This article might just save your ass this season!
Whether you’re a beginner or a veritable pro, all snowboarders land on their butts. This results in either a season ending injury or a minor bruise. What makes the difference? Impact shorts.
Until recently, I refused to wear impact protection… thinking it was too bulky. But after a particularly nasty fall in an icy halfpipe, I decided to give them a try.
Not only did impact shorts protect my bruised backside, they are also pretty darned comfortable. It’s like wearing a sleeping bag around your butt!
However, I tried a few lousy pairs before “landing” on success. So I did a little research to weed out the bad eggs. Here are the best impact shorts for snowboarding.
The 7 Best Impact Shorts For Snowboarding Are:
- Rippl Impact Shorts
- Triple 8 Bumsaver Padded Shorts
- Bodyprox Protective Padded Shorts
- Dmoose Impact Shorts Pads T2 Shorts
- TTIO Padded Protective Impact Shorts
- Burton Women’s Total Impact Shorts
- RIDBIKER Padded Protective Shorts
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The 7 Best Impact Shorts For Snowboarding
For those of you that are still with us, I’ll walk you through the merits of each these impact shorts. For reference, I tested over a dozen pairs in order to compile this list. I quickly discovered that not all impact shorts are created equal.
Each pair excelled in different areas:
I won’t go into too much detail as I already wrote an in-depth review here. Needless to say, these have taken the market by storm… both in terms of value for money and in overall performance.
Whilst I was sceptical of vouching for a relatively new brand, my Rippl shorts have held up all season and saved me from some pretty heavy knocks. They also come in at an amazing price point given their quality.
The main downside is that their delivery service could be faster – although it is free.
Mid-Season Update: I ended up wearing these every single day that I snowboard. With previous pairs, I tended to only wear them when heading out to try a particularly gnarly rail or trick. This is a testament to just how comfy the Rippl shorts are.
Unfortunately I’ve heard further reports of slow delivery times though, so bear this in mind.
Best Premium Impact Shorts For Snowboarding
- Heavy-duty impact shorts for skateboarding and snowboarding provide coverage from the waist to just above the knee; made to fit comfortably and discreetly under clothing
- In collaboration with professional skaters, these lightweight, breathable padded shorts were ergonomically designed for mobility and flexibility in extreme conditions
- Equipped with 10mm thick EVA foam pad for increased protection for hips, thighs and tailbone; pads are removable to customize padding zones
- Available in five sizes to fit kids, youth, and adults: X-Small fits 22 – 27 inches, Small fits 26 – 30 inches, Medium fits 29 – 33 inches, Large fits 32 – 38 inches, X-Large fits 36 – 42 inches
- To determine proper size, measure around waist; pads and shorts are machine washable; manufacturer's 180-day limited warranty
The Triple Eight Bumsavers are definitely some of the best impact shorts for snowboarding.
These have an elaborate and more advanced design, offering maximum protection without the bulkier sections.
They provide total coverage from the waist to the top of your knees, and will be hardly noticeable under your snowboarding attire. You’ll notice they have multiple longer stretches of padding rather than the bulkier “hip” and ‘butt” pieces most shorts use.
This gives unmatched flexibility – you’ll hardly feel them! Each EVA shock-absorbing pad gives is removable. You can therefore try to find the right balance of protection vs bulkiness.
While they don’t have the same thickness of padding of the Rippl shorts, they do offer you breathability and space to move around.
If you’re looking for something lightweight yet advanced, these impact shorts from Triple Eight are going to be a great choice for you.
- Weight: some of the lightest impact shorts you’ll find.
- Flexibility: a great pair of shorts if you need a more dynamic range of movement at the expense of a small reduction in protection.
- Removable Pads: makes cleaning and customizing much easier!
- User ratings: Best rated impact shorts on Amazon!
- Longevity: Mine are still going after several heavy seasons!
- Padding thickness: they don’t offer the thick pad coverage that’s available in several other products; especially around the tailbone and lumbar areas.
- Price: Significantly more expensive than Rippl’s offering.
Best Budget-Friendly Shorts
- Be limitless, Be fearless -- Your choice of rugged and hidden armor for your vulnerable hip, thigh, sit bone, and tailbone that efficiently bends and moves along with the body. Have your own Bodyprox Protective Shorts during outdoor and all action sports activities such as Snowboarding, skateboarding, Cycling, roller sports, mountain biking, skating, and other extreme activities.
- Premium Protection -- With our very own Protective Shorts that are equipped with generous shock absorbing EVA foam cushions strategically placed to the rear, thigh and tailbone area, this ensured exceptional comfort and protection from scratches, bumps or even drop during an intense outdoor activity.
- Skillfully produced from the highest-grade breathable fabric, combine features of Nylon and Spandex, skin-friendly material that absolutely fit your body, quick-dry technology which prevents fabric from sticking to the skin, providing an exceptional ease of use at the same time, have soft and comfortable custom fit waistband that allows excellent mobility.
