Protective Gear For Snowboarding

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We get a lot customers asking us about protective gear, so we've decided to give you guys the word on the most effective products out there.  

A recent question we received from a customer:

“As professional snowboarders, do you have any suggestions for purchasing protective gear for doing park features? For knee, chest, elbow, wrist, etc. Because there are tons of products out there and am having difficulty making my choices. I want to know, what are your preferences.”

Snowboarding has progressed very rapidly over the past couple of years and the rails and jumps are only getting bigger. Consequently, the slams are also getting gnarly. By wearing protective gear, you not only increase your confidence on rails and jumps, but you also save yourself from sitting out the entire season. 

(Rider: Connor Palahickey. Filming/Edit: Adison MacDonald)


A helmet is essential for most sports, and snowboarding is no exception. Helmets keep you safe from crashing on snow, ice (if you live in Alberta), rocks, trees, or any other object out there on the hill. Always wear a helmet to prevent serious head injuries. Period.

Sandbox Snowboarding HelmetThe classic snowboard hemet: clean and simple. 

Wrist Guards

During a fall, the first natural movement is to brace yourself with your hands, especially for beginners. Even minor wrist injuries can take about eight weeks to heal. So buying a good pair of wrist guards is never a bad idea when you’re new to snowboarding. As you become experienced, you’ll learn how to fall safely and slide with it, making wrist guards not as necessary.

Dakine Wrist GuardsWrist guards = a simple and effective way to strengthen your wrists.


Knee pads, elbow pads, hip pads, and butt pads are all designed to keep you from seriously injuring or bruising yourself on the slopes. So for whatever area you prefer to be protected, get yourself a pad. They also make falls while learning new tricks a lot more comfortable. 

Burton Impact ShortsImpact shorts can be the difference between a close call and a broken tailbone. 

Back protectors

Back injuries are uncommon for snowboarders, but when they do occur, they can be severe and long lasting. Back protectors sometimes also come with shoulder padding, however they can seriously restrict your upper-body movement.

POC Back ProtectorNo, not a military exoskeleton, a back protector.

Knee Pads

If you've already got an existing injury, knee pads are great. However, it also comes down to the function, fit, feel and freedom.

Knee pads functionally stop your knees getting bashed. To have the right fit so that they don't slide down your leg and need constant adjustment, you will need tight fitting knee pads which don't necessarily feel awesome. Finally, there's the freedom. Knee pads restrict how much knee flexion you get, hindering your ability to lift your knees up in the air on jumps, or get a low turn without feeling a pinch. They really affect your freedom and range of movement in your knees. 

Knee Pads

You can work out whether you "kneed" these or not


Remember, there’s always a downside, even on safety gear. It is important to know that the more protective gear you wear the more it will restrict your movement and affect your riding. So take the time to find the protective gear that fits best for you and your riding style.

Wrap It Up

To avoid unnecessary injuries, it's not only important to wear your safety gear, but also slowly progress your way into bigger features and harder tricks. Get comfortable with the motions, practice a lot, and your confidence will increase. You need to be comfortable with every feature you hit, and if you aren't, back off until you are.

If you have any specific questions on safety gear, please reply in the comments to this blog and we’ll follow up with an answer. 

Want Even More Snowboarding Tips?

Alex McCann
Snowboard Addiction
Our Goal Is To Improve Your Riding

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  • Hey All. I am looking for recommendations for the best crash shorts and spine protectors. Last season I suffered a compression fracture to my Thoracic vertebrae and am a bit scared to get back on the mountain. I would like the best padding possible. Thoughts?

    Lisa on
  • Hi Nev,

    Thanks for the great post! I’ve been snowboarding for about 15 years, and just moved to the Rockies so that I could ride more (goal for this season is 50 days). Park is a more recent development for me, so I only started wearing a helmet this season. I love it, surprisingly. I’m much more confident on jumps and in the trees. Plus, Bluetooth headphones are the best thing ever.

    Of course, with more confidence comes more ambition. Now that I don’t have to worry about a concussion, I’m trying to get stronger locking on rails and throwing 3s and 1s off of bigger features. Unfortunately, I’m also closing in on 30 years old, and when I fall on my knees, it can rob the rest of my day. Do you have any recommendations for flexible, light-weight women’s knee pads?

    Thank you!

    Erin on
  • Hey Mark. Yes all helmets are different but in saying that they all do the same job. Like anything if you’re pay more money then you’re going to get a better helmet that protects you better. I think the most important thing is how it fits you’re head. Style is also important in snowboarding. It should look good. Black goes with everything so if my favourite colour when choosing a helmet. If you’re helmet is 3 years old, then it’s probably a good time to replace it with a new one, especially if you’ve fell a lot and hit that helmet a lot. If it’s only been lightly used then it’s probably ok to keep going with it. Hope this helps. Cheers – Nev

    Nev on
  • Is there a difference in helmets? I’ve had the same helmet for each of the last 3 seasons (a cheap-o/entry level RED brand helmet). Now, I ride much better, but also much faster and am starting to try more difficult snowboarding stuff.

    I’m wondering how I can tell when my helmet needs to be retired, and if I should be looking for something specific in a new helmet.

    Mark on

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