Brian’s Custom Sports takes goalie equipment to the next level with the release of the Optik line. Taking pieces from their ever popular Subzero and Gnetik lines of gear, the Optik gear reaches a new level of creativity and brings the goaltender the ultimate culmination of both lines. During this review, we will share our detailed photos outlining all of the new features and will also outline our on-ice experience with the gear. To get started, here are the specs of the Optik Leg Pads:
- 80 Degree toe taper
- Stock Smart X Straps
The Optik leg pad is built off of the foundation of the Subzero pad in terms of its style and shape but features new designs and additions to keep the feel that Brian’s goalies love, all while pushing the scope of how goalie’s play the game. The first change you will see on the Optik set, is the visually wider graphic. This graphic does tend to play an “optical” illusion on the goalie which makes them think that the pad is wider than it really is. The graphic does make the pad look wider, but there is another key design which lends to this trick; the flattened outer roll.
Brian’s has removed most of the thickness of the vertical outer roll and it now sits about ¼ inches off of the face of the pad. This removal of material has a lot of positive contributions to the overall design. By making the outer roll almost completely flat you save weight on the pad, you are able to get your stick closer towards the pad and body, and the pads seal and cover easier because they are able to overlap better in your stance and in the butterfly. With using the 33+1 pad directly on ice, I personally would not want to use more thigh rise as the thinner design and +1 was overlapping perfectly for my liking.
Another new feature of the Brian’s Optik line is the 2 flex options within the pad. You will get the same outer roll and look to the pad, but the internal chassis and core will change. The Optik is offered in ((FLX)) and ||FLY||. The ((FLX)) option is similar to a double internal break with an 80 degree toe taper which will is meant for that hybrid goalie who wants more of an S curve to their pads. The ||FLY|| option will be for those goalies that have a wider butterfly and want a stiffer setup in their pad. Stock, it comes with stiffer internal breaks and a 90 degree toe taper. Both of these chassis options will still feature harder rebound patterns to allow the goalie to kick the puck away and hard to the corner.
For the inside sliding edge, Brian’s uses their Primo material all across the inside and has featured a pro binding design, where the binding is recessed into the pad with the slide plates over top to give a seamless design to reduce wear and increase sliding speed. The binding runs across the top edge of the pad as well, as it increases durability and prevents wear.
Moving onto the back of the pad, Brian’s has refined their leg channel design and changed up a few materials. The knee cradle is made of a high grade nylon which makes for a more comfortable landing pad. The knee block underneath is now fully laced in which helps keep the knee block tight to the pad when driving down into the butterfly. The final touch on the knee block includes a 45 degree angled edge which helps reduce the likelihood of the knee blocks hitting one another during movements and recoveries.
The leg channel features the popular Smart X Strap, but it is now redesigned with a 2 inch wide knee to calf elastic, versus the old style which had a 1 inch wide strap. This slight redesign helps keep the pad tighter to the knee and reduces the risk of the pad over rotating. From below the inside of the calf to the outside of the knee, there is a removable 1 inch wide strap that can help secure the knee further into the pad. In the calf, the Optik pad features a large removable air pillow that provides extra support under the calf when down in the butterfly. Finishing off the leg channel, there is a large 2 inch wide elastic piece which attaches via a Velcro closure which makes for an easier setup. Lastly, the boot channel has the seatbelt style Smart Boot strap with an elastic toe setup, which Brian’s users have grown to know and love.
Getting them set and ready to go on the ice was incredibly simple and the pads were on my leg in about 45 seconds. During on ice play, the Optik pad hugged very tight to the leg and made movements crisp and easy. The pads stayed up on the calf and did not have any dragging or scraping on the inside toe during skating and movements. The primo sliding edge was music to my ears, literally. The primo has an audible sound to it and you can almost hear the pad glide across the ice with ease. Rebounds pushed hard to the corners and the thigh rise seal on the ice was seamless.
Moving onto the blocker:
No matter what, a blocker is not just a blocker and there are many advantages to certain style. The Optik blocker is a different design from the SubZero and Gnetik and it feels great on the hand. Below are the specs:
- Regular Hand
- Stock Sized Palm
The new design shape features a beveled style blocker which has a very thin shape which reduces the weight of the blocker. There is a thick board which still sits across the back of the wrist and hand which gives the goalie the protection and balance they need to make saves. The hand placement is slightly higher than center which gives the goalie the coverage they need down low to make saves below the hand but still above the pad.
