Skateboarding is a really fun way to travel whether it’s for fun or a commute. These days, you can choose from electric skateboards, regular skateboards, and longboards. Each ride has pros and cons, but the one thing that unites them all is they come with safety risks. Even the best riders fall and crash. When that happens, you want to be protected from injuries as much as possible. Protective gear like elbow pads is essential.
In this guide, we’re going to run down a list of the top 9 best skateboard elbow pads (also suitable for longboarding), as well as buying considerations and frequently asked questions.
All elbow pads restrict your movement somewhat, but these pads are designed to be less bulky. They have a streamlined, tapered finish. The high-strength ballistic nylon is lightweight while the double-stitching improves the durability. The shape of the pad is contoured to the elbow shape, so the fit is snug but comfortable. The elastic straps are wide and reinforced.
On the inside of the elbow guard, there’s high-quality shock-absorbing EVA foam and form-fitting riveted caps made from polycarbonate. These pads come in three options: Pro, Slim, and Regular. The Pro version has the thickest padding for the best protection possible. Slim is a good choice if you want something lighter and smaller. Each pad type comes in a variety of sizes starting at extra-small.
These elbow guards are built for superior protection. The front shield is made from Kevlar, which prevents all kinds of injuries. Kevlar is a great material because it’s strong, but also lightweight. It also holds up in all kinds of temperatures. As for comfort, the Hyper X D30 features perforated neoprene, which helps airflow and moisture control. The mesh panel at the inner elbow also helps keep your arm as cool as possible.
When you fall, the D30 material in these pads absorbs the impact. D30 is a high-performance, shock-absorbing material that resembles foam. The material is designed in such a way that when it meets impact, the molecules “lock” together. This creates a barrier that protects your elbow. After a crash, the material goes back to its usual, soft state. These premium skate elbow pads are great for skateboarding and inline skating.
Described as an elbow sock, this guard is designed for stretchiness and breathability. It’s made from mostly polyester, with 25% polyurethane and 8% spandex. The stretch mesh is both breathable and flexible, so the guard moves with you in various riding positions. Thanks to the elasticated cuffs and silicone printing, it’s easy to slip on this guard, which stays in place on your arm. The fabric reinforcements are designed in a way for added durability.
What about protection? The protectors in each guard are CE-certified. They provide coverage in key areas of your elbow. They are also contoured to fit your arm’s natural shape and perforated to help with the airflow. The seams are flat and inward-facing, which makes the guards more comfortable. With these lightweight skate pads for kids and adults, you get comfort and protection for a great price.
The coolest thing about these guards is the SmartFlex technology. The pads are flexible and hinge-like, so they’re very comfortable to wear. When they meet an impact, they harden and disperse the energy for your protection. This innovative design keeps the guards lightweight. The fabric is also moisture-wicking, waterproof, and UPF 50+, so you’re kept dry and comfortable as well as safe.
The best elbow pads for skateboarding will have both protection, fit, and style. The G-Form Pro-X marries all three. The compression fabric allows for a snug fit that the brand compares to a “second skin.” It’s a slip-on, so there are no straps to mess with. You get a complete range of motion without the guard slipping thanks to the silicone. If the look of your elbow pads matters to you, you’ll like how these have a superhero vibe to them.
If you need more protection, these are the elbow pads for you. The EVA foam is heavy-duty, so here’s more of a cushion than regular pads. The foam is also contoured for increased flexibility. The cap, which is designed for stability and durability, is impact-resistant and high-density. It’s attached to the elbow guard with reinforced rivets, so it’s built to last.
For comfort, the material is made from 50% nylon, 30% polyester, 10% PP plastic, and 10% elastic. The sleeve is cool and comfortable on your arm. Unlike some guards, the sleeve doesn’t go up super far, so it’s a more compact choice. For the best fit, there’s a top elastic and bottom adjustable strap. These keep the guard in place where it should be: protecting your elbow. They’re good for skateboarding, skating, and roller derby.
These soft elbow pads are made from stretchy and breathable chiffon. This is a fabric blend that includes nylon, spandex, and cotton. Because the pads are so stretchy, you don’t need a strap. The material molds to your shape. The materials are also EVA, which means they are considered non-toxic and shouldn’t irritate your skin.
