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Box design offers support further down the calf. D-shaped loops are large enough to affix knee protector to shin guards. Coolmax lining for breathability and comfort.
D-shaped loops are made of plastic, so they won't last as long.
Available in both youth and adult sizes. Adult box design fits lower on calf with thick padding. Youth design sports close-to-knee wedge shape. Lightweight, cushioning support.
Loops are small, so it is tough to attach shin guards quickly.
Wedge shape is comfortable and supportive. Extra-long straps fit larger and older players. Secured with Velcro to stay in place. Triangle design puts pressure of knee joint.
Attachment buckles are made of plastic and might not last long.
Pointed wedge fits close to the knee. Memory foam construction conforms comfortably to catcher's leg. Uses strap channels sewn into pad for a tight fit to shin guards.
Memory foam construction may not fit well on all sizes.
Pointed wedge design fits close to knee. Good price point. Uses large rectangular shaped loops to attach pads to shin guards in a hurry. Absorbs less odors and sweat than others.
Some will find this design too thick for comfort.
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Playing the position of catcher in baseball or softball is extremely difficult. The catcher must wear quite a bit of protective gear, preventing them from being injured if a foul ball strikes the body. But this gear can be heavy and hot to wear on a summer day. In addition, catchers must crouch behind home plate for every pitch. They must have strong leg muscles to squat and stand several dozen times per game.
This constant crouching creates stress on the knee joints and tendons, but knee saver pads can help. Knee savers fit between the back of the thigh and calf muscles, and they support some of the player's weight. This removes some of the strain from the knee joint because it doesn’t need to bend as far when the catcher crouches.
Knee savers haven’t been around for very long, so standard catcher’s gear sets often don’t include them. However, you can purchase the pads separately and add them to your own equipment stash. Continue reading to learn more about how knee savers work and whether they would help your game.
Sizing is one of the key considerations you’ll face when choosing catcher’s knee savers. It’s not just about selecting small versus large, though; it’s also important to find the right thickness of padding and to match the pad size with the shin guard size.
Knee savers can be used for either softball or baseball catchers, as can most pieces of catching gear. As a general rule, the small-size knee saver pad will be usable for players ages 12 and under. Players 13 years old and older will use a large pad.
A shin guard 13 inches in length or less requires the small size of knee saver; shin guards longer than 13 inches fit best with large knee savers.
The thickness of the knee pad is another important consideration, although it’s a matter of personal preference. Some catchers prefer a thick pad to yield the highest level of cushioning. However, a thinner pad may feel more comfortable when crouching because the leg muscles don’t need to compress the foam as much.
When shopping for knee savers, you’ll quickly realize that the majority of them look very similar. There aren’t a lot of design differences.
Knee savers often have a wedge shape, almost like a slice of pie. When seen from the side, they resemble triangles — but they have three dimensions and five sides. The point of the wedge will fit adjacent to the calf closest to the knee, while the thickest part of the wedge fits close to the ankle.
Other knee savers have a boxy wedge shape, resulting in six sides. One end of the pad will be slightly narrower than the other, providing a bit of extra padding near the back of the knee.
Most knee saver pads have four buckles, although a few designs have six. They will often be D-shaped, although square buckles are used as well. Pricier knee savers may include metal buckles, but plastic buckles are common on less-expensive products.
Because the buckles are on the back side of the knee savers, it’s easy to use the existing shin guard straps to secure the pads without affecting the fit of the shin guards. Just run each strap through two of the buckles on the knee saver and secure the strap to the shin guard as you normally would.
Knee savers can remain attached to the shin guards even when the catcher isn’t wearing them, so they don’t hinder the catcher’s ability to put on his or her shin guards quickly. Using knee savers doesn’t noticeably slow down a game by forcing catchers to put on extra gear before playing defense.
The majority of knee savers have a black vinyl covering, usually with the name of the manufacturer clearly visible in white. However, if you’d like a color that matches your other catcher’s equipment, multiple color options are available.
Catching gear for both softball and baseball can be costly, as it takes a lot of equipment to keep catchers safe. Compared to other pieces of catching gear, however, knee savers are relatively inexpensive.
The least expensive knee savers will cost $12 to $20 for a pair. (All knee savers are sold as a pair of pads.) Pricier versions could go for $20 to$40 for a pair. These pads may have multiple layers of foam and a thicker level of vinyl covering, which ensures a high level of durability.
Youth (or small) size knee saver pads will cost a few dollars less than adult (or large) size pads.
You shouldn’t encounter any extra or hidden costs with knee savers. You’ll connect them to the shin guards using the straps that are already attached to the shin guards.
The knee saver represents only a portion of a baseball or softball catcher’s gear, and it’s one of the few pieces worn for comfort instead of protection. Because the catcher is situated directly behind home plate and close to the batter, they have almost no time to react to a foul ball and catch it. Protective gear shields the body from stray foul balls and wildly bouncing pitches.
We compiled some tips for determining which types of catcher’s gear must be worn for protection and which equipment is a personal choice (like knee savers).
Q. Do I have to purchase knee saver pads that match the brand of my shin guards?
A. No. The buckles on knee savers all have a similar design, so any brand of knee saver should work with any brand of shin guard. Some people do like to have equipment that is all from the same brand, but you certainly aren’t forced to match brands for the gear to do its job.
Q. My coach doesn’t like knee savers. Is it true that catchers can have sluggish movement when using these pads?
A. This is a concern among some baseball coaches. If the catcher doesn’t use proper technique while crouching, he or she may not move as crisply as required. Players should not lean or “sit” on the padding; doing so may leave their weight improperly balanced when in the crouch position. Proper weight balance can be taught to players who wear knee savers, allowing for quick movements behind home plate.
Q. Do knee savers help catchers who have knee problems already, or are they better for helping young catchers avoid problems in the future?
A. Knee savers should help in both situations. An older player with sore knees can use the knee savers to take some pressure off the knee joints, and a younger player can keep his or her knees healthier for longer by using knee savers to prevent over-stressing the joints.
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