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Open Knee, Pad Rotation, and Toe Ties

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  • Open Knee, Pad Rotation, and Toe Ties

    I just wanted to post a little write up about my experience over the past year or so regarding pad rotation and my butterfly in the hopes that maybe it will help someone else out.

    To start, I've got very short legs (17" ATK) and most of the time my knee hits pretty low in a stock 33" pad. I'd also consider myself a very "traditional" goalie. In other words, I don't feel very comfortable in the RVH and I hate the feel of the Lundy loop strapping set up.

    For a number of years I was using a set of Reebok P3 pads sized 33+3. My knee hit fairly low, but I had a nice clean butterfly with a smooth seal all along the ice. I used a large amount of toe slack and strapped the knee lock across the back of my knee. When they finally broke down, I ended up in a pair of 33+2 Reebok XLTs. I assumed the transition would be minimal, but I was wrong. For months I struggled with my knee not hitting the landing and a seriously woeful butterfly - the dreaded v-fly. I would call it significant "under-rotation" (I use quotes because I always go back to this article when my butterfly is looking like crap - For me, a lot of it was mental. When I went down into the butterfly I wanted to see a nice seal and rotation so I didn't have to think about anything squeaking through the five hole.

    So I started trouble shooting. I figured I'd tackle the rotation first then solve the knee landing. I played with strapping quite a bit and nothing seemed to make much of a difference. I wear my pads fairly loose to begin with so I didn't think that was a problem. When I dropped down though, it seemed like my knees were the sticking point. I tried strapping the knee lock to calf, but didn't make too much of a difference. And with lots of slack in my toe tie, loose strapping, and knee to calf lock, the pad was flopping all over. I started to compare my old pads to new and realized the material in the knee itself was very different. My P3s were all nylon and the XLTs had the Suregrip material. I wear compression pants overtop my knee pads and it turns out the grip material was doing it's job too well and catching the compression pant material. The nylon on my P3s let it slide no problem.

    I started by cutting out the face of the knee lock. This seemed to help slightly. So, because I can't help myself, I went and cut the whole knee lock.

    At the same time, I realized the toe ties were something else I needed to mess with to get rotation and feel where I wanted. I tried both the stock HD foam toe bridge and the leather toe bridge with laces and neither made much difference. The more slack I added, the sloppier the pad felt and the rotation results were minimal. I tried the Pro Laces, but they were too short and didn't work with the cowling on my Vector 10s. I tried to make some homemade shock cord toe ties, but I could never get the length right and they were always too tight it seemed. Finally I caved and bought the HAL pros in the longer length. This let me strap them through the back of my cowling like normal laces. The fit was snug, but not tight.

    Finally, I took at look at my pants. I tuck with suspenders over the top. I wear big pants (XL) nice and loose. I decided to tighten up the suspenders and pull the pants up a bit.

    So, last night was my first time playing with all these adjustments and you know what, my butterfly was back to perfect seal and my knee hit the block consistently. So, what's the point of all this. Here are my takeaways:

    - The open knee set up is wonderful. I attach the strap to the calf with a decent about of tension so the fit is snug, but there is no resistance when going down. Rotation was very smooth.
    - I am all on board the elastic toe tie movement (specifically the HAL Pros). When in stance, the pad sits nice and snug and response, and my ankle/foot can rotate smoothly in the butterfly.
    - There are a lot moving parts to a nice butterfly I didn't consider at first.

    Hopefully this helps someone else out!

  • #2
    This is why I have been asking all nylon knee cradles on my last to sets of pads.


    • #3
      I got all the mods you mentioned on my latest Passau Set. My gear has evolved over the years, now I strictly care about function and weight savings. Being a short goalie like you, movement is key to my game. I even have fashioned my own shock cord based toe tie... mine have the shock sewn into the velcro tabs


      • #4
        I've been rocking the open cradle for years. Welcome my friend. My switch was after I bought a set of used pads for ice and the knee cradle was gone. Shortly thereafter I was cutting the cradle free from my roller pads.

        I think Marty Biron was doing this way back when. Back then we were calling it the Biron mod.

        I think his were removed since he wore giant knee pads and there's only so much space..

        Plus the knee lock interfered with his clear tape around his ankles and lower legs.


        • #5
          HAHAHA the Biron ankle tape job! He was a mess.