As far as volleyball kneepad
s go, there are those manufacturers like Nfinity who set themselves apart from the competition by bringing to market a kneepad made with exclusive materials or Mizuno which focuses on quality instead of quantity by producing only four or five high quality volleyball kneepads.
Then there's the line of ASICS volleyball kneepads. ASICS stands for anima sana in corpore sano which means 'a sound mind in a sound body.' The ASICS pledge is to bring harmony to the mind and body. Asics produces a true collection of kneepads with over 10 different models with styles for the adult and junior athlete created to meet the needs of all levels of volleyball players.
Much of the research and innovation conducted for ASICS Volleyball products begins in Kobe, Japan where the ASICS Research Institute of Sports Science is located. The 16,000 square meters of research facilities contain an all-weather running track, and a hall where basketball, volleyball courts and test rooms are located. ASICS goal is to 'enable professional and recreational athletes all over the world to perform better, to reach a higher level and to enjoy themselves.' With that in mind ASICS regularly invites world-class athletes to to the Kobe facility to provide input and test product. It's in this facility where shock absorption systems and other ASICS patented and trademarked design features are some of the innovations which are tested here.
About the kneepads...
The ASICS Ace Low Profile Kneepads
This is a lightweight kneepad, less bulky and with a lower profile than the other ASICS kneepads. It comes with a shorter sleeve, only six inches and has dual density padding. Another major element that ASICS fits this kneepad with is 'anti-microbial properties' which ASICS claims eliminates odor.
ASICS made a version of the ACE Low Profile kneepad for junior volleyball players called the Jr. Ace Low Profile, which they claim ensures freedom of movement and prevents injury.
The ASICS Competition 2.0 Kneepad
A relative newcomer to the ASICS volleyball kneepad line, the Competition 2.0 has a lot in common with the ACE Low Profile kneepad with its sleek styling and low profile. The sleeve on this kneepad covers more skin area, 7.5 inches compared to the Low Profiles' six inches.
What the Competition 2.0 has that the Low Profile kneepad doesn't have is the trademarked material called Kinetofoam.
The product description for Kinetofoam is a 'material that wraps itself around the joint, providing comfort and fit from all angles.' In my research, I didn't discover any information that confirms whether Kinetofoam provides any shock absorbing elements, which I find should be one of the most important features for a kneepad which should help reduce or absorb the shock of the knee hitting the floor in defense.
Volleyball parents may want to know that although quite a few of the ASICS volleyball kneepads seem to be targeted towards the junior and club volleyball player, the only two kneepads that have one or both of the trademarked materials Kinetofoam and Ortholite, which are created and used for their injury-prevention properties are the ASICS Competition 2.0 and the ASICS Competition 3.0G. The other volleyball kneepad styles including JR 09', the International 2, the Slider and most notably the ZD7000 which is endorsed by the United States Youth Volleyball League do not have these materials.
Economically Priced and Economically Made
There are several of the ASICS volleyball kneepads that I would classify in this section.
The Slider - this one model comes in both the Slider and the Junior Slider which is the same version made for younger players. This kneepad is described as having 'a pad with a little added protection.' My question is, is it enough protection? The Slider name (and design) is trademarked, but are the protective qualities enough in this particular style to protect young and experienced knees? In both versions the protective qualities come only in the form of a 'contoured cushioned PU foam' for what the company says gives a more ergonomic fit.
The International - this kneepad offers only the ASICS memory foam and is marketed to speak to 'the minimalist in all of us.' It has a low profile with a sleeve that covers 7.5 inches of knee area. But I see no indication of this particular style having any serious shock absorbing elements.
The Rally - Even though they are described by the company as an 'awesome pair of kneepads' the club volleyball player (and their parents) need to really focus on what protective qualities they need, no demand from their volleyball kneepad investment. The Rally is lightweight, has a 7-inch sleeve but does not come with any of the trademarked or patented protective materials or design features offered in the other top-of-the-line ASICS volleyball kneepads. It is made with the anti-microbial fabric which eliminates odor.
The ZD7000- This kneepad is latex free but the only protective material used is PU foam and nothing else. As mentioned previously this youth-targeted kneepad is endorsed by the United States Youth Volleyball League.
Read Part 2 for the conclusion of Asics Volleyball Kneepads Review - Which Styles Provide the Most Knee Protection.
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