Beyond being five times stronger than steel, Kevlar is a good shock absorber, too. In fact, Unequal Technologies, which uses it in sports gear, says it's also the No.1 shock suppression material in the world. The company already makes insoles out of it to absorb the shock of running in cleats on artificial turf, but is expanding into football pads that do a better job of protecting players from crushing hits. It just hired Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick as its spokesman. After returning from a rib injury when he got sandwiched between two defenders earlier this season, he reportedly wore Unequal pads for the rest of his games. The NFL is considering mandatory thigh and knee pads that players sometimes abandon in order to gain speed and mobility at the expense of injury.