Many professions, such as the military or construction workers, require you to be kneeling for long periods of the day. Likewise, certain sports, such as paint-balling or shooting, will put your knees through the wars. The risks of bruising, inflammation and soreness are not only uncomfortable but also worrisome if they’ll put you out of action.
That’s why tactical knee pads are such an important form of protective equipment. In fact, some studies suggest 60% of knee-related injuries could have been avoided if individuals had worn knee pads.
Some of the best tactical knee pads prevent any pain, bruising or general injury to your knees. Knee pads are designed to provide a protective hard outer shell which protects against any sharp or tough objects as well as a soft foam (or gel) inner cushioning to absorb shock and act as a comforting pillow for your tired knees. That’s why more and more people are on the hunt for the best pair of tactical knee pads.
As a result, the market for tactical knee pads is well saturated, which can be tiring and confusing to navigate. Luckily for you, we’ve curated our 10 best tactical knee pads to save you some time and energy.
In this handy guide, we’ll take you through our top 10 picks, provide a smart buyers guide and answer some FAQs at the end. Our buyers guide breaks drown the main factors you should consider to help you find the best pair of knee pads for you!
Read on to find the best pads on the market.
Best Tactical Knee Pads
From product research and user reviews, we’ve collated together a list of the best tactical knee pads. Below you’ll find our easy-to-follow guide to the 10 best tactical knee pads on the market, including pros and cons of each product. With this list, you’re sure to find the right pair of knee pads for you. Better yet, they’re all easily purchasable through Amazon, which gives you the best prices and quick delivery.
1. Alta Tactical Superflex Knee Pads
Item Dimensions: 2.54 x 2.54 x 2.54 cm | Black Cordura Nylon Cover
The Alta Tactical Superflex Knee Pads are an affordable option, which also delivers on quality. The strong but flexible front knee cap provides good protection even against rocks or debris. Likewise, the compression recovery neoprene foam padding provides both knee protection and comfort. We were also impressed with the Cordura Nylon cover which protects against perspiration, water and dirt. If you’re going to be wearing these for a long time, the breathable fabric of these is a real selling point. Some reviewers have complained that the level of protection can cause a bulky fit, but this is a small price to pay.
In terms of the fit, these knee pads have AltaLOK’s Easy On/Off fastening system which means they’re incredibly versatile; you can easily get an individual fit. However, some reviewers have noted the flimsy plastic fastening which hooks the straps back to the front knee pad. If you’re going to be using your knee pads in particularly tough conditions, you may want to invest in a pair with a stronger metal clasp. Nevertheless, the plastic clasp does facilitate a more lightweight product.
2. Arc’Teryx Knee Caps
Item Dimensions: 3 x 10 x 13 inches
A more expensive choice, the Arc’Teryx Knee Caps have an innovative ergonomic design. The anatomical shaping means these knee pads provide a much more secure, and therefore protective, fit. This design also keeps these knee pads lightweight, which aids mobility.
Made from thick neoprene foam, these combine sturdiness with flexibility which is perfect for when you’re on the go across rocky terrain. Consequently, these tactical knee pads are one of the best amongst military members.
These also have a buckle fastening system, which provides a secure and adjustable fit. However, the buckle configuration can be fiddly initially. Nonetheless, customers state that once secured, these knee pads do not move around.
While they may retail more expensive than other tactical knee pads, the Arc’Teryx knee pads are worth every penny. They provide reliable and durable protection.
3. AltaCONTOUR Knee Pads
Item Dimensions: 9.5 x 6 x 4 inches | Size: One Size
The AltaCONTOUR Knee Pads have a unique biometric design, consisting of a contoured interior. The flexible kneecap allows your knee pads to adjust to your body’s natural range of movement, which is not only practical but more comfortable.
Despite being flexible, these contour knee pads remain skid resistant so still retains a high degree of protection. Furthermore, the traditional Alta padding will cushion your knees against any hard objects and absorb shock. Again, the Nylon covering is perfect for wicking away sweat or water, so these are great pads for those who are going to be active.
Some buyers cautioned that the AltaCONTOUR’s are not built for everyday use. Long-term frequent use causes the foam to wear down and lose its protectiveness. Nonetheless, for those who are looking for a great pair for occasional sport or professional use, these are definitely a good option.
