Due to the nature of BJJ, we spend a lot of time on our knees and although the mats are padded, those hours eventually add up to a significant amount of time.
Between mat burn, the grinding of your joints, and coming back from knee injuries, there are a lot of different reasons that you are going to want to use knee pads in your BJJ training.
It took me a long time to adopt the idea of wearing knee guards, but once I did, there was definitely no going back.
It makes training more comfortable, safer for your knees and all around a better experience.
However, you don’t want to just go out and get any old pair of knee pads and hope that they work.
You need to have pads that are going to be comfortable to wear while you roll and have the least impact on your performance.
That’s why we have compiled this list of the best knee pads for BJJ, so that when it comes time for you to buy yours, you’ll know exactly what you need.
What are the Benefits of Wearing Knee Pads in BJJ?
Wearing knee pads while you’re putting in the work on the mats provides a good amount of different benefits.
Before jumping into the list of the best grappling knee pads, let's first take a quick look at some of the benefits you get for wearing knee pads.
It Helps if You’re Coming Back from an Injury
If you’ve already gotten a knee injury and are trying to come back from it, then having a knee pad is going to be a good choice.
It gives you compression, support, and protection so that you can train with more confidence than if you had a bare knee. Of course, make sure that your knee is able to stand up to the rigors of BJJ before you start rolling again.
Helps to Prevent Injuries
Another great reason that you will want to wear knee pads is that they help to prevent injuries from happening. As you will see, the knee pads that we suggest for BJJ provide a lot of different protections for people that are looking to prevent injuries.
One of the kinds of injuries you can prevent is ligament injuries like a torn ACL. These typically happen when when the knee is put under a lot of pressure quickly and forcefully, often from techniques such as a single or double leg take down.
A knee pad absorbs some of the impact from the collision and also provides the knee with some support to hopefully reduce the impact and minimise the amount of damage received.
One of the other kinds of injuries you’ll be at risk for is arthritis. This is a really common condition that is caused by joint damage, typically from spending long amount of hours on your knees.
Wearing knee guards to training can help take some of the pressure of your knee, reducing the chances of sustaining these types of conditions and injuries.
All in all, using knee pads is a great way to prevent injuries.
Makes You More Comfortable While Training
Being comfortable while you are training is important, and a pair of knee pads can definitely help you in that area.
The support of the knee pad and not having to worry about that area of the body being as vulnerable to rubbing on the mat will let you focus on the task at hand.
Another reason that you are going to want to use knee pads is to protect yourself and the person that you are training with.
A lot of times, your knee will knock into your partner’s arms, legs, or knees while you are fighting one another for a better position.
I find this happens most often whilst trying to pass someones guard, as I attempt to get my first leg out and over theirs, knees can often collide with some force.
The fact is that smacking into each other could be a source of discomfort at best or injury at worst. Using knee pads is going to protect both of you from potential injuries and that cringe inducing feeling of bone hitting bone.
What to Look for in the Best BJJ Knee Pads
There are several things that you will need to look for when you are buying a set of knee pads.
We’re going to take a look at some of the most important things you’ll want check for when you’re making a purchase.
That way, you can make an educated decision when you are shopping around.
Do They Come in a Pair?
The first thing that you need to look for is whether or not they come in a pair.
It sounds silly, but not every brand out there sells the knee pads in a pair. This can help if you’re looking for replacements for a damaged pad, but you are pretty much always going to want to have two knee pads.
At the very least you want to be aware of the costs between one and two pads.
Materials and Padding
Another important thing that you will want to consider is the material that is being used for the padding.
The material that the pads use can be the difference between having a knee pad that lasts for a short time and one that you can keep using with confidence. While Polyester Foam is definitely one of the most common, for example, it is inferior to Neoprene Foam and many of the gels that are out there on the market.
Yet, the padding isn’t the only thing to consider with materials.
You want to make sure that the padding is large enough to cover the majority of your knee or provide support for an injured area. Also, you need to see if the material that is used besides the padding is flexible, strong and able to stay in place throughout your training.
