Everyone is looking for a competitive advantage these days. Most towns have multiple leagues so directors are competing for the best athletes against another league just a few miles down the road and the uniforms your league wears go a long way in ensuring you end up on top. However, not everyone can afford big brands like Nike for their uniforms and with the easy access to internet, there has been a lot of cheaper sources for your organization’s uniform and equipment needs, and if you’re lucky you will find one at par or even better than big brand quality. Should you rely on luck? Picking the right uniform and the right company to provide them should be a huge priority for any league.
I will start a 7 part series to go over the most common shortcuts and pitfalls of uniform buying.
PART 1: “INTEGRATED PANTS”
Obviously there are a lot of uniform questions we can go over but I’d like to focus on integrated pants today. It seems all the rage lately has been for custom integrated youth pants. Leagues want the bottoms to match the crazy tops and for good reason, it looks really cool.
Are custom Integrated pants a good idea for your league?
Offshore companies like Pakistan, Philippines and Mexico have recently started making cheaper sublimated integrated pants and it’s caught on like wildfire but is it a good idea? Before you jump headfirst into integrated pants and custom top for $59.99 you have to ask yourself why it’s so ridiculously cheap. The danger zone in all these uniforms is that the integrated pants are not equipped with approved pads so if one on your boys gets a compound fracture in a game and they open them up what they will find is a double layer of cheap foam in the sewn pocket. I made a decision a few years back not to sell anything like this but instead sew the pockets in the hip and butt so you don’t need a girdle. What this allows the league to do is put approved padding in the thighs, knees, buttocks and hips and avoid a potential massive lawsuit.
(Extra ribbing on the thighs and very stiff for maximum protection)
(These are approved pads for youth football)
(vs unapproved overseas foam pads)
( It’s clear to see that these are just two piece of foam glued together with a little plastic to hold the shape)
(Ridiculously bad quality and dangerous)
( These are actual pads pulled from overseas integrated pants. They are cheap, flimsy and glued together to make them appear like the approved pads…. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen)
Is it worth it? I guess that’s the million dollar question. Since these overseas companies have no oversight or regulations they have cut corners to a very dangerous level. Blocks of cheap foam is not an approved pad and it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens. Custom integrated pants really became popular just a few years ago so most people, leagues and officials have yet to realize how dangerous these foam pads are for the kids. So I guess the answer is if potentially ruining a kids career before it starts or even losing your home to save a few dollars on these cheap pants is worth it to you then go for it. With all the added safety rules that the football industry is coming up with to protect our kids, I would think that it should be a huge priority for leagues to ensure they are wearing the proper safety equipment.
If you are a parent of one of the players I would demand to have the league open up a pair of game pants and inspect the padding yourself. It’s dangerous and could potentially ruin your kid’s life. It’s time to put a stop to this new dangerous trend and protect the kids from potentially lifelong injuries..
By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and one of the founders of iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on consistent and sustainable support for foster homes, homeless assistance and natural disaster survivors.