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Deciding on the right size is a major decision when selecting leg pads. The first thing to know is how to read the listed sizing. All leg pads will be listed in inches. The first number is the length of the pad to the middle of the knee cradle. The plus sizing is extra length added above the knee, which helps with closing the five hole.
The first number is based on ankle-to-knee measurement and knee-to-thigh measurement. Using these measurements, a pad length can be chosen from a sizing table. Manufacturers vary on suggested sizing. To find out your A-T-K measurement: bend your leg slightly, measure from the bottom of your ankle to the middle of your knee. Next, follow the curve of your knee and leg, and measure from your knee to the middle of your thigh. These two measurements, in addition to your skate size, will provide you with the first number.
The second number has to do with the thigh rise. This is an extension above the knee and does not affect the sizing of the knee cradle. Most pads come with a +1” extension, but more advanced goalies may want to add an extra inch or two.
The most important issue when sizing leg pads is making sure the goaltender’s knee is in the cradle. The knee cradle is where the knee will be strapped in, usually by velcro. On the inside edge of the pad, there is a landing pad. If pads are not properly sized, the knee could miss the landing pad and make contact with the ice. Due to the fact that goalies drop to their knees often, improperly sized pads can lead to an injury.