- Knee pads come in round shapes for easy joint movement. Depending on the type of pad, it may secure using Velcro or buckles. Some knee pads come with just an elastic band around the back of the knee, so it can be slipped on and off. Typically, adjustable pads will create a better fit.
- Knee pads protect the kneecap (made up of the meniscus and the patella), which is a thin layer of cartilage located on the outside of the knee joint. Prolonged kneeling can cause this layer to wear down, and even tear, leaving the knee joint exposed. Knee pads are also recommended for recreational activities like rollerblading and skateboarding where falling is common for this same reason.
- There are a few basic caps that come on knee pads: hard caps, curved soft caps, flat or concave caps, and fabric caps. Hard caps are very firm and usually plastic. They are more slippery than other caps, but they can scratch the floor up. The curved soft caps and flat caps are both rubbery and have a good grip. Fabric caps are lighter and will not harm surfaces. There is also a variety of materials used in the caps. You can choose from rubber, plastic, gel and foam.
- Michael Springer of the "Journal of Light Construction" recommends choosing knee pads based on comfort. "If at all possible," says Springer, "try the pads on in the store." If the pads are comfortable when you first put them on, chances are they'll stay comfortable. The type of pad you choose depends on the work you're doing. If you'll be using them for recreational purposes, make sure the pads are shock resistant. If you'll be using them at work such as painting, you may need to buy more than one set of pads depending on the type of work you'll be doing.
- There are a number of organizations that provide standards for safety equipment. Among them are the American Society For Testing & Materials (ASTM), the National Operating Committee On Standards For Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), the Snell Memorial Foundation (SNELL) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These are companies that test the product materials for safety and reliability.