Knee pads are one of the best way to protect your knees not only from injury that can occur if you do a lot of activities such as basketball, football or other contact sports that stresses your knees but also from wear and tear and other damage that can occur if for example your job includes cleaning the floors, laying foundation or there is a possibility of you scraping your knees like by driving a motorcycle. There are many different knee pad types that each has different design, different style, different applications and different materials are used to make these knee pads and you need to know basics about all of these materials to know which type of knee pad will be best suited for you needs.
Elastane, commonly known also as spandex or lycra is a material that is very elastic making it perfect to be used in knee pad production because knee pads, especially sleeve like knee pads need to be able to not only expand and shrink upon putting it on but also to move along with your knee when you are doing some activity from running to cleaning your house. Additionally elastane also dries very quickly which will prevent sweat from building up and making your knee pad wet and disgusting.
Cotton is one of the most used organic fibers in the world so many knee pad manufacturers use this durable yet cheap material as a base material for knee pad manufacturing. And because cotton is also a very soft and breathable material it adds, softness and breathability to knee pads so they are comfortable to wear, don’t irritate the skin and don’t collect sweat.
Another material that is commonly used to make knee pads is polyester or polyethylene terephthalate. This material is one of the strongest synthetically produced fibers and when used in combination with other natural fibers it adds strength and durability to the fabric which is perfect because knee pads made from this fabric will be able to endure falls and rough conditions without ripping. On top of that polyester is quite water resistant which is great because this means that the knee pads made from polyester won’t collect sweat as well as it is wrinkle resistant and it also retains color leaving your knee pad looking as good as new for a longer time.
Neoprene also known as polychloroprene is material that is best known for different orthopedic pad and band production and knee pads are no exception because there is a whole knee pad category that is dedicated to only neoprene knee pads. Neoprene is a rubber like material that is strong and water resistant like rubber but has much better flexibility and chemical stability so it can withstand different conditions from below zero temperatures to ones that could be described as extremely hot making this material perfect to use as the main material for knee pad production. On top of adding durability and strength to knee pads neoprene also is very abrasion resistant meaning that even if you fall on asphalt you won’t scrape you knees or rip the knee pads, but the pads will soften the blow to your knees lessening the impact and the chance of injury.
As weird as it seems rubber also is one of the materials that is used for knee pad manufacturing. Rubber as we all know is a black elastic material that is not only very resilient but also extremely waterproof which is probably why it is used in some knee pad production to make the inside padding for knee pads as it will add elasticity, strength and water resistance to the knee pad so that it is able to better protect your knees especially if you fall or have to kneel for a longer period of time. There are two main types of rubber – natural rubber made from rubber trees and synthetic rubber made from oil that both are used by different companies to produce knee pad padding.
Silicone is heat- resistant material that at first has gel like consistency but once it is dry resembles rubber. This material is commonly used to line the lining or perimeter of knee pads to keep the knee pads from sliding down while you are exercising and sweating because silicone creates a very good grip with the skin preventing the knee pad from slipping off even if your skin is wet.
Some knee pads that are mainly used by construction workers or in equestrian sports are also partly made form leather. Usually leather is used to cover the top part of pads to make them look better on your knees but because leather is a flexible yet resistant material it not only adds style but also durability element to the knee pads. There are two types of leather – real leather and synthetic leather and there are knee pads with both types of leather available on the market.
Polyurethane is the synthetic material that is used to make foam and a number of knee pad manufactures use foam for padding of the knee pad. This material that is sometimes called PU or PUR is made from organic units that are joined together in a way that it creates material that is very high strength yet resilient and long lasting. And because of these characteristics foam will be durable padding to any knee pad yet will cushion any falls or blows to your knees protecting them from damage.
Gel that is used in knee pads usually is a combination of foam and a gel that creates rubber like material which is elastic providing the necessary resilience a knee pad needs. Gel is used inside of the knee pads to create padding around the knee cap. These types of gel knee pads are one of the best knee pads to use if you have to kneel a lot and you experience knee pains because the gel spreads out the force the knee gets when you kneel that way preventing one part of your knee wearing down faster and hurting more.
Plastic mainly hard plastic is also used to produce knee pads that are best suited for heavy contact sports. Plastic as we all know is a synthetic material that can be molded into any shape or density producing everything from plastic bags to hard knee pads. These type of plastic knee pads usually serve protective purpose because they protect the knees and prevent injury, however they might not be that comfortable to wear because they aren’t flexible, doesn’t stretch or move with your leg and they usually don’t have cushioning to soften the blow to your knees limiting their usage.
And there even are some heavy duty knee pads that are partly made from metal. These types of knee pads use metal as a protective measure on the knee cap part of the knee pad to prevent serious damage. Although metal knee pads might look very cool and add some heavy protection because metal is a hard material that withstand even the most vigorous of blows and won’t crack they also usually aren’t that comfortable to wear because metal won’t bend with your leg so these type of knee pads are suited for those who drive motorcycles but not as pads for basketball or football where it requires you having to more around a lot and bending you knees frequently.