8 Best Skateboard Elbow Pads for Adults & Kids in 2020
I only recently bought my first pair of elbow pads and I’ve been skating for years. What took me so long you ask? Stubbornness …Yes, I didn’t think they were necessary. But after falling over and over, landing on my elbows and getting more scrapes than I can remember, I finally caved in. (I actually wished I had made this decision much earlier.) In today’s article, I’ll go over the best elbow pads you can get to fit your needs. I’ll introduce you to the different types available and after reading this you’ll be able to get what works for you.
8. Triple 8 covert pads
Another low profile elbow pad. These are small, cheap and don’t offer that much protection. That said, they would be useful for a kid, if you don’t fall on your elbows that much, or just need an elbow pad to satisfy some rules.
The Covert Pads come as a sleeve and have been made from an elastic material that stretches to fit your arm. Even though they go over your arm, they are non-restrictive and don’t get in the way of your movement. Because of this, they are often the choice for skaters who hate pads or dislike how bulky pads constrict the arm.
Finally, they have a thin layer of EVA padding for impact absorption. This layer is too thin to absorb all the impact force, so you’ll feel it when you land on your elbow.
The above said these pads are good for the price. So if you need something low profile and budget-friendly, you can’t go wrong with these. That said, the impact and abrasion protection aren’t great. But if you don’t fall often, you could get away with it. Find out more about these pads here on Amazon.com.
7. POC Joint VPD 2.0 Elbow
Designed originally for mountain biking, these might be a bit overkill for skateboarding. But this is a good thing if you want to be well protected.
The pad doesn’t have an outer shell. It won’t protect from abrasion (sliding your elbow across the pavement), but it will protect against impacts well.
It’s made to be light-duty, have great flexibility, and be breathable. It has a non-slip strap on the bottom to keep the pad from shifting and it also has anti-slip material on the inside too.
To absorb impacts, it uses a lightweight VPD compound. This compound hardens on impact (similar to the G-forms) and takes on all the energy from the fall – keeping your elbow bruise-free. These can take huge impacts and leave your arms unscathed.
Whilst pretty good, these might be overkill for skating, especially when you consider the price. That said, they will be good for roller derby, vert skating, and trick skating. A big advantage they have is breathability, beating even the G-forms in this. So whilst expensive, they’re great for that. Check out the POC Elbow pads here on Amazon.com.
6. Smith Scabs Elite Elbow pads
These pads should fit well for adults. They are a more expensive option than the other ones on our list but are built to be more comfortable, durable, and ergonomic. They would be a good alternative to the Killer 187 pads above.
It has an ergonomic design – this means the shape of the pads is contoured towards a bent position. This looks kind of weird but makes sense when worn. That said, they don’t force the elbow into a bent position and allow for a lot of movement. Some riders even say they fit better than the 187 pads.
It has a special foam that absorbs impacts when you fall. Similar to what EVA foam does in the pads above.
They have an inner liner which you slide over your arm. It’s made from a softer material, which makes them more comfortable than other pads. It also means the straps and velcro won’t scratch up your arms – however, the pads will build up heat quicker.
They have nice designs. From plain blue, black, to more adventurous designs like the leopard print. The leopard print options have a softer material on the outside – this might be nice if you want a bit more comfort. Check out the Scabs here on Amazon.com.
5. Triple 8 EP 55
The Triple 8 EP 55 pads are affordable options for riders of all ages. Adults and kids alike can get pads that will fit them. They are slightly cheaper than the Protect pads above and would make good alternative options for them.
The EP 55 is made from a combination of materials – nylon, polypropylene plastic, polyester, and elastic material. They have a lycra sleeve which allows for breathability, letting moisture and heat out. It has a high-density plastic cap which is reinforced to the pad with rivets.
For shock absorption, they have EVA foam to reduce the impact when you fall. If you do fall over, and land outside the plastic cap, the nylon takes the brunt off the force and protects your skin. It should also protect from any abrasion. The nylon used is tough and should withstand most impacts and scrapes. It will wear over time though.
The strap at the back is quite simple. There are two of them, secured by velcro. They are easy to tighten. That said, they may be a bit uncomfortable and scratch your arms occasionally. The lower strap is slightly longer than it needs to be and sometimes dangles which might be annoying for some riders. Check out the EP 55 here on Amazon.com.
4. Pro-Tec Elbow Pad
Another reputable brand. The Pro-tec elbow pad approaches elbow protection about the same as the 187 Killer pads. They are probably the best skateboard elbow pads if you factor in cost.It has hard plastic ABS cups riveted to the pad for protection and soft EVA foam to absorb impacts from falls. It also uses ballistic nylon like the 187 pads for its abrasion and tear resistant properties. Finally, lycra is used for its flexibility.
Breathable materials are used so you will be cool throughout the time you use these. Really helps with maintaining the pad and keeping them bacteria free. However, this material isn’t as durable. I do recommend this if you’re going to use them in a hot climate. They are great for roller derby, vert, street and park skating, you can even use them if you scooter too. These pads are affordable and you will get good value for your money, you can check out their price on Amazon.com. If you’re on a tight budget they are the ones for you, I also recommend them to beginners.
