There are three categories of goalie sticks; Wood, Foam Core, and Composite. Your choice of material comes down to preference.
Wood sticks are the original stick material and most goalie sticks are still made of wood. Many are hybrids called “foam cores” which we will talk about later. These type of sticks are generally heavier and contain a lot more material than player sticks. This may surprise you, but wood sticks are still a preferred material even at the NHL level. If you have ever played baseball and used a wood bad and a aluminum bat you know that wood bats have much less vibration than the aluminium. The same goes for goalie sticks. You will most likely make a lot of saves with the stick, so limiting the amount of vibrations can be a plus. This type of stick are also good at controlling rebounds. They are also typically a lot cheaper, but break fairly easily. Most sticks come with ABS blades or some type of protective coating on the blades and sometimes the paddles. Strictly wood sticks are usually around or under $100 (USD)
These are on the complete opposite side of wood sticks. Composites are made out of the same materials as players sticks but generally are built for strength. Lower end composites are quite heavy and rival wood sticks. However the higher end ones are very light and can improve quickness. Unfortunately they don’t control rebounds well, they may feel floppy or weak against faster shots and may cause large rebounds. Composites will be your most costly option and can be upwards of $250-$300 (USD).
Foam Core Sticks
Foam Core sticks are the happy medium between wood and composite. Although they don’t have any composite materials, they are lined with thin wood and packed with foams. Foam cores are generally comfortably light. They control rebounds fairly well, even on hard shots. These are the most popular, especially in the NHL due to being in between the extremes of lightness and responsiveness. They will give you the same vibration reduction as wood sticks. On very hard shots to the paddle these types of sticks may dent rather than shatter, crack or splinter. They will last you longer than both wood and composite. The cost of a typical foam core is in between wood and composite, ranging from around $80-$200+ (USD).
Personally I recommend Foam Core sticks because of the cost, reliability, durability and comfort. Try all three, see which is best for you! Check out how to choose a goalie stick to find out what specs are right for you.