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You are here:Home > AllSportProtection Advice Center > Roller Derby Protective Gear Advice Center > How to Choose Roller Derby Elbow Pads & Knee Pads

Choosing the Right Roller Derby Elbow and Knee Pads


Besides the roller derby helmet and roller derby wrist protectors, the next most important piece of roller derby protective gear is are the roller derby elbow pads and inline skate knee pads.

As with any sport that requires you to ride on concrete, needing protective gear, elbow pads and knee pads is a given. Roller derby is unique that it basically requires that you use the hard shell pads, support braces are another option, but will not protect and if protective gear is required it is most common, if at all, that a regular roller derby elbow or knee pad be worn over any support braces.

Roller derby protective gear is something you'd want to invest in right away, be it a life long pursuit or not. No matter what though, you'll need protection, slammin' and jammin', you are going to wipe out. That's why we're here to help and inform you on your options as to roller derby protective gear, specifically roller derby elbow pads and roller derby knee pads.

What you need as to roller derby protective gear - Elbow Pads/Knee Pads:

The hard shell/hard cap knee & elbow pad is essentially a neoprene sleeve, or other thin breathable flexible material you slide on your leg or arm, with a piece of EVA foam, from 1/4in. to 1/2in. thick, and a hard ABS plastic shell on the outside, with Velcro straps to sinch tight.

Using soft pads or even more heavy duty pads without hard caps may prevent some serious injuries but this type of pad, such as the POC Joint VPD elbow and knee pads which are way tough, you'd hurt your hand if you punched it, but it has this thin layer of cloth on the outside, right where you'd fall and skid, which will definitely rip and may even drag your knee or elbow pad down or up, exposing your precious joints. The hard plastic shell is definitely the way to go, you hit the concrete on these and you slide, yeah, you'll scratch your pads, and if you wack it hard enough, the pressure of the impact and your own body weight behind it may crack the shell, but at least it won't be your knee cap, right?


  • Hard shelled caps are usually made from tough ABS plastic which is usually smooth and rounded or they can be ergonomically molded.
  • Hard shelled caps are the most popular choice for roller derby knee and elbow pads because of their size, meaning they can take a lot of impact and abrasion.
  • Since they are bulky they offer less range of motion, but the style and safety factors outweigh this considerably.
  • Because of their robust size they cannot be worn under clothes(unless you wear baggy clothes then they'll just fit right under, and you'll probably ruin your clothes if you fall), but do work well, if the occasion does arise, on the outside of clothing.

Are you down with the thickness? Roller Derby Knee and Elbow Pad Information:

Roller Derby Knee and Elbow Pad Thickness
Roller derby knee pads and elbow pads have soft EVA foam padding situated between the exterior of the sleeve and behind the hard plastic shells to further soften the force of impact. Thicker padding in roller derby elbow pads and roller derby knee pads offer more protection, but keep in mind that thicker padding means additional bulk and weight and more restrictions in movement.

Roller Derby Knee and Elbow Cap and Pad Size and Shape
Roller derby knee pads and roller derby elbow pads are designed for pretty much the same use. A thick-ish foam core between a hard ABS plastic shell and a sleeve. The point is generally the same, the shell will protect and slide and won't not snag, the foam makes the landing soft and the sleeve and Velcro keep it on. The thicker padding and larger shells, be it wider or thicker go along with the price. If you want a top quality pad you will get the thicker padding and larger shell for less money you get a shell that will just cover the knee and foam that will just be soft enough, never the less, it will do its job. More padding will add additional protection when skating but adds to the overall bulk and weight.

Extra Roller Derby Knee and Elbow Protection
Need an extra layer of soft protection under your roller derby knee pads or elbow pads? Try a knee or elbow support brace. Check out the Pro Tec Knee Gasket and Elbow Gasket. They are a slim, tubular under layer, with a horseshoe or donut shaped knee pad, that will further protect and support your joints beneath your hard shell knee or elbow pads.

How About a Video!

Compare 187 Pro Knee, Smith Scabs Elite, Protec Drop-In AND Poorboy Pro Knee

What You are Getting for the Price You Pay

A skate pad may just be a skate pad, but it's not. There are a few factors to keep in mind, quality costs money but be sure and be aware of your needs too. You won't need the top of the line best ever roller derby knee and elbow pad set, like the Pro Designed Super Elbow Pads and Knee Pads if you're not sure you're going to keep at it, maybe one of AllSportProtection's available roller derby protective gear combo packs will suffice. You get more if you pay more, obviously, and the cheap stuff will break if you're doing it right - you won't get any better unless you fall, I mean, er... uh... learn. But here are a few features to get you thinking, some help for your constructive reasoning.

Roller Derby Knee and Elbow Pad Features $15-$40 Range
  • A beginner to intermediate level of protection
  • Large EVA foam padding to lessen the force impact
  • ABS plastic, hard shell cap
  • Youth-sized pads
Roller Derby Knee and Elbow Pad Features $40-$100+ Range
  • A professional level of protection
  • Large, dual density EVA foam padding
  • Ergonomically formed caps that are sometimes detachable and replaceable
  • Side padding to protect ligaments
  • Integrated forearm and shin options available
  • Technologically advanced, transitional padding that is normally soft and flexible, but becomes stiff and rigid to absorb the force of impact (VPD, d3o)
  • Sweat-wicking liners to prevent chaffing and keep you cool

Need help with AllSportProtection's top-rated selection of roller derby elbow and knee pads and protective gear?

Call and chat with one of our service pros at 800-766-7269. They can help you figure out which piece of roller derby protective gear will suit you best.

Learn more by taking a look at our
Protection Blog.

AllSportProtection carries helmets, protective gear and pads for your elbows, knees and shins. We carry cross sport protection for wakeboard, mountain bike, BMX, ski, snowboard, skateboard, roller derby, snowmobiling, inline skate, and longboard.

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