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Proper fit is the most important issue when purchasing a chest protector. And you can only determine the proper fit by going to a store and trying on protectors from all the manufacturers.
Each manufacturer touts different features of their product. In some cases there is merit to their claims, while others are doubtful. Pay particular attention to the arm pads and how far down the chest protector comes to your goalie pants.
The arms are the most vulnerable point and there should be sufficient padding to protect, but sufficient flexibility to allow for ease of bending the arm. Here is where proper fit is especially important. If the crease in the arm pad does not coincide with where your elbow bends, try a different size, or a different manufacturer. Be aware that no matter how well the arm pad fits, when you get hit there by a hard shot you will feel it. Proper hand positioning goes a long way toward preventing the puck from hitting the elbow crease.
How far down the chest protector comes to your pants is also important. Ideally it should slightly overlap your goalie pants when you are standing erect. This insures that there is no unprotected area where pucks can hit your unprotected stomach. stomach.
I use the Vaughn Velocity V5 chest protector. Here is a rear view.
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