I’m going to school for Product Design and this semester’s project is focusing on advancing the comfort of body armour (especially in the downhill sector) so its more likely to be worn. I would love if you guys could tell me about your experiences with your protective gear (positives, negatives, everything).
The biggest complaint I see about padding and body armor is how hot it is. I wear knee pads and sweat my ass off, but it doesn’t really bother me. However, if you could figure out a way to make stuff more breathable while still snug fitting, that might help get people to wear it more often.
The biggest issue I have with my kneepads is that they slide down. Any fasteners, such as velcro, etc. need to be very strong. In some cases it could be the difference between a nasty bruise and a cracked kneecap. If pads don’t stay on the place that they need to protect, they’re useless. I only wear mine at the bike park, because they suck to pedal in, so stuff that’s well-ventilated and don’t bunch up and chafe at the back of the knee would be nice. Fitting farther up the thigh helps them stay on. If they’ve got a hard shell at the front then some sort of hinge that allows the knee to flex freely would be nice. You might be able to get some ideas from medieval plate armor; as far as hard shell designs go, they had to keep the wearer alive and able to move easily.
As for helmets, the less I can notice it, the better. Good ventilation, padding, and well-positioned straps help.
regarding knee pads, light and breathable is key, no harsh material, a long sleeve so that it goes maybe midway down your calf and midway up your thigh, but only protection where it is needed. A sleeve like that would make it much more comfortable.