Do you wan to know EVERYTHING about volleyball knee pads? Read my ultimate guide to volleyball knee pads and get exhaustive informations about them.
I am volleyball lover and volleyball is my passion. This article is about one of the most important piece of volleyball equipment you need. I know that many of you are using knee pads also in other sports, so I briefly cover also them.
Did you ever think of how important your knees are? Consider your day. How many times throughout the day do you use your knees? You get out of bed. You walk to the kitchen for breakfast. You sit at the breakfast table. You make coffee. You get a mug. Think about how many times you used your knees—and that was just in the first 10 minutes of your day!
Your knees are two of the most important parts of your body because of what they do. They support your total weight and when you shift on your hips, they quickly acclimate and keep you balanced. Without good functioning knees it is difficult to maneuver even the simplest mobility tasks. The bottom line is that the knee is one of the most complex joints within your entire body. It holds your shin bone, or tibia, to the thigh bone, or femur. It also holds your fibula, which is the smaller bone running alongside the shin bone, and the patella, or kneecap in place. A lot is going on with your knees when you use then, and you use them for pretty much every task you do beyond laying down flat in bed.
Because of how important they are, it is critical to take care of your knees. If you’re an athlete or engage in physical activity where your knees take a beating, then you definitely should consider knee pads. Volleyball is one of those sports that require extra care for your knees and knee pads are the perfect solution. Here is more information on why you need a good pair of knee pads to accompany you to your next sporting event.
- What is a volleyball knee pad
- Importance of knee pads
- Why you should use knee pads
- Where and how to use knee pads
- Volleyball knee pads materials
- Sizes and how to measure knee circumferences
- Knee pads vs knee sleeves vs knee braces
- Knee pads for kids
- Adult knee pads
- Volleyball knee pads colors
- TOP 5 volleyball knee pads
- How to care for your knee pads
1. WHAT IS A VOLLEYBALL KNEE PAD
Anyone who has been on a volleyball court knows the athleticism it takes to engage in the sport. A lot of volleyball is spent dodging to the ground quickly. If you have ever seen a player throw himself or herself forward to keep the ball from hitting the ground, likely you have seen the position they end up in. Their knees are directly on the ground and their backsides are sitting on their ankles. This position when done as quickly as they need to when saving the ball, can cause the knees to strike the ground. Whether they are playing the game on sand, a hard gym floor, an outdoor court or grass, that harsh strike does nothing to save the knees. If you ask most players, they will tell you that in the sport, the knees are the first thing to “go”.
Knee pads can be used in a variety of different sports beyond volleyball though. Any sport that requires extensive running, jumping, stopping, twisting, bending or lunging requires some extra safety precautions for the knees. This includes basketball, skateboarding, rollerblading, polo, tennis, dancing, calisthenics, baseball and a myriad of other sports. The amount of movement and weight the knees take is tremendous in sporting situations.
So what are knee pads made of? Knee pads are made out of cloth so they feel comfortable against your skin. A lot is taken into account when manufacturing them though. For comfort, you’ll find pads that are made of cloth, anything from cotton to neoprene to polyester. Cotton is soft, as anyone who has ever worn it knows. It’s gentle on the skin and perfect when rubbing is consistent, as it would be with exercise. Neoprene is a more advanced synthetic rubber that maintains its flexibility in just about any temperature. If you’re venturing out to the cold ice rink or the hot beach—neoprene is perfect. Polyester gives and is flexible enough to be high on the comfort scale.
That’s the outer part of the knee pad, but what about the inner part that does the actual work? The inside of a knee pad is made from a lot of different things, depending on its eventual use. Some are padded with memory foam, some with gel. The type you use, depends on what activity you’re engaging in, how long you need them on, where you need the padding most, how intense the “hits” it will take are and comfort.
