Review: Shock Doctor 581 ShockSkin Hockey Impact Pant

Today I will be reviewing the Shock Doctor 581 ShockSkin Hockey Impact Pant.  Shock Doctor is best known for their mouth guards but they also offer a variety of other products ranging from insoles to equipment bags.  Jack Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Nick Leddy (Chicago Blackhawks) are two NHLers currently endorsing their products.

The 581 is a base layer pant designed specifically for hockey (they also make a ShockSkin short called the “583”.)  Foam pads are strategically placed in key areas (thigh, hip and tailbone) providing the user with added shock absorption.  The built-in cup makes this an all-in-one base layer and jock combo.  It also features velcro tabs for sock attachment.  This is Shock Doctor’s top end pant and it is available in both Boy’s and Men’s sizing.

What initially caught my attention was the build quality of this pant.  It is superb.  The materials feel very high end and lots of thought have been incorporated into building it.  Craftsmanship, protection, and comfort are three words that come to mind to describe these pants.

While there are other companies out there churning about padded base layers, what sets this Shock Doctor pant apart from the rest is how the foam pads are integrated into the fabric.  The high frequency seams holding the pads in place are barely noticeable.  What I didn’t like about wearing other padded base layers in the past was how bulky and restrictive they felt.  This is not the case with the 581.  I still get a full range of motion and I can barely notice the extra padding being there.

To maintain a good airflow, mesh vents run from the back of the pant through the thigh area and into the calf.

On the front of the leg, in the shin area, lies the “Gripper Pattern.”  This will help prevent the shin pad from slipping.  This pattern is very durable; I’ve put the pant through about 15-20 washes so far and the pattern is still in tact.  I’ve experienced peeling with similar grips on some other brand’s base layers I have worn.

The pant comes with the Ultra Carbon Flex Cup.  It is designed to disperse the shock away from vital areas.  The flex curve design and the gel pads around it make it very comfortable to wear.  I’ve tried flexing the cup that came with one of my jock shorts and it has no give in it at all.  Dare I say this Shock Doctor is the most comfortable cup I’ve ever used?

The Ultra Carbon Flex Cup works in conjunction with Shock Doctor’s patented X-Fit Brief Cup Retention System.  The liner somewhat reminds me of the ones used in swim trunks, but with an added pocket for the cup.  I get a much better fit compared to the standard jock shorts (with two elastics to keep the cup in place) that I typically wear.

Overall thoughts:

Fit: It is a very comfortable pant.  I would recommend ordering your usual pant size.  I am 5′ 9″ tall, 140lbs and I wear the Men’s Medium.  It’s not skin tight, just slightly loose but not to the point where it is baggy.  I also feel I get a wider range of motion with these pants compared to wearing a standard jock short.

You just don’t want to get these pants too big otherwise the ShockSkin pads won’t wrap around your body properly.  I’m also the type of player who likes to wear knee high skate socks when I play.  I found it was much easier to have the socks on underneath the pant, rather than trying to pull the socks on top of the pant.  The Gripper Pattern makes it a little bit tricky to pull your socks up over top without rolling up the pant in the process.

Build quality: This pant is built like a tank.  I have worn this to play goal as well and had a few stray pucks find their way up the opening of my pant leg and hit the ShockSkin pad right above the knee.  On a similar note I also wore these pants skiing this past season.  Not only did they help keep me dry on the slopes but the padding on the hips did spare me from getting a few bruises.  Needless to say, both incidents didn’t hurt.

Value:  Currently selling for $89.99 on Hockey Monkey, some may experience a bit of sticker shock initially.  However after trying on this garment I’m certain you will agree you are getting what you are paying for.

Durability: As I mentioned earlier I have put this pant through approximately 20 washes and it is holding up very well.  All of the graphics, seams and the ShockSkin foam pads are still in tip top shape.  The pant does not retain smells like some of the other moisture wicking pants I own.

Washing: I just remove the cup, flip it inside out and throw it into the washing machine on a cold water setting.  Hang to drip dry.  The care tag says you can Tumble Dry Gentle as well but I have never tried it.

Other factors: The areas where the ShockSkin pads are do get a bit hot while playing if you are in a warmer than usual rink.  The mesh is a nice touch and does wonders to help with the air flow compared to pants that are made with strictly one material throughout.  If you buy the pants too big, the foam pads do feel a bit restrictive.

Final Grade (A-): The Shock Doctor 581 ShockSkin Hockey Impact Pant is a very high end and well made product.  The Ultra Carbon Flex Cup is without the doubt the most comfortable jock I have ever used.  The only reason these pants didn’t get a higher grade is because the ShockSkin pads do maintain some heat but not to the point where it is uncomfortable.  The extra protection you get outweighs the slight increase in temperature.

Prior to using this product I was using mostly moisture wicking shorts from various companies.  Since then, I have made the switch to using long pants whenever possible and I would not hesitate to choose another Shock Doctor product.

I would absolutely recommend this pant if you are in the market for a top of the line base layer.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Check back in the near future for our review of the Shock Doctor 572 ShockSkin Hockey Impact shirt.

Also be sure to check out Shock Doctor’s official video on the 581 pant.

Shock Doctor Links:
www.Youtube.com/ShockDoctor
www.Twitter.com/ShockDoctor (@ShockDoctor)
www.Facebook.com/ShockDoctor

– M

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