wearing black wrist guard back view

Complete Guide to Buying Wrist Guards

If you plan to do any outdoor sports like rollerskating, skateboarding, or snowboarding, you need to get wrist guards. Wrist guards protect your wrists and arms in case of a fall, reducing your risk of scratches, fractures, and major injuries. 

Complete Guide to Buying Wrist Guards - wearing black wrist guard front view

As we always say, safety should always come first when it comes to any sort of recreational activity. If you’re at high risk of falling while engaging in a sport, like skateboarding or skiing, you should strongly consider wearing wrist guards to protect yourself.  

In this complete guide, we’ll share our tips on what you should consider when buying wrist guards so you can protect yourself during your next adventure. From types to features, here’s everything we know.

fingerless wrist guards let you use your hands more freely than full fingered guards, but offer less protection

Protecting Your Wrists

Your wrists are made up of several bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments that are all put at risk any time you fall on your wrists or arms. 

Compared to other parts of the body, the musculature in your wrists is quite complex. Part of this complexity has to do with their relation to the use of our hands. 

Wrist injuries are no laughing matter. A simple wrist fracture can take up to 12 weeks to heal! Considering how much we use our hands, that’s a long time to go without full function of them. 

When you engage in sports like skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, and rollerblading, you’re at a higher risk of falling than in other types of sports. This also applies to recreational activities like riding a bike or a scooter. 

When we fall, we often throw our hands out in front of us or around us to catch ourselves. This can cause us to scratch our skin or even break a bone. 

Wearing a wrist guard can help you avoid injuring your wrist unnecessarily if you fall on your hands or arms during these activities. Because wrist guards are often sturdy and keep your wrist from bending at unnatural angles, they can potentially prevent fractures and breaks. 

Types of Wrist Guards

There are three main styles of wrist guards you should know about. Consider your needs in buying wristguards (i.e. sport you’re playing, tricks you’ll do, experience level, etc.) to determine which type is best for you.

both hands back view of black wrist guards


Fingerless wrist guards focus primarily on the wrist itself, rather than on the hand. Many of these styles hardly cover the hand at all, so it is entirely exposed while you wear them. 

These wrist guards provide support to the wrist and take some pressure off of it. They are the most basic form of wrist guard, offering the least amount of protection but the most amount of flexibility. They’re best for those who need full range of their hands while wearing the guards, such as skiers or bicyclists.


Half-finger wrist guards are much more protective over your hands. They only leave your fingertips exposed. This offers more flexibility in using your fingers during your activity than full-fingered wrist guards do. 

These wrist guards are extremely popular, especially for those wanting to maintain some breathability in their hands for summer sports like skateboarding or volleyball. 


Full-finger wrist guards fully cover and protect both your wrists and hands. They are primarily designed for skaters who perform sliding tricks, as they need to run their hands on the ground. These guards protect your skin while you slide, and are also the most protective if you were to fall. 

They may also work well for snowboarding or skiing, as they can help insulate your fingers against the cold. However, this is a personal preference as some prefer fingerless guards with gloves over them. 

Wrist Guard Features

Wrist guards have several different features to help protect your wrists. These are the most common features we recommend considering as you’re searching for a pair. 

Impact Absorption

One of the most important features of wrist guards is their impact absorption. 

Since you want full protection when you fall, the more impact absorption a wrist guard has, the better. This will reduce shock transferred to your wrists during an impact, reducing the chance of injury. 

Look for wrist guards made of materials good at absorbing impact, such as durable plastic or extra foam padding. You’ll especially want extra padding if you plan to engage in a high-speed sport, such as snowboarding or skateboarding, which can increase the force of impact if you fall. 

Wrist Alignment and Stabilization

One of the main ways wrist guards protect you is by stabilizing your wrist. Wrist guards keep your wrist in a straight and neutral position, preventing it from twisting or bending if you fall on it. Many wrist guards have a rigid splint built into them to aid with this. 

Look for wrist guards that are sturdy and durable to keep your wrist immobile when you wear them. The more restricted your motion is, the more protected your wrist will be in the event of a fall. 


Wrist guards, though adjustable, are designed to fit snugly on your wrists. This compression helps increase blood flow to the area, providing extra support to the joint. 

This compression can also help reduce swelling or inflammation if you do fall, which can reduce the severity of your injury. Look for compressive materials like nylon that feel snug without being uncomfortably tight. 

wearing black wrist guard back view

Common Wrist Guard Materials

Most wrist guards are made of similar materials to one another. You’ll want to make sure you choose the right materials so you know you’re getting a high-quality pair of wrist guards. These are the most common materials you may find in a pair of wrist guards.


Most adjustable wristguards are made with some type of velcro band on them. This fastener lets you adjust the tightness of the guard, so it fits more securely to your wrist shape. This also makes it easier for you to put on and remove the guard. 

You’ll find velcro on a variety of wrist guards out there for many different sports, since its main purpose is to fasten the guard to your wrist properly. 


Nylon is the most common material many wrist guards are made of. Because it is stretchy and breathable, it’s very comfortable on your skin even in the summer. Nylon is typically used on wrist guards designed for summer sports like volleyball or tennis, where you need more flexibility in your wrists. 

