In this review, we will focus on the top models of the Vapor family of the last two generations – Bauer Vapor 2X Pro and Bauer 1X Lite.
Bauer Shoulder Pads
Average price: $139
All Bauer Vapor Shoulder Pads
Since the launch of the APX2 kit, the Bauer brand distinguishes the Vapor line in terms of weight, trying to reduce its weight as much as possible, offering equipment “lightweight segment”.
Below I suggest comparing the weight of the latest generations of models.
- APX2 – 835g (size M, according to PureHockey), 860g (size L)
- 1X – 801g (size M, according to IceWarehouse), 830g (size L)
- 1X Lite – 660g (size M, according to IceWarehouse), 705g (size XL)
- 2X Pro – 740g (size M, according to IceWarehouse), 650g (size M, according to Bauer’s presentation), 730g (size L).
Weighing data suggests that the lightest shoulder pad on the market is the 1X Lite. We do not take into account classic models like Sher-Wood 5030, which in size M weighs 363 grams.
As for the Bauer Vapor 2X Pro, the numbers presented on PureHockey and in Bauer’s presentation look a bit odd, but the size L, which I weighed personally, is lighter than the 1X but came out heavier in comparison to the Bauer 1X Lite.
When switching from the 1X model to Bauer 1X Lite, the manufacturer focused on a significant weight reduction of –16.5% (according to the official information from the manufacturer).
Of course, such results were achieved due to the active use of the new version of Aero Lite 2.0 foam and the introduction of new material – HyperLite HD foam (a version of HyperLite with higher density).
The foam is lighter, more ergonomic, and does not absorb moisture, keeping the weight of the gear low during use.
The center shield in the 1X Lite is more compact in height compared to the 1X, but also made of the brand’s top materials: Curv composite material and HyperLite HD foam.
The variant in 2X Pro is modeled with the new X-Lite Shield technology and HyperLite HD foam.
Do not consider the change from Curv material to plastic as a step backward: the composite in protective equipment does not give the same rigidity that we see in the top Bauer skates.
The thing is that it’s not the Curv that creates it, but the combined properties of several materials present in the construction of the shoe.
In this regard, the X-Lite Shield looks a bit preferable. It is also worth noting that in the current flagship of the Vapor family, the central element is made of dense foam almost the entire chest height, while the 1X Lite is a bit shorter.
One of the disadvantages of the 1X shoulder pad was the vest, which was made of a fairly thick layer of foam. This resulted in a lower level of ergonomics – the shoulder pad could not provide the necessary flexibility to fit the body.
In 1X Lite and Bauer Vapor 2X Pro, the HyperLite foam is thinner ( this slightly reduces the level of protection) and due to this, the side panels fit much more comfortably on the ribs.
I would like to note the presence of ventilation holes in Bauer 1X Lite. Due to these holes, the presence of the microclimate in it is noticeably better than in the 1X and 2X Pro. The latter also boasts comfortable padding on the side panels of the vest, which creates a softer contact between the player and the shoulder pad.
Both models have removable abdominal protection made of medium-density foam.
Below I offer linear shoulder pad sizes, which should help in making your choice. Keep in mind that the 1X Lite comes in XL size and the Bauer Vapor 2X Pro comes in L size.
The back construction layout of the 1X Lite and 2X Pro is almost identical, but the materials and thicknesses are slightly different.
A big plus of the 1X Lite model is the thicker foam layer in the lower back and the convex stiffener along the spine. This allows for more effective impact energy absorption than with the flat protection of the 2X Pro model.
Both features vented side panels that make them stand out from the Vapor 1X.
From the back, there is another element that distinguishes the Bauer Vapor 2X Pro from the Bauer 1X Lite: the presence of an elastic insert that connects the front of the shoulder pad to the back.
But I did not notice any particular improvement in ergonomics from this design solution (although this does not mean that it does not contribute to the overall high level of comfort of the 2X Pro).