It’s very easy to get these pads on and off. There are silicone non-slip strips at the top and the middle of the pads to help keep them in place. Choose from three sizes to get the right fit. For protection, the foam padding provides good shock absorption. These guards are designed for kids and adults participating in a variety of sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, inline skating, and more.
If bulky skate elbow pads aren’t your thing, you’ll like the Triple 8 Covert pads. They are the brand’s slimmest elbow guard. Wear them over your clothes or, if you want a more subtle look, under your clothes. Whatever feels best to you. Thanks to the pull-on sleeve, they’re easy to get on or off. The pads are also flexible, so your range of motion isn’t limited while you move around.
To provide cushioning, these soft elbow pads use EVA padding. Because these don’t use a hard cap, they’re very lightweight. They’re so light, many reviews say they’re barely noticeable while they’re on your arms. Because of their slimness, these aren’t great pads if you anticipate a lot of hard falls. They provide some protection and are ideal for times when pads are required.
The second entry in the X-series from G-Form Pro, these elbow guards feature SmartFlex technology. This allows the pads to stay flexible while you’re skating, but as soon as you fall, the guard material hardens and protects your elbow. The impact energy disperses. Stay cool thanks to the 2-panel design with front pad ventilation holes. Air circulation is great with these pads, so you won’t feel overheated.
As for the fabric, it’s moisture-wicking with a UPF rating of 50+. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which means these guards protect your skin from sunburn. The guards stay in place with the compression fabric and silicone grippers. Like the Pro X1, these guards look really cool. They aren’t bulky, but they still provide the protection you need for sports like skateboarding, mountain biking, and rollerblading.
If you’re looking for an elbow guard with great protection, consider the Stealth Hardcap from Triple 8. It features a plastic hard cap beneath a layer of Kevlar, which is both strong and lightweight. The foam is high-density. You can be confident that these pads will hold up with impacts. For the fit, there are two velcro straps on the top and bottom. After these break in, they are slightly large so order down if you are between sizes.
Elbow guards should be comfortable as well as durable, so you’ll want to wear them. These have a contoured slip-on design and perforated neoprene body. This improves the pad’s breathability. They also dry quickly. Designed in four sizes, the Stealth pads are meant for a variety of activities like skateboarding, biking, roller derby, snowboarding, and any sport where elbow protection is important.
When you’re on the hunt for the best elbow pads for skateboarding, what features do you need to look for? Let’s go over the most important buying considerations:
Can your elbow guards take a beating? That’s the million-dollar question. If they’re flimsy, they won’t protect you when you fall and they won’t last long enough to make it worth your money. When shopping for elbow guards, you want to pay attention to what materials the guards use. Nylon is common in pads and can be found in places like the sleeve and the pad itself. It’s known for its durability.
High-density foam is also a must-have. It’s used as a cushion and to hold the other materials in place. Elbow guards that are on the softer side might rely only on padding for protection. If you want extra protection, look for guards that use extra padding or hard plastic shells. Other examples of materials include polyester, which is versatile, and chiffon, a fabric blend known for its breathability. You’ll often find brands touting special durability and protection features like D30 or SmartFlex technology. Both are flexible, but when they're hit, they harden to protect your elbow.
Besides protection, you should have an idea of how comfortable and breathable the elbow pads are. If they are uncomfortable and make you too hot, you won’t want to wear them.
Pads that use hard shells restrict your movement more than stretchy, padded guards, though they do offer better protection. If flexibility is more important to you, there are lots of guards out there that use compression fabric. This fits smoothly against your skin and doesn’t restrict you. For breathability, look for features like vents, perforated pads, and more.
How an elbow guard fits and its size is part of how comfortable it is to wear. Depending on the style, you might just pull up the guard like a compression sleeve or adjust it with straps. Straps can help you get a snugger fit, but compression-style guards usually have a feature like silicone grips to keep the guards from moving around on your arm. You want your elbow to rest in the guard.
It should be snug, but not so tight that it cuts off your circulation. When shopping for elbow guards, make sure you know your size first and look into whether the elbow guards run small or large. Check out the reviews to see what customers are saying. The brand might also recommend sizing up or down if you find yourself between sizes.
Elbow pads are just one piece of the needed safety gear for skateboarding, so you might not want to spend a ton of money. Price can range between $25 to $70, depending on the brand and features. Distributors will also have sales where prices can drop significantly. When you’re looking at an elbow guard, make sure it’s sold in a set. Some are sold individually for some reason, so the price will double if you buy two.
