Best Knee Pads for Football

7 Best Knee Pads for Football for 2024

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During football play, the knees are the most-vulnerable joint on the body. Luckily, modern advancements have delivered newfangled models of supportive and protective pads to keep knees safe and players on the field. With so many options, which knee pads are best for football play?

Here, we present what we think are the 7 best options for knee pads for football for the 2024 season, and years immediately following.

Note that this list excludes knee sleeves; and sleeves or pads designed more for support for other sports, like weightlifting. However, some pads listed below are favored by other sports, but we still think they do a fine job on the gridiron.


Who Needs Special Knee Pads for Football

As stated above, the knee is the most important joint for football players to protect. This joint is designed to move in a single direction, yet the physical blows in football play can knock the knee sideways, brutally twist it, or even bend it backward. Ouch!

So every football player needs knee pads. The thing is, shell-shaped foam pads come with football pants, which have pockets for the white shells to be inserted into. Look at the bulky knees on college players.

We did include the best replacement foam knee pads at the end of our list. However, here we mainly focus on knee pads sought to be either the primary knee protection, so the foam shells are not inserted at all; or, to work underneath the foam shells as a second cushion.

What to Look for in Football Knee Pads

First off, know why you want a knee protected. Is it padding to protect from blows from helmets, shoulder pads, or the ground during hits and tackles? Is it to compress a tender, almost-injured joint to allow play through pain? Is it simply to protect the joint as well as possible, just in case.

Armed with that knowledge, look at these areas on football knee pad models:

Knee Padding

It seems like a “duh” statement, but there are so many different types and thicknesses of knee pads nowadays, this area must be looked at closely. Pay attention to the thickness, or newfangled styles like the hex pattern, or use of a modern squishy gel.


Some football knee pads come in the shape of compression sleeves, and that’s okay, as the more the item touches the skin, the more to hold it in place. However, those who don’t want the extra bulk under the pants may choose to go with shorter pads. For this reason, we in


Most players prefer light, so keep an eye on that, also included below. This has to do with air flow: stretchy, light material keeps knees cooler; but thicker, like those emulating wetsuit rubber, tend to be more protective of the joint.

Knee Cap Covering

These pads protect not just the knee joints, but also the kneecaps, which are super vulnerable in football as they bonk into helmets, shoulder pads, other knees, and more. For players who seem to bruise or break knee bones, look closely at the padding in front.

Slip Resistance

Slipping down is a common challenge for knee pads, so look for hints that there is some type of silicone strip, or special elastic at the edges, to prevent this annoyance.

Our Choices: Best Girdles for Football for 2024 & Beyond

1. Best Knee Pads for Football Overall ~ NEENCA Professional Knee Brace


The superb blend of support, padding, and price point helped propel the NEENCA Professional Knee Brace to the top of our list. Add to it the different strap-on style, and its designation as a Class 1 Medical Device, and you have a top-quality knee brace for football play.

This knee pad can be applied whether the goal is protection, or help with recovery from ongoing pain. Included with the medically related pluses are details for comfort: an open design over the kneecap and behind the knee to avoid sweat accumulation; very soft fabric with plenty of ventilation holes; and a very adjustable system of Velcro straps to address knee or thigh size changes.


  • Weight: n/a
  • Length: 7 inches
  • Material: Blend
  • Style: Strap on
  • Special Feature(s): 4 spring stabilizers to strengthen support from the outer sides; gel padding over kneecap; silicone strips on the interior to prevent slippage

What We Like

  • Well-priced for the protection
  • Backing by professional medical organizations

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2. Best Knee Pads for Football for Padding Design ~ McDavid 6440 Hexpad Knee Pads


This company is a pioneer in the gel pad realm, and we like the McDavid 6440 Hexpad Knee Pads specifically for use on the gridiron. This choice is all about the protection: the pad of many 9mm closed-cell foam hexicons is proven to be effective, and the design is emulated by many other brands.

McDavid adds enough fine details to make this model particularly attractive for football play, including a lightweight nylon material; a decent length so the tops and bottoms help firm the pads in place; and moisture wicking to manage sweating.


  • Weight: 1.4 oz.
  • Length: 8.8 inches
  • Material: Nylon
  • Style: Pull on
  • Special Feature(s): Multi-use, okay over knee, elbow, or shin; moisture management technology

What We Like

  • High-tech hexicon-centric padding
  • Thin profile to easily fit under pants, and pad pocket whether left empty, or filled with regular shell foam pads.

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3. Best Knee Pads for Football for Kneecap Protection ~ PISIOI Compression Collision Avoidance Knee Sleeve


The PISIOI Compression Collision Avoidance Knee Sleeve is named rather sillily. Garments don’t avoid collisions; people do. However, just in case collisions threaten the vulnerable knee cap, this model provides significant protection in our mind.

