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How to Buy Hockey Elbow Pads

Here is some advice from on how to buy Hockey Elbow Pads


Hockey elbow pads are an essential piece of equipment. Elbow pads are obviously worn to protect your elbows, but they also provide protection for your upper forearms and lower biceps/triceps. Whether you've been playing hockey for 30 years or you're just getting started, you will fall on the ice from time to time. When you fall (this is said with absolute certainty), your reflexes will tell you to brace for impact with your hands and elbows. When this happens, if you don't have proper protection on, you're asking for a shattered elbow. Therefore, it is crucial to wear secure, proper-fitting elbow pads so as to avoid any pad slippage which could leave the elbow exposed and cause serious injury. In addition to protecting yourself from falls, as a hockey player you need to protect yourself from the other players whose job is to check, hook, slash and trip you.

Hockey Elbow Pad Construction

Elbow pads are generally constructed with 3 main parts: the elbow cap, forearm protector and bicep protector. Each piece provides necessary protection, but the most important component is the elbow cap because your elbow is one of the most likely of your body parts to come into contact with another player, the boards or the ice. Most elbow pads have good quality elbow caps but everyone's arms are differently shaped so what works well for you may not necessarily be a good fit for someone else.

Hockey Elbow Pad Diagram

Hockey Elbow Pad Features

There are some key differences in the way that elbow pads are constructed which you may want to consider before choosing the pair that will work best for you.

  • Straps - Most elbow pads come with 2 to 3 velcro straps that secure the pads around your arms. Introductory level models often have just 2 straps and usually they lose their elasticity at a faster rate than the straps on elite level models. Also, some elbow pads have straps that cross over one another, like the X-Strap system on Easton Stealth S19 Elbow Pads (pictured below), rather than attaching straight across which is more traditionally used (see Reebok 9K KFS Hockey Elbow Pads pictured below). Neither system has proven to be superior to the other, but each style is worth trying out in order to figure out which you prefer. For additional comfort, some elbow pads also have padded straps which keep the elastic bands from pinching your arms.

  • Easton Stealth S19 Hockey Elbow Pads Reebok 9K KFS Hockey Elbow Pads

  • Internal Arm Sleeves - For additional "stabilizing anchor support" as some manufacturers call it, some models come with an elastic, internal sleeve which helps secure your arms in the elbow pads. Pictured below are the Reebok Zigtech 11K KFS Elbow Pads and CCM Vector V10 Elbow Pads which have this feature.

  • Reebok Zigtech 11K KFS Hockey Elbow Pads CCM Vector V10 Hockey Elbow Pads

  • Extended Forearm Protectors - In highly competitive hockey leagues, additional protection may be necessary for players who are hooked and slashed on their arms more frequently. As you can see below, the RBK 8K Pro Elbow Pads and Jofa 9177 NHL Pro Elbow Pads are constructed with extra length in the forearm protectors.

  • RBK 8K Pro Hockey Elbow Pads Jofa 9177 NHL Pro Hockey Elbow Pads

  • Elbow Caps - Although most elbow pads have hard-shell caps, which are the best protective choice, some players prefer soft-shell caps because they aren't quite as stiff. Soft-shell caps have foam padding in the elbow rather than a hard plastic insert. The Easton Synergy F5 Elbow Pads pictured below have a soft-shell cap.
    Easton Synergy F5 Hockey Elbow Pads

Proper Fitting Elbow Pads

Hockey elbow pads should cover the area from the middle of your biceps (meeting the shoulder pad bicep protector) to the middle of your forearms (meeting the cuff of the gloves). The joint of your elbow should rest squarely in the cup of the elbow pads. In order to secure the elbow pads in place there are usually two or three adjustable straps that can be tightened around the forearms and biceps. Physical, aggressive players tend to use larger, bulkier pads like the CCM Vector V10 Elbow Pads, whereas finesse players will choose elbow pads that are more slim-fitting for increased mobility, such as the Bauer Vapor X:60 Elbow Pads. The key is to find elbow pads that feel comfortable and secure and offer greatest amount of coverage. Please refer to the sizing guides to ensure a proper fit.

Hockey Elbow Pad Sizing Chart