Pads for roller skating: 101
When it comes to roller skating, a little protection goes a long way, especially when you are starting out! Falls are a natural part of your roller skating journey, and are usually a sign that you are progressing, or pushing your limits. However, falling can also cause serious injury, and padding is one way to reduce risk each time you put on your skates.
If you are thinking about buying pads to wear while you are skating, don’t just rush out to a discount retailer and buy the first pair you see! There are a few things you need to consider first to ensure that your pads are right for you and the activities you are undertaking
What type of skating are you doing?
The type of skating you are doing can be directly related to the potentialrisk ofinjury. Of course, allskating has risks, but skating on a boardwalk is very different to trying to do a flip in your local skate park, or play a game of roller derby. Consider your activity and decide just what padding you will need.
What is important in your padding?
There are a few trade offs when it comes to padding. Bigger and bulkier pads offer the most protection, but can restrict your range of motion. Artistic skaters will often not wear any pads at all, whereas roller derby skaters will often wear the biggest pads on the market because falling is a big part of the sport.
When you are starting out, especially in roller derby, we recommend the most protection regardless of bulk, as falling on the knees is often a part of the training program, and you should consider the long term health of your joints.
In the padding market, good pads aren’t cheap. If your pads are really cheap, chances are they won’t offer much protection, and they won’t last very long. Good quality pads are a little more expensive because they use quality materials and manufacturing techniques. Much like many things in life, when it comes to pads, you get what you pay for.
It is also important when you purchase your pads that they fit correctly. You can visit a pad retailer, or consult a sizing chart for the brand you are buying. Pads that are too big will move and fall down, reducing protection capacity. Pads that are too small will restrict circulation, and the shells will not be positioned properly to protect the joints they are designed to cover.
What do we recommend?
1. ENNUI CITY BRACE III WRIST GUARD
Ennui worked with orthopaedic specialists to develop this wrist guard, and have added high quality Kevlar to create an extremely durable and comfortable product. The lacing system provides a great fit, and these are probably the best wrist protection on the market.
2. SMITH SCABS STABILIZER PRO WRIST
These are another great wrist guard option, which have a permanent splint, preventing slippage and providing extra protection. They are also slim fitting and durable, suited to a wide range of skating activities.
3. TRIPLE 8 WRIST SAVER
If you are looking for a more entry-level pad, then the Triple 8 Wrist Saver is probably the way to go. They offer suitable protection for most activities, however use a more traditional plastic splint system, so are not as stable or durable as the higher end options.
S1 PRO KNEE PADS
The S1 Pro pads are made of military grade ballistic nylon, and are incredibly tough. The Gen 3 model has more sizing options than previous models to allow for an even better fit. These are especially good for derby and outdoor skating, but suitable for any skating activity, for those who want to take extra care of their knees.
187 PRO DERBY KNEE Pads
The 187 pro derby pads are specifically designed for the rigorous game of roller derby, and have less bulk, but still maintain high-level protection. They also have removable foam for easy washing, and getting rid of that derby stench. However, these aren’t just good for derby, they provide a good level of protection for any type of skating, however may still be a little bulky for dance and recreational skating.
187 FLY KNEE PADS
These 187 Fly pads are a less bulky option, but do not offer adequate protection for roller derby. They are better suited to those who don’t fall on their knees regularly.
187 ELBOW PAD
These pads are heavy duty and comfortable for all types of skating. The seamless interior provides ultimate comfort, and the industrial stitching means they will last a long time.
187 Slim Elbow Pad
With all the benefits of the 187 standard elbow pads, the slim version are streamlined in shape for increased mobility.
3. Triple 8 Elbow Pads
These entry-level pads offer adequate protection for most disciplines, and will soften the blows of falling on your elbows. Especially suitable for beginners not wanting to invest in higher level pads.
New to Skating and on a tight budget entry-level combo pads offer adequate protection for non contact disciplines, and will soften the blows of falling. Especially suitable for beginners not wanting to invest in higher level pads.
While there are lower coverage pads on the market, they don’t offer adequate protection, which can often result in injury, so we don’t recommend using them. We recommend sticking with known and reputable brands that are specifically designed for skating and other action sports.
At the end of the day, taking the right precautions for your safety will mean a longer and happier life on roller skates!