Nowadays manufacturers are offering a lot of various knee pads which are intended for different activities, for example, for sports and extreme sports, for dancing and acrobatics, for working and military purposes. In addition, all of these knee pads are being adjusted for more specific purposes, for example, nowadays every knee pad has to be not only protective, but also comfortable, flexible, lightweight, sleek, breathable, easy to use and wash, stylish, qualitative, affordable and so on. In one word, needs and wants of consumers are only increasing, therefore manufacturers constantly have to develop and innovate their products. These unsatisfiable needs and wants are resulted in many types of knee pads which are adjusted to almost everyone’s desires.
As mentioned before knee pads main function is knee protection against different knee injuries which usually are caused by blows, attrition, pressure and other outer impacts during physical activities. Considering the fact, that protection is not the only required feature of knee pads, manufacturers have to invent the way, how to combine protection with other necessary features. One of such attempts is usage of different materials which could provide the maximum of features, including protection, comfort, flexibility, likable and modern design, quality and affordability.
The main element of knee pad, as it can be surmised, is padding or, in other words, cushioning which is placed on the kneecap and which has the main role in prevention of knees injuries. Padding can be made of various materials, for example, polyurethane foam, polyethylene foam, ethyl vinyl acetate foam, nylon foam, neoprene foam, polyvinyl chloride foam, extruded polystyrene foam, rubber, plastic, gel, carbon fiber and other materials.
Knee pads differ from each other with closures. Some of them are sleeve type knee pads and therefore they do not have any closures, because they pull on over the knee just like socks or tights. Many of them have elastic or adjustable straps, therefore they can be adjustable to almost every knee, providing stability, comfort and constant protection. These straps have mostly Velcro or click closures at their ends. Some of them may have only wide Velcro closures on their sides which are closeable by wrapping them around the knee.
Another difference is knee pads cushioning type – some of them have shell or cap type padding which usually is made of plastic, rubber, gel, carbon fiber or other durable and high density material which can ensure constant protection. An inside of these shells usually is covered by some softer and more elastic material to provide a better conformation to the shape of the kneecap and thus comfort. Some knee pads have padding which is made of soft, but durable and protective material such as foam – PU foam, PE foam, EVA foam, PVC foam, XPS foam, nylon foam and neoprene foam. Many knee pads have hexpad padding which is made of dozens of separate hexagon type pads, therefore they are providing better conformation to the shape of the knee and thus comfort and flexibility. These hexagon type pads usually are made of some foam which is able to absorb the shock of different blows. Hexagon type pads often are called as honeycomb type pads because of their similarity. Some of knee pads have bubble type cushioning which also is made of some foam to protect the knee against different impacts.
It should be mentioned that there are available not only traditional knee pads which usually are fixed on knees, but also other types of knee pads which are not so widespread. For example, you can have knee pad which can be placed on the floor or ground just like mat. These knee pads are called kneeling pads and they are widely used in works such as carpeting, concreting, tiling, flooring, gardening and construction. Mat type knee pads are made of some durable and thick foam to ensure protection and comfort. If you have to work on your knees and you have to move frequently, you should obtain rolling knee pads which look like a skate board with cavities for knees, so you can move without getting up. Another type of knee pads for working is inserts which have to be placed in working trousers on the area of knees. A lot of working trousers or overalls have special pocket type places which are intended for these inserts. These knees inserts usually are made of soft and durable foam, plastic, rubber or other similar material.
We can categorize knee pads by their usage in different niches, for example, sports knee pads, dance knee pads, work knee pads, military knee pads and others. These knee pads differ from each other with functionality and level of protection. For example, knee pads for sports and dancing are more comfortable and flexible, but knee pads for working and military are thicker, denser and more durable. Manufacturers are producing them by taking into consideration of needs and wants in each niche.
Sports knee pads differ from each other with type of padding – it is clear, that basketball players do not need so thick and durable padding as volleyball players need, because volleyball has specifics which requires players to fall on the ground while diving and digging, so knees frequently get direct blows. Basketball players need longer knee pads which are protecting shins too, because for basketball players shins are the most impacted part of the body. In extreme sports such as motocross, BMX, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding knee pads must be as durable as possible, because extreme sports include activities of high level danger which are connected with great speed, height and physical exertion. Extreme sports usually are practiced in natural environment which is not adapted for safety, so there is a higher risk of different injuries.
Knee pads for dancing, especially for hip-hop and breakdance which include elements of acrobatics, have durable, but at the same time flexible cushioning which provides knee protection and improves performance. If it is not a dancing practice, but a dance performance, dance knee pads usually are matched with dancing costume, so that they are invisible. For example, flesh-colored tights are matched with beige color knee pads.
Working knee pads may not be so flexible, but they have to be extremely durable and comfortable, because in such works as carpeting, concreting, tiling, flooring, gardening and construction worker has to spend a lot of time on its knees, therefore the padding has to be as comfortable as possible, thereby reducing the pressure on knees and thus knee pain and fatigue. Working knee pads mostly are used for preventing of occupational knee injuries. There is a lot of working knee pads, for example, hard-cap, curved soft cap, flat-cap knee pads, kneeling pads, rolling knee pads, knee inserts, and all of them are meant for certain and specific purposes.
Military knee pads or, in other words, tactical knee pads usually are the part of the uniform among military and they are made of extremely durable and dense bulletproof material, making them bullet-proof and thus safe in almost every situation. Of course, they are meant not only for safety against bullets or other dangerous impacts, but also for knee protection against bruises or abrasions caused by crawl or squat during warfare or other similar conflicts.