Avoid getting an elbow guard just because it’s the cheapest option. Balance the price with the other buying considerations we discussed, as well as how confident you are on your skateboard. If you fall a lot, you’ll want to invest in good protection.
Skateboarding is a risky activity. It requires excellent balance and even the best riders fall sometimes. Injuries to the arms are very common.
You can slam your elbow into the ground or scrape it pretty badly. “Swellbow,” a well-known injury in the skateboarding community, is officially known as “olecranon bursitis.” This is when you hit the tip of your elbow bone. It becomes inflamed and fills with liquid under the skin. It’s susceptible to infection. You can prevent this type of gruesome injury by wearing elbow pads.
Skate elbow pads are designed to protect your elbow bone and skin. They’re made from foam, which cushions your arm. Guards often include a hard plastic shell for added protection. The fabric that holds these pieces together protects the area around your elbow from scratches and cuts.
Like all safety equipment, elbow guards need to fit you properly. If they’re too loose, they’ll slip around and won’t provide reliable protection. If they’re too tight, they’ll restrict your movement and cut off your circulation.
Elbow guards come in a variety of sizes, so you’ll need to measure certain parts of your arm. With a soft measuring tape, measure around the center of your elbow. Sizing guides call this area “C.” The top of your elbow is A, while the bottom of your arm (where the bottom of the pad goes) is B. In general, size small is 7-8 inches for C, while a medium is 9-10 inches. A large size is 11-12 inches.
When you put on your elbow guard, move your arm around, and bend your elbow to see how it feels. These days, elbow guards are more flexible and lightweight than ever, so if you don’t like how one feels, there’s a better fit out there.
Is it better to get a thick elbow pad or a thinner one? It depends. If you are nervous about injuries or have gotten hurt in the past, you’ll want all the protection you can get. That might mean sacrificing some flexibility, but even bulkier pads should be fitted to give you freedom of motion.
If you don’t like how thick elbow guards feel, but you don’t want to go skateboarding with bare elbows, a slim one will work. These may not have a plastic shell inside, but there will be plenty of padding.
If you're getting elbow pads for riding electric skateboards, we recommend going with a thick and sturdy product as general riding speeds will be higher.
Elbow pads work for a variety of sports, including longboarding. A longboard is a little different than a skateboard. As their name suggests, they are longer by a few inches. They’re also wider. This width and length make them a bit easier to balance on, which is good news for people who are new to the activity. Even though it can be safer to longboard, there are still risks and you do need protection. Even professionals wear all the safety gear. You don’t need special elbow guards; ones designed for skateboarding are fine.
Skate pads for adults, teens, and kids should be worn during any activity that might cause an injury. That includes longboarding, skating, snowboarding, mountain biking, and roller derby. Martial artists also wear elbow pads. They usually choose ones that are soft and very flexible because they need to move around so much. Some people even wear elbow pads outside of sports, like in construction where they need to be down on the floor or around equipment that could hurt them.
Elbow pads are just one piece of safety gear you should wear when you’re skateboarding. They only protect your elbow, so you also need wrist guards, which protect your wrist. There are also shoulder pads and padded shirts, which protect your shoulders, back, and chest. For the rest of your body, you’ll need knee pads and a good helmet.
It can get annoying to spend money on this safety equipment, but if you get seriously injured, your medical bill will far exceed the cost of a helmet, elbow pads, wrist guards, etc. You’ll also be paying an emotional and mental cost, so investing in your safety is the way to go.
The best skateboard elbow pads combine protection, durability, and comfort. While you want your elbow bone and skin shielded against injuries like swellbow, you also want to be able to move freely.
Getting the right fit is important, so if you don’t have one, get a soft measuring tape before buying your elbow guards. If you’re worried about falling a lot, we liked the Triple 8 EP 55 elbow pads. We picked the Alpinestars Paragons for best value, Demon United Hyper X D30 for the best premium pads and the 187 Killer elbow pads for best overall.
When shopping for skate elbow pads, consider features like durability, breathability, size, fit, and price. Your safety matters. Have fun out there and always ride responsibly, for the sake of yourself and the ones you come across on the road.
Paul is an environmental engineer turned micromobility expert. With a mechanical background and hands-on experience with more than 150 personal electric vehicles, Strobel is one of the leading specialists in the PEV scene. He handles everything from technical guides on the inner workings of vehicles to industry development news.