Sometimes, it may also be used as an exterior fabric on winter wristguards because of its stretchiness. 

Always make sure any material on your wrist guards doesn’t chafe your skin or cause discomfort. 


Another fabric, neoprene has lots of cushion and is stretchy like nylon for a comfortable yet protective fit. Many wrist guards are actually made of a combination of neoprene and nylon to give you the best of both worlds. 

While you can find neoprene on many different types of wrist guards, you’ll find it most on guards for high-impact sports like skateboarding or snowboarding. If you have a higher fall risk with a certain sport, you’ll definitely want neoprene in your wrist guards. 


Foam is often used as an insulator and to absorb impact if you fall. It may be lined inside the base material or along the outside of the protective splint. The thicker the foam, the more protective it is.

You’ll often find foam in wrist guards for high-impact sports like hockey or skateboarding, since you’re more likely to fall. However, they’re also great for sports like snowboarding and skiing since the foam helps keep you warm in cold weather. 

ABS Plastic

ABS plastic is most often used to make the protective and rigid splint that keeps your wrist immobilized and positioned correctly. The sturdier the plastic, the more protected your wrists will be. 

Wrist guards for skating, longboarding, bicycling, and other sports with high fall risk will often have a hard ABS plastic layer. 

Choosing the Right Size Wrist Guards

Because all wrists are different, wrist guards come in a few different sizes. These sizes are general, and finer adjustments can be made using the velcro straps on your wrist guards. 

To find the right size, you need to accurately measure your hands and wrists with a soft tape measure. 

Measure around the widest point of your hand (around the four knuckles, excluding the thumb) to find your hand width. Then, compare this measurement with the size chart given on the wrist guards you’re considering. You may also have to measure the diameter of your wrist or arm. 

Though all sizing charts are different, the following is a general guide:

Small: 5”-6” hand width

Medium: 6”-7” hand width

Large: 7”-8” hand width

Extra Large: 8”-9” hand width

If possible, try on the wrist guard before purchasing to make sure it isn’t too loose or too tight. The guard should fit snugly without cutting off circulation or causing pain or discomfort. 

both hands back view of black wrist guards

Reputable Wrist Guard Brands

You should try to find wrist guards made by reputable brands and companies. This will ensure that your guards are high-quality and made from durable and protective materials. Here are some of our favorite brands we’ve reviewed before:

187 Killer Pads

187 Killer Pads are popular and affordable wrist guards for just about any sport. This brand uses industrial-grade materials for extreme protection, including extremely thick splints. They also include several straps on their designs so you can get the most custom fit possible.


Dakine is a great brand for those looking for winter wrist guards. This brand makes guards that are heavy-duty and perfect for fitting underneath your winter gloves. They’re also reputable for their other winter sports gear, which are highly rated. 

Triple Eight

Triple Eight is an incredibly popular brand for wrist guards for all different sports. Their guards are made with thick EVA foam cushioning and contain ABS plastic splints, protecting your wrists from all sides. 

Though Triple Eight is a bit more expensive than other brands, you get what you pay for with them. They’re highly rated and highly sought after by both skaters and snowboarders. 

Factors to Consider


Wrist guard prices can vary greatly depending on the type, brand, and materials of the guards you’re interested in. You can expect the cost of your wrist guards to range anywhere between $15-100.
Remember: expensive doesn’t always mean the best. Look at the quality and reviews of the guard to determine if it’s worth the price. 


The biggest thing about wrist guards is that they need to be durable. You want them to last you a long time, and you also want them to be highly protective if you fall. 

Always review the materials a pair is made of to determine a bit about its durability. Splints made with thick ABS plastic are quite durable, as are materials like neoprene and nylon. You should also check out reviews regarding their stitching and any potential tearing to see how well-made they are. 

Though guards with more durability may cost you more upfront, they will ultimately last you longer and reduce your chances of injury more than cheaper or flimsier guards would. 


Even though wrist guards can feel strange at first (after all, they keep you from moving your wrist like normal!), they shouldn’t be painful or uncomfortable by any means. 

Always make sure the guard you get can compress you without feeling too tight or suffocating. You should also find ones that are lined with soft, breathable materials for the most comfort on your skin. 

Final Thoughts

If you want to take a look at some specific wrist guards, check out our past reviews on some of the best wrist guards out there:

Wrist Guards by Usage

Wrist Protectors

Slide Gloves

Frequently asked Questions

Do wrist guards always prevent fractures and breaks?

While wrist guards can greatly decrease the chance of a fracture or break, they can never guarantee it. Always do your best to fall correctly and safely even when wearing wrist guards to reduce your chances even further. 

I’m an expert – do I really need wrist guards?

Yes! Even the most expert sportsmen can accidentally fall sometimes. Though you think it may never happen to you, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Find yourself some wrist guards that are secure and comfortable for your needs. 

Are wrist guards, wraps, and braces the same thing?

No, wrist guards, wraps, and braces are not the same thing. Wrist guards are used to protect your wrists against injury during sports, while braces are used to stabilize the wrist after an injury.