Knee pads are an essential part of skating gear. In this ultimate guide, we review the top 10 best knee pads for skating and longboarding. Also see our buying guide and FAQ below.
Skateboarding is an action sport that is popular for entertainment, exercise, competition, and transportation. It is highly versatile and can be enjoyed by anyone, but requires significant practice. After all, remaining upright on a moving board is no small feat.
If you are interested in learning how to skate (or e-skate) or are already active in the sport, you no doubt understand the importance of knee pads. These are a form of protective gear for the legs which stop the wearer from scraping or bruising their kneecaps during falls. Instead of remaining unprotected next time you hop on your board, check out these reviews for the best skateboard knee pads currently on the market.
These 187 Killer Fly Pads are designed to sit comfortably around the knee and can be adjusted with buckles and flexible material. The fabric is slim and form-fitting, while the interior foam provides extra cushioning without restricting the motion of the knee. Over the kneecap itself is molded plastic, which is excellent for sliding. This plastic extends to the front sides of the knee to reduce injuries upon impact.
The fabric itself is made from ballistic nylon with industrial weight stitching for durability, and it has a seamless finish. This means wearers do not have to worry about the seams or stitches digging into their flesh while skateboarding.
There are multiple colors available so wearers can be creative and express their individuality. Multiple sizes are also available from extra small to extra large. One thing wearers need to consider is that the pads can run slightly small, so it is better to go a size up than down.
Overall, these are some of the most durable and comfortable knee pads for skateboarding. They provide reliable cushioning and do not impede movement in any way.
One feature which separates the 187 Killer Pro knee pads design is the inclusion of a lock-in cap system. This addition secures and aligns the removable cap in the correct position so the wearer is comfortable but protected. The cap itself is easy to adjust and is made from hard, molded plastic to provide a smooth sliding surface during falls.
Besides the cap, these Pro skateboard knee pads distinguish themselves by using V-22 dual-density foam. The foam is super shock-absorbent and cushions the leg throughout multiple impacts. It even bends along with the wearer and provides protection along the sides and back of the knee in addition to the front. The material laid over the foam is moisture-wicking ballistic nylon with a seamless design. This means extra comfort for you and fewer irritating red marks on your legs.
In terms of structure, the 187 Killer Pro skateboard knee pads have an open back design and use a combination of elastic and buckles to properly protect skateboarders. There are multiple sizes available ranging from extra small to extra large. There is also a junior option for children and multiple colors.
One particular highlight of these pads is they are some of the easiest to pull on and off. They also feel a lot more comfortable and seamless on the knees than most other pads.
Although the JBM International Skateboard Knee Pads are marketed towards youth, they are a stellar option for adults who are on a budget. These vert pads include soft and durable EVA padding which can withstand multiple impacts. Tough plastic plates cover the kneecaps and provide optimal protection for the bone while leaving the rest of the joint open and flexible.
The primary material for the exterior is breathable elastic covered with easy to clean canvas. This ensures maximum flexibility but also improved durability. Velcro is used to keep the pads in place, and the straps can be adjusted to improve the overall fit.
The JBM International pads come with skateboard wrist guards and are available in blue or yellow. They are ideal for anyone who needs protection on a budget and they come in three separate sizes. However, these are perhaps the best skateboarding pads for kids of all ages and experience levels.
These Triple Eight KP 22 skateboard knee pads are ideal for heavy-duty use and skateboarders and longboarders who intend to be rough. The durable molded plastic covers the entirety of the knee cap and extends further than those of other models, improving overall protection and durability. Rivets reinforce the cover to improve stability and give the pads a professional appearance.
The interior padding is made of heavy-duty EVA memory foam covered by easy to clean canvas. The fabric is seamless to improve comfort and reduce redness. To secure the pads, wearers use the neoprene butterfly closure and elastic straps that can be adjusted as needed to suit skateboarders of all sizes.
The Triple Eight KP 22 are available in sizes small to extra large with a bonus junior’s option for children 12 years of age and under. One major perk not seen too often in skateboarding knee pads is the inclusion of a manufacturer’s limited 180-day warranty for returns if the pads are the wrong size or break.
Pro-Tec boasts 45 years of experience manufacturing skateboard equipment, and it remains one of the most popular businesses in the industry. These street skateboard knee pads are a good example of what the manufacturer has learned in the past five decades. In particular, instead of relying upon elastic bands, the Pro-Tec pads are held in place with full wrap hook and loop fasteners that create a tight and secure fit. Neoprene is also used as the primary fabric for the back to improve comfort.
The interior is made of stretch lycra with upper and lower support straps. These allow wearers like you to get the right fit no matter what the situation. Plus, the pads themselves are CE certified.
