I have been curious about ToughBuilt’s knee pads – thanks to readers’ comments and feedback – and have also wondered how stabilization knee pads compare to more basic styles.
Thanks to ToughBuilt, I have been testing a pair of their GelFit Thigh Support Knee Pads (model TB-KP-G3).
These ToughBuilt knee pads are said to be “the new benchmark for all-day kneeling ergonomics, comfort and functionality.”
This review is sponsored by the TOUHGBUILT SCRAPER KNIFE.
ToughBuilt’s new scraper knife is a 2-in-1 tool that combines a scraper with a utility knife. Read more about it here.
Here is the rest of the official marketing description:
Provides ultimate stability while maintaining easy side-to-side movement. Integrated thigh support keeps the knee perfectly centered, never twisting out of the kneepad. The lower platform raises the shin off of the ground alleviating pressure on the ankles. Ergonomic gel and foam design embraces the natural shape of the knee and upper shin, maximizing pressure distribution for an extremely comfortable fit.
Until now, I haven’t used any stabilization knee pads before, I only have experience with simpler styles. I also have some experience with knee pad inserts, where a cushioned pad slips into the leg pockets of specially-equipped work pants, and kneeling pads.
Unfortunately, I am also very familiar with what it feels like to kneel without cushioned support.
This has been a very interesting experience so far.
To start off, the materials and construction are fantastic. The [hard] caps are wear-resistant and the gel and foam cushioning are every bit as comfortable as promised.
Like other stabilization knee pads, these definitely look bulky. Compared to more basic styles, they’re huge!
However, these ToughBuilt pads might look big, but they’ve been quite comfortable to wear, and they don’t feel as big as they look.
There are two parts to the closure mechanisms – the main hook-and-loop flaps, and a smaller elastic strap.
When putting on the knee pads on, I fasten the main hook-and-loop flaps, and then affix the quick-release clasp, which is connected to an elastic strap that gives the knee pads a secure feel.
This process is a lot quicker than it sounds, taking just seconds to complete.
The large flaps quickly secure the knee pads to your legs, and then the quick-release latches allow for easy attachment or removal. The elastic straps can be adjusted to provide just the right amount of tightness.
The elastic strap is usually “set and forget” for me. When I do want to tweak the tightness of the elastic strap, it’s almost effortless.
The knee pads are surprisingly quick to put on and take off.
As for the experience of actually wearing them, these knee pads do make their presence known, but inoffensively. I can’t bend back as much as I could with simpler knee pads or no knee pads, but it’s a reasonable tradeoff.
This style of knee pad is said to “provide ultimate stability while maintaining easy side-to-side movement.”
As far as I can tell, these knee pads have two main benefits compared to smaller non-stabilizer knee pads – i) less undesirable shifting around when walking, and ii) they stay in place when moving around on the floor (such as side to side).
Or at least, this is what my experience has been so far. If I had to summarize things, I’d say that compared to other styles of knee pads, these stay where I want them, while still enabling full mobility when I’m up and on my feet.
ToughBuilt says that the shin supports alleviate pressure on the ankles, another selling point. I have found that these knee pads definitely promote correct posture. When kneeling, my legs are positioned perpendicular to the ground, or close to it, rather than being bent down near parallel where my thighs touch my calves. The knee pads also really help to better distribute my weight.
When I’m kneeling unsupported, I tend to lean back to take some of the weight off my knees, but this position forces to bend my toes. This is bad, as it tires me out quicker, and I’m sure it has at least contributed to some of my foot injuries in the past. It has been a slow process to break bad habits, but these knee pads are slowly doing the trick.
I find myself wearing these much more than I anticipated. And, since they are easy to put on and take off, I don’t just reach for them when I’ve already been kneeling or crouching for a while, or when I’m prepping for a longer work session.
Is this style right for me? Frankly, I wouldn’t have thought so. I don’t need all-day comfort. But, I find them to be more comfortable to wear compared to smaller knee pads, and unlike kneeling pads, they move with me. They’re still probably way more than I really need, but I’ve been growing fond of this style.
Sometimes I wish that I could bend my knees all the way back without the straps pulling on my legs a little when they’re squeezed between my thighs and calves, but I can also adjust my footing or unbuckle the top strap when this happens.
Then, with the top strap unbuckled, moving around a little bit will immediately remind me why these stabilizer knee pads are growing on me. With the top strap unbuckled, the knee pads behave more like standard knee pads, rolling around as I try to move.
Looking closer at ToughBuilt’s features list, they say these knee pads offer the “ultimate stability combined with easy side-to-side agility.” Yup, that’s a great way to put it.
I’m kind of excited to try other styles now. For instance, I’ve never seen anything like the ToughBuilt flat-cap knee pads before, and it looks like it could work well. I really like how the stabilizer knee pads raise my knees and shins a bit, and these look to do that as well, although the wide surface area might be more stable but at the expense of mobility while on the floor.
If you’ve used other ToughBuilt knee pads before, which would you recommend?