Are you a “DIY” — Do It Yourselfer? Doesn’t matter if that means you like to assemble science kits or build furniture — it’s all about getting your hands onto something and “bending” it to your will (metaphorically speaking). One thing that most DIY’s learn early on is that what you wear is as important as what tools you’ll need for the particular project.
In my case, depending on the task at hand, that usually includes a pair of work gloves that leave my fingers free, a back brace to remind that the lower back is a far-too-delicate thing to take chances with when lifting and clothes that don’t allow bagginess to exist. Oh, and work shoes with velcro rather than laces — remind me to tell you about the time some laces started wrapping around a bicycle pedal, to my detriment.
But I’ve added a new bit of clothing to the mix — the G-Form Sternum shirt. Yes it does look sorta “Superman”-ish if you wear it under your shirt, what with the black clingy material and the yellow emblem that is actually a protective plate. You’ll most likely wear it as outerwear, as I do, when doing something where some real protection against being impacted at your chest can occur. Besides, it looks cool.
Now the best part about the G-Form Sternum shirt is that the “emblem” is using reactive protection technology. What that means in real-speak is that it feel a bit rubbery to the touch, but not all rigid. However when it’s struck it goes all Schwartznegger; besides becoming rigid, it works to dissipate the impacted force it is being struck with so that the area beneath it is protected from both the initial impact and the results of that impact. The G-Form folks say that 94% of the force being transmitted onto the Sternum shirt is taken care of: in real-world terms that means a baseball hitting it (and you) with an impacted force of 294 pounds loses some 94% of its impact. And keep in mind that the pad stiffens as needed, but then returns to a more pliable state that you don’t really notice.
Not being insane, I’m rarely in a situation where the Sternum shirt is going to be needed when in the midst of a DIY project. But there’s other real-world situation where it can be helpful; like falling off a bike where you’ve protected your head and maybe shins and elbows but not your chest area. With summer coming, and my softball league now in gear, I’m less inclined to worry about Fred’s lousy curve ball that hit various parts of my body last year.
But to prove the point, we’ll test it the only way it can be tested — by hitting it with something while I’m wearing it. Now forget about a bowling ball being dropped on it with me riding along — that’s OK for the G-Form tablet sleeve, but not this guy. So I have my nephew lob some baseballs at the Sternum shirt while I stand there with my hands at my hips in the traditional pose of Superman from the 1950’s TV show. Guess what? The Sternum shirt actually works, especially when I allow him to toss one (1!) at me with the shirt taken off: yep, there’s a real difference in the feeling of the impact for sure.
My nephew says he’s willing to try it out at one of the batting practice places, so that the automatically pitched ball can hit it dead center. I’m not in favor of that — but yeah I do remember how invulnerable you feel in your 20’s. So he compromises and lets me punch him a few times. The Sternum shirt is protecting him — I’m not using brass knuckles but hitting fairly hard — and it’s one way to get back at all those times I babysat and he threw up on my shoulder.
I should also point out that you really need to have the right size of the Sternum shirt on or you might find it both uncomfortable and “painful” to wear. Especially when something traveling at a great speed hits it. I was sent a Medium and had to return it for a Large — not because I’m such a big strapping guy, but as the material rides up and the impact-protective area wasn’t seated as it should be.
Bottom line: The G-Form Sternum shirt is lightweight and comfortable to wear, but more importantly it does its job of dissipating an impact to your chest when necessary. That you should ever need it to do what it does isn’t something to be hoping for. But if it happens, you’ll be glad it’s being worn.
- Lightweight material
- Comfortable to wear
- Cost under $50
- Does not protect the entire chest area
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.