Whether you’re totally new to skiing or snowboarding life, or you’re a seasoned skier or snowboarder, using the best impact shorts can be a lifesaver when you’re out on the mountain and in need of some extra protection. Regardless of the type of winter sport you love and participate in, one thing all skiers and boarders have in common is falling. It happens to the best of us. Impact shorts provide some extra protection, especially to the tailbone area, which is prone to bruising and breaks. But finding the right pair, shorts that are rugged, breathable, and comfortable, can be a challenge.

I’ve done my homework and have tested out several pairs, each of which earned top marks from buyers in regard to quality and fit, but not many of these models made it onto my list. In fact, I narrowed it down to just ten pairs that have what it takes to provide the type of protection you need, whether you board or ski. I’ve also put together a buyer’s guide that will delve into the benefits of using these shorts, the type of protection they offer, and what features you should look for.

Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each pair of impact shorts that landed on my list, the important characteristics they offer, and how each pair rated.

Impact Shorts Comparison Chart

ProductSizesMaterialPadding TypeRating
Bodyprox Protective Padded Shorts

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3Nylon/SpandexEVA Foam
Shock Doctor Impact Short

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9NylonGel
Triple Eight Padded Shorts

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5LycraEVA Foam
Soared 3D Protection Impact Shorts

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8LycraEVA Foam
Protection Hip 3D Padded Shorts

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4Lycra/MeshEVA Foam
GOHINSTAR Protective Padded Shorts

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3Lycra/MeshEVA Foam
RIDBIKER 5.0 Armor Pants

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5Nylon, Polyester, NylonEVA Foam
Hillbilly Impact Shorts

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4Lycra/MeshEVA Foam
G-Form Pro-X Padded Shorts

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4Nylon/SpandexSmartFlex
Riding Armor Protective Shorts

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3Lycra/CottonPP Foam

Bodyprox Protective Shorts for Snowboarding


Our Rating: (5/5)

These rugged shorts can provide all the support you need to the tailbone, thighs, and hips. They’re also impressively flexible and will not hinder your range of motion out on the slopes. They can be used for snowboarding, skiing, skateboarding, and any other type of high impact sport in which you need an extra layer of protection against falls. These flexible shorts come loaded with a very thick layer of shock absorbing EVA foam that has been strategically placed through the shorts to protect the tailbone, thigh, and rear area. This will ensure you’re protected from bumps, bruises, and scratches as you ride. The shorts are made out of nylon and spandex, offering a design that’s very flexible and breathable and made to fit you like a second skin. The material’s moisture wicking ability will keep you cool and dry, preventing skin irritation.

Pros

  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Equipped with thick EVA foam
  • Moisture-wicking

Cons

  • Only three size options available

Conclusion

The inclusion of vent mesh panels will help to keep you cool when you’re riding the mountain, while the strategically placed padding will help to protect your most vulnerable areas. Their durability and flexible design ensure these shorts will last season after season.

These shorts are a great buy for the skier, snowboarder, or anyone in need of an extra layer of protection when participating in high impact activities.

Shock Doctor Shockskin Impact Short


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These shorts feature vented foam padding for ultimate protection against falls. The high frequency seams are designed to move with you and will contour to your body for better protection and improved comfort. This pair also comes equipped with a brief cup retention system that consists of an internal mesh wraparound supporter for secure cup positioning. The ultra-carbon flex cup is made out of top of the line multi-stage impact protection materials that will transfer the shock from impact away for sensitive areas while the flexible curved design and included orbital gel pad ensures comfort.

The padding has been placed in locations that will protect the most vulnerable areas on your body including the tailbone, thighs, and hips. The moisture-wicking material is designed to keep you cool and dry, helping to prevent rashes and general skin irritation.

Pros

  • Cup protection
  • Vented padding
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Flexible

Cons

  • Runs a size small

Conclusion

The relaxed fit pattern was developed for the perfect anatomical fit, without the use of compression, which promotes full range of motion. The shorts can be used for any type of high impact sport, but snowboarders and skiers will definitely appreciate the insulating power and that must-have added layer of protection that will reduce the risk of injury out on the slopes.

Triple Eight Bumsaver Shorts


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These are heavy-duty shorts that provide coverage from above the knee to the waist. The design is very discreet, so you won’t be able to see these pants through your snow pants. The padding is durable and lightweight and has been ergonomically designed with flexibility and mobility even in the most extreme conditions. The padding consists of ten-millimeter thick EVA foam, designed to protect the tailbone, thighs, and hips. They’re also covered by a 180-day limited warranty, which will give buyers a little peace of mind knowing they can try these shorts out and return them if they find them to be defective. The breathable design will also be a huge selling point, especially for people who sweat excessively.

