If you’re playing volleyball on a court, you’re going to need your own knee pads. You can try playing without them, but as soon as you make contact with the court, you’ll wish you were wearing them. Knee pads are protective volleyball equipment that makes it easier for players to get low quickly without risking knee injury.
In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about knee pads for volleyball. We’ll cover topics such as knee injuries, caring for your knee pads, and which knee pads are best for you.
Preventing Volleyball Knee Injuries
Knee injuries for quite common for volleyball players. There are many different kinds of knee injuries and their causes are unique to the situation a player finds themselves in. Some of the most common, smaller injuries are bruises and lingering knee pain. These are commonly caused by dropping down to dig a ball, making hard contact with the court, or bumping into other players while trying to get the ball.
More serious injuries include torn ligaments and cartilage, causing long-term pain. These injuries can be avoided by wearing knee guards and practicing safe form when jumping and diving.
Measuring For Knee Pads
Before buying knee pads, you should know how to get a few measurements. How to measure knee pads is as simple as using a tape measure or a piece of string that can be put against a tape measure or a ruler. Having a way to measure is the first step, but there are actually three ways to measure for knee pads.
- Around the middle of your knee – While standing, stretch your leg to be completely straight. Then, bend your knee just a little bit. Wrap your soft tape measure around the centre of your knee (your knee caps) and around your leg.
- Above and Below the knee – Some knee pads offer sizing by measuring above and below the knee. Just like you would measure with the method above, you’ll do two similar measurements but one will be 4″ above your knee and the other 4″ below your knee.
Below, we show you a common size chart for most knee pad brands. But remember, not all knee pads are made and sized the same. Before you buy, take a moment to double-check any specific sizing for the knee pads you’re interested in.
Knee Pads VS Knee Braces
Knee braces, or knee sleeves, are meant to offer compression for the entire knee area. Compression is good for two main reasons: keeping things where they belong and improving circulation to the rest of the leg. This is great for players who are experiencing some knee pain from lots of play or if they are recovering from a knee injury.
Knee pads are more about preventing knee injury. They offer shock absorption and give players the freedom to drop on their knees onto hard surfaces such as wooden courts. Although knee pads don’t make your knees invincible, they can greatly reduce the risk of an injury that can take months or years to recover from.
Knee Pads If You Play Libero
Knee pads are one of the most important pieces of volleyball equipment for a libero. Because they are expecting to dive often and dig the ball, they are often planting their knees into the ground as quickly as possible. For this reason, liberos need a reliable pair of knee pads that can absorb the shock time and again.
Long, Thigh High Knee Pads
Thigh-high knee pads are great for several reasons. First, you get more compression across a wider surface of your leg. Next, you get more of a guarantee that your knee pads will stay in place should your knee pads move around too much during play. Knee pads have a reputation for slipping too high or too low, making it a nuisance to re-adjust in the middle of a heated match.
Thigh-high knee pads are also called long knee pads and are essentially the same product.
How to clean knee pads
When it comes to cleaning your knee pads, you have two options. The first is to use a mesh laundry bag and throw them into the wash. This keeps your knee pads protected during the washing cycle. If you can, use a detergent that is gentle. Because knee pads make lots of direct contact with your skin, you don’t want to risk causing skin irritations caused by detergent.
The other option is to soak your knee pads in the sink or a plastic tub. In the water, you can scrub them down with a light laundry detergent. If you have some, add vinegar to the mixture. Vinegar is an incredible cleaning agent that also helps with odor.
Drying Knee Pads
Now that your knee pads have been soaked and washed, it’s time to dry them. We don’t recommend putting your knee pads in the dryer. A dryer will shrink the fabric, making it near impossible to put them on after drying. If you do end up drying your knee pads, you can try stretching them out to restore their elasticity.
Your best bet for drying knee pads is to hang them up so they can air dry. If you just washed your knee pads and you need them right now, consider using a blow dryer with cold air to speed up the drying process. The idea here is to cause the water to evaporate sooner.
Mizuno is a brand that makes volleyball products specifically. They make balls, nets, socks, and of course, knee pads. We found that most volleyball players that want Mizuno knee pads tend to look at the following three models. Mizuno is also the official sponsor for many US college volleyball teams, clubs, and individual players.
Most volleyball players that try Mizuno products like them so much that they end up buying their volleyball shorts to match.
Mizuno’s LR6 knee pads come in three colors: black, white, and blue. They’re made with their own VS-1 padding to add higher protection to areas that would see the most shock/impact. They’re designed to give players an incredibly comfortable range of motion.
These knee pads are known to run a little small, so you may want to consider sizing up when you buy your pair. Because they’re made to fit tight, players are happy that these knee pads don’t slip during play.
They have cushions that protect the side of the knee, making them great for players who do lots of sideways dives.
Mizuno’s Ventus knee pads are perfect for beginner volleyball players. If you’re looking for a set of knee pads that will get you through a season, then these are just right. They’re made to cover just enough of your knee to keep it protected while offering a comfortable spandex-like mesh in the rear of the knee.
They are available in three sizes: small, medium, and large. These knee pads are perfect for players with smaller stature or for youth. The biggest praise these knee pads get is that they are not bulky while still giving players the confidence to go in for a dive. They come in black or white.
Elite 9 SL2
The Elite 9 SL2 knee pads from Mizuno are in close competition with their own LR6 knee pads. They’re essentially the same set of knee pads but with a little more coverage above and below the knee. You’ll need to play a game or two to break them in to fit more comfortably.