4. Military Outdoor Clothing Knee Pads
Item Dimensions: 12 x 5 x 12 inches | Material: High-density Polyethylene
Genuine US Military Knee Pads, Military Outdoor Clothing sell surplus or used stock at an affordable price. Undoubtedly, these are the best option for those after military knee pads. They’re made of high density polyethylene which ensures a strong and durable fit. Moreover, they come with matching elbow pads to provide more comprehensive bodily protection.
Some users noted the minor defects or dirty condition in which the product arrived. However, as used stock this is an inevitability. None of the defects affect the products protective ability, so it’s purely an aesthetics problem. If you’re after high quality military knee pads at an affordable cost, we think this is the best option.
5. K-P Industries Knee Pro Ultra Flex III Knee Pads
Item Dimensions: 6.2 x 6 x 10.2 inches | Hard Plastic Shell
The K-P Ultra Flex III come with a metal rivet hinge across the central part of the knee cap which means your knee pads will move with your body. Such ergonomic design makes them incredible comfortable through facilitating full range of motion. Moreover, the non-slip rubber allows you to easily stay firmly on the ground.
The triple layer foam pads are not only thick but have thermo-hearting technology which makes the material even softer; so you’re getting maximum protection and maximum comfort.
The straps are abrasion resistant grip strips which allow you to quickly but effectively fasten your knee pads. Furthermore, the straps are made of soft woven elastic, which provides comfort and flexibility. The only criticism some users had was that the fastening clips were made of plastic which doesn’t always feel the most sturdy.
6. NoCry Professional Knee Pads
Item Dimensions: 10.2 x 6.9 x 4.1 inches | Size: Fits All
These Knee Pads take comfort to a whole new level with a unique soft gel core alongside foam padding. Such ergonomic design means your knees won’t suffer the aches and pains that come with long periods of being in the kneeling position.
Some knee pads are prone to slipping, which puts your knees in danger. Instead of relying on velcro straps, NoCry uses adjustable elastic straps that have a slip-buckle clip; the straps can even be criss-crossed to ensure a tight sturdy fit. Moreover, all the straps are double stitched to prevent against possible wear and tear, making these a heavy-duty pair of knee pads.
NoCry previously had a problem with some of the rivets coming off the knee pads when in use. They have since improved the knee pads to ensure the metal rivets are far stronger and, therefore, will not pop off. Nonetheless, they state that there may still be a chance of a defective product being sent to you. While this is annoying, they will replace your knee pads free of charge. If you do buy this pair of knee pads, just make sure to look out for this problem and report any concerns ASAP.
7. AltaFLEX NOMAR Knee Pads
Item Dimensions: 8 x 6.5 x 3 (LWH) inches
The AltaFLEX knee pads are specially designed with a long cap which provides a wide coverage of the knee cap and surrounding area. What this means for you is that these knee pads will provide maximum protection. As the name alludes, these have a flexible cap which, unlike other knee pads on the market, does not limit your ability to move.
The dual wide straps provide a secure no-slip fit which, thanks to the wideness of the straps, is also comfortable. Moreover, the AltaFLEX pads come with two different fastening options- AltaGrip or AltaLock. The AltaGrip fastening works by a velcro strap that secures at the front. In contrast, the AltaLock system fastens the straps via plastic clips that hook onto the side of the knee pad.
However, the one complaint from reviewers was that both the left and right knee pads fasten on the right-hand side. As a result, the buckles on the left-hand knee can rub agains the inside of the right leg. This is a minor design flaw but it is worth keeping in mind.
The AltaFLEX are specifically designed to provide protection for those working on hardware or tile floors. However, with Alta’s military-grade protection, we think these knee pads can be used for a wide array of uses.
8. ALTA Contour Tactical Knee Pads
Item Dimensions: 9.02 x 4.02 x 11.02 inches | Material: Nylon Fabric
The AltaCONTOUR Knee Pads are another reliable product amongst Alta’s range of knee pads.
These knee pads come with a flexible cap so they will bend to the contours of your body, allowing greater movement and more comfortable fit.
They are specially designed with thick 1/2-inch neoprene recovery foam to provide excellent protection and comfort. Despite its thickness, the knee pad’s material is flexible enough to still enable full mobility. Moreover, the tricot liner easily wicks away moisture and perspiration whilst protecting against dirt.
The straps on these are the AltaLock system. However, some users have complained that the straps on this model of Alta’s knee pads do not offer a secure enough non-slip fit. This is a problem if they’re going to be used as tactical or military knee pads. Nonetheless, for everyday usage, such as in construction industries, or more occasional sports wear, they are a great buy.
