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Author Topic: More on padded shorts  (Read 5341 times)

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Offline Loops

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More on padded shorts
« on: July 08, 2015, 02:58:47 PM »
I've been asking questions buried in other forum threads.  I don't want to hijack so I'm starting a new thread for more discussion on padded shorts......

Here's a sum of my post from the McDavid thread:

I fell hard on my tailbone at the beginning of May, and it STILL hurts (albeit a bit less).

So I am now also in the market for some bum protection.  I've been perusing the roller derby forums also, looking for what works. 

I've been looking- the derby dedicated and figure dedicated ones seem a bit lacking in the tailbone bit.  But maybe looks are deceiving, and they really do cover enough???  Se-Ku, which claims they are not currently making products (!!!) are still available in the UK and contain the D30 stuff.

Is D30 really all that and worth the cost?  Does foam really do the job, or is Akton or D30 the way to go, or a mix?

The figure skating dedicated products are probably all known to us, but there's the akton gel Skatingsafe products (site specific pads and an option for shorts), plus the standard foam options.

The derby girls seem to like this:

http://bruisedboutique.com/onlinestore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=519

and these get good reviews too:
http://www.amazon.com/Triple-Eight-Roller-Derby-Bumsaver/dp/B0091PAYUG

Some wear them in conjunction with the clip on tailbone pad from bruisedboutique.  Those girls are serious!!!

Then here is Beginner skater's thoughts on the d30 vs Akton gel and the response I typed out before deciding not to hijack that thread:

Hi Loops,
I bought some d30 knee guards from the motorcycle dept of Amazon, as they were cheap cf skating d30. They're not too bulky, but when I thump them on a table, to simulate knees slamming in to ice, they dont soften the blow enough, compared with the Akton gel pads I bought from a medical supplier, which are what skatesafe pads are made of. The technology of d30 seems  to be that impact causes the molecules to lock, and it did go from flexible to hard, but my hand hurt. I've got skate safe knee pads, and those are the ones I wear, although of course I havent fallen since I started wearing them every skate  :laugh:

I've been looking at the skatingsafe tailbone pad.  I love that I can put it where I want it and that its independent of shorts.  Do you think your kneepads if used on the coccyx would soften the blow of a very hard, direct hit?  My feet shot out from under me and I went straight down onto it.  I'm also considering getting some foam shorts, either figure specific or derby just to have the double cushioning....what's your take on that?  Right or overkill?

So folks, what is your collective experience?  If you wear such creatures, what do you like and what would you look for?

TIA!

Offline riley876

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 05:49:48 PM »
It's my understand that D3O is a urethane, something similar to sorbathane.   It's "lock when hit" characteristics are great for spreading an impact over a large area,  and it is very good at damping vibrations.

But I'm not convinced it's the bee's knees for padding.   Because it doesn't really compress, and compression is what is needed to decelerate something slowly/gently.

http://nocsae.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Hwang-2004-v3n1-4pdf.pdf  Shows sorbathane is much useless.   

It's not clear what "air cell" in the above pdf is, but it's my understanding any closed cell (i.e. doesn't hold water) foam is effectively a bunch of air cells.

Personally, I use a fairly high density closed cell EVA foam ("625" density).   19mm (3/4") thick pieces with rounded off corners.  Hip pads roughly sewn into my athletic pants, and a triangle just stuffed down the back of my draws for tailbone protection.   

I got it from an NZ chain store called "Para Rubber", no idea where in the Land Of LE&F you'd find it.  You can get really thin sheets of the stuff from any craft store, which you could stack, but it may be not dense enough (denser the better, you're talking about MAJOR compression forces here).



