The 6 Best Skateboard Pads of 2021

Stay safe while you cruise the streets

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Best Skateboard Pads

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Unlike many structured sports, there are no set rules in skateboarding, which means that injuries can be common. However, you can proactively protect your knees, elbows, and wrists by wearing skateboard pads on your ride. 

According to Kevin D Walter, MD, Program Director, Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine, Children's Wisconsin, wearing pads reduces injury risk—meaning you can ride with more confidence. He says that a skateboard pad should stay in place without feeling too tight, noting that proper fit is key to being safe on your board.

Walter adds that bigger pads might prevent the knee from bending like normal. “It's got to be tight to fit and stay in place, but it can't be too big or too tight that it impacts movement.” He explains that another safety consideration is the surface texture of the pad. ”If you're skating indoors you'll want softer pads. Whereas if you're skating on concrete, you may want a firm plastic that can slide against the concrete if you fall.”

You'll also want adequate shock absorption, so you should look out for materials like memory foam or EVA, with an extra layer of hard plastic.

Here are the best skateboard pads on the market.

Our Top Picks
Sized for children or adults, and beginners or advanced athletes, it offers your wrists and knees support with EVA padding.
Kiddos can promote their mobility with skateboarding, and this set minimizes painful accidents with its tough, plastic plates.
Protect yourself from potential falls with these adjustable knee pads, featuring memory foam and a flat cap for stability.
Don't forget the elbow coverage with this set, designed in a breathable fabric that allows for complete range of motion.
Designed to conform to your hand for a perfect fit, it features splint protection, impact absorption, and stitching to curb rips.
When comfort is a priority, especially as you board for hours, this set delivers with its cupped foam for a barely-there fit.

Best Overall: JBM international 3 in 1 Protective Gear Set

JBM International 3-in-1 Protective Set
Pros
  • Can be sized for children and adults

  • Made with soft EVA material

  • Comes in various colors

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Sizes run large

This customer-favorite set has you covered from wrists to knees with ultra-soft EVA padded material and rock-hard polypropylene plastic that retains its shape after impact. Their padded Velcro straps adjust for a tight yet comfortable fit, and they can be sized for children or adults. The set’s sizing flexibility, color options, and price for all three pairs of wrist, elbow, and knee pads give it the Best Overall Skateboard Pad seal of approval.

Other shoppers agree: everyone from extreme athletes to elementary schoolers boarding down their driveway benefit from this set of superior skateboard pads. Some smaller frame people note that these run a little large, so make sure you measure yourself before purchasing.

Material: Polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, plastic, ethylene vinyl acetate | Closure: Velcro | Fit: Adult, youth

Best for Kids: SKL Kids Protective Gear

SKL Kids Protective Gear
Pros
  • Made with soft EVA material

  • Comes in various colors

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Size runs small

Skateboarding is a fun way to get your kids to exercise outside, but one painful fall can make them want to hang up their board. Your kid's skateboarding hobby should be safe. The SKL Kids Protective Gear Set has everything your child needs to safely get the hang of the sport with minimal ouchies. The kit is sized for children 3 to 8 years old and includes knee, elbow, and wrist protection. The insides of the pads are made with soft EVA material that won’t be too itchy or uncomfortable, and tough plastic plates protect small joints from a bad landing. They also come in fun colors like blue, green, or pink, so your child won’t mind suiting up in their armor before they hit the streets.

Skaters love the pads' adjustable fit (making them last for years) and the low price—they’re affordable enough to buy a second set for a sibling or a neighborhood skateboarding buddy. Some note that the sizing is small on these, so if you have a larger child you might need to shop elsewhere.

Material: Soft EVA Padded | Closure: Velcro | Fit: One size

Best Knee Pads: Triple Eight KP 22 Heavy-Duty Skateboarding Knee Pads

Triple Eight KP 22 Heavy-Duty Skateboarding Knee Pads
Pros
  • Made with heavy duty memory foam

  • Durable

  • Can be sized for children and adults

Cons
  • Doesn't come with elbow and wrist pads

Triple 8’s knee pads will protect you from serious skateboarding mishaps. They’re made from heavy-duty memory foam and covered with a high-density flat cap designed for increased longevity and stability. Finding knee pads with a secure, perfect fit is essential for proper skateboarding safety, and the Triple 8’s elastic top and webbed bottom straps easily adjust to your ideal size.

Skateboarders vouch for the Triple 8 Knee Pads' ability to withstand intense falls and extreme contact sports like roller derby. One satisfied customer even successfully wore them through firefighter training, so they’re more than ready for the skatepark.

Material: Foam, ethylene vinyl acetate | Closure: Hook and loop | Fit: Adult, junior

Best Elbow Pads: G-Form Pro-X Elbow Pad

G-Form Pro-X Elbow Pads
Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Has UPF protection

  • Machine-washable

  • Can be sized for children and adults

Cons
  • Sizes run small

Knee pads are the first things most people think of when they’re starting out skateboarding, but a painful landing on your elbows can sideline you at the skatepark and at your desk job. These elbow pads mimic the design of G-Form’s stylish knee pads and offer similar safety features, like the reactive, flexible foam that absorbs 90% of force on impact. They’re made of breathable, moisture-wicking compression fabric with an ergonomic design that allows for complete range of motion when you’re on your skateboard and prevents a ton of sweat.

Fans of these elbow pads mention the impeccable, second-skin comfort and the reliable crash protection.

