Trends & Features

A revolution in sports impact protection

Don’t miss out on the big-hit product of 2008, says Mark Sims of Armadillo Sports Design

Armadillo launched its breakthrough calf and achilles protector towards the end of last season, and it has already been a resounding success – feedback from people who have bought and worn the product has been overwhelmingly positive.

Principally sold to begin with on the Armadillo website (, and then through other major online retailers such as Pro-Direct, the Armadillo customer call centre and at shows, exhibitions and festivals around the country, Armadillo, via its team of sales agents, is now making the product available to the independent trade in the UK and Ireland.

What is the opportunity for the independent retail trade?

• The product is new and innovative

• It can be used in a number of sports – football, rugby and hockey being the main ones

• It will be worn by children, teenagers and adults, professionals, amateurs and even people who just play for fun

• A large potential market. The incidence of lower leg impact-related injury in sports is far higher than you might imagine. 87 per cent of all football injuries are to the lower limb, while the number one injury among rugby forwards is to the calf muscle

How do you capitalise on this massive opportunity?

• Get it in stock as soon as possible

• Merchandise the calf and achilles protectors in a prominent part of your store (they are packed in impactful, yet easy-to-merchandise flat packs)

• Get hold of the point of sale material that’s available and place it on your counter where everyone can see it

• Learn everything you can about the product – what it is, what it does, why it does it and why sports people should be buying and wearing it

• Perhaps get a pair of calf and achilles protectors out and have them available on the counter for people to touch, feel and even try on – there’s nothing quite like the experience of the product to make that sale

What do you need to know to convince customers to make the purchase?

• The product is unique. Armadillo holds multiple granted and pending patents and design registrations to protect it against copycats

• It has been specifically designed and developed to protect the calf and achilles

• According to the FA, nearly 15 per cent of all injuries during a season are calf impact injuries

How it works:

• The overlapping, multi-plated system reduces the force of any energy impacting the calf

• If the protector is impacted anywhere, most of the energy from the stud, blade, ball or boot is diffused between the plates and very little if any of the energy ever makes it through to the calf /achilles, making it unlikely that the wearer will sustain bruises, cuts or muscle damage

• Also, because of the flexibility of the multi-plates and the materials used, the protectors are able to live and move with the muscle

• Trek Dry has been applied to the inside of the product, which is a ‘skin comfortable’ material that absorbs sweat from the back of the leg

• In the middle of the product is a microporous membrane that wicks moisture out through the front of the protector

• The protector is lightweight and when worn feels like a ‘second skin’. Many players say they actually forget they have them on

• The product simply slips inside the sock. The nylon material on the front with the raised stitching provides an abrasive link to the sock and helps keep it in place

• The protector can be worn with any shinpad/guard system

• Extensively scientifically tested and proven, the protector does what it says on the packet – protects you

Designed and developed in the UK and made in China, the protector is CE tested and certified, has been endorsed by the Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) and there are a range of sizes available. The product can be sponge cleaned, should last at least one season and is priced from £9.99-£14.99.

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