Just like the LR6, they come a little smaller than you’d expect, so just be sure the measure before you buy and consider sizing up if you’re not sure. The SL2 is the most commonly used knee pad by Olympic athletes that are sponsored by Mizuno.
T10 Plus (and T10 Plus Youth)
The T10 Plus knee pads from Mizuno come in two types: Adult and Youth. They’re designed to be slimmer while offering as much or more protection as the other knee pads they make. The biggest selling feature of these knee pads is that they’re one-size-fits-all (or one-size-fits-most). For players who are frustrated with knee pad sizing, these offer the solution by making them work for anybody.
The only sizing you need to worry about is whether you get the T10 Plus for adults or the T10 Plus for youth. These knee pads are great for people who want to keep a big pile of knee pads that are always ready to use. Many players will buy about six pairs so they always have about a dozen knee pads ready to go.
Nike is a leader in sports gear and volleyball knee pads are no exception. Most Nike knee pads come in white or black. We found four models that all serve a specific purpose for volleyball players.
The Nike Streak knee pads are one of Nike’s most commonly sold knee pads for volleyball players. They get praise for being comfortable and snug, just as knee pads should be. Just like Mizuno’s knee pads, they come a little smaller than you’d expect, so sizing up is a good option.
Because of the material used to make them, don’t expect them to last multiple seasons. They’re designed to protect your knees at the cost of wearing out the material. You’ll definitely get at least one good season of use from these knee pads so long as you’re using them on the court and not for gardening.
These are also great for players who want to buy extra large knee pads, which isn’t easy to find.
Nike’s Essentials knee pads are some of the simplest knee pads you can get for playing volleyball. They offer basic knee support to make sure you don’t burn your skin on the court. They’re considering a low-profile knee pad that covers just enough to protect your patella.
These knee pads are often purchased for youth. Because they are fairly small and have a few good size options, they’re perfect for girls aged 9-14. They’re also known for being comfortable on the inside.
Another set of low-profile knee pads from Nike is the Vapor knee pads. They are considered second place to the Nike Streak knee pads and fall far below the Mizuno LR6. They’re less desired because of the way they’re padded, using a gel that wears easily. People who use these knee pads do find them to be comfortable but often complain about them after having tried better ones.
These knee pads are good for beginners who won’t be doing a lot of aggressive diving while playing volleyball.
Adidas has two models of knee pads that are perfect for volleyball players. They give Nike some stiff competition in the athletic gear department.
Adidas’ Elite knee pads are a direct competitor to Mizuno’s LR6 knee pads. They carry a similar design and offer protection for the same regions of the knee. These knee pads are known for having a great fit, so ordering the right size is almost guaranteed. Wear them for a few games to give them a chance to wear in to your personal knee size.
Volleyball players that order these knee pads are confident in ordering their next pair. They last a long time under regular play, and offer great protection for aggressive play. Because of the material they’re made of, you should avoid throwing them in the washer/dryer. See our washing tips above.
Adidas Performance knee pads come with special padding to offer more protection while playing volleyball. They’re bulkier than most knee pads, costing players some comfort in exchange for extra knee protection. These knee pads are great for anybody who dives a lot or plays the libero position.
Because of their low-profile and big padding, they don’t bunch up as other knee pads would. A feature that makes many volleyball players advocates for this set of knee pads. These knee pads are also great for youth and beginners.
Under Armour is one of the top brands of athletic gear. Recently, they’ve received praise for their high-quality volleyball knee pads. They come in white and blue.
You’ve probably seen these knee pads before. Under Armour’s Strive 2.0 is a popular knee pad used for volleyball. They’re designed to stay dry, fit well, and are machine washable. They offer great protection and are considered to be on the bulkier side.
These knee pads are great for beginner players who are starting to push their limits or liberos who will be diving a lot. Because these knee pads are meant to be abused, consider ordering extra pairs because you will wear them out from aggressive use.
Asics offers some of the best knee pads for beginner volleyball players. They have a great selection and are usually priced competitively.
Ace Low Profile
ASICS low profile knee pads for volleyball is one sits fits all and come in either black or white. They’re great for youth, beginners, or any volleyball player that may have skinny legs. They’re designed to have a bit of a looser fit, so you expect some bunching or sliding down during play, which is more for players who don’t like a tight-fitting knee pad.
Knee Pad FAQ
Why do volleyball players wear knee pads below their knees?
Volleyball players wear knee pads below their knees for protection. Volleyball is a sport that requires a lot of jumping and diving, which can put stress on the knees. Wearing knee pads can help to cushion the knees and prevent injuries. The padding helps to insulate the legs and keep the muscles warm, which can improve blood flow and prevent cramping.
Can You Wash Knee Pads?
Yes, you can wash knee pads. Knee pads can become pretty gross and smelly after enough use. It’s important to wash your knee pads from time to time, but how can you keep your knee pads clean? It’s advised that you don’t just throw them into the wash like you would any kind of clothing. You risk damaging them and other articles of clothing.
If you don’t ever wash your knee pads, you risk getting skin irritations that would lead to a knee pad rash. Getting a rash from your knee pads would mean you will be forced to wash them immediately or replace them entirely.
How Do You Put On And Wear Knee Pads?
The proper way to put on and wear knee pads is a combination between comfort and effective protection. So the first question we ask is how knee pads should fit. Knee pads are intended to have a snug fit. They shouldn’t move around too much once they’re on your knee.