The Lacrosse Goalie Gear Guide: Everything you need to play goalie

Lacrosse-Goalie-Gear

This post is a guide which will explain all the lacrosse goalie gear, both mandatory and optional, that is needed to play this amazing position.

I’ll also provide my recommendation for specific pieces of gear that I like.

As goalies we want to be as protected as possible without limiting our movement. So the gear that I prefer typically offers a high level of protection and functionality while still permitting freedom of movement.

Luckily for us, lacrosse goalie gear (and lax gear in general) has made tremendous strides in just the last 10 years. I mean consider this is what lacrosse helmets looked like not too long ago –

Lacrosse Goalie Gear

With the explosion in popularity of the sport, many lacrosse companies have invested heavily in research and development to create new lacrosse gear that’s lighter while also safer than its predecessors.

There are lots of great options for every single piece of equipment. Just because I recommend and like a specific helmet, doesn’t mean that there are not others that work great. Same with chest protectors, sticks, gloves, etc.

If you’re a brand new lacrosse goalie or a parent wondering what gear your child will need to play goalie, this post will help you understand all of the lacrosse goalie equipment that is needed to play in the cage.

Here’s a table of contents of the lacrosse goalie gear in case you want to skip directly to that part of the page:

Without further ado, here’s my recommended lacrosse goalie gear:

MANDATORY LACROSSE GOALIE GEAR

Lacrosse Goalie Gear

Helmet – Cascade R

 Lacrosse Goalie Helmet Cascade R Lacrosse Goalie Helmet

Today’s helmets are extremely light and yet offer more protection and style then helmets of the past. Goalies are going to get hit in the head with the ball so it’s extremely important to use a newer style helmet to avoid concussions.

There is no difference between a goalie helmet and the helmets used by attackman, defenseman, and middies. The only slight difference is we add a throat guard to the goalie helmet.

There is also no difference between the helmets used by male and female goalies. Just ensure you always get the right size.

If you play for a school team, they may provide the helmet. However if you’re playing for a club or traveling team you’re often on your own.

The helmet I recommend: Cascade R. It’s a pretty sweet looking helmet to boot. I love the matte version.

For more info on this helmet, checkout the full Cascade R helmet review that I wrote.

Throat Guard – Cascade Goalie Throat Guard

Cascade Throat Gaurd Goalie GearLacrosse Goalie Gear - Throat Guard

The throat guard attaches to your helmet via screws and protects your throat from shots.

When you have this device on always be sure to check that it fully covers your throat area as getting it in this region could cause serious injury.

I think the clear version looks the coolest but Cascade also makes it in black and silver.

The throat guard I recommend: Cascade Goalie Throat Guard.

For more info checkout the post on all the lacrosse goalie throat guard options.

Stick – STX Eclipse head with 12 Diamond Mesh on a Warrior Kryptolyte shaft

Lacrosse Goalie Gear - HeadLacrosse Goalie Equipment - MeshLacrosse Goalie Gear - Shaft

There are literally thousands of different head, mesh, and shaft combinations that you can use to create your goalie stick. This happens to be my favorite.

Just look at the all variations used by today’s MLL goalies.

For me, this stick setup is all about balance. Balancing lack of rebounds and control with the ability throw accurate outlet passes.

I love the weight and throwing ability of the STX Eclipse head. The 12 Diamond Mesh gives you great balance between hold and throwing ability. The Warrior Kryptolyte shaft is incredible light to aid in stick rotations. It’s also durable so it won’t deform as you’re repeatedly banging it against the pipes to check your position.

You can cut the defensive shaft to your desired length. I preferred to play with a shaft that was just like longer than a normal attack shaft (about 45 inches). I felt this gave me a good balance of lightness while still giving me enough torque to make the right outlet passes.

Checkout my full review of the iconic STX Eclipse goalie head.

And here’s my full review of the Warrior Kryptolyte goalie shaft.

