Roller skating is by far one of the most enjoyable and exciting sports you can take part in, but it is not without its risks: any skater will tell you that you have to put up with your fair share of injuries.
Whilst a scrape or two won’t do you any major harm, there are bigger injuries that you have to look out for, such as fractures and even breakages. To avoid putting yourself in harm’s way like this, the best thing you can do is invest in some good roller skating protective gear.
Protective gear includes roller skate pads such as knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards, and can be the difference between a minor fall and a trip to the hospital.
If you’re interested in protection against injury but need help looking then you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for our definitive guide to the best roller skate pads of 2023 and where you can get them!
The different types of roller skating pads
If you’re into skating, you’ll know that falling comes with the territory. That’s why it is so important that you have good-quality knee pads to protect yourself when those falls occur.
There are many different kinds of knee pads available on the market so you should be able to buy ones that work for you. If you take part in mostly recreational roller skating, then a lightweight knee pad should suffice.
However, in more difficult terrains or skateparks where an injury is more likely, a heavy-duty knee pad is a better option.
Without knee pads, you run the risk of seriously injuring yourself, which could mean your skating days are put on hold. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is by equipping yourself with the best protective gear around.
The pain that can come from chipping your elbow or landing on it from a fall can be excruciating! Save yourself the agony and invest in a pair of elbow pads, which are sure to keep you safe no matter where you’re skating.
They may not always seem necessary, but if you know you’re prone to landing on your elbows when you fall over, then you need them.
We especially recommend elbow pads for beginners or pro-skaters who are branching out and trying to learn new tricks.
Not everybody likes to wear wrist guards, but if you want maximum protection against injuries then it is a good idea to get yourself a pair.
The risks associated with falling and landing on your hands or wrists are serious and can cause you real pain. While wrist guards may take some getting used to, they can save you a lot of hassle.
If you are new to roller-skating or if it’s your first time in a skate park, try out some single or double-splint guards and find the ones which are comfiest. Trust us, they’re well worth it.
The Best Knee Pads
First up are the sleeve-type G-Form Pro X2 knee pads, which use SmartFlex technology to ensure the perfect fit for your knees.
These knee pads are some of the most comfortable on the market, so if that’s a priority then look no further. They have a compression sleeve with silicone grippers to keep the pad in place and provide protection no matter what, and a 2-panel design to give them that second-skin, low-profile fit. Unlike many other knee pads, you will barely even notice these ones.
What’s more, the material used is a lightweight UPF 50+ fabric, which is moisture-wicking, keeping you dry and comfortable. Having knee pads that are waterproof comes in handy for the keen skater who’s out there rain or shine, and it also reduces perspiration which is a plus!
Thanks to the SmartFlex panels on these knee pads, they are able to remain highly flexible until you fall, in which case they harden on impact and protect you against injury.
For heavy-duty and durable knee pads, look no further than the Triple Eight KP 22 series. These pads use EVA memory foam for maximum padding protection for your knees, which also ensures a high level of comfort, much needed when spending your days roller-skating!
The design of the Triple Eight KP 22 knee pads ensures that they will last for a long time, with a hard, flat cap attached by reinforced rivets and secure fastenings with adjustable hook and loop closures and reinforced webbed elastic straps.
Whilst these knee pads may feel slightly heavier than others on the body, they still provide a secure fit and, once you are used to them, you will hardly notice them. They are a simple and ergonomic pair of pads but are some of the best when it comes to doing their job: protecting you from harm.
The SKATEWIZ Protect-1 knee pads are the perfect option for skaters just starting out in roller derby who needs a full pack of protective gear. These knee pads are available to buy in both child and adult sizes and also come in a variety of colors.
Coming with knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards, you could not be any more prepared with this set. The knee pads come with hook and loop elastic straps to ensure a secure fit and use EVAC foam which is very thick and can protect against all kinds of skating-related injuries.
SKATEWIZ products are known for being long-lasting and durable, and the knee pads are no exception. All materials used in the production of their pads are high-quality, such as the high-impact hard protective caps.
Another option available in both child and adult sizes is the JBM knee pads, one of the most highly-rated items on the market.
They are made with premium quality EVA padded foam material with tough plastic plates, so they keep you comfy and secure while protecting you against injuries. Additionally, these pads come with multiple adjustable elastic straps so that they can fit virtually any size without causing discomfort.
What makes the JBM knee pads some of the best is that they are suitable for a wide variety of sports. So, if you dabble in skateboarding or BMXing as well as roller-skating, we recommend getting your hands (and knees!) on these.
With sturdy construction and a surprisingly affordable price tag, there is not much you can fault about the JBM knee pads.
The Best Elbow Pads
Coming from one of the most reputable brands on the protective gear market, the Triple Eight EP 55 elbow pads are without a doubt some of the best that money can buy.
These pads are made from a blend of nylon and polyester, making them durable and comfortable. They also use heavy-duty EVA memory foam to ensure maximum cushioning in the event of an accident.