All in all, the materials are very important to look at when you’re buying knee pads.
Understanding the brand of the pads that you’re buying is important as well.
The brand will let you know roughly what you can expect to pay for the pads and their quality. If you are using a Venum product, for example, you should expect to see high quality materials in the design and a higher price tag.
On the flip side, if you’re looking at a no-name brand that costs a few bucks, don’t count on quality or assurances from the company.
The brand will tell you more about the knee pads than what you can expect to pay for them.
For example, the brand that makes the knee pads could be heavily involved in BJJ and have the expertise to know what they are talking about in terms of protection. Where as other brands could specialise in making knee pads for biking for example, which are likely to be less suitable.
All in all, understanding the brand is really something to look at when buying a knee pad.
As we’ve mentioned, the brand that you buy correlates with the price and the level of protection that you can expect to get from a product.
Nobody is going to undercut the entire market and provide you with better protection. That means you have to consider the overall idea that you really do get what you pay for in terms of safety, and that is something that you can’t put a price on.
We’re not telling you to go out and buy the most expensive knee pads on the market, though. It is important to remember that you are investing in a piece of gear that will serve you for a while and can lower the chance that you get injured while practicing.
Don’t be afraid of putting a little more money out for a quality knee pad.
List of the Best Knee Pads for BJJ and Grappling
Right, I think it's about time to crack on with the list.
Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads
The Bodyprox's are definitely on the list for the best BJJ knee pads for a lot of reasons.
One thing that you’re going to notice right away is that the company issues you a pair of pads, not just one, and they are in the middle of the price range even when they aren’t on sale.
They are made up of polyester, EVA, and rubber, which is helpful because they are good quality materials that are designed to last for a long time.
The protection gained when you are using these is pretty darn substantial. The pads are worn like a sleeve up the leg and rest above and below the knee. Between that, you have four sections of padding that are connected and protect your knee from all angles. Blows to the sides, top, or bottom will be met by the resistance of the padding.
While the padding is impressive, comfort is another important factor to consider when you are looking at these. They are very lightweight and form-fitting, so they aren’t going to be the large, bulky things that you might have used in the past. The material is breathable, too, so your knee won’t turn into a sweaty mess, plus the fabric helps to wick away some moisture, too.
It’s also good to know that the pads here are designed to help prevent injury and help those coming back from injuries by increasing their blood flow to the knee using compression material.
All in all, these are a high quality pair of knee pads that are going to keep the users agile and comfortable while they’re wearing them.
With two sizes to choose from, just about everybody should be able to find a pair that fits them.
Cliff Keen Wrapta
When talking about the brands for knee pads, we mentioned that some are better than others because of their specialty in martial arts and associated sports.
That is the case with Cliff Keen because they are a wrestling brand. They know what areas of the knee are most vulnerable and how to protect them as well as what makes a comfortable knee pad.
The Cliff Keen Wrapta knee pads are sold individually, which raises the price a little bit, so that it is on the moderate to high end of the spectrum.
Having said that, they're very form-fitting, so they are not going to jut out or be very obvious under your gi. That doesn’t mean that these pads don’t offer great protection, though.
These pads are made to provide padding over a large area of the knee and from every side. No matter if you are on your knees or on the receiving end of an accidental collision, you will be protected. There are five padding sections on every side, above and below the knee, as well as one that covers the knee cap itself.
The bottom line is that the padding is going to be there when you need it.
The padding itself is not as thick as you will see on some other brands, but that doesn’t mean it’s less effective. You can still count on the pads to absorb blows.
The comfort of these pads was very important to the designers, so you can see the great lengths they took to make the pads wearable. There are air vents throughout the pads that allow them to be breathable and the back of the pads feature mesh panels that stretch and flex with their wearer.
You aren’t going to rub all your skin off moving around on these. That’s why it’s important to consider branding because they know that wrestlers have that issue with knee pads. Now, you have a comfortable, pretty affordable, and protective piece that you can wear under a gi.