Offline beginner skater

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2015, 09:57:16 AM »
Great article, riley876.  And your analysis pf d30's characteristics bears out my experience that it doesn't soften the impact enough when you hit it with a knobbly bit like a knuckle, and I presume knees & tailbones. I googled for closed cell EVA in the UK, and came up with equestrian matting, so went & looked at an offcut I had in the barn. It's going to be too rigid to stuff in your pants!
Did find this
http://blog.poroncushioning.com/open-cell-vs-closed-cell-foam-tips-for-choosing-the-best-material-for-your-product-design/
from a manufacturer of open cell foam, and is a wholesaler.
Akton pads in the US are available in several depths, including the thicknesses used in the Skate Safe tailbone protector, (which is graduated), and also even thicker. Mine from the UK is the thickness of the slimline hip protectors 6.4 mm, which I am using as knee pads (it's the same shape/product number) which I got in a closing down sale, so no choice. From my table thumping experiments, I expect it to stop that bone-jarring pain, when you hit elbows/knees etc hard. You might want to go a bit thicker if you are protecting a previous injury
I think wrt the roller derby pants, it depends if the foam is covering the spots you want to protect, and the shape of the rest of your anatomy, as some of the reviews are really positive about the impact protection, and others not. Maybe DIYing something would allow a tailored solution, where you could double the thickness if you weren't happy. Enough thickness of any suitable material would probably work, but there is a limit to the weight and thickness one would want to carry.
I havent used my akton pads yet, but am happy that I would be able to make a good solution for additional hip & tailbone protection. Just havent worked out what shape to cut, and how best to seal the cut edges. Again in the US, you can get Akton repair kits, and also repair tape

Offline beginner skater

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2015, 10:07:31 AM »
Just saw this, it's from the co I got my akton from, they were very quick to respond when I asked which of their many tapes I sould get to seal the edges of the akton, so they might have a view as to how protective it would be, or suggest a better product.

http://www.vivomed.com/en/Vivomed-ThermaFoam/m-7863.aspx

They do say they are the Uk's leading sports medical supplier  ;D

Offline Loops

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 01:29:11 PM »
Just saw this, it's from the co I got my akton from, they were very quick to respond when I asked which of their many tapes I sould get to seal the edges of the akton, so they might have a view as to how protective it would be, or suggest a better product.

http://www.vivomed.com/en/Vivomed-ThermaFoam/m-7863.aspx

They do say they are the Uk's leading sports medical supplier  ;D

Ooh good.  If I have to DIY it, looks like they're a source of materials and info!  Wouldn't begin to know how to search for this stuff in French.....

Right now I'm looking at these:
http://www.xsportsprotective.com/products/crash-pads-cp-pro-womens-padded-shorts probably combined with the skatingsafe tailbone pad (which does have the thicker end over the bottom).

But I on my quest, I also saw these which put the d30 ontop of the padding.  I'm more curious about the d30 (non-newtonian substances are always cool), but not sold on it based on you alls' comments.  But curious as to what you think of these (which are cheaper than the leopard print ones....): 

http://www.xsportsprotective.com/collections/snowboard-padded-shorts-pants/products/burton-d3o-total-impact-padded-shorts-for-women

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2015, 06:34:16 PM »
The leopard ones are a bit too bondage for my taste. Without any reviews I think you'd have to get them & start thumping tables too. The d30 are 50% off, so I presume havent gone down a storm with their prime audience. Likewise if seku were making money hand over fist, I guess they would be "currently making products" ;D. Honestly, if you could thump my motor cycle pads, I don't think you would be that intrigued by d30, I definitely wouldnt entrust a bruised coccyx to them. And they are marked with d30, and kite marks etc, so i think they are genuine. The other thing I've just remembered about d30 is some specialist d30 site said it lasted 3 years, if looked after, so I wouldnt pay seku prices for it.

Have you thought of asking Skate Safe if their tailbone protector would do the job?

DIYing with an Acton pad would mean you could tailor one to your requirements and double up if necessary.

And that thermafoam is £3, so probably worth getting & thumping it .

Offline riley876

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2015, 07:20:00 PM »
Great article, riley876.  And your analysis pf d30's characteristics bears out my experience that it doesn't soften the impact enough when you hit it with a knobbly bit like a knuckle, and I presume knees & tailbones. I googled for closed cell EVA in the UK, and came up with equestrian matting, so went & looked at an offcut I had in the barn. It's going to be too rigid to stuff in your pants!

Wow, I googled that, and came up with a figure of 0.35g/cm^3.    I had no idea EVA could be made in densities that high, and yes it certainly will be too hard.   The stuff I found was 0.0625g/cm^3,  so about 1/5 the density of that!   I'd probably go maybe 30% denser than that if I could find it locally,  but 0.35g/cm^3 is getting to be essentially just hard plastic.