2. IMPORTANCE OF KNEE PADS
Knee pads are highly important for a variety of different reasons. Here are the top 5 to consider:
- Injury prevention. Remember that if you injure yourself today, that can create lasting problems tomorrow. The knees are intricate and involve a lot of functionality for the body. They are the center of holding your weight and that means you can easily put them in harm’s way without the proper protection. Just ask any pro athlete who has suffered a knee injury and they will tell you two things—it took a lot of therapy to get back on the court/field/gym and they are always working to get back to the same level of performance they were able to maintain pre-injury.
- Confidence in performance. No one can perform at the top of their game if they are worried about injury. Imagine you are on the baseball field. The ball is coming right at you and the opposing team’s player is running to second base. You have to catch the ball for the out. The ball is just out of your direct reach so you have to slide forward and throw yourself to the ground on your knees to do that. If you’re not protected, you may hesitate. That hesitation may cost your team that out. On the other hand, if you have the proper safety equipment on you don’t need to contemplate the move. You can lunge forward without question.
- Longevity. This is particularly important for athletes who love their profession and workers who use their knees a lot. As an injury prevention tool, pads on the knees can save you from a lot of discomfort, but also make your career that much longer. If you are a professional gardener who is on your knees in flower beds for most of the day after carrying heavy bags of soil, having the proper knee protection will keep you at that job much longer. Consider your long-term goals when contemplating your career. If you want to stay around as long as possible, you need to take the right measures to ensure your longevity.
- Investment value. A lot of people say that having the right equipment like knee pads, is an investment. Yes- it adds to your physical endurance and longevity, but it also costs a lot less than having an injury and its aftercare. Consider that knee pads can cost under $100. Consider on the other hand the cost of an injury and the pain meds needed, the medical care co-pay, physical therapy, your insurance deductible, etc. You can’t argue that your knee pads are going to earn their keep.
- Higher performance. If you can create more confidence in your performance, then you may find yourself eking out a higher level of proficiency. That only leads to good things. The highest paid athletes are the ones who meet that high level of performance. The highest paid workers are the ones who meet the same. Not only is the proper protective equipment saving your body, but it is setting you up for good things on all fronts.
3. WHY USE KNEE PADS
There are a few reasons why people use knee pads. First, a lot of people use them to protect injuries. Again- your knees take a lot of bruising and beating in a variety of different sports and activities. Here are some scenarios where knee pads are critical:
- Volleyball. Consider the fantastic player on the home team who plays offence. The ball is spiked over the net by the visiting opposing team. The entire home team and fans know that this player will do her best to dive for that ball—avoiding the other team gaining points. She slides on the court floor, wrists cross and saves the ball from hitting the floor.
- Stake boarding. Think about the kids who board for hours a day, practicing their skills. Here’s the thing: those awesome moves look great…when they are perfected. But guess what? It takes practice run after practice run to get to that perfection! Just ask any skate boarder how many times he or she fell before getting it right.
- Rollerblading. This is another sport where knee pads and wrist guards are always suggested, especially for the blader who is out on the streets at top speeds. All it takes is one wipe out on the hard cement and unprotected knees can suffer irreversible damage.
- Polo is another sport where knees can take a beating. Think about seeing the team on top of their steeds. Sure they look like they are sitting, but if you watch carefully, you can see that they are sitting, standing, crouching – all while atop a horse. That constant movement can put a lot of stress on the knees.
- Tennis. Just imagine someone in a heated game who runs back and forth. Sure there is the chance for a hard fall, but beyond that there is a lot of movement required. Any sport that calls for a lot of movement while on your feet is automatically a knee-injury waiting to happen.
- Dancing. Even dancing can be difficult. Think about all the movements needed to practice a salsa, a cha cha, or a pasa doble. That’s not to even mention the male dancer who may be doing movements while holding the woman in the air.
- Calisthenics. Any calisthenics repeated over and over cause a lot of stress to the knees. When you walk into the gym, think about the people in the dance room. They are jumping, stretching, leaping, using steps, and doing jumping jacks. Most likely their classes last up-to an hour numerous times a week. That puts knees in a particularly stressful position for a long time.