Goalie head I recommend: STX Eclipse head. Goalie mesh I recommend: 12 Diamond Goalie Mesh. Lacrosse Goalie shaft I recommend: Warrior Kryptolyte shaft.

Chest Protector – STX Shield 300 (Men) / STX Sultra (Women)

Lacrosse Goalie Gear - Chest ProtectorLacrosse Goalie Gear - Chest ProtectorLacrosse Goalie Gear - Chest Protector Women

The chest protector is going to protect our chest, heart, stomach and shoulder area. Like the helmet, we’re going to be taking shots off of the chest protector so it’s important you buy the best protector you can afford.

Modern chest protectors come with reinforced chest plates to protect your heart in the event you take a shot to that region.

I find that these chest protectors offer max protection while still giving us mobility. The STX Sultra is the 1st piece of lacrosse equipment specifically designed for the women’s body. While I have not used it myself, several female coaches,  players, and parents have given me positive reviews of that chest protector.

This is an excellent piece of equipment and we’ve gone through plenty in my house with two goalies. My daughter specifically asked for this model after trying a half dozen different types loaned to her by friends, teammates and coaches. It fits true and stays in place. It’s well padded and provides excellent protection while allowing for full range of movement and doesn’t interfere with her stick handling at all. I’d definitely recommend it to a friend or family member and only withheld the fifth star b/c nothing is perfect. – Neil Flynn from Amazon.com.

Both of these chest protectors offer additional shoulder protection where getting hit can cause painful bruises. If you can deal with the pain and prefer more mobility, shoulder protection is optional.

My recommended chest protector: STX Shield 300 (Men) / STX Sultra (Women).

Lacrosse Goalie Gloves – Brine King Superlight 2 Goalie Gloves

Lacrosse Goalie Gear - GlovesLacrosse Goalie Equipment - Gloves

It’s important that you purchase lacrosse goalie gloves as opposed to just a normal pair of lacrosse gloves.

The goalie gloves have additional padding as well as a reinforced thumb to help protect our hands and avoid any injuries.

I broke my thumb while in college after a close range shot hit it directly. This was before I had lacrosse goalie gloves. It’s painful and something you want to avoid at all cost.

For an even deeper explanation of what to look for in goalie gloves be sure to checkout my lacrosse goalie glove guide.

My favorite pair of lacrosse goalie gloves are: Brine King Superlight 2 Goalie Gloves.

Athletic Supporter – Warrior Tool Box Goalie Nut Hutt

Lacrosse Goalie Gear - Jock

I used to wear just a simple athletic cup. Then I got hit square in the package.

If I would have had a mobile phone on me, I would have ordered a reinforced goalie jock right from the field. This jock provides the most protection and is well worth the investment. Given what’s at stake, this is my favorite piece of lacrosse goalie equipment that I own.

As you can see in the picture above, this type of athletic cup offers some additional hip padding in addition to protecting your entire groinal zone.

Obviously this piece of equipment is more valuable for us male goalies. Female goalies might feel sufficiently protected in this area with the lacrosse goalie pants.

My athletic supporter of choice: Warrior Tool Box Goalie Nut Hutt.

Cleats – Warrior Second Degree 3.0

Lacrosse Goalie Gear - CleatsLacrosse Goalie Gear - Cleats

I recommend using cleats on grass fields. Unlike the other equipment they’re not going to have a tremendous impact on your game so really any pair of cleats will do.

Getting a pair of high tops will give you additional ankle and foot protection in the event a ball strikes this area. This recommended pair is by Warrior however a similar type of football cleat will totally suffice.

I would stay away soccer cleats since they don’t offer as much protection as lacrosse and football cleats do.

Cleats I use: Warrior Second Degree 3.0.

Turf Shoes – Nike Huarache Lax Turf Shoes

Nike Lacrosse Goalie Turf Shoes

If you play your home games on turf, I recommend buying a pair of turf shoes. Some players simply wear their grass cleats on the turf field and that works fine.

For me however, I felt like I had better traction and responsiveness using the turf shoes while on turf. Even on some grass fields where the crease was extremely hard, I’d opt to use the turf shoes.

