Best Goalie Pads for 2024

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The past two years 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. There are quite a few new lines of goalie pads being released in 2024, we’re currently on ice testing and updating this article as we get results from tests in.

What are the best goalie pads 2024? 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.

best goalie pads for 2023This 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.

RankPad NamePad ImageDescriptionPrice at GoalieMonkeyPrice at PureGoalie
#1Bauer Vapor Hyperlite 2 Bauer Vapor Hyperlite 2 Goalie Pad (1) Best rebound control, more custom options.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#2Bauer Supreme Mach Bauer Supreme Mach Goalie Pad Best for performanceGoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#3CCM E-Flex 6 Pro (Best Agility)CCM E Flex 6 Goalie PadBest for agilityGoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#4Brian's Optik 3Brian's Optik 3 Goalie PadsWill outlast anything else on our list.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#5True Catalyst PX3 True PX3 Goalie Pads The top pad currently built by True.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#6Brian's G-Netik V Brian's G-Netik V Goalie Pads Released prior to the Optik 3. Will outlast everybody but the Optik 3.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#7True L20.2 True L20.2 Goalie Pads Released prior to the PX3. Trusted by half the NHL.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#8Warrior G6 Warrior G6 Pro Goalie Pads (2) Latest pad from Warrior.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#9CCM Axis 2 CCM Axis 2 Goalie Pads Released prior to the E Flex 6.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#10Vaughn V10 Vaughn V10 Goalie Pads Latest release from Vaughn.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie
#11Vaughn Ventus SLR3 Pro Carbon Vaughn Ventus SLR3 Goalie Pads Released before the Vaughn V10.GoalieMonkeyPureGoalie

Highest Rated Goalie Pads 2024

For your money, the best goalie pads on the market today are the Bauer Vapor Hyperlite 2 seriesBecause we opted not to have a tie, the come in at second best.

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 systems.

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.

The rating system we use while testing these pads, to decide which pads truly are the best, highest performing, and versatile for a wide variety of goalies.

To further explain our goalie pad rating system, we’ve broken it down below. Please note that these numbers, especially “Durability” are subject to change throughout the year. If one of our goalies is testing a pad line and notices issues with the overall durability, we will immediately update and annotate that here. Our goal is to provide the most comprehensive goalie pad rating system on the market, to help you choose which pads are right for your budget.

  • Durability: How well built are these pads? Will they last for multiple years? When we measure a pads durability we examine not only their performance
  • Sliding Ability: Compared to other pads, how well do these pads slide? Do they build up with snow? Are they slow out of the box? Sliding ability is a critical component of the overall performance of your goalie pads.
  • Custom Options: As most goalies know, the ability to customize your pads is critical, not only from a design standpoint but a
  • Price: How do the pads compare price-wise to the previous iteration of the pads and to competing pads on the market?
  • Rebound Control: Arguably the most important component that contributes to overall performance, rebound control is critical to goalie pads. How does it compare to other pads, how does it compare to what the manufacturer has done previously?
  • Weight: Weight-wise, how do the pads compare to other models, and what competing manufacturers are doing?
  • Versatility: Are these pads versatile for multiple styles of goalies? We’re measuring how the pads would perform to a broad spectrum of goalies, not just a specific type.
  • Strapping System: Strapping systems are critical to a pads performance. By far the easiest part for manufacturers to score a 10 on, strapping systems must be both comfortable and customizable.
  • Total Score: Out of all possible categories, we’ll pick a final score for each pad. Our goal with our grading system is to remove any opinion from the grading process.

Bauer Vapor Hyperlite 2 (Best Overall)

For several years, we’ve rated Bauer’s gear a bit lower on the list. Last season, the Mach pads were our second best offering. With the new custom ordering process, the Vapor and Mach series could really be neck and neck here tied for top overall, but we’ve got to rate something so we went with the Hyperlite 2 pads. Regardless of whether or not you decide to go with the Hyperlite 2 or the Mach series, you’re in for a treat.

AttributeRating
Durability9
Sliding Ability10
Custom Options10
Price7
Rebound-Control10
Weight10
Versatility8
Strapping System9
Total Score73/80

With Bauer, you’ve got two main concerns. Which, at this point, they may not even be concerns. This is just something we’ve learned on our own over the years and from feedback of thousands of other goalies in our testing groups on Facebook.

