Though you’re taught to defend your head, shoulders, and neck, one of the most common weak spots in fight-related sports is in the knees. Whether competing or in training, the force and impact of a round can be brutal, to say the least.
Not only that, but add to the mix a whole host of other factors such as age and genetics, and it’s pretty easy to see why the knee area requires some extra support, and the most effective way to do so is by investing in a pair of quality knee pads.
Though there is a vast amount of options on the market, the best knee pads will be able to stay in place no matter how much you move, offer maximum support and shock absorption, all the while allowing you to maintain flexibility while in training or during a fight.
Whether you want high-quality support after an intense session, or you simply want to protect yourself from contact burns, keep reading for a review of five of the best knee pads currently available on the market, as well as a helpful buying guide. Read on!
In a hurry? Check out our top pick:
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read our full review below, then the Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads are a great choice to consider.
They’re affordable, feature flexible fabric that will move with you, and have been built with durable padding that will be able to offer shock protection against any impact.
What’s more, they’ve been made with versatility in mind, so you can use them for a variety of other sports, including the gym or cycling!
OUR TOP PICK
If you’re on the search for a versatile pair of knee pads that can be used for a variety of activities (not just fight-related sports) you’ll want to check out the Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads.
Bodyprox has specifically designed these knee pads to be flexible, lightweight, and comfortable for all types of activities.
Thanks to that, these knee pads can be used for MMA fighting as well as other sports-related activities, including cycling, ice skating, and even running.
For versatility, they feature a low-profile ‘slip-on’ design which makes them comfortable to wear alone or under clothing.
The Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads also require no Velcro attachment, as they have been designed to stay securely in place once you have slipped them on.
Ideal for boxing, these knee pads will not only offer shock impact protection, but they will also be able to help pain-related injuries as they compress once they are put on.
This makes them great for people who have recently had knee surgery or an injury, but still want to be able to train and stay in shape.
Also, these knee pads are also super comfortable to wear and flexible.
Once you have put them on and carefully fitted them around your knees, the compression will be able to spread evenly across the areas where the knee pads have covered.
- Suitable for a range of different sports
- Low profile, versatile design
- Comfortable with evenly distributed compression
- If you buy the wrong size, it can cause redness
Looking for maximum support? If so, you might want to check out the McDavid Knee Pads! They feature gel padding that will be able to deliver optimum protection and compression.
Constructed like a knee brace, these knee pads feature a gel relief padding that will provide instant compression as soon as you put them on.
So, whether you have an injury or simply want more support, these knee pads will instantly improve blood flow and lower the chances of any swelling during your session.
Latex-free, these knee pads are super breathable and feature a low-profile, snug fit.
Instead, they are made with neoprene that will provide therapeutic, soothing warmth and aid healing if you experience any knocks or bumps.
We also really like that these knee pads feature viscoelastic gel inserts, which will be able to offer excellent impact absorption.
Not only that, but made with the highest quality materials, including gel Sorbothane, these knee pads will offer optimum protection against shock damage, as well as long service life.
In other words, these knee pads are made to withstand the demands of MMA fighting and other fast-paced impact sports, so they’ll serve you for a long time before needing to be replaced.
- Seamless design that can be worn under leggings
- Shock absorbing gel-inserts
- High-performing neoprene for optimum flexibility and comfort
- Thermal heat insulation may be uncomfortable for some wearers
If you’re currently healing from an injury but still want to get in the ring, a great pair of knee pads to consider are the McDavid Hex Sports Medicine Knee Pads.
Purposefully created for contact sports, the McDavid Hex Sports Medicine Knee Pads are made with superior, closed-cell foam padding that will be able to instill you with confidence, regardless of whether you’re a pro boxer or experienced amateur.
They’re ideal for those who are recovering from an injury or have recently had surgery, this is because as soon as you put them on, the tight fit will be able to offer relieving compression that will help to prevent inflammation and keep your knees feeling comfortable and supported.
Featuring an innovative, ‘slip-on’ design, there’s no fuss or faff. All you’ll need to do is simply pull your knee pads into place, and the nylon-stretch fabric will efficiently mold itself around your knees to provide maximum protection and the best support possible.
Ideal for fight-related sports, these knee pads will help to keep you cool and focused.
Thanks to Moisture Management Technology, these knee pads will be able to effectively wick away moisture while you sweat, to ensure that you stay dry, and the pads remain snugly in place.
A cool factor about these knee pads that set them apart from the rest is that they have been designed for multiple body parts!
Thanks to the versatile ‘slip-on’ design, McDavid has specifically designed these knee pads to fit wherever feels comfortable, including the shins and elbows.
- Ideal for those recovering from injury
- Snug fit - requires no straps
- Can be worn on multiple body parts, not just your knees
- Some have found that they can roll down if they get too wet
If you’re looking for more lightweight protection, then we recommend taking a look at the RDX Knee Support Pads. They’re also a great choice for anyone on a budget!
The RDX Knee Support Pads do exactly what they say on the tin. They have been manufactured with a lightweight, stretchable, and durable woven carbon fabric that will be able to offer maximum resilience.
They feature a CE certified and SATRA approved elasticated slip-on design that will ensure that the knee pads stay securely in place (so you won’t have to adjust them constantly) while the Supremo-shock foam padding will help to offer exceptional comfort.
These knee support pads also feature an additional layer of Spon X padding that will be able to deliver optimal cushioning when met with high-intensity force, so they’re a great choice for boxers.
