For those of us who live in Oregon Dakine has been a local PNW brand that brought pride to the region and has consistently collaborated with artists, athletes, and designers to create some of the best looking gear on the market. With their recent announcement to move all operations from Hood River to Southern California we were interested to see if their new products will continue to uphold the long heritage they have formed. We received the Dakine Slayer Knee Sleeves a couple months ago and have been wearing them around Bend for longer pedals in moderate terrain.
Dakine’s Slayer Knee Sleeve was designed to be a low profile pad for warmer days or long pedals. The sleeve is made of a four-way stretch nylon/poly blend while the pad is made of an impact sensitive foam. Like any good mountain bike knee pad, the Dakine Slayer Knee Sleeves have odor control treatment to keep the funk away and silicone grip strips to keep the pads in place.
The knee pad is slightly pre-curved to fit the knee and keep the pad in place while pedaling. Seems are externally stitched to minimize rub points and the sleeve also incorporates rip stop Aramid to increase strength. A very important thing as mountain biker’s knee pads are often some of their most abused pieces of kit.
Dakine’s Slayer Knee Sleeve is built for longer pedals in lower consequence terrain. Coverage is minimal with no medial or lateral condyle protection, relying on a small, central pad to cover the knee and upper shin. The impact sensitive foam is fairly soft and gets more compliant once it warms up. Once on and pedaling, we did not have any hot spots pop up and the sleeve stayed in place well during our testing thanks to the silicone grippers.
We liked the combination of stretch and abrasion resistance, but we found the sleeve to be very warm on days over 75 degrees. Even on downhill sections, breathability was low and we found ourselves dropping the pad on longer climbs to let our knees dry out, something we don’t often find ourselves doing on thinner “trail” knee pads like Leatt’s Airflex Pro, or Pearl Izumi Elevate pads to name a couple.
During our testing we had a few minor tumbles, and luckily the small falls we did have were well covered by the Slayer Knee Sleeve. The knee pads remained in place during impact and did not pull down. Bigger terrain with rocks and roots would overwhelm the pad though, so look to other options if you find yourself in rougher situations with sharper obstacles often.
The Dakine Slayer Knee Sleeve is a decent option for mellower terrain in cooler temperatures as we felt they were a bit warmer than other trail-friendly knee pads with similar protection and better ventilation. Protection is on par with other minimalist pads but lacks medial and lateral condyle protection, which many other lightweight knee pads also forego in the name of comfort and light weight. Even though we like the rugged durability, we would like to see a more breathable fabric for hotter weather ride days, so these pads will probably go back in the locker until temps drop and we need some light-weight trail pads in the cooler months.
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.