Goalie Leg Pad Anatomy

Posted by Ian Tang on Sep 16, 2014

Comparing pads is hard, especially if you can’t tell a thigh rise from a toe tie. After this article, you will know the different organs of a leg pad, and what they do.

The pad face is the front of the pad; the part that faces the shooter. This extends from the top of the pad to the bottom. The pad face has the following features/options, from top to bottom:

1. Thigh rise - The thigh rise helps goaltender’s close their five hole in the butterfly position. It is usually just +1”, but more advanced goaltenders might want a larger thigh rise to help them even more.

2. Outer Roll - The outer roll runs the full length of the pad. It should always be to the outside of the goaltenders body. The outer roll is what strengthens the pad, and allows it to hold it’s shape the way it does.

There are three options when looking at an outer roll: no break, single break, or double break.

- No break - Leg pads with no outer break are more stiff than the other two options. Having a leg pad with no breaks is good for goalies who have wide butterflies. This means they can flare their legs out to the sides of their body while keeping the knees close enough to close the five hole.

- Single break - Leg pads with a single break have a break below the knee. This allows the pad to flex easier around that area. It is good for goaltenders who need a little extra flexibility to help close the five hole. The break below the knee allows the pad to flex and bend to cover the hole.

- Double break - Leg pads with a double break have a break above and below the knee. These breaks allow the pad to easily flex and bend above and below the knee. This allows goalies with narrow butterflies to close their five hole.

3. Knee rolls - As with outer rolls, there are multiple options for the knee area. The knee rolls add flexibility to the pad, and can also help deflect pucks and control rebounds.

The three knee area options are: knee rolls, flat knee rolls, or flat face.

- Knee rolls - Knee rolls are round rolls in the knee area. These rolls add the most flexibility to the pad, and also limit rebounds. The puck can be a little unpredictable when bouncing off these knee rolls.

- Flat knee rolls - Flat knee rolls are more rigid than regular round knee rolls, but are still more flexible than a pure flat face pad. They will also more predictably deflect pucks than regular round knee rolls.

- Flat face - Leg pads with a pure flat face make the pad as rigid as possible. This allows for the best possible rebound direction, and distance.

4. Toe ties - The toe ties are attached to the bottom of the pad at the toe bridge. The ties run under the skate and hold the pad to the skate. There are two traditional ties, and a new active response strap.

- Standard toe tie - The standard toe tie uses laces, and ties under the skate. This centers the pad over the foot and lets the pad slide back into proper position over the skate after dropping into the butterfly.

- Active Response Strap - Exclusive to Warrior (as of writing), the Active Response strap is a new type of tie that uses less leverage on the goalies feet to recenter the pad over the foot. It isn’t a traditional lace tie, like the other two, but rubber straps and clips.

5. Sliding toe bridge - The sliding toe bridge also keeps the pad centered and tied to the skate. Instead of being anchored however, it allows the tie to slide along the bridge, which alleviates pressure on the knees and ankles.

On the back of the leg pad:

1. Thigh guard - Thigh guards help protect the knee and thigh when the goalie is down in the butterfly. They lace into a tab above the knee cradle, and can be removed.

2. Knee cradle - The knee cradle holds the goalies knee in the pad. On either side, there are foam shields that a strap extends from to lock the knee in place.

3. Landing pad / Knee stacks / “Landing Gear” - The landing pad is found on the inside edge of the pad, and lines up directly with the knee cradle. The landing pad is where the knee lands when dropping to the butterfly. If the pad is improperly sized, the knee might miss and make contact with the ice.

4. Leg channel - The leg channel is the channel on the inside of the pad that runs from the knee cradle to the ankle. There are many different constructions for leg channels, but they are either deep or shallow.

- Deep channel - A deep channel is for goalies who enjoy having the pad closer to their leg. The whole leg sits into the channel and is almost wrapped by it. This helps the pad stay balanced on the leg when moving.

- Shallow channel - Shallow channels are for goalies who enjoy playing more of a butterfly style. The shallow channel allows the pad to rotate around the leg, and land with the pad face towards the shooter.

5. Boot channel - The boot channel is the channel at the bottom of the pad. This allows the pad to better balance on the foot of the goalie.

6. Medial edge - The inside edge of the leg pad.  A lot of times, this edge is flattened, to provide a bigger, more stable landing surface when dropping into the butterfly.


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