Best Elbow Pads
Are you sick and tired of scraping and tearing up your elbows every single time you fall or dive to the ground? No matter if you participate in a particular sport that puts your elbows at risk or if you enjoy leisure activities that could result in falling, it may be in your best interest to protect yourself. If protecting your elbows is your mission, we can help you by providing a guide to the best elbow pads.
But, what makes an elbow pad good and what exactly are you supposed to look for when buying one?
By the end of this guide, both of those questions will be thoroughly answered to leave you with no confusion whatsoever.
However, before we get to that, down below you can take a look at some of the best options currently available on the market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12.75 hrs of research
The tricot liner wicks away moisture
They are adjustable
Provides ample protection
- ALTA TACTICAL FLEX
- NAHDEH PREMIUM
- PRO-TEC SET
- JBM 3-IN-1 PACKAGE
- RDX MMA
- COOLOMG PROTECTOR
- G-FORM PRO-X
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST ELBOW PADS
1. ALTA TACTICAL FLEX
The tricot liner wicks away moisture
They are adjustable
Provides ample protection
The cap is pretty hard
For the best elbow protection out there, you should highly consider this top option. Sure, the neoprene foam is incredibly firm but that is half the point in the superb protection it provides.Read more
The ½-inch neoprene foam padding is what delivers the protection your body needs and granted you do not mind the hard caps, you will love these.
Let’s just say that a few falls are not going to destroy these. In fact, they are built to withstand quite a bit and should provide you with ample uses.
Even though these are quite stiff, they are also lightweight and are designed with tricot liners to wick away sweat from your body. Not a bad combination at all.
Thanks to the special hook-and-loop fastening system (that features two elastic straps), each one of these pads can be adjusted to your liking.
The good news is these are not going to slide down your arms very easily (granted you have them tight enough). The Velcro that is integrated pretty much prevents that.
If you are in it for the looks then you may not be a fan of this option. But, it is safe to say that most of you are in it for the protection (and that is where these excel).
2. NAHDEH PREMIUM
Comes with two per pack
Designed with soft and thick gel
They can be worn under a long sleeve shirt
For slender frames, they can be a little too big
Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that provide the most joy and this is the case with these elbow pads. They are not flashy by any stretch of the imagination but they sure are practical.Read more
When compared to traditional EVA foam pads, you can really tell the difference of just how much these will protect you if you happen to suffer from any type of a fall.
The sleeves are made of nylon for enhanced support and longevity. As for the pads themselves, they are made of silicone gel which is not going to flatten after multiple uses.
Not only are these not going to restrict your movement due to their thin nature but they are also designed with ultra-soft interiors (which feels really nice against your skin).
Due to the fact that these are not adjustable, you will need to find the right fit for your needs. For the record, these do not appear to be optimized for thinner arms.
The simple addition of the compression sleeves adds much-needed stability. With these in play, granted the fit is ideal, the chances of slipping are greatly reduced.
What an excellent combination of comfort, durability, and performance that these provide. Perhaps an adjustable fit would be the only feature to put them completely over the top.
3. PRO-TEC SET
Also comes with kneepads
They fit great
They provide full coverage
A few buyers have experienced longevity issues
You may also be seeking some high-quality kneepads and if you are, then you will be eating up this set from Pro-Tec. Both the knee and elbow pads provided are exceptional in their performance.Read more
Overall, the protection is straight solid here. The ABS hard caps provide full coverage, and the soft EVA foam is going to absorb high-impact falls.
Even though a couple of users have reported longevity issues, these are made of ballistic nylon and spandex. This combination of fabrics is going to resist tearing.
As many buyers have noted, the comfort provided is just phenomenal. This is thanks to the fact that the materials are ergonomic, breathable and also non-restrictive.
In addition to the multiple sizes available, these are also fully adjustable. Equipped are hook-and-loop fasteners that allow you to achieve a completely customized fit.
It is interesting to note that the kneepads have been known to slide down on occasion. However, this has been less of a problem with the elbow pads (so that is good news).
What a great set this is, would you agree? If you take heavy-impact falls regularly then these may not hold up as long as they need to for you. But, for most people, they will be extremely compelling.
4. JBM 3-IN-1 PACKAGE
Equipped with Velcro closure systems
Each pad is well made
Comes with knee and wrist pads
They can be a little itchy
Not the most breathable option
In addition to the elbow pads, this set also comes with knee and wrist pads. All of which offer ample protection for your body thanks to their EVA foam constructions.Read more
It is noted in the product description that this option is the most popular for protection for multiple activities. When you analyze all the positive reviews, you will quickly see why.
The thick and sturdy EVA padding utilized here Is pretty durable in its own right. And, although the stitching is a bit scratchy, it is not cheap.
