Did you know that your knee is the largest joint in your body? And in case you didn’t know, it's also one of the most complicated joints to deal with in the event of injury. Wearing a high-quality pair of football knee pads can greatly reduce the chances of impact and injury (sometimes by more than half), and also help enhance movement and improve performance in several different contact sports. Choosing the best football knee pads may be a tricky task, given the gridiron full of options to choose from. We've done some exploring, and present you with five of the best football knee pads to help reduce impact during gameplay and up your performance on the field. If you’re looking for other types of protective gear, be sure to check out our reviews on the best knee pads, football gloves, football helmets, football shoulder pads, football rib protectors, and football tees to complete your equipment arsenal.
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Our Top Choice
McDavid HEX Padded Knee Sleeve
McDavid Inc. is a leading all-American manufacturer of top-notch sports protection, sports medicine, and performance apparel for active athletes and people.
Made of quality nylon. Hex pads that conform to your body for superior comfort and protection. HydraVent hDc Moisture Management Technology.
Sizing chart may be a bit confusing.
Moisture wicking, hex-shaped pads
Schutt Varsity Vinyl-Dipped Knee Pads
Schutt Sports opened in the back of a hardware store in 1918. It has since been recognized as a premier protective equipment supplier for athletes around the world.
Made of durable, long-lasting vinyl. Lasts for several seasons. Extremely soft. Superior shock absorption.
Not available in bigger sizes.
Dipped knee pads
One size fits all
DonJoy Spider Knee Pad Sleeve
DJO Global, Inc., or DonJoy, is a respected name in the rehabilitation and orthopedic device field. It's parent to several different brands, including Aircast and ProCare.
Honeycomb design for comfort and cushioning. Breathable lycra material. Universal design fits either the left or right knee or elbow.
Lycra material sometimes doesn’t handle moisture very well.
Sleeve with impact-resistant foam
Black, closed and open popliteal
Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads
If you’re looking for products to alleviate pain, speed up recovery, or prevent sports injuries, Bodyprox is a name to go with for several good reasons.
Unisex design. Can be worn on both the left and right leg. Breathable elastic fabric. High-density foam.
Only available in two sizes.
Anti-slip knee pads
Breathable fabric, foam
Douglas Football Vinyl ADK Knee Pads
Douglas has over three decades of experience in manufacturing some of the best sport protective gear in the industry, including American-made pads.
Made from foam covered with vinyl. Measure 5"x4" each. Extremely lightweight yet highly effective. Great choice for helping prevent knee injury.
May be a bit big for large knees, causing them to come loose.
If you’ve injured your knees at least once in your life, you know that it's a terrible ordeal to experience. If you haven’t, the aforementioned statement should be an eye-opener on just how important knee pads are for your safety. This type of protective gear is available in a range of features. Now that you’ve read our football knee pad buying guide, and know what factors to consider, let’s get right to our top five picks to help ease your buying decision.
Our Top Choice
The McDavid HEX Padded Knee Sleeve is made with the highest quality nylon. It's embedded with hex pads that conform to your body for superior comfort and continuous protection. If you’d like the same hDc moisture management technology, but with an extended length design, the McDavid Hex Padded Compression Leg Sleeve is worth a second look and it's available in seven different sizes and 10 colors.
McDavid HEX Padded Knee/Shin/Elbow Sleeve - Available in 7 Sizes and 14 Colors
McDavid Inc. is a highly reputable designer and manufacturer of performance apparel and sports protection gear that enhances performance and reduces injury. It was founded by Dr. Robert F. McDavid Jr. in 1969, and is now a recommended name for several pro athletes and sports medicine professionals around the globe.
The McDavid 6440 HEX Padded Knee/Shin/Elbow Sleeve is crafted of high-quality nylon and fitted with lightweight and protective hex-shaped pads that conform to your joints for unmatched comfort and protection. These pads are backed by HydraVent hDc moisture management technology, so they efficiently and effectively wick away moisture and perspiration for a cool and dry feel, and will retain their fit even after several washings in the machine. These versatile pads can be worn on the elbows and knees, and come in a choice of seven sizes and 14 colors, including gold and Kelly green.
The Schutt Varsity Vinyl-Dipped Knee Pads are made from top-of-the-line vinyl, making them a durable choice for several seasons to come. If you'd like the same design, but with a bit more padding, try the Schutt Air-Cushioned Varsity Vinyl-Dipped Knee Pads. These pads are air-cushioned for extra comfort.
Schutt Varsity Vinyl-Dipped Knee Pads - Designed for Skilled Positions
Schutt Sports was founded in 1918 by Bill Schutt. It's regarded as the first mass manufacturer of football faceguards, and today designs and manufacturers a stellar range of products, including football, baseball, softball, and lacrosse sport gear.
The Schutt Varsity Vinyl-Dipped Knee Pads are made from superior quality vinyl, and are engineered to provide terrific injury protection for players in skilled positions. These pads are extremely easy to use and comfortable to wear, and offer a great fit for both small and large knees.
The DonJoy Spider Knee Pad Sleeve boasts a unique honeycomb design on the kneecap, which conforms to your knees for superior comfort and cushioning. If you’re not looking to double down on the protection and just want basic knee support, the DonJoy Knee Support Pad is probably a better option.
DonJoy Spider Knee Pad Sleeve - Available in 6 Sizes and Closed and Open Popliteal
DJO Global is one of the leading names in high-quality pain management, rehabilitation, and orthopedic devices. Its DonJoy division opened in a California garage in 1978. Today, DonJoy has a massive footprint, with 5000 employees across the globe and a portfolio that includes over 1,000 medical devices.