Same with the cleats, I prefer high tops to provide more protection to my foot and ankles.

Here’s the pair I like: Nike Huarache Lax Turf Shoes.

Mouth Guard – Shock Doctor Gel Nano Mouthguard

Lacrosse Goalie Gear - Mouth Guard

The mouth piece is a mandatory piece of equipment in lacrosse. Everyone, including the goalies, must wear one.

Since goalies are constantly talking to communicate to the defense, many (including myself) don’t like to use mouth guards. But they are extremely important to reduce concussions from a laser shot to the head or from getting hit while outside the crease. They’re also mandatory according to the rulebook.

My recommendation is to get a custom fit one from the dentist. I grind my teeth at night anyways so this actually killed two birds with one mouth piece for me.

If you go the dentist route, make sure the dentist creates it with colored plastic because clear mouth guards are illegal according to the rulebook.

In the event you don’t want a custom guard, Shock Doctor makes good mouth guards that you can fit to match your bite: Shock Doctor Gel Nano Mouthguard.

OPTIONAL LACROSSE GOALIE GEAR

The next few pieces of equipment are not required by rule but are definitely legal to use and recommended by me so that you can feel safe and protected while in the goal.

Back in the days, ice hockey goalies used to wear barely any equipment. In the late 50’s they didn’t even wear helmets or masks! After Jacques Plante, a goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens was hit in the face, injuring his cheek and nose, he returned wearing a self-made fiberglass mask. He was ridiculed by his team with most everyone questioning his toughness. All for wearing a mask on HIS FACE.

Today many goalies view this extra goalie gear as akin to Plante’s face mask in the 50’s. But I see lacrosse heading in this direction with goalies, especially youth, opting for these optional pieces of equipment and eventually facing less ridicule and questioning of mental toughness.

If anyone teases for using extra protection, tell them to step into the cage and see what its like.

There’s no reason why you can’t wear this equipment to feel confident and protected in the cage. Some of this pieces of lacrosse goalie gear are even mandatory, as noted.

Even if you don’t use this optional equipment during games, you might want to use it during practice when you receive more shots then you would in a game situation.

Arm Pads – Brine Youth Uprising II (required at youth level)

Lacrosse Goalie Gear - Arm Pads

At the youth level (Under 15 and below), arms pads are a required piece of equipment for all goalies.

The idea there is that youth player’s bones are still developing and thus we want to take all precaution to prevent injury.

At all other levels, they are permitted but not required.

Arms pads are the one piece of equipment I actually discourage goalies (other than youth) from wearing. I think they limit our movement of the arms so much that they hinder our ability to make saves.

For youth, be sure to get Youth arm pads like these: Brine Youth Uprising II.

Shin Guards – STX Valor Lacrosse Goalie Shin Guards (required for women high school level and below)

Lacrosse Goalie Shin Guards

There’s no way to sugar coat this – Getting hit in the shins with a lacrosse ball sucks!

There’s no reason not to wear shin guards except for pride. So put pride aside and strap on shin guards. I use a pair from Brine for lacrosse goalies however if you have soccer shin guards  or field hockey shin guards those will work just fine as well.

For women goalies at the high school level and below, shin protection is required.

Do NOT use ice hockey or baseball catcher shin guards as these are going to restrict movement too much. Also, by rule padding that excessively increases the size of body parts is illegal.

Here’s what I use: STX Valor Shin Guards.

Lacrosse Goalie Pants – Brine Ventilator Lacrosse Goalie Pants (required for women high school level and below)

Lacrosse Goalie Pants

Goalie pants are another piece of optional equipment that I recommend especially during practice.

These pants are going to protect your thighs and hips. Most importantly they’re going to reinforce the feeling of being protected which will help instill confidence into our goal keepers.

Like shin protection, for women goalies at the high school level and below, thigh protection is also required. Just ensure it doesn’t excessively increase the size of your legs (i.e. no field hockey pads) to remain legal.

