Padding in Race Suits - How to customize to your liking

So you are thinking about modifying your race suit - cutting out the padding to change size or add different padding options. Here's what you should know before you set out.

Interior view of padding on SYNC National Suit

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First, you have to figure out what you like to wear underneath your race suit. This is critical because when wearing such tight spandex you will find your under layers can bunch in all the wrong places. Also, make sure to use some type of sweat wicking material or polyester layer so that as you train your base layer wicks away any moisture keeping you as warm as possible in the coldest conditions.  

Next, think about how much padding your current race suit has in the arms and legs. Does it protect all the areas I normally get hit? Does it protect areas that don’t get hit? How does it feel when I get hit? These are important questions to answer in order to determine whether you need a stealth top, arm guards, shin guards, or back protector to increase the protection level in any given area.

Soft vs. Hard Padding

There are so many options and so many different brands when it comes to choosing the best padding for you. SYNC specializes in what we refer to as “Soft” padding, the use of EVA, XRD, D30, etc. We believe the athlete needs to be as dynamic as possible and therefore reduce any inhibitor that might limit their movement. Soft padding can be shaped much easier into shapes that work with the body not against it. It can wrap around your elbow or over your shoulder and onto your lats. The customization is endless.

There is no doubt “hard” protection is necessary in ski racing and will protect you from pretty much any clash with a gate. Not to mention how they make you feel like a combat ready tank prepared for battle. But unfortunately, due to its bomber protection it also has limitations. The drawbacks for hard protection come in the form of uncomfort, lack of ability to move, and overall bulkiness. Common use case for hard protection is in arm guards, shin guards, and back protectors.

Once you have identified your go-to base layer and the places you need to add or remove protection, you are ready to customize your setup.

Interior seams and fabric holding arm padding in SYNC National Suit

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Decisions, decisions

A soft padded stealth can be a great way to go. We spoke with Team America Athlete, Alex Leever and World Cup skier, Sam Morse, and why they have both chosen the SYNC Impact Padded top as their go-to protection layer for underneath a ski race suit.

"This is legitimately the best stealth protector on the market. I have used mine for the last 3 years, and it still performs as it did day one. With other segmented stealths, you seem to always hit gates in that space between the lower and upper arms pads, leading ski lodges to look like an MMA ring with the bruises being sported by athletes. The continuous padding from wrist to shoulder to back means that no matter how you clear a gate, you'll be protected. The padding at the top of the back is extraordinary as well for when you get wrapped up in a gate and get backslapped (ow)! While this doesn't happen often, ask any racer how painful it can be: the Sync Impact Padded Top is completely made for the challenge. "  - Alex Leever, Team America.


"Simply put, it's the best padded stealth top ever made hands down. I've been ski racing for over 15 years and have tried a lot of different stealths but the padding placement, thickness, and mobility are unmatched. It is very rare that you find a product so well dialed. Don't waste your time looking for anything else, this is what you want." - Sam Morse, World Cup Athlete.

About the Author

Geof is the head of product and design at SYNC. A former NCAA racer at Boston College, he now focuses on back-country skiing and endurance mountain biking in his free time.

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