Pros

  • Breathable design
  • Flexible
  • Thick padding
  • 180-day limited warranty
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • These shorts do not offer good protection for the buttocks area

Conclusion

These shorts are available in several size options, so you’ll be sure to find the best fit and end up with a pair that fits properly and can provide the type of protection needed whether you’re skating, snowboarding, or skiing. The flexibility of the padding is also a huge plus since the padding moves with you and will not move out of place during use.

Soared 3D Protection Impact Shorts


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These elastic closure shorts are flexible, comfortable, and include 1.5 centimeters of thick EVA foam padding that’s designed to protect the thighs, crotch, buttocks, and lumbar area. The shorts will also provide protection to the tailbone area, reducing the force of impact felt in the event of a fall. The material is very lightweight and breathable, promoting all day use. On the front of the shorts you’ll find a mesh vent strap that’s highly breathable and designed to wick moisture away from the skin to keep you nice and dry. The adjustable waist and elastic fabric allow you to achieve the perfect fit, to prevent the shorts from sliding during use.

Pros

  • Adjustable waist
  • Flexible
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable design

Cons

  • Padding becomes very thin after a few months of use

Conclusion

These shorts are available in a variety of sizes, so you’re sure to find the perfect fit, with the help of the adjustable waist and elastic enclosure. This pair also comes with an easy storage packing bag, which will protect the other clothing in your bag, in the event the shorts get wet. These versatile shorts are a great buy if you’re looking for a pair that you can wear daily on the mountain and a pair that will not let you down in terms of providing the type of protection you need to minimize injuries.

Protection Impact Shorts Protective Gear


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These impact resistance shorts come with thick EVA foam padding that’s placed in the most vulnerable areas. The padding provides shock resistance and much-needed cushioning between you and the ground. The shape of the shorts will contour to every curve of the body as the padding remains in place. The shorts themselves are lightweight and breathable. The plastic tailbone protector and foam padding will take the brunt of your fall as you snowboard, ski, or skate, covering the tailbone area, thighs, lumbar area, and buttocks. The waist is highly adjustable and comes with a Velcro closure that makes putting the shorts on and taking them off a cinch.

Pros

  • Adjustable waist
  • Flexible
  • Tailbone protector
  • Low price

Cons

  • Only four size options available

Conclusion

The addition of a tailbone protector makes these shorts a great choice for the beginner who will be more prone to falls and injury. The shorts are designed to move with your body, so the padding will not move out of place in the event of a fall and will work to absorb the shock at impact.

GOHINSTAR Protective Padded Shorts


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These shorts feature a quick drying design that’s highly breathable. The shorts are made out of a combination of mesh, polyester, and cotton and are designed to protect you while also wicking moisture away from the skin in order to keep you nice and dry. The EVA padding is designed to protect the thighs, lumbar area, tailbone, and buttocks. The protective padding will provide protection against scrapes, bumps, and bruises, while reducing the force of impact in the event of a fall. The waist is highly adjustable, providing the type of close fit that will prevent the shorts from falling down as you ride.

Pros

  • Flexible
  • Thick foam padding
  • Adjustable waist
  • Thirty-day return policy

Cons

  • Velcro closure will lose its sticking power over time

Conclusion

These shorts are highly breathable and provide top of the line protection where you need it the most. The quick drying design is another reason you need these shorts out on the mountain in extremely cold temperatures. Designed to last and featuring the type of rugged design you need, these shorts are a steal for the price.

RIDBIKER 5.0 Armor Shorts for Snowboards


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The EVA foam padding on these shorts will protect the hips, thighs, and buttocks from bruises, scrapes, and bumps. The padding itself comes in at ten to twenty-millimeters thick and offers top of the line protection at impact. At the waist, you’ll find two belts that are highly adjustable. One belt is made out of high elastic, while the outer belt consists of jacquard that’s highly adjustable. The belts are designed to prevent the shorts from falling down as you ride, keeping them securely in place. This will ensure that the padding also remains in the right areas to provide top-notch protection. The shorts themselves are made out of nylon and lyrca, so you know they’re durable and flexible.

Pros

  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Includes two belts
  • Extra-thick padding

Cons

  • Runs two sizes small

Conclusion

These highly adjustable shorts come equipped with extra-thick padding that’s designed to provide ultimate protection in the event of a fall. This is one durable pair that can withstand daily use and includes strategically placed foam padding that will provide top of the line protection whether you snowboard, skate, or ski.

