How to Choose Longboard Knee Pads and Elbow Pads
Not every longboarder is going to need elbow or knee pads for longboarding. Whether you do depends on a number of factors:
- Are you hitting speeds upwards of 20 mph?
- Do you do any free-styling or downhills?
- Do you fall a lot?
- Does road rash bother you?
#1: How Much Longboard Knee and Elbow Protection Do You Need?
Knee/Elbow Cap Material: Hard Shell VS. Soft Shell
Knee/Elbow Thickness and Cap Size: More Padding VS. Less Padding
- Hard shelled caps are usually made of a tough, ABS plastic. This shell can be smooth and rounded or be ergonomically molded.
- Hard shelled caps are the most popular choice for longboard knee and elbow pads because they are thick and robust, meaning they can take a lot of impact and abrasion - impact and abrasion that you won’t have to.
- However, because of their bulk, they tend to offer a little less range of motion. (In our opinion, their overall benefit far outweighs this limitation.)
- And because of their hard shells, they cannot readily be worn under clothing unless you wear baggy clothes.
- Soft shell knee and elbow "caps" are usually made of a soft, dense foam, Kevlar, d3o, VPD or another flexible material that is meant to cushion the force of impact.
- Soft shell pads are usually lighter in weight, lower profile and therefore offer a bit more range of motion. They can also be used more easily for snowboarding, BMX, MTB and other action sports.
- However, they do not offer as much protection as their hard shell counterparts.
- Soft-shell pads are primarily designed to slide on under pants or sleeves, which is great if you'd like to wear your protective gear undercover.
Longboard Knee and Elbow Pad Thickness.
Longboard Knee and Elbow Pad Thickness. Longboarding knee and longboard elbow pads have soft foam padding on the interior of the sleeve and behind the hard plastic shells to further soften the force of impact. Longboard pads with thicker padding offer more protection, however, that thicker padding also means some additional bulk and weight.
Longboarding Knee and Elbow Pad Cap Size and Shape. Knee and elbow pads are tailored for different uses and preferences, so both the caps and the padding behind them extend to different widths and lengths, providing more or less coverage below and to the sides of your knee and elbow. More padding adds additional protection in these areas but adds to the overall bulk and weight.
Need Extra Padding under Your Longboard Knee Pads? Try an extra layer of soft protection under your knee pads with knee gaskets. Knee gaskets are a slim, tubular under layer with a horseshoe or donut shaped knee pad that will further protect your joints beneath your hard or soft shell pads. Find them in the Skateboard / Longboard Knee Pads and the Skateboard / Longboard Elbow Pads sections.
#2: Do You Care About Having to Remove Your Shoes or Gloves to Get Your Longboard Knee and Elbow Pads On and Off?
An important convenience feature is the ability to easily put on or remove the longboard knee or elbow pads. There are two basic designs, sleeve style pads that slip on and off or butterfly style pads that are secured to your leg/arm with adjustable straps.
Slip On Longboard Knee and Elbow Pads.
- The slip-on design is typically found in soft-shell guards, less expensive guards, elbow and knee gaskets and youth-sized pads
- Slip-on knee and elbow pads are tubular in design
- You slide them up your leg to your kneecap or up your arm to your elbow
- Some slip-on pads have additional, exterior, adjustable straps that you then cinch tight to better hold the pads in place
Butterfly Closure Knee and Elbow Pads.
- The butterfly closure design is most often found in the robust knee and elbow pads that include hard-shell protection and more expensive guards
- Butterfly pads are designed as wrap-around protection. This means you don’t have to take off your shoes or push up your sleeve to get them on>
- The term ‘butterfly’ refers to the method of cinching – two pairs of wing flaps wrap around the leg/arm above and below the knee/elbow, each pair held firm by a Velcro or Nylon strap
#3: Do You Need Integrated Shin or Forearm Protection in your Longboard Knee or Elbow Guards?
We offer several Knee/Shin and Elbow/Forearm guards that integrate a knee or elbow pad with a shin or forearm guard. If you are going to be riding rails or have an existing injury and are looking for extra protection for your limbs, these pads are worth checking out!
Integrated Elbow / Forearm and Knee / Shin guards feature:
- Seamless protection for your joint (elbow or knee) and limb (forearm or shin)
- Multiple sets of adjustable straps to keep the guard in place
- A flexible material between the joint and limb pad hinges to allow for the natural bend of your arm or leg to enhance range of motion
- Integrated guards are available in the hard shell and soft shell style