I think we’ve all heard about the incidents where a player gets hit in the chest with a puck and it stops their heart. It seems like in most of the cases, the player dies. I’ve only heard about this happening with ice hockey. I can’t help to think that it could happen with inline hockey too, if it hasn’t happened already. With all that in mind, I decided to try out the Reebok 9K padded shirt.
When I first tried the shirt on, it fit just right. I tried rotating my arms and noticed that the shoulder pads and the arm pads restrict your movement somewhat. I’m not quite sure what the shoulder pads would actually do.
All the padding on the shirt is about 1/4 inch thick. That’s not very thick at all. The padding is solid. There are no ventilation holes in it.
I used this shirt, in total, for less than two periods during a single game. In the middle of the second period, I took it off. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was way too hot.
The main material used for this shirt is a wicking fabric. Usually these type of fabrics should help to keep you cooler because they pull sweat away from your skin and allow air to circulate. That wasn’t the case here. I think the heat was being trapped by the shirt due to the number of pads.
The main reason I bought the shirt was for the chest protection. As I said earlier, the pads don’t seem to be that thick. I wonder if 1/4 inch padding would be enough to protect you from a roller hockey puck hitting you square in the chest. I think if you are wondering that, then the shirt probably doesn’t provide enough protection.
It was nice to see that on back of the shirt, there are pads covering most of the spine area. But once again, how much protection will you get from 1/4 inch pads? Will that be enough?
How could Reebok make a better padded shirt for inline hockey? This might seem odd, but I would say that they start by removing pads. Remove the shoulder, arm, and side rib pads. In theory, that should allow the shirt to breath better and restrict the player’s movement less. I would also remove more pads on the chest and back areas. The pads should cover less area, but cover the key areas better. What do I mean by that? I would like to have thicker pads in those areas.
The sleeves don’t really seem important to me. I would just remove them.
On the side of the shirt, I would cut large vertical holes to allow for better air circulation.
Ideally, it would be great if they just took ice hockey shoulder pads and modified them for inline hockey. The ice hockey shoulder pads already have good chest and spine protection. Just cut off the arms and reduce the pads on the shoulders.
Those are my recommendations for this shirt. Since I won’t be using this padded shirt anymore in its current state, I will try to apply some of the changes I listed above to my shirt. I won’t be able to apply them all. But we’ll see if some of my ideas could make an improvement. I’ll post another article later on listing my findings. Hopefully they work because I would like to have some chest and spine protection when I play.