It’s June of, 2021. I never thought you’d get here. Aside from the elephant in the room, this year featured more goalie pads news than any in the past decade. From Lefevre breaking ties with CCM to Bauer and Warrior again breaking the goalie pad market, if you’re between the pipes there has never been a better time to buy new goalie pads.
What are the best goalie pads 2021? 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 of the line, best of the best goalie leg pads, period.
This isn’t your grandmas guide to finding the right goalie leg pads. We’ve trained hundreds of elite goalies here at Goalie Coaches. We work closely with goalies who play in the NHL and require the best of the best.
To be crystal clear, these are the same pro level goalie pads your favorite NHL goalie is wearing.
Before we jump into our list, 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.
|Rank||Pad Name||Pad Image||Description||Price at GoalieMonkey||Price at PureGoalie|
|#1||Lefevre L2o.1 (Best Overall)||Best Overall||PureGoalie|
|#2||Warrior Ritual G5 Pro (Most Innovative)||Most Innovative||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|#3||Bauer Supreme Ultra Sonic (Best Rebound Control)||Best for performance||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|#4||Brian's OPTIK 2||Popular for durability and performance||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|#5||Vaughn Velocity V9 Pro Carbon||Popular for durability||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|#6||CCM Axis Pro||Popular for comfort||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|#7||Warrior GT2||Comfortable pads with great sliding abilities||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|#8||Bauer Vapor 2X||Simple and lightweight pair of pads||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|#9||CCM E Flex 4||Most popular goalie pad in the NHL during 2020||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
|#10||Vaughn Ventus SLR2||Durable and stiff pair of pads||GoalieMonkey||PureGoalie|
Best Goalie Pads 2021
For your money, the best goalie pads on the market today are the Lefevre L20.1 series.
Goalie leg pads have changed quite a bit over the years. In the past, leg pad manufacturers simply focused on making the lightest weight pads. Today, light weight matters, but so does important things like rebound control and strapping.
It’s also important to keep in mind certain key factors such as durability. The most durable goalie pads are not always 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. In some cases, you can get the best of both worlds however.
Another thing to consider, the toe ties. If you’re buying Warrior, CCM, or Bauer, the toe ties are thin. If you’re going after Brian’s, the toe ties are a lot thicker (although, still very mobile).
True L20.1 (Best Overall)
The True L.20.1 goalie pads are the consensus number one pair goalie pads for 2021. These are some of the newest released goalie pads on the market. Lefevre broke ties with CCM and immediately broke the goalie internet. The L.20.1 are their first set of gear not currently branded CCM.
These are a lightweight and stiff pair of goalie pads, with really solid mobility. The stiff internal board clears rebounds quickly and the Fast Rotation System creates a very elusive and responsive set of goalie pads.
While being very mobile for a pair of stiff goalie pads, they’re not quite as agile as other soft goalie pads on the market. Some goalies are more likely to prefer pads such as the L.12.1 pads from Lefevre over these ones. Simply because they are far more flexible and you can move a lot easier in them.
Overview of the L20.1 Goalie Pads
Listen, if you aren’t sure who or where Lefevre came from, we’ve an article explaining everything on the site here. But let me start with saying that you can most definitely trust these guys, and you probably have if you’ve worn CCM pads before.
These are some of the best all around goalie pads that you can get for this season, for a couple reasons. One, True (Lefevre) makes very high quality and durable gear. Like I said, if you’ve worn CCM goalie pads before, you were most likely wearing pads that were built by Lefevre.
Two, these goalie pads are very lightweight. And to stay in the game for the best goalie pads in 2021, you have to have lightweight equipment. The L20.1 pads won’t disappoint in this category.
Three, they’re designed for optimal movement, despite the stiff internal board. They feature what is called the Fast Rotation System (FRS) and essentially what it does is makes dropping into the butterfly quicker. It removes any restrictions that may have previously gotten in the way, allowing for a clean drop. These pads also sit higher up on the leg which helps create space to move well. The boot is also flexible and set at 90 degrees, allowing for maximum mobility in the ankles.
