New Carbon Fiber Football Shoulder Pads

Image courtesy of SI

Tim Newcomb – Sports Illustrated Edge – Tue Jun. 3, 2014

A carbon-fiber exoskeleton paired with a compression vest featuring automotive-grade foam was the most high-tech way Russell Athletic could devise to enter the world of shoulder pads. Hey, they even added in a “military-grade buckle system.”

“There hasn’t been a lot of change in this category in a long time,” Sarah Gholston, Russell’s vice president of design and development, tells Edge in the exclusive debut of the Kentucky-based company’s pad system. “We wanted to do something different. Every major component on this pad is not seen in the industry today.”

So much difference; so many high-end materials. Let’s start from the outside.

CarbonTek, with the OS Technology shoulder pad system, features a carbon fiber shell, covering the chest, shoulders and back—a first for shoulder pads. Russell built in differing layers of carbon, with increased thickness in high-impact areas (Russell wouldn’t divulge layering specifications with their patent-pending product) for amped up protection.

Mark Ingram, former Heisman Trophy winner and current running back for the New Orleans Saints, tells Edge wearing the new Russell pads gives him a real sense of explosion and protection. [click here to read more]