Hillbilly Impact Shorts


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

If you’re a beginner and looking for a pair that can provide ultimate protection, then your search is over.

These impact shorts are designed to protect the tailbone, thighs, hips, and buttocks, so in the event of a fall, you’ll be well-protected during impact. The padding consists of lightweight EVA foam and a plastic tailbone protector. The padding is very breathable, so you won’t have to worry about excessive sweating when you’re out riding the mountain. The shorts themselves are flexible and designed to contour to your body, so the shorts will move with you, so the padding will also remain in place. Unfortunately, these shorts are only available in four size options, which can be very limiting and will make these shorts a bad choice for anyone in need of a size extra-large or higher.

Pros

  • Lightweight foam
  • Breathable material
  • Tailbone protector included
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Only four size options available

Conclusion

Lightweight, breathable, and offering the type of protection you need when you’re out riding for hours on the slopes, while it’s a disappointment that these shorts are only available in four size options, they do offer an excellent fit and will remain in place during use. The highly breathable design and overall quality of the padding also make them a steal for the price.

G-Form Pro-X Padded Compression Shorts


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

G-Form is a company that produces some of the best-selling impact shorts on the market. Their latest pair is said to be their toughest to date, which is why this pair is one of their top sellers.

These shorts come with body mapped impact-absorbing pads that are lightweight and highly breathable. This pair is made out of moisture-wicking material that’s designed to keep you comfortable and dry. The compression fabric is designed to move with your body, so you won’t have to worry about the pads moving out of place. This pair is machine washable, so maintenance is a breeze. Simply toss them in the wash after use and allow them to air dry to prevent damaging the padding.

Pros

  • Machine washable
  • Thick padding
  • Breathable
  • Moisture-wicking material

Cons

  • Shorts run a size small

Conclusion

The breathable design and the extra-thick padding will give you every reason to buy these shorts and give them a try. The flexible material will allow the shorts to move with you, so they will not hinder your range of motion and work to keep the padding in the proper places. Flexible, durable, and comfortable, these shorts are designed to handle heavy-duty use and provide the type of protection against falls you need and a comfortable design that all buyers are looking for.

Riding Armor Skiing Snowboards Shorts


Our Rating: (4/5)

The padding for the Riding Armor shorts is said to be 0.79 inches thicker than EVA foam and is designed to protect the sides of the thighs, hips, lumbar area, and buttocks. This pair also includes a PP back protector for improved resistance against impact. The elastic waist makes these shorts suitable for most sizes, although the size options are very limited to just three choices. The fabric is flexible and breathable and consists of lycra mesh that will contour to the body. The breathable designed will allow you to stay cool and comfortable and also works to minimize skin irritation and odors. These shorts can be used for snowboarding, skiing, skateboarding, and other types of high impact activities.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Thick padding
  • Breathable
  • Flexible

Cons

  • Only three size options available
  • Must be washed by hand
  • Runs a size small

Conclusion

These shorts may not come in a variety of size options, but they do offer a very flexible design and include top of the line padding that’s designed to withstand heavy-duty use. In terms of durability, these shorts earned top marks, and feature the type of quality padding that’s needed to absorb shock and minimize injuries.

Impact Shorts Buyer’s Guide

Wearing snow pants can protect the boarder or skier to some extent, however, when you fall, you’ll still be left banged up and bruised. If you don’t want to spend another weekend of fun limping around the mountain, then you need to pick up a tough pair of impact shorts for your next trip. These shorts will not entirely prevent an injury, but they can provide an extra base layer, which can go a long way towards minimizing injuries. If you don’t know much about these shorts, or the other benefits they offer, keep on reading.

Benefits of Impact Shorts

Skiing

  • These shorts can provide vital snowboarding and skiing protection when you’re participating in a variety of outdoor activities. They’re usually made out of some type of stretchy fabric that’s combined with a moisture wicking material that can provide the perfect fit, while keeping you cool.
  • The main function of these shorts is to provide an extra layer of protection. Most will feature padded areas on the knees, thighs, hips, and buttocks. These are the areas that are more prone to an injury when you fall. The padding is available in a wide range of thickness levels, which can vary from pair to pair.
  • While their main job is to keep you protected from injuries, they can also help to keep you warm.
  • They can also keep your bottom dry, in the event your snow pants fail you.
  • This extra layer of protection is perfect for beginners who are not confident out on the slopes. In the beginning, when you’re first learning how to ski or snowboard, you’re going to fall a lot. People with a fear of falling or those who are just over landing on their bottom and can’t handle another bruise can benefit from the type of confidence they will feel when they know they have this durable extra layer of cushioning between them and the ground.
  • Older people are at more of a risk of joint displacement and bone fractures, however, that’s no reasons to stay off the mountain. Wearing the right type of protective gear, such as padded shorts, will allow older skiers and boarders to still participate in the festivities, with the worry of bruises, or serious injuries.