3. G-Form Pro-X Elbow Pads
The lowest profile and flexible elbow pad on my list. The G-Form elbow pads use a proprietary foam technology in their pads. The foam used absorbs up to 90% of the impact, it is flexible when resting but stiffens during impact to absorb force, similar to the D3o technology used in some of the best padded shorts. Their price is also reflective of this technology.
These pads are basically ‘sleeve’s’ you put over your elbows. They are so lightweight and low profile you can wear them under your clothes and even forget you are wearing pads. They don’t restrict your movement at all, which is great for skateboard elbow pads.
They use breathable material so you can comfortable sweat through them and wear it in hot climates. This also makes them easy to wash and dry.However, some heavier riders complain that they don’t work well for them. The pads don’t absorb enough of the impact that comes with having more weight. Lighter riders like kids will absolutely love these though. They aren’t bulky and cumbersome like the other pads.
Since they don’t have a plastic shell you can’t slide on them and they will likely rip if you use them on tarmac. You can take a good look at them and their design on Amazon.com. If you are skating on tarmac take a look at the hard shell option like the 187 pro.
2. JBM International Elbow pads
The most affordable option on my list. These come with the basics, tough ABS mold injected plates, riveted to a polyester sleeve, with EVA foam pads to absorb impacts from falls. They are comfortable, durable and lightweight but are not very breathable as they are advertised to be. They will absorb a lot of sweat after a session, so it’s recommended you hang them to dry or wash them all together.
These come in different colors so you can personalize and have a set that matches your personal color scheme. However, the plastic cap doesn’t have the most stylish design and looks kind of cheap. However, if you fall hard enough, the plastic shells can crack on impact. They will protect you up till then but the pads will be useless after – perhaps you can use the pads without the shell but it won’t protect you as well.
These are the best pads but the quality is a reflection of what you pay. If you’re on a tight budget and needs some pads urgently, I recommend them and you can check out their price on Amazon.com. But if you can save up a bit more pads like the Pro-tec would suit you better.
1. 187 Killer Elbow Pads
The bad boys of the industry. These elbow pads come from a brand that produces top quality safety gear. These elbow pads come with a hard plastic cap riveted to it with ballistic nylon as the primary material. They have a slim low profile and flexible fit. This is an important quality as it’s hard to come by in pads that have hard plastic caps. It also has a streamlined, contoured shape to increase mobility. This shape adds comfort and helps hold the elbow in place.
These are more appropriate for indoor skating, roller derby, and street and bowl skating. It is the most appropriate option for downhill skating because it uses the toughest ballistic nylon compared to the other pads. They are a bit pricey. If you want a more affordable option, the Pro-tec pads are a good option.
Given that it is also so snug, there might be issues with ventilation and you could get really hot and sweaty in the – meaning you’ll have to wash after every session if you want clean pads each time you wear them. You can find out more about these pads on Amazon.com.
What do you need to know about elbow pads?
Are elbow pads essential and at what age?
For beginners, elbow pads are critical. I can’t tell you how many elbow injuries I have seen my friends avoid simply because of wearing elbow pads. Or even the amount of injuries I would have avoided if I had simply worn some. For kids, they are even more important. As adults, we have developed our brains and have better hand-eye coordination and faster reflexes than most kids. We can probably see most falls coming and avoid them, but we will still get sometimes. Kids don’t have these skills or relevant experiences so they are learning from the ground up and are more vulnerable.
Teenagers and those older than 16 should use them but can get away with it if they are advanced riders.
In which disciplines is have elbow pads most critical?
I would say they are critical in all types of skateboarding. They are useful in rollerblading, downhill skating, park skating, street skating etc. I could go as far as to also say they are supercritical in vert skating and roller derby because even pro’s wear them on a regular basis.
In general, it’s better to have prevention than the cure … and the cure here is to simply stop skating which I’m sure no one wants to do.
What’s the best option for kids?
The G-forms are definitely the best elbow pads for kids, they address the reasons why most kids don’t want to wear pads at all. Most pads are bulky, look uncool, are sometimes uncomfortable to wear and don’t have great designs. G-forms are stylish looking, can be fit under clothes, are super comfortable to wear and don’t restrict your movement at all. You could even forget that you’re wearing them at all.
Other protection gear
If you don’t have one, I recommend that you get a helmet. Longboarding helmets are a bit different (they can also be used for skateboards, cycling and roller sports). Compared to elbow pads, helmets are only one-use and should be thrown away/replaced once they take a hard hit.
You should also get knee pads. I have a previously made a guide on the best knee protection gear you can get, featuring many of the brands you’ve seen on this list.
I also highly recommend it for beginners and even advanced riders looking to push their skills to the next level.
Save your elbows! Buy an elbow pad
So which elbow pad will pick? Getting elbow pads (in general all the protection gear relevant to you) is one of the best things you can do. You stop worrying about falling and you can focus 100% on the task at hand – skating, having fun and getting good. That’s the importance of gear if you give you a confidence boost and clears your mind of most worries.
If you are undecided, I highly recommend the Pro-tec elbow pads. You get loads of value for your money and can afford their cost even on a tight budget. For kids, definitely the G-form or Pro-tec. If you got the money, the Killer 187 pro is the best to get.