The best tactical pants with built-in knee pads provide enough knee protection to handle quickly falling to your knees, sliding, crawling over rough terrain, and preventing impacts from blunt projectiles like paintballs and airsoft BBs.

In this guide, we review the best tactical pants with knee pads and how to select the best knee pad tactical pants.

Selecting the Best Tactical Pants with Knee Pads

best tactical pants with knee pads

Tactical pants with knee pads are designed to be durable to handle consistent wear and tear while protecting your knees.

There are a few characteristics of tactical pants with built-in knee pads that you want to consider when selecting the best pair of knee pad tactical pants.

The features to look at when selecting a pair of tactical pants with knee pads are:

  • Installed knee pads vs knee pad ready pants
  • How the knee pad is secured to the pants
  • Knee pad contour for fitment
  • Padded knee pads vs unpadded knee pads
  • Knee pad texture

Let’s go through each of these a bit so you know what you are specifically looking for in knee pad tactical pants.

Knee Pad Installed vs Knee Pad Ready

How the pants state on their listing will determine if the knee pads are or are not included with the pants. Knee pad installed means that knee pads with the pants. Knee pad ready means that knee pads are not included with the purchase of the pants and will be required to purchase these separately.

If you are looking for a pair of ready-to-go pants, look for a pair of pants that have the knee pads installed. The knee pad portion of the pants can come with them actually installed and sewn into the pant itself, or as a removable accessory to the pants.

If you are looking for heavy use, then you might want to focus on knee pad ready tactical pants or at least tactical pants with removable knee pads. This will allow you to buy tactical knee pads that are the most comfortable based on the activity you are doing with them.

How the Knee Pad is Secured to the Pants

padded knee tactical pants

The knee pads in tactical pants can either come sewn into the pants or as a pocket where they can be installed/removed. Either option can work, but there are some benefits and downsides to each.

Tactical pants with sewn-in tactical knee pads will only provide you with one option of knee pad as long as you own those pants. If you don’t like them, they wear out, or they tear you will have to find a different pair of pants. This can be a pain, but the knee pads will be secured into the pants offering the most secure knee pad option aside from using external tactical knee pads.

Tactical pants with removeable tactical knee pads will help you customize the pants for a variety of different needs. You can remove them to just wear the pants, install a light knee pad for protection when working around the garage, or install a thick padded knee pad for activities like construction, airsoft, paintball, or even tactical training events.

Knee Pad Contour for Fitment

Each tactical knee pad will have a different contour. Most of the tactical pants with built-in knee pads or knee-pad-ready tactical pants will have a more flat contour to protect a wider placement of your knee. External tactical knee pads will be more custom fit to contour to your knee, but some tactical pants with built-in knee pads will have contour-fitted knee pads. You will want to keep this in mind when reviewing the options to make sure you are getting the fitment that you desire.

Padded Knee Pads vs Unpadded Knee Pads

Knee pads built-in to tactical pants will either come padded with high-quality closed-cell foam, a simple foam padding, or unpadded.

Closed Cell Foam Pads: The high-quality closed-cell foam is the best option when spending a good amount of time on your knees and to help from impact.

Simple Foam Padding: Simple foam padding is good for light activity on your knees. It will wear faster with heavy activity on your knees, so these will be better for having ready in case you get down on your knees to work once in a while or take infrequent impacts.

Unpadded Knee Pads: Unpadded knee pads in tactical pants are only good for abrasion resistance and potentially adding grip when on your knees. These knee pads will not provide any impact resistance. Unpadded knee pads will only provide additional comfort when kneeling on gravel.

Knee Pad Texture

The knee pad texture can be the difference between adding or not adding grip when on your knees. The best grip tactical knee pads in tactical pants will have molded-in grit sandpaper-like texture into a semi-soft rubber. The next best would be solid rubber. If it is not a rubber material, the knee pads will most likely be either rough plastic or smooth plastic knee pads.


Best Tactical Pants with Knee Pads

We review the best tactical pants with built-in knee pads for the following categories:

  • Overall Best Tactical Pants with Knee Pads
  • Best Tactical Pants with Knee Pads Under $100
  • Best Cheap Tactical Pants with Knee Pads

Below is a summary of the best options for three categories, then I dive into each of these pants a little bit more individually.

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  • Click the Read More to jump to our review of the product.

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Overall Best Tactical Pants with Knee Pads

Best Tactical Pants with Knee Pads Under $100

Best Cheap Tactical Pants with Knee Pads


Tactical Pants with Knee Pads Reviews


The STG tactical pants with knee pads are my #1 best tactical pants option.

First, the pants are made of high-quality Ripstop Cordura fabric. This fabric is reinforced to resist wear and tear.

The pants have solid, yet flexible knee pads to absorb impacts. There are mesh knee-protector pockets and mesh in the groin area to provide air circulation when things are heating up.

An added bonus is the STG tactical pants have 2 quick-access side pockets that have zippers, standard hand pockets, back pockets, and a small gear pocket.

Pros:

  • Very durable fabric
  • Quality stitching
  • Breathable mesh for airflow
  • Great knee protection
  • Available in several different colors

Cons:

  • Tight fit – go a size bigger for a loose fit
  • A bit heavy due to the thick material used


The IDOGEAR G3 tactical combat pants with knee pads are built for durability and comfort to deliver high performance.

These pants are made of a durable, yet lightweight 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester. Using strong YKK zippers, Teflon coating, and strong elastic clothing, this tactical pant is designed specifically to withstand the harsh environment. 

These pants have 10 different-sized pockets giving you an ample amount of storage. The knee pads provide protection from fabric wear and skin from bruises.

The IDOGEAR G3 tactical pants give almost all the features of other high-end tactical pants. This is why they are the best tactical pants with knee pads under $100.

Pros:

  • Durable, lightweight fabric
  • 10 storage pockets
  • Adjustable knee pad protection
  • Water-resistant coating

Cons:

  • Waist size may be small, so may need to go a size bigger.


If you are REALLY tight on money and need low-budget tactical pants with knee pads, you will want to check out these tactical pants.

These pants are cheap black tactical pants with knee pads in terms of cost, but you don’t have to sacrifice too much in terms of features or quality.

They combine comfort and durability very well with 35% cotton and 65% polyester fabric. This is a perfect fabric combination that improves wear resistance, scratch resistance, and breathability.

These tactical pants feature multiple pockets and Velcro at the waist and ankle to secure them tightly when you fill your pockets with extra equipment or gear.

The most popular variation is the black tactical pants with knee pads, but they do come in three other camo options.

They may be budget tactical pants, but they are still perfect for airsoft, hunting, and paintball tactical pants.

Pros:

  • Decently priced
  • Multiple pockets
  • Snug fit waist design
  • Adequate knee pad protection

Cons:

  • Great for occasional light use, but will wear under constant heavy use