Among the essential gear for airsoft enthusiasts, knee and elbow pads stand as a cornerstone of both safety and performance.
Whether you’re a beginner venturing onto the battlefield for the first time or a seasoned player looking to upgrade your gear, knee and elbow pads should never be underestimated.
They shield your knees and elbows from painful impacts and allow you to maneuver with confidence, enabling you to focus on your mission rather than worrying about potential injuries.
We’ll explore the various types available, and the key considerations when choosing the right pair, and offer insights into the top-rated models on the market.
Before we get to the first pads on the list, I must state how knee pads are absolutely a must for airsoft, and while elbow pads are optional they are useful for players who prefer to lay down, crawl take advantage of the nearby walls, rock and logs for support.
1. AltaCONTOUR Knee Protector Pads (Ideal for Sliding)
AltaCONTOUR manufactures what we could call the epitome of quality knee pads with a strong tactical appearance ideal for most airsoft loadouts.
These are among the best knee pads for airsoft on the market as they guarantee protection, and longevity and fit around the knee nicely.
When I rate knee pads the most important feature is that THEY STAY IN PLACE, so when you run and crouch they don’t slide down making you lose nerves each time when adjusting during the combat!
However, if you are into sliding on grass, these pads will be ideal to support your aggressive playstyle and switch from cover to cover.
Quick description of the features:
- Flexible Cap: These knee pads feature a soft and flexible cap that not only provides reliable protection but also allows for freedom of movement. You can stay agile without compromising on safety.
- Durable Nylon Construction: The strong and durable Cordura nylon fabric ensures these knee pads can withstand harsh conditions, making them perfect for any adventure or sport.
- Thick Neoprene Recovery Foam Padding: The knee pads have thick neoprene foam padding that offers exceptional support and comfort. You’ll appreciate the consistent support without any fear of bottoming out during your activities.
- Moisture-Wicking Tricot Liner: The knee pads come with a tricot liner that efficiently wicks away moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable. Plus, it acts as a barrier against dirt and debris, ensuring a clean experience.
- Adjustable for Most Sizes: These knee pads are thoughtfully designed to fit most sizes. With the AltaLOK fasteners, you can easily adjust them to provide a secure and customized fit for your knees.
- Non-Slip-Strip: Worried about your knee pads shifting during movement? The integrated Non-Slip-Strip helps keep the pads in place, ensuring you can focus on your activity without constant adjustments.
- Bunching Reduction: The biomechanically-designed knee pads are created to minimize bunching, particularly behind the knees. This feature adds to your comfort and performance.
- Dual Strapping System: The widely set dual strapping system not only prevents bunching but also offers extra comfort. You won’t have to worry about discomfort during extended use.
- Alta Strapkeeper System: Say goodbye to the inconvenience of excess straps flapping around. The unique Alta Strapkeeper System secures these straps in place, providing a tidy and hassle-free experience that doesn’t annoy.
2. Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads
Bodyprox protective knee pads are the most popular knee pads on the market used by everyone, from skaters to wrestlers, and best of all, the quality isn’t compromised by quite an affordable price that will surprise you.
These knee pads don’t slip or block circulation as is the case with some lesser quality products of a similar design that covers the entire area around your knee.
In simple words, these pads are perfect for what they are made to do, but they don’t look tactical and I don’t find them attractive for most airsoft loadouts.
So, do you need something that will look good or work? If you need both, the AltaCONTOUR option above is better, otherwise, these are the knee pads for you!
Furthermore, AltaCONTOUR pads seem to offer better-sliding potential because they are massive and the material interacts better with most terrain.
Yet, If you wear these knee pads inside and put on thick trousers I believe that sliding should still be very doable.
Quick description of the features:
- High-Density Strengthen Foam: These kneepads are created with high-density foam that not only offers excellent protection but also exceptional elasticity. This means you can enjoy peace of mind during your sports and outdoor adventures.
- Breathable Fabric for Comfort: The kneepads feature a breathable fabric that keeps your skin dry and comfortable. No more discomfort due to sweat, even during the most intense activities.
- Ergonomic Design: These kneepads are super lightweight and designed with your comfort in mind. They provide the freedom of movement you need to excel in your chosen sport, all while offering top-notch protection.
- Injury Prevention and Warmth: Say goodbye to knee injuries during exercise. These kneepads offer effective impact protection, ensuring you stay in the game. Plus, they help keep your knees warm, reducing the risk of stiff muscles and joints.
- Enhanced Blood Circulation: By providing a secure fit and impact-proof design, these kneepads can actually improve blood circulation. You’ll feel more energized and capable of pushing your limits.
- Great Grip and Non-Slip Feature: With these kneepads, you won’t need to constantly re-adjust them. They provide a great grip and a non-slip feature that ensures they stay firmly in place. Put them on and forget you’re even wearing them, that’s how comfortable they are in use.
3. Tactical Uniform with attachable knee and elbow pads
Some people love the ease of shopping experience, so they get these uniforms with attachable pads.
These types of pads definitely do work as intended but can only be used with a uniform that is made to fit the attachable pads.
