Looking to protect those precious knees? 😛
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll review the 7 best volleyball knee pads on the market right now.
We’ll also discuss some key things to consider when buying, helping you pick the perfect protective equipment for your specific needs.
Best Volleyball Knee Pads
Let’s begin our reviews!
We’ve assessed each set of knee pads based on their protective capabilities, comfort, and value for money.
1. Volleycountry Volleyball Knee Pads
Looking for something soft and well-padded but not too bulky? Volleycountry’s knee pads could be just what you need.
Basically, this product is designed with comfort in mind. The inner and outer material is incredibly soft to the touch, and these knee pads are also very well-ventilated. As a result, you can almost forget you’re wearing them, which is exactly what you want – nothing’s worse than being distracted during a crucial point.
Although the outer material is soft and relatively flexible, these knee pads also offer excellent protection. The actual padded area is quite large, meaning it covers the entirety of your kneecap (medial and lateral areas included). It has a sort of gel feel to it – it’s actually tougher than regular foam – there’s even a little bamboo for extra durability.
The thing to note about these knee pads is they’re 10/11″ long, depending on what size you get. Despite this, they’re not that bulky – it’s down to you how much of a protective area you think you need.
Volleycountry’s knee pads are a tiny bit more expensive than most of the other options out there. However, considering what you get, they’re definitely worth the price. Not only are they super durable and ultra-comfortable, they also come with a 90-day money-back guarantee.
- Very comfortable – breathable.
- Reasonable price.
- 90-day money-back guarantee.
- Excellent all-around protection.
- Slightly long (10/11″) – not necessarily a bad thing though.
Overall value rating
2. Nike Essentials Volleyball Knee Pads
For some people, 10-11″ knee pads are simply too long. If you need to be as agile as possible on the court, you might find that these longer options restrict your range of movement somewhat.
Nike’s “Essentials” knee pads are much lower-profile than the Volleycountry product we just looked at. Coming in at 6.7″ from top to bottom, they’re short enough to avoid distracting you, while still covering the entire front of the knee.
In fact, the overall protection offered by these knee-pads is second-to-none. The actual padded area is relatively thick, and is made of high-density protective foam. As a result, it won’t degrade easily – this is a very durable knee pad.
Nike have also included their patented “Dri-Fit” technology on the inner material. Not only is it soft and comfortable, it helps to wick away sweat, ensuring your knee doesn’t get too hot in-game.
Although the protective area is quite tough, the actual elasticated material can rip if you’re unlucky. However, considering what they cost, Nike Essentials are still a great deal.
- Low-profile, comfortable design.
- Tough padded area.
- Great price.
- Excellent sweat-wicking capabilities.
- Outer material isn’t incredibly durable.
Overall value rating
3. Mizuno LRG Volleyball Knee Pads
Another even more low-profile option (at 6″ long) is the Mizuno LRG.
Basically, this is a slightly tougher version of the Nike Essentials we just looked at. Because of this, they cost a fair amount, despite being relatively short.
In return for the extra cost, you get Mizuno’s specialized VS-1 padding, which covers the entire knee area. However, these knee pads can still feel a little like they’re lacking in protection, in large part because they’re so short.
If you’re a beginner, we’d recommend staying away from this option, as it’s important to avoid developing a fear of diving when you’re brand new to the sport.
For pros though, this is a fantastic pick. The LRG offers excellent freedom of movement, and is very agile due to its length. It’s also incredibly lightweight, but also very durable – the padding is particularly tough.
- Extremely low-profile – agile.
- Great durability.
- Protects the entire knee.
- Soft, ergonomic design.
- Slightly expensive.
- Not suitable for most beginners.
Overall value rating
4. ASICS Slider V Volleyball Knee Pads
We’ve looked at knee pads with the protective part made of foam, and even a set with gel-based padding.
Unlike most other knee pads out there, the ASICS Slider V uses a pretty firm rubber material rather than softer gels or foam. As a result, the overall protection is excellent – it does a good job against particularly violent impacts.
