Believe it or not, volleyball was started as an answer to basketball. A more leisurely option, that is. The game’s roots date back well over a century now, and it was a way to get people moving without putting them under as much intense pressure as basketball. Fast forward to today, though, and you can quickly see that that has changed drastically. No longer is the game meant to be a calm walk in the park on Sunday morning. It’s now a competitive, quick-moving sport at the highest levels. And even at the junior levels, you can get pretty busted up. That is, if you don’t have knee pads to help you. With all of that diving, knee pads have become an essential part of the attire for a volleyball player. Today, we’ll be helping you delve through the world of volleyball knee pads. Our buying guide will deliver you everything you need to know about them, then we will look at the most popular pairs on the market in our reviews. Lastly, we’ll answer any lingering questions. So, ready, set, spike!
Top Volleyball Knee Pads Comparison Chart
|Product||Material||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads||Durable Nylon, Spandex and EVA foam||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Kneepad||50% Polyester with 22% Rayon and 28% Elastic||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Asics Ace Low Profile Knee Pad||43% Cotton /33% Rubber/ 24% Nylon||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Mizuno T10 Plus Kneepad||68% Polyester with 20% Rayon and 12% Elastic||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Asics Unisex Slider V Kneepad||Polyester 45%/ Nylon 16%/ Rubber 39%||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Nike Essentials Volleyball Knee Pads||40% polyester/30% rubber/30% EVA||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Volleyball Knee Pads Buying Guide
A lot of people will think that a knee pad is not a vital part of the wardrobe for volleyball, but that simply is not the case, especially as it pertains to the youth game. As the game is growing into smaller and smaller towns, young players are beginning to play at earlier and earlier ages. This is, of course, a great thing for the growth and sustainability of the game. It’s also much better for the players as they head into middle school and high school. They are able to pick up on skills at an earlier age, making the games higher quality when they do reach those ages. Without the fundamentals, they’ll never reach high school, and they certainly won’t reach college. The reason that prevention is so important is because of those very same fundamentals. At a younger age, players aren’t going to be quite as good. They will be much more desperate in their measures to try and save a ball, resulting in them diving onto the floor. When they do have to make a dive, it’s not always going to be with the absolute best form and technique needed. This can cause a lot of injuries. While a knee pad will not protect you against muscle injuries, it can help keep you safe from those hard falls that can result in broken knee caps. Furthermore, keep in mind that junior players are much smaller than their older counterparts. As such, their range is much less than that of a bigger, older player, meaning they will be diving a lot more. This is not to say that you shouldn’t wear knee pads as an older player, but it’s a warning that it’s pretty important for a younger player to be equipped properly. The cost of a knee pad is not that much in the grand scheme of things, and if it says you even one short trip to the family doctor or after hours clinic, then it’s well worth the money spent.
What About Older Players?
As mentioned, older players are oftentimes in need of knee pads, too. It’s just dependent on who you are and what level of play you are at. At the highest levels, you don’t see a lot of men’s volleyball players wearing knee pads. This, though, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. These players are, quite frankly, massive human beings. They take up so much space that they rarely have to dive. On top of that, because they are all so big and strong, the chances of them diving to save a ball are minimal anyway. Their form is so good that they don’t need them in so many cases, and they enjoy that freeing feeling that not wearing them offer. If you are at that sort of level, then you might choose to not go with them. However, if you are a libero or primarily a back row player, it’s very much encouraged that you get them. If you’re up front as a hitter, you’re much less likely to be forced onto the floor. Once again, it’s all about you and your specific circumstances, but for the vast majority, you’re going to want to have at least a small sized pair of knee pads. Even if you just bust them out at practice, they can be valuable and save you from a ton of soreness.
Be Kind To Your Knees
Knee injuries are some of the very worst that you can get in all of sports, and in life in general. Knee injuries stick with you, and they tend to pile up. Once you’ve had one knee surgery, you tend to have another. A lot of people end up having surgery on both knees. Once again, knee pads won’t keep you safe from muscular injury, but they will keep you from breaking the knee cap and other sorts of bruising and the like. It’s really an important air of the body because of the hinge that it gives you, so if you want to walk later on in life, and do so well, it’s smart to go with knee pads.
