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Impact Vests 2024 Retail Buyer’s Guide

What is new for Impact Vests in 2024 and what does the market look like? Our Retail Buyer’s Guide by Anna Langer is full of insights.


While Follow and O’Neill talk about a “covid hangover”, feeling the “entire market is in a bit of recovery mode” with “high levels of inventory saturating the market”, there definitely is promise for more growth. Jetpilot has found that despite fluctuation, the “sentiment in the marketplace seems a lot more positive compared to this time last year and continues to improve,” commented Kolyn Howard, Jetpilot Brand Manager. Liquid Force reported a great 2023, Ride Engine are seeing steady demand in both their wind-based impact protection and in their wake offering, whilst WIP talk about “steady growth, with increased demand in various water sports disciplines. More and more hydrofoil sailors are recognizing the dangers of falling onto foils and are equipping themselves accordingly.”

Which is no big surprise, as following on from previous years, the foil market is still where numbers are rising constantly. “Foiling is the name of the game for 2024. We’re talking boat, hand wings, ocean surf – you name it. Our vests aren’t just for riding at the cable. They’re the go-to for foiling fiends craving protection, flexibility, and that unmistakable Liquid Force style,” states Rich Jonas, Global Marketing Manager. Jetpilot has also noticed a growing number of consumers expressing interest: “This increase has only amplified the demand for multipurpose vests to cater to diverse water sport needs.” WIP argue that “people who also practice Wind are getting older and want now to protect themselves” and Ride Engine’s Marketing Director / Product Line Manager Gary Siskar adds that they are seeing continuing growth in wing foiling and big air kiteboarding but also note “a keen interest among wake dealers for innovative and fresh brands as alternatives to established heritage brands.”

Last but not least, Follow mention really strong sales in their women’s range. “Follow puts a lot of effort into the fits and colours options for the female range. We don’t treat it as a girl’s version with black and pink. We put as much effort into the female range as any Follow product.”


 When it comes to trends, it’s not so easy to single out special themes for 2024, as many factors seem to intertwine. “There is still a trend with consumers chasing a vest that has sleek style lines with thin construction that is comfortable and does not comprise on safety all whilst being sustainably sourced,” says Jetpilot who have catered for this with the introduction of Ecoprene and continuous work on their 360-stretch neoprene. O’Neill agree that they see “it’s all about the perfect combination of fit and protection whilst using the lightest materials available. When it comes to protection low profiles and 360-degree protection are in high demand.”

For WIP, the main trends in the impact vest market revolve around product versatility and durability. “It’s worth noting that even the slower-moving riders want to protect themselves to avoid the silly injury that could easily have been avoided with an impact vest” says Mathis Bourgnon, Sport Marketing Manager, while in their opinion the criterion of vest weight takes a back seat to the decision. He adds that “there is also a more complicated trend that riders want to protect themselves with highly visible helmets but with an impact vest that is more sober in colour, darker and more discreet. Head protection is cool, body protection is in progress.”


Durability is also mentioned as an emerging key factor, with consumers showing a preference for environmentally friendly materials and manufacturing processes, according to Bourgnon from WIP. Follow have developed a Recycled Nylon Chevron material, using close to 80 plastic bottles in every vest for not much of a price update. Jetpilot continue their recycled Ecoprene, which is also 30% lighter than traditional neoprene: “with a triple-layer construction, this process ensures that Jetpilot maintains its renowned durability and quality.” Liquid Force have increased their use of eco conscious PE foams with no glue that are heat welded together; O’Brien incorporate BioLite into almost all their life jackets for a soft, smooth textural feel and outstanding breathability and O’Neill highlight their unique Nytrolite Foam that is lighter and provides more protection for its size compared to regular foams. There is no point in taking extra weight on the water with you! 

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