4 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.

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.

2.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.

4.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.

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.