As different technology becomes prevalent across the board in the sport of hockey, the way companies institute said technology will change as well. Lightweight foams and design changes brought about a evolution in goaltending equipment in the early 2000s and now a similar trend is occurring in glove design.
Bauer’s new line of gloves sticks to the traditional design that many players have grown accustomed to along with a new, anatomically designed pattern that could be considered more futuristic.
The Four-Roll Pro gloves are wildly popular at many levels of the game, particularly at the NHL, NCAA and major junior levels. A cursory glance around the ice at the 2013 World Junior Championships would show a number of US and Canadian players sporting the popular style.
The Four-Roll is a very basic design that utilizes lightweight EPP foam and a lightweight and durable outer design. The overall fit of the glove is relatively loose and allows for movement of a player’s hand and wrist for maximum comfort and dexterity. This is very much a traditionalist take on how a hockey glove should look and fit. By extension, the basic design has earned Bauer legions of fans around the world.
Bauer, however also offers a couple of other glove designs that are far closer to the cutting edge of design and technology. The Supreme TotalOne and Vapor APX gloves are designed with a contoured, anatomic fit as compared to the loose fitting Four-Roll design. This design is slightly more similar to that of a lacrosse glove than a traditional hockey glove, but it is also the type of design that many manufacturers are moving towards.
Since every player is different, the anatomic fit isn’t always preferred. Of course the same can be said of the traditional fit too. While all three models come with high-density, lightweight foams and Bauer’s signature Thermo-Max liner, the DNA of the gloves – so to speak – is the same. It is in the fit and feel where the differences lie.
The Vapor APX, Bauer’s newest creation, has a three-piece finger and thumb construction that is the same as the knuckles in each of your fingers. The three-piece thumb is a new innovation that is designed to add more flexibility to your thumb while maintaining maximum protection.
The APX line does fit a bit looser than the TotalOne design and has what Bauer buds as a “taper fit” as opposed to the TotalOne’s true anatomic fit. The APX glove will still be significantly more snug than a Four-Roll glove, but will offer more movement than in the TotalOne build. The true difference comes around the wrist area where the TotalOne is designed to fit around and to move in unison with the player’s wrist, whereas the APX provides more space.
Bauer’s Free Flex Cuff is where this is prevalent as the section around the hand remains snug while the new cuff design provides ample flexibility and space for wrist movement. This cuff is also angled in a way to align with the natural shape of the human hand and wrist.
One drawback that some players may find with the APX line is the TECHNI-FLEX palm. This is actually a rather innovative addition by Bauer but it does add thickness to the palm in some areas. Ultimately this will increase the life of the palms of your gloves while continuing to maintain the type of performance that could be expected from, say a nash palm.
In addition to the pro models of each of these gloves, Great Skate carries the Vapor APX 7, 5 and 3 models which come in at a lower price point but are devoid of certain features. Each still sports the tapered anatomic design and Thermo-Max liner. However, each model uses a mix of nylon and leather build and do not have the three-piece fingers or thumbs.
These three models are terrific purchases that highlight all of the pros and cons of the Bauer glove line for the season. Of course, only the APX, TotalOne and Four-Roll pro lines will bring the full effect of Bauer’s most recent research and development.