Brian’s SubZero Pro2 Arm-and-Chest Unit Review
How mobile? This entire review was typed while wearing a SubZero Pro2 that had been through a dozen skates, a range-of-movement and comfort test made more pleasant for the nose by Brian’s use of the X-static silver fiber throughout the inner lining to reduce bacteria and smell.
As for the size, it starts courtesy of the contoured (and colorful, as Brian’s extends its new neon offerings beyond the SubZero Pro2 pads and gloves) shoulder floaters that measure 22.5 inches across at their widest point. Behind those shoulder floaters is the other secret to the big feel and look: double shoulder caps. The outer shoulder cap is attached to the chest piece and the second cap sits just behind it, attached instead at the top of the arms, which are also laced into the shoulder, providing additional fit flexibility. That second cap sticks out noticeably beyond the shoulder floater, helping goalies appear even bigger in net.
Most importantly, that size does not negatively affect mobility.
The arms, body and shoulder caps are integrated in way that allows the limbs to stay active without the parts that make the chest look so large getting in the way. That mobility starts at the top of the arms with a roughly four- to five-inch section of material without any hard foam inside. It sits behind – and is protected by – that second shoulder cap, and both are laced into the chest unit, increasing both the flexibility and adjustability.
Arm mobility continues with the elbow floaters, which didn’t take long to feel like they were broken in. This feel of flexibility is aided by having the seam of the elbow floater become a clean break around the side of the elbow, allowing for that “bicep curl” motion without extra resistance from those side panels of the floater, while an added layer on the side of that split provides the necessary protection and additional coverage.
While some choose to have the belly pad stitched into the side panels – and as The Custom Goal Company, of course Brian’s can make that happen – InGoal’s testers liked the way they were separated. While both the tuck and un-tucked options remained functional, the separate belly pad allows for a unique combination: tucking the side panels into the pant, while leaving the belly pad un-tucked, which allows goalies to achieve that connected, integrated feeling with the pants without sacrificing and forward pitch or flexibility at the waist because of how easily the belly pad seams fold in.
Similarly, the SubZero Pro2 overall seemed to work with varying preferences, with one tester tightening it for a snugger, more connected feel, and others leaving it looser. There was the sense among some wearing it loose that the arms moved independently behind the chest, that they could react with their hands while the top of the torso remained in place, which they noted wasn’t a criticism because it allowed them to feel active with the limbs without resistance from a chest portion that remained big and wide and square.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years at InGoal, it’s that chest-and-arm units may be the item most affected by pure personal preference rather than style of play, so the ability to wear the SubZero Pro2 different ways should be seen as a plus.
It was easy to crank down the wrist straps and felt like the lower arm protection wrapped and molded around the wrist, reducing interference with the glove and blocker. The addition of straight edge padding up the sides of both the lower and upper arm protection added to the net coverage – it really seemed to square off the outer edge of an otherwise typically rounded piece that can lead to pucks hitting goalies and still going in. But the seam between these separate pieces of protective foam ensured it wasn’t restrictive.
An additional flap of HD foam under the armpit and at the side of the lower portion of the shoulder floater also combines nicely with that extra inner bicep edge to help form a puck-swallowing seal between the arms on body. And while that extra flap under the armpit sometimes got caught up a little with the inside edge of the elbow floater, the additional protection for an area susceptible to unprotected puck contact was greatly appreciated. One tester even felt like the extra protective flap helped encourage him to keep his hands pressed forward in a more reactive stance to prevent any interference with the elbow, a built-in reminder for when his hands dropped too passively behind the plane of his body.
The SubZero Pro2 also features an extra “lat protection” layer around the sides that was appreciated by all for both the additional coverage and padding, but Brian’s also smartly tucked the side buckle between this extra layer and the inner wrap around the torso, eliminating any concern about annoying broken plastic buckles from pucks.
By the end of the second skate, the entire SubZero Pro2 Arm-and-Chest unit felt like an old friend in terms of the way it softened up at the important seams.
As fun as it was to scratch your back to prove arm mobility, a “measurement” we’ve been guilty of in the past here at InGoal and one the SubZero Pro2 performs, the more impressive movements included the ability to easily bring both hands out front to easily seal off body saves and gut traps, with the shoulder floaters and HD sternum plate collapsing into each other easily, and the inner layer of the chest flexing to allow the arms in tight. Or the way the arm and shoulder worked to allow the gloves to move high and tight to the body.
It was even possible to drink a cup of coffee while typing, and while we don’t expect a lot of goalies will need to try that for themselves, it remains a testament to both the lack of funky scent and the mobility of the arms without interference from the chest.
Enjoy these extra photos from an early test session – and a couple product shots – but be sure to enter to win your own above first: