For a superfan, back-to-school season is synonymous with the beginning of football and soccer seasons. Or maybe it evokes the buildup to the NBA season opener or the World Series. In any event, whether you follow the local high-school soccer team, your college football team, or professional cricket, or all of the above, those bleachers you sit on are painful. To avoid “bleacher back,” the pain you get from sitting on hard metal planks for long periods of time, you’re going to want a cushion, or even back support. To find the best stadium seats for the sports seasons ahead, we consulted those who would know best: superfans. Their tried-and-true picks are below.
The best stadium seats
“This is our go-to for comfort.” says Rachel Rudd, a Texas Christian University football season-ticket holder. “I especially like this seat because of how wide it is, allowing my backside to not be constricted.” There’s a hook underneath the cushions that secures it to the bleachers, so you don’t have to worry about falling backward.
Elon Athelstanlowe, a Cornell University alum, plans to use these chairs again for this September’s homecoming football game. “We call our sports teams ‘Big Red,’ so these are fitting for home games.” (They come in black as well, though.) “I like how each chair has two cup holders and is water-resistant. I’ve been at football games where it has started to rain, which isn’t the greatest feeling as a spectator. Overall, the chair is cushioned all over, from backrest to armrests, making football games even more enjoyable than they already are.”
Flash Furniture also makes an ultrapadded seat, with three inches of cushion, a stabilizing bleacher hook, and a carry bar with a plastic grip. A benefit to this seat is its aluminum rustproof frame, which makes this chair weatherproof.
For a similar but slightly less padded version: John Grasso, a longtime Villanova football fan, got chairs from Stadium Chair Company for Christmas a few years ago and now uses them for all football games at the university’s stadium. He says they’re comfortable and sturdy and takes them to every game. It folds in half to make it easy to carry.
Nicole Shaw, a new mother who’s married to a college coach, says, “This seat allows me to carry the baby while having the back support to withstand an entire game.” She no longer goes to games without her seats, allowing her to be free of pain to her lower back and bottom. One other bonus: The cup holders come in handy for moms toting babies around. “It comes with two compartments that allow me to have the bottles ready for use,” she says.
This Stansport seat is similar to Shaw’s pick, in that it also folds down in front, around the legs, and contains several pockets and compartments.
For a slimmer, smaller seat: Rio Gear’s bleacher seat has a five-position backrest and folds flat. It also comes with heating packs for when the weather starts to turn chilly.
The best stadium cushions
“Etsy is my go-to for scoring vintage sporty stuff,” says Lisa Raphael, a Seahawks fan and creative officer of the Relish, a soon-to-launch network for women sports fans. “Cushions are a little harder to come by in the vintage world, so if I can’t find my teams’, I settle for these from Amazon. Light, weatherproof, comfy, and, importantly, in (a couple of!) my teams’ colors.”
A cheaper, yet still comfortable and lightweight, alternative to the Portal pack is this ThermaSeat cushion. Julie McGuire, a New Hampshire mom to an 8-year-old cheerleader, relies on this cushion to get her through long practices and football games. “What I like most about this cushion is its durability, which is often hard to find when a product is inexpensive.”
For a cushion with a little extra ergonomic consideration: This large one features over three-and-a-half inches of padding and an anti-slip protection. It’s curved to fit around a person’s bottom, the foam is designed to help relieve pain contains. Plus, it contains a zippered mesh cover, making it washable.