I like the design of the trapezoid and shoulder cup protection in the new 2X Pro much better. The foam in the trapezius area is not only thicker but also has more coverage.
The shoulder cups in both cases are made entirely of Aero Lite 2.0 foam (they removed the rigid plastic frame that was present in the Vapor 1X), but the 2X Pro has a larger cup in both area and thickness and has an increased density of the material, which increases its energy capacity. I have to admit, it left a very pleasant impression.
The shoulder cups in both cases are sewn to the shoulder pad vest with sturdy synthetic material. In my 1X Lite, which has been in use since its release, the cup is still holding in place.
Initially, there were fears of the edge of the cup tearing off, but that never happened. There is every reason to believe that the 2X Pro will also be fine.
The two shoulder pad models have slightly different attachment systems for biceps protection: the 1X Lite has a lip that is sewn to the shoulder pad and slipped into the ear of the shield, and the 2X Pro is the other way around. I do not see any fundamental difference here.
But the biceps protection itself is much better in the 1X Lite. In both cases, they are made of HyperLite HD foam and Curv composite material, but in last season’s 1X Lite it is significantly stiffer.
In the new 2X Pro the element is comparable to the 1X, and there I put the low stiffness of the shield as one of the disadvantages of the shoulder pad.
Since both shoulder pads are made of foam and must remain as light as possible during exercise, synthetic mesh is used as the main inner liner. It does not trap moisture and allows free air circulation.
There are small textile areas only in the upper back and trapezius area. In the case of the 1X Lite, it’s a liner with 37.5 technology to use the player’s body heat to evaporate moisture and antibacterial Sanitized technology that keeps the gear fresh for longer periods.
In the new 2X Pro, the manufacturer went back to the Thermo Core: probably the manufacturer decided to go back to the time-tested option, not wanting to pay for the use of technology that may give an advantage, but it is not so noticeable for the user. I can only add that both shoulder pads hardly get wet during a training session and dry very quickly.
Types of shoulder pad fit
As for shoulder pad fit on the body, Bauer still offers three types today.
- Traditional – formerly offered by the Nexus family, now replaced by the Pro Series. It is a bulky guard with a lot of negative space inside: suitable for players who do not want compactness and high density in the fit. The larger size allows you to cover more of the player’s body and place more powerful elements.
- Anatomical – it is provided by the Supreme line. The peculiarity of this family is the maximum repetition of the contours of the body, which creates the highest tightness of protection on the body. A good option for those who need compact protection and a medium level of protection. In my opinion, it is the most versatile solution from Bauer today.
- Tapered – Characteristic of the Vapor family. It offers standard volume at the shoulders and tight protection contact at the ribs. Suitable for those who want an intermediate size between the Pro Series and Supreme. The Vapor family is positioned to be as lightweight as possible, which reduces some of the limitations on its level of protection.
I must admit that the 1X Lite managed to seriously surprise me: with such a significant weight reduction in the protection it was weaker than the 1X only in the area of the ribs in the front. The shoulders, biceps protection, and back look even more interesting. That said, the shoulder pad is just more comfortable to use and provides better climate comfort.
As for the 2X Pro model, it turned out to be ambiguous. The level of protection was reduced in the area of the back (insignificantly) and biceps, the ventilation on the ribs in the front was removed, the incomprehensible cuff on the biceps protection and in addition the shoulder pad became heavier.
On the positive side, the 2X Pro is the most comfortable, ergonomic, and comfortable Vapor shoulder pad I’ve ever tested. I’ll also add to the 2X Pro’s list of unqualified merits the very successful shoulder cups.
Nothing is perfect, choosing a lightweight shoulder pad requires compromises.
Everyone has to decide for themselves which parameters are most important to them, and which ones they are willing to sacrifice. For me, the ideal option would be a hybrid – the 1X Lite model with the shoulders of the 2X Pro.