Padding is thin cushioned material sometimes added to clothes. Padding may also be referred to as batting when used as a layer in lining quilts or as a packaging or stuffing material. When padding is used in clothes, it is often done in an attempt to soften impacts on certain zones of the body or enhance appearance by 'improving' a physical feature, often a sexually significant one.
Some padding is added to emphasize particular physical features that are usually not present. Women, for instance, rarely have prominent shoulders, but for some years shoulder pads have been added to dresses (blouses, etc.). The effect was unnatural for women, but gave them a more masculine outline which was sometimes thought to be of benefit in business situations.
Padding in undergarments is also used by some crossdressers. This may include a form of padding in the shape of male genitals worn in the underwear of a female who is passing as a male, or hip and buttock padding worn by a male who is passing as a female.
Padding is also added to clothing for insulation or cushioning reasons. Thus, many coats and outergarments (especially those for outdoor use in cold climates) are padded with such materials as felt or down or feathers or artificial insulations. Cushioning padding is included in some sporting goods, especially those intended for use in combat sports (e.g., fencing, some martial arts, etc.). Garments intended for actual use in combat were once commonly padded (e.g., by the ancient Greeks under armor, or by the Japanese until the mid-19th century), but have largely been replaced by light armor made of, for instance, Kevlar. If included in a vest, such armor makes a bullet-proof vest. Padding is also used by athletes in sports where friction is an issue, most notably in cycling shorts where it is termed a cycling pad.