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It is no big secret that lacrosse is an expensive sport, especially for those just starting out. From cleats to a helmet and every pad in between, not to mention your stick, the total price tag can prove daunting.
An option to reduce costs is buying equipment on the second-hand market. With the constant turnover of the “latest” in lacrosse technology and style, used gear is no longer that far behind our annual/seasonal new releases.
This guide will cover places to buy used lacrosse gear and what to consider before pulling the trigger on a second-hand item. We will also give you a rundown of the best and worst pieces of equipment to buy used (and those that you might need to consider splurging for new on).
Where to Buy Used Lacrosse Gear & Sticks
There are some great retailers and marketplaces to consider when looking for used gear to add to your inventory, both online and as traditional brick-and-mortar shops.
Here’s a rundown of some of these second-hand lacrosse gear spots to check out:
1) Sideline Swap
Imagine if you took Facebook Marketplace but only sold athletic gear… This would give you Sideline Swap.
It has a similar peer-to-peer setup as its social media equivalent, but with a bit more curation to guarantee your peace of mind.
The site acts as a middle man between prospective sellers and buyers, putting extra value on consumer feedback to verify the responsiveness and honesty of listings. It also provides you with a comparable retail price (if available) on a given item, which can be very helpful in weighing the merits of going used or new.
Pricing across the site varies with costs being set by the sellers themselves. Likewise, items on inventory vary so if you have your eye on a specific back catalog head or shaft, there is no guarantee the site will have exactly what you’re looking for.
A pro-tip for Sideline Swap is to give the site a visit earlier in the new year (end of January or so) to catch potential-year-old equipment drops from the club and collegiate users. Some of those players that don’t appreciate lugging around three years’ worth of helmets or pads tend to sell last season’s gear around the new season’s team releases.
All in all, Sideline Swap is a great second-hand resource with an expansive selection beyond the regional offerings at your local used athletic store.
2) Play It Again Sports
Next up, we’re throwing it back to a mainstay of the second-hand sporting goods market with Play It Again Sports.
Play It Again has a surprisingly solid collection of lacrosse gear in their full store-wide inventory, as consolidated on their website linked above.
The biggest asset for Play It Again is its long-term performance as a second-hand gear outfit; they’ve been in the business for a long time and have sustained thanks to their attention to the quality of the items they accept and ultimately resell.
The main knock on Play It Again Sports comes with the individual brick-and-mortar stores. If you are interested in going in, trying out and seeing equipment in person, their inventory isn’t quite so expansive or even existent in your given region. Inventory is dependent on the area a store is located in, so if you find yourself in a lacrosse desert of sorts, you may struggle to find gear in person.
Likewise, the online inventory is based only on that of the individual stores so you do not have quite the free or consistent flow of products as elsewhere, which can be both positive and negative.
Still, Play It Again Sports is a trustworthy name in the game and its website has brought its reach into the twenty-first century.
Last but not least comes eBay, which boasts both the reach of Sideline Swap and the familiarity of Play It Again all in one place.
As much as we relegate eBay to trading cards and limited-release items, it is also a solid clearinghouse for second-hand lax gear. The competitive setup of the site predicates the best possible price for the buyer while having a worldwide inventory reach.
But here comes the knocks with eBay, namely that it does not quite have the curation of both Sideline Swap and Play It Again which leaves you open to purchasing potentially subpar or full-on deteriorating gear. That inherent risk factor makes this more of a second or third option for most users but it is still a solid way to shave a few extra bucks off a sought after item.
Good & Bad Lacrosse Gear to Buy Used
Before you pull the trigger on your used lacrosse gear purchase, there are some things you should consider, both good and bad, when searching and purchasing.
Good Lacrosse Gear to Buy Used
- Helmets. They’re a great purchase on the used market if you’re in need given the cuts to pricing from normal retail. The quality of older models is still top notch and interior elements can always be purchased and reinforced to bring a dome piece up to current specs.
- Shafts. These are great because any imperfections or detrimental issues can be spotted relatively easily with a shaft while saving you a boatload of money off retail. The hobby of some players to switch out spoons every year is gold to the second-hand market as plenty of shafts with potential mileage are off-loaded to the deal-conscious buyer.
- Heads. Similar to shafts, the problems can be there visually so you can assess the quality of a used head before you hit the field. This is another major cost when getting into the sport so buying an older generation head is not a bad idea to save BUT be sure to verify that your head is up to the specs of your given league. Also keep in mind that this is one piece of equipment that on average does not have much of a markdown from retail but there are still some solid, cheaper second-hand options out there.
