When you train Jiu Jitsu, your body will take a beating. You’re going to do everything from mess up your fingers, get bumps and bruises, and definitely hurt your joints. One of your joints that Jiu Jitsu may take the biggest toll on is your knees.
That is really why you need to know a thing or two about grappling knee pads. Because one day, you may come up limp after a roll and going to need to protect your injury.
Keep reading below as we cover everything you need to know about protective knee pads for BJJ. This guide will explain the different types, what the best materials are, and how to wear them correctly. Then we’ll give you a definitive list of the best BJJ knee pads available and what makes them so great.
Knee Injuries in BJJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, grappling martial arts can really take a toll on your knees. Anything from drilling takedowns, a submission (kneebars/heel hooks), or taking sharp angles against the natural motion of your knee.
Doing any of these things can lead to hyper extensions, strains, or worse torn tendons. Depending on the severity of the tear you could miss a week to a year of training and need rehab.
When you get back on the mat, your knee will need extra support to be able to train semi normal. At least with little to no pain and that's why you need to consider using some kind of knee guard protection such as knee pads.
The Importance of Wearing Knee Pads for BJJ
As mentioned above, BJJ can take a toll on your knees and this shows the importance of wearing some type of knee pads for Jiu Jitsu. They won’t 100% prevent an injury, but they will definitely help in not getting one. Having that extra support will help give your knee better protection and be able to train.
Also if you are just starting your Jiu Jitsu training and have had prior knee injury definitely buy a knee pad. The mix of a prior injury and your legs not being conditioned for the training could result in another injury. This is why you need protection for your knees.
What are the Different Types of Knee Pads?
There are numerous types of knee pads that are designed to provide different types of support for your knees depending on what you need.
Some different types include:
- Cloth Sleeves
- Compression sleeves
- Brace Sleeves
It is very common for grapplers to wear these types of supports for Jiu Jitsu training. Depending on what you need, these supporters offer lateral support, holding your knee in place, and extra padding for wrestling shots.
How to Choose the Right BJJ Knee Pads & Things to Consider
You need to choose the type of grappling knee pads based on what you need. Choose your support based on their material, thickness, length, brand, and their weight.
Some common materials used in BJJ knee pads include:
- Polyester Foam
- Neoprene Foam
- Moisture Wicking Fabric
Which Material is best?
The best knee pads are ones that are made of neoprene or lycra spandex. These types are among the most comfortable and flexible materials used in knee pads.
They are also some of the most durable materials that companies use in their products. We recommend choosing supports with these types of material over the more common polyester cloth knee pads/wraps. Polyester foam and polyurethane are cheaper and also less durable.
You want to purchase your knee pads from a brand that is known for making their products with high grade material. If you buy from a brand like Venum or Asics, you know you’ll get a return on your investment. They are well made and should last you a long time without having to buy more.
Don’t settle for a cheap no name brand that is made of poor materials that provide no support. They’ll tear or wear out in less than a year and you’ll have to buy more.
Buy in Pairs
Also try to buy a pair of knee pads for both knees. You might only have one injured knee, but it’s a good idea to have extra. Just in case you hurt the other knee or need support for both.
How to Wear Knee Pads Correctly
Depending on the type of supports you have, there are certain ways to wear each.
With compression sleeves or pads it is pretty straight forward. They have a front and a back and most companies have a tag in the back to tell sides apart. Wear this type with the top at the bottom of your thigh and bottom right at where your knee ends.
Watch this video for how to properly put compression sleeves on:
Braces are a little more intricate than sleeves. Most braces have a center hole to hold your patella in place with a strap up and below it. Tighten your straps to the point where your knee stays in place and you can move comfortably. Don’t strap it too tight to where it limits your movement and cuts off circulation.
Watch this video for how to properly wear a brace:
People don’t just use knee wraps for weight training, but also for BJJ and other martial arts. The process is similar to how you wrap your hands for MMA or boxing and there are various methods. Start either at the top or bottom of your knee and wrap around evenly and comfortably.
Watch this video for how to wrap your knees:
The 7 Best BJJ Knee Pads
Now that you know more about Jiu Jitsu knee pads/sleeves, you’re ready to make a purchase. Here are some of the best BJJ knee pads available.
- Known brand
- Made with Lycra
- Provides lateral support
- Comfortable fit
- Absorbent material
- 7 design choices
If you’re looking for a knee pad made by one of the best combat sports companies on the planet this is it. Venum made these joint supporters with great materials and precise detail that you’d expect from them.
This BJJ knee pad has great padding which has been designed to wrap around anatomy giving protection to your whole knee . The padding also provides high impact absorption and really good lateral support to help you feel no pain during BJJ training. It's slim fitting and very comfortable.
It was also designed with air-vent holes to provide breathability and allow sweat to dry faster. This is thanks to the inner-terry loop fabric they added to provide optimum absorption.
This knee pad is made with some of the best materials available and is built to last. Venum is known for quality, so definitely check this one out.
- Best selling wrestling knee-pad
- Patented ergonomic construction
- Anatomical compression
- High impact compression
- Excellent fit
- Machine washable
Cliff Keen knee pads are among the most used in amateur wrestling and are now being used more in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They offer great protection no matter what type of grappling you are doing.
These come with their patented molded bubble on the knee cap to ensure high impact protection when shooting for takedowns. This mixed with the supporter’s patented ergonomic construction and anatomical compression provides you with an excellent fit.
