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If you play paintball or airsoft, you know that getting down on the ground is a necessity for cover. In fact, it's natural instinct. When you first hit the floor, the first things that touches the floor are your knees. Crouching is one of the most tactical positions, so you are probably kneeing as much as standing in battles. Therefore, it's quite obvious knee pads should be one of the first items to acquire in your paintball or airsoft career.
Home Depot and Lowes probably have the largest selection of knee pads. Construction workers need them probably more so than airsoft and paintball players, because they need to be in awkward positions all the time. So what better place than the local hardware store to find real, functional knee pads.
Our local Lowes has quite a selection, ranging from $5 to $50. We decided on the AWP Knee Pads (see photo below) for about $15 a pair. Before going into details on why we chose this pair of knee pads, let's discuss why we didn't choose some other pairs.
We forgo the $5 foam kneed pads, because I actually have a pair for home improvement. The half circle foam doesn't cover enough of the knee. And it's single strap cause it to slip all the time. Due to the inconvenience, I don't even use them any more for home improvement.
We forgo the hard round plastic knees pads. When I tried them on while crouching, the round hard surface causes my body to sway back and force. It reminds me of using sniper rifles in recent first person shooter (FPS) video games. Coming from a world of photography, where the camera has to be braced so that the shot is as steady as possible--much like shooting a firearm, anything that causes instability is a no-no.
We forgo the knee pads with flat, thick, rubber pads. They seem like really good ideas. They are like shoes. Their flat rubber can provide great stability on flat surfaces. And it seems that they will last quite a long time. However, their price ranges are over $30, a little too pricy for our needs.
From the reasons we didn't choose some of the other knee pads, it became apparent why we chose this pair of soft padded AWP knee pad. It provide a soft, thick, malleable padding that can conform to any surface. The soft padding also provide excellent stability on flat ground. The pad is square and large enough to cover the entire knee. It's dual velcro straps are strong enough to keep the pad in place. The photo below shows the soft fabric covering.
I took these AWP knee pads to outdoor fields at SC Village in Corona, CA. Then I took it to indoor field at Insight Interactive in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. In both cases, the AWP knee pads worked wonders. My knees didn't feel anything at all while we played. I forgot I was wearing these pads. And both times, I wore them all day without taking them off at all. They are that comfortable. In both cases, the knee pads only shifted once. So I only adjusted the knee pads once throughout the day.