I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, technological innovation is the future of lacrosse gear. We’ve seen it before in the shaft game, with newly designed and elite level carbon fiber shafts from C-12 Lacrosse, and now we’re going to see it in padding world, and I get the feeling that Unequal Technologies could be leading the way with their EXO Skeleton padding. It’s still in the early stages of development for lacrosse, but the guys over at Unequal Technologies sent over some of their sheets of padding for me to check out, and one thing pops to mind first: this is an advancement in technology. The second thing to come into my mind was that the possibilities are truly endless.
I had seen an Unequal video on Youtube, and posted it in the last Hot Pot. I thought it was interesting enough to give the company a call, and I heard back from the right away. They were very excited about their product, and unlike some other companies that want to fill your head with a bunch of PR nonsense, the UT guys just sent over a pack containing a set of demo pads for me to see for myself. I always love a company with confidence in their product!
So last night, I opened the box, and started going through the sheets of padding. There is a good diversity of thickness, and some have hard kevlar shields on the outside. The technology is designed to be able to withstand battlefield level damage, and from a first glance, I have no doubt in my mind that it can stand up to the beatings it will take on the lacrosse field.
I watched the video again (below) to see just how they were using the padding, and saw a number of applications right away. Most of them involved adding the EXO Skeleton pads on top of, or underneath, exisiting pads. And it seems like this will be the way the padding is used, at least initially. But I don’t think that is the ultimate destination for this type of tech. I think it can be used on a much broader scale. And so do the guys at a major lacrosse manufacturer!!! We’ve heard through the rumor mill that at least one company is already interested in getting this padding into their equipment. I guess that could even be another Blind Item!
In the end, I think we will definitely see this type of military grade padding being used in sports pads, especially in lacrosse, and football. The hex pads that a number of companies use are great, but in the end, they are really just foam. And most of our gloves, arm pads, shoulder pads and even helmets are basically just cloth, foam and a little plastic. But better padding will simply be more protective, and there is always a want for that.
The other big benefit that this type of tech brings along is the ability to make even more streamlined, and less intrusive, pads. Gloves have shrunk down considerably over the years, and right now the only thing holding them back from being even more compact (but still protective) is the technology. But after messing around with the Unequal Technologies product for a little while, I’m thinking we might be much closer to the next great leap forward in lax gear than originally thought.
I’ll be messing around with the sheets of pads, a pair of industrial scissors, my arm pads collection, string, twine and more today. I’m on a mission to build my own arm pads from nothing but the pads supplied and a little American ingenuity. I think I’m going for the old “foam dipped in rubber” style of arm pad, only greatly improved. Wish me luck! Now if I only had, and knew how to use, an industrial sewing machine!