Ever had a cricket ball hit you? It hurts. It especially hurts on the shins, and if the bowler is any good, the batsman’s shins will be right in the line of fire. Ouch. Finding the best cricket pads is one of the ways to make sure you minimise pain while you’re batting, and can play with confidence and not worry about whether a hard cricket ball is going to whack you on the shins.
Choosing the best batting pads for you can be tough, though, especially for beginners. Like a lot of cricket gear, they can be a bit on the expensive side. That’s why we’re so proud of our affordable yet durable batting pads.
You need to make sure you make the correct choice and buy pads that are going to fit as well as give you enough protection.
In this guide, we’ve reviewed some of the top pads on the market, but first, a buying guide to help you to make your decision.
How to Choose Cricket Pads
The design of pads has changed a lot over the years. Originally, they were made out of leather to try and combat the hard ball, and the protection offered was minimal. Manufacturing has come a long way, and modern pads are much better, but only if you understand what you are buying.
Leather pads are a thing of the past. You’re more likely to see polyurethane (PU), high density foam, and PVC, as well as other materials like cane. Lots of brands have their own ways of making pads. Modern technology means that they weigh less than pads used to while still giving you plenty of protection. They’re also more durable and can withstand conditions.
Some of the more expensive models also use inserts such as high density carbon and even kevlar materials, but this will add to the cost.
Trust us when we say you’re going to want a fair bit of padding. If you get hit by a cricket ball bowled at 70 miles per hour and you don’t have the right protection, it is going to hurt.
Foam is used for padding in the majority of instances, and cricket batting pads strategically place this foam to ensure that it gives your shin and lower leg protection. The padding is what protects your legs, but can get in the way if there is too much of it. Opt for a model with high density padding that is protective, yet compact.
In the video below, you get a rough idea of how much padding goes into cricket pads when they are being manufactured.
Pad design has generally stayed the same over the years, even with the evolving technology.
The design is made up of the following sections:
Top hat – The part that sits above the knee, offering protection from the ball hitting the very bottom of your thigh or your knee itself. The highest part of the pad.
Face – A bit like the face of the bat, the face of the pad is the large surface area in the middle, and it often has rods running down it that provide more protection and a place to wrap the padding and protection.
Knee roll – The knee roll isn’t actually needed in modern design, but it tends to be retained and even helps the umpire make decisions. This is a more flexible area to bend along with your knee rather than being too rigid and annoying.
Wings – The wings sit either side of the face, and can provide varying levels of protection for the outside of the pad. Wicket keeping pads tend to be wider, with more pronounced wings.
Straps – Pretty self-explanatory. Velcro straps go around the back of the legs to keep the pads perfectly in place.
Instep – This helps to give the pad more strength but also protect the lower part of the shin, down to the ankles.
Inner – This provides even more protection, usually in the form of high density foam padding.
Size is a difficult thing to judge due to the fact that many brands have some slightly different definitions and sizing, but the rough guide below will allow you to get an idea
Small – 30-32cm
Boys – 32-36cm
Youths – 36-38cm
Small Mens – 39-41cm
Mens – 41-44cm
Large Mens – 44-48cm
On its own, that’s all pretty meaningless, isn’t it?
The sizing may be used at a very high level by pros, but whether it is a youth size or an adult size is enough info for most of us.
Measure from your instep all the way up to the middle of the knee. This will give you a rough idea of how long you need your pads to be. If you can borrow some pads to try them out, even better, but it isn’t essential to make sure you get the right fit. In truth, adult pads will be suitable for the vast majority of adults. This is the kind of kit that has been passed on and shared among cricket buddies for decades, and the pads fit pretty much everyone who should put them on.
Some people in the world of cricket are very brand loyal. Pretty much every brand offers some form of cricket pads, with GM, Gray Nicolls, Kookaburra, and others offering some good options. Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference, but try not to get drawn in too much by the design. A fancy logo doesn’t necessarily mean a great pair of pads.
How much should you spend on pads? Well, for most people, it is a case of finding something that is affordable, and reasonable, that still does a great job.
A lot of pads are over the £100 mark. This may be worth it if you are really serious about playing cricket at a high level, but it could well be overkill, and you may get just as much out of our pads, which come in at under £50.
For a lot of village cricketers, the money would be better spent in other ways, or even in the bar after the match.
Best Cricket Pads: Reviewed
Let’s dive into the best cricket pads that we’ve picked out for you.
Village Cricket Co. Batting Pads – Best Budget Cricket Pads
We don’t think you’ll find as much protection for the same price anywhere else.
These pads have been meticulously designed for quality and lightweight design, but they are also incredibly affordable.
Because of the fact that we don’t endorse professionals and use up marketing budgets chasing players, we’re able to pass on savings to our customers. The pads are incredibly high quality.
They offer a mesh padding for breathability, as well as added foam inner protection. The traditional 7 bar construction gives a classic look, and a design that we know works based on years of research.