The first thing to look for with knee pads is going to be the padding included. If you find a pair of knee pads that don’t have a lot of padding, then it’s just going to be a mere decoration to make you look like a volleyball player instead of actually doing anything. There are lot of different types out there that give adequate padding to the wearer. Some will be bulky and very thick, while some are going to be lighter and not as thick. If you are a smaller player and want to buzz around, then the lighter might be best. But by the same token, you’ll be more likely to hit the deck, so it’s worth considering a thicker pair. If you’re a hitter, you might find you need a minimal pair since you won’t be diving as much, in theory. However, if you’ve had trouble with your knees and/or you are a little heavier, then you’ll definitely want something thicker to help you just in case you do end up falling or diving.
Similarly to padding, length is going to be essential at protecting you from falls. If you are 6 foot tall and have a teeny tiny knee pad, then it’s most likely not going to cover all of the knee. Wearing something like that is foolish and just pointless. It’s like wearing a kid’s shinguard like you see so many pro soccer players doing. It’s just kind of reckless, and you’re only causing yourself potential harm in doing it. If you are buying online, look close at the measurements and what they recommend. If they won’t cover your whole knee, get away from them. In much the same vein, you’ll also want to make sure you don’t have a length that is much too long. If they are too long on you, let’s say you’re just 5 foot tall, then you’ll be weighed down a little and will find it harder to move. You might want something a little bigger than most, and that’s fine, but you don’t want to be slowed down or have anything too bulky, either.
One of the worst things in the world is when you buy something only to find out that it won’t move with you at all. When that happens, it feels like you are constricted. Some people deal better than others with this. A volleyball knee pad, at least a good one, needs to be able to bend with you. This isn’t to say that it should give way when you hit the ground, rather it means that you should be able to move with it. The way to make sure that you have flexibility built in is to take a look at the materials used to make the pad. If they are elastic AND they also hold in place well, then go for it. But if the materials (and you’ll have to check reviews and do some research here) are too stretchy and slide up and down, then you’ll want to avoid that pair just to be on the safe side. They won’t be doing you a whole lot of good if they are too stretchy. Just note that with some materials, they will stretch out over time. They might not be the same after a year or two. Also, you’ll want to be careful and make sure you’re only wearing them. If someone bigger wears them, even for just a single practice, it could stretch them out too thin for you.
We mentioned the measurements earlier, and this has to be stated again. Getting the size right is crucial, especially in regards to shopping online. No one wants to be bothered sending their stuff back and waiting on new ones to arrive or trying to get a refund. Sizing does not depend on how tall you are. This, instead, is about the size of your legs. If you have chicken legs like me, then small/medium might be best. If you have rather large legs, then large/extra large is worth a look. Again, it’s about your leg size. However, it can be a little tough and confusing. You have to judge it by your knees. Maybe you have big thighs and skinny calves. Go by your knee. Get a measuring tape if you are unsure, or go to the store to try them on. That never hurts. If that isn’t an option, there are some out there that are one size fits all, so you will not have to worry about it too much and can just plug and play, if you will.
Just like with your shoes, your knee pads need to allow you to breathe a little bit. With a knee pad that doesn’t allow you to, you could get very sweaty very quickly, especially when you are at practice or in a very tight, hard fought match. That’s why you need to be looking for knee pads that have breathable materials used. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. There can be tiny holes, or the materials can just be better at breathing out than others are. Some pads are going to have moisture wicking materials as well. If they have these, it will let that sweat out, meaning the chances of your stuff getting stinky and yucky go down drastically. Be careful, though, because sometimes you’ll see a pair that don’t do well and cause you to slide all over the place. This is to be avoided, for obvious reasons. Oh, and a reminder here: just because you play indoors doesn’t mean you are safe from humidity and getting warm. So prepare accordingly and go with something you’ll enjoy no matter the temperature.
Putting Them On
One other aspect of volleyball knee pads revolves around how easily you can put them on and get them off. If you find yourself having trouble putting them or getting them off, then you aren’t likely to be able to use them. Now, a fair amount of the problems with this might be attributed to the wrong size, fit, or padding, but sometimes you just find a pair that is tough to get on. So you need to find something that goes on fairly easily and then stays on. It is possible to find a pair of knee pads that go on easily but are too loose. If this is the case, it’s not good, either. So watch out for that, and try to avoid low quality pads because those tend to come up short in a lot of areas.