Now, let’s learn more about the features to look for and who will benefit the most out of wearing them.

Do I Need to Wear Impact Shorts?

If you’re not certain whether or not you need to wear these shorts, consider how likely you are to fall and how often you fall in general. If you’re a beginner, then you can definitely plan on spending more time on your butt than on your board or skis. But these shorts aren’t just for beginners. If you’re older, or have a past tailbone injury, then wearing these shorts can also be a great way to prevent an injury or aggravate an old one.

Snowboarding and skiing injuries aren’t exactly uncommon. In fact, they’re so frequent that there have been several studies conducted that have explored their cause, rehab methods, and ways of preventing them from occurring in the future.

Surprisingly, the most common injuries for both snowboarding and skiing occur in the upper body. The wrist is the most likely body part to be injured, closely followed by the shoulders and elbows. While the hips and rear end are lower on the injury list, wearing protective gear, such as impact shorts, can significantly decrease the occurrence of injuries to the wrists, and other upper extremities.

This is because of how a person naturally reacts when they fall. If a person isn’t wearing impact shorts, they will often attempt to stop the fall by using their hands. Of course, this isn’t the best way to dissipate the impact of a fall, which is why sprained and broken wrists are often at the top of the list of injuries.

Shock Absorption

These shorts are designed to absorb some of the force when you fall. While they can’t totally protect you in the event of a fall, you’ll notice that by the end of the day, you’re not quite as sore.

Beginners tend to fall a lot on the slopes as they discover how to control their turns and struggle to find their balance. Many often repeat the same types of falls, which usually involves falling on their backside.

While these falls are usually pretty minor, when you repeatedly fall on the same area you can suffer severe bruising, muscle pain, and tenderness in the area. These shorts are great for eliminating or significantly reducing the level of pain you feel from this type of fall. It’s impressive how fast a series of falls can make it incredibly painful to sit down at the end of the day, which is why these shorts are a must-have for the newbie.

The freestyle boarder is also at risk of repeated falls, although their falls are usually on harder surfaces and at higher speeds. As the boarder goes through the process of learning a new technique or trick, until they get the hang of it, they will fall repeatedly. The freestyle boarder falls a lot, but that’s par for the course.

Snowboarders of all skill levels can benefit from wearing these shorts. However, the freestyle boarder and the beginner tend to fall more often, which is why both types of boarders will benefit the most from using them.

Most models will utilize EVA foam to provide protection. This foam is often several centimeters thick and absorbs shock, softening impact. It’s usually placed in high impact areas.

These shorts are designed to cover the tailbone and will also cover the hipbones to provide ultimate protection against falls.

Other Important Features

If you’re considering purchasing a pair of impact shorts, then there are many factors to consider before you buy, ones that can ensure you end up with a pair that can provide the level of protection you need out on the slopes.

The biggest reason a board or skier will choose these shorts is for the level of protection they offer, but not all shorts are created equal, and some shorts can provide a better level of protection than others.

Low Profile Design

A low-profile design for most skiers and boarders will be important, since no one really wants their impact shorts to be visible through their snow pants. A low-profile design often means less padding, so it can ultimately be a tradeoff between protection and style.

Mobility

The padding in these shorts can be very thick, but they should not be so thick that they have an impact on flexibility or mobility when you’re wearing them. The shorts should be light enough that they have an impact on your balance when you’re riding.

Comfort

Comfort will be very important since you’ll be wearing these shorts all day long. If they feel bulky, stiff, or uncomfortable, you’ll be less likely to wear them. The waistband design, padding, and size can all have an impact on your comfort. The best way to ensure you’re comfortable is to pay attention to the size chart.

Warmth

While protection will be the main reason for wearing these shorts, you should also consider how much insulation a specific pair has to offer. Models that are specifically designed for snowboarders will come equipped with insulation. Pairs that are designed for cycling or skateboarding will not be.

Material

Most pairs are made out of synthetic fabrics. Avoid purchasing a pair that’s made out of cotton since cotton can become cold and heavy when it gets wet. Only buy shorts that are made out of synthetic materials or wool.

