Here is a great article on helmets and knee pads. How to pick the right ones and when to replace them!
WFTDA’s gear up!
There is not much difference as far as padding or style goes. I do recommend though finding ones that do NOT have a lot of stretch in the straps. They will stretch out very quickly and then you’ll have to tape them down all the time or hear about how your stupid pads scratched me. I wear and highly recommend TSG Pro Wrist Guards. Will last you a long time as long as you wash yer shit (only reason I have had to buy new ones is due to perma-stink).
I personally do not have much of a preference on elbow pads. I have noted from others is to check if the pads separate under the cap – more or less where the point of your elbow will be. Some brands separate that padding into two instead of one.
The important thing about elbow pads is that these are hard to determine when you need to replace them. Over time the padding breaks down and gives less and less protection. As a rule of thumb, they should be replaced every year to year and a half-ish. If you got a bruise on your elbow from a recent fall, for the love of god it wasn’t a bad fall, you are under-protected! You will realize a huge difference when you get new ones!
I wear TSG. No reason, I just like TSG stuff but wouldn’t say they are better or worse than the Rector ones I had before.
During my first year before we had much research done on knee pads and when the sport was young, the pads I wore gave me extreme fluid buildup under my knee. I also further aggravated a torn PCL that I apparently have had since I was a wee one. Bad, cheap pads = injury. DON’T SKIMP ON THE KNEE PADS.
I have used Rector Fat Boys. They were decent, I recall the padding broke down quickly. But otherwise, not bad.
I have used TSG Force III.
Here’s a surprise – I loved them too. <3 TSG! Do NOT try to take the cap off though. I ended up pulling the glue from the cap and had to occasionally hot glue it back. *I’m stupid*
I currently skate with Smith SCABS Elite. I like them but would not recommend them without gaskets. They are comfy, lightweight, and the straps keep a great fit. Note: these come in two sizes, S/M and L/XL. I wear L/XL and sorry bigger girls, L/XL may not fit. Smith SCABS Psycho (below) are same as Elite, just crazy looking.
Other recommendations: 187 Pro Knees. Pro-Designed. Most knee pads designed for vert skating. Some girls also use motocross pads and really like them as well.
Rule of thumb – replace every year-ish. New girls, definitely buy new pads a year into derby! Your first year you spend so much time doing falls, etc. they will break down much quicker!
Personal opinion: There are some super expensive pads that will tell you that you don’t have to replace them for five years or some crap – don’t fall for it. Pads are pads, and with use WILL break down from everyday use. I only know of one girl on my team who has, but she does not have much praise for them.
I literally just started wearing these about a month ago and cannot back these enough. They keep your pads from slipping because they have Velcro strips that attach to the back of your knee pads. They also provide an exceptional amount of extra padding. If you’re too broke for new knee pads – the least you should do is buy gaskets. You know how mama always said better safe than sorry? GET THEM. GET THEM. GET THEM.
With all of my advice, I constantly recommend trying on everyone’s shit. This is no different. I know I like to pretend my word is the Bible, but it really is just a personal opinion. Ask what others liked. Ask to try it on. You will regret it if you have pads too little or big for you. Pads should be snug when you first purchase them – they will stretch out. Remember that when you try them on, it might not hurt to ask how long they have had them so you have an idea of the wear on them.
*whew* another boring topic done and out of the way!