockey. Certain items like your shoulder pads, and arm pads are interchangeable most of the time. However, certain items like kidney pads, knee pads, lacrosse sticks, and cleats/shoes are obsolete in hockey.

Here’s Whether You can Use Hockey Gear in Lacrosse:

Yes, you can use some hockey gear in lacrosse. Certain items like your shoulder pads and elbow pads are interchangeable in most cases. However, certain items like shin pads and hockey pants are obsolete in lacrosse.

Important Note About High School Leagues (NFHS):

Before you decide to use any piece of equipment from hockey to use with lacrosse (or vice versa), it’s important to note that the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) technically states that you must wear sport-specific gear in your sport. 

This means you should technically only really be using hockey gear in hockey and lacrosse gear in lacrosse.

However, if you aren’t playing in a high school league, but you’re playing in a youth or recreational men’s beer league, you may use certain pieces of equipment (at your discretion).

It’s important to always check with your league’s guidelines on equipment use before deciding to use any equipment.

What Are the Main Differences Between Hockey and Lacrosse Gear?

Overall, hockey and lacrosse gear are quite similar. 

They’re very comparable in purpose and also have a similar look and feel to them.

However, hockey equipment is a lot bulkier than lacrosse equipment. This is because in hockey there’s a much bigger impact from hits and slap shots. 

On the other hand, in lacrosse you need to have much more mobility so the gear is a bit smaller and more flexible.

This video shows the visual differences between lacrosse and hockey gear:

Are Helmets Interchangeable in Hockey and Lacrosse?

Can You Use a Lacrosse Helmet in Hockey?

The short answer is, no, unfortunately.

According to USA Hockey’s Rulebook, rule 304(c) states:

“All players, including goalkeepers, in all age classifications except Adults, are required to properly wear a HECC approved helmet as designed by the manufacturer with no alterations and chin strap properly fastened.”

There is a similar rule in Hockey Canada’s Rulebook, rule 3.6(b):

“While on the ice, including pre-game warmups, all players, including goalkeepers, shall wear a CSA certified hockey helmet, to which a CSA certified facial protector must be securely attached and not altered in any way.”

However, if you’re playing in an adult beer league, you could potentially wear one as there aren’t any mandatory guidelines against wearing a lacrosse helmet in a hockey game. However, you should always check your league’s guidelines as they vary from place to place.

Can You Use a Hockey Helmet in Lacrosse?

Unfortunately, no, you can’t wear a hockey helmet in lacrosse. In youth lacrosse, all players are required to wear a helmet specifically designed for lacrosse.

In times past, lacrosse players would often wear hockey helmets. However, that is no longer the case due to safety and liability issues in the game. 

While lacrosse helmets are similar to hockey helmets, they have a much stiffer cage (face mask) to protect against lacrosse ball strikes. They also offer additional padding in the back of the head.

Are Gloves Interchangeable in Hockey and Lacrosse?

Hockey and lacrosse gloves have been used interchangeably for years. However, while you could possibly get away with using them, it’s best to stick with the right gloves for the sport. 

Lacrosse gloves shouldn’t be used in hockey, but you could get away with using hockey gloves in lacrosse.

Can You Use Lacrosse Gloves in Hockey?

No, you shouldn’t use lacrosse gloves in hockey. 

While some hockey players in beer leagues like using them since they offer more flexibility and mobility than hockey gloves, they can be unsafe—particularly around the thumb area.

Lacrosse gloves have a lot less padding than hockey gloves. Hockey gloves—for instance—have a “stiff thumb” area to prevent your thumb from bending backwards (hyperextension). This is important to have especially when you’re playing at such a fast pace on the ice.

Plus, lacrosse gloves also have a lot less padding on the bottom of the wrist compared to hockey gloves. 

Can You Use Hockey Gloves in Lacrosse?

Yes, you can technically wear hockey gloves in lacrosse. However, they won’t be the most ideal thing to wear as they’re much stiffer than lacrosse gloves.

The main difference between the two gloves is that lacrosse gloves have a “bendable” thumb while hockey gloves have a “stiff” thumb.

The bendable thumb in lacrosse gloves helps with shooting and stickhandling as players become more advanced in the sport.

Hockey gloves also have a hard protective wring that covers the wrist joint inside the glove. This makes it difficult to cradle the ball in lacrosse. 

While you can get away with using hockey gloves in lacrosse, they may hinder your ability to freely cradle the ball, stick handle, and shoot effectively.

Are Shoulder Pads Interchangeable in Hockey and Lacrosse?

Hockey and lacrosse shoulder pads are somewhat interchangeable. However, while you could get away with using the same pair in either sport, it’s best to stick with the right shoulder pads.

Hockey shoulder pads shouldn’t be used in lacrosse, but you could get away with using lacrosse shoulder pads in hockey.

