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SeeingEyeDog

WindPact replacement pads

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Greetings brothers,

     @Thunderheads, I'm not sure what the requirements are for a thread to get pinned but, perhaps this qualifies...

 

     THE FACTS: So, we have a potentially developing situation regarding the availability of WindPact Crash Cloud (WPCC) pads apart from their inclusion with the Under Armour mask. A few days ago, I sent a message into WindPact via their website expressing my interest in purchasing these pads separately. Today, I got a response from their "Chief Growth Officer". Currently, they are not offered. I replied that many umpires like to mix and match their masks with their pads to get a personalized setup but, we're missing out on WPCC's because we can't buy them apart from a mask.

     He asked if I was having problems with my WPCC pads because "In addition to offering optimal protection, one of the main benefits of our Crash Cloud technology is that it's "repeatable" and should not have to be replaced.  However, I understand your personal preference and will investigate other customer feedback to understand the demand." I sent him a reply walking him through that traditionally pads should be replaced every 1 - 2 years depending on how much work an umpire gets and due to the pads becoming compromised with age, regardless of use. I strongly encouraged him to consider selling WPCC as an accessory because again, a lot of umpires I have spoken to are interested in the technology but, don't want to buy an entire new mask to get the WPCC experience. He said if they do start offering them, he will contact me again.

     SPECULATION: As I said on another thread, WP is a relatively new company and I think still learning a bit about the marketplace. I found the remark about their pads being repeatable and not needing to be replaced very curious. The UA was their first umpiring foray that I am aware of. I think it's very easy to make to a business decision when you have pads ready to go and UA comes to you and says we want to feature this pad in our mask and we'll take 1,000 or some other large number order. I think it's an entirely different business decision to say you want to make pads as an accessory and see how well they sell. Overproduce and undersell and you get burnt. Underproduce and oversell and you will miss sales as the market demand reaches to other options and may or may not circle back for that hot item that sold out quickly.

     We'll keep this thread going, of course. If anyone has anything to add or if you should come across these pads for sale...please do post the link on this thread.

~Dog

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If you wish to contact Windpact directly and make a plea for them to sell mask pads separately, here is the link to the contact form:

https://windpact.com/contact/

As Max so eloquently put it on the other post, the decision to sell the pads is fully on Windpact's yes or no.  The other companies who sell the mask with pads are probably under contract to sell as a unit, which is why they cannot sell just the pads to us.  But Windpact is the maker of the pads (think Team Wendy here) and could sell outright to us with no middle ground if they choose to do so.   It is up to you and I, the consumer, to make them realize the demand is here for these pads if we hope to purchase them without a frame.

 

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My plea has been sent, I am due to change out my pads for next spring and would love to give them a try. 

One thing I thought of was that they may have given UA and Evoshield some sort of agreement that they would be the only ones with the pads, therefore they cannot sell them as just pads. Definitely all speculation but  with a new company it could be the case. 

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Thank you, @wolfe_man for posting those links!

If you want these pads or if you want to help support those of us trying to acquire these pads, please send in your request!

I also wanted to tag @JimKirk. Jim we know Ty did an excellent 2 minute review of the Under-Armour mask and again it was featured on your virtual summit posted to YouTube recently. WindPact appears to be a company that is bringing technology and science to bear on the world of umpiring equipment in new and unique ways that many of us are very interested in. Any chance you could reach out to your contacts there and conduct a similar product highlight as we saw from All-Star? How they test, what their data tells us and what makes their products competitive? Who better to tell us and show us about their gear than the guys researching it and developing it? I personally made an All-Star purchase as a result of that video and I am giving serious consideration to the Cobalt CP.

Perhaps a WindPact CC chest protector is on the horizon?

~Dog

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8 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Thank you, @wolfe_man for posting those links!

If you want these pads or if you want to help support those of us trying to acquire these pads, please send in your request!

I also wanted to tag @JimKirk. Jim we know Ty did an excellent 2 minute review of the Under-Armour mask and again it was featured on your virtual summit posted to YouTube recently. WindPact appears to be a company that is bringing technology and science to bear on the world of umpiring equipment in new and unique ways that many of us are very interested in. Any chance you could reach out to your contacts there and conduct a similar product highlight as we saw from All-Star? How they test, what their data tells us and what makes their products competitive? Who better to tell us and show us about their gear than the guys researching it and developing it? I personally made an All-Star purchase as a result of that video and I am giving serious consideration to the Cobalt CP.

Perhaps a WindPact CC chest protector is on the horizon?

~Dog

Lots of food for thought for tomorrow. Will keep all that under consideration.

For today, I will be celebrating the successful launch of the Cobalt CP. That culminated into all of our first shipments going out the door today!

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I just heard from Windpact that due to a large response/outreach from umpires, they’re going to try to get their partners to offer replacement pads!

 

Exact words:

actively in discussions with our co-branded partners to convince them to stock these replacement pads and will keep you posted on the outcome.”

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8 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

I just heard from Windpact that due to a large response/outreach from umpires, they’re going to try to get their partners to offer replacement pads!

 

Exact words:

actively in discussions with our co-branded partners to convince them to stock these replacement pads and will keep you posted on the outcome.”

Any word on what masks they'll fit into?

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5 hours ago, Rock Bottom said:

Any word on what masks they'll fit into?

I can't say for sure as I've not had any, but the EvoShield ones appear to fit most traditional masks by appearance.  The UA ones are possibly more tricky.