If you don’t have a proper tactical uniform for airsoft yet, then buying these sets is a great choice, especially for beginners and those on a budget.
The pads stay in place and are easy to install, the only limit is that you have to stick to the uniform and not wear anything else.
I also find these pads to be smaller in size than others, so while they will offer solid protection against concrete and rocks, they aren’t ideal for sliding and don’t look impressive.
Calculate the pros and cons and come up with the decision.
Quick description of the features:
- Premium Material Blend: Crafted from a high-quality blend of cotton and polyester (65% polyester, 35% cotton), these tactical shirts and pants offer the best of both worlds. They’re comfortable, breathable, and built to last.
- Removable Knee Pads: These combat pants come with removable knee pads, giving you the freedom to adapt to various situations. Whether you’re on a demanding outdoor mission or simply need extra protection, these pants have you covered.
- Multi-Function Pockets: With up to 10 different-sized pockets strategically placed on the waist, knee, and ankle positions, you’ll have ample space to carry your essentials. Stay organized and ready for action with these thoughtfully designed pockets.
- Adjustable Leg Opening: The hook & loop adjustable leg openings ensure a secure fit, so you won’t have to worry about the pants interfering with your movements. Stay agile and comfortable during your outdoor pursuits.
4. T-Juan MM Knee and Elbow Pads Pack
T-Juan MM knee and elbow pads pack is a great budget alternative for those who need both the knee and elbow pads for airsoft games.
These pads aren’t the most durable pads in the long run, but nevertheless, they’ll be a good option for beginners and those who don’t actively grind their knees and elbows onto concrete.
The thing is that these pads offer good protection, fit quite well, and do the job, but you can’t expect them to last for years as is the case with some other pad sets as you always get what you pay for!
Quick description of the features:
- Unparalleled Lightness and Flexibility: These knee and elbow pads are extremely lightweight and flexible, all thanks to their unique “X” shape design. This construction provides good protection and shock absorption while allowing your body to move naturally.
- Protective Padding: The pads are made of soft EVA-padded material with tough plastic plates. The combination of these materials ensures your knees and elbows are well-protected (although they won’t last long if you constantly grind them!)
- Adjustable Size for Everyone: These knee and elbow pads are designed to fit most users, making them a versatile choice for activities such as skateboarding, biking, mini bike riding, and other extreme sports.
Considerations When Choosing Knee and Elbow Pads
Let’s cover the important factors for selecting the perfect pair of knee pads.
Material and Build Quality
- Look for knee pads constructed from durable materials like nylon or Cordura for longevity.
- Reinforced stitching is the key indicator of build quality.
- Padding material and the size of a pad are important for absorbing damage, so don’t buy cheap plastic and fillers. If you do, your knees will remember it!
- For elbow pads, you don’t need the finest material as they don’t absorb much damage, yet avoid cheap plastic that will break
Fit and Sizing
- Proper sizing is essential for comfort and functionality.
- Ensure that your knee pads fit snugly but not too tight, allowing for freedom of movement.
- Many knee pads come with adjustable straps to fine-tune the fit to your liking. Look for these types of knee pads if you can’t test them prior to making a purchase.
- Elbow pads usually fit quite well compared to knee pads regarding of a brand from our experience
- Consider the intensity of your airsoft games. If you play in highly competitive or rugged scenarios, prioritize protection.
- Basic foam knee pads are adequate for casual play, while tactical or hardshell knee pads are better suited for intense combat situations.
- In airsoft, we are not fighting nor crushing glass with elbows, so basic protection will do
Comfort and Breathability
- Choose knee and elbow pads with moisture-wicking or breathable materials to prevent discomfort during extended gameplay.
- Look for designs that allow airflow to keep your knees cool.
- Padded knee pads should provide cushioning without compromising your mobility.
- Determine your budget and choose knee and elbow pads that offer the best value within your price range.
- Keep in mind that investing a bit more in high-quality knee pads can pay off in the long run through improved performance and durability. Quality pads should last for years of active airsoft games, but regular sliding on concrete will deteriorate even the finest brands within a year.
Maintenance and Care Tips
By following these maintenance and care tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your pads and ensure they continue to provide the protection and comfort you need on the airsoft field.
- Regularly clean your pads to remove dirt, mud, and sweat. Most knee pads are machine washable, but check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.
- Inspect for any signs of wear and tear, such as loose stitching or damaged padding. Address these issues promptly to prevent further damage.
- If your pads have removable padding, take them out for washing and allow them to dry thoroughly before reinserting.
In conclusion, your choice of knee and elbow pads can significantly impact your performance and safety during airsoft games.
Choosing the right knee pads will allow you to be the best at your game style, whether you prefer lots of sliding in CQB or are reckless when avoiding enemy BBS and always connect on your knees.
For me, protection is mandatory as knees don’t forget the damage done once you get older.
I hate myself for not using knee and elbow pads when I was younger, as my active lifestyle often comes with the consequences of swollen elbows and cut knees.
But it’s never too late to prevent further damage, I guess!