In this post we’ll be reviewing the STX Shield 400 chest pad.
New in 2021, the STX Shield 400 chest pad is ideal for beginner to intermediate-level goalies and meets the new NOSCAE standard for goalie chest protection.
The Shield 400 is the model down of STX’s popular Shield 600 chest pad. While it may be a step down, it has many of the great features that makes the Shield 600 chest pad such a fan favorite of the college and pro goalies.
To help us with this review, we’ve called in Lax Goalie Rat sponsored athlete and Duke starting goalie Sophia LeRose to help. She is currently using the Shield 400 this season while playing with the Blue Devils.
Features of the STX Shield 400 Chest Pad
Floating Chest Plate
The first feature that stands out with this chest pad is the floating chest plate.
Like the Shield 600 chest pad, the Shield 400 has a chest plate that sits freely of the chest pad to provide additional protection to the heart and chest region while also providing maximum range of motion and mobility.
The chest plate has indents throughout it the chest pad that allows it to fold into itself as you make saves to allow for more movement.
“The flexibility that I’m able to get from the protector, specifically when I’m going for low saves or even when I go out for an interception or running around outside of the net makes it feel like I’m not really wearing a chest protector at all,” said LeRose.
The chest pad line from STX introduced the cardiac silhouette feature. The Cardiac Silhouette is increased padding under the chest plate that extends over into the cardiac region and provides additional protection over the heart.
“9 times out of 10 if I’m getting hit in the chest protector, I’m really not feeling it at all,” said LeRose. “Every once in a while there is that low part of the chest protector that I choose to take off and sometimes I feel it there.”
The Shield 400 chest pad features side rib protection similar to that of the 600. It doesn’t have the same elastic stretch zones that the Shield 600 does but the velcro strapping system allows for the rib padding to fit around the rib area providing you with protection to that area.
The padding in that area is made up of large pieces of hard foam which help absorb the impact of shots and disperse the force of a shot throughout the padded area to limit the brunch force of the ball.
“There are a couple of times where I get hit with a shot and it feels like I got the wind knocked out of me because it was such a hard shot but other than that I feel like I’m protected really well and I don’t get any sort of bruising in that area and it protects the ribs well,” said LeRose.
Of course Sophia is taking shots from Division 1 athletes. Most youth goalies said they feel really protected using the STX Shield 400:
One of the features I really like about the Shield line of protective chest pads is its customizability.
The chest pad features a 3-point strapping system that allows you to adjust the pad both vertically and horizontally which provides you with the most personalized fit to get the chest pad in the right position for your preference.
“I think this chest pad really gives you the flexibility to make this chest pad as tight or loose as you want,” said LeRose. “When it comes to the straps in the back, I attach the straps of the chest pad across my body in the front to make it a little tighter to my body. From there I don’t have to fidget with it or readjust the straps it really just locks into place which is great.”
Like the Shield 600, the 400 chest pad features a removable belly pad that covers the lower abdomen region. This feature is removable so you’re able to take this piece off if you’re looking for some extra range of motion and mobility as you move.
“I like the flexibility of having the choice to take the bottom part of the chest pad,” said LeRose. “I like taking this piece off as I feel more comfortable running around and playing with less equipment restricting my mobility so I like to limit the padding that I’m wearing.”
In terms of the differences between the Shield 400 & 600 chest pads, the Shield 400 features additional shoulder protection with the removable shoulder caps. They’re attached to the shoulder pad by a button on top of the shoulder and velcro strapping to the inside of the chest area.
While they aren’t the most robust pads, the shoulder caps do provide you with some extra protection on your shoulders if that’s what you’re looking for.
Sophia doesn’t use the shoulder pieces on her chest pad out of personal preference. Many goalies using this chest have commented that the shoulder snaps don’t stay in place very well and end up removing them like Sophia.
“My choice to take off the shoulders and the stomach pad works great for me because I like the extra range of motion, but I also have teammates that have everything attached to the chest pad and they really like that. So I think the chest protector gives you the ability to customize to your own liking,” said LeRose.
Other goalies also liked this chest pads customization ability:
The other big difference between the two chest pads is that the Shield 400 has a little bit of a bulkier profile compared to the Shield 600.
Of course “bulkiness” tends to be different for each goalie. Some goalies say this chest pad is bulky while others say the oppposite:
But when you hold up the STX Shield 600 next to the STX Shield 400 I think there’s no doubt the 400 is bulkier.
Sophia has tried both chest pads and actually finds that the Shield 600 is more firm than the 400 because of the different materials used on the chest plate.
To her, the style of the chest plate on the 400 allows maximum flexibility and range of motion compared to the 600. She also found the length of the 400 chest pad was shorter so this allowed for it to sit more comfortably for her when using the chest pad.
One of the drawbacks we hear regarding the Shield line of chest pads is the velcro pieces that connect to the strapping system and the removable belly pad tends to wear out over time making it difficult to connect the straps to the pad.
Sophia found that after 3 years of use of her current chest pad she is in need of purchasing a new one simply because the velcro on her current pad is starting to wear out and unable to attach to the pad.
She also crosses her straps across her body to secure the chest pad and they are starting to wear out as well.
So with the durability issues of the belly pad, the shoulder buttons, and the velcro you may find yourself having to buy a new chest protector after a few seasons of use.
Another thing that people have found is that the floating chest play can ride up and get caught in their throat guard while trying to make saves.
Sophia said she hasn’t experienced this as she’s adjusted the chest pad to sit pretty loose on her back so that it sinks down on her chest and then tightens around her waist.
This helps you save a bit of money when purchasing a new chest pad compared to the top-of-the-line chest pads such as the STX Shield 600 which goes for $169.99 while still providing a great product that protects you and is also NOCSAE certified.
If you have a youth goalie who isn’t sure he/she wants to stick it out in goal, this chest pad is a great option to not break the bank.
If you want additional shoulder protection in your chest protector, your options are this chest pad and the STX Shield 200.
A middle school or high school-aged athlete who is starting to see faster and harder shots and is looking for a protective chest pad that still allows you to move well without having to break the bank, you might like the STX Shield 400 too.
Sophia recommends this chest pad to any goalie who has an active style of play who like to run around and play comfortably almost as if the chest protector wasn’t there. Other active goalies also sang this chest pad’s praises:
“I’d recommend this to someone that is trying to have active arms and know that the chest protector isn’t going to get in their way especially if you take the shoulder pads off,” said LeRose.
Video Review of STX Shield 400 Chest Pad
Here is a video that Evan, Sophia, and I did talking about the pros and cons of the STX Shield 400 chest protector.
Overall, we think the Shield 400 chest pad is an awesome budget option, especially for youth to high school goalies looking for a new chest pad.
The Shield 400 provides you with all the similar protective features of the top-of-the-line chest pads to help keep you safe and protected without costing you as much as those chest pads.
We also really like the customizability of this chest pad. Whether it’s the strapping system of removable pieces of the chest pad itself it really gives you a ton of options to fit this chest pad to your specific needs and preferences as a goaltender.
The cons of this pad are its bulkier profile, issues of durability with the velcro straps and the shoulder caps popping off.
“I really like this chest pad as it has worked for me for years and I really like the whole line of STX products,” said LeRose. “The biggest thing that sticks out to me again is the flexibility that you have with this chest pad. The market price for it is cheaper than some other pads on the market and you’re going to get great results with this chest protector. It’s going to protect your heart and you’re not going to feel the impact of hard when shots so I think it’s a great option for people considering it.”
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