There are quite a few resources for cheap hockey pads on the internet for those interested in discount equipment as well as used gear. If you search long enough you can save a lot of money and a whole lot of effort. However, if you're buying hockey gear for the first time, it might be useful to have some tips on how to choose good equipment; such information will not only make you sound knowledgeable about the sport, but also get you into groups where the best hockey equipment is sold.
One of the first things to know about cheap hockey pads, or any kind of protective equipment for hockey, is how protection is balanced with mobility. Because heavy padding is necessary for this physically challenging and often violent game, a good mix of these two is required for maximum safety coupled with minimal restriction of movement. Due to of the hard surfaces, fast-flying pucks and the arguably sane practice of "checking", it is crucial that you try and minimize impact to parts of your body that are prone to injury. Good pads are protective, but they will also allow for a good deal of maneuverability. Here are some cheap hockey pads in each category elbow, shoulder and shin protection.
Elbow pads are made by all the top brands like Reebok, CCM and Sher-Wood. CCM has some great elbow pads that are very reasonably priced. The CCM Vector 6.0 is an excellent choice in the lower price band, available at a surprising $24.98 from hockeymonkey.com. Essentially a two-piece pad, the forearm piece offers a lace tightening system, which some player say give a more snug fit than strap system; however, this is more a matter of personal preference. The upper arm band is molded and gives superior impact protection while allowing a great amount of mobility and bicep flex movement. The forearm piece features a PROFLO cap, which claims to offer light-weight protection by keeping the elbow "glued deep in the cap". For cheap hockey pads, this is probably one of the best in this category, along with Reebok's Kinetic Fit System, that retails around the same price, or a little less.
One of the best deals on shoulder pads is offered by Reebok. Again, the 2K Kinetic Fit range comes to the rescue of bargain hunters looking for cheap hockey pads, and one of these can retail for as little as $30 or so. The PE inset offers great light-weight protection as well as a good amount of comfort. The specially designed low-profile shoulder caps capture and disperse any impact away from the shoulder joints, which are fragile and prone to dislocation or breakage. The foam bicep is extended to give you full upper arm protection as well. You'll find one of the best blends of coverage and protection with the Kinetic Fit range, and it is quite popular among pros and amateurs alike.
Shin guards don't really affect movement in anyway unless they extend way above the knee, in which case the question of flexibility comes into play. However, most shin guards will only have top and side flaps around the knee cups, letting you move freely with offering extended protection. The Easton Stealth S1 is a good example of cheap hockey pads that offer a fair amount of protection and excellent mobility. The ergonomic design of the knee and shin makes for an extremely snug fit, offering good protection and a light-weight feel. Retailing at under $25, these are good options for a good combination of the parameters we're considering.
Most manufacturers will offer combo packages as this sometimes makes more sense than to pick up individual pieces of equipment. A decent combo with shoulder and elbow pads and shin guards should list at around $100, but discounts can often bring them down to a more affordable $75 or so. If you're unsure of a particular brand, go ahead and search for reviews by players on the internet. Often you'll be able to find independent views that will give you an objective perspective. In effect, cheap hockey pads can be studied and experienced before you actually buy them.
Sports Authority: Has over 450 locations in the United States and is one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the country. They have equipment for most major team sports, individual activities (such as BMXing, skiing, and snowboarding), as well as a wide variety of other fitness gear and apparel. Their hockey pads are economically priced, and they offer $0.99 shipping on certain purchases off their website. Sports Authority has a good reputation when it comes to safety, so even if you're purchasing the "low end" equipment, you can rest assured that these pads aren't compromising your health for their low price tags. They stock every type of padding a hockey player needs: gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, shin and neck guards - as well as skates, masks, sticks and any other hockey gear you might need. You can get all the necessary padding for under $300 - and this is without compromising safety.
CCM Sports/The Hockey Company: You might consider CCM to be a "step up" from Sports Authority when it comes to hockey equipment. CCM specializes in hockey gear, and unlike Sports Authority, don't cater to other major sports. The Hockey Company is the branch dealing with hockey equipment (CCM makes bikes). They have manufactured hockey gear since 1905, and have always remained cutting edge with regards to technology that makes the game safer. Their equipment still is produced at reasonable prices - so don't expect to pay much more if you choose to go with CCM.
Bauer Hockey: The main competitor of CCM, Bauer was the leading manufacturer of hockey equipment through the mid 1900's. They offer top of the line hockey equipment. If you are looking to spend a small fortune, Bauer will be able to accommodate you. Don't let that discourage you if you are on a tight budget however, for Bauer has hockey gear that spans the entire economic spectrum. You should be able to pick up a complete set of Bauer hockey pads for under $400.