Best Impact Shorts Snowboarding 2020


Anyone who has ever strapped into a snowboard will have fallen on their butt! Whilst most of the time this is not a serious injury it sure does ruin your day! Falling on your butt is an inevitable part of the sport so impact shorts, along with other protective gear, are always a good idea.

What to look for when buying Impact Shorts for Snowboarding

Fit

It’s really important that your impact shorts fit well. If they are too loose they can move around and the protective padding can become misaligned. This can have the potential to cause more damage when you fall, especially if your shorts have solid plastic parts. I’ll leave the details to your own imagination! If the pads are too small then they may not come up high enough to give you full protection especially of your coccyx.

You also want the shorts to be low profile and not too bulky so that they don’t get in the way and restrict your movements. Bulky shorts not only look bad, but it can also be difficult to get your pants over the top of them and then just end staying at home in the draw where they are no use to anyone.

Material

The main difference to look for in the material is what the protective pads are made from. You can either opt for a soft padding or hard plastic padding. Hard pads are made of solid reinforced plastic panels, which offer maximum protection from impact but do not bend when you move. Soft pads can be made of a variety of materials which are all flexible to your movements, but you may feel a bit more of the impact when you fall.

Although hard plastic can protect better I would recommend going for the soft padding, which enable you to keep moving freely and are more comfortable and in most shorts offer more coverage.

The basic short should be made of a breathable material so that you don’t get too warm and your junk doesn’t overheat in the spring! You should also look for shorts which are machine washable so you can easily keep them smelling fresh.

Protected zones

Most impact shorts protect 3 areas. Your tailbone, your butt and your hips.

Anyone who has bruised their tailbone will know that this area is definitely worth protecting. Bruised coccyx can be really painful and takes ages to heal. They leave you feeling really uncomfortable so all you can do is lie on the couch and wait for it to heal. This protective area should run from the base of your spine to about half way down your butt crack.

You are probably less likely to fall on your hip snowboarding than skiing, but a bit of padding just in case is not a bad idea especially if you ride rails and boxes. You should look for shorts which don’t ever do it with the thickness of the hip pads which can make it difficult to get your pants over the top of.

The last area to protect is the butt, this is done with smaller pads which sit over your butt cheeks. Not all impact short project this area as it can reduce your movement. I would recommend going for shorts with soft padding in this area, as it can still really hurt if you are unlucky enough to fall on it.

Other benefits of wearing impact shorts

They keep you warm

– especially if you spend a lot of time sitting in the snow, impact shorts are a great way of keeping your butt warm and dry. This is probably the experience of beginner snowboarders who haven’t yet mastered the technique of strapping into your bindings without sitting down, and are still falling a lot.

They increase your confidence

– it’s really hard to commit to learning something new if you know there’s a fair chance that it might result in a sore butt! Whether that’s your first turns or a new rail trick, impact shorts can give you the extra confidence to really give it 100%. It’s kind of a cruel irony but if you lose your confidence when learning to snowboard, it tends to make you do the exact wrong thing, which results in the fall that you were afraid of.

Who should wear impact shorts?

To work out whether you need impact shorts you should think about how likely you are to fall and how soft the landing might be. So if you’re a first timer then, sorry to break it to you, but you are almost definitely going to fall. This is just an inevitable part of snowboarding which you just have to embrace and wearing impact shorts can really help out. However if you are learning on the west coast of Canada or Japan then you probably will be landing in nice soft powder, so you will barely notice that you’ve hit the deck and can probably do without impact shorts ! Or you might already be a competent rider but you are about to try your first backside boardslide. This almost always results in the board slipping out in front of you and you landing on your butt, and a guaranteed sore tailbone! Wearing impact shorts can help your fully commit to new tricks, knowing that you are less likely to hurt yourself. This can actually help you learn quicker and fall less.

You should wear impact shorts if you are:

  • A beginner snowboarder
  • A freestyle rider – particularly if you are riding rails and boxes
  • Riding in icy conditions, when any fall can hurt.

Best Mens Impact Short

  

Burton Total Impact Short

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$130

These lightweight shorts use Burton’s are deigned to fit invisibly under your snowboard pants, whilst keeping your butt protected from knock. They use the same Burton’s G-Form™ technology which is found in their knee pads to absorb the impacts. This is a ‘smart’ material which is normally soft and malleable but instantly stiffens upon impact. This means they are able to produce an impact short which is soft, comfortable and does not restrict your movements but still provides the same protection as a solid plastic insert upon impact.

  

Demon SKINN impact short

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$55
Demon SKINN impact short is a lightweight short which provides just enough protection without a bulky fit which can get in the way of your riding. They use Thermo-formed padding, around the hip area, which moulds to your form when the warm up, making them more comfortable and protects you better. Cut in a compression fit that wicks away moisture they are comfortable enough that you’ll forget that you’re wearing them. They are hand wash only but have removable padding sections on the tailbone. At only $55 they are great value for money!

  

POC HIP VPD 2.0 SHORTS

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$180

These top-of-the-range impact shorts from POC, offer maximum protection and maximum comfort. They use their own smart VPD material which adapts to the shape of your body, but when exposed to impact, the material stiffens and has extreme impact absorption properties. This is incorporated into pads around the tailbone and hip areas keeping you safe from all falls and knocks.

They have stretch and ventilated mesh construction in the basic short, which allows the material to breath and keeps you from over heating.

Best Women’s Impact Short

  

Demon Womens SKINN impact short

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$70

Demon SKINN impact short is a lightweight short which provides just enough protection without a bulky fit which can get in the way of your riding. Cut in a compression fit that wicks away moisture they are comfortable enough that you’ll forget that you’re wearing them. Also, they’re great value for money!

  

PRO-X COMPRESSION SHORTS

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$90

This minimal impact shorts, add slim profile RPT™ padding into a compression short around the hips and tailbone. With just enough padding to take the sting out of falls, they fit invisibly under your snowboard pants with a women-specific fit.

The basic short is moisture-wicking, to keep the wearer dry and comfortable all day

  

Women’s Burton Total Impact Short

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$130

The Burton women’s Total Impact Short are deigned to fit invisibly under your snowboard pants, whilst keeping your butt protected from knock. They use the same Burton’s G-Form™ technology which is found in their knee pads to absorb the impacts. This is a ‘smart’ material which is normally soft and malleable but instantly stiffens upon impact. This means they are able to produce an impact short which is soft, comfortable and does not restrict your movements but still provides the same protection as a solid plastic insert upon impact.

Best Impact Short for Kids

Kids’ Burton Total Impact Short

$120
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Its commonly known that kids bounce when they hit the ground, even so, they might need a bit of padding when they’re starting out. Same as the Men’s and Women’s version, these shorts use G-Form technology to make sure they get the most out of their snowboarding and laugh off any fall.

There moisture wicking short will also keep the kids dry when they are rolling around in the snow all day.

Wrapping up

These days I have pretty much retired myself from the snowpack, so I feel I don’t need to wear impact shorts any more. I used to back in the day, and I can think of many occasions when they saved me from a more painful landing.

As a snowboard instructor, its something I definitely recommend for my clients. Especially for the beginners. If you are leaning on a weeks snowboard vacation, then it’s inevitable that over the course of the week you will pick up little knocks which will start to accumulate and slow down your rate of progression. Impact shorts, as well as other protective gear are a small investment which will help you progress faster and get the most out of your time on the snow.