Upon retreating from both battles at Lexington and Concord, Britain’s conscription infantry noted that the revolting colonists were alarmingly over-sized compared to the average “red coat.” In fact, the average American colonist outweighed the typical English soldier by two dozen pounds and stood several inches taller. General George Washington was notably intimidating, standing a hair above 6’2″ and weighing slightly over 200 pounds (not to mention wearing a size 13 shoe), when considering most men capped at 5’6″.
As a U.S. history fanboy, this tidbit of knowledge has been a tad appropriate as of late. And although the median weight ratios have swayed dramatically over the past 50 years, American vs. European sizing still needs some slightly better bridging. When ordering a new swathe of test product from Jobe Sports for 2015, we hoped to outfit our slightly taller-than-average 5-year-old a new Youth Progress Neo Vest. Our misreading of Jobe’s size chart resulted in a new Youth Progress Neo Vest for our year-and-a-half-year-old (not to mention a few other items requiring yours truly to shed some unwanted pounds to comfortably fit as well).
Our model Natalie has been using Jobe Sports’ Youth Progress Neo Vest for the past couple of months, providing us enough notes during this testing time to provide our assessment. As one can imagine, comfort is of the utmost importance for a child, and they will vocalize their discomfort without any modicum of hesitation. And we’ve received zero complaints from our toddler, whether bobbing in the pool, sitting on the saddle of a family three-seater runabout, or running through the grass.
Wrapped in a very supple and flexible neoprene skin (that doesn’t heat up dramatically while under the sun) and formed out molded PVC foam, the Progress Neo Vest doesn’t rub or annoy children’s sensitive skin or restrict them from play. The bright pink vest is highly visible and features an attractive stylish star pattern. Attached by a thick-toothed front zipper (safe from pinching fingers or exposed skin) and dual buckles attached to thick-webbed belts, it cinches up snug and wraps your child safely.
The Progress Neo vest does include a D-ring, which is typically included for PWC lanyards and was a little curious as to its inclusion on a toddler’s vest, but laughed at the thought that many manufacturers of adult vests neglect this very convenient feature, yet Jobe includes it for children.
Besides the curious inclusion of a D-ring, there were a couple of notes that bear mentioning: Although the size for S/M vest fit a very average American 20-month-old, the length of the vest seemed a tad long. And priced at just over $100, it also isn’t cheap. Additionally, as vests tend to ride up on children, we wished their was a secondary buckle that looped up from the back to the front as many children’s vest do.
And for those paying close attention, Netherlands-based Jobe Sports does not submit their products for USCG-approval, which is worth noting. Otherwise, we have been absolutely pleased with Jobe Sports’ Progress Neo vest; it’s comfortable, flexible, and provides plenty of floatation while playing. We all want to let our kids have as much on the water as we do, but don’t want to sacrifice their safety, and Jobe manages to cover all the bases perfectly.