In this issue of the Braille Buyer’s Guide will cover everything you need to know about picking out the right safety gear. If you’re looking for information on helmets, we made a whole other blog post specifically on that.

This guide will explain how to select elbow and knee pads, as well as how to choose an appropriate wrist guard. If you’re new to skateboarding, we recommend these in order to stay safe. Wearing safety gear can certainly help give you the confidence you need to land your hardest tricks…FIRST TRY! 

Elbow Pads

If you are new to skateboarding, a good quality pair of elbow pads is recommended. Elbow pads feature a hard plastic shell to protect your elbows from damage. On the inside of the elbow pad is a soft protective cushioning made from dense foam.

Elbow pads are designed to be adjustable, flexible, and non-restrictive. Often times taking a fall while skateboarding will cause you to scrape your elbows. Sometimes these falls can be more severe than a simple elbow scrape, such as slamming an elbow down into the concrete, which certainly is not unheard of in the world of skateboarding.

Broken and or dislocated elbows are NOT something you want to be dealing with, so why not play it safe and slap on a pair of elbow pads? There is no shame in protecting yourself. With your elbows in good health and protected from a quality pair of pads, you’ll be able to confidently learn and perform new tricks.

It’s also worth noting that most pads you’ll be able to buy in a pack, such as the one we sell in our shop below!

Elbow Pads Sizing

Before you go and pick up the first pair of elbow pads you see, it’s important to determine what size of elbow pads you’ll need. To figure out which size elbow pads to buy, measure the circumference of your elbow. You’ll need a soft tape measure to get an accurate measurement. Simply wrap it around the middle of your outstretched arm, right at the elbow.

If your elbow measures between:

  • Under 7″, look for child or junior-sized elbow pads
  • 7-8″, select small-sized elbow pads
  • 9-10″, select medium-sized elbow pads
  • 11-12″, select large elbow pads
  • 13″+, select extra-large elbow pads

If you can’t measure your elbow, you can purchase the elbow pads according to the rider’s weight. Small elbow pads will generally work for anyone under 125 pounds. Medium elbow pads will do the trick if you’re in the 125-150 pound range. Large elbow pads will generally work for those in the 150-180 pound range. If you’re over 180 pounds, extra large elbow pads should work perfectly for you. 

Other than that, ensure the elbow pads are comfortable to wear and not limiting your range of motion. With those elbows protected, you’ll be ready to skate harder than ever!

Knee Pads

Once again, if you’re new to skateboarding, it’s important to stay safe and keep your body in good working order so that you can continue to learn and progress on your skateboard, injury-free!

For this reason, we recommend picking up a pair of knee pads. Knee pads are designed much like the elbow pads. Featuring a hard plastic or foam shell, skateboard knee pads are usually made from a stretchable cloth material that can be worn around your leg at the knee joint. Inside the hard shell of the knee pad, you’ll typically find a dense foam-like cushion to help protect your knee from damage.

Your knees will arguably take the most damage in your skateboarding career from repeatedly absorbing the impacts associated with landing as well as bailing on tricks. For vert skaters, falling onto your knees and sliding on them down large ramps is going to happen all the time.

Knee Pads Sizing

It’s important to protect your knees with a pair of well-fitted knee pads. To determine the appropriate size for your knee pads, you’ll need to measure around your leg directly at the knee joint. Make sure your leg is fully stretched out to get an accurate measurement.  Once again you’ll need a soft measuring tape, or you can mark a piece of string and measure that with a ruler. 

If your knee measures between:

  • under 12″, look for child or junior-sized knee pads
  • 12-14″, select small-sized knee pads
  • 14-16″, select medium-sized knee pads
  • 16-18″, select large knee pads
  • 18″+, select extra-large knee pads

Again, if you can’t measure your knee, you can use the weight technique as described above. Small knee pads will generally work for anyone under 125 pounds. Medium knee pads will do the trick if you’re in the 125-150 pound range. Large knee pads will generally work for those in the 150-180 pound range. If you’re over 180 pounds, extra large knee pads should work perfectly for you.

Other than that, ensure the knee pads are comfortable to wear and not limiting your range of motion. With those knees protected, you’ll be ready to take on some larger obstacles!

Wrist Guards

If you’ve ever broken your wrist before, you know the pain can be pretty intense. The last thing you want is to be in a cast for 6 weeks. Lots of skateboard-related falls cause riders to outstretch their arms and take the brunt of the fall onto their hands. This, of course, can lead to wrist fractures and breaks.

Fall like this enough times and you’ll quickly learn to tuck your arms in and take the fall on your shoulder. If you don’t want to learn the hard way, we don’t blame you! That’s exactly what wrist guards are for. To be fully protected, and protect yourself from injuring your wrists, wrist guards are the way to go!

Wrist guards will help to support and protect your wrist in the event of taking a fall onto your hands. These will help absorb the shock and impact from these types of slams, so just ensure your wrist guards fit properly and you’ll be good to go. Many wrist guards are adjustable, though not all of them will be, so it’s worth knowing how to properly measure your hand to get the best fit possible from your wrist guard.

Measure around your hand with a soft tape measure from the knuckle on your index finger.  You should be measuring around your hand along 4 knuckles. Don’t include your thumb!

If you hand measures:

  • 6-7″ wide, select a small-sized wrist guard
  • 7-7.5″ wide, select a medium-sized wrist guard
  • 7.5-9″ wide, select a large wrist guard
  • 9-11″ wide, select an extra-large wrist guard

If you’re able to try the wrist guard on before your purchase it, this would be the best way to find the perfect fit. Ensure the wrist guard wraps around your wrist easily, and that it fits nice and tight.

Gear up and FULL SEND!

By now you should be able to accurately measure your elbows and knees to find the perfect sized pads, as well as measure your hands for well-fitting wrist guards. From our previous Buyer’s Guide, you should also have selected a great quality skateboarding helmet.

With all of this safety gear, it’s time to put it to the test! The best way to test your gear is to skate your hardest and push your limits. It’s important to realize that skateboarding involves a lot of falling; each fall should teach you something, and after enough lessons you may just be ready to ditch the pads.

Until then, wear your safety gear proudly, skate without fear, and have fun. If you’ve got the equipment now, gear up and full send! Safety always comes first, so picking up all this safety gear will definitely come in handy!

Luckily enough, we have all of this safety gear in the Braille Shop! We only supply high quality gear from brands that we know and trust. Check out our full safety pack below

We want to see what you’re riding! Snap a photo of your setup and pads and tag @brailleskate#brailleskate and #brailleskateboarding. We love to see you guys progressing and pushing yourself to learn more tricks. Keep them coming!

If you’re new to skateboarding and looking to improve your skills, definitely check out Skateboarding Made Simple. It’s the most detailed lesson plan for skateboarding that exists. With 7 different volumes, you’ll go from learning how to ride on a board, to skating skateparks and landing more advanced flatground tricks in no time!

-Written by Joe Kovacs
@joseph.kovacs.skate