Knee pads are an essential part of your DIY tool chest. If you have ever spent a whole day laying tile or flooring, you know about carpenter's knee syndrome. Spending a long time kneeling can make the knee swell up. Let's take a look at what makes knee pads a good pair of knee pads.
The main problem with knee pads is the fit. Ideally the wearer does not notice that he is wearing knee pads. While walking around the knee pads should be out of mind. When kneeling the knee pads should be supporting the user's knees and shins. First and foremost, the knee pads need to be comfortable all the time.
Creating well fitting knee pads is difficult because the knee is a moving joint. The pad has to stay in place as the user walks. When kneeling the front of the leg actually gets longer. The pad has to follow this motion in order to stay in place.
Most budget pads wrap the entire leg in the knee area. This is an issue, because the muscles in the knee area get wider when the user kneels. The user's body weight compresses the calf muscles. The calf muscle gets wider. A full knee wrap cannot follow this motion easily. The straps bunch up, and the user feels their circulation cut off in places.
To properly follow the motions of a leg, a knee pad must have separate straps for the calf and shin of the user. The pad must have a joint, like the knee itself, and it must change length to keep the straps in the same place as the knee bends.
The straps of a knee pad with these features will not move in any direction while the user goes about his workday.
KP Industries Pro Ultra Flex III knee pads
The KP Industries Pro Ultra Flex III are such knee pads. It is the only pair that I have ever owned to not require adjustment during the workday. When worn over work pants, the pad stays in place all day long.
The straps do not move relative to the legs. Made from elastic fabric, they change length as the wearer flexes his muscles. The locking mechanism is easy to engage.
The body of the knee pads is made from thick plastic. A hinge allows the top and bottom part of the pad to move independently. The two halves move like a piece of armor when the user walks.
The lower half is lined with foam. The user kneels on this part. The pad supports not only the knee, but also a good part of the upper shin bone. This makes kneeling much more comfortable. The upper part of the shell has no foam.
The front of the pad has a big non-marking pad for kneeling on delicate surfaces. It left no scratches or marks on my wood floors.
Fit and finish of the pad could be better. It was clearly engineered for a lower price point. The pads will undoubtedly last for years, but they have not been built to be indestructible.
Good knee pads connect to the user's legs above and below the knee. They change their length to match the user's legs as he walks or kneels. The KP Industries Pro Ultra Flex III knee padsfit this description. They are the only knee pads I have worn to not need adjustments during the workday. They are highly recommended.