Can You Use Lacrosse Shoulder Pads in Hockey?

Yes, you could use lacrosse shoulder pads in hockey.

They’re quite similar to hockey pads, but with one exception: lacrosse shoulder pads have a composite (hard plastic) shield to cover the outside of the biceps.

You could definitely get away with using lacrosse shoulder pads in hockey. However, if you’re playing in a contact league, you may want to stick with hockey shoulder pads.

Can You Use Hockey Shoulder Pads in Lacrosse?

Hockey shoulder pads are very similar to lacrosse shoulder pads and could be used in most lacrosse leagues.

However, depending on the league you’re in and the level of contact, you might want to stick with lacrosse shoulder pads.

Are Elbow Pads Interchangeable in Hockey and Lacrosse?

Hockey and lacrosse elbow (arm) pads are also pretty interchangeable. 

Can You Use Lacrosse Arm Pads in Hockey?

Yes, you could use lacrosse arm pads in hockey. They’re quite similar—with a few subtle differences:

Hockey elbow pads have a harder protective shell covering the elbow.

And, lacrosse arm pads offer more protection on the forearms.

Can You Use Hockey Elbow Pads in Lacrosse?

Yes, you could use hockey elbow pads in lacrosse. However, your arms will be a bit more exposed since lacrosse arm pads cover a bit more of the forearms.

What Other Equipment is Interchangeable Between Hockey and Lacrosse?

Before you go out and buy a whole new array of gear for hockey or lacrosse, there are a few items you can use between sports—saving you a bit of cash.

Groin Protection

An essential piece of equipment for both hockey and lacrosse. A “cup” or “jock” is used by both hockey and lacrosse players for groin protection.

You could use your jock interchangeably between sports. 

However, if you’re looking to play lacrosse, you may want to get a lacrosse-specific jock as they offer a bit more flexibility on the side of the cup that reduces chafing while running.


A mouthguard is required in both hockey and lacrosse. Thankfully, these are pretty universal, so you’ll be able to use your mouthguard between both sports. For lacrosse, you just can’t wear a clear or white mouth guard.

What Equipment is Specific to Lacrosse But Not Hockey?

Lacrosse Stick

This is the most obvious difference in equipment.

For lacrosse, player sticks are available that include entry level sticks all the way to customized colors, materials, and styles.

Prices range from $20-$30 for entry level sticks all the way up to hundreds for higher-end lacrosse sticks.

The “crosse”, or lacrosse stick is made of two basic components: 

  1. The shaft (which is held by the player), and—
  2. The head (which is a plastic frame with a mesh netting from which the ball is carried, caught, and thrown).

Cleats (Field Lacrosse):

If you’re looking to play field lacrosse, you’ll have to switch your ice skates for cleats. 

While some younger leagues allow players to wear shoes, this is definitely not recommended as you’ll be slipping around all over the place.

There are lacrosse-specific cleats you can buy that have a toe spike. However, you could use either football cleats or soccer cleats for field lacrosse.

Shoes (Box Lacrosse)

In box lacrosse, you’ll need a solid pair of shoes.

A good set of sneakers for box lacrosse should have enough tread that provides grip on smooth surfaces while providing comfort while running on concrete.

Kidney Pads

Kidney pads are unique to lacrosse and required to play. Kidney pads are worn around the waist like a belt. They provide players with impact protection on the kidneys and lower back. 

Knee Pads

Most commonly worn by goalies, knee pads are optional equipment that are mostly worn by youth lacrosse players. Lacrosse knee pads are soft and flexible—similar to volleyball knee pads. 

What Equipment is Specific to Hockey But Not Lacrosse?

Hockey Stick

The most equipment specific to hockey is the hockey stick. 

Typically, hockey sticks are made from carbon fiber threads woven together into a composite material.

Most hockey sticks today are made as one piece, however there are still some hockey players today who use a two piece hockey stick (with one part being the shaft and the other being the blade of the stick).

Ice Skates

Ice skates will be a major change from shoes or cleats in lacrosse. Each individual hockey skate is made up of the boot, laces, blade, and blade holder.

Hockey skates are usually made from leather (typically synthetic), molded plastic, ballistic nylon (or thermoformed material). 

Hockey Pants

Hockey pants are protective equipment hockey players wear that are generally quite loose, while being tight at the waist. Protective padding is built right into the pants.

Shin Guards

Hockey shin guards cover from the top of the knee all the way down to the ankle. They’re made from a polyethylene or polypropylene material and high-resistance materials that is essentially a hard plastic exterior and soft, cushiony interior.

Want more tips on what ice hockey gear you should use? Remember to check out our popular blog posts: 3 Best Youth Ice Hockey Starter Kits, 3 Best Beginner Hockey Sticks for Adults, and 3 Best Video Cameras for Filming Ice Hockey.


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