One of the coolest positions in sports is a goalie. Partially because of all the cool pads and helmets. However, with all the pads, one of the biggest questions I get is, how do goalie pads fit?
The best way to fit goalie pads is to start off with a basic formula. This formula takes your skate size + your ankle bone to the center of your knee (some sites call it an ATK or Ankle to Knee) + the center of knee to center of thigh measurement. (For example, a person with a size 9 skate, with an ATK of 18″, and a knee to thigh of 7″, would want to start with a 34” pad.) This is just a guide and helps when folks don’t have the ability to go to a hockey store and have to order in. (Check out our article on Infinity, a goalie pad company that lets you try before you buy your pads for 2 weeks because they realize that goalie pad sizing is complicated and all pads can run different!)
After you get a measurement, and you get a pad to try on, it is best to bring your skates and pants to the store (or put them on at home with pads you ordered). Using your skates and pants will help simulate how the pads will feel on the ice. If you do it with only shoes, the pads sit differently and won’t give an accurate feel. After you get skates and pants on, put the pads on as you would at the rink. Then, the most important aspect of any pad, at any level, is where your knee is in the knee cradle area. Your knee should be centered in the pad’s knee cradle when in the butterfly, and standing. If your knee is there, you have a great fitting pad! If your knee isn’t in the center, you could run the risk of missing on the knee blocks or slipping off while you’re sliding across the crease.
* For people who are still growing, you want to allow at most a 1″ under center for their knee.
After finding a pad that fits you perfectly in the knee, you can start thinking about the thigh rise. The thigh rise is the +x. Most pads come with a +2 thigh rise. This is the top area of the pad, that helps close the five hole. As you get older, this could be a personal preference. (I have seen a 33 +4 pad!) The pad should end between the mid of the thing and a few inches below the waist. If a pad is too big, that could make it harder for the goalie to move. If the pad is too small, you might sacrifice protection!
After getting the perfect fitting pad you can start looking at the different features between brands. These features can make the pad feel differently. For example, Vaughns don’t have as steep of an angle as CCM or Brians which make them sit on the skate higher or lower. Other features that differ between brands are strapping options, leg channel width, knee breaks, and boot cut angles that would allow you to get a wider stance. These features vary from pad to pad and help play in comfort of the pad.
Getting a quality fitting pad is one of the most important aspects of the position. If you have more questions feel free to reach out or check out some resources below!