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How to Choose New Gear Advice


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Hi all,

I'm in the market to replace my gear but have no idea how to decide what is right for me. There seem to be endless options (open or closed leg channel, sliding toe bridge, single/double break, Professor Strap, that weird Y velcro strap, +1/+2, flat face/knee rolls, etc) and I have no idea how to choose between them all. What are the things you consider when choosing those options?

When I started playing goal butterfly hadn't taken off yet. I grew up in Reactors (think Mike Richter) and used those through college. I then got some V3s on clearance and have used those ever since. I never put much thought towards gear before. I just went off the shelf and strapped them on.

Now that the V3s have been worn out, I'm looking to get the right pads for me. I'm looking at Passau, Brown, Factory Mad, McKenney, etc for something custom and want to make sure I get it right. For anyone else who has gone custom, how did you choose between those brands when you couldn't see/touch them beforehand?

My issues with the V3s are that I'm under rotating and the thigh rises are pulling up and off the ice. I'm kind of lost if that has anything to do with their build vs CCM/Bauer or strapping or something else.

I do have a narrow butterfly and am short (5'6") so I'm pretty dependent on mobility and movement to cover the net. I've always tried to strap my pads tight so they "stick" on my legs and don't get get lost as I move around.

Any help/comments/suggestions anyone has is greatly appreciated.


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Where to start here... first, it just sounds like your pads are worn out, though strapping could be the cause of under-rotation. Professor strap basically keeps the pad tighter at the calf beneath the knee. I use an elastic version of that. But with the modern pad with good rotation, you need to be tight below the knee and looser everywhere else. Of course you may not like that and want to go for multiple, traditional leather straps like what were used for 50+ years prior.

Modern elastics are the way of the future. They help keep your straps tight to the leg whilst allowing good rotation. I think elastics may tick the box for you in keeping the pad on your leg. 

Pads that allow you to mod as you wish would probably be very good for you. PAW @Beccaraptor made me a VERY nice pad that allows for elastics, nylon web or leather straps. I have found this to be a very modular design. I go back and forth on the one-piece knee/calf flap (my spec), but it actually has turned out to be a good thing. She makes one HELL of a pad. Factory Mad makes a fine pad, and his pad is HIGHLY moddable. I, like you have a narrow butterfly and am not much taller than you. Pre-s-shaped pads may do well for you as far as helping close that 5 hole in the butterfly.

As far as not getting to see the pads before hand, that is where consultation comes into play. Sara (PAW) and Dennis (Factory Mad) will talk to you. I have never used a Factory pad, but am VERY familiar with his gloves. But the common thread between these two is that they will guide you into getting you the right pad. 

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@MaskedMan13 - my simple answer would be to work with Factory Mad. If that's on your radar and you're in older Vaughn, it's a perfect scenario. 

You can show Dennis pics of the wear in your V3s, explain your issues, and let him build something bespoke for you. 

If you're open to trying to something completely different, let us know where your game is at today? 

- 90% butterfly or mixing in different reaction style saves? 

- like to wear your pads tight or loose?

- how often do you Butterfly slide? 

- do you wear knee pads under your pads?

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Thanks for the replies so far.

@bunnyman666 - I've stopped using the strap above the knee and keep the elastic knee lock and quick clip (?) strap there fairly tight. The leather straps at my calf and ankle are pretty loose. I run one boot strap behind my heel (no Lundy loop but I have been doing this since I starting playing 20 years ago) and keep that tight. The boot strap under my skate has some slack.

@MTH - that bank closed around the time I got married/moved out/and got into a career. I wish that was still an option.

@TheGoalNet - that's kind of the crux of my question. Is a Vaughn pad the best for me? That just happened to be what I could afford at the time I needed pads. Maybe Bauer or CCM or Brian's would be better.

-I'm more of a reaction goalie than blocking butterfly. Now, a lot of that time the reaction is to butterfly but I still make stand up saves, stack the pads, stand at the posts instead of VH/RVH. I guess that's hybrid, but does something with knee rolls instead of a flat face actually make much difference?


-I'll stay up for as long as I can. Use t-pushes for most of my movement but if I'm down I'll slide as needed

-I took off my thigh boards as it seemed they were preventing my from closing my five hole and moved to Vaughn knee pads. Though, I'm not happy with them. I've had a few hit just the knee pad and felt it more than I'd like.

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Knee rolls are pretty well cosmetic these days. Since the days of stuffed pads ended, they were only put on to “look” right. 

Now- do you want double breaks?

Possibly. I found out that I need breaks. As far as a brand name, I would not count on a brand name, per se. Yes, CCM look soft but are stiff, etc., etc. Vaughn is actually trying to get out of the soft pad business, though it looks like Quick is getting new, older generation pads still. Bauer have stiff, and not so stiff. Warrior are the same way, but of course are executing in a different way. There are great write ups on these, but impressions are still subjective, as people are testing these.  

You would benefit from Monkey’s demo programme. For a deposit, they will send a set of what you are thinking about buying and let you try them for a spell. 

Or- if you are serious about Factory Mad, Dennis will let you demo a set. The only thing is, like me, he is less likely to have a set that fit our dimensions.  I had enquired, but Dennis did not have any that fit me to demo at the time. Find the Factory Mad site and give Dennis a ring.

Or you could hit up Sara @Beccaraptor as she made me a set I was really happy with.  She has no demo sets, but she has a keen ear and will work with you to get what you require. 

New pads are an investment- investigate and try as many as you can before plunking down your ducats.  


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If you're used to Vaughn Velocity type of pad I would stick with it.  I found that out the hard way when I jumped from my old Bauer Reactor 4 pads into a beautiful set of Bauer one95.  The One95 set lasted a period before I realized that flat faced butterfly pads are not for me.  I put my Reactors on during the intermission and never wore the one95 set again.  I was advised to try Velocities and ended up loving them.  Ordered my first custom V4 7600s the next day.  I spent a few years in those and am now in Vaughn V6 2000s.  If it ain't broke don't fix it.  I'll admit that even the Velocity V7 and now the V8(or VE8) is going to be a little different than what you're used to.  Your best bet is to get to a store and see what you like.  From there you can branch off to other styled pads.  Or at least have an idea to tell the likes of Factory Mad, Brian's, Passau, Brown, Mckenney what you are looking for in a pad and they can build accordingly.

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