- Complete Sticks. Shafts and heads and now complete sticks. The term “complete stick” garners memories of cheap aluminum starter shafts with tinsel heads that snap at even mid-levels of contact. But a complete stick on the second-hand market may just be a previously top-tier head and shaft combining thanks to the original owner, meaning you could find a solid deal without the headache of matching the two pieces separately.
- Shoulder Pads. Used soft protective gear leaves me a bit more apprehensive so it ends up down here on the list but shoulder pads are the best of the bunch when it comes to consideration. You can save a decent chunk of change and shoulder pads tend not to deteriorate at close to the level of other items. BUT something important to keep in mind is that used pads may be flooding the market because they do not meet the recently ordained standards for protection, so double-check that any shoulder pad is NOCSAE 2022 certified before purchasing.
- Arm Pads. Like shoulder pads, arm pads can last a bit longer than some other items you may consider getting second-hand so they end up on this list. I would say that the markdowns on arm pads tend to be more minimal so it may be worth going new. But if you’re pinching pennies, this is not a bad piece of equipment to think about.
- Gloves. Look, gloves appear to have some of the deepest markdowns of the bunch, which is why they’re on this list. But they also tend to be some of the most worn-out pieces, rivaling shafts and heads, while not seeming to be the most hygienic. But this just means you have to be a little bit more patient and demonstrate a bit more scrutiny to find those diamonds in the rough when it comes to gloves.
Bad Lacrosse Gear to Buy Used
- Shoulder Pads that are not NOCSAE certified. Yeah, I know; this is very specific but it’s very important to look out for. With the change in protection standards, there are going to be some of those less than trustworthy players that send their old gear out to pasture in the hopes of making some change off of outdated equipment. Be on the lookout for this so you do not end up with shoulder pads you cannot use.
- Starter pack complete sticks. Going back to the complete stick listing above, you should not purchase any of those cheap retail starter sticks used mainly because they’re likely worn somewhere and the savings are very negligible.
- Really old helmets. This goes into the same vein as shoulder pads in that you should be positive any gear you purchase, especially for protection, is up to current standards and specs. Old Cascades with boxed-out visors aren’t dominating the field for a reason.
- Warped/Illegal heads. Building off the head listing above, just pay extra care to those visual signs in a head’s wear and that the face shape is legal to current specs. If you notice even a slight twist to the angle of the head or pinch to the throat, run for the hills.
- Cleats. Just don’t. The wear and tear on your footwear (yup, we’re rhyming) is immense over the course of the season so adding previous mileage before you even take the field is not worth it. Cleats are pivotal to your performance and investment, making them one area that we advise you to buy new.
- Gloves. Yup, we put it down here, too, just to reiterate how much damage gloves can take over the course of the season. While I’m sure some sneak through, this might be the one piece of equipment to splurge on if you can.
What to Look for in Used Lacrosse Gear
This is first and foremost when considering any equipment but is especially important on the used market.
It can be tough to do online-only, but do your best to make a visual assessment of a given piece, looking for dents, cracks, rips, and discoloration that could point to fatal underlying flaws in the product.
And, for the love of God, do a smell test before you start rocking any soft gear.
This goes without saying, but make sure the gear you’re purchasing fits you. The used marketplace is not stocked for every size so do not be seduced by quality and/or price without making sure YOU can use it.
Additionally, double-check the sizing on a given product if you can from what it is listed as; check for photos of the tag or outright ask the seller for the size even if it is listed.
Even though it isn’t retail, you should always consider the original quality of a given product. Reviews under original product listings online and on this site can point you to performance, fit, and even durability that can be informative now.
We’re not just talking about how cheap a used product is but more how cheap that used product is in comparison to its retail price.
Certain gear, like arm pads or chest protectors for goalies, do not have that dramatic of markdowns from those on store shelves. If you can manage to cover the extra $10 on a given product to get the original retail item, do it.
The less mileage may be worth it.
This is always important when buying anything online, and especially in this case of buying lacrosse gear. It sucks to admit but there are folks out there that will try to turn a buck off of gear that is busted or defective on the used marketplace.
Always consider any feedback ratings for a given seller before clicking buy to gauge the trustworthiness of a given product’s quality to its listing.
Photo credit: Flickr