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Comfort, breathability and protection: ONEIRIC base layer for goalies

The fear factor hasn’t really been a part of goaltending for several decades now, disappearing for the most part as equipment companies evolved chest protectors that actually lived up to that name and masks that didn’t leave your nose broken on high shots. But that doesn’t mean the position can’t still be dangerous.

Being a goaltender still means being exposed to high, hard shots and net crashing forwards with razor blades on their feet. It also means leaving our legs exposed, especially as the leg channels on the backs of pads have opened up to reduce weight and increase breathability and mobility. It can be a devastating combination. Just ask Minnesota Wild goalie Alex Stalock, who had a nerve behind his knee severed when an opposing forward stepped on him in the crease.

Cam Ward suffered lacerated leg muscles from a skate cut while with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2009, and Edmonton Oilers goalie Anthony Stolarz needed 55 stitches to close a scary skate cut while playing in the OHL.

Thankfully, ONEIRIC understood those risks when they built their Genesis base layer just for goalies, adding cut-resistant material to the most exposed area over the ankle and Achilles, and soft protective padding up the back of the leg.

InGoal Magazine has been gathering feedback on three sets of the ONEIRIC pants for the past several months, and that protection was the first thing praised, with goalies who previously wore cut-resistant socks celebrating the fact they no longer needed to layer-up with different products to feel protected. The Genesis base layer provided all that protection on its own, but while added safety was the primary goal for ONEIRIC, it isn’t the only feature our test goalies liked.

“The ONEIRIC goalie base allowed me to replace both my Kevlar socks, as well as my compression jock shorts, decreasing the amount of time to get dressed and onto the ice, as well as providing an ease of mind knowing I have simplified my gear – less to remember,” one InGoal tester wrote in his feedback. “The added protection in these exposed areas provides additional comfort and ease of mind knowing you’re protected no matter what position you find yourself in.”

That echoed the sentiments of 2018 Olympic Gold Medalist Nicole Hensley.

“I’m a big fan of the Genesis Base Layer’s cut-resistant bottoms and padding on the back of the legs, and they are so light,” said Hensley, who played for the Buffalo Beauts of NWHL last season in addition to the US Women’s National Team. “It may sound crazy, but we will take any advantage we can get, including being just a little bit lighter to move a fraction of a second quicker.”

ONEIRIC also added a “grip” material to the knee to help goalie kneepads stay in place, and while there was skepticism from some testers about the feature out of the box, the benefit quickly won them over. Given how annoying it can be when a kneepad slips down your leg, the extra grip became a feature worth noting, with one tester wishing for an even bigger grip area.

“On the ice, it made a tremendous difference,” one tester noted.

There is also a grip material around the inside of the waistband, which prevents the pants from slipping or moving too much while you play, and the Genesis base layer has an inner pouch to easily insert a cup – you can purchase the pants online with or without a cup but some of our testers used the Nutshellz bulletproof cup and it fit perfectly – which allowed some of our goalies to ditch old jock shorts. Why do we like this feature when we all wear goalie-specific cups? As we have noted here before at InGoal, at the pro level you’ll find most goaltenders wear a player cup under their goalie specific protection and we’re seeing it at younger and younger levels now. 

The pants have Velcro tabs on the front and back of the thigh to easily attach hockey socks but the tab is easily and effectively left closed for goalies that don’t and we didn’t experience any rubbing or wear from exposed Velcro.

The pants fit loose enough that is is still easy and comfortable to wear a compression short or “core” shorts underneath, and testers noted how cool they felt in the Genesis, citing breathable “ventilation” mesh panels around the groin.

The primary material has a soft feel and antibacterial properties, and was chosen with kids who have tactile sensitivities and can’t wear some fabrics in mind, but was also chosen as a high quality premium product that will last. It wasn’t chosen for this reason but outside of the grip tabs the material also has a “slipperiness” that some testers thought helped with pad rotation dropping into a butterfly.

About the only thing maybe missing is added padding on the front of the knee to help ease the burden of butterfly drops, preferably using a modern, impact-absorbing foam but those products have mostly disappeared from the marketplace, in large part because of the high cost and durability concerns. (Bauer no longer sells their pants, but does still offer Poron-padded goalie knee pads that could easily slip over top of the ONEIRIC base layer, as does G-Form.)

If that seems like a lot of information for pants, our primary tester, who has been wearing the Genesis base layer for months now, summed it up best:

“The ONEIRIC goalie base layer provides extreme comfort, with confidence and protection as added benefits. The anti-bacterial and quick dry material allows me to play beer league and intramural hockey three times a week with no concerns about my undergarments. The gear we wear underneath our ‘pads’ tends to be secondary or overlooked, however, it isn’t possible to look past the Genesis and all its benefits. It has shaved off two articles of clothing, a bit of weight, and roughly three minutes of time getting dressed. What more can a goalie ask for?”

We couldn’t have summed it up better.

~ You can check out the ONEIRIC Genesis goalie base layer, and get sized properly, at their website. 

The ONERIC base layer for goaltenders was tested extensively by three goaltenders playing pee wee, university and yes, even one beer leaguer.

Cut resistant on the bottom to protext the achillies and lower calf that are exposed under nearly all modern pads. Padded in the upper calf for extra protection as players drive the net and dig for pucks.

The grip material did a fantastic job of holding up our knee pads and the base layer also comes with tabs for holding up socks if you wear those.  

Double coverage is something we don’t like in a goaltender’s stance – but when protecting your most vulnerable area, we encourage it. So the handy pouch to slide in a regular cup, or in this case a bullet-proof one, is a handy feature. 

Alexis Gravel, Chicago Blackhawks draft pick currently playing in the Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mosseheads of the QMJHL, in his ONERIC base layer.

The achilles region is particularly vulnerable with little or no protection offered by pads and the goal skate lacking the protection of a taller player skate. The base layer’s cut-resistant grey material was a very welcome addition. 

About The Author

Kevin Woodley

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News magazine. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and covered the 2010 Olympics for The AP.