Not every wrestler likes the idea of using knee pads, so not everyone wears them. However, for those that use them, knee pads help make wrestling a little easier by increasing protection around the knees against potential injuries. Because everyone is different, there are a myriad of knee pads available — all created differently and made for slightly different purposes. If you’re considering getting a pair of knee pads, read’s guide to understand your options.

Back To Basics

With so many different types of wrestling knee pads available, the basic knee pad seems to be the most popular. They are mainly designed for support and abrasion prevention, and are typically worn on the leg a wrestler shoots a takedown with, if not on both; the basic knee pad is worn for added protection. It generally has a large circular or oval-shaped pad that helps protect the kneecap. When sized correctly, this knee pad fits securely at the bottom of the thigh and at the top of the calf. There are many variations of the basic knee pad, but it is designed to be lightweight and flexible while still offering a good amount of protection to the knee.

Knee Sleeves

In general, knee sleeves are made from less material than basic knee pads since they do not have the circular pad to protect the knee. The stretchy/lightweight material offers greater mobility and a wider range of flexibility. These knee protectors are very popular among college and international wrestlers. Sleeves are typically made of cotton or Lycra, or a combination of similar materials, and typically very easy to maintain as they are machine-washable. Wrestlers choose these sleeves also to increase the distance they slide across the mat when shooting a takedown. Sleeves also lessen the chances of getting mat burn and other like injuries. However, because they are made of less material, knee sleeves generally do not protect the knee against direct impact as well as other types of knee pads.

Dome Knee pads

Dome knee pads are good for wrestlers with previous knee injuries, and work just as well for those who want to prevent injuries from occurring altogether. For this reason, the padding on dome knee pads often covers a greater part of the knee. Depending on your preferences, make sure the pad offers the right amount of padding without limiting your range of motion.

Dome knee pads are the best pieces of equipment used to help minimize direct impact to the knee. Sometimes called “bubble” knee pads, dome knee pads are very similar to volleyball knee pads with the large, circular “Dome” over the knee. They are usually made from cotton or from a combination of cotton and a stretchable material, like nylon. The cushion over the knee is often very thick yet soft, and makes takedowns much easier on the knees.

Finding the Right Size

Wrestlers with bigger thighs and calves should go for a larger size, but remember that it is better to have a knee pad that is too tight than too loose. Opting for a smaller size means that the knee pad will stay on your knee and will not loosen up or move around. It is important to keep in mind that every brand of knee pad has its own unique sizing system and fit, there are generally limited options for knee pad sizes. Many times, the presented sizes are “Small/Medium,” and “Large/Extra Large.” When choosing a size, keep in mind that it really doesn’t matter how tall you are or how much you weigh — the main determinant is how large your legs are.

For more information on what size is right for you, contact and we’ll make sure you will get the right size.

The best way to find the right pair of knee pads for you is understanding what you need. Most wrestlers would agree that the least amount of material for any piece of gear, the better. However, you may find that you need extra protection, so knee pads with a bit more coverage or padding may be the one that’s best for you.