Pro vs Mid-range pads
Manufacturers of goaltender pads usually have different models at different price points. Their flagship "Pro" pad is the most expensive and usually what is used by goaltenders in the NHL (with some modifications). They will then be followed by one or multiple Mid-Range pads as well as an low-end pad. Manufacturers may also have more than one line of pads meant for different styles of goaltenders.
Personally, I have had both pro and mid-range pads and would steer away from the low-end pad. I have found that the main difference between the mid-range and pro pads were the materials and worksmanship. The pro pads I have were handcrafted in Canada while the mid-range ones were "Engineered" in Canada but build elsewhere.
The mid-range pads seem to have lacked some attention to detail as small defects can be found. There is also a much more liberal use of less-durable synthetic materials in key areas where wear could be an issue (near the skate). There is also a lack of calf wrap on the mid-range pads. Protection for this area is replaced by extra padding held in place by the leg straps which in my opinion does not offer as good a feel or protection. The knee riser on the mid-range pad is also much thicker than required and is not flush when standing in the basic stance.
|Pro pad leg channel||Mid-range pad leg channel|
Comparing the front of the pad, the pro-spec ones have an extra break in the outer roll and seem to be better designed for flexibility. As for feel, the pro pads can withstand stronger shots without having the impact feel too strong.
It is my impression that the pro pad will be more durable and more suitable for higher levels of play. The Mid-range pad is suitable for most goaltenders as I have used them in leagues with players that had played competitively, some at Junior levels including major junior and the occasional time against an ex-NHL player. Although they were borederline for some shots, most goaltenders would not face shots of that caliber and so they should prove adequate especially considering they can be half the price of the pro pad. The pro pad is really aimed for high-end players that need the best equipment, can feel the difference and can afford the higher price.