Product Review: Vaughn Legacy 4000 Leg Pads

I think a lot of people do equipment reviews a little early before they’ve had a chance to really let the equipment break in, and get used to their game with it. That being said, I think it’s time I write my review of my Vaughn Legacy 4000 leg pads I bought back in late summer 1999 at Jerry’s Hockey Warehouse in Crestwood, IL.

For the first four years I had the pads I skated six to seven days a week as a Division Three NCAA junior varsity goalie. Even during the summer I was skating almost daily as I worked my school’s summer hockey camp – where we’d skate for a few hours each night after the campers went to bed, and every weekday at Johnny’s Ice House in Chicago when I was home for break.

The pads are pro stock pads. The only modification I made was to remove the toe strap, and replace it with a skate lace. For you young ones out there, a toe strap is a short leather strap that you’d loop around your skate blade to keep the pad from rotating on your foot.

I did have an issue the first season wearing the pads  where the calf wrap’s seam on the right pad started to come undone, and the second strap from the top started to come loose. I contacted Vaughn after the season, and the promptly sent me a box to send the pads back to them for repairs. They told me if they couldn’t repair the pad, they’d simply replace them. I was thankful they were able to replace the calf wrap and the strap.

OK, with that out of the way, here are my thoughts on the pads. The pads are soft, eating up rebounds, but allowing me to feel the puck. The thigh boards are attached to the pads, and provide descent protection, but tend to rotate on the thigh leaving yourself vulnerable to taking a shot off the top of your knee when down in the butterfly. These pads are pre thigh rises, so when I do go down into the butterfly, with my legs as close as I can get them, there is a sizable gap between the tops of both pads. The pads only extend four inches above the knee rolls.

The leg channel is is wide, and while the back of the leg gets covered by the calf wrap, there isn’t much protection on the back side of the leg, bu as my goalie coach told me as a kid, “the back of your leg should never open to the puck.” He said this as he was teaching us skate saves. The knee stack is also almost nonexistent compared to pads on the market today.

The thing young goalies notices right away about these pads is all the straps. Two straps go through the stake cowlings (along with the toe string, meaning no rotation whatsoever), three around the calf, one behind the knee, and one above the knee. When I first got my pads I liked the straps tight. I didn’t like any movement in my pads. I strapped them so tight they tended to leave marks after a long skate. As time went on I started loosening the straps, first the top strap, then down the leg. To this day, the only straps that come close to being tight are the two that go through the skate cowling.

I’ve had these pads for close to 20 years. I am looking for a new set, but am honestly worried how a ‘modern’ set will impact my game. There are also days after a game where I wish I just had to undo three velcro straps on each leg rather than six seven leather straps on each leg. One thing that can’t be argued is the level of craftsmanship Vaughn provides. With as many pucks these pads have seen over the years, there is no reason they should be in this good of shape. I’ve only had to replace a few straps over the years (because of how tight I used to wear them), and have a seam tightened up this past winter. I’m not sure what my next set will be, or when I’ll get them, but I do know Vaughn will be in the decision making process. If I could get a pair of their modern pads with this graphic, I’d probably give them my money right then and there.

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