Protection

The level of protection these shorts can offer will be dependent on how much padding they have, where the padding is located, and the type of padding used. Location will be one of the most crucial factors. The majority of falls can injure your tailbone area, however, the groin area, lumbar region, and hip joint will also be susceptible to bruises and hits. The right distribution of the foam padding will help to minimize these injuries that the intensity of impact.

Fit

These shorts should fit like a second skin, so that the padding remains hugging the high impact areas. Shorts that fit loosely will not be very effective in protecting these high impact areas of the body and can shift and may end up protecting the wrong areas. Additionally, if the garments are too tight then they can cause unnecessary compression and can be very restrictive.

The important thing to understand is that the shorts should mold to your skin. By paying attention to the sizing chart and paying attention to the measurements, you should find a pair that fits you perfectly. Remember, a size large made by one company may be another company’s extra-large, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to the measurements.

Durability

These shorts can be pretty pricey. Fortunately, a durable pair will not need to be replaced every season. A pair that’s highly durable should easily be able to withstand normal wear and tear while maintaining flexibility. It can be difficult to determine durability just by looking at a pair of shorts. However, with a little research and by reading reviews, you should be able to get a feel for which manufacturer has a reputation for producing shorts that are long-lasting.

Design

Since these shorts will be hidden under your other gear, aesthetics shouldn’t really be an issue. The best pair will not be visible through your outer wear. In most cases, these shorts are only available in one or two color options.

Weight

Weight will be another important factor to consider, since heavier shorts can weigh you down on the slopes. The padding used can add some weight, but in most cases, you’ll find a wide variety of lightweight shorts available, weighing in at around half a pound or so.

Material

Most models will be made out of polyester and nylon, or a combination of the two. Some are also made out of spandex, which will add more flexibility. Spandex gives the shorts their form-fitting property.

How to Wash and Maintain Impact Shorts

chilling snowboarder

Washing impact shorts can be a delicate process. While all boarders and skiers will wash their clothing, washing these shorts requires a different process and a little more TLC in order to prevent damaging the shorts in the process. There’s also a big debate concerning washing this type of clothing in the washer or by hand. Almost all manufacturers will tell you that you should hand wash this type of clothing and avoid ironing it or placing it in the dryer.

If the shorts you purchased can be washed in the washing machine, make sure you turn them inside out prior to tossing them in the wash. If the shorts are very dirty, they should be soaked in the sink with warm water for two hours, prior to washing them in the washer.

The shorts should be washed on the delicate cycle for forty-five to sixty minutes. Once the wash cycle has completed, hang them up to air dry. Never toss them in the dryer since this will ruin both the fabric and the padding.

It’s also important that you use the right type of detergent. Make sure you choose detergent that’s specifically designed for sports apparel. These detergents are often much gentler on clothing and will have tough stain acting power, so they’re also able to remove stains, dirt, and more.

In terms of how often you should wash your shorts, I recommend washing them based on how often you wear them. Since there will be another layer of clothing between you and the shorts, you may not need to wash them every time you wear them, unless you sweat excessively. In most cases, you can get by washing them every other time. If you only wear them once or twice a season, then washing them right after use is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Protect My Tailbone During Snowboarding?

Wearing impact shorts can help to provide the padding you need between your tailbone and the cold hard ground when you’re snowboarding or taking part in any type of high intensity activity. These shorts are a great choice for many different types of sports, but they’re a must have if you snowboard or ski.

What are Snowboard Pants?

Snowboard pants are very baggy and allow the wearer to move and crouch unencumbered, so you’ll enjoy a full range of motion. You wouldn’t wear this same type of pants to ski in since skiing pants are much slimmer and designed with aerodynamics in mind. The slimmer fit of skiing pants will also help to promote heat retention and will trap air close to the body.

What Should You Wear Under Snowboard Pants?

The base layer, which is the layer of clothing you wear under your snowboarding pants, should provide warmth, comfort, and padding. Some boarders will wear long johns for added insulation, but impact shorts are often the best choice here since they provide both protection against falls and warmth. This type of base layer will be made out of fine natural fabrics or synthetic fabrics that are designed to keep you protected, warm, and comfortable, all day long.

Final Thoughts

The best impact shorts will provide that extra layer of protection that you need whether you’re skiing or snowboarding. The pair you choose should be comfortable, flexible, and can give you the confidence you need when you’re out on the mountain, taking away that fear of falling and allowing you to focus on the game at hand. Each of the pairs that ended up in my top ten lineup earned top marks for their comfort, durability, and flexibility, so you can feel confident knowing that if you choose one of these pairs, you’ll be well-protected throughout the day and all season long.