Of course, these are also machine washable and it’s no problem if you put them in the dryer. Just no heat drying or you may shrink or damage the material.
Cliff Keen makes these protective knee pad(s) in 4 different colors. So choose which you like the most and have solid protection for your knees.
- Made for men and women
- Brace and compression sleeve
- 2 pack
- Great price
- Reduces stress and swelling
- Spiral elastic weaving
- Comfortable fitting
- Good for all sports
On our list, you aren’t going to find a better deal than this one here. The company Sable makes a fantastic 2 in brace and compression sleeve that is both for men and women. It seems like a basic close sleeve, but it is so much more than that.
These knee sleeves offer the support of a high end supporter, while light on the price. Sable designed this to offer wide coverage throughout your knee giving you full protection and comfort at the same time.
They used a durable spiral elastic weaving material to construct this band/sleeve, so that it will last. Also this is not only good to use for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling, but also for most sports.
- Good for arthritis, tendonitis, and patella alignment
- 2 different types(light support/moderate support)
- Increase muscle productivity
- Good for multiple sports
Shock doctor is known for making quality mouthguards, but they also make a good compression sleeve. They offer a top of the line knee pad available in 2 different types.
They offer this pad in light support and moderate support. The sleeve with moderate support is the same material, but extra gel paced around the knee cap. If you have knee problems, but like to shoot in for takedowns this would be the type you need.
The designers at Shock Doctor made this sleeve with elastic knit neoprene material. Meaning it will contour to your knee, while still being comfortable and quick drying.
This compression sleeve will offer decent support and prevent knee injuries for you to keep training.
- Elastic wraps
- Loop and wrap design
- 2 pair
- Offers stabilization and support
This is supposed to be a list of the best BJJ knee pads, but wraps are also used in BJJ training. Many that lift heavy weight may prefer to use wraps in BJJ training to protect their knees.
These are some durable wraps you can either use for weightlifting or grappling. They made this with a strong hook and loop closer. Using heavy duty elastic to make these wraps. The best part is you get 2 wraps for the price of 1.
Meister MMA makes some great products and is a one stop shop for everything you need for combat sports. These wraps will give you optimal protection and stability for your knees.
- Perfect fitting
- Reduces pain
- Improved circulation
- Constructed by doctors
- Good for multi sports
SB Sox offers one of the best fitting sleeves/braces on the market. It may not seem like much, but a lot went into making these compression braces. They were designed by doctors in sports medicine to look minimal, while giving you a lot.
You’re getting premium support, compression, and stabilization with this compression brace. A fantastic choice to give your knees protection for BJJ training. Among the best knee pads for BJJ.
- Improves Circulation
- Sleeve and brace in one
- Air knit fabric
- Premium stabilization
- Engineered in Germany
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
Bauerfeind may just be some of the best BJJ knee pads ever made. They were created in Germany by some of the best engineers in the sports medicine field. Offering some of the best technologically advanced sleeves/braces on the market.
You get the support of a brace in a compression sleeve with better comfort for your knees. It improves on traditional braces with straps that can restrict movement and cut off circulation.
The air knit fabric Bauerfeind used is superior to what 99% of the other companies use. It offers premium stabilization, improves circulation, promotes muscle generation, while being quick drying and super comfortable.
They have full confidence that this is the best brace sleeve on the market. Backing it with a 100% satisfaction guarantee that if you aren’t satisfied in 30 days, you get a full refund.
Which are the best?
Of the seven BJJ knee pads we listed our choice for the best knee pad is the Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support. Of each knee pad we listed, there is not one more advanced in technology or offering more than this one.
You’re getting the best technologically advanced BJJ pads on the market today. It is so comfortable that it doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing a pad. All while improving stability, improving circulation, ultimate protection from injuries, and helping promote muscle generation
These are a few of the reasons why they were our choice for the best BJJ knee pads. When you’re rolling you need to have maximum protection while being completely comfortable and be able to move without restrictions.
If you are in need of new BJJ knee pad(s), then please consider the ones we have listed above. You’ll be able to train BJJ comfortably and have protection thanks to some of the best knee pads on the market today.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Type of Knee Pads Should I Choose?
Choose a type that is specifically made for BJJ and MMA training. Buying a support that is made for something like biking or basketball is not going to give you the same protection. If it doesn’t say good for Jiu Jitsu or grappling in the description it’s not the right knee pads for you.
Also do not choose a knee pad with a metal bar inside the brace. Those types are not allowed in Jiu Jitsu training and will hurt you or your partner.
2. How Do I Maintain and Clean My Knee Pads?
You can wash your knee pads just like all of your other clothes in a washing machine. They should be fine in a dryer, but if you don’t want to risk shrinkage, then air dry your knee pads. Don’t just use anti bacterial spray, because that doesn’t clean them.
3. How Long Does it Take to Get Used to Wearing Knee Pads for BJJ/Grappling?
Everybody is different in regards to this. Some people absolutely hate wearing knee pads and others swear by them and won’t train without them. At first it may feel weird with extra material on you, but you’ll get used to it. We believe that after a few sessions of wearing them, you will start to barely notice a difference. Also if you are having pain from an injury, you won’t mind a little discomfort if you can train again.
4. How Long do BJJ Knee Pads Last?
Typically if you take care of your pads and thoroughly clean them after every use, they can last years. It will also depend on if they’re low end or high end. You might get about a year out of cheap ones made of polyurethane. More expensive types made of lycra will last you years.