Concern 1: the durability. This has been an issue with Bauer since the very first launch of their completely re-designed pad system over 5 years ago. While the durability of their pads can be up for debate, it’s come an incredibly long ways since the launch of their first re-designed pad.

Concern 2: the Bauer glove. When we test gear, it’s not just one person testing it. If that were the case, I’d have to rank the same pad in the top slot year after year. I personally have never loved the Bauer glove. With that being said, the new Vapor Hyperlite 2 glove is my favorite they’ve ever produced. In years past, it’s broken down faster than the majority of gloves out there.

With that out of the way, here’s what to expect out of either one of the two top of the line Bauer pads right now. 

  • Unmatched slidability
  • Rebound pop sends pucks out of the danger zone faster than any other pad out there
  • Pads that hold their form better than most of the top pads produced this season
  • Easy strapping
  • More custom options than majority of other pads built
  • Very light weight-wise

It’s important to note that if you go Bauer, CCM, or Brian’s, you’re going to have custom graphics options that are the exact same or similar. With Vaughn, Lefevre, and Warrior, you still have the ability to customize overall function of the pad just like the top three, they’re just not quite there on printing the pad face like the other brands are.

For actual performance, sliding and rebound control are the two most important factors. These pads hold their form incredibly well, they send rebounds flying out of the crease . You cannot go wrong with the Hyperlite 2 pads.

Bauer Vapor Hyperlite 2

Offers superior rebound control and custom options. On the higher end price wise, but held up better than any previous Bauer pad over 8 months of testing.

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True Lefevre HZRDUS PX4 (Best Value)

The True HZRDUS PX4 is the latest lineup from True Lefevre.  Lefevre (True) have been pumping out high-quality goalie pads for years now and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down.  What makes these special is the overall performance coupled with durability and the result is a popular pad.  Around 50% of the NHL is wearing True goalie pads right now, which is a pretty impressive feat in itself.

But let’s dive into what makes these pads some of the most sought after.

The HZRDUS PX4 is a continuation of the L.2o lineup that True released a few years back.  It’s a stiff pad, designed for fast rebounds and better seals on the ice and post.  (If stiff pads aren’t for you but you want to stick with True, check out the Catalyst PX3 pad – currently the most popular pad worn by NHLers).

The large, flat surface is effective for improving coverage and cuts out some of the gaps you might find in a softer pad.  You’ll find that there’s less give in this pad when you take a puck off the leg roll or anywhere near the top of the pad.  Thus making it far easier to control rebounds and keep pucks out in front of you.

One thing True does well is offers custom pads so you can change not only the look, but also the feel of the pad. So while this pad is more stiff than most pads, they can be customized to be softer, more flexible.  I’m a fan of a stiffer leg pad for the reasons above (seal, overall they’re generally more stable than a softer pad.  Now that does come at the cost of a little mobility and flexibility.  I’ll get to that in a second though – let’s quickly take a look at what you can customize in the PX4s.

Here is what you can customize with the True HZRDUS PX4 goalie pads.

  • Break Core
    • No Break
    • Single Break
    • Double Break
  • Outer Roll
    • No Break (stiffer pad, better seal)
    • Single Break (softer pad, better mobility and flexibility)
  • Thigh Rise Thickness
    • Thin Xtra Stiff
    • Thin Stiff
    • Medium Stiff
  • Thigh, Knee and Foot Straps
  • Boot Angle
    • 110 Degrees (standard)
    • 120 Degrees
  • Boot Flex
    • Flex
    • Mid Stiff
  • 24 Color zones with over 40 colors

One of the main concerns of a stiffer pad is the agility, mobility and the overall ability to drop into the butterfly.  The Fast Rotation System (FRS) technology in these leg pads solves this problem.  What it’s designed to do is help you is help you move quickly without feeling like your being held down.  This is the effect of a good strap system on your goalie pads.  As I mentioned a second ago – it’s hard to compete with the mobility and agility of a soft pad, but those pads don’t get as good a seal on the ice and are less stable.  Typically goalie gear comes down to trade-offs.

The price tag will hit hard, but if you are looking for an elite pair of pads – this is the going rate.  And knowing that your goalie pads are going to withstand the test of time is a comfort that you get with pads like these.