All in all, the Cliff Keen Wraptor's are a good potential buy that features all the things that you want to see in a good pad for BJJ
NeverTap BJJ Knee Pad
As the name implies, the NeverTap BJJ Knee Pad was made by a company that has a lot of experience in BJJ and MMA products. They know what kinds of issues you are going to face when you're training, and this pad is there to counter a lot of those problems.
For starters, you’ll see that this knee pad is made out of pretty strong materials such as latex. This is designed to absorb the shock of any collisions or impact with that ground whilst you're wearing the pad.
The main portion of the knee pad is actually pretty subdued and smaller than what you will see on other brands. The company took an approach of bolstering the knee cap with padding and then using nylon strings to support the sides and back of the knee. The result is a low profile knee sleeve that comfortably fits around you knee and underneath a gi.
Yet, the company also focused on giving the wearers extra compression with pad. That really helps prevent major injuries to the muscles and tendons, but also helps to increase the blood flow to the area so that you can recover from day to day strains and injuries too.
Overall, this is a very reliable knee guard that you’ll want to use for BJJ, just as it was designed.
It’s not going to win any awards for its looks, but who really cares about that when it's going to be worn under the gi anyway, unless you do no-gi of course, then it may matter slightly.
You can get small, medium, and large sizes so there is something for everyone. However, you do have to order two of these because they are sold individually.
While you’re buying them, you’ll see that they have a moderate to high price point compared to a lot of other knee pads. Still, you’re investing in quality, martial arts specific knee pads when you buy these, so it’s worth it.
Asics Slider V
For those people that are looking for basic protection and a low cost, the Asics Slider V provides a lot of the things that you will hope to see in a quality knee pad.
These come in a pair, so that is always a good thing to see and are still very low on the price scale as well, so if you need something that is affordable and easy to get, here’s your pads. That doesn’t mean that they don’t offer a lot of benefits for the wearer, though.
There is a pretty wide coverage area on the knee pads that should cover your entire knee as well as the sides.
The pads have two smaller sections to protect the sides, a large pad for the bottom of the knee and the knee cap and there's also a pad over top of the knee. The padding itself is made from polyurethane so it contracts when pressed and then bounces back, which will work pretty well on the mats if you're knee is to get somehow get it.
It’s clear by the design that these are not knee pads that were made directly for BJJ, but if you need to cut costs and still have a solid pad, they will work. They come in one size that should fit just about everyone, however if you're on the bigger side of things, they may be a bit tight.
In terms of design, the Asics come in white and black, so you have the choice if you are looking for something that won’t show under your gi. While they aren’t particularly great for wicking away moisture or antimicrobial, they are very easy to wash, which solves that problem.
All in all, these are good pads as long as you keep your expectations in check.
Are they going to protect you from banging and rubbing your knees? Sure.
At the end of the day, that's what matters.
Mizuno Adult Slider
The Mizuno Adult Slider is a knee pad that is rather thin and low profile compared with many of the knee pads that are on the market today. The company is not specifically involved in BJJ, but do have experience in producing martial arts equipment such as gi's.
Still, it is a very good device to use if you are looking for something that is lightweight and breathable.
You’ll see that the price of the Mizuno is pretty low low even when you factor in the need to make two purchases since they are sold as singles. They also come in a lot of different colors so you can match your pads with your gi, or with your rash guard and shorts if no-gi BJJ is your thing.
The pads are pretty form-fitting, and you can only fit so much padding in that kind of space. They have 3/8 neoprene panels that protect from just above your knee down to your shin, which is great. They also protect the sides of the knee, but again, that padding is not going to do wonders if you catch someone else’s knee while training.
With that in mind, these are designed for low intensity training, such as drills, where their main roles will be to soften the ground on your knees.
As such, these pads are particularly great for people that are just getting into BJJ and trying to get used to spending a lot of time on their knees without leaving them red and sore.
Still, there is only so much you can expect out of these pads. As long as you use them for their intended purpose and don’t think you’re getting all the bells and whistles out of them, you’ll be good to go.
Another entry into the knee pads that you are going to want to use for BJJ is the McDavid Protective Knee Pads, which handily enough, can also be used on the elbow.