I did a bunch of helmet foam testing a while back by dropping a brick with a G-sensor in it onto various foams, most of the open cell foams I tried behaved VERY poorly.   The best was a green wet floral foam, but even that simply didn't put up enough resistance.   Closed cell foams all offered much more resistance.    And hip/coccyx padding is actually more demanding than helmet foam,  because whilst a head weighs 5kg(12lb), a body weighs at least ten times that.  So the foam needs to be comparatively considerably denser to not fully compress.

I don't think I'd enjoy having an open cell foam next to my body either.  I imagine I'd need to wring out the sweat after each session!
 

Offline Loops

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2015, 11:59:04 PM »
This is the discussion I was hoping to have!  Thanks ladies.  I'm being edumacated. 

You guys are throwing some numbers around that don't mean much to me.  The higher the number, the more dense and therefore harder/less flexible (?) the foam?  So this number is a measure of the weight of 1 cubic cm of foam, right?  Then, for the purposes here, the denser the better up to the point where flexibility, including I imagine, compressibility are compromised? What number would you recommend shooting for?  Something in the 0.08-0.1 g/cm3 zone?  I got those numbers by calculating 30% of the 0.0625 g/cm3.

I'm not afraid to DIY if I have too, but I know how long it would take me, and am trying to avoid it if possible. Fabric over here, especially specialty and technical fabric is expensive and hard to come by, so I'm not going to save $$ with the DIY, just get a more personalized product.  Plus I think others have thought of this before, AND done all the work, so why re-invent the wheel, when I can learn and tweak.  Plus someone is coming at the end of August, so I can get stuff  AND not have to pay out the nose for shipping.

So the leopard shorts I linked to above do get good reviews on the derby forums  (and I do agree on looks, not my style but going to be under pants and a skirt so.....).  The same company also makes these, which are also on my list, but are not as low cut, although maybe better padding? which some derby girls also rave about:

http://www.xsportsprotective.com/collections/vigilante-padded-shorts-armor/products/vigilante-tech-padded-shorts-with-tailbone-shield-for-women

Both models use the closed cell foam, and list the lack of absorption as a benefit ;) the vigilante model has a "flexible plastic" piece sandwiched in between two layers of foam on the tailbone.  I forgot about that feature.  Nowhere can I find (yet, not done looking) any information on the density of the foam, other than it being "high".

Another product one Derby girl keeps pushing is this:

http://www.prodesigned.com/details/accessories_tailbone.html

She, I believe, has used it alone, and says its saved her bum on many an occasion.  I'm afraid it'd look, um, unacceptable, if you get my drift.......  I'm not afraid of bulk, but it does have to be reasonable, and ahem, socially acceptable.

And yes, I'm planning to call places, not just skatingsafe.  The current challenge is my very young kids who are at they're worst when the East coast businesses open, and I'm zonked by the time I get a window to call those on the West coast (for the crash pads).....

Offline riley876

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2015, 01:13:13 AM »
Yes, it's the weight of a cube with 1cm sides.   Yes, the higher the density of the foam, the more force it takes to compress it, as a general rule.   I imagine once you get to equestrian mat density, that force becomes very very large,  more so than the density numbers would indicate.

I rifled through my crafting collection and found some sheet of craft store EVA  "Krafters Korner Foam Craft Sheets, 3 pack", and weighed and measured it, and bingo!  It's around 0.1g/cm^3.   2mm thick sheets, 20cm & 30cm.  So I'm going to retire my 0.0625 pads, and go down that route.   More flexible too, and able to be laminated to whatever thickness I want.    Thanks for spurring me into investigation! :)  I see these sheets all over the place here, including in the ubiquitious chinese "dollar" shops,  that I can only imagine are ubiquitious in France too.

