Best Goalie Pads – The ULTIMATE Guide [2019 Update]

When you think of Goaltenders, what is the first thing you think of? Although some would argue the mask, for me it’s all about the pads. But which ones are considered the best goalie pads?

best goalie pads

As you well know, goalie gear especially is not cheap! So finding the right pair of pads right away is always ideal.

At the senior level, I believe there are four outstanding options for the 2019 season. I’ve also included a couple of options for both Intermediate and youth players that should put you well ahead of the curve! So let’s start improving your save percentage.

Senior level Goalie Pads

Let’s first take a look at Senior Level goalie pads. These pads range in sizes from around 32 to 38 inches.

Bauer Vapor X900

These leg pads come in four sizes: small, medium, large, and extra-large, for goalies of all sizes. They also come in four color combinations that include white with black, navy, red, or white. The Bauer Vapor X900 series are also incredibly lightweight, making them a great choice for adult players of all sizes and abilities. In fact, we consider them to be the ideal choice for 2019! They are designed for aggressive goalies and the low weight of pads help goalies move with speed and finesse.

They have a Tapered Flex core that actually adds more padding at the center of the pad, so the sweet spot of the pads provide what the player needs. This taper at the edges helps to reduce the weight of the pads. Despite the reduced thickness at the edges, the pads still provide thorough protection.

Something else to consider with pads for senior players is the way the leg fits in the pads. This model in particular, the leg channel has been updated from previous models, so they are more balanced and comfortable. Bauer has a Tune Fit strapping system that lets the goalie adjust the fit with a dial. The straps keep the pads on the goalie and they allow for rotation, too.

Goalies also love the Thermo Max moisture-wicking liner, because those lightweight pads do get warm during games.

Details

  • Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Pad: Reaction/Hybrid
  • Knee Breaks: External with Two Internal Breaks
  • Width: 11 inches
  • Outside Material: CORTech skin
  • Straps: Three
  • Strap Type: Tune Fit
  • Adjustable Straps: Yes
  • Thigh Protection: X900 Knee Guard
  • Toe Attachment: Stretch Toe Lace
  • (View latest price)

Brians G-Netik Pro 3

This may not be from one of the better-known brands, but Brians makes some outstanding goalie gear!

These Brians G-Netik Pro 3 pads in particular include some impressive technology to protect the goalies from the dangers of the position. They are made of materials called Airknit/Defender that keep the weight low and the protection high. These materials also make the pads look great, too. They have a modern profile with a single outside break to increase durability. The break allows for a flexible and strong knee guard system that allows for substantial mobility during games and practice.

The knees are one of the best parts of these pads. They have a Smart Strap system that keeps the pads secure. They make the rebounds predictable for the goalie and defenders. The flat-face designs improve the look of these attractive pads over previous models.

On the inside, these goalie pads are tough, but should feel soft. The core is flexible so your knees will feel free on the inside. The knees are cradled comfortably in the Hex-Air Molded Knee Cradle and they seal when the goalie goes into the butterfly. For added comfort, Brians added a beveled thigh that does not need bindings and they added an X-Static Airknit leg channel that is antimicrobial and moisture wicking, too. Even the toe straps are high tech and smart.

Details

  • Weight: 4.98 pounds
  • Pad: Reaction/Hybrid
  • Knee Breaks: External with Two Internal Breaks
  • Width: 11 inches
  • Outside: Synthetic Leather
  • Straps: Four
  • Strap Type: Smart X Strap
  • Adjustable Straps: Yes
  • Thigh Protection: Removable Knee Guard
  • Toe Attachment: Smart Toe Lace
  • (View latest price)

Warrior Ritual G3 Pro

These are slick hockey leg pads, not in the slippery sense, but in how awesome they are when you put them on and take to the ice.

The Ritual G3 Pro pads are designed for goalies who like the butterfly and really use their legs to block the puck. The padding is substantial. When using these pads, once in the butterfly to block shots, there is very little way that a puck could get through!

These are great pads for smaller goalies as well, simply because the pads are so lightweight. But, they are perfect for goalies of all sizes, who simply want pads that allow them a wide range of mobility and flexibility on the ice.

These elite-level pads slide along the ice with very little effort. This way, goalies can focus on stopping the puck rather than what’s happening on the ice. They have adjustable straps, which can be placed differently based on what tension the goaltender prefers on the backs of their legs. The neoprene straps are high tech and help wrap the lower part of the pad around the leg. You can’t go wrong with the Warrior Ritual G3 Pro – they look great, should feel great, and most importantly protect with strong and durable padding.