9. DEWALT DG5204 Knee Pads
Ittem Dimensions: 7.38 x 6.25 x 14 inches | Material: Neoprene
The DEWALT Knee Pads come with a heavy-duty cap made from ballistic nylon fabric material. The ballistic material ensures these tactical knee pads will last for a long period of time. Furthermore, the gel core technology amongst the closed cell foam padding protects the knee, providing support and reducing pressure; It also provides cushioning for comfort!
The non-slip design of the knee caps means these knee pads are ideal for multi-surface use.
These knee pads have a slip buckle fastener system with adjustable straps. Their adjustable nature creates a custom fit.
However, some users have complained that the straps do not remain taut, which causes the knee pads to slip or move around. This issue seems to occur more across long periods of use, but it is definitely worth baring in mind if you’re hoping to wear you knee pads all day long.
10. ALTA Industries 50413 Knee Pads
Item Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.91 x 12.28 inches
Our final pick is another Alta offering. These tactical knee pads are a long-term favourite amongst buyers.
Made from DuPont Cordura Nylon, they are strong and sturdy. Moreover, the knee cap is made from non-slip rubber to ensure not only a high-standard of protection but to prevent sliding.
The straps are easily adjustable with a velcro strap system, alongside the classic Alta Buckles. In fact, it’s the buckling system which makes these knee pads so easy to get on and off. And most importantly, these knee pads provide a secure fit that won’t move an inch, no matter what you’re doing!
Some customers have reported that the material does not wick away moisture well, which isn’t ideal if you’re going to be tackling rainy climates or sweating through the heat. However, for everyday usage, we think these tactical knee pads will more than serve your needs, especially at such an affordable cost.
So there you have it our list of the 10 best tactical knee pads. Many of our picks are from Alta who produce military knee pads. However, we’ve also got some strong competitors such as Arc’Teryx, NoCry and Dewalt. All these knee pads come with an array of different features, which means our list is incredibly versatile. If you’re still unsure which are best for you, make sure to check out our buyer’s guide. But first, we’ll breakdown some of the different types of knee pads available; the all protect your knees, just slightly differently.
Types of tactical knee pads
Both great and overwhelming is there exist a multitude of types of tactical knee pads. However, when you break it down it’s quite simple to decide which type are the best tactical knee pads for you! We’ll give you a quick tour of the most common types on the market:
Gel Knee Pads
Your traditional pair of knee pads would have foam inside to protect your knees. Gel knee pads still contain foam but also, you guessed it, gel. The benefit of the added gel is that it is slightly sturdier when compressed so provides excellent shock resistance. It is certainly not an essential, but can be good for those who need slightly more advanced protection. Basically, if you want extra comfort, these knee pads are the way to go.
Hexpad Knee Pads
Hexpad Knee Pads utilise HEX Technology, a unique closed cell foam padding design. This innovative technology centres on the foam being bonded to a piece of ‘moisture-management’ fabric. In short, Hexpad Knee Pads protect against sweat to keep you cool and dry. Moreover, the hexagonal-shaped foam cleverly provides extra protection and mobility by better moulding itself to the individual contours of your legs and knees. As such, this is the type of knee pads most favoured by athletes.
Unlike traditional knee pads, a kneeling pad is essentially a mat or board which offers a similar protective function for your knees. These are most commonly used by those in the construction, gardening or decorating industries; kneeling pads offer a similar amount of protection without the potential discomfort which comes with wearing knee pads for long periods of time.
Rolling Knee Pads
Rolling Knee Pads are essentially a Kneeling Pad come Skateboard. The same board-like design of Kneeling Pads remains just with the addition of a pair of wheels. The idea behind Rolling Knee Pads is to offer knee protection for those who will mostly be kneeling (i.e. those in the industries above) but who also need the mobility of moving from side to side; it’ll allow you to move whilst remaining kneeling – saving your knees and your back!
Other Types of Knee Pads
We’ve covered the most common types of Knee Pads but with the market ever expanding, there are always others available. For example, insert knee pads work in conjunction with specifically-designed trousers which come with a dedicated space for inserting knee pads. Tactical knee pad pants can be less bulky than strapping knee pads on top of your work trousers!
Nonetheless, with the four main types listed above, we’ve more than got you covered.
So there you have it, there’s a plethora of options that suit different individual needs. Most of our picks are gel or hexpad knee pads, which are most common and extremely effective, but if they’re not quite right for you then you can explore some alternatives listed above. When in doubt about a product, make sure to always check the user reviews as this is one of the easiest ways in which you can gauge its quality!