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@Rock Bottom, nothing official but, that's the question that everyone is asking of course. I thought I read somewhere on here that the Under Armour mask frame is based on a re-badged mask from another manufacturer. Don't quote me on that and others will no doubt provide more insight. The closest mask configurations to the shape of that Under Armour mask will obviously be the best bets for fit.

If and when these pads become available, I will be purchasing a set immediately. I will fit them in my 3 masks and then post comments and pics of the rigs here.

Thank you to @wolfe_man for posting the remarks from our contact over at WindPact and we will continue to share any information as it becomes available.

What's ironic about this entire situation is that I personally have yet to see one of these Under Armour masks on the field in my area. Now, part of that is because we are working under COVID mechanics and many of the brethren are choosing to forego plate equipment given their vector to the hitter. I would offer that if WindPact makes the decision to green light this, they will sell more pads as accessories than they would have sold as part of Under Armour masks. Of course, technically they sold pads in bulk to Under Armour to fill that order but, likely less overall profit on a transaction like that than selling individual pads wholesale/retail.

~Dog

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Personally, I don't want the UA pads but I'd like to get a hold of some EvoShield ones.  I think they'll both fit most traditional mask frames, but I just like the more traditional look of the EvoShield ones over the UA's design.

Anyone else find it interesting that the actual Windpact website only shows links to the EvoShield mask and not the UA one?

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15 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

I thought I read somewhere on here that the Under Armour mask frame is based on a re-badged mask from another manufacturer. Don't quote me on that and others will no doubt provide more insight. The closest mask configurations to the shape of that Under Armour mask will obviously be the best bets for fit.

It's going to be hollow steel simply because it is an adverse risk to construct it of aluminum (welds gotta be high quality; welds can be sheared loose on non-baseball impacts (think, tossed on ground)), titanium (high cost of material), or magnesium (weld-less molded is the most effective way to go). And looking at that UnderArmour mask? There's nothing about it that sets it apart from any other hollow steel mask. It likely has the same geometry as, say, an Easton Speed Elite. Is that a very serviceable catcher's mask? Yup, sure is. I actually advocate for the Speed Elite to be an option for new umpires, because of its affordable cost, its single-bar layout, its oversized ear guards (very forgiving for new umpires who may flinch), its oversized fabric-skinned pads, and brief teardrop chin guard encourages umpires to use a dangling throat guard. The UnderArmour mask here is along the same line, just... exaggerated even more, with a atypical bar layout simply to emphasize the brand difference.

The FM4000 has an atypical bar layout for a functional purpose. The UnderArmour has an atypical bar layout for a marketing purpose. Pass.

With that said, looking at the general shapes of these masks, I maintain that the WindPact CC pads – as they currently are shaped for the UnderArmour and EvoShield masks – would likely work exceptionally well in the Champro Rampage... which, as a magnesium mask, is relying on untried, pretty questionable pads. 

Whereas All-Star had been making UnderArmour's catcher gear in the past, I'm not so sure about the current relationship. It's entirely possible that UA sub-contracted the mask frame out to any ol' shop in China to mass produce.

21 hours ago, Rock Bottom said:

Any word on what masks they'll fit into?

We cannot expect WindPact to make a one-type-fits-all mask pad set yet (I'm not saying you're expecting, Rock... I'm just using your statement as a starting point for discussion). They've got nothing to base a mask set on! If you'll notice, the pads that are equipped to the UnderArmour and the EvoShield each have a cut, shape, and tab arrangement for that specific mask. Ideally, we need (or could really use) a more generic pad shape (a planform) for use in a variety of existing masks.

If you guys are in correspondence with WindPact sense that they need a pad planform to work with, please let me know... I can draft one up in a jiffy.

16 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

I can't say for sure as I've not had any, but the EvoShield ones appear to fit most traditional masks by appearance.  The UA ones are possibly more tricky.

You're seein' that too, huh? I don't see a center chin tab, but I do see 4 cheek tabs, and I also see the shape as accommodating more mask frames than the UnderArmour. The jaw pad on the UA just looks... odd.

On 9/14/2020 at 7:54 PM, SeeingEyeDog said:

 He asked if I was having problems with my WPCC pads because "In addition to offering optimal protection, one of the main benefits of our Crash Cloud technology is that it's "repeatable" and should not have to be replaced.  However, I understand your personal preference and will investigate other customer feedback to understand the demand." I sent him a reply walking him through that traditionally pads should be replaced every 1 - 2 years depending on how much work an umpire gets and due to the pads becoming compromised with age, regardless of use.

I need to revisit this... Jeremiah W. (the Chief Growth Officer you corresponded with) answered the way he did because of what they (WindPact's team) are familiar addressing. Bicycle, motorcycle, racing, and indeed, military helmets are designed to take _1 catastrophic_ impact, and destroy itself so as to provide the maximum amount of energy absorption possible. So, after an impact of this nature, the helmet and/or the pads need to be replaced. 

Well, that's not the case with the WindPact CCs. The mechanism by which the pads function is repeatable. They will crush, deflate, and re-inflate over and over and over and over and over (I can keep going) again. The same can be said for any other conventional pads... except other conventional pads don't create the "immediate gradual resistance" that Zorbium, D3O, and other advanced TPU-EVA foams exhibit. And now this Cloud Crash foam.

With the latest types and developments of pad construction, and the increased awareness of how clean, intact gear is important to its protection quality, there may be less of a need to "change pads yearly". There isn't any critical, in-depth research data on how, why, and to what extent pad constructions degrade, decay, or fail. All of this advice is anecdotal, and often seems to be said to excuse and benefit the manufacturers. "Hey, why should we engineer quality, long-lasting pads when we can just tell 'em to get new ones every year?"

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