What’s more, since it’s pretty long (9.5″), much more than just your kneecap is protected by these pads – the coverage extends to the top of your shin as well.
Despite providing such an incredible level of protection, the Slider V still offers excellent agility, and isn’t too heavy. Although it feels a tiny bit bulkier than most of the other options we’ve looked at, this is a price worth paying for the confidence they provide when diving.
Plus, since they’re made of rubber (with a synthetic poly/nylon outer material), these knee pads are very durable, and come clean fairly easily.
- Awesome overall protection.
- Tough & durable.
- Synthetics are easy to clean.
- Great for developing diving confidence.
- Can feel a little bulky due to its size.
Overall value rating
5. Mikasa Volleyball Knee Pads
Most of the options we’ve looked at so far come with pretty thick knee padding. This is what you want, right?
For most players, yes it is. But some people simply prefer to have something a little thinner, because these options tend to be lighter, improving their overall agility on the court.
Mikasa’s volleyball knee pad is unique in that the padded area isn’t super-thick, despite the fact that it covers the entire knee area. While this can offer improved agility, it’s not exactly ideal for beginners who need the best possible protection.
Apart from that, these are super-durable knee pads, and the price is quite reasonable. They’re also very comfortable – Mikasa have used a special type of material to keep your legs cool and eliminate odors.
Overall, if you’re looking for tough, low-profile knee pads which still offer good levels of protection, these are definitely worth checking out.
- Probably the most agile knee pads on the market.
- Lightweight, comfortable design.
- Good price.
- Doesn’t offer the best possible protection.
Overall value rating
6. ASICS Low Profile Volleyball Knee Pads
ASICS also make a low-profile version of their rubberized Slider V product. If you like the idea of having tough rubber protection, but would prefer 6″ long knee pads, these could be just what you need.
Apart from thick (but not too thick) dual-layer cushioning, you also get anti-microbial fabric with these knee pads. This helps to prevent bacterial buildup, reducing the likelihood that they’ll begin to smell really badly.
This material is also incredibly easy to clean – you can throw these knee pads in the wash if you like on a gentle setting. However, it’s best to let them air dry if possible.
The main issue with these knee pads is that they only come in one size. Since they’re not adjustable, this poses a problem. For people with larger-than-average legs, you might find these knee pads a little tight, since they’re designed for your average volleyball player (typically high-school/college-level athletes). However, people with average/thinner legs should be OK.
Considering the amount of protection they offer, the price is very reasonable. ASICS have done a great job – this is a solid all-around low-profile knee pad.
- Low-profile design.
- Anti-odor, anti-microbial fabric.
- Very durable.
- Easy to wash.
- One size doesn’t necessarily fit all.
Overall value rating
7. Aodatu Volleyball Knee Pads
Looking for flexibility without sacrificing protection?
These knee pads are different from most other options on the market in that they include quite a large amount of spandex in the material which actually wraps around your leg. This means two things: they hug your skin nicely, and they respond well to your body movements.
In effect, Aodatu’s knee pads offer you the full range of movement you need to turn, dive, and jump – distraction-free. At the same time, the level of protection is excellent. They come with a thick layer of a sort of sponge material, which does a great job absorbing impacts.
The main issue with this product is it can be a little difficult to clean – Aodatu advises against putting them in the wash. They also have a similar problem to the ASICS Low Profile option we just looked at – there’s only one size, and it’s pretty tight.
On the plus side though, these knee pads are very reasonably priced.
- Incredibly flexible – offers a good range of movement.
- Great price.
- Good protective capabilities.
- Comfortable – no rubbing against your skin.
- Only one size.
- Doesn’t come clean easily – must be washed by hand.
Overall value rating
What You Need To Know When Buying
Now we’ll explain some things you really need to know before buying a brand new pair of volleyball knee pads.
Different volleyball knee pads offer different levels of padding. But how much protection do you actually need?
For the most part, it’s down to personal preference. Some players simply prefer lower-profile knee pads.
