Football Knee Pads

Football Knee Pads

Football is a very physical sport that requires players to use a variety of equipment to stay safe while on the gridiron. Few of these safety measures are more important than knee pads, which protect a player’s knees from the high-speed impacts that occur during the game of football.

Benefits of Football Knee Pads

Football places a lot of stress on a player’s knees, and it is vital that players properly use knee pads to ensure they are preventing wear and tear on the body’s most important hinge joint. Despite knee pads preventing a plethora of injuries like bruises, sprains, and tears, many players at the professional level opt for smaller pads claiming knee pads prohibit movement. Besides preventing injury and general knee soreness, knee pads can provide stability when players make erratic movements. While many high-level players cite movement restriction as a reason to abandon knee pads, these claims are largely unfounded. It is clear that they protect players and are a necessity for a long football career.

Things To Consider

When looking for football knee pads, you'll want to consider the following:

  • What position do you play?
  • What size knee pads do you need?
  • What type of knee pad is most comfortable for you?
  • How much do you want to spend on knee pads?

What are you looking for in football knee pads?

  • Comfort
  • To be lightweight
  • Maximum protection
  • To be tailored to my position
  • To provide compression
  • Easy application and removal


Knee pads come in many shapes and sizes that all offer certain advantages over their alternatives.

Skill Position Knee Pads

Football Skill Position Knee Pads

Skill position knee pads are meant to offer more flexibility and easier movement to skill position players such as wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and defensive backs. Skill players are meant to run more and are more mobile than other players, meaning they need lightweight, flexible knee pads.


  • Smaller surface area allows for more movement
  • More comfortable than larger pads
  • Lightweight and flexible


  • Not as much coverage for the kneecap
  • Less protection for players

Vented Knee Pads

Football Vented Knee Pads

Vented knee pads are a solid alternative to regular knee pads due to their safety and breathability. Added vents provide a slightly more comfortable feel, while still maintaining adequate coverage of the kneecap and surrounding ligaments. Vented knee pads offer everything a normal set of knee pads does with added comfort and breathability.


  • More comfortable than regular knee pads
  • Great protection for the kneecap
  • Lighter than alternative knee pads


  • Large surface area causes slight discomfort
  • Slippery once sweat begins to evaporate

Knee Sleeve

Football Knee Sleeve

Knee sleeves offer far less protection than knee pads but do provide some safety in compression. Simply having a wrap around the knee cap can ensure a player’s body stays warm and ready for action, even between plays when there is a lull in action. 


  • Compression prevents joint from locking up
  • Aesthetics and looks  


  • Little to no protection from impact
  • False sense of protection while playing


When purchasing football equipment, it is important to stick to the reputable brands that ensure you receive padding that will properly protect your body.


Douglas offers two different sets of knee pads, one set for skill players and one for non-skill players. This brand specializes in football padding and offers their products for a fair price considering the quality of the knee pads being sold.


Riddell is one of the most reputable companies for football safety equipment. While other brands branch out to other sports, Riddell solely focused on football. They produce high-quality equipment that protects the player's lower half. Many Riddell knee pads pairs are available at other retailers as well. 


Schutt produces high-quality, reliable football equipment in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. When purchasing Schutt products, players are paying for reliability knowing that many NFL players wear Schutt pads out on the gridiron. Schutt sells knee pads that range in price from $10.00-$13.00.


Are knee pads required in football?

Knee pads are required for players to wear in high school, college and professional football. Padding rules have been a site of controversy in the past few years, as players insist on opting for aesthetics over safety. Despite their best efforts, the NCAA and NFL have been cracking down on their rules by ensuring every player has knee pads that fully cover their kneecaps.

What sizes do football knee pads come in?

Knee pads are sold in either youth sizes for younger football players or adult sizes for more mature athletes. As a younger player, knee pads tend to cover the entirety of the kneecap and provide full protection. As players grow and develop in their football careers, knee pads remain essential to stay protected. Adult football players have a wide variety of types to choose from, with each style offering a different level of protection.

How much do knee pads cost?

A pair of knee pads can range in price depending on size, style and brand. A regular adult sized pair of knee pads from a reputable source can hover around $13.00-$15.00, while a pair of regular youth sized knee pads can go for as little as $6.00.