The pads are comfy (yes, even when you get hit) and have a 1” knee strap plus 2” calf and ankle straps to keep them secure.
Our pads have been met with some glowing reviews from village cricketers all over the country, who are able to use the money they save on other equipment, or anything else they choose. Cricket is an expensive sport sometimes, but we believe there are savings that we can pass on to the hobbyist with quality yet affordable kit.
Woodstock Cricket Platinum Batting Pads – Cane Construction Cricket Pads
These batting pads provide a great level of protection and a pretty luxurious design, and are made by small independent cricket band, Woodstock Cricket.
They’re well fitted, and have a traditional look with some modern technology to ensure plenty of quality. The Merriskin PU material provides them with a lightweight level of protection, and the suede instep provides plenty of durability.
The pads come in different sizes including Boys, Youths-Small Senior’s, Senior’s and Oversize in both right and left hand. The cane construction comes from some older traditions regarding cricket bats, and the fibre cup and high density foam padding are more modern additions.
As well as the slick white design, this comes in black and navy, for a more “one day” look to the pads. This is all superficial, the design of these pads is exactly the same.
Roe Stag County Batting Pads – Batting Pads With Large Wings
Another smaller cricket brand that is making some good equipment at a fair price. These pads have a wide wing, which some players will find gets in the way, but others will find is incredibly useful for protecting the whole leg. Some wicket keepers even use these types of pads in village cricket.
They have a PU face, with high density foam in the leg guard, and good shock absorption for the faster balls. Like some of the other cricket pads, the cane rods give a traditional look and feel, and the mesh instep protects your ankle and lower shin (not having ankle protection is dangerous as it is extremely painful to get hit there).
The brand has a County Protection Rating that it gives its gear, and this gets a 3. In their own words, it means they are “suitable for beginners up to an intermediate level, with these county batting pads provide a high level of protection to cricketers.”
You might not see Kane Williamson come out to bat wearing them, but they’re still a good pad for the beginner or mid-level player.
Gunn & Moore Diamond Original Cricket Batting Pads – Best For Large Adult Sizing
Gunn & Moore is a huge brand in the world of cricket, manufacturing bats as well as all kinds of other cricket equipment, and these batting pads are impressive, if a little on the pricey side.
One of the reasons for including them on a list of the best cricket pads is that they suit the taller player, too. If you’re over 6’3” then you might find that you need something a little bit larger than average, and the Large Adult size of these pads can help in that regard. On top of that, they’re just very well constructed.
At just over 2kg, they’re pretty lightweight, but the PU+ face and cane and cotton design give you a lot of protection. On top of that, there are vertical bolsters in place in varying materials including foam in various densities, and plastic fibre.
There are comfort straps to keep them firmly in place, and a comfort instep to offer that extra protection and flexibility. The knee roll is comfortable, and flexible for running and for playing all of your shots.
In general, there’s a lot to like about the pads, but it is advisable to only spend this kind of money if you are really serious about cricket, or have the cash to spare.
New Balance DC 1280 Cricket Batting Pads
These New Balance cricket pads are another option that is on the expensive end of the market, but they do offer some serious protection.
The 7 bar design is similar to that of the Village Cricket Co. pads, and they also have a high grade PU fronting.
With loads of high density foam padding, and soft foam on the inside, they’re comfy to wear and do a good job of protecting you even if you are out plum LBW to a 75mph bowler.
The self-positioning moulded knee cup is a great addition, providing strength and protection at the knee but still allowing you to move freely. Three easy-release straps make it easy to put these on and take them off as required.
Looking After Cricket Pads
A quick note on looking after your pads, as all too often we see people not do a proper job of this, and their pads don’t last as long as they should.
It’s easy to just chuck your pads in the bag and forget about them after you’ve played (especially if you got out cheaply). We recommend airing the pads at the first opportunity rather than letting that moisture fester in a sweaty bag.
Cricket pads can be left on an airer after use, and they can even be thoroughly cleaned as required. Some pads have removable inners that can be washed, but if this isn’t the case, you can still use fabric treatments and fresheners to keep them from smelling too unpleasant, and preventing the growth and build-up of mould and dirt.
A solution of water, mild soap, and baking powder can be used to remove bacteria from your pads, and keep them looking nice and white. In between seasons, it is a good idea to give them a proper deep clean, and regularly during the season too, if you don’t want them to smell embarrassingly nasty. It can get pretty sweaty, even through your whites.
Everyone needs pads to play. This is the kind of equipment that beginners may tend to share with their friends, and let’s face it, buying new pads is not the most exciting aspect of playing cricket. That’s why many people choose to buy the most affordable pads they can that still do a great job.
Scrimp and buy poor quality pads and you’ll end up with pain or even injury on the shins (and potentially broken pads), but you can buy some great, protective pads that don’t cost the earth here on the Village Cricket Co.