This section will provide you with a complete flag football equipment checklist. 

One of the most overlooked advantages of playing flag football is the equipment—or lack thereof. Without the aspect of tackle and contact, all that heavy-duty (and often expensive) equipment, like helmets and shoulder pads, are no longer required. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned professional, there are a few essential pieces every player needs. Use our checklist to be prepared for your next game.


Depending on the league, you can find different variations of what equipment is needed for flag football. For example, some high school programs or 7 on 7 teams may require soft shell helmets, while other leagues allow players to bring in their own flag football flags. Luckily, NFL FLAG makes it easy—players receive almost everything they need to compete as a part of their registration


Flag football flags and belt. Players wear belts with flags that hang along their sides and opponents have to pull the flags off of the ball-carrier’s belt. Every player receives an official NFL FLAG football belt and flag football flags, either from their coach or league organizer. 

NFL FLAG team jersey. Every player also receives a team jersey upon registration.  

Shorts. It’s important to wear shorts that don’t have pockets. This allows the belt and flags to be visible at all times, avoiding unnecessary penalties. It also is a safety precaution so that fingers don’t get stuck when attempting to remove the flag.  

Mouthguard. This is the only protective gear that players wear. We recommend having a backup pair in your bag, just in case. 

Football cleats. Metal cleats are not allowed in flag football. 

Football gloves (optional). Some players prefer to use football gloves, which give extra grip to help control the ball. These aren’t required, though.


Every player needs a well-fitted flag football belt and durable flag football flags. While there are a variety of options out there, the release mechanism is what really sets them apart from each other. For example, some leagues use Triple Threat belts where the entire belt falls off when the player’s flag is pulled; others might use belts that are attached by Velcro. But the best flags for flag football really depend on the specific organization’s preference and budget. 

NFL FLAG football belts and flags are attached by a small piece of plastic called a pop socket. When the flag detaches from the players belt, it emits a popping noise, which makes it clear to everyone that the play has ended, avoiding any unnecessary injuries after the play. It also helps the referee more accurately spot the ball.


One of the things that coaches love the most about flag football is that it’s an inclusive and accessible sport, which is a result of there being no contact. In tackle football, players are required to wear helmets, shoulder pads, girdles, and other necessary protective gear. But in youth flag football, the equipment list is much shorter—flag football belts and flags, a mouth guard, and that’s about it. Therefore, by comparison, flag football is generally less costly than tackle. In fact, families might find that tackle football leagues are up to $300 more expensive because of the additional equipment needed to play. 



Learn about flag football positions and their roles so you can make an impact on the field. Plus, see a football positions chart.



Whether you’re new to the game or looking to brush up on the rules, this guide will teach you the ins and outs of flag football.