- Baseball. Yes- even the pros use knee pads. Just look at your favorite baseball player and you’ll see the pads secured to their knees. These guys rush the field and there is a lot of chance for knee injury. One good injury can put them out for the season, and even end their career.
- Basketball is also intense on the knees. Layups, slam dunks, running—they all call for a lot of healthy knees doing intense movements.
- Football. Just like pro basketball and baseball, football players take a lot of hits. They run, they jump, and like other athletes they rely on the knees to get it all done. It benefits them to protect those knees and knee pads are just the things to do it.
So athletes are the only people who use knee pads to protect from injuries, right? Nope! Here are some other uses:
- Military personnel
- Mountain bikers
Secondarily, there also is another purpose for having knee pads on. Yes – they protect from injury by taking impact, but they also make an athlete more confident. Imagine if you had to hit the court floor to save the ball and subconsciously were thinking “Don’t hit hard – you can’t hurt yourself again!” It would make you timid – just the thing NOT to be when in a heated game. The fact is that the proper equipment can give athletes the confidence they need to know that they aren’t going to get hurt. They can put their heart into their movements with confidence!
4. WHERE AND HOW TO USE THEM
You may be asking yourself where and how to use volleyball knee pads. First of all, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you take a lot of leg impact with your exercise routine?
- Do you take a lot of leg impact throughout your day in general?
- Do you have a knee injury already?
- Do you ever experience knee soreness?
- Even if there is no lasting pain, have you had an intense “hit” to the knee?
- Do you find yourself holding back on performance because of a fear of injury?
Go through these questions and if you answer “yes” to any one of them, you may at minimum want to try protecting your knees. If your exercise routine requires a lot of knee movement or jumping, you may with time experience some discomfort. A lot of times, using pads during your practise is not required at the time, but can stave off injury in the future. The fact is that they give your knees the protection they need from injury, or exacerbating old injuries.
You don’t have to be a strict athlete to consider using pads. A lot of people put general stress on their knees throughout their day. A mom who constantly lifts a toddler or two. A woman who does a lot of gardening on her knees. A man who delivers mail as a postman. They all travel a lot throughout the day, or they carry a lot. Never discount the difference that a small amount of added weight puts on the knees. Consider that an 18-month baby can weigh anywhere from 22 to 30-pounds! That’s a lot of weight to carry throughout the day and guess what part of your body does a major part of it? Yep – the knees!
People who have already been injured need to protect themselves. Let’s say you fell on the ice during a particularly harrowing winter. Even if your knee isn’t obviously painful or hurting, there is a good chance that there is some lasting damage remaining. You can’t go back and fix that damage, but you can take proactive steps to avoid any more damage in the future. The great news is that knee pads are so advanced today that you can find some that are comfortable and fit under your everyday pants.
If you have soreness or any nascent signs of injury, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Remember that injuries are rarely reversible. Once you hurt your knees, they are damaged for life. Plus, you likely can’t stay off of them to properly heal. Most people who have a minor knee injury either ignore it and keep going, or they rest for a few hours with ice, and then return to their normal routines. It is important to stop and care for yourself. You want your knees to serve you for a lifetime, so be good to them!
If you have an old injury, it isn’t too late to protect yourself. As stated, you can’t reverse damage but you can make better decisions going forward. Consider wearing padding—if not full time, at least when you are engaging in high-impact activity. Finally, knee pads can be mental gems. When you’re in an intense player who finds yourself holding back because of a fear of injury, then pads are perfect for you. They take the impact your legs normally would, and that’s why they are so important for an athlete.
5. VOLLEYBALL KNEE PADS MATERIALS
When you head out to buy your volleyball knee pads, you are going to find a lot of options. In general, the ones you find will have some type of thick, shock-absorbing padding like a high-density foam or a memory foam and they have a fabric holding them together.
Let’s start with the padding. If you ever see a mattress made of either one, put your hand on it and press down. When you bring your hand up, you’ll see the foam maintains your handprint. It does this because of its makeup. Memory foam, for example, is polyurethane that has chemicals added to it that increase its density and its viscosity. The high-density type is able to mold to the body. What the padding does is provide stable protection while remaining comfortable and flexible. If you’re moving a lot, comfort is going to be key. Or, if you find yourself in one position for extended periods of time, comfort is key.