If you decide to use goalie pants, be sure to get a pair that doesn’t restrict your range of motion.

I like these goalie pants which are extremely light and offer a great range of motion: Brine Ventilator Lacrosse Goalie Pants.

Knee Pads – Mizuno Volleyball Kneepad

As a goalie, I was hit in the knees many times with shots and never received anything more than a bruise.

But for youth players wanting to feel extra protected, I often recommend a lightweight knee pads to help shield the knee cap from injury while still allowing the knee to bend and move with limited restriction.

If you’re using shin guards which go over the knees then you obviously do without the kneepads.

I recommend a light weight pad like those used in volleyball: Mizuno Volleyball Kneepad.

Padded Shirts / Sleeves – EliteTek Padded Compression Shirt / McDavid Hexpad Arm Sleeve

If you want a little more protection, many brands offer padded under shirts or protective arm sleeves that can help serve this purpose.

I find this pieces of gear to be light enough that do not limit our movement while they do add to the feeling of being protected which boosts confidence in the cage.

Especially during practice I recommend the EliteTek Padded Compression Shirt and a pair of McDavid Hexpad Arm Sleeves.

The Lacrosse Bag

Finally you’re going to need a bag to carry all your lacrosse gear.

Some schools have team bags so you won’t have a choice in which bag to go with. However if you’re looking for you own bag, here are my two favorite options.

Maverick Lacrosse Monster Bag 

MaverikLacrosseBag

At 40 x 15 x 15 inches this bag is large enough to fit all the standard lacrosse goalie equipment plus your extra gear. Also comes in a bunch of colors so you can pick your school or club team’s colors.

Adrenaline Lacrosse TacPack Backpack

Lacrosse Backpack

It’s a little bit of a squeeze but if you’re looking for a backpack option try the Adrenaline TacPack. The exterior stick holder and helmet pocket give you just enough room to fit your other equipment into the backpack’s main pouch.

You’ll have more room with the Maverick Monster bag but if you’re looking for portability and easy transport, the backpack may be the way to go.

A Note About Sizing

For every single piece of goalie gear recommended above, be sure you get the right size.

All pieces of equipment should fit snugly so that it doesn’t move on our bodies as we’re making saves. But not too tight that it hurts or limits our range of mobility.

Loose fitting equipment can be extremely dangerous as a chest protector may slide and leave an area unprotected. Or loose fitting helmet could hit against our head causing a concussion.

Make sure you review size recommendations for each product and then adjust them to fit snugly. If they’re too big or too small return them for a different size.

Conclusion

The number one piece of advice I offer new goalies is: Get Protected!

While you may think its macho and cool to wear very little padding, wearing the right amount of pads will make you more confident in the cage

Unfortunately, playing goalie in lacrosse is not cheap. The various pieces of lax goalie gear required to outfit a new keeper can add up fast. Thus always look to buy used gear at a local sports store if possible.

The pieces I recommend in this post are certainly not the only pieces of lacrosse goalie equipment that are functional and awesome, however it’s what I like and what I encourage others to get when they ask me.

Until next time! Coach Damon

NOTE: Most of the above links are affiliate links meaning I get a super small percentage in the event you decide to buy through my page. Even though these are affiliate links, I thoroughly recommend every piece of lacrosse goalie equipment that’s listed. If you’ve enjoyed the free content I’ve put together on this blog I’d be honored if you purchase through those links to give me some support. I’ve also had nothing but great experiences with LacrosseMonkey.com every time I’ve used them to buy my lax gear.

What’s your favorite piece of lacrosse goalie gear? Any additional questions about a specific piece of lacrosse goalie gear? Let me know in the comments. 

