Have you ever had kneepads that just didn’t work for you? Then you know how your knees feel at the end of a hard day’s work. In this article we would like to give you some tips on how you can pick the perfect pair of kneepads and experience optimal knee protection.
Save your knees for when the work is done
When it comes to knee protection there are a few different factors that come into play. We will help you choose by explaining the way a good kneepad should fit, what kneepads are suitable for the work you do and how different features of the kneepad influence the level of protection. We will also give you some pointers regarding the care and lifespan of your kneepads.
The perfect fit for your knees
A kneepad can be the best on the market, but without a good fit it won’t protect your knees properly. So what makes your kneepads fit perfectly?
Although often overlooked, one of the most important aspects of perfectly fitting kneepads, is the size of your work trousers. If the legs of your trousers are too long or too short your kneepad pockets won’t be in the right position. So when you put a kneepad inside the pocket this will be too high or too low to offer proper protection. Get the size of your trousers right to improve your knee protection.
Not only size matters. The cut of your work trousers matters as well. When you kneel in straight leg trousers the fabric on the knee often moves to the sides. So when you put a kneepad into the mix, this too will move to the side. What you are looking for is a pair of trousers with Twisted Leg design. This type of cut will keep your knee pad pocket on the right spot when kneeling and therefore improve protection.
A good kneepad will stay in place both when you are kneeling and when you stand up again. Kneepads that slide around in your kneepad pocket can cause immediate and long term injury, if your knee slides off the zone with most protection. One of the easiest ways to improve your level of protection is to secure the kneepad in the right position. The KneeGuard system helps you with that and allows you to fix the kneepad in different positions.
The design of the kneepad has a big effect on how well it fits. It should not only protect the kneecap, but the surrounding areas as well. A well designed kneepad will close around the sides of your knee and prevent your knee from sliding off the pad.
Checklist for achieving the perfect fit
- If you notice you have to pull or tug on your trouser leg to move the kneepad to the right position it is an indication that either the size of your trousers is not quite right or that the kneepad needs to be in a different position.
- When you try on a new pair of trousers, don’t just try them standing up. Make sure you kneel as well to see how the knee pad pockets align.
- Make sure the kneepads you choose are designed for the pair of trousers you wear. Not all kneepads can be used in all kneepad pockets. Mixing and matching different brands can affect the level of protection.
What kind of kneepads do you need for the work you do?
If you are a floorlayer anyone can understand you need a lot of knee protection. But what level of protection do you need when you are not? How do you pick the right kneepads? When it comes to choosing the right type of kneepads, two aspects of your work are especially important; the number of times per day you kneel/get up and the amount of time you spend working on your knees.
Do you work inside most of the time and occasionally kneel down? Then a light and flexible kneepad is the way to go. A light kneepad won’t bother you when you’re working, but it will offer some protection when you kneel every once in a while. A type 2, level 0 will be sufficient for you. In all work where you kneel down more than this, you should consider getting a kneepad that offers more protection.
When you kneel more than occasionally but don’t spend a lot of time on your knees, you are probable good with a pair of all-round kneepads. They will offer the protection you need (look for type 2, level 1), but they are not made for heavy usage. They are generally fairly flexible, thus allowing you to keep working in comfort when you are not kneeling.
When you get up and kneel a lot throughout the day and are on your knees for long periods at a time you need some heavy-duty kneepads. In this case impact protection is the most important, since your knees take a real beating when you kneel over and over again. Look for kneepads with innovative shock absorbing qualities.
When you work very long periods of time on your knees but don’t get up that much (like floorlayers) you need a kneepad that stays in place all day and offers the maximum amount of cushioning. These kneepads are not made to withstand frequent impact, but to keep your knees protected while you are on the ground.
Tips for choosing
- Have you ever had kneepads that went ‘flat’ after a few days’ work? Then this is not the kneepad for you! When you pick a kneepad that is designed for the time you kneel you will see a big difference in terms of lifespan.• Not all work within the same trade is equal, so kneepads shouldn’t be the same for everyone. For instance, an electrician that does a lot of wiring on the floor will kneel a lot more than an electrician that specialises in overhead lighting. They would both need a different type of kneepad; one heavy-duty and the other light and flexible. So instead of focusing on the profession you have, make sure that you take the work you do into consideration when choosing a kneepad.• Do you have the feeling you fit in between two categories (like hardly kneeling and occasionally kneeling for instance) and don’t know which one to go for? Go for the one that offers more protection, your knees will thank you later!
Material and design
It is important that your kneepads are made for the work you do and that they have a perfect fit. Design and material choice can have an impact on the level of protection and comfort. Here are some features to look for when picking your pair of kneepads.
Shape: A good kneepad will not only cover the centre of your knees, but close around your knee to protect the sides as well. Look for kneepads that have a slighly curved design with sides that stand up.
Security: How can you secure the kneepad in place? Look for a kneepad that can be properly secured in your knee pad pocket to improve the level of protection.
Flexibility: A flexible kneepad is more comfortable to work in, because it adjusts to the position you’re in. Just make sure it still offers the level of protection you need.
Ventilation: Working with kneepads can be hot, so ventilating channels can have a big effect on your working comfort.
Shock absorption: Different materials react to impact differently. Innovative materials like D3O are designed to be flexible when you walk, but stiffen when they experience impact. This way the material absorbs most of the shock instead of your knees.
Durability: Some materials are more durable than others. A superlight foam (like PE) is likely less durable than a sturdy material like Polyolefin.
When you’re looking for a good set of kneepads chances are you take the level of protection into consideration. Choosing between a type 2, level 0 and a type 2, level 1 kneepad can make a huge difference.
But did you know the certification is valid only when you use them with the trousers they were certified for? Since the certification is done with specific trousers, you should always wear the kneepad with the appropriate pair of trousers to keep the certification intact. Mixing and matching different brands of kneepads and trousers will make the certification invalid, so make sure they were meant to be used together.
Finding out which kneepads to use with your trousers from Snickers Workwear is easy, just read on the label of the trousers and you will see the kneepads that fit listed.
EN 14404 Knee Protection Standard
This standard encompasses the size, force distribution, penetration resistance and user testing of kneepads.
Caring for your kneepads
There are a few things you can do to improve the lifespan of your kneepads.
Taking care of your kneepads will not only make them last longer, but will also keep the level of protection up to par. Here are our tips:
- Don’t wash your trousers with the kneepads still in the pocket. We know it is tempting, but your kneepads will last a lot longer if you take them out before washing.
- Most kneepads can be washed, just make sure you don’t use aggressive detergents or very hot water. Handwashing is the way to go with kneepads.
- Replace them frequently. Kneepads that have tears or cracks should be replaced as well as kneepads that don’t spring back to their original shape.
Save your knees
Professional craftsmen, just like professional athletes, put a lot of strain on their knees. It is important to protect them the best you can. When the work is done, you’re knees still better be working.