Brian’s ICON1K (Best Durabilty)

Brian’s is one of the best goalie pads of 2024 for a lot of reasons – the biggest is durability (their gloves are also second to none in my opinion but that’s a story for another day).  Where you might come across some pads that will rip and break down over a couple of seasons of use – you aren’t going to run into that with the ICON1K line.  Their gear is custom made and handcrafted.  While Brian’s doesn’t have quite the same amount of representation in the NHL, Igor Shesterkin, one of the best goalies in the NHL wears Brian’s.

The biggest change from the Brian’s GNETIK V pads to the ICON1K pads is the weight.  These are 20% lighter than GNETIK V lineup.  Now, comparing these to the Hyperlite 2 pads you’ll find that Bauer has the edge in overall weight.  But, that comes at the cost of long term durability.

These pads have opti-slide technology on the sliding edge of the pad to improve your ability to slide in the crease.  Again, is as good as Bauer?  No, but it isn’t far behind.

These pads feel sturdy.  They feature a regular to slightly stiffer profile making them one of the most versatile pads on the market.  The single piece knee block and squared outer roll make it a stable pad.  These are a good in-betweener from a soft pad and stiff pad.

Price is up there with the best of em.  Can’t do much with that – but you get what you pay for.  Plus, Brian’s offers some of the best custom graphics on the market.

Overall the durability and solidity of the pad makes it an excellent option for goalie pad of the year.

Bauer Supreme Mach

Bauer Mach Goalie Pads

The Bauer Mach goalie pads are the latest iteration of the Bauer Supreme lineup. Used by a number of current NHL goalies, these are one of the most customizable pad offerings created by Bauer to date.

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One of the highest rated goalie pads for 2024 are the Bauer Supreme Mach pads.  In typical Bauer fashion, these pads are optimized for the highest level of performance.  

First off, they’re very light.  The reason Bauer is able to produce such a let light set of goalie pads is because they use what they are calling “SL1D3R skin technology”.  The main jist of it is that it’s a one piece skin around the pad.  And the graphics are printed on the skin, rather than sewn in like many other goalie gear companies do.  

The Supreme Mach goalie pads feature a single internal break, which is a bit stiffer than other elite pads on the market.  I personally am a fan of a slightly stiffer set of pads, but not every goalie is.  

Some of the major benefits of the stiff pad is the seal on the ice, along with rebound control.  Pucks pop off the pad and into the corner/ well out of the crease with these on.  Getting a nice seal on the ice is advantageous because you’re less likely to let pucks slip underneath, which is certainly a thing if you’ve played goalie long enough.  The stiff pad is also helpful when creating a seal on the post in the RVH or VH.  

A less exciting aspect of these hockey goalie pads is the Tune-Fit+ strapping system.  They’re fully adjustable which give you the freedom to customize the fit and feel while wearing.  You’re going to get this sort of gear technology on most high end goalie pads these days. 

A possible downfall of these pads is durability concerns.  Bauer has drastically increased the durability of their goalie pads over the past three years so this isn’t as big of a concern it might have once been, but I think it’s something that should be addressed.  With the single skin wrapped around the pad, it might result in a rip or tear that you might not see in a set of CCM or True pads.  

Another disadvantage is going to be the price.  You’ll have to fork over a pretty penny for these pads.  You’re going to come across this a lot with new pads these days however. 

Overall, the Bauer Supreme Mach goalie pads are designed for the goalie that wants to get the highest level of performance out of their pads.  You’ll pay for it, but they’re lightweight, comfortable, stable and feature great rebound control. 

CCM E Flex 6

If CCM has produced a pad that’s at or near the top of our “best of the best” charts, the new for this year E Flex 6 pad is it. We ordered our demo set in full custom with their new digital printing system and were blown away. These pads are as good as any pad money can buy right now, with slight changes made to the glove on the new E Flex 6 and an improved blocker (the first version of the Axis blocker was not it) that make this lineup plug and play at any level.

The performance is no joke, I wouldn’t say that they slide as well as Bauer, but it’s not a different zip code. It’s a different part of town. They are right there. If you’re a fan of CCM, or coming back to CCM from Lefevre, you will not regret going with this series. That’s not just taking our word from it, it’s from hundreds of other folks we’ve talked to at the NHL level through youth.