Price is going to always be a factor, whether we want it to be or not. The price of a volleyball knee pad is not all that high, but there are cases where they are higher than you might like. This is often because the padding will be bigger and more substantial, related to the brand, or they will have a new form of technology built in. You do not have to go with the most expensive option to be protected, but you also should not go with the cheapest ones. The cheap ones are very flimsy and they offer minimal protection. They might be super thick and rigid and just hard to deal with. There are a number of things cheaper ones brings, but they very rarely offer you the utmost level of support, comfort, and durability. You want something that lasts, and by paying just a little bit more, you can find that in spades. Once again, it’s worth reiterating. Paying a little bit extra is a good thing. You will be more protected and more comfortable. And, as said before, a knee pad is very much worth the money you invested, even if it keeps you out of the doctor or the clinic just once. No one wants to make that trip, whether the injury be serious or not so serious. Price isn’t a huge deal, but it will be factored into our reviews, because will always have a role to play in our minds.
Let’s Review The Top Six Volleyball Knee Pads of 2019!
Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads
Coming at a very low, reasonable price, these knee pads are going to go a step beyond most. These pads come in two sizes and have an ergonomic, lightweight design that gives you freedom and protection. While these knee pads do have quite a bit of thickness to them, which might not be wanted by some, they are quite protective for those that do find themselves needing it. These are extremely comfortable, with people wearing them for all kinds of other uses besides just volleyball. One thing is that the spongy foam does crush a little fast, but that is probably to be expected given the price after all. They also have a weaker point in the very center of them, so that is something to watch out for.
- Excellent price
- Thick padding
- Very comfortable
- Wears out a little quickly
- Very center is weaker than outsides
Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Kneepad
Mizuno is one of the companies you can really trust in volleyball, and they show why here with the LR6. These knee pads use polyester with spandex and radon to give you the flexibility that you need while on the court. Coming in three colors, these will take care of your knees and the ligaments at the same time by offering full coverage. They are cut so that the top is wider than the bottom, further increasing your range of motion and freedom of movement. These are not super big, long, or thick, so if you are looking for something that’s very un-restricting, then this is just the right pair for you. If you need more protection, it’s not among the very best but also not the worst, either. The tag is a little bit of an annoyance for some, but that can be cut if you need it to be, so no big worries there.
- Very freeing and light
- Good for front row players
- Not a ton of protection for youth
- Tag irritates
Asics Ace Low Profile Knee Pad
Asics is another fine company in the court sports genre, and they also bring a pair of pads to the table that are low profile in nature. Using cotton, rubber, and nylon, they emphasize rigidity a little bit more than the LR6. One thing they also bring to the table is a very good, low price that will keep you very happy. Like Mizuno’s previous offer, these taper toward the top and also have anti-microbial fabric that will come in handy at preventing that bacteria from causing you to smell all icky. Once again, this is not the utmost in protection out there, but it will get the job done for you in a big way if you don’t need a lot of protection and know what you are doing or won’t be diving all that often.
- Very good price
- Won’t get in the way
- Not going to smell
- Not a ton of protection like bigger ones offer
Mizuno T10 Plus Kneepad
If you love Mizuno but you want a little bit different type than the LR6, then the T10 Plus is a good option to gaze upon. This pair is a new, slim design that is built for performance over all. With that said, though, they have enhanced the foam to make up for what might look like a lack of padding. This is a one size fits all product, so that could bring up a problem for some people. One thing you will also notice is that these are not super long, either, and obviously don’t have a ton of support. These are really the most minimalist of options out there, at least with Mizuno. They won’t be great for constant impact, but if you are in need of protection every now and then at random intervals, then this is the best bet.
- Very slim look
- Extremely freeing
- Foam still there
- Not for constant divers and diggers
Asics Unisex Slider V Kneepad
Asics comes back onto the list with one of the most popular pairs in the world with these sliders. This is the fifth iteration of them, so they have been quite successful. Coming in at a manageable price, they are also made using polyester, nylon, and rubber together. These offer wider protection than some and are also very low profile. They are not much of a fashion statement, but then again, if you are about winning, then you won’t care all that much about looking great on the court. Unlike most of the others so far, this is a bulkier type of pair that will protect constant divers and youth players from getting hurt. These are quite thick, so they will do a job at protecting you. If you don’t want to be held up as much, then you’ll want to pass on them.
