What Knee Pads Do NFL Players Wear

Dr. Ronnie Howell
11 Min Read

As a professional football player, the gear you wear is not only a matter of personal preference but also of utmost importance. One of the most critical protective equipment pieces is knee pads. In this section, we will explore the knee pads NFL players wear, their role in the game of football, and the different types available to players.

Key Takeaways:

  • Knee pads are essential to the NFL player’s protective gear.
  • The proper knee pads can help prevent injuries and enhance performance on the field.
  • NFL players have various types of knee pads to choose from, from traditional foam to custom-built knee pads.
  • The top-rated knee pads for NFL players offer a combination of comfort, protection, and durability.
  • When choosing knee pads, it’s essential to consider factors such as fit, material, and level of protection.

The Role of Knee Pads in NFL Gameplay

When it comes to playing in the NFL, knee protection is crucial. The game of football involves constant running, jumping, pivoting, and collisions, all of which place considerable strain on the knees. As a result, players need to wear knee pads to safeguard against potential injuries and enhance their overall performance.

One of the most prominent roles of knee pads in NFL gameplay is the prevention of injuries. Knee pads act as a cushion between the player’s knee and the turf, reducing the risk of impact-related injuries such as bruises or contusions. Additionally, they can protect against knee hyperextension or dislocation, which are common injuries in football.

Furthermore, knee pads can enhance the player’s performance on the field. Properly fitted knee pads can help reduce the chances of knee fatigue or soreness, allowing players to stay on the field for more extended periods. They can also help stabilize the knee joint, preventing unnecessary strain and stress during play. This added level of support can help improve performance and reduce the risk of injuries over time.

The Importance of Finding the Right Knee Pads for NFL Gameplay

While knee pads are a vital component of the NFL player’s gear, not all knee pads are created equal. Finding the right knee pads for individual needs is crucial to optimize performance and safeguard against potential injuries. When selecting knee pads, several factors should be considered, including:

Fit: Knee pads should fit snugly on the knee without restricting movement or impeding blood flow.

Material: Knee pads can be made from a variety of materials, including foam, gel, or neoprene. Consider which material best suits your individual needs and provides the right balance of comfort and protection.

Level of Protection: Different knee pads offer varying levels of protection. Consider your playing style and the potential risks you may encounter on the field when choosing a knee pad.

Additional Features: Some knee pads come with additional features such as ventilation, moisture-wicking properties, or antimicrobial treatments. Consider which features may be beneficial for your individual needs.

By understanding the importance of knee pads in NFL gameplay and taking the time to find the right knee pads for individual needs, players can optimize their performance and safeguard against potential injuries on the field.

Types of Knee Pads Preferred by NFL Players

When it comes to knee pads, NFL players have a range of options to choose from. Traditional foam knee pads offer basic protection while allowing for flexibility and mobility. Compression sleeves with integrated knee pads offer added support and improve blood flow, reducing the risk of injury. Custom-built knee pads can be tailored to the player’s exact specifications, providing a personalized fit that offers maximum protection.

While some players prioritize comfort and flexibility, others may prioritize maximum protection, opting for larger knee pads with thicker padding. It ultimately depends on the individual’s playing style and personal preferences.

Most players choose knee pads that are lightweight and breathable, allowing for comfort and efficiency on the field. Additionally, many knee pads are designed to be moisture-wicking, preventing sweat buildup and discomfort during gameplay.

Traditional Foam Knee Pads

Traditional foam knee pads are the most common type of knee pad worn by NFL players. These pads are made of foam and are designed to offer basic protection while allowing for flexibility and mobility. Some players may opt for a combination of traditional foam knee pads and compression sleeves with integrated knee pads for added support.

Compression Sleeves with Integrated Knee Pads

Compression sleeves with integrated knee pads are becoming increasingly popular among NFL players. These pads are designed to provide extra support and improve blood flow, ultimately reducing the risk of injury. The compression sleeves also keep the pads in place, preventing them from sliding down during gameplay.

Custom-Built Knee Pads

Some NFL players prefer to have custom-built knee pads tailored to their exact specifications. These pads offer a personalized fit that ensures maximum protection and comfort. Custom-built knee pads are typically designed for players who prioritize protection over flexibility and mobility.

Top-Rated Knee Pads for NFL Players

In the competitive world of football, having the right gear can mean the difference between winning and losing. With knee injuries being one of the most common injuries sustained by NFL players, choosing the right knee pads is crucial. We have researched and compiled a list of the top-rated knee pads preferred by NFL players.

