Falling on your knees hurts! Especially when the conditions are hard or icy you want to save your knees from these kinds of inevitable falls. This is where knee pads come in. In this article, I outline what the benefits of knee pads are, what to look for when buying them and what are the best knee pads for snowboarding on the market today!
Best Knee Pads for Snowboarding
These knee pads from Burton have just enough padding to take the sting out but are lightweight enough that you’ll barely notice you’re wearing them. Their simple tube design slips over your foot eliminating the need for velcro or other types of strap, which can lead to rubbing and sore points.
As well as knee pads, Burton makes protection such as wrist guards, which are specifically designed for snowboarding. They tend to be more light-weight and not as heavy-duty as some of the other brands which cross over into mountain bike protection.
They are made from neoprene and are machine washable, meaning they are easy to keep fresh after those sweaty spring sessions.
What I like about these knee pads is that they are relatively short, meaning that there is plenty of room for them to sit above the top of the boot. This is something that can be a problem with some of the more MTB focussed knee pads.
These top-of-the-range pads contain a polymer dough that hardens on impact. This makes the pads soft and malleable so that they don’t impair your movements up until the point when they are called upon in a fall when they instantly harden.
Made of a moisture-wicking material, which is incorporated into each layer to optimize moisture management and comfort, meaning they won’t get sweaty even on those warm spring days
The outer fabric is made from super-tough polyamide yarns with high abrasion resistance, meaning that you can keep falling on them long after your knees have given up!
POC is a very reputable brand with a trusted reputation for making high-quality helmets and protection. These knee pads are primarily designed as mountain bike pads, and as such are designed to allow for free movement in the knees without them moving around. They also have excellent ventilation so your knees won’t overheat.
These solid knee pads will protect you from the hardest of knocks. The padding comes down below the knee to protect the top of the shin as well-meaning they’re a great choice for rail riders.
Unlike the previous pads listed, the Dakine Anthems Hook-and-loop attachment makes for easy on/off. I find this system can sometimes cause pinching behind the knee so it’s best to wear them over the top of a base layer.
They have a silicon trip around the top and bottom of the strap helping them to stay in place in the event of a fall so you don’t have to drop your pants to readjust!
These knee pads are made for telemark skiing, and I don’t even want to think about the kinds of ways that can destroy your knees! Needless to say, these solid plastic pads will keep your knees safe no matter what. A good choice for rail riders or someone with a pre-existing knee injury who absolutely doesn’t want to take any chances.
They have an articulated design, so they move freely and don’t restrict your movement when riding. Each knee pad is held securely in position with 2 cam-buckle straps at the top and bottom of the pad so they won’t move in the event of a crash
The fully-articulated design and especially RTP, the Reactive Protection Technology, ensure that you are protected, and you have full freedom of movement.
The fully-articulated design and especially RTP, the Reactive Protection Technology, ensure that you are protected and you have full freedom of movement.
G Forms SmartFlex™ technology works in a similar way to the POC, creating a pad that is soft and malleable but which hardens upon impact to protect your knees in a fall. Apparently, this is achieved by the molecules in the material actually realigning themselves and binding together into a solid structure. Pretty smart!
The outer sleeve is made from a moisture-wicking material so they won’t get sweaty on warm spring days and the pads are machine washable so you can keep them smelling fresh.
Another knee pad that is designed primarily for mountain biking. The Demon Hyper Knee offers more than enough to keep your knees protected from snow and ice. They have a Kevlar front shield for bulletproof impact resistance, with moisture-wicking padding. Their super ventilated perforated lining keeps you cool. However, they are hand wash only so they need a bit of looking after
Can you hurt your knees snowboarding?
Knee injuries are less common in snowboarding than skiing, especially the kind of bad knee associated with twisting which can lead to a busted ACL. This is because on a snowboard both feet are stuck onto one plank rather than two, so any rotational forces are distributed through both knees rather than one. That’s the good news. The bad news is that snowboards tend to fall a lot more than skiers, especially when just learning to snowboard or when conditions are icy! This leads to lots of impact and potential fracture injuries. The other type of impact which is common in snowboard is when you land a jump. Sometimes these impacts can be big enough to cause an injury and repeated small impacts can also lead to problems
How do knee pads stop you getting hurt
The kind of knee injury that knee pads will save you from is the impact injuries caused by your knee hitting the ground. A really common fall when you are starting out is the dreaded toe-edge catch. This happens when the edge of the snowboard unexpectedly catches the snow in front of you and you get flipped forward onto the snow. Depending on how you fall it will either be your knees of wrists which take the impact. This is where either wrist guards or knee pads can save you some serious pain!
Another time knee pads will save you is when falling on rails and boxes. There’s a heap of different ways to hurt yourself on rails just waiting to be discovered, but one which is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes is slipping of the rail and catching your knee or just above your boot on the solid metal.
As with all types of protective gear not only do they save you from injury but also can save you from shattering your confidence. This can make learning to snowboard, whether it be just the basics, or new tricks in the park a whole bunch easier and more fun.
Make sure you wear a base layer under your knee pads (especially if they have velcro strap fastenings). This will stop chafing and the backs of your knees becoming red raw!
Who should wear knee pads?
- Anyone learning in hard icy conditions
- Anyone learning new tricks on rails and boxes
- Anyone with pre-existing knee injuries
Hopefully the above list has given you enough options to find the perfect pads for keeping your knees safe. For the majority of cases a thin knee pad like the Burton Basic or the Dakine Anthem will give enough protection for you to shrug of little falls. However if you don’t want to take any chances because you ride a lot of rails or learning on East coast ice, maybe go for some of the more robust MTB style pads. As with all protection try and wear them habitually so that you don’t learn to fall on your knees then take a bounding on the days when you forget them!