31 comments on “The Lacrosse Goalie Gear Guide: Everything you need to play goalie”

  1. Rom Elwell
    October 21, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Another option for goalie pants is to purchase 5-pocket football compression shorts and add football thigh pads. Our HS goalies (women) have been doing this for three years now and love the freedom of movement this configuration provides them. It is important to note that there is not the same level of protection across the front of the upper leg (each thigh pocket will typically hold one and a half thigh pads, stacked) as there is exposed muscle between the pockets in the shorts. In spite of this, our goalies have not had any injuries due to wearing football compression shorts and thigh pads.

    • October 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      Yep! Great point Rom. That option is also less expensive than the lacrosse goalie pants. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Dave Thompson
    November 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Hi Coach – Great post! Very helpful for a new goalie or a parent who wants to know what kind of lacrosse goalie gear and equipment their son is going to need to play goalie. Thanks for putting this together!

    • November 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks Dave! Thanks for reading!

  3. Rory Michaels
    November 17, 2015 at 1:07 am

    Hi Coach – Nice post! I need to get goalie gloves for my 10-year old son. Any suggestions on which gloves I should go for?

    • November 17, 2015 at 1:22 am

      Hi Rory – I wouldn’t say goalie gloves (with the extra padding / thumb protection) are necessary at that age. Kids just don’t shoot hard enough to necessitate goalie gloves plus there’s not too many options for goalie gloves at that age. So I would focus on finding a pair of gloves that fit. A good option is the Under Armour Command lacrosse glove. I’ve seen this one in use by college teams and it comes in size 10. If you really want goalie gloves, another option is to look at female goalie gloves. You usually can’t tell that they are designed for females and they come in smaller sizes. Check out the STX Sultra Goalie Glove. Good luck finding a good pair of goalie gloves! – Coach Damon

  4. Jason
    July 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

    My son is coming off a broken arm (off field incident). Heading into the indoor season and fall elite (8th grade level), I’m trying to find an extra level of protection for his upper arm/elbow that won’t dramatically affect his mobility. With exception of town level games where he has been required to wear an elbow pad he prefers to play without any arm protection at all to maximize mobility. Any recommendations?

    • July 21, 2016 at 10:25 pm

      Hi Jason – Like bicep area? Have you looked at bicep guards like this – http://amzn.to/29QHKU5? Here’s another, which is women’s size so be sure to get a large one – http://amzn.to/29YAuV2. Hope that helps.

      • Jason
        July 22, 2016 at 1:53 am

        Broke it vertical just above the elbow and up under the bicep. I’ll take a look at them. Appreciate the response.

        • July 22, 2016 at 1:40 pm

          Ouch! Hopefully those pads work out. Good luck!

  5. Ben Mcneal
    August 15, 2016 at 1:48 am

    I noticed in your description of each piece of goalie gear that you didn’t make a distinction between boys and girls goalie helmets. Is there an difference between boy and girl helmets?

  6. Paul Murphy
    October 12, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Excellent info! My daughter (10) is just getting into Lacrosse and loves being goalie. We have no idea what we are looking for, so your knowledge is much appreciated!

    • October 12, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Paul – Glad to be of help. Hopefully you found everything you need! Let me know if you have any specific gear questions.

  7. Ian
    December 20, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    What is the best way to travel on a plane with goalie gear? Is there a bag that you recommend that fits goalie sticks?

    • December 23, 2016 at 3:47 am

      Great question. When I travelled with my lax goalie gear I unscrewed my head from the shaft, put the shaft in my equipment bag and then checked that bag. I attached the goalie head to my backpack and carried it on. That way you don’t need a specific large bag and you’re not worried that your string job will get screwed up. Any lax gear bag will do then (like this one).

  8. Krista
    December 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    My son, age 8, is just getting into lax goalie. He is now the goalie for his team. Does he need a chest protector and shoulder pads? We just bought him shoulder pads but they also cover the chest. Should he wear both? I definitely want him protected but it looks like a bit much! Thanks!