Why we ranked it here:

It’s not fair to say that goalie pads won’t break down, because no matter the manufacturer, they will all break down. In terms of pure performance, it’s fair to expect 1 excellent year. Professional goalies run through multiple sets a year, but they have this thing called “no budget constraints” that the rest of us have. If CCM is missing one thing on Bauer, it’s that the pads tend to lose some of the fast rebound pop that Bauer has even years later.

I truly believe that CCM will hold up longer than a Bauer pad will (both will expire quicker than Brian’s), but in terms of pure peak performance the feeling is that the internals lose that rebound explosion a little sooner than Bauer does. If you’re using your gear heavily and want the longest max performance, Bauer is it. You’re sacrificing a minor bit of quality, but they’re built like race horses. Honestly, that is not a downside. This series is truly the best CCM has ever created.

CCM E Flex 6

Neck and neck with Bauer, this is the best version of pads CCM has made in the past 5 years. Without question. Improved blocker which was our concern in previous years.

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Brian’s Optik 3

If we just used horses to compare goalie pads, Brian’s is that one in the stable that will show up hard hat and lunch pail, never complain and out work anybody else in the barn day in and day out for years. While for the sake of a chart we have it here at #4, for those of you reading who just want to buy a pad that will last you the next 5 years I’d buy Brian’s. Either Optik 3 or G-Netik V.

Brian’s will always hold a soft spot in our hearts. For years, Brian’s dominated the custom goalie pads market. In the past 5, Bauer has taken that in terms of color customization options, but Brian’s still finds a way to make a truly handcrafted highly custom goalie pad. Realistically, of any of the major gear manufacturers, you cannot go wrong with any of them. Brian’s separates themselves by building their pads here in North America, instead of overseas.

Not every Brian’s goalie pad is built in North America, but anything top end or custom is. So if you want North American built, go Brian’s and choose Optik 3 or G-Netik V.

The number one selling point of Brian’s is their durability.

The Optik 3 are good enough to be worn at the NHL level, built to last for those of us with a budget who have a non negotiable policy of lasting 5 years or more. If you’re not playing professional hockey and simply want the best pad money can buy that’s going to last you the longest, it’s Brian’s. If we looked at a performance chart, Brian’s would start to fall off in terms of performance earlier than Bauer or CCM, which is why for the sake of max performance / longevity we had to slot it here. Where anything Brian’s shines is in how long they last. In a few years when many folks start to replace their Bauer pads, Brian’s is still kicking with very few issues.

I’ve personally owned 6 or more sets of Brian’s pads and every single one of them has stood the test of time. The Optik 3 are no different. In fact, these are probably one of my favorite Brian’s sets ever built.

Brian's Optik 3

If durability is what you're after, go Brian's and go Optik 3. Combine performance with longevity and these would be the top of the pyramid.

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True Lefevre L12.2

As many of you know, True recently bought out Lefevre in September of 2020.  This was a massive change in the goalie industry and we saw many NHL goalies switch over to True.  The latest version of the leg pad that the goalie company has released is the L12.2.  Which are an updated version of the L12.1 pads.  NHL goalies like Sergei Bobrovsky and Jusse Saros are currently wearing the L12.2s from True Temper.  

True L12.2 goalie pads showing angles of the strapping, leg channel and front face.

Positives

The L12.2 are a softer pair of pads that are designed to be responsive and quick.  They’re a bit more flexible and softer than the True L20.1 pads, which are designed to pop rebounds off into the corner very fast.  The L12.2 is similar to the CCM Extreme Flex 5 pads in a way that rebounds are going to be more controlled and are more likely to cause pucks to drop dead.  On top of that, these goalie pads are more agile and flexible than the former.  

What really takes these goalie pads to the next level is its patent-pending Fast Rotation System.  What it does is helps keep your calf connected to your pad while also allowing you to drop into the butterfly faster.  Playing goalie is a game of milliseconds and any extra time that you can pick up when trying to stop a puck is the difference between getting scored on and making the save.

On the inside of the L12.2 leg pad, you’ll find what True is calling “Fast Glide”.  It’s like every other goalie brand’s version of material that helps increase sliding speed in the butterfly, while also reducing drag/ friction.  It’s a pretty cool concept, but as far as goalie pads go – this isn’t what puts these pads at the number one position.  Definitely a ranking factor though.

