What are the best goalie pads 2020? This is a pretty subjective question, depending on who you ask. For some, the answer may be Bauer. For others, the answer may be Vaughn. Or, you could meet in the middle. We should point out before we start though, these are not the best goalies pads for beginners. In this article we’re covering the top line pads, period. That takes price out of it.
In this article, we’re going to take price out of it. The price of a brand new set of goalie gear will range anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on what you consider an entire set. On top of that, the price from brand to brand changes.
These are the best goalie pads this year.
- Brian’s OPTIK 2
- Warrior GT2
- Warrior G4
- Bauer Vapor 2X
- CCM E Flex 4
- Vaughn Ventus SLR2
- Bauer 2S
- CCM Premier 2
- Vaughn Velocity VE8
|Pad Image||Pad Name||Description||Price at GoalieMonkey||Price at PureGoalie|
|Brian's OPTIK 2||Best for performance and durability.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|Warrior GT2||2nd best pad due to lack of customizable graphics.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|Warrior G4||Cannot go wrong with Warrior.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|Bauer Vapor 2X||Performance as good or better than OPTIK 2. 4th because of durability.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|CCM E Flex 4||One of the most popular pads worn in the NHL.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|Vaughn Ventus SLR2||Another favorite NHL pad.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|Bauer 2S||Preceded the Vapor 2X, less durable than 2X.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|CCM Premier 2||Slightly slower playing pad than the Bauer 2S.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|Vaughn Velocity VE8||Great all around pad line used up to the NHL.||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
It’s important to note that for every set of goalie pads out there, there are lower end models of the same line. While many ultimately decide simply based on the brand of gear they’ve always used, the best goalie pads are the ones that work well for you. Keep that in mind as you go through your gear search.
Here are the Best Goalie Pads 2020
Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind certain key factors such as durability. The most durable goalie pads are not also the highest performing. This is due to the fact that performance is often associated with weight, and the best performing goalie pads do not necessarily use the heaviest or most durable material.
Brian’s OPTIK 2
I absolutely love Brian’s. The Brian’s OPTIK 2 are the single best goalie pad on the market if you take money out of the equation. If you’re looking for the most durable goalie pad, as well as the highest performing gear, I firmly believe that you cannot go wrong with anything from Brian’s or Warrior.
With that being said, the OPTIK 2 is a better option for somebody who wants a top of the line custom pad. Brian’s may not be able to do what Bauer’s digital printing does, but they cannot be touched in terms of high quality custom.
- Of every glove we tried this year, the OPTIK 2 glove was our top goalie glove
Honestly, there isn’t a ton of difference between the GT2 and the G4 lines, other than the GT2 was released more recently. Warrior will be out with a new line soon, so now is the perfect time to pick up a set of GT2’s or G4 gear. We tested the GT2 extensively, during the time we were using the Bauer Vapor 2X line on a daily basis.
Performance wise, the GT2 set and the Bauer Vapor 2X were just about equal. Warrior has the upper hand on the durability end of things, even if Bauer is pushing closer and closer. I seriously think that this comes down to customization.
The biggest thing I personally was not a fan of with these Warrior pads was the sliding capability. Yes, they slide like butter. But the Airslide on the G4 lineup is unbelievable. Oh well, I guess.
The legendary Goalie Gear Nerd famously said that the Warrior G4 was “the most surprising piece of gear that we’ve tested this year.” He went on to say that of any glove that they tested, the G4 arrived the most broken in. Personally, I think that goalies should absolutely use different brands for both leg pads and their gloves (if they like a certain brand of gloves better).
Bauer Vapor 2X
The Bauer Vapor 2X series is the 4th best pad series on the market right now, here’s why. When it comes to a “best of the best” style article about goalie equipment, we consider these things. First, cost compared to performance. Second, durability, third, the ability to customize.
After using these for nearly a year, part of which was an actual 30+ game season of high level hockey: I believe that the Vapor 2X pad is the most durable of Bauer’s Vapor / Supreme pads in recent years.
The Bauer Vapor 2X line entered the market as one of the more expensive pad options for goalies. Then, Bauer changed the game and started to allow digital printing for everybody. As it stands, these pads perform just as well if not better (depending on who you ask) as the Brian’s OPTIK 2, the GT2, or the G4.
CCM E Flex 4
The stock graphic on the new E Flex 4 is one of the better stock graphics on gear. It’s far better than the graphic on the Vapor pads, but not quite as good as the OPTIK 2 stock graphic.
Graphics aside, the E Flex 4 is a tremendous pad in terms of durability and performance. Actually, I think that durability wise it’s comparable to the Brian’s OPTIK 2.
I think that the E Flex 4 is truly the best all around setup, if you want to buy a matching, complete set. Bauer’s glove improved quite a bit from the 2S to the 2X, but it’s not quite as good as the 590 break made famous by Lefebvre (CCM). More on that another day.
Out of the box, you won’t go wrong with a custom set of E Flex 4 gear. Of all goalie gear on the market, you’re most likely to like the CCM glove. CCM is also a great glove for beginners, as it’s the most natural feeling. It may not be the most broken in right out of the box (Warrior and Brian’s get that nod), but it’s one of the most widely used for good reason.
- The ice seal with the E Flex 4 is one of the best on the market
- CCM Speed Skin is comparable to Bauer’s sliding gusset on Vapor / Supreme lines
- The CCM E Flex 4 is most versatile goalie pad
- Break in period on glove is longer than other brands
- No custom graphic option
Vaughn Ventus SLR2
Vaughn has been the brunt of a lot of criticsm in recent years. While many brands were innovating, Vaughn stood behind what they know best. A solid pad built to last a long time, with customization options for goalies.
I’m always a bit surprised with Vaughns representation in the NHL, with the options available to professional goalies. However, it’s a testament to their build and performance. The Ventus SLR pads are a true butterfly style goalie pad, though I’m not sure that term makes any sense these days.
- The best rebound control pad from Vaughn, ever
- Flat pad face design
- Extended break in period
- Vaughn pads have a tendency to “break down” faster than other brands
- Vaughn gloves are typically not loved
- Incredibly light
- One of the best goalie pads for the money on the market, still
- Superior rebound control
- Notorious for their durability, which trails other leading brands like Warrior and Brian’s.
CCM Premier 2
Vaughn Velocity VE8
Can’t afford any of these? Here are the best quality, affordable pads
It’s hard to believe that the days of the Bauer 2S and the CCM Premier 2 are for the most part behind us, even though they’re still being used in the NHL. And we probably could include them on the top pads for this year, but I don’t think it makes a ton of sense.
These would be great buys if you’re wanting a top of the line pad on a budget, but they’re not going to feature the technology that each pad company gets to sell on a yearly basis.
Top equipment of 2019