For the 2014 Vapor APX2 Protective Line Bauer decided to go with a full overhaul instead of tweaking and improving existing products. Their goal was to remove significant weight without sacrificing protection.
Starting up top with the APX2 shoulder pad we have a prime example of this goal being executed as the pad is surprisingly light, even for a Vapor pad. Bauer used a compound called Aerolite Foam to reduce weight, while improving impact management for true pro-level protection. Aerolite is multiple layers of different density foams fused together. Fusing (rather than using adhesive) eliminates the need for glue or excess stitching, which helps to reduce weight. Aerolite Foam is found all over the pad, from the shoulder caps to the bicep guards to the rib protection.
The APX2 shoulder caps themselves are pretty interesting. The NHL regulates the composition of shoulder caps very carefully in an effort to reduce head injuries. For example, NHL legal shoulder pads must feature a 1/2 inch of soft foam on the outside of the cap providing what is called Two-Way Protection. The APX2 shoulder pads are the first to feature an NHL legal shoulder cap for retail customers, taking a huge step in shoulder pad development. One side effect of this extra padding on the shoulder caps is an increased likelihood of a player accidentally clipping another player with the pad. Bauer examined how they could reduce the size of the cap while maintaining the Two-Way Protection and cushion on the outside. Their answer to this problem is the fusion process discussed earlier in this article, and ultimately the extremely light, protective and safe APX2 shoulder pad.
Bauer APX2 Elbow Pads
Moving down to the APX2 elbow pad you will find a few great little features to improve protection and mobility. Similar to the shoulder pad, I was blown away by the weight reduction; thanks again to the Aerolite foam features in the bicep guard and wrist slash guard. The APX2 elbow pad features a segmented bicep guard which allows for a full range of motion.
For a snug fit, there is a strap across the slash guard as well as a stretchy mesh Anchor-Strap that has become a standard on all Bauer pads. My favorite new addition is the new sling feature on the inside of the cap which holds your elbow in place and prevents that awful, poorly timed elbow pad movement as you fall that we have all experienced at some point.
Bauer APX2 Shin Guards
The APX2 shin guard gets a materials upgrade with the addition of the 37.5 Technology Liner and Aerolite foam in the calf wrap. These new features improve moisture management and reduce weight for superior overall performance. The lower part of the shin pad still features the Free Flex construction to increase range of motion when striding. The shell is made of Vent Armor composite, keeping with Bauer’s goal of creating a light, but highly protective pad. The strapping system is adjustable and allows players to tweak the fit exactly to their preferences.
The entire APX2 line will feature Bauer’s proprietary 37.5 technology – check back soon for more on this – which is a moisture management fabric that uses body heat to evaporate sweat, not just move it away from the body. It keeps you cooler and helps eliminate some of the energy your body spends regulating its temperature, making sure you are using your energy efficiently.
We think this gear is going to be a huge hit. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
The Bauer APX2 Protective Line is on sale now at the links below!