Crash Protection and Padding
Padding is perhaps the most important element to consider when picking out a new pair of elbow pads for paintball that offer adequate protection for your needs. Think about how often you’ll be diving out of the way of an inbound paintball round. Your elbows will often be the first part of body to make contact with the ground. Not only will they be impacting potentially hard surfaces, they’ll also be further impacted by the weight of the rest of your body.
Pads that provide ample crash protection for such scenarios are therefore a must if you’re someone who’s used to more high-octane games of paintball. You’ll want to pick out both elbow and knee pads that boast plenty of foam padding within their outer material to bear the shock of impact, while also distributing the force away from too small a spot to limit the chance of injury to your elbows and arms. For added protection and mobility, make sure to check out our buyer’s guide and reviews on the best paintball boots today!
Memory foam is often used in the construction of premium elbow pads to provide a better overall fit, with pads correctly adapting to the contours of your arm. This not only ensures better overall protection upon impact with the ground and obstacles, it increases flexibility and ensures a more comfortable experience throughout paintball matches. It’s not just the initial impacts you need to worry about when picking out elbow pads. Once you’re down on the ground, you may want to hold firm your position and remain out of clear sight of the enemy.
In such instances, players may wish to line up a shot against the enemy, which requires that you prop your marker and upper body up with your elbows. Even very short spells on the ground in such a position can be uncomfortable, so properly padded pads are an essential. If you decide to stay low and crawl across the field of play, quality padding that holds up well to heavy strain and repeated contact with the ground will go a long way in improving your game.
Durability of Design
We’ve already outlined how demanding a game of paintball can be, especially when it takes place outside. Premium padding material that maintains its integrity is just one element you need to consider in terms of durability. When it comes to picking out a pair of elbow pads that are robust enough to withstand repeated use outdoors, the entire design needs to be considered.
For a start, you’ll want to make sure you’ve picked out a pair made from hardy materials that won’t rip and tear when making contact with the environment. Not only will this expose the important padding beneath, such damage will compromise the overall integrity and protective capabilities of your pads. Opt for durable man-made materials that are specially designed for such rigorous activity and to withstand interaction with the elements. Waterproofed fabrics are advisable if you’re someone who plays paintball in all weathers, but even a minimal level of water resistance should be a standard feature of the pads you pick.
Smaller details in the design of your pads also need your attention. Seam quality is particularly important in assessing the overall durability of pads. If you pick a set of paintball elbow pads with weak seams that are likely to fray and fall apart, you can kiss goodbye to any chance of long-term use. Go for pads with reinforced seams wherever possible, with this better quality alternatives more likely to hold their form for longer, maintaining adequate protection in all the right places and ensuring fit remains as intended.
You may also want to pay attention to the ease of maintenance of the pads you’re selecting. If you’re someone who likes to keep their paintball gear looking as pristine as possible prior to combat, you’ll want pads that can be easily kept clean and maintained. Waxed fabrics and weatherproofing treatments will go some way in keeping your gear looking good for longer, but you’ll also want to ensure you’re working with fabrics and materials that won’t suffer adverse reactions to cleaning activity and detergents.
Elbow Pad Length and Flexibility
Getting yourself kitted out in premium padding will help keep your joints protected, but you don’t want to burden yourself with bulky outer gear that impedes flexibility and ease of movement. To actually come out on top in paintball, you need to be able to get from A to B easily, maintaining full freedom of movement in order to evade enemy fire and unleash your own ammunition at the right moments.
If you’re looking for lighter protection that limits your movement less, it’s worth looking at smaller types of elbow pads that simply cover the bend of the elbow itself. These smaller pads should be sufficient for games with more forgiving outdoor conditions, granting you ample impact protection and allowing you some degree of crawling capability. However, if you’re a paintballer who prefers playing in more gruelling conditions, a longer design is a better option. These sleeve-style pads are definitely the go-to for the more proficient paintballer.
Providing you with superb levels of protection at the elbow, while also covering the length of arm above and below the bend of the elbow, these pads let you dive right in and tackle all kinds of play conditions. The best examples of these types of pads are designed in such a way to limit movement as little as possible, but cheaper alternatives may prove a little cumbersome and restricting. No matter what price point you go for, you’ll definitely want to take some time breaking such pad in so you can get used to the feel of such gear.
Breathability and Comfort
The Product Reviews
Now we’ve taken some time to look at what to consider when buying elbow pads for paintball, it’s time to look at what’s currently available on the market. We’ve put together a list of some of the best elbow pads you can currently buy from some of the most reputable manufacturers around.
Exalt Paintball T3 Elbow Pads – Black/Grey – Large/X-Large
HK Army Crash Elbow Pads – Black (Large)
If you’re seeking a more lightweight choice of elbow pads, these HK Army Crash Arm Pads are worth a look. The soft foam padding used in the construction of these pads will withstand heavy impacts when playing outdoors, with a dual-layered design to provide you with peace of mind and performance. These are also a good choice for those concerned about flexibility, with the Thermo Fabric used in their design providing you with 4-way flex to ensure plenty of freedom of movement.
FreeFlex Elbow Pads/Arm Pad (Black, Large)
These FreeFlex Elbow Pads hit high notes when it comes to quality fit and flexibility. The thermo-formed elbow and forearm sections of these pads give an almost custom mould to the shape of your arm, while plenty of attention has been paid to the little details to ensure you’ve a hardy pair of pads that hold up well to repeated use. Adjustable straps allow for an even more tailored fit, while ribbed trims and seams ensure these pads maintain their form for longer.
HK Army HSTL Line Elbow Pads Black (Small / Medium)
These HK Army HSTL Line Elbow Pads have plenty of quality features to improve your performance. These durable pads are dual-layered with high-impact padding, while the overall design is kept lightweight thanks to a superior choice of materials. A 4-way stretch sleeve design means you’ve plenty of flexibility and freedom of movement, with adjustable straps as standard to allow you to perfect a tailored fit.
CRBN SC Elbow Sleeve – Lightweight Paintball Elbow Pad Protection
These padded elbow sleeves are the way to go if you’re after a sleeker alternative that still provides ample protection and added flexibility. You’ve moisture-wicking material on offer to enhance breathability, while dual-layer protection means you don’t need to worry about suffering injury upon impact. These sleeves are also of the non-slip variety, with the lower profile design and compression fit ensuring they stay firmly in place during play.
Exalt Paintball Alpha Elbow Pads – Desert – XL
These Exalt Paintball Alpha Elbow Pads are easy on the eye, affordable and provide you with plenty of protection when paintballing. Breathability is assured thanks to a moisture-wicking liner and exterior sleeve, while the anti-slip silicone weave ensures these pads stay firmly in place as you play. What’s more, there’s strategic relief cuts in place to provide you with added flex throughout the arm.
Virtue Paintball Men’s TB Damage Elbow Pad
You can look forward to superb levels of protection from these TB Damage Elbow Pads from Virtue thanks to their high-density 3D foam padding. These advanced gel foam material conforms to the contours of your arm, giving you enhanced levels if impact protection when you come into contact with the ground. Tough fabrics are also the order of the day here, giving you added protection against rigorous impacts and abrasions, while also ensuring the pads hold up well for a long time to come.
Planet Eclipse Overload HD Core Elbow Pads – Fantm Shade – Large
There’s lots to love about this Planet Eclipse Overload HD Core Elbow Pads. The high-density foam padding provides superb protection against impacts, while the integrated venting material provides enhanced air-flow to keep your arms dry and cool during play. Overall durability is further enhanced thanks to superior stitching along the hems, which also serves to improve overall strength and integrity.