How To Wear Volleyball Knee Pads (The Right Way)

If you’ve ever played volleyball, then you know that a game can leave you with red welts in two places on your body – your arms and your knees. And if you’re playing sand volleyball, then you can end up with some serious skinned knee ouchies below the knee area.

Enter the humble set of knee pads.

Sure, they might make you look like a dork, but they’re great at protecting your knees during a rousing game of volleyball….as long as you’re wearing them the right way.

How They Should Fit

The most important thing when it comes to wearing knee pads to play volleyball is that they actually fit you properly.

You don’t want something bulky that will get in the way of your dodges and dives on the court.

Instead, the knee pads should fee snug against your skin and feel like they are going to stay in place as you move around during the game. But you also want to make sure that they’re not too tight to the point of cutting off circulation in the area.

If you notice that the knee pads are pinching the skin behind your knee, then you’ve got a pair that are too tight for you to be wearing in a game.

It’s also a good idea to wear a pair that is made out of a non-abrasive material so that you don’t experience any skin irritation, like chafing, while you are playing the game.

Putting Them On

To put on the knee pads before your next volleyball game, you need to slide each foot into one of them and pull it up your leg.

The large area of padding should be front facing and the stretch bit opposite should be on the back side of your leg.

The knee pads should be worn just slightly below the kneecap or so that they only cover the bottom of the kneecap. So, as you pull them on, this is where you will stop – slightly below the kneecap or just barely covering the bottom of the kneecap.

Why don’t you cover the kneecap with your volleyball knee pads? Because the top of your shin bone is what hits the floor, not your kneecap.

When you have your knee pads on the right way, you’ll have the main padding in the location of just below your kneecap or just covering the bottom of the kneecap.

You should also have some padding on the sides of the knee. If your knee pads do not have side padding, then I highly recommend that you exchange them for a pair that does. This extra protection goes a long way in keeping you injury free.

It’s a good idea to test the placement of your knee pads before you hit the court to play some volleyball. So, pull them on and assume the position on the floor that you normally end up in when you take a dive on your knees.

If you have the on correctly, then the point where your knees make contact with the ground should have the cushioning of the knee pads between your knees and the surface. If not, reposition the knee pads and try again to see if they’re now in the correct place.

Keep this up until you get the placement just right.


Wearing knee pads doesn’t have to be a challenge. As long as you have a proper fit and get them situated in the correct position on your legs, you’re ready to start taking dives.

Once you start wearing your knee pads the right way, you’ll notice that you finish your games with fewer floor burns on your shins. Plus, you’ll also have some protection against more serious injuries.

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3 thoughts on “How To Wear Volleyball Knee Pads (The Right Way)”

  1. May I ask can I use ice skating knee pads instead of actual volleyball knee pads?
    Or do the knee pads have to have cushions?

    1. If you’re playing on a team, then they may require the volleyball ones. Otherwise, I think you’d be fine substituting. If you’ve got a volleyball coach, then I suggest checking in with them.

  2. I would feel a lot more agile on the volleyball court if I knew I could slide on my knees. So I’ll go back to when I wore them in high school on my knees, not my shin. If the pad part is big enough, it will certainly protect your shin bone and that way you get protection for both. If the pad is thin and worn below the kneecap, good luck being able to slide/stay mobile. **** this pseudoscientific post modern philosophy of what bone hits first.

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