Details

  • Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Pad: Blocking/Butterfly
  • Knee Breaks: External with Two Internal Breaks
  • Width: 11 inches
  • Outside: Jenpro
  • Straps: Three
  • Strap Type: Velcro, Neoprene, Elastic
  • Adjustable Straps: Yes
  • Thigh Protection: Ritual Knee Guards
  • Toe Attachment: Elastic Toe Clip
  • (View latest price)

Bauer Vapor 1X OD1N

Pure Hockey Banner

Although not a huge surprise, if you’ve read other posts of ours, you can tell we like the Bauer Vapor product line. Every single piece, from skates to sticks to gear, has elements that set them apart from other brands and product lines. Bauer knows hockey and it shows in the gear.

When Bauer says these are designed for aggressive goalies, they are not lying with the Vapor 1X OD1N series!

These are for goalies who move quickly to block pucks that come their way. They respond due to the Tapered Flex Core and the lightweight design. The tapered shape should make it easy for goalies to get down and block shots. Then, they can pop back up and do it all over again.

The straps have a dial that allows the goalie to customize the fit for perfect rotation. They make the pads feel balanced and the stretch lace toe tie keeps them in place. Goalies appreciate the way that these pads stay in place and in true Bauer style, they do it better than the rest. With the straps holding everything firmly in place, goalies can focus on the game rather than having to constantly adjust the straps during practice and play.

On the inside, Bauer added a lightweight, durable core that keeps the pads manageable. They’ve got good knee protection that gives the leg a substantial range of motion. Bauer also put a liner that lets air flow to prevent that unpleasant hockey gear smell.

Details

  • Weight: 4.65 pounds
  • Pad: Reaction/Hybrid
  • Knee Breaks: Two Internal Breaks
  • Width: 11 inches
  • Outside: C.O.R.Tech
  • Straps: Three
  • Strap Type: Tune Fit
  • Adjustable Straps: Yes
  • Thigh Protection: 1X Knee Guard
  • Toe Attachment: Stretch Toe Lace
  • (View latest price)

Intermediate Goalie Pads

Next we will take a deeper dive into Intermediate pads that range in sizes from around 29 to 32 inches.

Vaughn XFP Pro

Growing hockey players need good gear that is designed for their size and shape. Vaughn makes decent pads at an affordable price.

In most cases, there is very little reason to spend big dollars on intermediate gear, because it will only fit for a short time. Vaughn understands this and has made durable gear that has plenty of protective padding to keep intermediate hockey goalies in the crease.

Kids who play with these pads should not complain. They promise to stay put and protect goalies from hard-hit shots.

For butterfly styled goalies, the XFP Pro series are designed so the player can get back up with ease. They also have a predictable rebound control which will be a big benefit for your defense!

The straps are adjustable so the pads can fit perfectly, even as the hockey player grows throughout the season. Kids also like the way these pads look as the colors and designs look like what the pros wear.

Details

  • Weight: Varies based on size
  • Pad: Reaction/Hybrid
  • Knee Breaks: External with Two Internal Breaks
  • Width: 10.5 inches
  • Outside: JenPro
  • Straps: Six
  • Strap Type: Elastic, Leather, and Nylon Clip
  • Adjustable Straps: Yes
  • Toe Attachment: Toe Ties
  • (View latest price)

Brians G-Netik 5.0

Intermediate hockey players should love these G-Netik 5.0 pads because they have plenty of motion in the knees, since they do not have binding on the stack. Without the binding on the knees, players can slide quickly and they can flop into the butterfly, too. They seal to the ice so there is very little change the puck is sliding under these pads.

Brians makes it possible for young goalies to have pads that fit, are durable, lightweight, and not overly priced.

These have a thin thigh rise to allow for movement, as intermediate players need that to learn the position. There’s plenty of cushioning in the leg channel, which young goalies also appreciate as pucks begin to come in faster at the intermediate level than at the youth level.

Goalies and their parents can also add a special strap system, the Smart Strap system, or they can go with the standard straps. Parents can also rest assured that their child’s legs will be protected as the pads wrap around the calves.

