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A goalie chest protector must fit perfectly in every area to ensure the equipment performs as designed. A too-small protector doesn’t provide the necessary protection, while one that’s too big prohibits movement.
The goalie’s shoulders should fit comfortably within both shoulder caps, and the protector should rest squarely on the goalie’s shoulders. There should be enough space to allow comfortable movement, but not enough so the protector slips even slightly out of place, either to the side, or to the front or back.
Note: all chest and arm protectors have a neck guard-style pad that sits at the base of the neck. This pad is meant to help protect the neck area, but it is not a neck guard. A common misconception among new goalies (and their parents) is that this pad should sit against the goalie’s neck. This is not true. This pad should instead rest a few inches below the neck so that it rises up to the neck area when the goalie bends over in his stance. It is common, and recommended, that a separate, snug neck guard is worn beneath the chest protector to protect both the clavicle and the neck.
The goalie’s elbows should fit squarely into the elbow padding. Most protectors feature adjustment lacing in the elbow pads that allow for micro adjustments for a proper fit.
The chest and belly portion of the protector should extend to the waist or beltline. This will ensure the goalie has adequate coverage, and that the protector will allow the goalie to bend freely at the waist.
The arm pad should terminate approximately one inch above the wrist bone—about where a watch would be worn. Arm pads extending beyond the wrist will not allow proper wrist flexibility. Pads that are too short will create unprotected gaps between the arm and glove padding.
In some protectors, the arms are laced into the chest pad directly below the larger shoulder floaters. This lacing allows the goalie to extend or shorten the length of the arms a little for a more custom fit.
Sizing for a chest and arm protector is determined by using “wingspan” (the distance from middle fingertip to middle fingertip with the arms stretched wide, as measured in centimeters.) and height measurements. To determine your size, you need a cloth tape measure.
To measure your wingspan, pinch the measuring tape between your index and middle fingers and stretch your arms out as wide as possible. Note this distance in centimeters.
For an accurate height, stand with your back against the wall making sure your heels are also against the wall and have another person mark your height at the top of your head.
Once you have both measurements, consult the chart below to determine the proper size. Though the wingspan and height measurements will often be the same, it’s important to confirm both measurements, as different manufacturers use different sizing criteria when determining size.
Note: use this chart as a guide only. Not all brands are sized alike.
Due to the height and size variations of the shoulder floaters and neck protection among different chest protectors, it’s a smart idea to wear your goalie mask or helmet when confirming the fit of your chest protector.
While in a stance position, turn your head from side to side and move it up and down to make sure the chin of the mask/helmet does not get caught on the chest protector.
Chest protectors are worn either inside or outside the pants. Regardless of what you prefer, it’s smart to wear your goalie pants when trying on the chest protector to make sure the protection is adequate and that there are no mobility concerns.
More than any other piece of equipment, the goalie chest protector is solely for protection. When considering a new purchase, style, design, and color are low priorities because they’re all concealed by the jersey. Comfort is key, and the perfect goalie chest and arm protector should provide maximum protection and the greatest mobility and flexibility possible.
Highly skilled goalies should look for premium chest protectors featuring the most advanced protective technologies available. The newest protective material is almost always lighter weight than what it replaces. And the lighter the pad, the more agility for the goalie. That said, any goalie should wear the best protection they can reasonably afford.
Pure Goalie carries a wide array of goalie equipment for players of every age and at every level of play. And our Low-Price Guarantee promises the most competitive prices available.
New to hockey or buying a goalie equipment for your child? Check out our handy goalie fitting and buying guides for everything you need to know before making your purchase.