In addition to that, the additional padding won’t restrict any movement, while the flat-locked seams will ensure the kneepads can withstand regular, heavy-duty use.
Plus, for optimum comfortability, these knee pads feature a tightly packed needlework that will not cause any itchiness or redness across your skin, while the quick EZ Hook and Loop design will allow for adjustable and quick application.
- Durable and resilient design
- Low maintenance hook and loop design
- Some find them to be bulky
As a slight alternative to the traditional knee pad design, why not consider the RDX Shin Guards? They’re a great choice for anyone that wants a little extra coverage than what standard knee pads can offer.
Featuring a more full coverage design, these shin pads have been engineered with a super lightweight and elastic woven carbon fiber fabric.
This fabric has unparalleled amounts of high temperature and low weight resistance that combines with the high elasticity and stiffness of the fiber for optimum performance.
They are padded and feature a max shock equilibrium foam padding across the knee, shin, and instep section in order to allow maximum shock absorption and protective coverage.
We also really like the sleek design, they won’t feel bulky or heavy while they’re on, so you can rest assured that they won’t slow you down!
Plus, for extra flexibility, these shin pads offer ultimate flexibility, so you’ll be able to move, jump, and dodge without any issues.
There’s even a hook and loop closure system that will be able to wrap the knee sleeve securely around the leg for maximum grip while maintaining your form.
- Excellent full-coverage support
- Allows optimum mobility thanks to the high-elasticity design
- Shock absorbing and will protect against knocks
- It might not be suitable for those who want a low-profile design
Best Knee Pads Buying Guide
What to Consider Before Purchasing Knee Pads
Before making a purchase, there are a few factors that we recommend keeping in mind to make sure that you make the right choice for you!
Below, we’ve outlined some of the most important factors you’ll need to consider when selecting a new pair of knee pads:
When it comes to selecting the correct knee pads, firstly you’ll want to consider the materials used to make them. Oftentimes, there are three parts that comprise a knee pad, which are the padding, the closure, and the sleeve.
Usually, these three parts are often made out of different materials, including neoprene, pliable, and elastic, which helps to increase flexibility and durability.
Where possible, we recommend selecting knee pads that consist of these types of materials, as they will ensure that you stay comfortable and supported.
In addition to that, you may also want to consider purchasing a pair of knee pads that contain material that will be able to wick away moisture, as they will help to ensure that you stay cool and dry - no matter how hard you work!
The best knee pads on the market should also be able to withstand high-impact activities without rolling down or needing to be readjusted, so make sure you select a pair of knee pads that have been designed to serve this purpose.
The next factor you’ll want to consider is the size. This is the most important part to get right, as knee pads that are too loose or too tight will not be able to offer you adequate support.
If they’re too tight, they’re going to restrict blood movement and potentially make any existing injuries worse.
However, if they’re too loose, you’re going to have to keep pulling them back into the correct position, which is the last thing you’ll want to do during a fight when you need to focus on your opponent.
If you’re a beginner or buying online, try and go for a pair that has an adjustable closure, so you can adjust the fit to properly suit you.
Padding is also a really important factor to keep in mind when selecting a pair of knee pads. Depending on the brand and quality, the padding material will vary.
However, the most common types of materials used to make the padding are carbon fiber, foam, rubber, and sometimes even plastic.
In addition, the padding shape can also vary, so you’ll likely need to decide which part of your knee you want to get the most protection before you make the purchase.
In addition, we also recommend purchasing knee pads with padding that offers a good level of shock absorption. This means that the padded areas will be able to take the brunt of impacts so that you have a lower chance of injury.
The Closure System
The next factor that we’re going to be talking about is the closure system. Just like the padding, the closure system will also vary from brand to brand.
When it comes to knee pads, the most common structure used is a pullover with straps, which allows for easier adjustment once you have put them on.
Additionally, they also usually consist of velcro straps, which we think are a lot easier to use. Where possible, we recommend selecting knee pads that have a pullover-strap closure design, as you’ll find that your knee pads are easy to take on and off.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often do knee pads need to be replaced?
As you’re going to be engaging in a high-impact sport, you’ll need to choose a pair of knee pads that have been specifically designed to cater to this need.
To make the selection process easier, all of the knee pads that we selected have been designed to be able to withstand sports such as MMA fighting and kickboxing, so they have been made to offer a long service life.
As a general rule of thumb, though, you should keep a lookout for knee pads that have been made with a durable material such as neoprene or rubber, as they will be able to withstand the demands of your sport, all the while ensuring that you’re comfortable and can enjoy optimum mobility.
With that being said, your knee pads should be able to serve you comfortably for around a year so before needing to be replaced. However, if you notice that your knee pads are rolling down or no longer feel comfortable and supportive, it may be time to invest in a new pair.
What is the best material for knee pads?
The best material for knee pads, in our opinion, are those that consist of flexible yet durable fabrics such as carbon fiber fabric or neoprene.
These materials also feature moisture-wicking properties, which will be able to effectively wick away moisture from your skin while you sweat in order to ensure that you stay cool and fresh.
On the other hand, though some knee pads contain lycra, we do not recommend selecting them if possible, as they are known to stretch and need replacing more quickly than knee pads that contain more ‘rigid’ fabrics.
In addition to that, lycra is also bad for the environment and requires a lot of toxic chemicals and energy to manufacture, while the other materials are a lot more eco-friendly.