When it comes to protection, wearers can rely on the molded plastic on the front to defend the kneecap. These are riveted into place to avoid shifting and cover the front of the knee, leaving the sides and back open. This improves overall flexibility and ease of movement.
For sizing, you have the choice of small to extra large. There is also a junior’s size to fit most children under the age of 12.
Moving on to the PHZ 3-in-1 protective gear set. These are a versatile option for all ages with a classic design, hard molded plastic to cover the kneecap, and flexible neoprene. The interior is once again made from a durable EVA foam which absorbs the shock of impact and resumes its original shape once the skateboarder is off the ground. The front plastic is perfectly rounded to better cover the knee.
When it comes to sizing, wearers can choose between small, medium, and large. Size is determined by height and weight instead of standard knee measurements. One potential downside is the sizes are designed with youth in mind and are not ideal for adults over 170 lbs. They do, however, make excellent choices for juniors and smaller men and women.
Multiple colors are available to allow wearers to express their creativity, including black, blue, and pink. The pads can be held in place with adjustable straps, and PHZ Is unique in offering one of the best warranties seen in the skateboarding business. Buyers can take advantage of a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty which covers basic wear and tear as well as production errors.
The Triple Eight Covert’s are what could be considered street kneepads, designed to have flexibility and versatility in mind. They do not have molded plastic like some other options, but instead protect the knee using reinforced stitching, foam, and extra padding. These Triple Eights stand out by having a pull-on design sleeve with EVA padding. The slim fit design allows them to fit under and over clothes with ease, so wearers can have them in place over jeans.
These provide some of the slimmest knee protection possible and are specifically designed and marketed for those situations where you don’t want to wear pads, but they are required. Sizing is standard small, medium, and large.
Because these pads offer little protection for the wearer, they are not ideal for beginners or juniors.
These Triple Eight Street skateboard Knee Pads are similar to the other Triple Eights but are the opposite end of the spectrum. These are designed to be extremely durable and protective. This makes them ideal for extreme tricks, and they are even recommended for roller derby and longboarding. The front has molded plastic which covers the entirety of the kneecap with a little extra protection for the space above and below the bone. The plastic is riveted into place.
The interior of these Triple Eight’s features high-density contoured EVA foam around the sides and back. Although thick, it still allows for flexibility and versatility even in difficult situations. The back features a butterfly closing system for easy on and off, and the elastic in the neoprene fabric improves flexibility and overall fit.
There is once again a manufacturer’s warranty which extends 180 days after the initial purchase. The sizes run from extra small to large and are good for juniors, teenagers, and adults.
The Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads are unisex and designed for moderate use. These could be considered street knee pads because they do not include protective plastic for the kneecap. Instead, there is an extra layer of foam to protect the bone. The primary fabric covering is made of polyester, rubber, some foam, and latex.
One major pro of these skateboard knee pads is that the fabric is moisture-wicking and breathable. This means wearers will not have to worry about sweaty kneecaps and other discomforts while skateboarding. Plus, the design actually helps the wearer stay warm and limber while in motion.
Instead of having a traditional fastening mechanism, these pads stay on because of the latex and rubber in the material. These form a snug fit with the wearer’s flesh. The pads can be slipped on and off with ease and are available in small, medium, and large.
The G-Form Pro X2 skateboard Knee pads are a comfortable vert style that protects the entirety of the knee and part of the thigh and calf. The protective plastic over the kneecap is made from SmartFlex, which is flexible while in motion and firm upon impact. The rest of the pad, particularly the wraparound, is made of a moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ compression fabric.
Unlike other skateboard knee pads, the G-Form Pro X2’s have proper ventilation to keep the knees cool and dry during periods of hard exercise. The compression sleeve and silicone grips help the pads stick to the skin.
One of the pros of these skateboard knee pads is that they are available in a broad range of sizes, including extra small and XX-large. They can be worn by children and adults alike and are also lightweight and unnoticeable when in use.
Since skate knee pads play a significant defensive role, it is important to get a pair that fits properly. You also want to check the durability and flexibility of the material since these characteristics affect how quickly the pads will weaken and degrade. They can also affect how well you skate if you are still learning or are trying to perform new tricks.
Instead of leaving your decision to chance, consider the following features when making a selection.
If your skateboard knee pads do not fit, then you put yourself at risk of major injuries. When determining the best skateboard knee pads for you, take a look at the size and fit. Proper pads for skateboarding will be tight enough to remain on your leg even when you are active. Movement should not cause the material to slip or loosen. At the same time, the pads must be loose enough to remain comfortable.
To determine the right size for you, you can use a flexible tape measure or your height and weight.
Once you know your size, you need to determine what type of pads you would like. They can be divided into three categories: toy, vert, and street.
