Match your playing level to the price of the pads.
Think of a pair of pads like a personal security guard. If you are a global superstar then you will need the works; personal body guards, laser home security system, bullet proof cars, the works.If you are a lesser mortal, something more modest on the protection front is probably in order. Although self-preservation is essential at the wicket, your investment need only match the threats you are likely to face.
Not many people have ever heard of a cricketer breaking a leg or loosing a knee cap from insufficiently protective batting pads, and that’s generally down to the fact that modern day batting pads are very good at what they do.
That’s not to say that the cheapest pair will hold up to the slamming forces of a 90mph full-toss ball crashing into your shin. It may not break bones but it is likely to put you out of the game. Whereas for someone with pads containing an appropriate level of protection, it would barely register on the pain chart.
So if we embrace the common belief that there is a direct and linear correlation between the standard of cricket that you play and the speed of which the ball is likely to travel towards you while batting -then on the spectrum of beginner to professional and everything in-between, there is a pair of pads designed to meet your protective needs. Although you never quite know who you will come up against of course, so straying on the higher side would be a recommended precaution.
Here’s a simplified guide to price of batting pads:
£75+ - High Tiered Senior League & County level Players
£50-£75 – Intermediate Club Level Players
£30-£50 – Modest Level Players
However, it’s not only the appropriate level of protection you need to consider when buying your next set of pads. Comfort, weight, value for money and looks, should be taken into account for you to be happy with your purchasing decision.
Comfort – It’s amazing just how different one pair can feel from the next and this variation is down to a few factors. Firstly, the sizing – each brand will have slightly different dimensions for the same size so not only could your knee sit in a different position but so can the straps. Trying them on is the only way to find out which pair fits you just right [ you can exchange them free online at barringtonsports.com if they don’t fit], but before you do let’s look at the contact points…
Beginning at the top of the pad and with the aptly named ‘Top Hat’ - the flap above the knee roll that you tend rest your hands on – is vertical, pointing straight up in most pads and only gently touch your thigh when stood with a straight leg. However some brands such as Puma and in some Gray-Nicolls models, the top-hat is angled backwards slightly to offer greater protection for your upper thigh when bending your knee to play a shot. If you aren’t used to it then you may find this quite irritating, as it tend to dig-in to your thigh a little when you are stood up right. But if you feel vulnerable in that area then these pads are a good place to start.
The knee roll – Firstly it’s very important that your knee cap sits into the knee roll perfectly to benefit fully from the pads protection. Once you are in, you will notice that the variation in material, padding and the presence or lack of a knee cup all contribute to the comfort factor. The more you spend on them the more likely there is to be softer touch fabrics, extra padding or even gel pockets and more subtly placed solid pieces such as knee cups, if any at all.
Shin-Bolster – This is the section where your shin is in contact with the pad and as a result is the area that gets the sweatiest. Where padding is key to the level of protection here, moisture management is crucial to comfort. Some people prefer a non-absorbent material that allows the sweat to linger and evaporate or be wiped away. While others prefer an absorbent material to take the moisture away from the leg. The choice is yours but bear in mind that sweat absorbing shin bolster end up quite smelly and mouldy if not left to dry-out sufficiently after each session.
Batting Pad Straps – Often overlooked when people purchase pads but the things that can cause you the most irritation if you get it wrong. The thin, abrasive, old school straps can now be easily avoided. Added luxuries of wide cloth finished straps with easy use pull tabs and buckle protecting flaps are there if you look out for them. Particularly in the top end Salix, Gray-Nicolls and Adidas pads.
Aesthetics –There’s more variation in colour and style to batting pads than ever before, from the traditional cane construction with minimal colour to the extravagantly modern panel designs and everything in between. It’s a subjective topic so we’ll leave that with you to decide what looks best.
Last but not least is the value. You generally get what you pay, but sometimes you can beat the system. Here’s a few models we think break that mold in your favour and provide you with more protection and comfort than their price tags should hold.
1. New Balance TC1260 Batting Pads– Although it’s a traditional design, there’s more tech and trimmings than you can shake a stick at and well worth its modest price of £72.25. Yes it is the same pair as those used by Joe Root, Ben Stokes and every other New Balance ambassador, so if it’s good enough for them it’s more than good enough for most.
2. Gray-Nicolls Prestige Batting Pads – Another excellent pair of protective legwear that is punching well above its weight. Yours at the affordable price of just £56.
3. Gunn & Moore 606 Batting Pads – For just £40 these are a superb pair of pads for any regular club level cricketer.
For a more technical guide to batting pads then press the ‘Buyers Guide’ button on the top right hand side of Cricket Batting Pads product page and read all about the materials and technologies that make up the modern day pads.