Brand new for 2018, Warrior Sports has unveiled their fourth iteration of the Ritual line. Building off of the massive success of the G3, the G4 is built to bring ultimate performance, function and durability all while being the lightest gear on the market. Before we get started, this review will not be a true comparison between every distinct difference between the G3, GT and G4 but there will be snippets showcasing the new designs.
Please note that the specs used on this set are stock and will match exactly what comes on the shelf, just in case you want the gear as soon as it comes out! The size of the Custom Ritual G4 leg pads are 33+1.5.
Warrior gear is known for innovative designs and the Ritual G4 continues to push the limits of the position with their AIRslide technology.
Now, the inside edge of the G4 pad has padding and material removed to create channels to help provide better sliding and movements while down. There are 2 main channels across the knee wing and 3 channels across the inside sliding edge. The purpose and theory behind the AIRslide is to decrease friction by reducing surface area that contacts the ice. Not only will the AIRslide promote sliding on clean ice, but it will help drive the goalie for consistent slides even on rough and snowy ice that shows at their end of a session.
Next, the team at Warrior has created more micro adjustments on the strapping and leg channel of the pad, which creates a larger impact on overall performance. While the leg channel might look the same as the G3 and GT, the G4 leg channel features removed foam along the connection point on the back of the pad. When the foam is removed near the lacing connection to the back of the pad, the pad will sit a bit looser on the outside of the leg, without having to loosen up the straps. This will allow the pad to hang and drop faster to the inside edge, thus promoting faster closure of the five hole. The name of this new technology is their 360 degree Active Drop system. On top of all of that, the goalie is now able to adjust the tightness and tension on the calf sling wrap which will give the goalie the opportunity to choose a tight connection to the back of the pad or a looser which, all depending on their preference.
Wearing this set on the ice has been awesome, especially coming from 2 sets of G3’s and 1 set of GT’s. The G4 features minor adjustments that promote a pad to sit tight on the leg for all necessary movements yet still feel loose enough to get a quick and solid butterfly seal. The first major change I noticed was the weight. Warrior has taken the lightest pad on the market and shedded off more ounces to reduce the overall weight. Stock, right out of the box, my 33+1.5 G4’s with all strapping came in at 3.99 pounds per pad. When I removed the boot strap, the pads weighed 3.92 pounds per leg.
The leg channel allowed for me to get a full wrap across the calf, yet it still allowed the pad to wiggle/move freely when dropping down into the butterfly, which was a positive change. The thinner outer roll across the top of the leg was very noticeable and promoted one of the easiest thigh rise overlaps of all pads I have used.
Moving through to the blocker!
Building off of the success of the G3 and GT lines, the G4 surely does not disappoint and brings the ultimate amount of lightweight mixed with protection across the whole hand. Here are the specs:
The blocker is actually to a GT base with the shortened replacement cuff on the inside edge and the larger index finger protection/sidewall. Adding in even more index finger protection, there is now a removable padded rail that helps sit comfortably on the stick and helps prevent the index finger being jammed from any pucks that might ride up the stick. This piece can be adjusted and moved up, down, side or completely taken off based on the goalies preference.
Continuing with the success of removable palms, the G4 still includes a full removable palm which can be adjusted up or down depending on the goalies preference. This adjustment is stand alone in the industry where no other manufacturer gives the goalie the ability to adjust the hand position on a single blocker, between uses. Also, this gives the goalie the ability to wash their glove and blocker liners to keep them fresher longer and remove any nasty bits of bacteria that might stay inside the liners.
Using this blocker on the ice, it kept incredibly hard rebounds which could be directed perfectly to the corner without issue. This is due to the HyperComp reinforcements used throughout the sidewall and face which provides rigidity and promotes harder rebounds. I also found the palm to be nice and thin to grip onto the stick without feeling like it was too bulky, when compared to some other blockers on the market. The incredible lightweight of the G4 blocker also reduced any fatigue or strain in my arms and made it easy to make higher saves as the sessions went on.
Lastly, the glove!
Gloves are still extremely unique to a goalie and their style of play, and the G4 builds off of the success of the Ritual G3 and adds in some unique upgrades which will keep Warrior glove owners very happy! Here are the specs of the glove shown:
-Removable Senior 75 Degree Liner
Wow, right out of the box this gloves closes like a dream! The G4 is one of the easiest, if not the easiest glove to close right off the shelf. The G4 glove features HyperComp reinforcements throughout the glove so provide even more palm protection, yet still keeps the snappy shut and feel that goalies loved in the G3. Building on top of this protection, there is also a new removable palm pad that comes with the gloves at the custom level. Goalies can now add in a small piece of HD foam in the palm to help give more protection if they are facing higher levels of shots.
Aiding in the closure of the glove, Warrior has kept the AxyFlex system in the T of the glove which has the ends of the T feed deep into the perimeter of the thumb and fingers side of the glove. Despite the T system remaining the same, the T itself has been trimmed down ever so slightly along the perimeter and even stiffened up along the Spine to give the best overall shape and visual presentation that Warrior could offer.
Moving through to the backhand of the glove, Warrior has revamped the backhand design to resemble a connection much like the GT. This allows the goalie more adjustments internally and along the outside closure as well. However, when you open the glove you will notice a cleaner look with more adjustments across the back of the hand and fingers. G4 gloves will still come with removable palms which have interchangeable breaks and degrees; however the connection point between the palm and back of the glove has been increased and actually makes the glove feel a little bit bigger on the hand. Due to that new tighter connection, there seems to be more volume on the back of the fingers.
Using this set on the ice was awesome! The set was practically weightless and made for movements to be completely crisp without losing energy from pulling any extra weight. The AIRslide technology truly allowed for better slides throughout the entirety of the ice session and I did not feel like I was slowing down whatsoever. Combined with the ActiveDrop leg channel, the pads were a bit loose on my leg, which is normally my preference, however I recommend keeping the leg channel a bit more snug that you might normally prefer, as this will allow the pad to perform at its absolute best. The glove and blocker were incredibly light and broken in completely after 2 quick uses. If you are a goalie looking for the lightest equipment on the market, with some of the most technological advancements of goalie gear today, check out the Warrior Ritual G4 line!