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As is true of any piece of equipment, inline hockey girdles come in a variety of styles and at various price points, and manufacturers offer designs with different protective and comfort features. What most have in common, though, is a more form-fitting and less protective fit than ice hockey girdles or pants offer the player.
An inline girdle is most often made in cotton or lycra and comes with a variety of different paddings—some of which are removable for lighter weight and mobility—and/or plastic inserts for kidney, hip, tailbone, and thigh areas. The price typically determines the level of protection. More expensive girdles are usually the most durable, with double-layer foams in the highest densities. But even these high-end girdles should not be worn to play ice hockey, where the puck weighs more and travels at a much higher velocity.
You may prefer some girdle features over others. Here is a quick run-down of some common style choices in inline hockey girdles.
Girdles come in either a “tear-away” or “wrap” model, or a more traditional “slip-on” or “pull-up” style.
The tear-away models have buckles, fasteners, or Velcro to strap to your legs and waist for easy and quick removal. An advantage of this system is the straps are usually adjustable, which gives the wearer more control over the fit.
The slip-on girdle is pulled up like a pair of shorts and generally lacks the amount of adjustability the tear-away girdle has.
While some players prefer an elastic waistband, this type of waistband tends to have a narrower fit range than an adjustable belt. Waistbands can lose their elasticity, too, which renders them more or less non-functional if damaged.
Many belted girdles feature buckles, clamps, and Velcro straps that are generally stronger and more adjustable to a player’s changing body. As a player grows or gains weight, he or she won’t need to buy a new girdle as often as they might an elastic-waist girdle.
Though inline hockey is ostensibly a non-contact sport, collisions happen regularly and players fall, often at high speeds, onto the hard playing surface. How much padding you want to wear is a matter of preference. The more protective padding you wear, the more weight you carry and the less mobility you enjoy, typically.
When shopping, consider your style of play. If you’re an aggressive player, you may want more padding for the inevitable spills. If speed and mobility are more important, you may choose a girdle with less padding or one with removable pads.
An inline girdle should reach just above the knee, and the top of the girdle should protect your lower back and kidneys. Remember, girdles are meant to fit snug and conform to your body, similar to compression shorts. They should also provide more than adequate flexibility and mobility. If a girdle feels too restrictive or just “too small,” then it probably is. The right girdle should be snug, but also comfortable, and give you all the mobility you want.
Like any piece of protective gear, a proper fit in your roller hockey girdle is essential if it’s to protect you as intended. Protective padding needs to cover the hips, tailbone, kidneys, and thighs with precision. Though body checking is prohibited in almost all roller hockey play, it’s still important to wear protective gear, including an inline girdle. After all, there is plenty of contact—collisions occur between players, skaters fall at high speeds, and stick slashes and puck impacts occur with much the same frequency as in ice hockey. Check your manufacturer’s sizing guide for accurate fitting information.
Pure Hockey carries a wide range of inline girdles for players of every age and at every level of play. We also carry a full inventory of inline skates, helmets, and sticks. And our Low-Price Guarantee promises the most competitive prices available.