Admittedly, these are not the most comfortable pads on the market. There is no ventilation, so they struggle to breathe and, as mentioned, the material can be a bit itchy.
For the record, there are youth and adult sizes available. As for the fit, each of the pads comes with multiple elastic straps that can be adjusted via Velcro closures.
Granted you get these tight enough; they are not going to slide around very easily. Then again, they also do not need to be tight to the point where they are painful.
Yes, the comfort needs to be improved, but some of you may not be able to pass up a set of this quality. It is an extraordinary value if you can deal with the below-average breathability.
5. RDX MMA
A few different color options are available
Designed with fabric that wicks away sweat
Features a low-profile construction
The comfort could be much improved
Even though these are not exactly overflowing in comfort, they do offer fantastic protection. The padding is made up of extra-light carbon fiber, after all.Read more
The combination of the carbon fiber padding and the outer shell provide an ample amount of protection for all types of sports and activities.
RDX takes a lot of pride in their design and has noted that their pads are tested to last around 30 percent longer than regular models. They also note that these were designed to the highest specification.
Overall, these are bulky, and you will need to adjust to it. Due to the stiffness, it also can be a bit hard to bend your elbow. Of course, looking at the glass half full, these feature synthetic fabrics that will wick away sweat from your body.
To achieve an optimal fit, you will need to order the correct size for your needs. The reason this is extra important is that these can’t be adjusted.
Thanks to the low-profile construction of each pad, each one is optimized to stay firmly in place while you perform your activities.
With these, you take the bad with the good. You can say that about virtually anything in the world so do not get too caught up in what is lacking in this option.
6. COOLOMG PROTECTOR
Designed with Coolomg Print Technology
Backed by a 100 percent lifetime warranty
Features an anti-slip design
Tends to run small
The hexagonal pads can pinch your skin
Now, this is much different than an ordinary elbow pad as it is an entire sleeve that also protects your elbow. However, for the record, only one sleeve is included with your purchase.Read more
EVA foam is the material of choice here as it is used to protect your elbows from damage. And, each particle is designed to soften and absorb any blows you take.
First off, Italian environmental ink was used to prevent these from fading after washes. Additionally, the EVA foam that is used is extremely high in quality.
All in all, these are incredibly lightweight and are comfortable to wear. In spite of this, the hexagonal pads can pinch your skin from time to time.
Once again, this is not a flexible option, and that means that you will not be able to adjust the fit to your liking. And, keep in mind that several former buyers have noted these tend to run small.
The Coolomg non-slip strips are specially designed to prevent slipping. And, they work wonders when you are working out or exercising.
If you are looking for pads, then you may not be the biggest fan of the sleeves that accompany them. However, they do have performance advantages themselves.
You will hardly notice you are wearing them
They provide great stability
Made from abrasion-resistant materials
More padding would be ideal
The sizing can be tricky
Even though some buyers out there have clamored for more protection with these, they will get the job done for the right situations. They are also designed with abrasion-resistant materials.Read more
As was mentioned, there have been consumers who have felt more padding was needed for these to be effective for them. Then again, these are also not devoid of padding, either.
Yep, thanks in large part to the abrasion-resistant materials that have been utilized, these will hold up to a strong amount of abuse. Strategic fabrication also helps in this regard, as well.
As others have made mention of, you will barely notice these are on. On top of the natural comfort, these are also designed of compression fabric that excels in breathability.
These really are suitable for all ages and both males and females. Of course, the sizing chart seems to be a bit misleading (at least based on user feedback).
The issue of slipping is not going to be present here, for the most part. This is thanks to the snug fit that is provided by the implemented materials.
Are there some flaws and limitations with this option? You bet there are but, when you think about it, what products out there are not flawed in some shape or form?
8. G-FORM PRO-X
Designed with a low-profile
There is no hard shell
Features ventilation for enhanced breathability
Not the most durable option
A few users claimed the fit was too tight
Of all the models on this list, these may look the “coolest”. Of course, they can hold up in the performance end of things too so that always helps.Read more
These are unique in the fact that they are designed with Reactive Protection Technology (which is a soft and flexible foam that is going to absorb over 90 percent of impacts).
There have been a few reviewers to report that they experienced ripping of these during their use of them.
All sorts of features enhance the comfort of these pads including their low-profile that allows them to be worn under clothing, compression fabric that wicks away moisture and second-skin fit for enhanced flexibility.
The good news is the tight fit offers excellent stability. Yet, the bad news is these do fit tight and can’t be adjusted (multiple size options are available, for the record).
As mentioned, these are incredibly stable. Plus, also mentioned earlier, this stability is coupled with complete free range of motion.
Many of you will be compelled by the unique nature of this option. At the same time, though, it is not the most durable choice on the market.