These pads also have a really good seal to the ice.  In today’s age of playing goalie, this is a must feature in a pair of pads.  We’ve all been there when a puck just barely slipped under the pad and in.  A pair of goalie pads with a great seal will effectively close that gap and help you stop more pucks.  

Lastly, what puts these goalie pads at the top of the pack is the quality of True Lefevre pads.  Just under half of the NHL is wearing a set of True’s, which goes to show the quality and performance that these pads have to offer.  

Negatives

That being said, a review of a pair of goalie pads wouldn’t be a review without some negatives.  You’ll find that these pads are a bit heavier than pads such as the Bauer Hyperlite. In return however, you will likely get a more durable set of pads.  

Price-wise these pads aren’t cheap.  You’ll definitely be putting a large investment into them to enjoy their features.  Many people would argue that the price makes it not worth it.  But I would tend to disagree.  These goalie pads will last you many years and if for some reason you decide to move on (outgrow them, change teams, etc…) these pads will hold a lot of their value when it comes time to sell.  

Overall

Overall, it’s hard to say that the True L12.2 goalie pads aren’t the best overall goalie pads on the market right now.  There are lighter, more innovative pads out there, but these come with everything. Quality, performance, and innovation to help you perform.  

Brian’s GNETIK V

Brian's GNETIK V Goalie Pads

The Brian's GNETIK V pads scored a 64 of 70 possible points in our pad rating trials. These are one of the top goalie pads this year.

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Welcome to the party, Brian’s. The GNETIK V goalie pads from Brian’s are far and away one of the most durable, most customizable, goalie pads on the market this season. They’re designed to be a  hybrid set of pads so they feature a bit of flexibility while still offering many of the features that you would find in a stiff pad, like the Bauer Hyperlites.

Positives 

Let’s start out with the coolest and most obvious upside of these pads – the customizability.  Pretty much any feature within reason that you’d like these pads to feature – you can have.

How we rated the Brian’s GNETIK V pads.

Product Brian’s GNETIK V
Durability 9/10
Sliding Ability 9/10
Custom Options 10/10
Price 7/10
Rebound Control 9/10
Weight 9/10
Versatility 10/10
Strapping System 10/10
Total Score 73/80

CCM Extreme Flex 5 (Best Agility)

The new CCM E-Flex 5 pads are a continuation of the Extreme Flex lineup.  The original E-Flex pads came out many years ago and CCM (like many goalie brands) have been alternating between lineups when they release a new pad.  Last year’s model was the first edition of the Axis, previously the Premier.  

The first big takeaway of the Eflex 5 pads is that they’re designed to keep rebounds in tight.  This is unlike a lot of goalie pads in 2024 that generally encourage sending rebounds far away, quickly.  

What this allows you as a goalie to do is control your rebound easily and effectively.  You’ll be able to cover up a loose puck faster, knowing where the puck is going to go.  Fundamentally putting the puck where you want it to go is the best way a goalie can control a hockey game.  

And as a goalie, if you are able to control the hockey game, you’re more likely to get a win for your team.  Bottom line, these pads help you control your rebounds which sets off a positive chain reaction.  

The knee area has been improved as well.  You’ll feel better stability in the butterfly and effectively close the seal to ice a bit more.  This is especially nice in the VH and RVH.  

picture of ccm eflex 5 pads outside view

The CCM E-Flex 5 pads also feature a single break.  This is designed so you can close your five-hole faster as you drop into the butterfly.  

Lastly, these are a comfortable pair of goalie pads to wear.   They’re easy to strap on with only a couple straps and the mobility is dynamic.  

CCM E-Flex 5 Pro Goalie Pad leg channel

Really the only reason to avoid these pads would be personal preference.  Some goalies are more apt to getting a stiff pair of pads that send rebounds flying out to the blue line.  That’s ok.  Go with a pair of True L20.1 or Bauer Vapor Hyperlites.  Each goalie has his or her own taste and that’s what makes the game special.  

Overall these pads from CCM are designed for those of you that want an agile and flexible pair of pads.  

Bauer Vapor Hyperlite

Bauer Hyperlite Goalie Pads

Some of the most technologically advanced goalie pads ever made by Bauer, and the closest pad to the Bauer Supreme UltraSonic line. These pads do not disappoint!

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Building off a similar feel to the Vapor 2X Pros, the Hyperlites are a somewhat stiff pair of pads that are well known for being lightweight.  This is how Bauer has really made a name for themselves in the goalie industry, by creating responsive, lightweight equipment.  