Think of a volleyball player who is on the court for an hour. The court is indoor and the floor is hard enough for a major injury without some protection. In addition to the potential for injury, the player will be moving intensely for the duration of the game. There is no way he or she can have an ill-fitting or uncomfortable piece of equipment. It will end up hampering them rather than helping them.
The other element of a knee pad is its fabric. The material used is diverse. You’ll find pads that have cotton shells, mesh shells and other types of shells. Remember that this is what will rub against your skin for the time you have the pad on. If you have a need for pads on your knees, then always try them on if you can. There’s more information about sizing and how to fit them below, but remember that this is a piece of equipment that needs to cater to your body. It needs to fit well and it needs to be snug. The only way to get the right sizing is to test it out. On top of the size though, you’ll want to pay some attention to the feel of the cloth on your skin. If you’re going to be right against the cloth, then consider how it will feel after intense activity with sweat involved. You want a pad that holds up and that has cloth that feels comfortable—when you put it on to when you take it off—on your legs.
6. SIZES AND HOW TO MEASURE KNEE CIRCUMFERENCES
It is important to get the right size with knee pads. This is why you should always consider the various sizes and how to properly measure your knee circumference. There are three measurements you should be concerned with.
- The area just above your knee where the top of the pad will rest
- The middle of the knee
- The lower part of your leg where the bottom of the pad will rest
Once you have these, you are going to base the right knee pad on the number two measurement- the middle of the knee. Your manufacturer will give you their individual sizing chart, so be sure to take the middle number to them to ensure you have the right size. If you’re fitting a child, be sure that you measure a few times a season to make sure you don’t have to buy a size up.
7. KNEE PADS – VS – KNEE SLEEVES – VS – KNEE BRACES
When it comes to knee protection, you’ll find that you have a lot of options. You may be worried about picking the right one for your lifestyle, profession or hobby. You should still go through the above questions to find out what your needs are. Once you understand your own personal concerns then, compare the options out there.
First, there are the knee pads. Think about how your knees have a very thin layer of protection – your skin. Your skin is great at some forms of protection, but impacts are not one of them. Purchasing a knee pad offers the protection you need. They can protect you from general abrasions and bruises that are caused by direct impact or blows. They have cushioned cores fastened around the knee cap that absorb any shocks and keep your patella, knee cap, safe. Most compact sports require some type of knee protection and this can be the optimal choice. They are most useful with more extreme sports like skateboarding, motocross or BMX biking—any sport that has a high risk of impact.
Secondly, there are knee sleeves. Knee sleeves are normally made of neoprene, or some form of elasticized material that compresses the knee area. The main purpose of the sleeve is to offer stabilization and support. It also is great at increasing the blood flow to the legs while reducing pain and swelling. They are best used for any sport that requires a large load or pressure on the knee joints such as tennis, weightlifting, basketball, walking or running.
Thirdly, knee braces are the most intense of the knee support options. These usually are required for anyone who already has a knee injury. Anyone who has suffered a knee injury in the past will tell you that the road back is hard. Most never return to former performance without some intense therapy and support such as a brace. What they do is stabilize and fix your knee in the proper position. They give your knee the added support it needs to still do the physical tasks required. Normally they are made of a durable fabric and have a hole at the kneecap. They aren’t there to protect your knee; rather they are there to stabilize your entire knee area. That stabilization requires hefty manufacturing so you’ll find braces made with metal and usually they have straps for adjustment. In the world of braces, you also have different options:
Each one has a slightly different function and you should discuss with your doctor or physical therapist which works best for your specific injury.
8. KNEE PADS FOR KIDS
Some people wonder if children need knee pads. We have all seen kids playing volleyball with their hearts, but with bruises on their knees after volleyball game. Or, the kids skateboarding down the street full-speed dodging around public parks. Not all of them have protection. In fact, research has shown that only about 20-percent of kids engaging in unsupervised sports keep their protective equipment on the entire time they are moving. It is a startling fact considering how dangerous sports can be.
