Bad Design #43 – would you give these to Messi?

Sure, Messi gets his shin pads for free, and that’s probably a good thing, because he would be throwing these ones out every week!

Now I’m no Messi (believe me, I’m not), therefore I need my purchased products to last a decent amount of time. As do all other users and buyers.

There is an expectation that the products we buy, are manufactured such that they endure the use that they were designed for.

Not an over-the-top expectation.

Yes products, such as shin pads, do endure wear and tear, therefore it is obvious that we do not expect them to last forever. But when designing products, the stress they will be under needs to be taken into consideration. You wouldn’t build a car with sticky tape, because it just wouldn’t last. No, you bolt it, you weld it, you make it in one piece, you do whatever it takes to make sure it does not fall apart in the near future.

Let us take a closer look at these shin pads, and the problems they have.

Firstly, this is how they should be worn:

Good designers, and others, can probably already see the first issue. The top strap is somehow supposed to stay in that position over the calf muscle, at the crest of the calf. That is never going to happen. Basic physics tells us that strap will either slide up or slide side down. This is just silly.

The next issue, which is the point of this post, is the total lack of understanding of the products intended use and environment.

The straps on both of my shin pads have fallen off. And I have only used them for a about 7 games.The straps are sewn with string to the foam backing. The front of the shin pad is a hard polymer material that would have been the better option in this case.

Somehow, the designers of these shin pads believe that under the stresses and strains of a football (soccer) match, a strap sewn to a FOAM component will provide sufficient structure to ensure a secure mechanical fixing. FAIL!

I think it is pretty clear how this design has failed, so I think I will leave it there.

Oh! did I mention my shin pads are made by Nike? The largest sporting company in the world! With probably the largest design department focused on sporting goods alone! Perhaps the only company with the most sporting design “experts” under the one roof!

Even superdooper Nike can fail basic physics guided design.

 

Some football players may say you don’t need the straps, and that may be the case, but then why even have them on your product if the are not necessary? And just because they are not necessary, does not mean you should do a half-arsed job on them.

 

….and for all you sticklers out there, yes, I do realise my boots are Neymar’s, and not Messi’s   😛

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