- Durable and Flexible -- Durability and stability whilst flexible at the same time without the discomfort that comes with traditional and known padded shorts. Your all-in-one protection for lumbar, butt and thigh area.
- Relaxed-Fit and Skin-Friendly -- Since it is ideally worn underpants, it is the combination the highest grade elements from Nylon, Spandex and Vent Mesh materials keep the skin from moisture and retains the skin cool, dry and fresh. Lightweight even with sufficient amount of pads and precisely designed for comfort.
These impact shorts are going to be one of the simplest (and cheapest) you can get your hands on.
Bodyprox has created a pair of impact shorts that feel lightweight, while still offering (most of) the protection you’ll need.
With removable EVA foam padding, these shorts offer you the versatility with room to add extra padding if needed.
These impact shorts are made from 55% nylon, 35% EVA, 5% Spandex, and 5% Rubber. This means that they’re very lightweight and stretchy and won’t feel too bulky.
I liked how breathable the fabric is, offering you great mobility and plenty of air to your body – which is super important underneath all that snowboarding gear!
If you want something that’s simple and lightweight, this pair of shorts is a great choice for your next snowboarding trip!
- Stretchy and Lightweight: a lightweight pair of impact shorts that don’t feel too bulky under your snowboarding gear.
- EVA Foam Protection: Lightweight protection that helps shield the sides of your legs and butt from impact.
- Machine Washable: simply put them in your washer. This is a bit easier to manage than some other more elaborate impact shorts.
- Groin Protection: No groin or inner thigh protection.
- Thin Materials: With great flexibility comes great vulnerability. The thinner materials wore quite quickly. Several of the pads were sort of hanging out after about a week.
- Not For Bigger Falls: I found these were great for smaller knocks, but on higher impact falls – such as on a rail or box – the padding wasn’t up to the job.
Best Impact Short Padding
As you can see, these bad boys have some serious padding.
They still use EVA padding, but they’ve gone much thicker than some of the competitors above. This has the benefit of feeling pretty secure and resisting some larger impacts.
I actually fell on a snow shovel whilst wearing these (don’t ask) and despite landing squaring on my tailbone – barely felt a thing.
Unfortunately, the problem with bulky pads is it tends to also reduce mobility. Dmoose have done a great job of combatting these by splitting the pads along the joint lines. Unfortunately this still didn’t compete with the likes of the Rippl short.
- Thickest EVA Foam Padding: Extra impact protection for the harder knocks.
- Machine Washable: As with some of the other pairs – super easy to wash.
- Widespread Coverage: As you can see, the 3D padding does a great job covering all of the potential pressure points.
- The Price Point: At the time of writing this, the price was actually reduced to just $30.
- Bulkier: Definitely more noticeable under your gear than some of the other options.
- Less flexible: As you can imagine, thicker padding causes more restriction.
- The padding thins out: The thick padding does compress over time – has a cheaper feel to it than the premium options at the top of the list.
These are sort of like a cheaper version of the Rippl Impact Short. The material is notably thinner but the price point is also notably lower. This might make them appealing for someone who’s unsure whether they will stick with the sport.
They still have protection all around your butt, the side of your thighs, and your groin, with a network of thick EVA pads that have been designed for maximum impact absorption.
This, combined with the stretchy, light, breathable fabric between them allows for an easy fit and overall coverage.
These shorts also come in five sizes, so there are a lot of options for you, no matter your body type! Choose from Small, Medium, Large, XL, and 2XL. Very few impact shorts cater for those in the categories over XL – so bear this in mind if you’ll need these sizes.
Just a note here—TTIO also offers elbow and knee pads if you want to pad yourself up even more!
- Cushioning: a big network of pads that give you total coverage.
- Lightweight Material: between the pads, there is a lightweight, breathable fabric.
- More Sizing Options: Their huge range of sizes will cater for everyone!
- Cheaper materials: Certainly a lightweight, budget option. Unlikely to last as long as the more premium pairs. Whilst they’re great for a quick, cheaper option – spring for a pair higher up the list if you can.
Best Impact Shorts For Women
There is very little information out there about women’s impact shorts for snowboarding. I therefore tried my best to help out by reviewing some of the women’s options.
I should prefix this by pointing out that I am not in fact, a woman. However, my other half very much is. She therefore set about testing all of the products on the list to find the best impact shorts for women.
As it turns out, despite the obvious anatomical differences, women still need padding in much the same places. The better-rated options at the top of this list were therefore also well-suited to the fairer sex. Some of the lower-end models were loose in places and rode up as a consequence – so should be avoided.
Of the female specific impact shorts, the Burton Total Impact Short are undoubtedly the best offering.
These earned the lengthily title of the best impact shorts for snowboarding for women.
