Do Padded Shorts Work & How Do I Choose A Pair?

Red Total Impact Shorts

In short, yes. Padded impact shorts are totally worth wearing. You’d be surprised at how many really good skiers and snowboarders wear them.

Here’s one big reason why:

Bruised Tailbones SUCK

Imagine a giant painful bruise on your butt that takes an entire winter to go away. That’s what a bruised tailbone is. You won’t be able to sit for long periods and even gentle falls on your butt will cause huge amounts of pain.

Padded shorts will lower your chances of a bruised tailbone. It’s not foolproof and if you land hard enough on your tailbone, you might still bruise it, but trust me when I say that it is something that you’d like to avoid as much as possible.

Great, so how do I choose which shorts to buy?

You want a snug fit with good tailbone protection. Hip pads and all that are nice too, but in particular, make sure the tailbone area is well protected.

Also, if you’re buying padded shorts, never buy shorts that are a loose or relaxed fit. For example, the old Burton loose board short style impact shorts were horrible. I had a pair and the loose ‘comfy’ fit meant that the pads moved all over the place.

Thankfully, Burton has learnt from their past and their newer shorts are a solid snug fit. I use a pair of the newer RED Total Impact Shorts and they do the job. I’ll probably do a detailed review of the shorts in the near future.

Here are some companies that make good padded shorts:

  • Burton
  • Protec
  • SixSixOne

These 3 companies make nice, snug fitting impact shorts with good tailbone protection. Some shorts are offered with a plastic tailbone protector instead of just foam, so do have a look and see which you’d prefer. Some people find the plastic covers uncomfortable on chairlifts.

One last thing:

No. They do not make your butt look big.

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  1. 2 years ago I was looking for impact shorts, but all the famous models tend to bend in a weird way when I crouched down. The pivot point of the short doesn’t follow the pivot point of your upper leg.
    I ended up buying the Icetools armor pants and they are great. The foam on the hip and the armor plate on the side of your leg are separated (not like the RED or Protec model where it’s in 1 piece). The pivot point of the armor pants aligns nicely with the pivot point when I crouch down. Dainese makes also an armor pants that looks just like the one from Icetools. Only the foams sis a bit denser on the one from Dainese (probably giving better protection).

  2. I bought the Burton ones for ladies and they work great. But be sure to buy the slightly more expensive ones – they harden on impact. They do make your legs look kinda chunky especially if you’re short but it’s worth it. One bad fall made me realize how sad I was when I couldn’t snowboard for weeks. Joy over vanity, I say. Save the vanity for the hot tub!

    • Yep, those ones with the d30 gel are much better. The boardshort style ones that are cheaper tend to have issues with the padding moving around too.

  3. Nice site bro not sure how I ended up here but I like it dude.

    I’d like to recommend skele-tools in the mix. I bought them this season and they’ve already saved my butt several times from small spills to big ones. They’re a bit on the pricier side but I think they’re well worth it and provide excellent tailbone protection and have the options for hip and thigh protection if you need it.

    Also azz padz. I haven’t used them but was considering buying them before settling on the skele-tools. They’re considerably cheaper if all you need is butt protection however I heard it can feel like sitting on a booster seat when going up the lift.

    • Cheers Tony, glad you like the site.

      Yeah I’d definitely agree with the Azzpadz. Not much padding everywhere else but for pure butt protection I was impressed too.

  4. Gustavo says:

    Dainese, POC and Alpinestars make great ones.
    G-Form also started making shorts specifically for snow sports, with butt pads, and their technology is awesome.

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