Without the proper equipment, the potential for injury is much greater. What children don’t always understand is how an injury can impact their long-term career or life. One bad knee injury can not only take a child out of their beloved sport, but it can end their hopes of taking it professional. On top of that, it can leave them with an injury to manage throughout their teenage years and adulthood.
It also is important to fit the knee pads properly. Always go through the right sizing protocol to ensure that your child has equipment fitted to their needs. Two 12-year olds can have vastly different size requirements and proper fit is key to protecting them. Children should also be tutored on how to properly wear them—too low or too high can compromise their efficacy. Education with children is key. Let them know that the knee pads are there to protect their patella and meniscus. Yes those are big words, but they can help you get the importance across to kids.
9. ADULT KNEE PADS
Adults need to use knee pads. There are a lot of reasons why adults don’t use them. Here are some of the most popular:
- “They are for people who aren’t exercising properly.”
- “They are for people who are injured.”
- “They cost too much!”
- “They are uncomfortable.”
- “They are constricting.”
These are all objections, but consider these in response:
- You can exercise “properly” with perfect form but that doesn’t cut down on the impact your knees take during a workout or game.
- Yes- people who are injured use knee pads, but do you really want to go through an injury to start using them? Why not stop the injury in the first place?
- You can find varying prices for the equipment and they are in no way considered “high ticket items”. Plus, compared to the cost of physical rehab, co-pays and pain meds, the cost of good knee pads pales in comparison.
- You can also find plenty of pads that are comfortable. Yes- you may have to shop around, but once you find the right fit you’ll be glad you made the effort.
- Constricting isn’t always bad. In fact, it can be a sign that your pads are giving you the support you need. If they are too constricting though, try a size-up.
10. VOLLEYBALL KNEE PADS COLORS
You’ll happily find that volleyball knee pads come in a wide variety of colors. Some are just black and white, but some manufacturers are venturing out to more fashion colors. This makes it easier than ever to match colors to your team colors or to your own personal preference.
11. TOP 5 VOLLEYBALL KNEE PADS
In the world of volleyball knee pads there are options to pick from. Each one of the top pads comes with plenty of advantages. They are all able to take an impact and can protect the user from injury. What is nice about the best ones is that they come with dri-weave technology to keep players cool and dry during even the rowdiest high-energy game. Here are the top five ones available in the market today:
- Mizuno LR6. These knee pads are made of polyester, a fabric that breathes well and is highly flexible. They also are D.F> Cut to offer the wearer an even greater freedom of movement. There is a special pad at the impact zone—directly atop the patella. On top of that though, it also offers protection to the medial and lateral areas. The sizes are small, which is 13.5-inches or less, medium, which is 13.5-inches to 15.5-inches and the large is 15.5-inches or more. It focuses on movement and is minimal in restriction.
- McDavid 6440. These pads are unique with the HEX pad that runs from the front side’s top to bottom. They are made from nylon and designed for primarily lacrosse and football. The nice thing about this brand is that it comes in eighteen different fashionable colors, so matching to your entire team is easy. You can also match them to the uniforms used. They also have a moisture management technology that keeps the leg dry and cool. The material is compression fabric that holds tightly to its wearer for maximum in comfort.
- VolleyCountry Volleyball Knee Pads. These are pads that offer a lot of features the wearer will appreciate. They are made specifically for knee impact and hard landing on the court. They also are designed for durability, comfort and ease of mobility. What is also nice is their stay-dry and warm feature. They are made from bamboo and the material is known to breathe better than some other fabrics. This is a company that has specialized in volleyball equipment for more than ten years now, so the pads hold up to the hard court and are specially designed to do so.