They are very comfortable
Comprised of nylon and spandex
Designed with moisture management technology
For smaller arms, they may slide down
Tears can form too easily on the pads
Simple and effective would be the best way to describe this next option. The nylon and spandex construction provides optimal comfort and stability while in use.Read more
What is going to protect your from damage is nine-millimeter hex technology. Also, knee pads are included with your purchase and provide additional protection.
The nylon and spandex construction (which also included polyethylene foam) is not cheap but various users have reported that tears can persist within a few uses.
Comfort is not an issue here and you can take “comfort” in that. In addition to the flexible and comfortable seams, these also sport HDC moisture-management technology for enhanced breathability.
It is actually specified in the product description that these run large. And, because they are not adjustable, you may want to order a size down.
You have to account for the size as if you do not, these will end up slipping down while you wear them. This has been a common issue with previous buyers.
There are no sleeves integrated and the overall design is as simple as it gets. Have you ever heard the expression that it is sometimes the simple things in life that matter?
The elastic sleeves prevent slipping
The edges have been reinforced for enhanced durability
Protects a large surface area
Not the thickest padding
They are quite bulky
Let’s just say that not everyone out there is going to be enamored with this option. It is far from perfect but the protection provided is still going to be adequate for some of you.Read more
Due to their longer length, these cover and protect more surface area. However, as for the actual padding, more of it could have been implemented to provide additional protection.
One of the reasons why this option is able to last longer than others is due to the reinforced edges. As you know, the edges are one of the most vulnerable areas for damage.
Overall, these are bulky and there is no way to get around it. Due to this, they can make it difficult to bend and move your arm while you are wearing them.
These are either going to fit you or they are not, period. As obvious as that sounds, these are not adjustable and do not come in other sizes. While they are designed to fit all, you should know that will not always be the case (and these run large).
If your arms are pretty slender then these are sure to slip on you. Otherwise, though, they will be just fine in this regard.
Overall, these are just not optimized for larger users. They secured a spot on this list, though, because they are durable and protect a wide surface area.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The protection you need may vary based on what you are doing so be aware of that.
Really, how effective elbow pads are, comes down to what you need them for. From one user to the next, a particular model may not offer the protection needed or may, in fact, offer that protection. The proverbial line, so to speak, is what you are intended to use them for.
If you just need small protection in the instance where you accidentally fall then you will not need ultimate protection. At the same time, if you are partaking in high-impact activities that will see you falling consistently on hard terrain, you will need some enhanced protection. In this case, you will want to look for aggressive models that are designed with thick padding and most often hard caps. While these will be bulky and a bit more uncomfortable, the extra protection may be needed.
Also remember, though, that the utilized materials and technology will affect the protection. Some engineers will implement their own personal padding, while others will stick with staples such as EVA foam and silicone gel. Oh, and some sellers will also include kneepads with your purchase (and this can be nice for those of you who need them).
This is huge because elbow pads are designed to take abuse.
Whenever you are purchasing a product that is literally designed to withstand the abuse you need to ensure that the product can take it. Sort of like buying new tires for your vehicles, elbow pads are meant to protect you and that means they will be absorbing all the impact and abuse. So, you then want to ensure that the option you go with is designed of high-quality materials. And, in the world of elbow pads, two materials automatically come to mind with the first being silicone gel. Silicone itself, when compared to rubber, is four times as durable and it is not going to flatten after multiple falls. And, even though it can be an expensive material, you will end up saving money in the long run.
Of course, EVA foam is not bad either and this is another popular material. In general, this is one of the best foams out there and is stress-crack-resistant and is generally hard to break. Oh, and some models will come with sleeves and if they do, you will want the sleeves themselves to be made of high-quality materials (such as nylon or even ballistic nylon).
Not only do you need to deal with normal comfort but you also need to worry about breathability.
It was mentioned earlier that some of the models that offer enhanced protection will be a bit more uncomfortable to wear.
The reason for this is they will typically be bulkier and will typically be equipped with hard caps. At the same time, though, these same models should not be unbearable to wear as it will make the experience that much worse. But, overall, you will probably need to sacrifice the comfortability a little bit if you want aggressive padding.
The good news is those same models that are made of gel are a bit more comfortable as the gel will cut down on the bulkiness that is present with foam. And, this can improve your range of motion and cut down on the stiffness when you go to move your arms.
But, there is something else that needs to be addressed and that is breathability. If you need to wear these then, chances are, you will be partaking in high-intensive activities. And, this means that you will be sweating while you wear them. In turn, this means it will be in your best interest to search for models that offer moisture control properties. The buildup of sweat can quickly make you uncomfortable so having elbow pads that can wick away said sweat can be a game changer.
Some models out there will be adjustable but not all of them will so pay attention to the fit.