- Very thick
- Longer and wider protection
- Excellent for youth
- Too bulky for more veteran players
Nike Essentials Volleyball Knee Pads
Nike also brings a lower profile pair to the table, and as with most Nike things, they are really cool. Featuring a few colors that look awesome and then the classic black and white options, too, these pads help you stand out while not forcing you to be weighed down too much. With their dri-fit liner, you will be comfy, cool, and stay smelling good. These are minimal and are streamlined to look and feel good, using an ergonomic fit and a foam pad to give you just enough protection. With these, you will need to be a good player with excellent form that stays off the form most of the time to get the best use of them. They do cost a little bit more than some of the other pairs do, but that is to be expected given the Swoosh and the extra style that they bring.
- Awesome looks and style
- Dri-fit adds to the coolness
- Fits well and not bulky at all
- Not best for youth
- A little pricier than most this size
Honorable Mention: If you want to go above and beyond, this offering from McDavid might match what you want. This is a pad with compression sleeves, so the price is a little higher, but it could be just the combo you are looking for. Oh, and they come in a ton of colors.
Conclusion And Final Volleyball Knee Pads Recommendations
Volleyball is a rough and tough sport to play. Anyone that has ever played for long enough and at a semi competitive level will have figured that out pretty quickly. It takes a lot of talent, and sometimes guts, to do well in the games. A match can be won or lost by one dive, one dig, one spike. It can be just that close. With so much riding on the line, you’re body is going to take a beating. And your knees will come up injured if you don’t do right by them. You can take care of them with a good pair of knee pads. They will keep you healthy and ready to play, and with the right pair, they’ll leave you comfy and looking stylish right along with your teammates. It’s not a question of if you should, it’s a matter of if you’re going to take care of yourself. After today, you’ll be a lot more confident and a lot less confused, making you more able to make a good decision on what you need and why. Read on for any further questions you might have regarding knee pads in our FAQ’s. See you on the court!
FAQ’s About Volleyball Knee Pads
* How Do I Dive Properly?
There are plenty of videos and resources online to help you, but to put it succinctly here, you want to dive in a manner that doesn’t put a ton of pressure on your joints. You don’t want to just flat out dive head first or right onto your knees, even if you have knee pads on. Start behind the ball, and then dive into the ball and slide after you hit it. You don’t want to have your momentum stop abruptly as this can cause you to miss the ball entirely or for you to come up with a weak dig or pass.
* Is White or Black Best?
This is one of the most common questions asked online about volleyball knee pads. The answer, like a lot of things, is up to you. The easiest way to answer is to go with something that matches your team’s colors. If your team has white socks, then white knee pads is a good way to go. Vice versa with black socks. If you’re just looking individually, then it’s totally up to you. Just keep in mind that white is much, much harder to keep clean than black. You can throw them in the wash and bleach them, but doing so will eventually compromise the materials. They will come clean that way, after they get super dirty very quickly, but you will wear them out. It’s just a calculated risk, really. With black ones, you never are able to see, from a distance at least, that they are dirty, so it’s much easier to look a little more ‘professional.’ White is a nice color, but it’s definitely got its drawbacks.
* How Do I Clean My Knee Pads?
As with many things, washing your knee pads a little bit at a time and as needed is the best way forward. If you notice they are dirty, washing them right away is the best thing to do. It develops a good habit, which is never a bad thing. First, never leave them in your bag. Right after play, they are going to have sweat on them, so you will want to try and avoid the odors that come with that. You can do that by leaving them out for a while. Turning them inside out is a great way to ensure this awful smell doesn’t latch on as quickly. If and when you do decide to wash them in the washing machine, make sure to allow plenty of time to dry since you can’t dry them in the dryer. Doing so will erode the materials very fast, and that is something to avoid at all costs. Also, it will keep lint off of them, so even if you just want to do it once, refrain from that. If they aren’t to the point where they need a deep cleaning, a wash rag, water, and some elbow grease can do just the trick to wipe away those small marks that might have been left behind.