- Asics Unisex Slider. This unisex pad is made of an important blend to maximize efficiency. It is 15-percent rayon, 17-percent nylon, 29-percent polyester and 39-percent rubber. The high rubber content plays well to the fit and makes them snug enough to not have to worry about. It also comes with an extra low-profile make for players who don’t like coverage higher up on the leg. They are latex-free too, so for those with allergies they are perfect. What you’ll like about them too is that they are breathable due to the back mesh panel.
- Nike Essentials Volleyball Knee Pads. The Nike brand pad comes in both black and white. They also have a low profile for players who want lower coverage. They come with an inner core of high-density protective foam padding and a special dri-fit liner. At the heat of game play, having dri-fit is going to offer players the comfort and dryness they need to keep pushing forward in a game. They are known to run a little smaller though, so it is always recommended to order a size up for sizing.
12. HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR KNEE PADS
One thing you do need to be aware of for your or your child’s knee pads is how to care properly for them. You want your equipment to always be at its top performance, so you can be too. This is why knowing what to do after use is critical. Here are some care instructions that will help you to keep your pads ready for use and lasting as long as possible.
- Separate your wet things in your bag. Everyone has been there- they finish up an energetic and sweaty game and throw their things into the gym bag. It sits in the car or on the bedroom floor until you need it next. This is a great way from gaining two things: bacteria and smell. To stave both off, do yourself a favor and bring a plastic bag with you. When you take off your wet pads, throw them into a bag- alone. (Have a few plastic bags and separate everything wet.) When you get home, take everything out and let it dry.
- Don’t leave your pads laying in your bag long-term. This plays to the above problem. Bacteria loves damp and dark places. The last thing you want is to give them a place to breed and if you leave your bag unattended for long periods of time, that’s exactly what you’re giving them. After a game or after practice, be sure to let all of your wet equipment breathe by taking them out of your storage bag as soon as you possibly can. Give them a chance to dry. You also can turn them inside out to ensure that they dry in the areas where most dampness from sweat accumulates.
- Wash them frequently. You should gauge how often you use your pads and wash accordingly. You can easily throw them into your normal laundry, with no special care unless the manufacturer instructs. Parents should train kids to bring them to the laundry room so they are sure to be clean and ready for next use. After washing, they should be left to air dry and not put into dryer—this can damage the rubber and latex content and compromise snug fit. They also should never be returned to the gym bag until they are completely dry.
- Remember that it takes time to dry your pads. Speaking of dry…your knee pads have a lot of layers to them—the padding, the shell, the stitching and the extras. You want to be sure that all of them are thoroughly dry before you put them back into your bag and definitely before you put them on. Consider that a highly-padded pair can take up to 12-hours to dry! You likely can’t throw them into the wash on Monday night and expect to use them early Tuesday morning. If you find yourself in this predicament, you may want to invest in two and alternate.
- Hang outside for added protection. If the weather permits, consider hanging your just-cleaned pads outside in the sun. This can expedite the drying process and get you back on the court that much faster. The added benefit is that the sun’s heat will kill odor-causing bacteria that may be hanging around after the wash.
- Don’t put them on a heat source. Many people think that putting their pads on the heater or a direct heat source will dry them quicker. Granted, it might do that, but it also can damage the pads themselves. Remember that they are made of materials that don’t take well to high-heat. They easily can warp or lose shape with the wrong treatment.
- Hang them by a window. What you can do though is hang them by a window. Even if it is too cold outside, you can still take advantage of the sun via a window. The sun will do its job of cutting out the odor-causing bacteria and drying them. Just remember that bathrooms in general aren’t the best places to dry out anything. They tend to be too damp.
Always take care of your knee pads and teach your children the same. These practices will not only keep them efficient, but it will extend their lifespan and serve you for seasons to come.
Knee pads and specially knee pads for volleyball players are important pieces of equipment that can save your knees from the repeated damage exercise and work can impart. You expect a lot from your legs so give them the support they need. Not only will your pads protect them from future damage, but if you have suffered an injury already, they will be instrumental in the total healing process and future injury.
So this is all what you need to know about knee pads. In case you want good knee pads buy premium quality volleyball knee pads from VolleyCountry on Amazon. I guarantee you will love them.