I also have a pair of "crash pads 2700"  http://www.xsportsprotective.com/collections/roller-derby-padded-shorts/products/crash-pads-2700-roller-derby-padded-shorts  But I no longer use them.  I hated having to change into and out of them, and they're uncomfortably hot for inline skating in summer.   Plus I did "crash test" them once, and yes, onto my tailbone and it still hurt like heck.   I summised from that, that the padding isn't thick or dense enough for my tastes.   Hence a more loose setup now.   I'm probably blessed that I don't care for costumes or tight fitting clothes, because baggy black athletic pants hide a multitude of both sins and thick padding :)

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2015, 08:19:03 AM »
I've been mulling this over whilst icing my sprained ankle. I'm kind of thinking that the manufacturers of tailbone protection have probably taken it as far as possible in terms of materials used, as if there was one outstanding product, we would all be using it, or a copycat version. The only constraints are cost of materials and a design tailored to each individual anatomy & body shape. So in the case of foam, most of those shorts seem to have settled for 1/2 "   thick. Presumably going a bit thicker doesn't make a big difference unless you get to too thick to wear. I'm guessing with foam, cost of the foam isnt an issue. With Akton, weight and cost seem likely to be constraining factors, since the skate safe products are already expensive. So a person with a vulnerable coccyx might be able to improve protection with DIY Akton by going a wee bit thicker, as long as it didnt drag their pants down. But the main area of improvement would be in having the padding exactly where you need it

 I dont think it would be hard to cut a triangle shape of akton or foam, tape the edges if necessary and stick it down your leggings. If you needed more protection than just tailbone, I think you might need to make pockets to fit pads in, although one forum user found that sweat is good, as it sticks the skate safe hip pads in place. I liked the suggestion on another thread to attach 2 cycling shorts together, and make pockets by sewing U shapes.

Wrt the pd protector with the sturdy nylon shank, I guess the shank stops the unspecified padding from bunching up, but I can imagine the nylon shank pinging on a tailbone, instead of ice. Does it fit inside or outside the shorts, and would it be visible under your skirt?

Riley 876, I'm guessing your current arrangements arent yet 100% perfect for you yet, if you are going to experiment with craft foam? How are you going to laminate it?
And how do you mean roughly sewn into your athletic pads, and can you remove it for washing?

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2015, 08:45:27 AM »
PS So I think your best bet Loops, would be to try on a selection of these shorts to see if they both fitted  and were padded enough in the right places for you. And I know that's not possible for you, but the reviews are so variable.  :(

Offline Loops

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2015, 03:10:16 PM »
PS So I think your best bet Loops, would be to try on a selection of these shorts to see if they both fitted  and were padded enough in the right places for you. And I know that's not possible for you, but the reviews are so variable.  :(

Oh yes, I agree!  But you are right, it isn't an option.  No derby team in my town.  Not even a skate shop.  If I don't order anything before we go to the alps next week, I might see if the ski shops have anything. 

I think your assessments are right on.  There is no perfect answer, especially given that we're all built differently.  Not too different from the issues we have with skates themselves.  I think I'm going to have to have a chat with the manufacturers and a  hard look at the various shorts and see what seems to be the best tail bone coverage for me.  That combined with the skating safe pad underneath will hopefully fit the bill.  It is a bit of money, but my spine is worth it.  At least I have a clue now about the foam densities, open vs closed and thicknesses.  I feel a little less sure about the akton gel, but feel very comfortable avoiding d30.

I also have this nagging feeling that no matter what I put between my butt and the ice, a good whack on the tailbone is going to hurt.  Just as long as it only hurts for a day or two and not months......

Then if it's not good enough I'll be in a better position to make modifications, especially with that source listed above for foam and I guess akton!  We can discuss what laminating and sealing actually entail then!  ;)


Wrt the pd protector with the sturdy nylon shank, I guess the shank stops the unspecified padding from bunching up, but I can imagine the nylon shank pinging on a tailbone, instead of ice. Does it fit inside or outside the shorts, and would it be visible under your skirt?


So I'm not sure, but I suspect the padding is between the shank and the tailbone.  If I understood the forum comments correctly it clips to the inside of your clothing.  It does slip though and is clearly visible.  But they were saying that some strategically located velcro stops the slippage.  Still, apparently it can look like well, I'll let you guys sort out what it can look like  :o

If you guys do do any DIYing, please do post the results.  I for one am very curious!

Offline riley876

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2015, 05:00:15 PM »
Riley 876, I'm guessing your current arrangements arent yet 100% perfect for you yet, if you are going to experiment with craft foam? How are you going to laminate it?