McDavid Hex Knee Pads

The McDavid Hex Knee Pads are a popular choice among professional athletes due to their superior protection and durability. The hexagonal padding design provides excellent shock absorption, while the hDc moisture management technology keeps players cool and dry on the field. The sleeve-style design ensures a secure and comfortable fit, making them an excellent choice for players who prioritize both protection and comfort.

Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Knee Sleeve

The Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Knee Sleeve is another favorite among NFL players. The compression fit provides excellent support and blood flow, enhancing overall performance on the field. The durable construction and machine washable material make these knee pads a long-lasting and practical option for players.

Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve

The Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve is ideal for players who prefer a lightweight and flexible knee pad. The moisture-wicking fabric and anti-microbial technology ensure a fresh and comfortable fit, while the anatomical pre-curved compression design provides excellent support and stability. The silicone gripper strips prevent slipping, making them an excellent choice for players who prioritize agility and flexibility on the field.

Choosing the right knee pads is essential for every NFL player. By opting for one of these top-rated knee pads, players can ensure optimal protection, performance, and comfort on the field.

How to Choose the Right Knee Pads for Your Needs

Choosing the right knee pads is crucial for players looking to enhance their performance and prevent injuries. Here are some factors to consider when deciding which knee pads to purchase:


It’s essential to choose knee pads that fit your legs securely and comfortably. Ill-fitting knee pads can slip or move during gameplay, reducing their effectiveness and potentially causing injury. Consider the size, shape, and weight of the knee pads to ensure that they stay in place while playing.


The material of a knee pad determines its comfort, durability, and protection level. While foam knee pads are the most common type, compression sleeves with integrated knee pads offer a more streamlined fit and greater flexibility. Custom-built knee pads offer the highest level of protection but may come at a higher cost.

Level of Protection

The level of protection required will depend on the player’s position and playing style. Linemen, for example, may require thicker knee pads to protect against impact, while running backs may prioritize lightweight and flexible knee pads for increased mobility.

Additional Features

Consider additional features such as ventilation, moisture-wicking, and antimicrobial properties when selecting knee pads. These can improve comfort and hygiene during extended periods of play.

By taking into account these factors, players can choose the right knee pads that suit their individual needs, enhancing their performance and safeguarding against potential injuries.


In conclusion, knee pads are an indispensable component of an NFL player’s gear. They provide essential protection, enhance performance, and contribute to injury prevention. By understanding the different types of knee pads that NFL players prefer, including traditional foam knee pads, compression sleeves with integrated knee pads, and custom-built knee pads, players can make informed decisions on what suits them best. Additionally, selecting knee pads that fit well, offer adequate protection, and incorporate additional features, such as moisture-wicking material, can optimize performance and minimize the risk of injury.

Overall, knee pads are a vital investment for any football player striving to perform at the highest level. With the right pair of knee pads, players can unleash their full potential and compete with confidence, knowing that they are protected from potential injuries.

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Hello there! I'm Dr. Ronnie Howell, and I'm absolutely obsessed with kneepads, safety gear, and all things related to outdoor sports. My journey into the world of protective equipment started when I was just a kid. Growing up in a family of extreme sports enthusiasts, I quickly learned the vital role that high-quality kneepads play in preventing injuries and enhancing performance. My passion for both writing and spreading knowledge led me to create the blog site "bestkneepads." I firmly believe that everyone, regardless of their level of activity or expertise, should have access to reliable information about kneepads. Making informed choices about protective gear is crucial for staying safe and comfortable during various activities. As the primary author of bestkneepads, I draw upon my own experiences and deep knowledge of kneepads to provide you with in-depth reviews, helpful buying guides, and informative articles. My ultimate goal is to be your go-to resource when it comes to finding the perfect kneepads for your specific needs, whether you're skateboarding, cycling, doing construction work, or engaging in any activity that requires knee protection. I'm committed to accuracy, thorough research, and a genuine passion for the great outdoors. I firmly believe that the right pair of kneepads can make a world of difference in terms of both comfort and safety. I'm dedicated to helping you make well-informed decisions, so you can enjoy your favorite activities to the fullest while keeping your knees in top shape. When I'm not out there testing and reviewing kneepads or crafting engaging content for my blog, you'll find me exploring new hiking trails, challenging myself at the skatepark, or cheering on my favorite sports teams. I'm an advocate for staying active, staying safe, and savoring every moment of life while ensuring your knees are protected with the best kneepads available. So, stay tuned to bestkneepads for my latest insights, recommendations, and tips on selecting and using kneepads. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a beginner seeking guidance, I'm here to assist you in making the best decisions to keep your knees in peak condition.
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