The DonJoy Spider Knee Pad Sleeve can be ordered in a choice of six different sizes, and in both open and closed popliteal styles. The knee cap is designed with a unique honeycomb structure that is made from high impact-resistant foam and conforms well to your knee or elbow for optimal cushioning, comfort, and protection. The remainder of the sleeve is made from stretchable lycra fabric that not only provides great ventilation, but slides easily into place, eliminating the need for Velcro closures. This football knee protection sleeve has a universal design, so it can be work on both the left and right knee or elbow without any discomfort.
The Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads have a unisex design, and they can be worn on both the left and right leg. If you’d like the same protection, but only for your elbows, get the Bodyprox Elbow Protection Pads. This pair of elbow sleeves is made from abrasion-resistant materials complete with foam padding. They're a great choice for several different ailments, including gold elbow and tendonitis.
Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads with Thick Anti-Slip Sponge - Available in 2 Sizes
Bodyprox is an esteemed designer and manufacturer of a diverse range of body protective gear that not only alleviates pain, but also accelerates recovery time. Some of the bestsellers from the company’s portfolio include ankle supports, calf supports, and elbow braces.
The anti-slip Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads are available in two sizes (small/medium and large), and can be worn on both the right and left leg. These knee pads feature a lightweight, ergonomic design, and they are made from breathable fabric to keep your skin dry. They're padded with high-density foam. If you’re looking to protect your knees from injury or alleviate pain from several ailments, these Bodyprox football knee pads will not disappoint.
The Douglas Football Small Rounded Foam ADULT Knee Pads are made from foam and covered with vinyl. They each measure five by four inches. If you want to double up on the protection, consider the Douglas Football 4 Pad Set. It's designed for adult players, and includes two vinyl dipped thigh pads and two knee pads.
Douglas Football Set 2 Vinyl Coated Small Rounded Foam ADULT Knee Pads Measuring 5 "x 4" Each
As an all-American company with American made products, Douglas has a knack for creating high-performing knee pads and a wide range of accessories for several sports, including football, baseball, and softball.
The Douglas Football Small Rounded Foam ADULT Knee Pads are made from top-notch foam and layered with vinyl for great breathability. Each adult knee pad in this set measures 5" x 4". These pads have a dipped design that conforms well to your knees, so you stay both comfortable and well protected during gameplay.
There are a few essentials you need to play football or any contact sport, most notably a football helmet, well-padded gloves, and knee pads. Knee pads can also be used to relieve knee joint pain, and some can also be worn on the elbow to provide relief from tendinitis and other similar ailments. Before you set out to buy the best football knee pads, it is highly important to determine the right size and the level of support you need, just as you would when buying a knee brace. The materials involved in the construction also play a crucial role in the respective knee pad’s durability and the performance you can expect. Read on to find out a few important factors to consider when deciding on the best football knee pads.
There's really no price you can put on safety—this is something we shouldn’t have to tell you! There are several cheap knee pads available, but opting for any of these will likely not offer the support and protection you need given their poor craftsmanship. This might result in medical bills you could’ve easily avoided. There are several factors that can affect the price of football knee pads, such as materials and features. For example, football knee pads that are crafted from high-quality lycra will cost more than a pair that is made from low-quality PVC. And you will pay more (well worth it) for knee pads with impact-resistant foam and a barebones design. Prices for football knee pads can range from $15 to over $50 for pads that not only boast premium construction, but are also comfortable to wear for long periods.
Knee pads should be an integral part of your football equipment kit, regardless of the position you’re playing. They can be ordered in an assortment of sizes, designs and features, so choosing one might seem like a complex task. Here are a few things to take into account while looking for the best football knee pads:
Material – Common types used include nylon, lycra, and mesh
Design – Pads with universal design can be worn on both right and left legs
Type – Common variants include dipped, stretch pads and sleeves
Type of Padding –This can include foam or gel
Colors – Some manufacturers offer knee pads in an array of colors
Sizes –You want to buy football knee pads that offer a tight yet comfortable fit
Construction and Design
Knee pads are usually constructed with several different types of materials, mostly ones that offer great breathability and durability, such as vinyl. The breathable material reduces or wicks away sweat and helps keep your body dry. Some pads are even fitted with a hard shell on the very outside to enhance protection against falls on hard surfaces. These are ideally what you should buy if performing extreme sports. Padding is the element that provides shock and impact absorption, and is generally made from synthetic foam such as polyurethane or similar material. Some knee pads double as elbow pads, while others can be worn on both the left and right hand or leg, so you'll only need one single pair for several different activities.
Performance and Ease of Use
Wash your football knee pads after each use to get rid of the distinct odor, and have a fresh pair for the next game. The best way to keep your pads smelling fresh is to prevent them from accumulating mildew, which generally occurs when you throw a sweaty pair into a gym bag and seal it until the next use. Most knee pads and football knee sleeves are machine washable, while others are hand wash only with lukewarm water. Football knee pads and sleeves can be used for medical purposes as well, including prevention of certain occupational diseases and treatment of patellofemoral pain. Knee sleeves are generally an ideal choice to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and increase blood circulation during and after physical activity. Activities they are best suited for include jumping, weightlifting, running or anything else where your knees are susceptible to pressure.
Football knee pads provide an essential layer of protection for your knees, and for playing several different sports. Now that we’ve provided you with the five best options, gearing up for gameday is a just an order away.
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