Pain. Maybe you like it. I don't. Goalkeeping involves pain, and I'm willing to accept that. Sometimes you can't avoid being kicked, tripped, run over, or stepped on. But there's no reason a hard, dry, or frozen pitch should cause injury. I know goalkeepers who dislike padding or protective gear of any kind, and hey, if I played every game on a lush, grass pitch, I wouldn't have any need for it. But I play on 3G astroturf, which even when nice and soft can dish out nasty friction burns. Plus I'm old. I want protection.
The problem was, most of it wasn't very good. I'm going to name and shame now. I have two padded undershirts, from Sells and adidas. The Sells shirt is made of a nice, lightweight, wicking fabric, but the padding is thin and ineffectual, and it doesn't stay in the right places. The adidas shirt's padding is much better and covers the right areas, but the material of the body is thick and scratchy, and definitely not suited for New York's hot and humid summers. If Sells and adidas had got together, they might have produced one good shirt. But they didn't.
There are other padded undershirts, from McDavid to Reusch and Rinat. I haven't tried them all, but I don't need to now, because I've tested the next generation in protective goalkeeper equipment. It comes from Storelli, a new brand. Full disclosure: I interviewed Claudio Storelli and his team for Goalkeeper Magazine. The full interview is online in the Member's Area, for those of you who subscribe. Claudio and his crew are great guys, but I'm not raving about their products because of that. I'm raving because they work.
Storelli gets it right by minimizing the bulk of traditional padding, keeping it in the right place, and using top-range fabrics. Most importantly, their padding works like no other. You can see demonstrations of its effectiveness on the Storelli website, along with the technical details of their technology. If the little metal balls don't convince you, take it from me - the stuff works. It's as thin as a typical latex glove palm, yet provides much better protection than regular foam. Both the shirt and undershorts fit like compression gear, and are very breathable and lightweight. This kind of quality and technology does come at a price, but for any keeper not lucky enough to play on manicured pitches every day, Storelli gear will be worth every penny.
P.S. - the fine folks at Storelli tell me they are offering a 20% promotional launch discount.