Ice Hockey Goalie Leg Pads
Making saves in hockey is no easy feat. Throughout a game the goalie has to fend off a whole team eager to score, anticipating their moves and trying their best to block shots. Fortunately, leg pads are there to help block the net, as well as protect the goalie from incoming pucks.
What are goalie leg pads used for in ice hockey?
Leg pads strap over the goalie's shins and thighs to give goalies more leverage to cover the net, as well as protect them from high impact blows. The pads can be designed to rebound the puck far away from the goal, or to absorb the shock of the puck and stop it so the goalie can take control with their stick.
Leg pad designs were fairly straightforward when the stand-up stance was once the norm, but as methods of play became more strategic, so did the pads. Over the years, the ways goalies experimented with maneuvering their gear have helped evolve the design of leg pads themselves. In the 1950s, Glen Hall adopted what would become known as the butterfly stance, when a goalie gets to the ground and flares out their leg guards to make a protective wall. The butterfly stance in turn inspired designers to craft butterfly style leg pads, which are some of the most popular today.
Things To Consider
When looking for ice hockey goalie leg pads, you'll want to consider the following:
- What style of goalie pad suits your game?
- How much do you want to spend on goalie pads?
- What brands carry the specific kind of leg pad you want?
- What size goalie leg pads should you get?
Types of Hockey Goalie Leg Pads
Leg pads come in several styles to suit the goalie's preferred stance and method of blocking.
Butterfly leg pads are less flexible, blockier guards meant for goalies who prefer to block with a butterfly style, where the player drops to the ground and flares out the pads to stop the puck. They have a flat, relatively stiff face ideal for rebounding the puck far from the net.
Hybrid leg pads are flexible and lighter for goalies who prefer to rely on their own agility and quickness around the net. The knees have extra creases for easier mobility and flex. They have a softer outer surface which absorbs the impact of the puck and stops it in its tracks rather than rebounding it far away, making it easier to control with the stick.
Goalies should consider the level of protection they'll need when choosing which materials are best suited for their leg pads.
- Nylon: Leg pads with nylon are an affordable option that keeps out moisture and usually wraps around cushioned material. Leg pads with a cushioned outer shell absorb shock to stop the puck.
- Foam: Foam leg guards are popular for their balance of sturdiness and breathability. High-density foam forms the outer shell of the leg pads, while softer low-density foam lines the inner layer for comfort.
- Plastic: Leg pads with a plastic outer shell will ricochet the puck away from the net, unlike softer materials which mainly absorb the shock.
As one of the more important pieces to a goalie's gear, goalie leg pads are produced by a wide variety of different brands. Some of the most popular brands include CCM, Bauer, Vaughn, and Warrior.
- CCM: CCM is a longtime hockey manufacturer renowned specifically for its variety in goalie leg pads. They offer high quality hybrid and butterfly style leg pads, although its butterfly pads are particularly popular.
- Bauer: Bauer offers some of the most affordable leg pads on the market, with good value for beginners and seasoned goalies alike. They also have a luxury line for pro-level hockey.
- Vaughn: Vaughn has served as a reliable gold standard of hockey gear for years, with its pro-level gear especially popular in the NHL.
- Warrior: Warrior is a Boston-based company which is especially well known for the durability of its goalie gear and leg pads. Both beginner's gear and advanced gear come with customizable design options, and pro-level pads have an especially good lightweight design.
A goalie's leg pads can be quite an investment, so they'll want to think carefully about what best fits their needs in the rink.
A good pair of goalie leg pads should last at least three years, although how often someone uses them can have an impact on their lifespan. The finish may become scratched over time since they are constantly taking hits, but their overall structure can last for a long time.
Most goalies who play recreationally will pay around $300 to $700 for high-quality leg pads that will last a long time. Pro-level leg pads are much pricier, typically costing around $1,600 to $2,000, due to their streamlined design and materials.
Goalie leg pads come in youth, junior, intermediate or senior sizes. Below is a breakdown of the recommended sizing for different age groups.
|Youth||< 6||22" - 24"|
|Junior||6-10||25" - 30"|
|Intermediate||11-13||26" - 31"|
|Senior||13+||32" - 38"|
What are goalie leg pads used for?
Leg pads are strapped over the skates and goalie pants as part of the goalie's standard set of gear. They're used to help block the puck from the net and protect the wearer from the impact of the puck. By using certain stances to create a wall with the pads, goalies can rebound the puck away from the net or stop it in its tracks so they can hit it with the stick.
How much do hockey goalie leg pads cost?
Goalie equipment tends to be more costly, and since leg pads are one of the most important pieces of gear they're no exception. The most inexpensive reliable leg pads are at least $100, and more commonly they will cost around $400 to $800 for a good quality brand. Pro goalie leg pads will cost at least $1,000, and generally are priced between $1,500 to $2,000.
What are the types of goalie leg pads?
Butterfly and hybrid leg pads are the two main kinds of leg guards for goalies. Butterfly or blocking leg pads are bulky with a harder, flat surface that rebounds the puck far away from the net. They're good for those who like to stay close to the ground and block via butterfly style. Hybrid leg pads aren't quite as bulky and have a softer, padded outer face which absorbs the shock of the puck and stops it. They're ideals for those who rely on agility and quickness to block.