However, it’s not quite that straightforward. If you play in the back half of the court (like as a libero/setter) then you’ll be doing less diving than those in the attacking half. Plus, you need a little bit of extra agility as a defensive specialist. This is why these players normally wear shorter (6-7″) knee pads with thinner padding.
Another thing to consider is your skill level. If you’re a beginner, the last thing you want is to develop a fear of diving. If you’re hesitant to dive, this can really hinder your performance. so it’s good to make diving a little easier with thicker knee pads as a new player.
What areas actually need protecting?
You’ll see manufacturers claiming that their knee pads protect the following three parts of your knee:
- The patella, which is your kneecap. Every single knee pad out there should protect your patella at a bare minimum.
- The lateral section. This basically means the outer part of your knee.
- The medial section. This is another locational term (like lateral) – but it refers to the inner part of your knee.
Ideally, you need all three of these areas to be protected. It’s entirely possible that you could land on the inside/outside edge of your knee – hitting the medial area can be particularly painful.
Knee pad length
Generally, volleyball knee pads are made to cover around 6-10″ of your knee. Like when choosing the right thickness, getting the right length is down to personal preference.
However, you should also consider how long your legs are. It’s a good idea to actually spool out 6″ of measuring tape and line it up next to your knee. Would a knee pad this long offer enough protection, or would you be better off with something longer?
Getting the right size
Some volleyball knee pads are “one size fits all” or “one size fits most”. Unless you’re confident you’ve got bang-average size legs, it’s probably best to avoid these sorts of products. It’s no good having something too tight (which can get really uncomfortable) or too loose (as they’ll fall down your legs in-game).
The majority of good volleyball knee pads come in regular clothing sizing (extra small, small, medium, large etc) and you can use the manufacturer’s size chart to figure out what you need.
Don’t just rely on the actual listing though, as some knee pads run small. Have a close look at what prior purchasers have to say about how the knee pads fit.
What else do I need to look for?
Apart from finding the right size and getting the thickness that suits you, here are some other things to look for in a volleyball knee pad:
- Good ventilation. Nothing’s worse than a knee pad that gets extremely hot.
- A soft inner lining. Remember, this is what’s going to be in contact with your skin for hours at a time.
- Anti-slip technology. When you do get sweaty, it pays to have something that won’t slide around a ton. You also need to ensure you get something that’s elasticated enough to stay in place during intense games – spandex can help with this.
Washing your knee pads
Your knee pads can begin to smell quite badly after just a single game of volleyball.
Fortunately, washing them is fairly easy. Most models can go through a regular washing cycle without discoloration or the foam losing its padding.
You can also soak them overnight in hot, soapy water if you like. This can be useful if you’ve got a more delicate set.
However, you want to hang up your knee pads to dry. Putting them in the dryer can split the seams and will also reduce the elasticity of your knee pads, resulting in them gradually falling down your knee as you play.
What’s the difference between different brands?
There are basically three types of brands trying to sell volleyball knee pads online:
- The old guard – brands who’ve been around forever, like Nike and Adidas.
- Medium-sized companies who’ve been around the volleyball scene for a while, like Mizuno.
- Lesser-known brands like Volleycountry.
You’ve got to assess each set of knee pads on its merits. Deciding to stick to a certain brand or type of brand isn’t necessarily the best idea. Sometimes, it’s actually the newer players who innovate and come up with awesome ideas to make the best volleyball knee pads on the market.
Am I buying a pair?
Although they might not mention it in the description (or show it in the picture), 99% of volleyball knee pads are sold as pairs. So don’t buy more than one, unless you’re ordering gear for your entire team!
Remember, your knees are actually pretty delicate, and hardwood floors are very unforgiving. If in doubt, get something a little thicker than what you think you need.
Still unsure what to buy? Leave a comment using the box below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours!
About the author
Tom is an accomplished writer, with years of experience producing buyer’s guides and tutorials for athletes online.
And it goes without saying – he’s sports-mad.