    • December 28, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Krista – He absolutely needs to use a chest protector, that’s required. Some chest protectors come with built in shoulder protection to help guard that area. Shoulder pads by rule are optional as are arm pads, thigh pads, and shin pads. However I encourage goalies to be as protected as possible especially during practice when the number of shots a goalie takes are much higher. If the shoulder pad / chest protector combo limits your son’s mobility too much you could not use the shoulder pads during games. Another option to consider is an ice hockey style chest protector (like this) which has chest and arm/shoulder protection built in. Good luck.

  9. Leo Murphy
    February 8, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Hey coach, this is my first year of lacrosse, I’m a 16 yr old boy, and starting goalie for my high school team. Unfortunately not too long ago, I was hit in my groin area with no protection. Now obviously I’m looking for some protection down there. Do you recommend getting the nut hutt and the goalie pants, or will just the goalie pants suffice? Thanks,
    Leo Murphy

    • February 13, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Sorry to hear about that Leo. The goalie pants alone does not provide adequate for your family jewels as its just a soft pad. I would recommend a jock strap/athletic cup too. The Nutt Hutt might be overkill since it also has additional groin padding but give it a try and see how you feel. If you use goalie pants, a basic athletic cup could suffice. If no goalie pants, use the Nut Hutt. Good luck!

  10. Tracy
    March 4, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    I’m looking for some sort of foot protection for my daughter playing high school goalie. Any ideas? Thanks.

  11. Jennifer
    March 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    I’m so glad I found your blog! My daughter is playing her 2nd year at goalie and just got a concussion from a head shot she took. I’m considering getting her a helmet of her own. If I buy online, how can I be sure the fit will be right? Would I be better off taking her to an actual store to be fitted, or do the helmets come with any sort of adjustable feature? She currently uses shared gear from a coaches son. I like the idea of a women’s chest protector, too, since we’re built a little different than the guys!

    • March 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Hi Jennifer! Thanks! Glad you found the blog. I would recommend trying on a helmet at a local sports store then buying online if you can find a better deal. Most helmets are adjustable but only to a certain extent.

  12. Jackson
    May 5, 2017 at 2:46 am

    Thanks so much for the info on various pieces of gear! However there is one piece of gear that you do not mention, the bag to carry all this stuff! I do see that one of your comments has a bag listed, but my HS freshman daughter goalie is currently using an older backpack (Warrior) owned by the school that is just perfect (it can carry helmet, shin protectors, gloves, shoes, pants, water, balls and still has some extra room). I cannot for the life of me find a truly large equipment bag that is a backpack and was hoping that you could suggest a backpack equipment bag that fits the bill.

    • May 5, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks Jackson. I’m going to add my bag suggestion to this post. Backpacks are tough. Fitting all that gear – helmet, chest protector, gloves, pants, etc. is a tight squeeze hence I always went with a normal lacrosse bag. But best I’ve seen is this Adrenaline Lacrosse TacPack Backpack.

  13. Angie
    July 5, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Thank you so much for the information! My 8 year old loves being goalie and has used the coach’s equipment in the past, but if he wants to keep playing and practicing with his friends, I wanted to get him his own equipment. Thank you so much for the insight and suggestions!

    • July 5, 2017 at 5:12 am

      No prob Angie! I’m glad you found this goalie equipment guide useful. Good luck to your 8 year old!

  14. Adam Murray
    July 12, 2017 at 1:28 am

    We have used hockey pants as good starting tool for lomer body shots

    • July 12, 2017 at 4:12 am

      Great point Adam. Thanks for adding that! Hockey pants for the win.

  15. Ed
    August 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I really enjoyed the article. I was a lacrosse goalie in high school and college in the late ’70’s and things have sure changed a lot. I would have LOVED the goalie gloves. I never broke a thumb but it sure felt like it on a few occasions. Does anybody manufacture goalie cleats? By the end of a season, my toes were always black and blue and I lost the nail on my big toe twice.

    • August 18, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks Ed! Goalie gloves arrived while I was in college and they were a great help! I actually did break my thumb with normal lax gloves. I don’t know of anyone making lacrosse goalie cleats. I wrote about that in my post on 6 Things I Wish Existed for Lacrosse Goalies.

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