The Russell Brands has introduced “CarbonTek with OS Technology”, the first ever Russell Athletic football shoulder pad system. The CarbonTek shoulder pad system, which demonstrated a significant reduction in transmitted force in comparative testing with competitive products, will provide football players with the latest evolution in protective gear. The new shoulder pad system has been tested on-field by elite athletes and undergone scientific and field evaluations by leading experts to demonstrate superior impact management, fit and performance.

I was able to get some time with Sarah Gholston, Vice President of Design & Development at Russell Athletic, and ask some questions about the new CarbonTek shoulder pad system.

What was the inspiration behind this innovated new shoulder pad design?

“We were simply inspired by the need for innovation in football shoulder pads. Shoulder pad technology and innovation had been stagnant for years, and we wanted to change that. We wanted to enter the protective category with Russell Athletic. Russell Athletic has a long history in football. As the market leader in football uniforms, the CarbonTek system was a natural extension into the football protective category.”

What are the greatest benefits of these shoulder pads compares to others?

“The greatest benefits from the athlete perspective are going to be protection, energy dispersion and impact dispersion, weight reduction, range of motion, and breathability. This is due to the unique materials that make up the pad [MORE INFO AVAILABLE ON THIS BELOW].”

What has the feedback been from the equipment crews and players that have been able to test them out?

“From the equipment manager side, what they really talk about is how it fits the athletes, the reduction in weight, and range of motion. The ability to easily launder and detach the two pieces gives them a lot of flexibility in the equipment room. There are also a lot of features that make it a lot easier to use, if you need to do replacements, it’s as easy as taking out a screw driver.”

When will the shoulder pads be available for purchase to the public?

“We will be selling them in time for the 2014 fall football season. Please visit for more information.”

What material are the pads made out of?

“The protective vest is constructed of a proprietary foam design that incorporates an oblate spheroid shape which enables the impact to disperse over an expanded surface area without adding weight or bulk to the system. We took the vest and incorporated moisture management and anti-microbial properties to allow the athlete superior breathability and thermoregulation. By incorporating the OS foam into our compression vest it more equally distributes the force applied to the system and enhances the distribution of impact. The compression fit allows for superior range of motion and allows the athlete additional extension in their movements.
“The exterior portion of the CarbonTek system is ground breaking as well. The exoskeleton uses 100% aeronautical grade carbon fiber. A majority of the current shoulder pads use primarily plastic for the outer shell and a bulky strapping system to achieve their shape. The Russell Athletic CarbonTek exoskeleton is molded into a lightweight arch that provides superior impact dispersion at a fraction of the weight. The buckling system is designed for comfort and incorporates closures used in military tactical gear. These closures are non-intrusive and easy to secure on or off the body.”

Do they have different customizable colors?

“Not at this time. We liked the signature colors of black and green but will certainly make considerations for this in the future based on feedback.”

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