It’s obvious that these aren’t specialty pads because of their wide versatility, but that doesn’t make them bad. Starting off with the price, you can expect to pay a moderate fee for these, but they do come in a pair as well as a variety of different sizes and colors.
The padding is interesting in this model because it is ½ closed-cell foam padding made from polyurethane. You can count on the impact protection to be good, but the pads really shine for mat work where you are going to be on your knees a lot.
The padding is durable and has a spring to it, so it’s not going to sink in and never come back. That being said, these knee pads aren’t as flexible as some of the other models because the protective part of the pad isn’t segmented, it is one big piece that covers a large portion of the knee.
Still, the pads are good enough for protection and provide reasonable comfort because of the elastic sleeve makes it easy to get on and take off as you need.
All in all, these are on the inexpensive side of things, so you’ll be able to buy them and get them right to work for you.
Venum Kontact Lycra
Venum is a brand that is well-known for producing all kinds of high quality MMA gear, so it’s no surprise to see they offer knee pads.
The reason that the Venum Kontact's are on the list of the best knee pads for BJJ is that they make use of top quality materials that are not only extremely protective, but last a long time. In this case, they use Lycra in the construction of the pads as a tough but flexible material that bends with the user’s knee to provide stability and protection.
The padding that you’ll see in this product is made from a gel, so it is good for protecting from accidental strikes as well as being on the mats for grappling. I personally find gel the best as it tends to be lightweight, highly protective and can easily fit underneath my gi pants.
The padding features a part that protects the upper knee, lower knee, and the middle. The middle has the famous Venum branding, but it is also important because it extends to the sides of the knees to protect from blows and tendon damage.
The knee pads are pretty comfortable, too. They have air-vents built into them all around but the back has a lot of ventilation that prevents it from becoming really wet or smelly. You’re always going to love the style that Venum provides for its customers, too.
They have a bunch of different colors available so you can match the pads to the rest of your gear.
Mizuno T10 Slider
The Mizuno T10 is a newer model of the older slide-fit knee pad that was made before. They are made to be slim but aren’t going to fold up under and behind the knee. They do come in a pair, and even when you consider that the price is still low to moderate. That means they are going to be affordable for just about everyone.
The padding is not that thick, so you have a low-profile pad that will fit under your gi with ease. That being said, the padding does manage to cover the knee from many different approaches. The sides and the upper and lower knee are all protected, and the wide coverage makes rolling with these pretty comfortable with all things considered.
There are two colors that are available for use with this, white and black. T
hey are one size fits all, so if you are someone that is on the large side, these might not fit you all that well.
All in all, the pads are pretty good quality for what you have to pay for them. They aren’t going to increase your healing or maintain the strength of your leg, but they can protect you well enough.
How else Can You Prevent Knee Injuries?
When I was doing some research for this article, I cam across this very interesting video by a fairly small BJJ YouTuber, which I thought as awesome. Give the video a watch down below, as he shares some pretty awesome nuggets of information as to how you can help to prevent knee injuries.
Best Knee Pads for BJJ: The Verdict
After we have considered all the different parts of what makes a great BJJ knee pad in light of the ones we have reviewed, we have come up with the one that offers the most benefits.
The Bodyprox Knee Pads offer tremendous benefits to the user at a very affordable cost. The pads are made to increase the blood flow to the knees, offering increases to your healing abilities while also providing top of the line protection. These are great pads to use if you are coming back from an injury and looking to get back in the swing of things.
The quality of the materials that are used in the pads are great as well. They are comfortable to wear and they also provide a lot of protection at the same time.
Not only do you have protection for your joints and tendons from strikes, but the pads help you last a long time when you’re pressed on the mats as well. These pads are a great pair for every type of protection that you’ll need. Overall, these pads are useful in a lot of sports situations, but they work great for BJJ.
As always, thank you for stopping by and reading about our thoughts on the best BJJ knee pads. We hope that we provided you with a lot of options and education on the pads so that you can find a pair that works well for you.
Feel free to take some time to drop a comment and let us know what you thought about our final verdict. We’ll see you around next time!