REVIEW: Maltese Sports Knee Thigh Pads KTPs
I think one of the most controversial and sought after items for Goalies is knee protection. We’re not talking about leg pads but some form of unit that actually protects the knee and sometimes thigh area under the pants. There are all different types from the now illegal boards, to thigh wraps, hard-shell knee protection, foam knee and thigh protectors, to multi-piece mechanisms. This seems to be another piece of equipment that we obsess over because nothing feels as good as no knee protection until you take a good slapper off that exposed knee or you knee drive a beauty of a butterfly miss the landing gear and slam your knee straight into the ice.
My background in knee protection started out with absolutely no protection a and then I had a set of CCM Vector 10s that had knee thigh boards. Those worked fine for me for a few year but were annoying in that they would sometimes tangle up under the leg of my pants and prevent rotation. I then tried various Vaughn thigh wraps and Bauer thigh wraps and found those to be bulky under my pants and still not protective to the knee. I move on to the Reebok Revoke/Koho/P4 Knee thigh Guards and stayed with those unit for a few years. They were a good compromise very bulky in the legs to the point it wasn’t comfortable to stand in certain positions but the kept the knee safe and the thigh area only once in a blue moon would a shot to the knee hurt or cause swelling. From those I moved to the P2 Prop knee protection which I found to be a little less bulky under man pants when I adjusted them to be as small as they possibly could. They were however uncomfortable. The flap that goes below the knee pressured the knee cap in strong knee drives causing skin removal and bruising.
This is when I started talking to Philip Maltese and tried his other products. I found out he was working on Knee pads shortly after and after seeing the prototypes had to order as set.
Each Knee pad is a full gel interior construction. You have one large hour-glass pad of gel with other layers and shapes built on top of that for an anatomical fit and function. Added padding covers the thigh and over the knee then two circles on each side of the knee. These are a good bit thinner than any of the other pieces of knee protection I have worn. At first the units seems stiff and you wonder how they would ever work but the gel is quite reactive to heat. With the heat of you body and the excessive heat created while you are skating the become extremely mobile.
I chose to wear mine with the provided garter belt that is sized to your waist not just some universal thing. Now there has already been discussion of how the units are to be worn. I found that for feel and mobility I wear mine starting at the knee and not below the knee. for people who have knee problems and find soreness in the knee after games it would be very beneficial to wear these starting below the knee as the gel provides a very soft cushion.
During play you might find that in warm ups you feel the KTPS. I strap mine one strap at the bottom tightly going straight across the bend of my knee. The two upper straps I criss cross on the back of my leg tight on the bottom looser at the top of the KTP. This leads to almost no rotation or movement. I didn’t try it but you may not even need the garter belt. Once you warm up on the ice and the KTPs warm up you have complete unrestricted movement. I was shocked at how much I realized the previous units I had worn affected my butterfly and my scrambling.
During play you will feel the puck impact but there will be no pain. Even on some of the hardest shots. If anything what impacts you the most is the shock of you body thinking it should be hurt but really nothing has happened. I have to say that my last few games with these have been the most comfortable on ice experiences in a long time. With every other need pad sacrifices had to be made. Usually comfort was the biggest sacrifice. The plastic knee cap units were bulky and the plastic cut your knees. The P4 style units made standing up uncomfortable because of the bulk they added under the pants in the thigh pushing the legs apart at the knee and thigh. The P2’s while extremely protective I had issues with them hindering pad rotation, added bulk at the knee and rotating all over the place themselves.
I have not had a single complaint or issue with the KTPs.
Things to note:
1. These units are sublimated in whatever colors you want. This process dies the white fabric the color you need, if you have a white leg channel it is a good idea to soak the KTPS in warm water before you use them as there is some dye left in the material that can discolor a white leg channel
2. The velcro straps will attach anywhere across the front of the KTPs. Allowing for a one size fits all and custom feeling set up. However if you are like myself and have huge thighs you may want to request one strap be made an 1″ to an 1.5″ logner to go around your thigh towards the top of the KTP should you choose to wear them that way
3. After use strap the KTPs up as if they were on your leg so that they keep that shape. It will help break in faster