Positives

But that generally comes at the cost of quality.  When it comes down to it, there are tradeoffs to make.  You might sacrifice a little bit of quality if you get these pads, but there really isn’t a lighter and more responsive pair of goalie pads on the market.  You could argue that the UltraSonics are on a similar level, which you would be correct.  But besides those two, nothing comes close.  

One big difference between the old 2X Pro pads and the updated Hyperlites is that these have a softer knee area.  So you get a little bit more of a bend/ flex, which you didn’t see much of in the previous Vapor pad.  The effective rebound control of the Hyperlites is still shown in these goalie pads, however.  

Another change that Bauer has implemented is a new and improved knee block.  The UltraSonics featured a one-piece knee block – something we hadn’t seen before in previous pads.  This was super effective in energy transfer and ultimately created better stability in the butterfly.  The knee block in the Hyperlites are better to where the weight has been decreased by 30%.  In all, you get a lighter pad and an even more stable base.  

Lastly, the Vapor Hyperlites feature a new COR Tech Skin Plus.  When the original 1S pads came out many years ago, they featured COR TECH Skin.  Bauer has improved it over the years, but this appears to be the biggest upgrade yet.  This is big news because it will hopefully give extra lifetime to these goalie pads. 

Bauer Vapor Hyperlite pads leg channel

Negatives

There are some reasons why you might not want to buy these pads.  For one, Bauer, despite improving the quality of their pads over the years, still has a reputation for creating pads that don’t last very long.  Now, I will argue that the quality has definitely improved over the years, it still is a concern.  

There are tradeoffs in goalie equipment.  Do you want faster, quicker, lighter?  Or heavier, sturdier, but will last longer?  Of course, this rule doesn’t apply to every piece of equipment, but it is something to keep in mind.

Two, the pads are a bit stiffer than other options out there, such as the CCM E-Flex 5 pads.  Some goalies (myself included) prefer stiff pads because I like the pop of the rebound.  But that isn’t everyone’s favorite style, which might be a softer pad.  If that’s you, go with another pad on the list.  

And lastly, the price is pretty absurd.  But if you are buying elite tier goalie pads, you know the price is never cheap.  But that’s what elevates one pad from the next.  

Overall, I really do like the Bauer Vapor Hyperlite pads as the best goalie pads as far as performance goes on the market.  

Vaughn Ventus SLR3 Pro

The next set of pads on our list for 2024; the Ventus SLR3 Pro goalie pads.

These look fairly similar to previous Ventus pads that Vaughn has released in the past.  They’re a stiff pad without a break at the knee, and feature a pro core internal structure.

Positives

The pad features a stiff front face which is going to be really nice for clearing rebounds out of the crease and responsiveness.  As you may have noticed, I’m a fan of stiff pads myself as I think they get a better seal on the ice and up against the post in the RVH.  Now, this is very subjective because other goalies prefer the flexibility of a pad like the CCM E-Flex 5s.

One thing that you’ll find in these pads is that they are very stable.  In the old days when goalies were playing, their pads would fold under themselves.  This is very unlikely to happen in this day and age with the Ventus SLR3 pads.  For reference, watch Darcy Kuemper of the Avalanche.  He rocks the SLR3 in style.  But you’ll notice how the face of the pad consistently is sturdy and outward-facing.  This may seem like “oh cool”, but if you’re into a sturdy and stable pad, these will provide that.

Typically when we think of goalie pads that offer great five-hole coverage, we think of a pad with a triple break in the knee or an otherwise flexible pad.  What’s great about the SLR3 pads is that you can get quality coverage between the wickets.  The pad has a pre-shaped curve that is designed to effectively cover the five-hole.  This is an underrated feature in a new set of pillows.

What really had established Vaughn’s presence in the hockey world is their ability to make a durable pad.  If you notice, one of the most popular resell pads on the market are Vaughn’s – simply because they last for so long.

Negatives

The first and most obvious negative is the price.  But, just like every other goalie pad that is going to be the best in the world, it’s going to cost some cash.  It comes with the position.

The other aspect of these pads is I’d love to see more innovation.  Something different out of Vaughn. And that’s not entirely a diss – as the old saying goes “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”.  And there is quite a bit of validity to that statement in this situation.  You know what you’re getting with Vaughn.  A durable and reliable set of pads.  They’ll also be comfortable, but nonetheless, it feels like a lot of the same.