I haven't "crash tested" my current tailbone setup, but given the numbers from my helmet drop test rig, I do feel it could do with being a bit harder,  so yes, I will do something with the craft foam.   Probably will try a spray on contact adhesive to laminate them.

I have crash tested my hip pads, and they worked well.   I got bowled by an adult hockey player at high speed coming in from a blind spot.  Didn't even see it coming.  Landed more or less sideways, and walked away without even a bruise. 

Quote from: beginner skater
And how do you mean roughly sewn into your athletic pants, and can you remove it for washing?

For the hip pads, I sewed the foam permanently into mesh fabric pouchs,  which themselves are simply safety pinned to the inside of the pants.    As washing separately,  they could be, but generally no, they just get washed when the pants themselves get washed.

The tailbone pad, it's totally unattached.  I just stuff it down the back of my pants, directly again the skin.  It does shift a bit sometimes, but it's easy enough to bump back to place now and then.    I'm thinking if I design up my new craft foam model with a bit of a ridge down the middle, it'll, ahem, lock into my butt crack and stay put even better.  ;D

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2015, 05:14:23 PM »
At least I have a clue now about the foam densities

For even more clue, and everyone else's future reference:

I've seen foam hardness expressed in the Shore "A" Scale too,  in case you see these numbers in your travels.

I happen to already have a shore hardness measuring tool (I bought it to measure unknown inline wheels).  So I measured my EVA foam collection:

0.1 g/cm3 measures about 30A hardness
0.0625 g/cm3 measures about 20A hardness
0.03 g/cm3  measures about 5A hardness

FWIW

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2015, 05:57:13 AM »
After falling on my knees several times and being saved by my Skating Safe pads, I was converted to the usefulness of the Akton padding for dissipating impact.  So when I switched to shorter blades, I figured it was time to protect my tail from the anticipated falls off the back.  I bought a sheet of 6mm Akton padding from a medical supplier (it wasn't cheap but cheaper than Skating Safe) and fashioned my own padded shorts by sewing 2 pairs of bike shorts together, one inside the other and wrong sides together to enclose the seams.

Then I gave them a workout over several weeks.  I found the disadvantage is that my DIY shorts are quite heavy when the gel pads are inserted.  However, any disadvantage was completely trumped by the fact that the padding worked as designed, and protected my coccyx and hips from a couple of nasty falls I predictably took while I was adjusting to shorter blades.  No bruising, no pain, no nothing.

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2015, 05:25:37 AM »
Very interesting ideas about how to attach pads, thanks riley 876 & aussie skater . I think I might go with sticking the hip pads to my skin with sweat, and making a pocket for  a tailbone pad. That way my knickers might stay up.  ;)
Aussieskater, how did you deal with the cut edges of the Akton pads?

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2015, 06:38:21 PM »
Just cut them and left them.  They are a bit sticky on the edges, but it hasn't been a problem.

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2015, 04:17:33 PM »
Inspired by this thread, I have started cutting out pads from my Akton gel. Basically I cut one 250 x 350 mm 6.4mm thick sheet in half to experiment with as possible hip and tailbone shapes. So I now have 2 identical rectangles around 10 " x 6 3/4". As hip pads they are more generously sized than the shaped  Skating Safe pads (and their rectangular fabric backed rectangles 5.5" x 7"), and I think may be easier and less critical to position over the knobs of bone they need to protect, especially compared with the shaped pads. i am assuming they are 4/16" thick. Skating safe products range from 3/16" to 5/16", and one product, thick fabric backed hip pad 9mm, which may or may not include the fabric. I am not particularly heavy, so am thinking the thickness is adequate. Their knee pads are 3/16" thick, and I know from experience it is possible to take a direct hit on your knees.

As a tailbone protector, they are wider than the non DIY version, and 2" longer than the usual tailbone protector, so they look less like the shape Loops was worried about with the roller derby shorts, and also protect the sacrum. I once took a nasty fall off a horse and banged this area hard, and could hardly walk for days, so was  keen to have a nice wide pad there for protection, more than my coccyx, which I have never actually injured.

