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Protection for goalkeepers within football is absolutely paramount.
The men assigned with the task of safeguarding the goal and preventing opposition teams from scoring regularly put their bodies on the line by making acrobatic dives, jumps and slides.
Even though goalkeeper gloves provide a good level of cushioning for the hands, the athlete’s chest, arm and stomach areas are still left exposed.
All it takes is one awkward fall for a goalkeeper to face a lengthy amount of time on the treatment table.
Therefore, I decided to put together an article on the best padded goalkeeper shirts which provide a good level of cushioning and support for the aforementioned body parts.
So, I’ll begin by briefly outlining the top picks:
McDavid Unisex Hex Goalkeeper Shirt
Storelli Exoshield Gladiator Goalkeeper Jersey
PUMA Men's Padded Goalkeeper Shirt
T1TAN Goalkeeper Undershirt
I had to go for the McDavid Unisex Hex Goalkeper Shirt as the best option purely on its use case suitability, as it comes with shoulder padding that the other products don’t really account for.
The Storelli Exoshield Goalkeeper Jersey is certainly a close runner up in the category, and is a great option for those who are after something that is slim fitting as well as stylish in appearance.
- 1. Storelli Unisex Exoshield Gladiator Goalkeeper Jersey
- 2. McDavid Unisex Hex Goalkeeper Shirt
- 3. PUMA Men’s Padded Goalkeeper Shirt
- 4. T1TAN Goalkeeper Undershirt with ¾ Length Sleeves
- What to look for in a padded goalkeeper shirt
- Final recommendation
I’ll now move on to analysing the top 4 recommendations.
1. Storelli Unisex Exoshield Gladiator Goalkeeper Jersey
- PREMIUM GOALKEEPER JERSEY: Premium padded soccer jersey for goalkeepers, armored with XRD Extreme Impact Protection ergonomic elbow padding that absorbs up to 90% of impact to ensure a safe landing on any surface.
- SUPERIOR PROTECTION: Designed to bend without impeding movement. Optimized for superior protection and peak performance. Arms players with the inner and outer strength to go harder in all conditions, maximizing safety without compromising comfort.
- BREATHABLE AND SWEAT WICKING: Employs lightweight sweat-wicking materials that wick moisture away from the body to ensure maximal breathability and a dry, comfortable performance in all weather conditions.
The Storelli brand is already widely recognised for their exemplary work into producing sports gear.
Founded in 2010 by an Italian soccer player, a person with a PhD in biophysics and an action sports designer, the company has grown from strength to strength over the years.
They are a product-focused company that is obsessed with creating performance equipment designed to afford athletes maximum protection on the football field.
Here are some of the main features of their blue-coloured padded goalie shirt:
Extreme impact protection is made available through ergonomic elbow padding – containing urethane foam – on both sides, that absorbs up to 90% of the shock brought about by collision impacts.
Due to the reinforced material, you won’t have to worry about getting the bruises and contusions that can arise after making an upper corner save.
These pads are also designed to bend, so a goalkeeper extends or tucks in their arms without being impeded unnecessarily.
The end result here is solid arm protection that ensures the safety of landings on different sorts of surfaces.
The form-fitted construction of this goalkeeper jersey is purposely intended to make the playing experience comfortable and free of distractions.
Concentration is so important for a goalkeeper, as a single momentary lapse in attention could be the deciding factor in a game.
Because the overall fit is snug and lightweight, movement is not constricted and the wearer is able to fully focus on aspects of their sporting performance as opposed to trying to ensure the shirt isn’t too tight or baggy.
Anti-bacterial and sweat wicking
This padded goalkeeper shirt has also undergone anti-microbial treatment in the process of manufacture, which prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi as well as the development of unpleasant smelling odours
What’s even better is that the 82% polyamide material effectively keeps the athlete cool and dry by wicking moisture away from the skin.
2. McDavid Unisex Hex Goalkeeper Shirt
- Excellent protection for goalkeepers: the Mcdavid Hex goalkeeper shirt extreme protects the elbows, hips and shoulders. The undershirt Is specially designed for goalkeepers
- Ergonomically fit thanks to hex technology: the Mcdavid Hex technology consists of Small hexagonal foam pieces. These pieces move independent and freely with the body
- The Mcdavid Hex padding is made out of closed cell foam hexagons, which do not absorb water and provide an advanced shock absorption
This goalie shirt certainly stands up tall to the previously reviewed Storelli one.
What’s particularly unique about it is the fact that McDavid brand has managed to secure lucrative endorsements with two well-known professional goalkeepers who play for the world’s biggest clubs.
Barcelona’s number one Marc-André ter Stegen and Chelsea’s backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero stand behind the product, with the German in particular being the primary display model of the product.
The goalkeeper shirt itself comes in a sharp black colour and its form factor is excellent, which is what I’ll now discuss in a bit of depth.
McDavid have placed their patented HEX padding technology quite strategically on the shoulder, hips and elbow areas of the garment.
The fabric is fused with closed-cell foam padding within 9-millimetre hexagonal pieces to allow for movement that is unrestricted and synchronised with an athlete’s own body.
So, as a goalkeeper you can rest easy when diving to the ground to make a save, as it would take quite a lot to get injured whilst performing on the field as the padding comfortably absorbs shock impacts.
Needle flat seams
Earlier on I talked about comfort, and this shirt definitely fits the bill in this regard.
It ticks the box for being lightweight, as the hex paddings don’t add bulk to the outfit.
More so, McDavid have incorporated needle flat seams when it comes to how the product has been stitched together, which does well to reduce the skin irritation that is usually brought about by chafing when a goalkeeper makes a movement.
