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03-30-2012, 11:16 AM
  #25
Jarick
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St Paul, MN
Country: United States
Posts: 25,250
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My first shoulders were Mission M-2 pads:



They don't look like much, but holy crap they made me feel 20 degrees hotter on the ice. I was dying. They also rotated with my shoulders so they were constantly riding up and limited my movement. Plus the caps came off the shoulders a good bit so they looked goofy under the jersey.

Then I got the Sherwood 5030's:



Much lighter feeling on the ice, much cooler, like wearing nothing. No padding on the belly or low back, so I took a lot of shots and got some nasty bruises and welts. Also the laces kept coming undone in the middle of games (even when I double knotted) and they'd fall apart. After a year they weren't white anymore...got all nasty and yellow. Then I read about a couple kids getting heart attacks from shots and a guy in my league had a heart attack and decided to get more protection.

Now I'm wearing these Reebok 4k's:



What you can't really see is that the shoulder/chest/back piece is separate from the torso piece and connected with stretchy material. This means the upper piece moves with your shoulders and the torso piece stays flat on the body. The M-1's and some Itechs I tried would ride up and hit my cage on faceoffs, but not these ones.

It has far more coverage than the 5030's but it doesn't feel much heavier. I don't notice them at all during games. They also are not much hotter than the 5030's, nowhere near as hot as the M-1's or some Vapor shoulder pads I was using at one point. The additional padding on the belly and low back is nice for errant shots and there are big inserts on the chest and spine for extra protection.

The shoulder caps, if you compare to the 5030's, do come out a little wider, but if you compare to the M-1's (and most shoulder pads from several years ago) they are level with the neck, not coming up, so they don't have that "football player" look to them. The caps also are more contoured and not sticking out to the sides, again for a more natural look under the jersey.



This is why I say, check out modern pads if you haven't in a while. I know Easton has a similar floating chest piece for movement. My old Vapors were in between, no floating piece, but they did have a segmented torso so it had a bit more movement. But these newer pads do an excellent job, even the lower end models.

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