Knee Pads – (COMPULSORY as per WFTDA rules and XRD safety standards)
Your second most important purchase should be a good set of knee pads. Again, don’t skimp on the funds when budgeting for knee pads. What would you prefer, an £80 credit card bill or shot knees? I do understand that when you are new to Roller Derby, you want to keep the initial gear costs down, just in case you really don’t enjoy it and find out that it’s not for you. I would say fair enough, I did this myself! We do try to provide as much safety gear as possible for fresh meat sessions, so sometimes you don’t have to spend a penny until you have decided either way. However, once you have decided that you love Derby, it’s time to make those all-important first safety purchases. Yes, financially, it will be a big hit, but you only have to do it once, at least for your first six months to a year (depending on how much you punish your gear).
Knee pads should be of the hard-shield kind, where you have the main material and padding gasket with a hard plastic cup over the main kneecap area. This is because we tend to use a lot of knee-sliding moves in Roller Derby, and pads where the knee is covered in soft material will grip the floor and could cause you injury if they make you stop dead when you still have a lot of momentum trying to carry you forward. You could find yourself face-planting hard on the track, and that, I can tell you, is not a pleasant feeling! These kinds of pads can also cause you to do the involuntary splits and all kinds of other awkward side-effects, so please do try to get this right first time and buy the hard-shell types.
Apart from anything else, it is a carved-in-stone rule as found in the WFTDA rules that knee pads MUST be of the hard outer-shell variety. If you turn up to a bout in anything that doesn’t have a hard plastic shell over the main pad, you will be asked to either find a suitable replacement there and then, or if you can’t find a suitable replacement, you will not be allowed to participate in the bout as a skater. Your team-mates will not thank you!
Examples of good, hard-shell knee pads are:
Triple 8 KP Pro