Material: UPF 50+ compression fabric | Closure: Slip-on | Fit: Adult, youth

Best Wrist Guards: 187 Killer Pad Wrist Guards

187 Killer Pads Wrist Guards
Pros
  • Durable

  • Includes extra thick splint protection

  • Affordable

  • Can be sized for children and adults

Cons
  • Sizes run large

When beginners start falling off of a skateboard, the first thing you’ll do is stick out your hand to try and save yourself. Unfortunately, the bones in your wrist and hand typically aren’t “on board” with breaking your fall—instead, they may break themselves when you land. Wrist guards are vital for skateboarding, and 187’s Killer Pad Wrist Guards are a favorite among boarders.

The Killer Pads' angled design conforms to your hand for a perfect fit. They’re constructed with ballistic nylon (the same material used in flak jackets), and industrial-weight stitching staves off rips and tears. Most importantly, these skateboard wrist guards have an extra thick splint protection concentrated at the base of the hand where most impacts occur, making them a cut above other wrist pads.

Skateboarding fans love how the Killer Pads absorb impact, easily adjust, and stay in place throughout their ride.

Material: Nylon | Closure: Velcro | Fit: Adult, junior

Most Comfortable Pads: PROTEC Original Street Knee and Elbow Pad Set

Pro-Tec Street Knee and Elbow Pads
Pros
  • Adjustable

  • Strong velcro closure

  • Made with soft EVA material

Cons
  • Doesn't come in youth sizes

When it comes to safety, Pro-Tec sets skateboard industry standards. With their Street Knee and Elbow Pads, they set a new standard for comfort. Soft, cupped foam cradles your knees and elbows for protection, while breathable, ergonomic materials keep you cool and dry. They’re fully adjustable with wrap-around straps and hook-and-loop fasteners, providing a closer fit than usual Velcro closures.

Pro-Tec’s sports equipment has a great reputation, and their Street Knee and Elbow Pads are no different. Customers rave about their comfort level, with some saying that they barely notice they’re wearing anything. Others recall nasty falls that would have been disastrous without these pads. All-in-all, these are a very comfortable and reliable pick for any level of skateboarder.

Material: Neoprene | Closure: Wrap hook and loop | Fit: Adult

Final Verdict

Whether you’re looking for pads for the whole family or just yourself, or competitive or leisure settings, the JBM International 3-in-1 Protective Gear Set (view at Amazon) has you covered with its inclusive sizing and versatile design. To simplify your prepping process, the complete set features wrist, elbow, and knee pads with impact resistance. 

If you’re looking for a pick that’s exclusively for kiddos, you can’t go wrong with the SKL Kids Protective Gear (view at Walmart), complete with all they need to prevent injuries thanks to its knee and elbow to wrist protection. 

What to Look for in Skateboard Pads

Type

Knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards are the most common types of pads for protection against skateboard-related injuries. Elbow and knee pads reduce the severity of scrapes, gravel burns, and cuts from falling, while wrist guards may prevent a broken bone when placing your hands down during a fall. 

There are also recreational pads and aggressive pads. While recreational pads are crafted with a balance of protection and comfort for occasional falls, aggressive pads are designed for skaters that are intentionally falling on the pads. “When skating at a skatepark with high ramps, skaters will often bail from a trick by doing a ‘knee slide’—purposefully landing on both knees and sliding down the ramp,” says Kevin Banahan, Co-founder, and CEO at SKATEYOGI in Brooklyn, New York. These pads are durable and have ample shock absorption.

Shock Absorption

When falling on pavement or a hard surface, skaters may experience injury-inducing impact. Knee pads and elbow pads should absorb the shock on impact, allowing you to get up without harm. “Shock absorption is important because that’s how the force can be distributed evenly over a large area, minimizing the force to a single point,” says Banahan. 

The skateboard pad structure helps ensure good shock absorption, so you’ll want to look for materials like EVA, memory, gel, or reinforced foam, covered in hard plastics. 

Fit 

Wrist guards should make your wrists feel snug and supported when in use. “You don’t want too much wiggle room since that would defeat the purpose of the splint,” notes Banahan. He says that knee and elbow pads should be large enough to protect the area from all angles, but not so big that it restricts mobility, potentially causing further injury. 

Finding the right size is important because if it doesn’t securely fit, the skateboard pad may slip off and fall during use. Most pads will come with a sizing guide, but generally speaking, you want one that doesn’t move around when in place, but that’s loose enough to remain comfortable for a prolonged period of time. 

Materials

Most skateboard pads include a fabric material and a material designed to aid in shock absorption. EVA padded material, polypropylene plastic, or dense foams are used to protect against impact, and materials like nylon, elastic, and cloth are used to hold the pad in place, eliminating movement while wearing. Additionally, almost all pads include a Velcro closure to provide the skater with an optimal fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you need to wear pads when skateboarding?

    In addition to wearing closed, slip-resistant shoes and helmets, skateboarders should always wear pads for knees, elbows, and hands, according to Kevin D. Plancher, MD, FAAOS, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert in New York, NY, and Greenwich, Conn. “Pads can decrease the incidence and severity of cuts, bruises, and fractures,” he says.

  • How do I know my knee pad size?

    The easiest way to determine your knee pad size is to measure the circumference of your thigh, knee, and calf with a soft measuring tape or string. Most knee pads include a size chart on the packaging or website and have specific instructions on how you should do your measurements. You can use those measurements to determine the best size for you.

  • Do you wear knee and elbow pads over or under clothing?

    Most standard knee and elbow pads can be worn over clothing, for easy on and off. If you’re wearing short-sleeve shirts or shorts, you can wear them directly on your elbow or knee, using the adjustable Velcro strap to get the right fit.

  • How do you clean knee pads and elbow pads?

    Proper cleaning of knee and elbow pads really depends on the product and its material. Some pads made from compression fabric can be machine-washed and air-dried, while others need to be hand-washed.

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2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. University of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Clinic. Scaphoid (navicular) fractures of the hand and wrist. 2020.