7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads
Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Rob “The Rake” Dunnet
We knew right away that the Seven iDP Sam Hill knee pads were going to be good. What we didn’t know is that they’d quickly become one of our all time favorites. Over the years we have tested more knee pads than we can remember, and several of them have been from Seven iDP. In all honesty, our last Seven iDP experiences weren’t the most amazing so we were pretty stoked to have the Sam Hill’s be a home run. Packing a bunch of protection in a comfortable, light weight package isn’t always an easy task but these pads really seem to do it well.
In the hand, Seven’s Sam Hill pads feel rugged yet light. The pads are long, which we like. The sleeve comes up higher than most above your knee to ensure the pad stays in place on long pedals and brutal slams. We also appreciate the long bottom of the pad as they offer a decent amount of upper shin coverage.
Seven iDP uses silicone gripper print to help keep the pre-curved pads securely in place. Four way stretch spandex fabric blends breathability with a little bit of compression, further enhancing the knee-hugging comfort.
Padding on the Sam Hill pads is sufficient for trail to enduro applications and chances are if you’re a minimalist, you may even sneak them into your bike park gear bag. Designed with input from Mr. Hill himself, these pads are designed to be comfortable on long pedals between enduro stages but robust enough to offer protection at speeds that border on wreckless for mere mortals like us. Thanks to the secure fit and Sas-Tec viscoelastic CE 1621 certifcation, we don’t have to stress about our knees hitting the deck too much. It’s just the rest of the body we’re concerned with.
As we mentioned above, we were pretty excited when we opened our care package from Seven iDP. Inside were several pieces of gear, including these Sam Hill pads. As soon as we put them on we knew it was going to be good. Our first ride confirmed the hunch and we’ve been absolutely loving these pads ever since.
Sam Hill requested a little more protection than the Transition pads offered and that’s exactly what he got. Just examine the pads and you’ll notice that all around the kneecap you’ve got a significant amount of impact eating protection. It sort of felt like we were wrapping our kneecaps in bubble wrap.
The pad is “tube-style” sleeve that easily slides on and covers a large amount of the leg. The upper silicone gripper sits comfortably at the mid thigh, ensuring it won’t migrate on the bike. The long bottom section was also welcomed on more than one occasion when pedal strikes or flying rocks bounced off the padding.
The Wolf’s Last Word
As close as this pad is to being perfect, our only (minor) complaint is that the kneecap area is a touch warm when we’re not moving. Once airflow is going by the pads cool down a bit, but it’s a small price to pay for the absolute security we felt inside these pads.
Seven iDP has really done an impressive job of making a pad that feels safe and secure without feeling bulky or overbuilt. The extra padding around the kneecap and upper shin have us extending the range of the pads designation into the bike park and light-duty DH trails. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the spandex material, fit, flexibility and comfort have us reaching for the pads on long epics into the backcountry. These are the closest thing to a do-it-all knee pad we’ve ridden in our memory. Absolutely impressive work!
One word of wisdom however, as much as we love the Sam Hill pads, we do not recommend the Sam Hill Lite pads. It was a surprise to us too, but take our word for it. If you’re looking for a solid trail/all mountain knee pad, check these out. You don’t even have to go far to do so. We liked the pads so much we are now selling them in our web store! Click here.