Do You Need Knee Pads to Play Indoor Volleyball?

What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Knee Pads?

Volleyball player in knee pads
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Are knee pads necessary in indoor volleyball? This is a very common question.

The quick answer is no, knee pads are not necessary to play indoor volleyball. However, there are several reasons that they are used, and their use is often beneficial to players

First, those that are new to the sport, or those that play with a certain level of intensity, may end up landing on their knees quite a bit. The results of hitting the hard gym floor directly without a knee pad can range from cuts and bruises to more serious issues.

Players that may end up on the floor often should strongly consider wearing knee pads. 

Also, some players are more comfortable going down to their knees rather than diving. In this situation, contact with the knees is strategic to the game, and knee pads could prove beneficial. 

Beginners to the sport of volleyball should highly consider wearing knee pads until they get more comfortable with the game. At that point they may want to try going with a skinny knee pad or eliminating knee pads all together.

Bubble vs Skinny Knee Pads

There are two main types of knee pads used in volleyball. The two common types of knee pads are bubble knee pads and skinny knee pads.

Bubble Knee Pads

Bubble knee pads are more padded and bulky than skinny knee pads. Bubble knee pads are suggested for beginners to the sport, or those that land on their knees often.

While they provide more protection that skinny knee pads, they are much thicker and bulkier.

They are not as flexible as skinny knee pads, and do not move as well with the body. Experienced players often do not prefer bubble knee pads, as they can limit mobility and 'get in the way.' 

If you're a beginner, the bubble knee pad is for you. It has a thick pad that will protect your knees very well when you hit the floor.

The drawbacks is they are bulky, they may not move well with you or they may slide out of place.


  • Great for beginners to the sport of volleyball
  • Provide lots of knee protection


  • Bulky
  • May not move well with you
  • May slide down

Skinny Knee Pads

Skinny knee, just as they sound, are skinnier than bubble knee pads. Skinny pads provide good knee protection, but they tend to move more with the player, and they don't slide out of place as easily. They do not provide the same level of protection as the bubble knee pads, but for those not often hitting their knees, this is not an issue. 


  • Better fit
  • Stay in place
  • Great for experienced players
  • Less padding
  • No padding on sides of knees


  • Less padding
  • No padding on sides of knees