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How Do I Choose the Best Forearm Protectors?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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The best way to choose the best forearm protectors is to decide what you will be using the protectors for. Countless styles of forearm protectors exist, and some are better suited for certain activities than others. Football forearm protectors, for example, are usually quite thick but do not feature any hard shell plates. Protectors used by downhill mountain bikers will be thinner than football protectors and will very likely feature lightweight, hard shell plastic plates. Protectors for certain types of fighting sports may be similar to the football protectors, though they may also include hand protection as well.

Once you have decided how you are most likely to use the forearm protectors, decide how much you are willing to pay for them. The protectors can range in price according to the size, design, and materials used to construct them, so it will be important to research the different designs and the cost of each. Try to find a balance between cost and functionality; you may find a set that is the right price, but inadequate for your purposes. Safety is the most important consideration, so make sure the forearm protectors you choose will adequately protect your forearms during the activities in which you intend to participate.

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Decide if you will need hand protection as well. Many forearm protectors extend up to the first knuckles of the hand or even further, adding protection to the top of the hand in addition to the forearms. Full-contact sports such as football and karate may benefit from such designs, as the hands are likely to endure impacts as much as the forearms are. The padding on the hands is usually thinner than that of the forearm, and some models are hinged or feature a seam at the wrist to increase mobility.

Hard shell forearm protectors are usually lightweight and very durable, though they can be more expensive than other designs. Very often the hard shell forearm protectors are attached to other types of protectors; the full assembly is sometimes called body armor and it will include a chest protector, arm protectors, and even an articulated spine protector. Body armor is significantly more expensive than other types of armor, and unless the user needs to protect the entire upper body, this may be an excessive option. Forearm protection can be made with hard shells, and they can be secured to the forearm with hook and loop straps or even with neoprene sleeves.

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