Overall, the shirt gives the wearer a smooth and pleasant feel that enables them to perform without distractions.
Additionally, hDc moisture management technology has been infused into this shirt in order to keep goalkeepers dry and sweat free.
The moisture is drawn away from the skin and onto the fabric where it can be broken down and evaporated.
3. PUMA Men’s Padded Goalkeeper Shirt
- Puma cat brandings to right-hand chest panel; bold colour blocked chest insert panel
- Full frontal zip opening with zipper garage
- Two zipped side pockets, elasticated cuffs and hem for fit and comfort
Next up we have a more conventional brand with a well-designed goalkeeper shirt.
The colour on display is certainly eye-catching to say the least, as the ebony-black-tradewinds combination helps to differentiate it within its category.
The padding protection on this product isn’t as pronounced as the ones that I’ve previously reviewed, but it’s solid enough with double layered foam panels present on the elbow and rib areas of the shirt.
Comfort has also been taken into account as the polyester woven fabric is soft to the touch, with the warp knit mesh body lining and the nylon taffeta sleeve lining adding to the smooth feel.
4. T1TAN Goalkeeper Undershirt with ¾ Length Sleeves
- MADE OF RECYCLED PLASTIC – The entire protection shirt consists of recycled polyester. We implement this sustainable production method to reuse plastic, which keeps it from polluting the oceans or the environment.
- PERFECT PROTECTION AND EXTRA GRIP – Cutting-edge shock absorbing protectors guard your elbows and ribs. The Grip Zone on the forearms gives you an edge when catching flat balls. The undershirt is perfectly suited for practice sessions or playing on either artificial turf, hard pitch or an indoor arena.
- PATENTED SEAMLESS TECHNOLOGY – Our protectors are injected directly into the fabric instead of just being sewn on. That means no seams can tear and let your pads just fall out. The silicone edge to the hem gives the undershirt a comfortable fit without any stitching or seams.
Now this is a product that fits more as a goalkeeper base layer than as a padded shirt.
But nonetheless, I deemed it a necessary inclusion for this product roundup due to its overwhelming quality.
Here’s a couple reasons as to why:
What’s quite fascinating is the direction they’ve taken with regard to sourcing the material for this product.
It’s not everyday that you see a company going for recycled polyester instead of an alternative that’s fresh out of the factory.
They’ve gone for a sustainable production method in order to reuse plastic and reduce the level of environmental pollution, which in my view gives them top marks for business ethics.
Body protection and grip
The reinforcement on this goalkeeper base layer provides ample protection for the elbow and rib areas.
Even more so, the forearms of this top feature a grip zone that is supposed to give goalkeepers an added on-field edge when it comes to catching a flatly struck ball.
Seamless padding technology
T1TAN have taken a different approach when it comes to padding.
Instead of being sewn onto the fabric, the protection is injected directly within it.
What this does is ensure that the seams cannot tear when stretched to the limit, which would usually lead to the padding falling out of the garment.
The hem also has silicone edges that eliminate the need for any stitching which could impede a goalkeeper’s comfort.
It’s also worth noting that the company has also accumulated 25 years of diverse experience in the field of goalkeeping and they have a dedicated research and development team that keeps them up to date with changes in the football world.
What to look for in a padded goalkeeper shirt
With that quick summary out of the way, let’s talk about the specific qualities that prospective buyers should be aware of when it comes to shopping for a suitable padded soccer goalie shirt.
This is arguably the biggest factor to consider.
A goalkeeper shirt that doesn’t provide the necessary comfort can easily become a distraction on the pitch.
It’s quite possible for a player’s attention to be diverted from oncoming attackers onto an itch or tightness that they are unable to shake off.
So, be on the lookout for products that mention the presence of flatlock stitching – which is said to reduce the chances of skin irritation.
The way this works is that flatlock seams are sewn directly together by putting two separate fabric pieces side-by-side and threading the raw edges in combination, which leaves the underside of the garment without any cloth layers.
For the goalkeeping position – which requires players to regularly move their bodies by twisting, turning and running – a shirt that doesn’t cause chafing is a significant mark of value.
This goes hand in hand with comfort, as football is a sport that is played in the summer heat as well as the winter cold.
If a goalkeeper hasn’t worn clothing that is capable of wicking away sweat, they will end up drenched after a competitive game or training session which required them to dive and slide on numerous occasions.
As you can see, this is far from ideal and the discomfort brought about by clothing that is unbreathable and lacking in the necessary ventilation can decrease one’s enjoyment of the sport.
Therefore, a goalkeeper shirt comprised of a moisture-wicking fabric is needed, as this diverts water from the surface of the skin onto the exterior of the material where it can evaporate naturally, ultimately serving to keep the athlete cool and dry.
Fabrics such as polyester and merino wool are great at evaporating moisture, although the former tends to retain unpleasant smelling odours and possibly promote bacteria growth.
It’s obviously in the best interests of the sports manufacturers to state that goalkeepers need protection for different parts of their body.
But padding really does have a number of discernible protection benefits, which include but aren’t limited to:
- Safeguards against bad landings after dives
- Cushioning from tough collisions when challenging for the ball
- Shielding from hard ground and Astro turf surfaces
So, the best padded goalkeeper shirts incorporate a number of foam-built layers into their design, particularly for reinforcement of the elbow and shoulder areas.
In a closely contested race, the winner here is the McDavid Unisex Hex Goalkeeper Shirt mainly because of the fact that it does a better job of protecting more parts of the body than the other products.
By featuring elbow, rib and shoulder padding, this product gives goalkeepers the best possible cushioning as it takes into account more impact areas.