Snowboarders of a certain age have an inexplicable tendency to get misty-eyed about the shitness of the past, like the four Yorkshiremen of the Monty Python sketch. You know the sort of thing: “When I were a grommet, all we had were dendix, and old rubber bands for bindings. We used to break our thumbs every day and be grateful." “Dendix? Rubber bands? You were lucky. We had to make do wi’ lashing ourselves to an old twig and trying to slide down a slope of cowshit. We used to dream of breaking our thumbs…"
The good news is that these days, an ability to take a beating is not a pre-requisite of learning how to snowboard. That’s thanks to all sorts of technological innovations; not least impact shorts like these, which are becoming increasingly popular. Here are three of the finest pairs on the market.
- FORCEFIELD BOOM SHORTS
- Price: £80
- Sizes: XS/S/M/L/XL
Pros: These have some seriously chunky padding, with four front/side panels and one large one covering your coccyx and bum. All are made of flexible energy-absorbing armour (which meets official EU safety standards) and all are removable.
Cons: These are the bulkiest and heaviest shorts we tested, and although they’re great at absorbing impacts, you can’t help but notice them when you ride.
- SLYTECH MULTIPRO XT SHORTS
- Price: £125
- Sizes: S/M/L/XL
Pros: Slytech have developed a lightweight protective foam they call ‘second skin’ which they reckon is “proven to be more protective than traditional body armour padding". It’s flexible and they’ve divided up into small pads offering excellent freedom of movement.
Cons: The foam didn’t offer quite the all-round protection that the Boom Shorts did.
- PRO-TEC IPS LO PRO HIP PAD
- Price: £45
- Sizes: S/M/L/XL
Pros: These are considerably cheaper than either of the other pairs we tested, and they have a low profile (hence the “lo pro" in the name) so they fit under even skinny snowboard pants easily.
Cons: The padding in these is less all-encompassing, thinner and less flexible than on either of our other test pairs, which meant that although they definitely offer protection, we felt the impact of falls more.