Many groin guard options are sport-specific, but others are used for general sports protection. Groin guards are sometimes known as cups, sports cups, or athletic supporters, and they are available in male and female versions. To choose the best groin guard, first make a few basic decisions: decide what gender you will be purchasing the cup for, research whether there is a sport-specific option for the sport you intend to play, determine the size of groin guard you will need, and assess whether you have any special needs you will need to take into consideration when choosing a groin guard that fits you.
Many martial arts, boxing, and other fighting sports have sport-specific options for a groin guard. Ice hockey does as well, and the advantages of choosing the sport-specific option over a multi-sport cup are significant. Hockey groin guards for goalies are more commonly known as pelvic protectors, and they protect not only the groin area, but also the lower pelvis and hips. Since a hockey goalie will face pucks that can hit anywhere on the body, the extra protection is necessary to keep the groin and pelvis safe. Most versions of pelvic protectors do not inhibit movement, either, and while the cost of a pelvic protector is generally higher than a regular multi-sport groin guard, the extra protection is well worth the investment.
When choosing a multi-sport groin guard, choose one that fits well first and foremost. Most versions feature an elastic waist band that is several inches wide to keep the entire garment from moving during athletic activity. The protective cup slips into a pouch that is sewn to the front of the elastic waist band, and the top of the pouch is secured closed by two snap buttons. The best groin guards of this variety also have straps that connect the back of the elastic waist band to the bottom of the cup pouch to further secure the garment in place.
Other multi-sport groin guards are sewn into compression shorts, which are tightly fitting shorts that are worn underneath pants or shorts. The compression shorts hug tightly to the body to prevent the garment from shifting during athletic activity, and a pouch in the front of the garment allows a protective cup to be placed inside. The cup, like other protective cups, should be made of a lightweight, hard plastic shell with a rubber lining for comfort. Do not choose a cup without the rubber lining, as comfort and mobility will suffer during athletic activities.