It's a love/hate relationship: a wood floor pro and kneepads. On one hand, kneepads are the saving grace for one of the wood floor pro's most crucial joints. But on the other hand, kneepads can look downright ratty and attain a smell that's, well, foul. The Nastiest Kneepads Contest, sponsored by ProKnee Corp., is our way of showing respectful disgust to kneepads that have gone through the wringer while helping preserve the bodies of their owners. We asked our followers on social media to send us photos and descriptions of why they are deserving of a brand-new pair of kneepads, and their responses ranged from hilarious to heartwrenching. Here are the winners and a few more of our favorite entries.
Attila Nagy | Nagy's Hardwood Flooring | Lakewood, Ohio
Attila Nagy would never have entered a contest like this. He'd much rather prefer to keep his head down and keep working. So without his knowledge, his son submitted the following on his behalf:
My father does not know I am doing this, but what makes his kneepads the dirtiest are the sweat and grit he has given to his hardwood flooring business for the past 35 years. Throughout those years he has had open-heart surgery, a neck surgery to hollow out his spinal cord, and another neck surgery where he had a tumor removed from his spine. After the tumor was removed, the doctor told him he wouldn't sand floors again. My dad was told it would be six months after the surgery before he could do physical activity. My dad had to learn how to walk again, but he was back running the edger three weeks after his surgery. He works seven days a week and gives it his all every day. My father is the hardest working man I know. He has overcome major adversity three times—three surgeries that many people would go on disability after. However, that is not my father. He never gives up and he walks the untraveled path. That is why his kneepads are the nastiest.
Nagy will receive a brand new pair of custom-fit ProKnee Model 0714 kneepads and a pair of Model AP16 kneepads.
Dillon Freeland | Focus Hardwood | Denver
Dillon Freeland recently discovered a tear in his meniscus. Hopefully a new pair will lower his risk of reinjuring his cartilage. And they'll smell better—at least at first. His submission:
My kneepads are some real nasty old Gundlach XL's that I've had for over two years now. I've tried a few cheap ones in the meantime, but they've worn out too quick, so back to the nasty old ones it was. Sometimes when I'm edging floors I wonder what it is that smells so bad, and then I realize I'm just way too close to my kneepads! And then on my drive home I usually keep my windows rolled down as the stench has transferred to my pants from a day of constant kneepad use. Yuck! A pair of ProKnees would be phenomenal, as I recently found out that I have a torn meniscus and need knee surgery. ProKnees would help keep my knees protected and free of any other damage, especially from the twisting motions that most likely caused my meniscus to tear in the first place.
Freeland will receive his choice of either the ProKnee Model 0714 or AP16 kneepads.
Josh Vause | Vause Custom Floors | Richland, Wash.
Josh Vause can't quit his kneepads. And he doesn't know why—they smell like a high school locker room and his knees are the first things he cleans after a day of work. His submission:
Where to begin ... If only you could smell these bad boys. Imagine a 15-year-old pair of hockey gloves. That's it ... my kneepads. I can barely stand their stench, yet I seem unable to muster the courage to want to replace these. Maybe it's a comfort thing? Or an attachment issue? I don't know. I started doing hardwood in 2000, and these are the one and only pair I've worn. When I get home the first thing I do is clean my knees. The kneepads have been modified and they're pretty gross, but, like that old saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it..."
Vause will receive Model AP16 kneepads.
We wish we could have been like Oprah at Christmas and surprise every pro who entered with a new pair of kneepads—"You get a pair! And you get a pair!"—but we cannot. We wanted to at least send a shout out to some of the other pros with entries we particularly enjoyed, or were grossed out by, or both.
Jonas Starita | Starita Hardwood Floors LLC | Chanhassen, Minn.
Jonas Starita makes knee cheese: "It smells like Band-Aids mixed with Taco Bell meat ... Minnesota is hot and muggy and is the perfect environment for growing cheese on my knees."
Michael Edlin | Floor-De-Lis Hardwood and Flooring | Louisville, Ky.
Michael Edlin wears hand-me-downs: "I've had these passed down from two other people, which is gross from a sweat standpoint, LOL!"
Kyle Neuroh | Neuroh Hardwood Flooring | Williamsport, Tenn.
Kyle Neuroh goes strapless: "These kneepads have seen it all ... You don't even need the Velcro straps anymore—they stick to your knees all by themselves."
Brandon Harrison | The Hardwood Company | Bowling Green, Ky.
Brandon Harrison leaves his on 24/7: "From clocking in until quitting time, I'm wearing them ... I'm so used to them I've been going through Lowe's getting materials not realizing I had still had them on!"
Matthew Murphy | Southeast Flooring Services | St. Augustine, Fla.
Matthew Murphy gets points for giving his kneepads an extended life: "The straps are broken, padding is missing and everything that's left is being held together with five different types of tape."
Van Stahl | Stahl's Flooring | East Berlin, Penn.
Van Stahl's are infectious but offer a nice bonus: "I have to cut the toe out of a pair of socks and slide them over my knee first so I don't get an itchy bacterial infection. They work great at keeping homeowners at bay while I'm working on their floors."
Brad Lawson | Lawson Floors | Victoria, Canada
Brad Lawson spawns new life: "My wife doesn't let them in the house because of the putrid smell they produce. They have a ... few other creatures growing on them from houses that aren't exactly sanitary."
Jorge Perez | Maxcare Hardwood Floors | Tacoma, Wash.
Jorge Perez wrings out various liquids: "Hours and hours of sweat, juices and broths, and unspeakable odors of pee."
Thank you to all who entered the Nastiest Kneepads Contest! All pros who entered, including those not shown here, will receive a 20 percent discount on any set of ProKnee kneepads (offer good until Aug. 31, 2017).