One way to buy the best and save money is by buying used goalie pads. You can rock out on a set of killer goalie pads that have already been worked in, and if you find a set that has been cared for or require little upgrading in conditioning to get them where you want them, then you are way ahead in the game, so to speak. Depending on your age, skill level and goals, some of these notes may or may not apply to you, however there are some basic but potentially expensive things to consider when investing in your next set of goalie pads.
Goalie pads can be, quite simply, the most expensive part of the equipment roster for any goalie. As a result, they not a part of the protection equation that you want to cheap out on, nor is this a time to ignore how you will continue to use this equipment going forward.
Lets be honest, there isn’t a hell of a lot to a leg pad, it’s just sports equipment not a jet pack, so it really comes down to making sure you find the combination of leg pad elements that fit best with your body style and playing style. These elements include everything from materials, to size and attention to detail. Most decent pads have the wherewithal to stop a rocket with the minimum amount of pain, so what we are left with are the dimensions of the pads themselves, suitable thigh guards, knee cradles and straps.
Make sure that the knee falls into the knee cradle nicely, an easy thing to find using the sizing chart, and that the model of goalie pad you want meets your expectations in this regard – ice might as well be concrete and knees are a sensitive place on the body so this is a key area.
Any wise goalie pad investment will mean leather or something like Clarino (synthetic) pad faces and leather straps, just make sure that you are open to a break in period, unless you are buying used and then you have the bonus of pre-softed but strong strapping. Depending on your style of play and how the pads fit, you might notice a faster strap replacement rate with leather straps than with synthetic ones, so you need to mitigate this against how well you’d play if you were using synthetic strapping. Don’t forget that leather is a skin, it’ll stretch and wear out. If buying used online, check to see if the seller has some pics of them so you can gauge the remainder of their lifespan.
Thigh guards are a no-brainer.
In a general inspection, pay attention to the stitching throughout the pads and that the condition of the pad faces is intact. High areas of wear will occur along the bottom of the pads.