These elbow pads are suitable for any roller-skater, from a beginner to a professional competing in a roller derby! They come with all the features that a skater could need, including a high-density and impact-resistant cap, secured in place with reinforced rivets.
The Triple Eight EP 55 pads are guaranteed to last you a lifetime of roller-skating, owing to the quality of materials used and flat cap design.
As well as all this, they are some of the comfiest elbow pads that you’ll find, thanks to their Lycra sleeve and webbed adjustable straps which fit virtually any elbow!
The G-Form Pro X2 series elbow pads boast an incredible design and materials of premium quality. No matter the level you are roller-skating at, you could benefit from the protection these pads bring.
They are a different fit from most conventional elbow pads, but don’t let this put you off. Their 2-panel design and compression sleeve with silicone grippers make for secure comfort and grip, so you never have to worry about the pads slipping around.
G-Form Pro X2 elbow pads utilize SmartFlex technology, which means that upon impact, the pads get hard and prevent you from becoming injured.
This works by the molecules in the foam padding binding together when a fall occurs, causing them to stiffen. Before or after a fall, they return to their original state of being soft and malleable.
These elbow pads are extremely popular because of the level of comfort they provide. Not only do you stay dry and sweat-free thanks to the UPF 50+ fabric that they are made from, but they are so lightweight that you won’t even be able to feel them when they’re on!
Last but not least are the Dark Lightning elbow pads, which come in both adult and child sizes and are available as part of a set alongside knee pads and wrist guards.
Because they are thicker and wider than most other pads on the market, these pads are much less inconspicuous. However, they are sure to provide protection against even the gnarliest of falls.
The adjustable design of the Dark Lightning elbow pads makes them not only secure but flexible, making for maximum comfort. They also come with an elastic cuff, so there is no chance that they will slide up and down your elbows.
The materials used for this option go to show just how quality the pads really are. Made with a soft gel core, EVA foam padding, and breathable polyester sleeves, every step is accounted for and comfort awaits. This pad protects against wet weather and sweating, give a second-skin fit, and promote healthy blood circulation.
If aesthetics are important to you, then the Dark Lightning pads are ideal because they come in a variety of colors, ranging from the minimal to the eye-catching. Although appearance won’t prevent you from falling over, there’s no harm in looking good anyway, right?
The Best Wrist Guards
When it comes to the best protection equipment for your wrists, you cannot go wrong with the ELOS wrist guards with palm protection pads.
These guards have been designed with a shock-resistant ABS splint that completely covers your wrist in order to absorb the impact of any falls. Even though these wrist guards are very sturdy, hard and heavy-duty, this does not detract from their comfiness.
No matter the size of your hands or wrists, these will fit perfectly thanks to their 3 adjustable straps and breathable oxford fabric. Some people are put off wearing wrist guards because of the worry that they will become uncomfortable, but not with the ELOS guards!
Because of the material they are made from, your skin is able to breathe and will not get sweaty even with the wrist guards on. If you want to loosen or tighten them a little for your comfort, all you have to do is adjust the velcro straps.
What’s more, this product has a fairly low-profile design, which is a big selling point for many.
A trusted and reputable brand, you cannot go wrong with Triple Eight protective gear. Their wrist guards are incredibly popular amongst skaters and are suitable for use at the roller derby or the skatepark.
They’re easy and quick to get on and off and provide a tight yet comfortable fit thanks to the sturdy and stretchy nylon mesh material used. You can either purchase these guards with a strap closure or with a slide-on design, both of which are adjustable and secure.
The Triple Eight Wristsaver wrist guards feature two splints rather than one, on both the front and back for maximum support. Both splints are high-density and impact-resistant, meaning no matter how hard you go down, your wrists and palms are protected.
For even more protection, these guards have shock-absorbent EVA form in between the splints and your wrists to cushion any blows you might take whilst skating.
Suitable for a variety of sports from skateboarding to skiing, the CTHOPER impact wrist guards offer protection and comfort against even extreme injuries.
They make use of hard, durable and tough materials in order to provide the best palm pending and protection against pain possible. If you do fall whilst wearing the CTHOPER guards, then you don’t have to worry at all about pain: they have been designed specifically with relief in mind.
One of the best things about these wrist guards is that they come in a wide range of sizes, ranging from children to adults. They also have adjustable velcro straps and are fairly compact, meaning you still have a full range of movement in your fingers.
These wrist guards come with two splints, one on the palm and one on the back of the hand. Both are very strong and impact-resistant, even against the toughest of accidents. Despite the heavy-duty nature of the CTHOPER guards, they are still comfortable and secure.
The materials used include a breathable nylon mesh which makes them lightweight so you won’t feel burdened whilst skating.
Roller Skating Injuries
Roller skating injuries are no joke. According to research, our wrists, elbow, and knees are all vulnerable to becoming collateral damage when we skate.