Old-timers might quickly recognize the small size vertically. This is like the old-fashioned knee pads that fit snugly over the joint and firmly held thick padding over the kneecaps. Only here, it’s pads designed with hex closed-cell technology and made of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). The ultra-high density elastic nylon fabric is plenty comfortable and durable, absorbing sweat well, and the 4-way stretch capability is a nice touch.


  • Weight: 3.5 oz.
  • Length: 7.5 inches
  • Materials: Nylon, Foam, Silicone, Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
  • Style: Slip on
  • Special Feature(s): Hex closed-cell technology; moisture-wicking technology

What We Like

  • Carefully placed gel pad over vulnerable kneecaps
  • Usable in numerous sports

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4. Best Knee Pads for Football for Line Play ~ Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads


That this model tops lists for wrestling knee pads says much about how well it will perform in football interior line play. Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads have perhaps the most user ratings and reviews of any other model on our list, with mostly positive entries, indicating a pretty popular protective device for football play.

You will be hard-pressed to find a main pad thicker than this ~ ⅞ of an inch. It’s made of the EVA material preferred for many sports safety gear today, and we especially like how the exterior is stretchable rubber like a wetsuit. Not only does that help keep the pad in place, it also keeps the knee joint plenty warm, which should help avoid injury.


  • Weight: 5.6 oz.
  • Length: 6.5 inches
  • Materials: EVA, foam, sponge, polyester, Spandex, rubber, nylon
  • Style: Pull on
  • Special Feature(s): Anti-slip grip; thick (nearly an inch) dense foam padding;

What We Like

  • Nice low price
  • Snug, wetsuit-like fit

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5. Best Knee Pads for Football Skill Positions ~ COOLOMG Protective Knee Pads


Football players in what are called “skill positions” ~ quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end ~ might prefer the COOLOMG Protective Knee Pads. That the company markets it as basketball shooter pads gives a hint about how they are expected to perform.

There’s much to like about this model:the pads over the knee caps are a thick gel; lengthy profile to touch more skin holds pads in place well; moisture-wicking to pull sweat away from the skin; high-quality elastic on edges; and a super soft material with an inner sponge layer for pure comfort.


  • Weight: 5 oz.
  • Length: 6.5 inches
  • Materials: 90% polyester, 10% elastane (Spandex)
  • Style: Pull on
  • Special Feature(s): Wave-type silicone anti-slip strip;

What We Like

  • Super stretchy and comfy materials
  • COOLOMG Care Plan to replace problematic items

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6. Best Knee Pads for Football Pants for Youths ~ Schutt Sports Youth Football Knee Pads


Our final couple of recommendations are for those shell-shaped foam pads that slip into the lower pockets of football pants. For youths who need new or replacement pads for the pants, look at the Schutt Sports Youth Football Knee Pads. There are several models to choose from, but we strongly recommend the Schutt option.

The foam is the star attraction here: very impact-resistant, yet durable for a pad that gets sandwiched between sweat and moisture from grass. These pads are well-designed to fit over smaller kneecaps. For any youth sports gear, really, parents can feel comfortable going with Schutt model. That’s our experience.


  • Weight: Fraction of an ounce
  • Length: 6 inches
  • Material: Blend
  • Style: Pocket insert
  • Special Feature(s): Quality foam material; ergonomic shape

What We Like

  • Super light weight for the level of padding and protection
  • Easy fit

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7. Best Knee Pads for Football Pants for Adults ~ Champro Varsity Knee Pad


For adult players, to replace the foam pads for the interior pockets of football pants, we suggest the Champro Varsity Knee Pad. In fact, at this very low price, we recommend getting more than a single pair, to keep in a gear bag to save time replacing worn-out pads.

Nothing fancy about these: they are contoured to shape into a player’s body; made of a nice vinyl foam for cushioning; and they are white just like most interior pants pads. Again, the low price means players should buy in bulk, because in-pants pads can be replaced at any time. Players don’t have to wait until old pads are pancaked.


  • Weight: Fraction of an ounce
  • Length: 6 inches
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Style: Pants pocket insert
  • Special Feature(s): Vinyl coating

What We Like

  • Affordable pricing
  • Trusted brand name

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Related Questions

Question: Can a knee pad be too tight?

Answer: Yes, but it’s better than being too loose. Pull-on knee pads are made of elastic material that can be stretched, either purposely by hand, or over time while wearing. You don’t want to cut circulation, certainly. But knee pads too large are pretty much worthless; they will always slide downward and might not even be in the right place when needed most.

Q.: Do the pockets inside football pants have to be filled?

A.: No, unless a particular league’s rules dictate. Some youth football leagues put it in writing which pads players must have. At the older levels of play, players can and do leave the pockets empty over the knees, mainly to free the range of movement and to reduce weight to increase speed.

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