March 4 || Written by Cedric Hastings
After a long wait full of leaked pictures, teasers, and pro gear sightings, the highly anticipated SLR3 Pro Carbon leg pads are finally here, and they are boasting some pretty impressive improvements over the pad they replace. Let’s take a deep dive into the redesigned SLR3 leg pads.
The most notable addition to the SLR3 Pro Carbon leg pad is the Balance Stabilizer knee system that Vaughn has included. The knee block is now attached to the core of the pad through the use of a molded plastic reinforcement bracket.
The inner edge of the SLR3 leg pad has also been redesigned using a firmer, squared-off foam. When combined with the stiffened knee block, we can observe a drastic improvement in responsiveness and stability when driving down into the butterfly and maneuvering on the ice.
In addition to the new knee block attachment, the SLR3 features a molded foam and soft Clarino landing area designed to be more comfortable and durable throughout the lifespan of the pad. The knee cradle is more open than the previous generation SLR2 leg pad, offering more room for larger knee pads, along with superior rotation.
In order to push rebounds out farther and harder, Vaughn uses a thicker, denser HD foam combined with a layer of carbon fiber that runs along the entire face of the pad. The result is an extra firm face that fires rebounds off the pad effortlessly, keeping them out of harm’s way. This full-length layer of carbon also adds to the durability of the SLR3. This allows it to keep its shape and stiff feel for longer.
Taking feedback from professional and college-level goalies for the SLR2, Vaughn worked to redesign the overall shape of the pad in the SLR3. Instead of the straight thigh that forced goalies to flare their hips if they wanted that perfect butterfly seal, Vaughn moved towards a slightly more pre-curved shape that allows for better seal without the extra work. That combined with a new narrow, more thinned-out profile makes for better mobility and pad rotation.
Keeping with their focus on rotation and control over the pad, Vaughn brings back their rotation control strap with the magnetic buckle to the SLR3. They also opted for a wider leg channel with a built-up calf pillow in order to aid rotation, along with a wider back calf wrap for improved coverage along the back of the leg.
Pure Carbon Reinforcement
Through the use of their Pure Carbon material, Vaughn has worked to strengthen the perimeter of the SLR3 by adding structure to areas of the pad that typically soften and break down first. Firmer perimeter edges make for a pad that will wear down less quickly and maintain its butterfly seal and rebound effectiveness for longer.
Graphics & Customization
Vaughn opted to stick with the angular styling we’ve been seeing from them over the past couple of generations of their gear. The SLR3 features clean lines and plenty of colour zones, allowing you to really add that personalized detail into your custom set.
As always, Vaughn offers tons of customization options on their highest-end goalie gear. Beyond the 17 colour zones and five logo colour options, you can also decide on team logos, core flex (boot and top), the leg channel, toe angle, among other custom options. If you’re really looking for a way to bump up your game to the next level, getting gear that fits perfectly for you is a great start and one of the best investments you could make in hockey.
Having tried out the SLR2 before, it’s nice to see the steps Vaughn has taken into making the SLR3 a more playable pad that appeals to a wider range of goalies. The addition of newer technology such as the redesigned knee block and landing area, along with the traditional and connected feel we’ve come to expect from Vaughn in their strapping and unified pad design, is different—albeit a very much welcome difference—from any other brand on the market.
If you found our review of the SLR3 leg pads interesting, consider checking out our take on the SLR3 catcher and blocker here!