Anyway, I have stuffed it all in between my usual 2 pairs of leggings, and it doesnt show much, and stayed in place for the trip to the bathroom mirror, and didnt seem to be dragging my leggings down. I am going to try them on ice next week. If they do shift I might try wetting them to stick them to my skin, or sew them into little pockets to safety pin in place. Thanks for the ideas. I am not planning on falling next week, so shifting is going to be the only feedback possible.

I put talc on the cut edges which has got rid of the stickiness and give a nice silky feel similar to the edges they came with.

I have another pad to make the 2nd hip pad, and will still have some left for both hat pads, elbow pads and at least 3 pairs of glove pads or 1 generous knee pad . Total cost c £70 and saving of  around £50 plus free hat pads & one free pair of glove pads, but also no postage and import tax from the States, and much bigger pads. And minimal DIY, Loops, so far scissors and talc  ;)

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2015, 03:59:53 PM »
Very awesome! On vacay right now, so will hold responses until I get back.  Did see in person the jerry shorts. No time, or inspiration really to try them on.  Let us know how they skate, although I hope you don't get to test them directly, iykwim....

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2015, 06:30:13 AM »
Hey, Loops, I found another type of tailbone protector when I was looking at wrist guards:

http://www.alpsgear.co.uk/18-azzpad-tailbone-protector.html

Looks like they could go over as well as under leggings etc

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2015, 08:56:29 AM »
A site on skating protection I found. It's run by the mother of skater Amanda Gelb. http://icebounce.com/shopping/catalog/about_us.php
Yes I'm in with the 90's. I have a skating blog. http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/

Offline Loops

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2015, 11:26:19 AM »
Thanks! On vacay right now and can't stand typing on my kindle.  At ski resorts this trip, so asking about snowboard shorts, and trying, just to get ideas. They are completely wrong for us, but educational nonetheless.  All I've found so far have hard shells on top of padding.  Sales people have not been knowledgeable, but based on price, it's not d30. Falls would be LOUD, even with clothes on top!  Reality is that even after nearly 3 months it's too tender to even test the level of coccyx protection. This is with constant use of a donut.....gonna have to go back to the drs when we get back..... have heard of, but not yet tried azz pads. Derbys girls didn't seem to like them much, fwtw.

I thought se-ku has stopped production on these. Agnes, that site is interesting. Wish they were cheaper, but......

Offline Cush

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2015, 06:38:57 PM »
Well I did an involuntary test of sorts today.  With a preoccupied mind I stepped onto my FS session,  and BAM! Straight down on my butt. Guards were still on,  and of course I shrieked in surprise for the entire rink to hear.  Good thing I had started sticking my Skating Safe knee pads under my tights to cover my bum. Didn't feel a thing except a tiny bit of shame.

The thicker fabric-backed hip pads are in the mail, ordered last week. I am most definitely going to be wearing these ALWAYS.

Offline riley876

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2015, 11:54:25 PM »
Finally got around to making my new and improved coccyx pad.

Cut out a variety of pieces (EVA "craft foam", from a dollar shop)


Glued together (with spray on contact adhesive).


And sewn roughly into a mesh pocket (so don't have to have icky sweaty foam directly against my skin) .  Honestly it wasn't my intention to make it look like lingerie, but that IS what it turned out like.  Oh well.  So be it.




Offline Loops

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Re: More on padded shorts
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2015, 01:17:56 AM »
Ooh, thanks for sharing!  Looks good.  Why did you decide to grade it the way you did on the interior?  Is that for fit, or to spread the impact? How are you going to test it?!

After the trip to the Alps, and trying on snowboarding shorts and talking to insanely-crazy downhill mountain bikers, I decided to DIY-it too.  My original plan was to order an akton gel sheet and some high density foam from the vivomed store linked earlier in the thread.  They're out of stock on the akton. 

The mountain bikers swear by d3o, and after touching, squishing and banging on their knee pads (falling on cloud-like experience), I decided to revisit it.  I stumbled upon a motorcycle specialist shop, and talked to them at length about impacts and cushioning solutions. They love this d3o, and were pretty optimistic that a $25 backpad could be modified to meet my needs.  It's 1/2 inch thick and the guys at the shop said you can easily cut it.

Well see.  If it works, it's much cheaper than the original plan.  If it doesn't, vivomed still exists and the knowledge gained will be worth it.