In Roller Derby or any skating variant, the two most significant pieces of protection are the helmet and knee pads. Falling, both vertical falls that directly impact the knee, and slides, often on the knee, can take a heavy toll on the player. Knee pads protect your knees from the damage caused by impact. They also assist in stopping your slide, as well as preventing the scrapes and bruises you can get from either type of fall.
Knee pads, relatively speaking, are not expensive and can be found within a $50-$100 range. If, at any point, you feel like skimping when buying pads or your helmet, remind yourself of the cost of medical treatment or the incalculable loss because of permanent damage and go for the best knee pads for roller derby you can find.
4 Best Roller Derby Knee Pads Reviews
187 Killer Pads Pro Derby Pad
The 187 Killer Pro Derby Pads are among the best pads in the market today. Two outstanding features of the knee pads are that they are thicker and customizable. The 187 Pro pad is constructed with tow pieces and has added velcro on the top and bottom. This feature allows you to tighten or loosen the fit as per your preference. The best part of this feature is that you can put the pads on after you have your shoes on.
The pro also offers superior direct-impact protection as its internal padding is at least 30mm. Since the knee caps are fixed with velcro and not riveted on, you can change them when worn out. Also, and you can remove and wash the interior pads.
The 187 Pro is one of the more expensive pads available, yet it is a popular choice. The main reasons for this are because of the protection it offers, its usability, and durability (removable, washable, replacing parts without having to chuck the whole thing). Finally, it is popular because you can order a custom pair in terms of fabric, color, etc.
Smith Safety Gear Elite Knee Pads
The Smith Safety Gear Elite pads are specifically for extreme sports like Roller Derby! With three layers of padding, these pads offer much protection and comfort. Despite this, they are not bulky, which is a huge plus. The straps are adjustable, which gives a snug fit and prevents slippage, even during a sport where heavy sweating is the norm.
The pad is well constructed, using strong materials, and offering a good fit and great aesthetics. It is a highly affordable knee pad and is available only in pairs. Overall the knee pads have an articulated design that forms to the knee. They are flexible and contoured and do not slide.
The best part of it is this pad, more than any other works for people with big thighs. For those with an XS size (not available in this brand), adding volleyball pads under the knee pad will give you a more snug fit.
Pro-Tech Street Knee Pads
The Pro-Tech Street Knee-pads fall in the action sport protective gear category. They absorb all shocks to the knees as well as protect them against scrapes and cuts. The fabric is high-grade nylon; this increases its durability against wear and tear. Also, it allows your skin to breathe and not collect sweat, and so can be worn for a long time.
These knee pads are known as street pads because of the hard protective cap on the front of the knee. Made from polycarbonate, a lightweight fabric, they can withstand even falls on asphalt. On the inside, there is a cup-shaped EVA foam that offers extreme shock absorption.
These pads come in five different sizes. There are two adjustable straps at the top and bottom, which allow for a snug fit, and will not let the pad slip even during the most vigorous exercise.
Triple Eight KP 22 Knee Pads
These pads are a great blend of comfort and style. These sleeveless knee pads come with heavy-duty EVA memory foam. The high–density, impact-resistant knee cap is securely riveted on and offers much stability. Available in 4 sizes, these pads always come in pairs.
The Triple Eight KP 22 come highly recommended. Concerning size, most people can find their size easily in this brand. However, there is a general feeling that in the case of the Triple Eight KP 22, it is better to buy a size bigger than what the size chart indicates.
How to Choose Knee Pads for Roller Derby
Thick Memory Foam
A significant feature of roller derby knee pads is the ring-shaped padding made of thick memory foam that is present inside the cap. This foam prevents the knees from getting damaged during the falls and half-pipes that are part and parcel of all Roller Derby games. Most of the best knee caps have EVA high-density foam, which provides good shock absorption. Many of the knee pads allow you to remove and wash these liners, which is not just good hygiene (prevents bacterial growth and mold) but also protects against the pungent smell of sweat that would otherwise accompany you. It is important to check the pads frequently and replace the memory foam when you notice it starting to compress.
Hard Plastic Cap
This cap is what sits on the outside of the knee cap. It is what absorbs the initial brunt of the fall. The hard plastic cap is either riveted onto the pad or attached with velcro. While some feel that riveting it on is a more secure option, others prefer the velcro option, as it is easier to replace it when it gets badly scuffed or cracked. Polycarbonate is the material used in the construction of the outer hard plastic cap. It is a lightweight material, so it does not add any weight to the player, and it is also less bulky. Plastic caps that are flat rather than curved are the preferred choice. Check the hard plastic cap regularly to ensure there are no cracks that could get worse and endanger your knees in subsequent falls.
Before you go, remember when choosing your pads, the fit is all-important. They should not slide or fall. Nor should they be so tight that they restrict movement or make you conscious of them. The hard plastic shell cap must fit directly over the knee. The first time you are buying knee pads, visit a shop, try them on. Bend, flex, stretch, shuffle and kneel on them. See how the straps feel, how adjustable they are.
All the major skateboarding companies sell knee pads. The sizes are not uniform across companies. So in one brand, you might fit into an L while you might have to take an XL when buying another brand. You can also consider including knee gaskets, which are additional padding, under your knee pads to make them fit more snug. Knee pads will often feel a little snug when you first wear them but break them in slowly. Knee pads are crucial to the well-being of your knees and your time as a Roller Derby player. It would be best to examine your pads for cracks in the hard plastic, foam compression, fraying of straps, etc.
Besides the best roller derby knee pads discussed here, there are many others available in the market. However, the one that continues to stand above the rest is 187 Killer Pads. Not just because of its unique features or its design (done with inputs from actual skaters), but because it is something that both novices and veterans are happy to use.
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