All photos via Russell Athletic
Russell Athletic recently released its new CarbonTek shoulder pad system, which pretty much puts your current pads to shame.
The outer shell is constructed with aerospace-grade carbon fiber, which is stronger than competing products while weighing approximately 10% less. The pads also feature a military-grade buckle designed to reduce bulk and absorb the most aggressive hits. A unique arch design gives players more mobility in their shoulders to help them better wrap up and tackle opponents. Russell offers three designs based on the player’s position: skill, lineman or multipurpose.
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Underneath the space-age shell is a breathable vest packed with a network of small rubbery balls that disperse impact across a broad area. They’re made of automotive grade foam, not the standard EVA stuff. You can also use the vest as a base layer when playing in low-contact conditions, and it’s machine washable.
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Russell Athletic’s CarbonTek shoulder pads should keep you safer, but that protection comes with a hefty price tag: the system sells for $500. If you (or your school) can handle the financial impact, you can find the gear here.