And lastly, and maybe the most important aspect of these goalie pads are how well these pads clear rebounds. Because they are a stiffer pad, there’s obviously going to be less energy lost when the puck hits the pad, which results in the puck bouncing well out of the crease.
Warrior Ritual G5 Pro (Most Innovative)
Warrior's latest and best goalie pads on the market. These are especially lightweight with solid rebound control.
The Warrior Ritual G5 Pro+ goalie pads are the second best and most innovative goalie pads you can get. For many years I’ve been very impressed with the quality of gear that Warrior has been releasing to the public, especially with their goalie sticks, but these pads are on a whole new level.
While Warrior leg pads aren’t currently used in the NHL, they are absolutely a pro level goalie pad. Warrior has created a reputation of pushing the envelope, and the G5 series is no different.
The Warrior Ritual G5 Pro+ goalie pads are very technologically advanced. They feature what is called CoverEdge+ technology that cuts off the angle to the shooter better than other pads. Essentially taking up more space in the net, without doing any additional work. These are also very comfortable to wear and super mobile. I’m personally a huge fan of these pads and think that they’re highly underrated.
As a fan of stiff internal board goalie pads, these don’t really fit that bill. They’re decently stiff, but not quite like the L20.1 pads or the Bauer UltraSonics. This does make these pads almost perfect for those of you that prefer a somewhat stiff yet somewhat not stiff pads.
Warrior Ritual G5 Pro Overview
If you haven’t worn Warrior goalie pads before, you might be skeptical. “But Tyler, no NHL goalie wears Warrrior!” Yeah yeah, I hear you. I’m actually super disappointed that there isn’t an NHL goalie wearing the brand, simply because I think they could be waaay more attention then they have right now. These pads are super advanced, but highly underrated.
For one, the G5 Pro’s are super lightweight. As I said with the Lefevre goalie pads above, elite pads HAVE to be lightweight in this day and age. These ones are exactly that, very lightweight.
Two, these pads are super comfortable, easy to wear and easy to move around in. The leg channel features what is called “ActiveDrop” and it’s very similar to the Fast Rotation System in the L20.1 pads. It creates a clean drop into the butterfly from the upright position. Taking up more space in the butterfly area, while also allowing you to hold your edges longer.
Three, Warrior pads are actually very durable. Whether it’s the material they use, the design of the pads, or a combination of both – I’m not sure, but these goalie pads are built to last. But then again, nobody sees this aspect of Warrior because not a lot of people are wearing them, unfortunately.
Four, Warrior has brought back the Airslide technology that they introduced in their GT2 Pro lineup of pads. Airslide is where Warrior implemented grooves on the sliding surface of the pads to increase the slip. There’s less sliding surface on the pad actually touching the ice, which decreases the amount of friction as well. It’s an interesting yet very unique concept that works, especially for late in the game when the ice is torn up in the crease.
And the last feature on these pads that I want to talk about is the CoverEdge+. This is something that we have not seen from any goalie brand to date, unless my knowledge is missing me somewhere. But what this does for you is adds a tilt to the tops of the pads, cutting off the angle to net better.
Think of it like you are skating out to challenge the shooter. The angle of your stance and the distance you are to the net, affect how much room the goalie has to score. The further out you are, the more net you’re going to cut off. The problem with going out to far though is that you might end up getting caught, especially if it’s a two-on-one or two-on-zero.
The CoverEdge+ will help take off that net surface area, even though you might be further back in the net.
Bauer Supreme UltraSonic (Best Rebound Control)
If you are looking for a pair of goalie pads that have supreme rebound control and overall performance, the Bauer Supreme UltraSonic goalie pads are the way to go.
Bauer has been the most popular goalie pad brand on the market for creating EXTREMELY lightweight goalie pads with incredible rebound control. I mean pucks are just bouncing off of these pads out to the blue line no problem. The UltraSonics are (obviously) in the same boat as those other Bauer pads, except better now in a lot of ways. If you are ultimately looking for a high performing pair of goalie pads, these are them. Check for the best price of them here.
I’m a sucker for lightweight goalie pads.. I just am. But the problem with Bauer is that they’re notorious for creating goalie pads that just don’t last. The Bauer Vapor 2X Pro goalie pads were a huge improvement over the 2S’s, but there is still room for improvement. Bauer is claiming that the CorTech skin that is wrapped up on the outside of these pads makes these the most durable goalie pads from Bauer in a couple years. I will only believe it when I see it though.
