Finding a good pair of knee pads is a lot like shopping for jeans. It’s a pain in the ass. You want something that fits your unique needs (or knee brace…), lasts more than a few months, protects like a pillow but has the low profile of a gasket, and doesn’t slip and slide all over the place as it breaks in. I have been skating for 5 years and have had Target knee pads (fail), 187 Pros (bought them too big), Scabs (cracked the cap), Rector Fatboys (hurt my knees when I fell), Destroyers (fell apart), and finally came back to a smaller pair of 187 Pros. While I like the protection on these, they are bulky as shit, and they inevitably slip a few times each practice. I’ve luckily never had a major knee injury, but I’ve had my share of bone bruises which sucked more than enough, so keeping my knees safe is a priority.
My teammate has had nothing but knee injuries, and has gone through 6 pairs of knee pads in 2 years. She wears a brace on one knee and a gasket on the other. I tapped her as my assistant when reviewing these new kneepads.
Demon is a company that has been making snow sport gear since 1999. They recently got into the derby business I managed to get my hands on a pair of their new derby knee pads. You can see the video and read up on the technology here: http://www.demonsnow.com/store/Demon%20skate%20knee%20X%20D3O, so I won’t bore you by regurgitating it.
These are awesome.
Right out of the package they fit like a glove, all nice and broken in feeling. I really like the butterfly closures in the back, they had more stretch to them than most, so I was able to get a good fit. These pads also have extra velcro that goes around a bit further than others, so as they stretch you can adjust the fit. I have a 20 inch thigh (all muscle, people.) and the medium fit great.
These are much lower profile than my 187s. So much so that I was a little afraid to fall on them. Which lasted about 5 minutes into the warm up when I promptly forgot about my gear and started focusing on the people trying to hit me. I went an entire practice with these on, and from the scrimmage drills to the knee fall drills I didn’t feel a thing. And I weight about 170, so that’s saying something.
As impressed as I was with these, I wanted the opinion of someone with Issues, so I let my teammate wear them during team scrimmage. She would need to go up a size to accommodate her knee brace, but there were enough straps that even the medium fit pretty well. She experienced no sliding, no pain, only one instance where the cap came off during a jam. But a) it was the same cap I had taken off to show her the padding underneath and I only *think* I put it on firmly afterwards and b) she was in a pileup and is pretty sure someone’s gear caught on it. Nonetheless I informed the company that more velcro may be good and they were happy for the feedback. I didn’t have any problems prior or following that.
Sadly, after the scrimmage I ended up taking them back, and my teammate fell on her old kneepads and hurt her knee at the next practice. I ended up lending these back to her until the ones she ordered arrive. I can’t wait to get them back.
These are more expensive than most knee pads but still cheaper than Pro Designs, so if you are having Issues and want solid protection, comfort, and a lower profile you should definitely check these out. They are coming out with wrist guards with a Kevlar shank too, more on those later.