They are super low profile – so much in fact that I was slightly jealous when my girlfriend showed them off!
This is in large part due to the innovative padding that Burton uses – the D3O® impact protection padding. This magical material is soft but hardens on impact, absorbing energy. As you can imagine – this works a charm.
Note: There are still older versions on sale which used the old-school orange EVA foam. Whilst cheaper, I’d avoid this if you can – the quality is nowhere near as good. Opt for the D30 version otherwise you’re better off with the more cost-efficient unisex Rippl impact short (top of the list).
- Comfort: Ergonomically designed for women, these were the perfect fit. They are low profile and therefore also fit well under women-specific outerwear (which can be tighter fitting then mens).
- Dryride Ultrawick Fabrics: Industry jargon which basically means they are super breathable and wick sweat away. To be fair to Burton, they do work really well!
- D30 Padding: Unlike nearly every other option on the list, Burton have come up with an innovative lower-profile padding. It works!
- Less Coverage: As you can see, the padding is only focused over the areas most likely to take an impact. In contrast to other models, this exposes your thighs and groin. The compromise is that this allows them to be extremely flexible.
- Price Point: They are a super premium product. But, the fact that Rippl’s are half the price makes them harder to justify.
Next up we have one of the heaviest pairs of impact shorts on the list. These can double up as dirt biking pants, which have much longer legs and heavy padding around the sides of your thighs and butt.
One thing I need to point out right away is their extensive tailbone protection. This offers you unrivalled protection against those nasty backwards falls.
They have also included femoral head protection, which isn’t something you find on other impact shorts around the same price point.
Unsurprisingly, the price you pay for this much protection is the reduction in mobility. This wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I wouldn’t personally wear these except for on days I knew I was hitting the scarier park rails.
If you’re someone that just wants maximum cover, even at the slight expense of comfort/flexibility, these are for you.
- Lumbar and Tailbone Protection: offers you some heavy protection in the places you need it most.
- Armored Thighs: very thick padding around the thighs.
- Net Cloth: for amazing ventilation around the bottom of the shorts.
- Diversity: Can use them for mountain biking and ice-skating also.
- Weight: heavier and bulkier than other shorts on my list.
- Net Cloth: unfortunately feels at risk of ripping.
So those were the 7 best impact shorts for snowboarding, but it’s not the end of the story.
In this next section, I’m going to give you a buyer’s guide that will help break down some of the most important things to keep in mind when shopping online or in stores!
If you already know which to go for, scroll to the top section here.
This is one of the most important parts of buying impact shorts. You’ll need to determine how much padding you’re happy to carry around with you, and more importantly, make sure that it’s in the right places.
We would suggest purchasing a pair of impact shorts that offer support around your but, tailbone, and thighs at the very least!
Because impact shorts are a type of under-armor, you’re going to need to make sure they’re made of lightweight materials.
This is because snowboarding gear is already fairly heavy, and any additional weight is going to affect your mobility.
We would suggest going for lycra or spandex if you can find it. The cheaper products tend to save money on these materials – from experience this makes them noticeably more uncomfortable.
You can and will get hot during snowboarding. Many manufacturers of impact shorts have designed them to help.
The best impact shorts use breathable material throughout. Breathability is therefore not an issue. You’ll find that the shorts recommended at the top of this list all fit this category.
If you go for a cheaper product, I suggest buying a pair of impact shorts that have some form of ventilation design—this usually comes in the form of a mesh fabric placed strategically around the shorts to create airflow and keep you dry.
Impact shorts that require hand washing are usually made of more impressive materials, but can also be a pain to deal with!
If you can find a machine-washable pair, you’ll find that they will do wonders for cleaning your clothing, especially if you’re going out snowboarding a lot.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our lengthily dive into the 7 best impact shorts for snowboarding!
I tried to offer a variety of different styles, shapes and sizes, as well as different levels of protection to suit your needs.
Impact shorts are an important part of snowboarding gear, and I would suggest you take your time to choose the right pair for you!
If you still have some questions, there’s a short FAQ below.
Frequently Asked Questions
The most important place for padding is most likely the sides of your thighs, your lumbar, your butt, and your tailbone.
If you can cover these areas you’re likely to lessen the impact of some of the most common slips and falls associated with snowboarding.
This depends entirely on the type of impact. Impact shorts are great for minimizing damage when it comes to smaller slips and falls, but they won’t do much to help you in a more extreme accident.
I see them as my protection from small-medium falls, helping to keep me healthy and riding for longer. After all, these mid-sized falls happen much more frequently than the major ones.
These falls are extremely common for beginner-intermediate riders and therefore impact shorts will certainly work for them.
If you did fall from a large height, impact shorts certainly won’t do you any harm – but it’s important to know that they can’t protect you in these circumstances either.
Each manufacturer will have different size variations. Check each product’s size guidelines against your own sizing before ordering.