Brian’s has reinforced the palm on the Optik and tightened up the palm to provide a snug fit without the blocker palm loosening up through game play. On the index finger, you will find HD foams sewn all the way around to protect the index finger from pucks riding up the stick.
For all of the folks who have seen the Optik line be teased prior to release, you have heard of the technology used to keep the gloves on the hand and we are now finally at that part of the review.
Yes, BOA Technology. This BOA system is built off of steel wires and dials it might sound intimidating but the use of this technology has raised the bar of the goalie industry and increased the tension and tightness that goalies fight to achieve in their gloves. BOA technology is “constricts” the wrist into the blocker and allows for the goalie to get the exact fit to their exact taste. On the Optik blocker, the wrist features a padded strap with a single BOA dial which can be tightened or loosened. To tighten, simply push the dial down and spin clockwise until the correction tension is desired. To loosen, simply pull the dial up and all tension is released.
During on ice play, the Optik blocker plays like a feather but still has all of the high end features Brian’s is known for. The Double layered Nash palm adds for a great grip and vibration control, all while have X-Static antimicrobial lining to reduce smell and sweat buildup. The air pillow on the sidewall helps seal the blocker tight to the body and gives very little opening around where the goalie holds the stick providing even more protection.
The Brian’s Optik glove has a lot of new features and pieces of technology that really showcases the design and creativity of the team at Brian’s. At first glance, this glove seems massive when compared to some predecessors, but they have achieved the largest coverage which still coincides with all NHL specifications. Hand placement on the Optik glove allows for your fingers to wrap all the way around the glove, giving the goalie ultimate control over the fingers to allow for more control and easier closure.
The base of the closure is built around the “Darling Spec” SubZero3 glove but with larger improvements. The Darling Spec had some changed to the thumb and pinky, which actually made it smaller than the maximum NHL allowance, but the Optik has taken that design and capitalized on that size. The glove has a full 45 inch perimeter which creates a large basket-like pocket and a wide opening. The closure is similar to the Subzero3, but (in my opinion) has a lateral closure which allows the goalie to catch pucks above the hand and past the fingers. The pocket has a stock Single T which has a very wide and deep shape which gives the goalie an easy catch along with tremendous visibility into the pocket.
Moving onto the back of the glove, you will notice a flared wrist opening with strategic airknit placement to keep the weight down on the glove. Along with a padded fingertip and reinforcement, you now have the confidence in covering the puck as the extra padding helps against slashes and whacks.
For those who have been reading along, you know the blocker had BOA Technology and if you guessed the glove had it too, you would be right. Internally, BOA dials can be found centered across the back of the hand and across the wrist. With the BOA dials on the Optik glove, goalies can now get in an absolute dialed in fit which can help control the closure of the glove, based on the goalies preference. Lining the BOA Wrist dial, you will see Brian’s Hex-Air material which will also keep the goaltenders wrist locked in and prevent slippage. On the fingers, you will see a 2 inch wide elastic strap with a Velcro closure to keep the fingers tight.
When this glove was used on the ice, there was one word to describe it; massive. The visual presentation to the shooter was very wide and added an extra bit of confidence in feeling that the net was covered behind me. The BOA wrist dials were adjusted to a perfect fit and movement was improved as I felt the glove was an extension of my hand. Pucks funneled into the pocket and closure was almost completely broken in right out of the box. Gripping the stick was easy as there was a large Single T reinforcement which held onto the stick and did not allow for slippage when playing the puck.
Overall, the Brian’s Optik line is a fantastic culmination of Professional feedback, detailed market research and a general design sense from the team at Brian’s. The leg pads truly allow the goaltender to get one of the best seals to the ice and effortless movements due to the slim design and profile. The glove and blocker allow for the most dialed in function bringing the goaltender the ability to maximize their hand placement and fit inside of the glove and blocker. If you are looking for one of the lightest designs that Brian’s has ever put out, mixed with the North American build quality and craftsmanship, check out the Brian’s Optik goalie equipment now.