Wearing protective gear such as knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards are essential if you want to avoid cuts, bruises, and even serious injuries like fractures and dislocations.
No matter how good you are, falls are inevitable, and, seeing as it is impossible to prevent them from happening, the next best thing to do is prevent them from causing you too much harm.
Typically, beginner skaters are more likely to stumble and hurt themselves, but experienced derby skaters tend to hurt themselves more seriously by trying to practice new tricks. This means that no-one is safe from injury, and no one is too skilled to not wear pads and guards.
Want to learn more about roller skating injuries and how to prevent them? Check out the Roller Skate Dad podcast! Episode 5 is all about injuries and protective gear.
There is no point in buying a wrist, elbow, or knee pad if it is not going to provide protection against injuries. Ensuring that the pads you choose will be protective means finding ones that are made of high-quality materials.
The best elbow and knee pads and wrist guards will be padded enough that you don’t feel a hard knock after falling over – if possible, it should feel like falling onto a pillowy bed! Without proper cushioning, your pads will be no help against hard knocks.
Some suitable fabrics that you can look out for in pads include foam, carbon fiber, and polyvinyl.
When it comes to the other materials used, they must be durable, sturdy, and provide comfort. This means they should be breathable, fit properly, water-resistant, and lightweight. The fabrics that come out on top in terms of these requirements are nylon mesh and Oxford fabric.
Of course, durability is a prerequisite for any protective gear, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards included.
If the pads you buy are not durable, the likelihood is that they may need replacing often and will not protect you against hard falls from your skates.
To make sure that your pads can withstand wear and tear, buy some which are made of hard materials and which have foam cushioning.
Another step to ensure durability is if your chosen wrist guards and elbow and knee pads have hard caps on them. This way, if you land directly on the pad no damage will be done to the fabric and you won’t feel any impact.
Durability doesn’t always have to mean a high price, either. It is more than possible to stick to a budget and still get pads that will stand the test of time.
Everyone will have their own design preferences when it comes to skating pads, but there are a few features you should look out for before you buy.
Knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards should all be comfortable, first and foremost. If not, the chances are that you’ll decide to not even bother wearing them, and this could have bad consequences for your knees, elbows, and wrists!
If you feel like you cannot move freely whilst wearing your pads, this is a telltale sign that they’re not the right fit for you.
Pads that advertise themselves as ergonomic are usually a failsafe choice as they have been designed with optimum performance in mind.
Additionally, pads that are lightweight, breathable, easy to clean and look after, and which offer high-levels of protection are all things you should want when shopping.
Do you need knee pads for roller skating?
Technically there are no requirements for skaters to wear knee pads whilst roller skating, but we highly recommend that you do so and get yourself some good quality protection.
If you do not have any items that can be used as prevention against injury, you put yourself at risk of a lot of pain and even not being able to skate anymore.
Knee pads are such a simple means of protecting not only your knees, but the rest of your body, from harm, and don’t have to be clunky or uncomfortable.
With our guide, you can find knee pads in the perfect size, which feel like a second skin, and which will soften any blow you take whilst on your skates!
Should you wear pads when skating?
The short answer is yes. You should wear knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards when skating. Often you can buy all three in a pack, or alternatively, search for them separately to suit your preferences.
Doing so will provide you with protection in the event of an injury or accident, and will help you to feel free and comfortable no matter what trick you’re practicing.
These days there are so many different types of pads that range in terms of size, series, design, and features, so there is no excuse for not being prepared and padded up before heading out.
What are the best roller skating pads?
The best pads for roller-skating depend on personal preference. However, all of the best elbow and knee pads and wrist guards should have some kind of foam cushioning, protect against hard falls, fit like a glove, and be durable against adverse conditions.
Out top tips before you buy are to look for ergonomic designs, sturdy yet breathable fabrics, and pads that are suitable even for use in extreme sports, as these will be guaranteed to give protection against roller-skating accidents.
What size skate pads do I need?
The size pads that you require will depend on a few things. Firstly, and most obviously, the size of your knees, elbows, and wrists. Secondly, how you want the pads to fit.
Some prefer a looser fit so that they have maximum freedom of movement, whilst others like their pads to fit tight against the skin. Having said that, the best pads should feel natural on your body and not be too tight or too loose.
We recommend trying out a few elbow and knee pads and wrist guards in order to find the ones that suit you the best.
Want to Learn Even More About Skating?
Want more reviews on roller skates? Check out my Best Roller Skates page for a list of all of the quads I recommend. I also have pages for roller skates for men, roller skates for women and roller skates for kids where I recommend the best skates on the market today for each group. Or, check out my roller skates for beginners if you are completely new to roller skating.
Or, if rollerblades or inline skates are more your style, then check out my rollerblades for men, rollerblades for women or rollerblades for kids pages. Or, if you are completely new, check out my rollerblades for beginners page.