Toy pads are exactly what they sound like. These are skateboarding knee pads that are purchased from a big box store like Meijer or Wal-Mart. They are sold as toys for younger audiences, including children. The primary material tends to be plastic or foam, and the pads are held in place by thin straps of elastic and Velcro.
In general, skateboarders need to avoid wearing toy pads. They do not offer enough protection for riding at high speeds, performing tricks, or practicing on ramps. It is also difficult to safely slide on the foam surface, which can increase your chances of developing scrapes, bruises, and friction burns.
Vert kneepads were designed for skateboarding and therefore feature more protection. The wrapping for the leg is made of thick foam while the pad over the knee is hard plastic. There is more foam behind the pad to cushion the leg, and a layer of cloth underneath the foam protects the skin.
These are the best options for skating and longboarding because they provide protection for the entire knee and form the perfect surface for sliding. The only potential downside is the padding is thinner around the back of the knee for improved flexibility.
The final style is street skateboarding pads. These offer little protection and tend to be worn for fashion rather than form. They possess a thin layer of foam encased in cloth and do not have any plastic. They cover the entire knee and often part of the thigh and calf.
The only pro to using this type of skateboard knee pads is that they're comfortable. It's better than nothing, but definitely not on par with vert pads, hence the majority of the pads we included above are vert pads.
Skateboarding knee pads use similar materials no matter the size or style. In general, the most popular material is reinforced foam. The foam forms a cushion that absorbs the shock and force of impact, reducing the wearer’s chances of injury. All skateboarding knee pads will have foam even if they lack other materials.
Plastic is another option. Hard plastics can be layered over the foam to provide extra protection and keep the wearer moving if they fall. This is because the plastic forms a hard surface that is conducive to sliding rather than stopping on the ground.
Some other minor materials include elastic, cloth, and Velcro. These are used to keep the pad in place and provide extra comfort for the wearer. Almost all pads will use these materials in some combination to ensure the pads remain on and don’t chafe the skin.
Wearers will get to decide how much foam padding, plastic, and elastic would mean optimum comfort.
Protective gear is essential for skateboarding. The pastime involves a lot of speed and gravity, which naturally makes skateboarders prone to injuries. While the most mild are scrapes and bruises, it is possible to seriously damage the knees by failing to have the right protective equipment. No matter what level of experience you have, you need to wear knee pads when skateboarding.
The majority of knee pads for skateboarding can be pulled up over the knees. However, others require a good fit. For the best protection, it is important to keep knee pads tight enough to remain wrapped around the joint, but loose enough that the material does not affect your circulation.
When it comes to placement, keep the pads centered on the knee. It is the kneecap which requires the most protection and therefore should have the most material. If you intend to slide down on your knees when you fall, it is best to have thick pads with material that covers the entire joint when it is extended.
Knee pads are designed to be snug, but not tight. This means the material should not fall or move unless the leg moves, and even then, it should remain in place. Many skateboarders recommend trying on knee pads before choosing a pair or measuring the circumference of your knee and choosing pads which have the same width.
Once wearing the pads, make sure you can move your knees without difficulty. You should be able to bend and kneel with the pad slipping or digging into your flesh. Also, make sure the pad is not affecting your circulation. If the pads hurt or leave angry red marks, use a larger size.
You can determine your knee pad size through several different methods. The first involves a soft tape measure. Using the tape, measure the circumference of your knee at the center of the hard cap. You can then use the measurement, in inches, to find your size.
If you want to buy knee pads from a manufacturer that does not use traditional measurements, you can determine your size using your height and weight. With this method, manufacturers will assign a size to individuals in certain categories. For example, someone who is 5’3 or shorter will require a small, while someone 6’0 or taller might need a large.
Yes longboard knee pads and skateboard knee pads are practically the same. As longboarding usually involves higher speeds than regular skating, you may want to select one of the sturdier buying options if you're longboarding.
Yes, even more so than regular skateboards. When riding top-rated electric skateboards, you're going at high speeds and therefore you need optimal protection. Do yourself a favor and get a pair of knee pads. Your body will thank you later.
Finding the best skateboarding pads for kids and adults doesn’t need to be a difficult task. One advantage of the skateboarding industry is that businesses have invested tons of money in technology to create comfortable and versatile equipment for athletes. If you are looking for something comfortable and durable to wear while longboarding or freestyling, check out the 187 Killer Fly skateboard knee pads. These are flexible and can be worn by almost anyone.
If you want something premium or are on a budget, two other excellent options are the 187 Killer Pro skateboard knee pads and the JBM International Skateboard knee pads. Whatever you choose, just remember to get the right size and practice on a regular basis.
Lastly, we highly recommend you take a look at some skating elbow pads as well as knee pads are only part of the gear you need to reduce the risk and severity of injuries.