Depending on where and how you skate, you’ll sometimes need elbow pads. Even more so when you skate vert. Ever heard of swellbows? A swollen elbow is a nasty injury and while take a while to heal, session over.
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Picking The Right Elbow Pads
Know Your Purpose
If you’re cruising the streets, your needs might different from someone hitting the skatepark ramps. Different pads are designed for varying levels of impact, so determine your primary purpose first.
Finding the Right Fit: Size and Comfort
Make sure you get the right size, too tight or too loose can be really annoying. If your pads are too big they’ll start moving around and you’ll run the risk of injuring yourself because the pads are misplaced. Too tight will feel uncomfortable and restrictive, you’ll need to keep your blood circulation flowing.
How Do You Determine the Correct Size? Measure the circumference of your arm just above the elbow. Most brands provide elbow pad size charts.
Should Elbow Pads be Tight? How Tight is Too Tight? Elbow pads should offer a snug fit, almost like a second skin. Elbow pads also need to break in and will feel less restrictive after a while
If they’re causing discomfort, leaving marks, or restricting your blood circulation, they’re too tight. The goal is to have them stay in place during a fall without causing discomfort during regular movement.
The Fitting Test: After securing the straps, move your arm around in various motions mimicking skateboarding movement. If the pad stays in place and feels comfortable, you’ve likely found a good fit. Remember, they should provide security without digging into your skin or limiting your movement too much.
Hard Caps vs. Soft Caps
- Hard Caps: Perfect for tricks and skateparks, they offer the utmost protection against direct impacts.
- Soft Caps: Suitable for light cruising, these offer comfort but might not handle heavier falls.
Secure Your Straps
A good pad is one that stays put. Look for:
- Adjustable straps.
- Durable fastening systems, like Velcro.
- Comfort. Straps shouldn’t dig into your skin.
Breathability for Comfort
Choose pads with breathable materials like mesh or moisture-wicking fabrics to keep the sweat at bay.
Trusted Brands and Reviews
Brands like Triple Eight, Pro-Tec, 187 Killer Pads, and G-Form have built reputations for quality. Also, peer reviews can be golden – see what other skaters are saying.
Price vs. Protection
You can find quality pads without breaking the bank. However, frequent skaters might consider investing in higher-end options for durability and added protection.
Style it Up
Protection first, but who says you can’t look good too? Many brands offer various designs and colors to match your personal style.
Complete Your Protective Gear Set
Remember, safety doesn’t stop at your elbows. Consider wrist guards, knee pads, and a quality skateboard helmet to be fully geared up.
Recommended Elbow Pads
187 (now owned by Triple Eight), TSG, and Protect offer great elbow pads, sure they aren’t the cheapest but they’ll last for many years compared to cheaper pads.
- Hardshell construction
- Eva foam
- Pre-shaped design
- Horseshoe shape
- Pull-over design
They feel more comfortable than most pads and after a while you hardly notice them. You might need to get used to them when you start wearing them because at first they feel really tight.
They need to break in so they can feel a bit tight at first. This will go away and I wouldn’t worry about it unless it feels extremely restrictive.
The pads cover your entire elbow, which means solid protection.
If you’re on a budget go for a combo pack with knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.