Overall

Overall I do think that these goalie pads deserve to be in the top five of this list.  They’re well built, comfortable, and are going to last a long time.

Warrior Ritual G5 Pro (Most Innovative)

Warrior Ritual G5 Pro Senior Goalie Leg Pads

Warrior's latest and best goalie pads on the market. These are especially lightweight with solid rebound control.

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The Warrior Ritual G5 Pro+ goalie pads are the next 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.

Positives

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.

Negatives

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 somewhat stiff yet not straight pieces of lumber.

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.

picture of warrior g5 Pro+ goalie pad leg channel

Three, Warrior pads are actually quite 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.

picture of warrior pro+ goalie pads red white and blue.

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.

Picture of warrior g5 pro goalie pads.

True L20.1

The True L.20.1 goalie pads were the consensus number one pads on the market last year, but they were recently dethroned by a newer and more popular pad, the True Temper L12.2 pads.   While still super popular and a great overall set of pads – we gave them a little decrease in our goalie pad power rankings.

Positives

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.

Negatives

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.  If you’re one of the goalies that would prefer a softer touch, go with the L12.2 or the CCM Eflex 5s.  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.  There are a lot of NHLers like Marc-André Fleury who are wearing these pads.

These are some of the top-rated all-around goalie pads that you can get for this season, for a couple of reasons.  One, True (Lefevre) makes very high quality and durable gear.  If you’ve worn CCM goalie pads before (in the last couple of years), you were most likely wearing pads that were built by Lefevre.

Next up, these pads are lightweight.  Maybe not as light as the Bauer Hyperlite pads, but not super heavy either.  This is helpful as a goalie so you aren’t going to be dragged down by your equipment.  Any amount of weight cut off without having to sacrifice protection is a win in my books.

True L20.1 Goalie Pad Leg Channel

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 is 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.

Overall, the True L20.1 goalie pads are a great set of pillows.  They’re lightweight, built to last, and are a responsive set of pads.

Picture of Lefevre L.20.1 Goalie pads.

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.

Positives

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.

Negatives

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.

Bauer supreme ultrasonic knee block

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.

picture of bauer supreme ultrasonic goalie pads.

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.

Picture of Vaughn Ventus V9 Pro Carbon goalie pads.

Advantages: 

  • Lighter than before
  • New, thinner board
  • Better rebound control
  • Comfortable
  • Known durability

Disadvantages: 

  • Price
  • Compared to Bauer and Warrior, these pads aren’t very technologically advanced

Brian’s OPTIK 2 

Brian's Optik 2 Goalie Pads

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.

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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.

Advantages 

  • Great seal on the ice
  • Solid slip on ice
  • Rebounds fly off these pads
  • High quality and pads
  • New strapping system
  • Lightweight (4.6lbs)

Disadvantages

  • Expensive
  • Some goalies aren’t huge fans of stiff pads

CCM Axis Pro

CCM Axis Pro Goalie Pads

The Axis Pro goalie pads are a the newest lineup from CCM. They're designed for ultimate comfort and performance.

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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 wore these pads during the Covid play-ins last August.

Now despite all the positives, these goalie pads are going to feel different from the Lefevre pads that CCM used to use.  You’ll definitely feel a difference, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Picture of CCM Axis Pro goalie pads.

Advantages:

  • Stiff
  • Lightweight
  • Good rebound control
  • Tight seal on the ice
  • Comfortable

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
  • Despite all of the positives, they feel a little weird

Warrior GT2 Pro

Warrior GT2 Pro Goalie Pads

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.

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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.

Advantages 

  • 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

Disadvantages

  • Price

warrior gt2 pro goalie pads.

Related: Best Goalie Sticks

Vaughn Ventus SLR2 

Vaughn Ventus SLR2 Pro Goalie Pads

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.

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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.

Advantages 

  • The best rebound control pad from Vaughn, ever
  • Flat pad face design

Disadvantages

  • Extended break in period
  • 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.

Warrior Ritual G5+

Warrior G5+ Goalie Pads

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.

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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.

Conclusion: Best Goalie Pads For 2024

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. If you’ve already picked your pads, consider taking a look at the best knee guards for goalies.

Hope this article helped you out and thanks for reading!