Mike Reissig at Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Legacy Renovation Inc. tried the KneeBlades rolling knee pads from Milescraft.
These knee pads are an interesting concept, so my partners, crew and I were curious to give them a try. Our first impression out of the box was their weight and bulkiness. They measure at just over 10 inches across, and the scale revealed the pair to be 5.2 pounds. Flooring pros who use the larger version of the Pro Knees, as we do, will not find this to be prohibitive. I usually alternate between the two Pro Knees sizes depending on the task, so I am used to the weight and size.
The roller base/frame looks to be extremely well-constructed and durable, which is probably why they are on the heavy side. The ball bearing casters all operate independently and allow for free movement. The rollers appear to be pressed into the frame. Milescraft included a parts list with the directions (all of which can be ordered and replaced), and in the event of a bearing failure, the company says replacements can be ordered and inserted by gently prying underneath with a screwdriver to remove and pressing the new roller back in.
These are designed to use as rolling knee pads or just knee pads, and the gel or substance they use as a cushion for the knee was very comfortable while using the roller base. The wide frame makes them very stable while in this mode. However, using them as just a knee pad was awkward and offered little to no support, as the outer shell has too much curvature and tended to roll the knee from side to side. The outer shell is also made of hard plastic, and we like to have something more forgiving on the floor, particularly when it is finished. The company has a video showing a technician rolling on a prefinished floor, but we were too concerned about leaving wheel marks or catching an errant rock to do that.
For those of us floor pros with thinner legs, we sometimes find the straps barely have enough Velcro to attach—not so with the KneeBlades, which had enough for any size leg. There is only one attachment point, and considering how heavy and bulky they are, I wished they had another strap (like I'm used to with my current knee pads). We also fought with the latch mechanism that attaches the knee pad to the roller assembly. The majority of the time it would un-clip while rolling, and when we stood up the roller frame would fall off.
Overall, we agree with a lot of the things it says on the box about these knee pads. The wheels do allow you to glide around in minimal time, and it was fun to roll around from area to area instead of shuffling your knees like you do with traditional-style knee pads. But there are situations where you want to have stable contact with the floor, like if you are edging and want to have a knee down. The rollers don't offer the resistance necessary to anchor yourself. For now, these knee pads aren't going to see regular use from us. They are a cool concept, and if they come up with a version that resolves some of the issues we encountered, we would be interested in trying them again. I would like to hear some of your thoughts; if any of you have tried them, please leave your feedback in the comments below.