Here is my experience with soft and stiff pads.
I play 6-7 times a week, high level nhl players/Ahl/euro/senior AAA to a lot of ex nhl players and beer league ncaa and cis. Also am a practice goalie for whl player camps. Never played anywhere as I went blind in my midget years and didn’t see again until I was 25. But all my buds played pro so when I got my vision back I started playing with canucks alumni and was a Calgary Flames practice goalie.
Im 43 and 5’ 10.5” but can still do side splits and almost full splits(lost the full splits after a groin pull) , however my bfly isn’t very wide. I went from v4 36” to pro return eflex3 35” to warrior g3 35” to Bauer 1x large to ve8 35 to bauer 2x med to Bauer 2s med to JRZ fusion 33” then another Bauer 1x custom large set. I went from a very soft squishy pad (v4) ultimately to a nice stiff pad 1x custom ( 1x boot and slimness, 2s stiffness one knee break no thigh break). All these pads were used in about 1.5 seasons, I spent a lot of money experimenting to find what i played the best in. Actually had my first bauer 1x pads dented by Martin Frk shot this summer... 109 mph😳
I play aggressive bfly and have good mobility in a large pad for my height. ( long shin bones FTK is 20.75”) I keep the pads straight and never curve them. I never get hit in the knees as my bfly closes with the stock thighrise. If I could have gotten 35+.5 I would have.
I find the hard rebounds let me get set for the next shot and gives me extra time to read the play, and see oppositions positioning.
RVH is better seal along the ice with a stiff pad, and I like how it locks against the post. No squeakers. I also wear the pads tight at the knee and tight above the ankle, no boot strap and I use smart straps for toe ties.
Basically you need to demo as many pads as you can to see what fits your style of play, which in my case evolved even when I was in my forties...
best overall pads I used were the JRZ fusions, stiff pad, less stiff boot but not eflex or 2x boot soft. Awesome rebounds, slide as good as my Bauer’s and about 4.8lbs a pad. Too bad I had already ordered my Bauer’s or I would be in the fusions.... however I love my 1x pads and will continue to use until they fall apart (which almost all new bauer pads do)
Duh I just realized this is a 5month old thread