Knee Pads for Ice Skating - my home-brew solution

Crash pads designed for inline skaters must endure abrasion as well as impact. On ice, abrasion is greatly reduced, and inline pads are lumpy overkill.

My approach is simple - buy Ace brand neoprene knee supports, and stuff a piece of 1/2" high-density polyethylene foam (HDPE) into the knee area.

I purchased the Ace neoprene knee supports at a drug store, and the HDPE pads came as shipping padding for some long-forgotten product. Don't confuse the HDPE foam with more common expanded polystyrene foam.


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The neoprene sponge rubber looks to be about 1/8" thick. It is absorbent and wicks water - so much so that perspiration wicks through to my trouser to wet the knee a bit after a vigorous skating session. This little bit of padding alone reduces pain for many falls and is all but invisible under clothing.

The pads (one of which is shown below) together with the Ace knee supports eliminated any pain from any fall I have taken since I began using them. I stuff these into the front knee area when working high-risk elements (jumps, etc.)

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The pads that I stuff into the knee area are comprised of 1/2" thick rectangles of High Density Polyethylene Foam (HDPE). Don't confuse this tough HDPE material with brittle and non-flexible polystyrene foam - by far the most common stuff used in shipping consumer goods like coffee cups.

Sometimes when practicing moves that I know well and the risk is low for a fall, I will not use the HDPE pads in front of the knee. However when doing risky things, I always use them for the extra protection.

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Hey, not bad for 53 year-old legs! The picture above shows the Ace knee support stretched over the knee and HDPE pad stuffed into the front. It's still low profile, and not noticeable under my trousers. With tights, it might show a little, but it sure saves knees during falls. They have been a real confidence builder for me.

Bill Schneider

UPDATE 2008:

I now use Dow "Sill Seal" polyethylene foam pads cut from a roll I purchased from Lowe's hardware. I couldn't find many places with the desired 1/2" thick pads. The blue foam is thinner, but I can double it over if I need the extra protection. Here's what a roll looks like...

That should last me for a while.

Bill Schneider

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