Ben Bowns setup for the 2019/20 season
A look at Bownsy's new Bauer True Design pad setup.
Bauer True Design Pads
Firstly, what is Bauer's True Design? Simply, it is to Goal pads what a custom paint job is to Goalie masks.
Ever since the introduction of the C.O.R.TECH skin in the Supreme 1S OD1N in 2016, the possibilities for digital printing on goal pads has been building.
Over the years we've seen Bauer’s Digi-Print technology on NHL goaltenders, like Henrik Lundqvist's instantly recognisible New York Rangers designs. We've seen special edition pads at the World Juniors, for KHL all star games, and retro designs for outdoor games.
The Bauer True design programme is the culmination of these efforts. Now the chance to create a seemingly infinite amount of custom graphics on your pads and gloves is open to all.
The process behind True Design allows for a digital-based image to be printed directly onto the surface of Bauer’s pads and gloves. It is then coated to protect the image so it will not fade or deteriorate over time, providing next-level custom without additional materials or weight.
The design process
Typically, to start the process, a Goalie will start by filling out a blank Bauer Sketch Sheet for either their preferred pad type; Vapor 2X Pro or Supreme 2S Pro. Fortunately for Ben, and any other goalie who wishes to order True Design pads through us, he has access to our 'in house designer' Alex Birch.
Following many excited design conversations, debating endless possibilities, Ben and Alex came up with a finalised design. As an approved retailer, we then submit this to the Bauer design team, the same team that will work on the aforementioned pads you will have seen in the NHL and on the biggest stages.
We then receive the artwork concept from Bauer to approve before production begins.
The pads feature a reversal of the red and white colour zones seen on last season's setup. The years design retains the pinstripe pattern from last season’s pads, with an accentuated thickness to make it more visible.
The Devil’s tail motif rising up from the boot of the pad, and up the gloves, perfectly ties the pads to the Cardiff Devils logo and uniform. The pads are finished with green brush stroke elements and binding to complete the distinctly Cardiff Devils and Welsh identity.
The pads themselves are Bauer Supreme 2S Pro Pads. Supreme pads feature a single break below the knee with a stiff, fused boot for goalies who like technical and precise movements. Ben has always preferred a really stiff responsive pad, and these Supreme pads offer the feel he is looking for.
Ben has opted to mix the Supreme pads with the strapping found on the Vapor 2X Pro pads. We asked Ben for his thoughts on the strapping system, and why he opts for the Vapor strapping.
Basically I prefer the Vapor strapping over the supreme strapping as it makes the pad feel more stable and secure on my leg in my opinion. Almost feels like just a part of the body which is great.
The fit gives you maximum control and you get great feedback on the pad which in turn gives you total confidence in the pads. The system is awesome too as you only have 3 straps (plus the removable ankle strap) but what does it for me, is the calf strap which is a 'V' shape that covers both the top and bottom of your calf in one go. I tend to attach that lower down my calf but I know goalies that attach it at the top of their and other who attach it mid-calf so that one strap can be adjusted to however the goalie likes it. The same goes with the knee strap ... l have fat knees ... so I attach that strap to the top of my calf whereas others have attached around the back of the knee.
The whole system gives full customisation to suit the individual and allows you to get the fit and feel that you're after which I think is awesome, especially when you consider that they've achieved that with the minimal amount of strapping!
At the end of the day, every goalie is different and will prefer different things and strap their pads in different ways so it's just a case of finding what works for you and sticking with it.
The customisation process also enables Ben and other goalies to really dial in their perfect fit, thanks to a vast array of options to get the pad that feels and performs how they want it.
Further custom options featured on Ben's pads are a Square Knee block with an additional pro bump, stock knee wing and calf elastic, along with CRS boot straps and H.A.L. toe attachment.
For his gloves, Ben has chosen the Vapor 2X Pro Catcher and Blocker.
The Vapor 2X Pro blocker features a full one-piece construction which allows for better overall stability. With CURV Composite through the blocking board to make the blocker super lightweight and stiff, and a C.O.R.T.E.C.H. ST skin. It is this skin we mentioned earlier that enables the digital printing process to work, but it is also very tough and durable.
Very little has been done to customise the blocker other than the graphics. The blocker internals and specs are stock, with the same Vapor palm and Thumb pillow you'd get right off our shelves.
The Vapor 2X Pro glove also features CURV Composite, this time throughout the cuff and outer perimeter for improved durability and better structure when catching the puck.
Like the blocker, the gloves in Ben's setup feature many stock features you can experience right off the shelf. Stock single T Pocket trap, Stock skate lace pocket lacing, and Stock catch grip palm material.
The main difference in Ben's glove is the break angle for hand closure. Goalie gloves come in different break angles which determines the closure characteristics. A '600' break closes with the fingertips to the end of thumb, kind of like a baseball glove. A '580' break has the fingers closing into the palm. Ben has opted for the ALT 590 model, this means the glove features a '590' break which closes along the middle of the hand below the knuckles, with the fingers pulling in to the base of the thumb.
Ben has two gloves in his setup, one with a game ready palm, the other features a practice palm. The practice palm has a reinforced poly base and an additional layer of foam backing, along with additional poron in the thumb zone. Practice palms are much stiffer, and don't provide the same feel and closure as the game ready palm, but does offer additional protection to help avoid stingers and injuries to the hand during many practice hours.
We think you'll agree that Ben's setup looks incredible on the ice, we can't wait to see it in game action!