Details

  • Weight: Varies based on size
  • Pad: Reaction/Hybrid
  • Knee Breaks: Two
  • Width: 10.5 inches
  • Outside: Microfiber
  • Straps: Six
  • Strap Type: Elastic, with options for Leather
  • Adjustable Straps: Yes
  • Toe Attachment: Toe Ties
  • (View latest price)

Youth & Junior Goalie Pads

The final section of leg protection we will look at are geared more towards the Youth / Junior goaltenders. These pads range in sizes from 20 to 30 inches, and aren’t nearly expensive as their Intermediate and Senior counterparts. After all at this stage the focus is primarily on learning the position and not on getting in front of 100 mph slap shots!

CCM YFlex

When your kid wants to be goalie, the CCM YFlex pads will help him learn the position and the game. This is due to the confidence young goalies get while playing in high-quality CCM YFlex pads.

These are durable and flexible with the perfect fit. They look great, too, so your youth league player will feel like he’s already in the pros.

What separates the YFlex from the rest is the outer-break and pre-curved double-break core. Other pads do not provide this much flexibility that allows young players to close up possible holes that pucks manage to find.

The knee cradle is made of a soft foam that is forgiving for young players who are busy growing (which is going to happen a lot!). Whether your hockey player is learning the butterfly or a reaction-style of play, the CCM YFlex will support the player’s growth physically and athletically.

Details

  • Weight: Varies based on size
  • Knee Breaks: Single
  • Width: 8 inches
  • Outside: Microfiber and Nylon
  • Straps: Four
  • Strap Type: Nylon and Leather
  • Toe Attachment: Toe Strap
  • (View latest price)

Brians Net Zero

Last but not least in our look at the best goalie pads for the 2019 season are the Brains Net Zero pads.

Younger players need to be able to focus on the game and the puck, not on adjusting pads, straps, and other gear. The Net Zero pads from Brians are perfect for a young players looking to learn the game & goaltender position. They are easy to get on, which is important for parents who usually have to help their young players. They are also lightweight and durable – two more big pluses for parents and their kids.

Young hockey players will probably like how comfortable these pads feel, and parents will certainly love the low price.

Brians Net Zero pads are soft, yet durable, and they come with the Smart Strap system that makes them easy to put on and take off. The straps allow for a customized fit and they do it better than the rest of the youth league goalie pads. They are flat faced, so rebounds are predictable – remember, the defensive players are learning, too.

Your young goalie will hopefully learn to love the position while wearing these pads. They help players learn the game as they build confidence and comfort in the crease.

Details

  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Knee Breaks: Two Internal, Two External
  • Width: 8 inches
  • Outside: Microfiber and Nylon
  • Straps: Four
  • Strap Type: Elastic, Nylon Clip, Leather, Buckle
  • Toe Attachment: Toe Ties
  • (View latest price)

Importance of Goalie Pads

Goalie gear is as important to the goalie as the goalie is to the game.

Without the best gear, goalies cannot give their best simply for fear of getting hurt. Goalie pads represent a line of defense for those who are bombarded with flying pucks. Some consideration to make when looking at the right set of pads include:

  • Experience level
  • Budget
  • League
  • And much more…

What the best pads offer a Goalie

The best goalie pads should protect the player from flying pucks and – at the same time – should allow the goalie to move, with some flexibility. It is vitally important that goalie gear fits, because pucks might not seem smart, but they have a way of finding those places where the goalie gear might not fit its best. Along with allowing the goalie to move, goalie pads should also be lightweight so the goalie can work hard the entire game – every single game. When goalie gear weighs too much, players tire out quickly.

Goalie equipment often comes in three-piece sets with leg pads, a stick, and a helmet. These can be useful sets for a new goalie, especially in rookie youth leagues. But, as players develop, those goalie combo sets are not the best way to buy gear. Instead, it is best to buy gear that players like – which often means mixing brands and models. Goalie leg pads that are sold individually usually have more features than the lesser models that come in combo sets.

In conclusion…

Of all of the positions on the ice, the goalie needs the most gear. And, that gear is not cheap.

Considering how protective these pieces are, price often reflects the quality of the gear as well as the technology of the padding. After all – having the top pads around your legs also makes you feel invincible!

Hockey players get better as they age, so youth gear usually does not have the same performance necessities as the gear that senior players wear. Young players do not send the puck flying at the same rate as older players do.

But, youth and intermediate players still need good gear to protect from the power of the puck and the slashes of sticks.

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