Bauer Supreme UltraSonic Goalie Pads Overview
The Bauer Supreme Utlra Sonic pads are some of the lightest pads that you can get for this season. The biggest problem with Bauer pads in the past was the durability. Finally, Bauer has updated the CorTech Skin to create a more durable external skin. It’s now stronger and less likely to tear or break down. Being that it’s only been a couple months since the release, it’s hard to know for sure the life line of them, but I’m excited to see the upgrades.
New in the UltraSonics is the one-piece knee block. In (most) goalie pads, there are multiple different pads in the knee block, velcro’d together. In the UltraSonics the knee block is only a single piece. What this does for you is creates far better energy transformation from your body to the ice. Helping you move quicker and more efficiently in the butterfly.
It also adds to the stability of the pads, while in the in butterfly.
Something else that I really like in the Supreme UltraSonic goalie pads is the seal on the ice, and in the RVH. These are a squareish looking set of pads, which ultimately helps improve seal. You do have to pay the price with the stiff internal board however to get this.
Lastly, I love the rebound control of these pads. CurvComposite board sends pucks flying off very quickly and with a lot of power. I fell in love with this technology from Bauer when they released the Bauer Supreme 2s Pro pads, and it’s been keeping me inline with Bauer goalie pads since.
Performance-wise, I don’t think that you are really going to find a better pair of goalie pads. They’re super lightweight and comfortable, while also having great rebound control. The biggest problem that these goalie pads might have is the durability, but with the new and improved CorTech skin I think the durability is going to keep these pads alive for a long time.
Vaughn Velocity V9 Pro Carbon
The Vaughn Velocity V9 Pro Carbon pads are an elite pair of goalie pads. New for 2020, they’ve implemented some nice upgrades in these pads compared to previous Vaughn pads. The first one, Quick Slide Technology on the inner channel for better sliding in the crease. Sliding technology amongst every goalie brand has been getting better year after year, and it’s good to see Vaughn upping their game here.
Vaughn has also made some other changes. They’ve put a new board in these pads with a lot more pop to them. Rebounds are sent a bit further than before in previous models. The panel has also been reduced in width to create a thinner pair of pads that weigh less. And finally, the strapping system on the V9 Pro Carbon’s has been changed for the better. The straps are now better fitting and more comfortable than ever.
Vaughn seems to really stick to their designs and models, so it’s fun to see some upgrades in their current lineup.
- Lighter than before
- New, thinner board
- Better rebound control
- Known durability
- Compared to Bauer and Warrior, these pads aren’t very technologically advanced
Brian’s OPTIK 2
While potentially the most underrated goalie pads on the market, the Optik 2 goalie pads impress. They've got a great seal on the ice and can be customized completely.
I absolutely love Brian’s. The Brian’s OPTIK 2 are some of the best goalie pads 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.
Not only are the Optik 2 pads very durable, they are also some of the best performing pads that you can get. They have a great seal on the ice, slippery material on the inside channel and are lightweight. Brian’s also implemented a new strapping system in these pads that create a more comfortable feel while playing hockey.
Lastly, the Optik 2’s have awesome rebound control. Since they are a stiffer pad, pucks bounce very far off of them.
- Great seal on the ice
- Solid slip on ice
- Rebounds fly off these pads
- High quality and pads
- New strapping system
- Lightweight (4.6lbs)
- Some goalies aren’t huge fans of stiff pads
CCM Axis Pro
The Axis Pro goalie pads are a the newest lineup from CCM. They're designed for ultimate comfort and performance.
The CCM Axis Pro goalie pads are CCM’s newest release for 2020. They’re very technologically advanced and lightweight. They are designed for ultimate comfort, protection and lightweight. They are a stiff pad (my favorite) that send pucks flying off into the corner. If you are a wide butterfly goalie, these are also designed for you.
