Unless you grew up in a house full of brothers – and probably not even then, most moms don’t know much about athletic cups. (Heck, even some dads haven’t had any experience with them.) But if you have a son who needs a cup to play sports, you have to educate yourself pretty quickly.
Standing in front of a display of hundreds of athletic cups can be pretty confusing. How do you know which size to buy for your son? Here is some information to help you make that decision.
The first thing to know is, protective cups don’t come in a one-size-fits-all. There are many different sizes and styles to choose from. However, the main purpose of a cup is lift, support and protect a male’s genitals from impact while playing sports.
1. Select a brand and style.
Generally, there are 2 different styles of cups:
“Traditional” triangular shape. The traditional style is shaped like a “V.” It is worn with the narrow end facing downward. Generally, the side that fits against the body is somewhat flat; however, some brands contour to some degree to the body. The penis is lifted up and encapsulated within the cup, along with the testicles, to support and protect them.
Banana shape. Curved like a banana, this cup also has a narrower bottom. However, it’s designed so a male’s genitals can hang downward within the cup.
Which style you choose is more a matter of preference and comfort for your son. Just know that not all traditional and banana cups are the same.
The Spider Guard Competition Cup is a triangular-shaped cup; however, it’s different from other brands. A properly working cup must be able to transfer the energy from a blow through the cup and into the padding along the outer edges and against the body – not against the penis or testicles. Traditional cups made of hard plastic absorb energy from an impact up to a point, but they can still break when too much force is applied. Since the Spider Guard Competition Cup is made of flexible polymer in a web-like design, it absorbs energy from blows better – transferring the energy through the cup and to the body without the risk of crumbling under the force. Additionally, the flexible polymer of the Spider Guard Competition Cup is more comfortable for your son to wear when compared to hard, non-giving plastic.
2. Choose the correct size.
The size of an athletic cup is determined by the male’s age and body mass. Refer to the chart for general sizes based on age, height and weight.
Make sure the cup is big enough to hold all of the genitals and doesn’t just hover over them. Otherwise, the genitals won’t be protected and can become pinched when hit. However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, the cup shouldn’t be too loose. A cup that’s too big will slam into the testicles when hit. This can cause as much pain and injury as if your son wasn’t wearing a cup.
A properly fitted cup will fit firmly and tightly against the body with ample capacity to hold the genitals and plenty of rubber or foam padding along the edges. A cup shouldn’t shift and move during vigorous sports play. If the cup does move, it isn’t correctly fitted and can leave your son unprotected if contact does occur.