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It can be tough to find the right size volleyball knee pads. We’re tall, we have thick legs, and it seems like no matter what we try on it’s either too short or not big enough.
So, what are the best volleyball knee pads for big legs and thick thighs? The best volleyball knee pads for big legs and thick thighs are the Mizuno LR6 Kneepads for their modular cushioning, comfort, and accommodating size options. While other brands may have larger sizes, the functionality and protection offered by these make them the optimal choice for most players with bigger legs.
Not using knee pads – or using the wrong size, or ones with insufficient padding – can negatively impact your experience playing volleyball. This can lead to bruising, friction burns from diving, and I know at least one case of a fractured knee which ended up needing electrotherapy through the kneecap to treat.
Simply put, bigger legs need better cushioning.
In this article, I’ll discuss:
- Three of the best knee pads for bigger legs
- How to understand sizing
- Different features to accommodate different needs
3 Factors to Consider When Buying Knee Pads
1. Size Difference
Although limited, volleyball knee pads usually have different sizes to choose from, typically small, medium, or large, but some brands provide fittings through XL. There is a lot of leeway when it comes to sizing, but with proper care your knee pads will last you years.
Some brands – like Mizuno – are designed to cover a much broader range of leg sizes and shapes than others.
2. Comfort and Tightness
Your knee pads should fit snugly but not be uncomfortable while being worn. Ideally, they should be tight enough to prevent your knee pads from slipping below your knee while playing to avoid exposing your skin while diving.
Something important to keep in mind when buying knee pads, is to find a product that will not chafe or irritate the back of your knee when you move. This can be a sign that your knee pads are too small, or even that the materials themselves aren’t ideal for volleyball.
3. Measuring Knee Size
The best way to measure your knee size is to us a tailor’s tape and find the measurements around, on top, and below your knee. These three measurements are important because they will help inform you while you search, and while some knee pads may be perfect in one place while others won’t stretch properly while moving or bending. After all, everyone’s legs are different!
It’s worth noting that most players just pick a size and guess. For instance, I was a large in high school but found my pads to be slipping too much, so switched to a medium when I entered university. Since knee pads aren’t really that expensive, it’s perfectly fine to just take your best guess, and with bigger legs you’ll naturally size up anyway.
As long as your knee pads are comfortable, don’t slip down your legs, and don’t chafe the back of your knee or any other part of your skin, you should be good to go!
3 Best Volleyball Knee Pads For Big Legs and Thick Thighs
The three best volleyball knee pads for big legs and thick thighs are:
- Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Kneepads
- Nike Streak Volleyball Kneepads
- HUEGLO Protective Knee Pads
Excellent modular cushioning, comfort, and accommodating size options.New: $31.94
The best volleyball knee pads for big legs and thick thighs overall are the Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Kneepads for their modular cushioning, comfort, and accommodating size options.
I’ve been using the Mizuno LR6 knee pads for years and love them. It’s common for more advanced players to use sleeve knee pads like the Mizuno Ventus pads because they don’t slip as easily and have more comprehensive protection, but I’ve found that the sleeve style is less forgiving on bigger legs and can be a struggle to take on and off. Even worse, some of my friends said it restricted their blood flow.
The Mizuno LR6 pads don’t need to worry about this thanks to their simple design build around the pads themselves. True, this won’t give you as much protection as a sleeve-style knee pad, but it will be much more comfortable and provides much better airflow to ensure the backs of your knees don’t get (that) sweaty.
The modular cushioning in these pads is great, with specific protection for all areas of the knee, including the patella. The VS-1 padding is pretty tough too, and will give you all the cushioning you need.
Additionally, the design was influenced by Mizuno’s DynaMotion Fit, which uses 3DCG research to create patterns for improved movement and functionality while being worn, meaning maximum comfort with minimum slippage.
The one thing to look out for with these is the sizes. While the largest size “L” should be elastic enough to accommodate most big legs and thicker thighs comfortably, it might feel a bit tight or uncomfortable for the first week being used. After this, they should have molded to your legs and feel natural to wear, but if they don’t I recommend trying a different option.
- Modular cushioning
- VS-1 padding
- Dynamotion fit (adapts to your leg)
- Limited sizes
Known for their wide size range, including sizes up to “XXL”.New: $22.60
The Nike Streak Volleyball Kneepads are known for their wide size range, including sizes up to “XXL”, and their thick padding to provide maximum protection when hitting the floor.
The Nike Streak knee pads are a fantastic option for players with big legs and thick thighs because of their accommodation of many sizes above other brands. Although more complicated to choose from, requiring a bit of measuring, this gives you the freedom to choose the perfect size every time.
The thick padding is divided into three: a primary pad that encloses the entire kneecap, and two thin side pads to support against knocks from the side. This means that no matter where your knee hits the floor, it will be protected.
I would recommend these pads for any player who is worried about sizing from other brands, or who has found the padding in competing knee pads to be insufficient. It’s definitely one of the worst feelings when you get new pads and test them out, only to find that they feel just like thin fabric between you and the floor. But never fear, the Nike Streaks have got you covered.’
These are also excellent knee pads for beginners of all sizes. The lack of modular cushioning means a less streamlined, targeted protection, but more forgiveness when you don’t have the best technique. All in all, a great choice.
- Wide range of sizes (up to “XXL”)
- Thick padding
- Good for players of all experience
- Can be pricey
Known for their adjustable straps which allow players to attach the pads directly onto their knee.New: $12.99
The HUEGLO Protective Knee Pads are known for their adjustable straps which allow players to attach the pads directly onto their knee and avoid having to work them over their calves.
The fact is, sometimes traditional knee pads aren’t the most comfortable or convenient to put on, especially with bigger legs. Even if the pads are perfectly sized for your knees, sometimes it’s hard to work them over your calves. Or, maybe you prefer the flexibility of putting your pads on if you need them, without having to remove your shoes. Either way, this are the knee pads for you.
The HUEGLO knee pads are made of high quality neoprene, with the cushioning coming from expended polyethylene. While not as conventional as true volleyball branded knee pads, these fulfill the same function and provide a non-slip grip for your legs while offering a non-friction surface for diving and falling on the exterior, preventing tears.
It’s worth noting, however, that since the straps are made of thick mesh, they won’t be as durable as other options might be, and things may become caught in it.
The HUEGLO knee pads size up to “XL”, but the great thing about this option is that the straps can be adjusted to fit even bigger, at a stretch. While they won’t be as secure as the ideal sizing, these knee pads provide enough flexibility that even players who find it impossible to secure the right size of knee pad can make these work. Definitely a great option to keep in mind.
- Adjustable straps
- Size up to “XL”
- Good cushioning
- Straps made of thick mesh
- Not as durable as competitors
The best volleyball knee pads for big legs and thick thighs are the Mizuno LR6 Kneepads for their modular cushioning, comfort, and accommodating size options. While other brands of knee pads may have larger sizes, the functionality and protection offered by these make them the optimal choice for most players with bigger legs.
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About The Author
Ailan Samuel is a writer and athlete who has played volleyball at the university, club, and national level since 2012. He has competed successfully in both beach and indoor competitions, resulting in four silver and two gold medals, and was awarded the Half-Blue while playing in Scotland. He received his MA in English and Medieval History from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and is currently studying for his MA in Publishing and Creative Writing at Bournemouth University.