The Axis Pro pads are really an all around quality pair of pads. The seal on the ice is tight, they are slippery in the butterfly, and the rebound control on these pads is pretty good considering the break up with Lefevre. Not only that, but the strapping system is comfortable and easy to adjust. Predator’s goalie Jusse Saros is planning on wearing these for the upcoming NHL play-ins starting in August.
Now, despite all of the positives in these goalie pads, there are also some negatives. For one, they feel kind of weird. If I’m being completely honest. Comfortable, but weird. Two, I don’t know how the quality of these pads are. Or how long they are going to last. In my opinion, if you were a CCM fan before, go with a new pair of Lefevre pads. They will feel more like home to you.
- Good rebound control
- Tight seal on the ice
- Despite all of the positives, they feel a little weird
Warrior GT2 Pro
The Warrior GT2 Pro were the pads that really put Warrior on the map for their innovative technology. These pads are snug but very comfortable and have a great seal on the ice. Especially in the RVH.
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 G5 lineup is unbelievable. Oh well, I guess.
- Super lightweight
- Fast transition from upright to butterfly with a tight seal
- Standard Warrior strapping (very easy to use)
- Tighter leg channel
- Good rebound control
Related: Best Goalie Sticks
Bauer Vapor 2X
The Bauer Vapor 2X Pro goalie pads are a very simple and lightweight set of pads. They feature CorTech Skin and a Curv Composite board that shoot rebounds out of the crease.
The Bauer Vapor 2X series is the 7th 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 only Bauer pads that are more durable than these ones are the Ultra Sonics. But still, the 2X pros were quite durable, and even still they are performing great.
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 other top pads on the market.
- Simple strapping system
- Good rebound control
- Customizable graphic
- Stock graphic
CCM E Flex 4
The CCM Eflex 4 Pro goalie pads were super popular amongst NHL goalie during the 19-20 season. They've got a good seal to the ice and are mobile. Overall a lot of goalies have enjoyed the E Flex 4 pads.
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. (Just my opinion)
Graphics aside, the E Flex 4 is a tremendous pad in terms of durability and performance. They have a nice seal on the ice and are fairly mobile. Many NHL goalies had been using the E Flex 4 pads, until Lefevre released their latest pads. (Most goalies using the E Flex 4’s switched to Lefevre because of similarities.)
I think that the E Flex 4 is truly one of the best all around setups, 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 Lefevre (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
The SLR2 Pro goalie pads are last year's model from Vaughn. They're another simple design with a stiff internal board. Great seal on the ice. Catered for the stand up goalie.
Vaughn has been the brunt of a lot of criticism 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
Related: Best Goalie Skates
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.
Bauer 2S Pro
The Bauer Supreme 2S Pro goalie pads are some of the highest performing pads of its era. They're very lightweight with awesome rebound control. Questions of durability however.
- Incredibly light
- One of the best goalie pads for the money on the market, still
- Superior rebound control
- Reduced price
- Notorious for their durability, which trails other leading brands like Warrior and Brian’s.
Warrior Ritual G5+
The G5+ pads from Warrior are the model below the g5 Pro+ pads. Very similar in performance, these pads are built with slightly less quality materials. Still a great set of pads.
The Warrior Ritual G5+ pads are the next best pads in the new G5 lineup, underneath the G5 Pro pads. They aren’t as technologically advanced as the former, but they are a great pair of pads for any budget goalie. We here at GoalieCoaches are fans of Warrior, simply because they make quality gear.
These pads slide well, are comfortable and feature a lot of the same advances that the elite pads have. 360 Active drop, AirSlide, and the forward tilted Coveredge. So essentially the same pads, made with slightly less quality material. There are some small tweaks that make this pad a little bit less in terms of quality and performance, but they are also almost half the price of the G5 Pro’s.
Related: Best Goalie Chest Protectors
Conclusion: Best Goalie Pads For 2021
Goalie pads are not that cheap, but if you purchase a great pair, it can be one of the best investments you can make. For playing hockey that is… Playing hockey in a comfortable, durable and high performing pair of pads is far more exciting than playing hockey in pads that aren’t. Take it from us, we’ve been there.
Got this far, still have questions? Check out our “How to Measure Goalie Pads” guide for some of the most frequently asked questions on goalie gear.
Hope this article helped you out and thanks for reading!