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How to Choose: Ski Padded Shorts

Padded Ski Shorts: Your Tailbone Says “Thanks”

ski padded shorts
You may not be familiar with the idea of padded shorts for skiing, but once you’ve fallen on your backside or hips a few times, you’ll know why we recommend them. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, you will fall. With high-quality ski padded shorts or padded ski pants, you get:
  • Butt protection, including tailbone protection, so when fall backwards, you'll have protection between your tailbone and the snow/ice/obstacle.
  • Properly designed padded ski pants or ski shorts will also have foam padding over your hip pointer to protect your hip when you fall sideways.
  • Padded ski pants or padded ski shorts are made from breathable fabrics that will help keep you warm while wicking moisture away from your body, so you stay warm and feeling dry
  • Extra insulation; layers keep you warm. A layer of padded snowboard shorts made from a breathable fabric will help keep you warm on the lift without overheating.

How Much Ski Lower Body Protection Do You Need?

Padded ski shorts protect varying combinations of your quads, hips, buttocks, and tailbone.

Each brand and model is a little different. With padded shorts in particular, a picture tells a thousand words. When you look at the product photographs of padded ski shorts on our website, pay attention to the size of the pads. Some shorts have very large, thick pads. Some sport smaller, thinner ones. As for tailbone protection, some shorts have a soft pad sewn in place, and others have a hard shell shield, which is sometimes removable. Some things to think about:
  • Length
    Do you want padded ski pants or padded ski shorts? Protective ski clothing can function as your base layer, so you may want to go the pants route for warmth. If protection is your main concern, especially protection of an area that has been previously injured, then you may want padded ski shorts. Remember that different padded shorts will hit at different points on your leg—do you want high cut, mid-thigh, or knee length?
  • Thickness of Pads
    Ski shorts have pads that range from one-quarter inch to half-inch thick. Thicker pads offer more protection but with additional bulk and weight.
  • Pad Coverage
    Padded shorts are tailored for different uses and preferences, so you can have pads in different locations. Most ski padded shorts are designed to protect the hips, tailbone, and upper thighs; more advanced models may feature additional padding.
  • Pad Material
    Padded shorts feature either soft foam pads or a combination of hard plastic and soft foam. Foam softens the impact and disperses the force of the impact over a wider area. Hard plastic also disperses impact forces and provides some puncture resistance (which is good if you land on a branch or other fixed object)br>
  • Extra Tailbone Protection?
    Nearly all padded snowboard shorts offer some tailbone protection with soft foam tailbone pads. Several models of padded shorts also offer additional protection with hard plastic tailbone shields, like the Crash Pads 2500s. The plastic material adds an additional layer of snowboard protective gear for backward falls.

What's the Difference between Ski Padded Shorts and Cycling Padded Shorts?

ski padded shortsSome padded shorts come with a chamois (or crotch pad), which leads some people to believe they can also wear these padded shorts while cycling or wear bicycle shorts for skiing. However, the chamois in a pair of padded cycling shorts is there to relieve pressure from hours spent in the saddle. It's a bit thicker and bulkier than what you'll find in a ski padded short.
Could you ride a bike in your padded ski shorts for five or ten miles? Sure. Would you be as comfortable as you would be with padded cycling short after, say, 20 miles? Probably not.
On the same note, there are many mountain bike padded shorts and BMX padded shorts that offer great leg, hip, and tailbone padding, however, these bike-specific padded shorts also come with the padded chamois, which might be bulky, hot, and uncomfortable to wear while skiing.

Do You Want Your Ski Padded Shorts to be Machine Washable?

Although we do not recommend machine washing ski padded shorts, some models do allow for machine washing. However, to get the maximum longevity out of this type of clothing, we recommend you hand-wash and line-dry your ski padded shorts (or any Lycra-based protective gear). Do not machine-dry any Lycra-based material. Please, always remember to line-dry a garment like this! For more information on how to clean your ski padded shorts, ski helmet, and other protective gear, check out our protective gear care and cleaning page.

Shop our collection of ski padded shorts and hip pads today!