You can legitimately make the argument that nothing else matters unless the option you go with fits you the way it should. No one would scoff at you if you did because you know what, you may be right. The reality of the situation is the pads should not be too loose or too tight when they are on your elbows. Instead, when fitted properly, your arms will be allowed a full range of motion (unless there is an overabundance of padding) but the pads themselves will not slide down (which will be touched on later). However, do be aware that some engineers will design their models for specific genders (which can really alter the sizing).
Of course, what you also need to take into consideration is the fact that some options will be adjustable. Those that are will typically come equipped with hook-and-loop fasteners (oftentimes Velcro) and these allow you to achieve a fit that you are comfortable with. Even still, you need to order the right size as you will only be able to tighten and loosen them to a certain degree. But, do not assume that all options will come with such hook-and-loop fastener systems as plenty of them will not.
Do you really want to wear elbow pads that will slip down your arms?
To be honest, this section is actually a byproduct of a few previous ones. Yet, at the same time, it is a section that deserves special recognition as it is yet another one that is oh so crucial to your final decision. After all, do you really want to invest in pads that will refuse to stay in place when you are exercising or playing? This really goes back to achieving the right fit, though, because pads that are too loose are naturally going to slide down your arms. Of course, this is where hook-and-loop fasteners can help as you can always tighten them when they feel too loose.
But, what about sweat buildup? Many of you may not think about it but this could also play a role in the stability. You see, the buildup of sweat can make the elbow pads much heavier and moist. In turn, this could actually make them more susceptible to moving and slipping. Just something to think about is all.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Could any other section really kick this off? When you think about it, it makes sense that the most important buying consideration for you to make is the effectiveness of any given model. After all, the purpose of them is to protect your elbows from scrapes, scabs, and general injury. But, different models will offer different levels of protection so it is up to you to choose the option that suits your needs the best.
It can’t be stressed enough how important durability is in this case. Durability is always a characteristic that you want to take into the fold with any product but when you consider the abuse that your pads will go through, the importance of it becomes amplified. So, it makes it mandatory to search for models that are designed with high-quality materials such as silicone gel and EVA foam.
Even though aggressive models out there may not be the most comfortable to wear, you certainly do not want to opt for an option that is straight-up uncomfortable. In addition to the bulkiness and the overall feel of them, you can also not afford to forget about breathability. Ideally, look for models that can control your moisture as the buildup of sweat will be one of the quickest ways to make even the best models incompetent.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do you wash them?
It is worth noting that you should always double-check with the seller when it comes to washing their elbow pads. However, to give you an example of some of the ways that you possibly could, some impact protection gear will be okay to be machine washed (but on a gentle cycle with cold water). To better protect the pads, though, you could also place them inside of a pillowcase (tie it to prevent them from falling out) and then in the washer. Then again, you could always get away with hand washing them if you wanted to err on the side of caution.
q: Will they stretch out after a while?
When you first try them on, your pads may be too snug to the point where they feel like they are cutting off your circulation. However, you can take comfort in knowing that they are going to stretch out after you use them for a while. Then again, you still may want to order a different size if the ones you have are too tight to even wear. But, much like you need to break in a new pair of running shoes, it is going to take a bit of time for your pads to break in.
q: How do you know which size to order?
All of this talk about finding the right size has probably got your head spinning on to how you are supposed to find the right size. After all, it is not as if you can magically try several pair on when you are ordering online. So, it becomes your duty to take the time to find the right size and, to do that, you should do a few things. Firstly, access the seller’s sizing chart and measure your arm according to what they have listed. Also, glance through user feedback as some models may run smaller or larger than they should.
q: Can you stop them from smelling?
Outside of washing them regularly, there are ways that you can cut down on the awful smell that your pads may be emitting. The easiest way is probably going to be to just wash them on a regular basis but you can also perform this method (even though this is basically another form of washing them). With a bucket of warm water, a tablespoon of mild soap, and a full cup of baking soda place them inside and allow them to soak for a good 30 minutes. After this time has passed, go ahead and rinse them off thoroughly with lukewarm water.
q: Is EVA foam flexible?
This question is worth bringing up because a lot of users prefer gel over foam as it is not as bulky. Naturally, when something is bulky it tends to cut down on your flexibility. So, with that said, is that a problem with EVA foam? In general, this foam is flexible but it does depend a little on how much of it is implemented. Just because it is flexible in and of itself, it does not mean that models that sport it will be incredibly flexible. They also should not be as stiff as a rock, though, so that is comforting at least.
q: Can you place them in the dryer?
For many of the questions alluding to washing, what you need to do to dry them has been purposely omitted. The reason for this is we wanted to be clear about this. Under no circumstance is it worth placing your elbow pads in the dryer. There is just no reason to do it even if you need them dried quickly. The reality is doing so can not only cause damage to the material but it can also cause them to shrink. Both of which could end up being disasters. So, instead, just allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Though this may take some time, it is the safest method to abide by.