Benefits of Tactical Knee Pads
There are a huge range of benefits to tactical knee pads over other forms of knee protection. Our top reasons are their padding, versatility and benefit for performance.
Most tactical knee pads are designed to protect your knees via foam or gel padding. Foam-based padding is usually closed cell (i.e., neoprene) because this is the most shock absorbent and also wicks away moisture, i.e., from perspiration.
Padding helps prevent short and long term injuries through protecting unnecessary stress on your joints. Knee pads not only minimise the impact of shock or stress onto your knee, but the hardshell kneecap is designed to protect sharp or hard objects penetrating through to your skin.
In fact, knee pads are proven to protect against osteoarthritis, a condition in which your joints’ cartilage begins to breakdown. Tactical knee pads are an affordable investment to safeguard against long-term health conditions, such as osteoarthritis – saving you money in the long-term!
Tactical knee pads are also incredibly versatile. They can serve a variety of functions and purposes from military activities to construction work to at home gardening. Undoubtedly, more and more people are recognising tactical knee pads as an essential piece of protective equipment to have available.
An often overlooked benefit of knee pads is the long-term benefit on an individual’s overall performance, be that at work or in recreational activities. Knee pads protect your joints and skin from damage or injury, so you are less likely to have to take time out to rest and recover. Moreover, knee pads ability to make extended periods of kneeling far more comfortable, allows you to focus less on any physical discomfort and more on the task in front of you. Focus is clearly essential for those in the military, those participating in team sports or even tilers or plumbers who want to ensure a high-quality finish to their work. Ultimately, less discomfort leads to higher levels of productivity.
In this way, knee pads actually could save you money in the long-term. You’ll save on potential doctors visits or lost money if you’re out of work for a couple of works (or even months!) That’s why we feel buying a pair knee pads is actually one of the best health investments you can make.
Even with the top 10 Knee Pads listed for you, deciding which pair is best suitable for your individual needs can be tough. Different Knee Pads offer different selling points depending on with what purpose they were designed. As such, there’s quite a few factors to consider when deciding which pair is best for you. We’ve collated the most important factors for you to consider before making a purchase – material, weather, comfort, fit and protection.
Material is an obvious but often ignored factor. Clearly you want your knee pads to be made of a fabric that is protective. Seems obvious? Yet, there’s so much more to consider than just this.
Let’s start with the front part of your knee pads. There are usually two options for this – rubber or plastic. For many, plastic is the natural choice; it’s a tough material that is long lasting so your knee pads will be built to last. However, for those who also prioritise aesthetics, rubber is the best option. See, rubber is also a tough material but far more scratch-resistant than plastic. Consequently, rubber knee pads remain looking brand-new for far longer but they are definitely less durable than plastic. Really the choice depends on which you prioritise more – aesthetics or longevity.
Purpose dictates what material you require for the rest/back part of your knee pads. For those who still need to retain mobility and flexibility, such as athletes, you’ll need tactical knee pads where the fabric has enough flexibility to still allow for general movement (without compromising on protection of course). On the other hand, those who are perhaps battling rocky or difficult terrain might want to choose a material which is sturdier and therefore more secure; the last thing you want is your knee pads moving or shifting position so invest in a pair which stay in place!
Make sure to also consider the weather/ general climate in which you’ll be most frequently using your tactical knee pads. For example, those in hotter and sunnier climates will want to choose knee pads where the material is breathable and wicks away sweat. If you’re going to be in rainier weather, you might want to consider choosing material that has a degree of waterproofing. In this instance, Cordura Nylon is a durable fabric which is highly resistant to perspiration, water and general wear or tear. It is 100% waterproof and also self extinguishing in the rare case of fire exposure. Luckily, the majority of our best tactical knee pads are made partly from Cordura Nylon!
For those who are less likely to be in any extremity of weathers, then a lower degree of breathability or waterproofing won’t be as important to you; this has the bonus of saving you some money since technology-based materials are often more expensive.
With comfort, we’re basically referring to padding. Different knee pads have varying degrees of padding. Most padding usually consists of foam, although as we mentioned earlier some also come with gel lining too.
In terms of foam padding, there are two ‘types’: open cell or closed cell. In short, closed cell foam padding is more common and more popular because it doesn’t absorb water; this makes it a much better option if you’re going to be sweating a lot or in a rainy climate. If neither of these factors apply to you, then open cell foam will also offer similar levels of comfort and protection.
