Every wrestler knows that this sport is tough on the knees. A single, powerful takedown can cause injury, as can recurring takedowns that aren’t as severe. While knee pads are not required by many wrestling associations, they can help decrease impact trauma to this part of the body. If you are many of the ‘safe’ wrestlers out there looking for a way to lighten the impact your knees endure on the mat, there are some things to consider when choosing the right wrestling knee pads.

Finding The Right Size

Your wrestling knee pads should fit properly. Try to ask your coach, an athletic trainer or a doctor to help you with your fitting by looking at the area once the pads are on. Knee pads should fit securely at the bottom of your thigh and the top of your calf.

Cushioning System

Always look at what the knee pad is made out of. Smooth materials, such as Lycra, will slide across the mat more easily, allowing you to cover more distance faster during takedowns. For that reason, Lycra pads are popular with wrestlers. Cotton pads don’t slide across the mat as well as Lycra.

Shock Absorption

You want to make sure you purchase knee pads that will protect you enough, but also won’t limit your movements. Bubble knee pads that resemble ones worn by volleyball players offer more protection than basic knee pads. Avoid pads that limit your range of motion. Regular knee pads are lighter and more flexible than bubble pads. Knee sleeves don’t offer much impact protection, but are more flexible, providing better range of motion. Sleeves also help increase your slide distance and reduce mat burn.


When choosing knee pads, make sure to comply with any equipment rules set by your team or club and any organization running the program. Detailed rules for knee pads can vary, so learn the rules before you buy.