Goalie pants are one of those pieces of equipment that really aren’t that exciting, but at the same time, they shouldn’t be an underlooked piece of equipment. If the pants are too bulky it’s difficult to move in them. If the pants have little protection, you will find yourself flinching at shots. If the pants break down in a single season, well you’ll find yourself back looking for new ones in a couple months.
For these reasons alone, I have created a list of the best goalie pants on the market today. When it comes to reviewing gear, we cover stuff that pros would use. If you’re looking for cheap goalie pants, this is not the article for you. We cover four sets of pants, because we believe that these are the only four worth buying when it comes to peak performance and protection.
Simply put, if you actually want the best goalie pants, they’re on this list.
Here are the 4 best goalie pants on the market today.
Best Goalie Pants 2020
When it comes to pants, you’ve got to have a combination of excellent movement capability and protection. With certain things, like chest protectors, you can sacrifice a bit of movability. Goalie pants, breezers as they used to be called, are at the core of everything you do between the pipes. If your pants are tough to move in, you’re going to be slower and less efficient. If they do not have the protection you need, you’ll flinch on shots and play below your capable level.
With that said, when it comes to buying goalie pants, buy the best pants for goalies that you can afford.
Warrior Ritual X2 Pro
Warrior makes one of the most incredible lineups of gear that dominate in the three areas of purchasing. First, protection. Second, mobility. Third, price. For the price, Warrior gear is really, really hard to rate as “second best”, because it’s not. It’s good gear, at a great price. We covered the fact that Warrior isn’t in the NHL for goalie gear, and it’s for good reason. But, that’s beside the point here.
First on the list, the Warrior Ritual X2 Pro goalie pants. Warrior might be one the the most technologically advanced goalie brands out there, but for some reason they rarely get the hype that the other brands like CCM and Bauer get. This is largely because of their lack of presence at the NHL level, but many folks simply do not realize how high performance this stuff actually is.
Warrior consistently puts out very advanced gear yearly and these pants fall into that category. The pants feature Warrior’s FlexPlate technology for padding and they have added what they are calling HyperComp material. It’s designed specifically to provide better protection from pucks with less weight added.
These pants are also very mobile and since they brought back their AxyCut system, the transition from standing to butterfly and back are smooth. That is because the AxyCut system removes any interference that might have gotten in the way previously.
The Warrior Ritual X2 Pro pants also feature an internal belt system that allows for quick, easy adjustments for comfort on the inside. The external shell will fit looser and if you aren’t a fan of that, and the internal belt is removable.
I put these pants at number one overall since Warrior has always been an underrated goalie gear company and I love the technology they’ve put into these.
Warrior, if you’re reading this.. the design of your pants is sub par. Performance, the stuff that actually matters, isn’t. Buy them if you care about high performance, quality, and price.
Related: Best Goalie Masks For Protection
The Bauer Pro pants are brand new for 2020.
Choosing a second place for this list was difficult for me but I decided to go with Bauer’s Pro pants. Bauer throughout the years has put a lot of work into their goalie lineup and the Bauer Pro pants are a result of that. These pants are loaded with protection but don’t lack in the mobility department. The thighs of the pants have what is called Curv Composite protection in them which depletes any chance of a stinger.
The area of the hips has dynamic flex technology that creates mobility that goalies need in today’s day and age, without sacrificing protection. When it comes to mobility between the pipes, the Bauer Pro pants are the clear front runner.
The spine of these pants are aerolite and flexible and there is also a loop on the inside thigh of the pants which are there to connect knee guards to the pants. Lastly the belt system on the Bauer Pro pants is a hybrid system that allows for quick adjustments and extra space around the waist to tuck a chest protector in. I put these pants at number two overall simply because they’re a clean set with awesome mobility and protection.
One of the things that Bauer does better than any other company when it comes to pants? Making a thigh board that conforms to the contour of the thigh, rather than just putting a clunky thigh board in the pant. Bauer is committed to speed and movement. If you’re looking for a pure performance goalie pant, the Bauer Pro or Bauer Elite are two of the best options on the market.
Editors note: in our opinion, this list stops at either Warrior or the Bauer pants. If you’re the type that just cannot stand to buy either brand, you’ve got two options left. Vaughn, or CCM. Brian’s, in our opinion, invests more in the quality of their actual pads and chest protection and not their pants. With that being said, go Vaughn for protection, CCM for speed.
Related: Best Goalie Pads For 2020
Vaughn SLR2 Pro Carbon
Ok, now I had a very difficult time choosing between third and fourth place, in the end, I chose the Vaughn SLR2 Pro Carbon pants as third. They offer more protection than the CCM Axis pants.
By the way, what’s up with these companies coming up with the most ridiculous names for their gear? I like what Bauer did with their Bauer Pro pants. It’s simple. Pro, Elite. This isn’t to say Bauer is the best at naming, they are just as much a part of the racket as anybody else. Alright, jumping off the soapbox.
Vaughn in the past has always created a high level of goalie gear. I’ve loved the protection on Vaughn’s chest protectors in recent years, and one can expect the same protection from their pants.
In 2019 Vauhgn released their SLR2 Pro Carbon and the SLR2 Pro goalie pants both featuring the same components, although in the Pro Carbons, Vaughn, as the name says, put carbon strips in the high density padding to create a pair of goalie pants that absorb the shock of the puck better than a typical set of pants.
The Carbons are built with slightly higher quality than the regular Pros, but otherwise both pants are taller in the front to protect the hips and abdomen. These pants also feature a loose and wide design around the waist and hips, awesome for goalies that are looking to tuck their chest protector in with suspenders. The inside of the pants are created with vented mesh which promotes ventilation and fast drying times. Overall I put these pants in third because I like the Carbon implemented into the gear.
As a short goalie I can say that the taller front might bother me some since I favor pants with a lot of mobility when I crouch and move around, but I don’t think these pants would have a terrible issue with that.
Related: Best Goalie Skates For 2020
In last place I have the CCM Axis pants. CCM has been a leader in the goalie industry for a long time and they continue to produce.
The CCM Axis pants are a similar set of pants to their original Premier lineup, but in this case they added new and better technology to them.
The design on the pants has HD and LD foams put in areas of the hips that create a tighter fit, this most likely this will be popular with goalies that like the no tuck chest protector. Like other pants on this list, these pants feature an interior belt and tapered off waist protection, so it’s easy to move around without pads cutting into your stomach. The protection on these pants are great, as it should be with top of the line gear.
These pants are a simple clean setup from an industry leader. I place these pants last although because I’m all about technology and advances in gear and I just feel like there isn’t anything so special where these pants deserve a spot in the top three.
All in all there are a lot of factors going into what’s the gear to have and what’s not. All goalies are different and no two goalies are going to want the exact same thing. In saying that I do however believe if you choose any four of these pants, the set will provide you with what all goalies want and need out of their gear, quality protection, easy mobility and lightweight material.
PS. If you’re not looking to pay $300 for pants, get the Extreme Flex II Shield Pro pants. They’re the same thing with a different name.
Related: Best Goalie Sticks For 2020
Finding your goalie pants
Honestly, when it comes to equipment, goalie pants are one piece that you can buy and wear for the majority of your career. You can get away with using and abusing pants for a long period of time. Get good pants, buy great pants that have proven to withstand the test of time, you will not regret it.