Again, added gel lining is a worthwhile investment if you’re after extra comfort or going to be using your knee pads for extended periods of time. The extra gel improves the knee pad’s ability to absorb shock, which minimises any risk of pain or injury for you. Gel knee pads may be slightly more expensive than other varieties, but you are paying for a premium product. If possible we would recommend finding a decent set of gel knee pads as they tend to offer the most bang for your buck.
The fit of your knee pads really depends on the strap, i.e., how your knee pads are secured. Again, there are a couple of options. Usually, your knee pads will either be secured by a velcro straps or buckle straps. Velcro is a quick and easy method of securing but buckles, while less comfortable, last much longer. Moreover, there is also the option of padded straps for those who require additional comfort and protection. You definitely want to make sure that your knee pads are easy to adjust so you can get an individualised fit; this isn’t only more comfortable but it’s more ergonomic as it’ll ensure better protection.
Deciding which securing strap you want really depends on the individual. What we can tell you is to consider flexibility, comfortability and longevity; work out the hierarchy of your needs and decide which knee pads best suit you from there.
Ultimately, protection is the key factor with knee pads since they are designed to protect your knees. However, the amount of protection your knee pads provide really depends on a few things such as the material, the extent of the padding and how they’re fastened.
The best tactical knee pads will be made of strong durable material with thick layers of foam; the foam will protect your knees by maximising shock absorption.
Likewise, you’ll want straps that are adjustable and provide a tight and secure fit. Why? Well if your knee pads are constantly slipping and moving position, it’s impossible for your knee pads to do their job and actually protect your knees! So make sure you invest in knee pads which stay in place to get the best results.
Our recommendations are some of the best pads on the market, so rest assured they’ll all provide a high-standard of protection
Obviously many of us need to factor cost into our decisions, such as buying tactical knee pads. Overall, the more you spend, the better the knee pads. However, this isn’t always the case. Most of our picks are low to mid-range price point but remain incredibly effective.
If you’re going to be using your knee pads everyday, it is probably worth investing in a slightly pricier pair.
Alternatively, if its a purchase that is going to be used on an ad-hoc basis, you can probably get away with spending a little less, especially if you’re still not sure if they’re useful for you!
We know that searching for the right pair of tactical knee pads can feel slightly like information overload. To help, we’ve taken the time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to buying tactical knee pads. Hopefully this clears any remaining confusion up for you!
Who Needs Tactical Knee Pads?
There are a wide variety of people who need tactical knee pads (and don’t always realise!) Tactical knee pads are an essential form of protective equipment to avoid potential knee injuries. They protect against falls, or provide comfort when long-periods of kneeling are required.
As such, those in work sectors, such as construction or the military, or those who take part in sporting activities (like paint-balling) need tactical knee pads. They are also useful for at home DIY, like gardening or working on your car!
In short, tactical knee pads are an essential purchase, not an extra accessory.
What are the most comfortable knee pads?
Which tactical knee pads are most comfortable really depends on the individual. However, the main factor is the thickness of the foam cushioning. The thicker it is, the more support your tactical knee pads will provide.
Knee pads with a gel cushioning, like the DEWALT or NoCry, provide further comfort by maximising shock absorption.
So if you’re particularly prone to injury or just want a bit more comfort, we’d recommend choosing tactical knee pads with gel cushioning.
How do tactical knee pads prevent injury?
Our knees are incredibly vulnerable; a rather thin layer of skin and muscle covers our kneecap. Consequently, our kneecap, surrounding joints and muscles are prone to injury. Even general day to day life, like walking, sitting or running, causes gradual damage to our knees.
Knee pads protect against and slow down the general deterioration process of our knees. Not only do they guard the knee, but the design of knee pads, such as the foam cushioning, helps absorb any shock. In turn, this reduces the amount of stress on your knees, which reduces the extent of any potential injuries.
Alongside using tactical knee pads, there a few other ways to prevent injuries. Adequate rest is one of the best things to prevent harm to our knees. In the result of an injury, it is important to ice joints and undertake some low-impact exercise to stretch the surrounding muscles.
So there you have it, our guide to the top 10 best tactical knee pads!
If your job or hobby puts your knees at risk, then you should definitely look to invest in a pair of tactical knee pads. From our guide, there are knee pads that suit many different budgets. Ultimately, you want to invest in a pair of tactical knee pads which offer protection but also comfortability, which allow you to stay safe whilst retaining mobility, which are affordable but durable.
Using our handy buyers guide, you’ll be able to pick which tactical knee pads best suit your needs and wave goodbye to achey knees.