KNEE PAD ROUNDUP

Some Selections For Your Consideration

Sponsored by CompetitiveCyclist.com

When it comes to safety equipment, after shoes and helmets, few things seem as important as knee pads. Mountain bike knee pads are simple enough, can be thin or burly and will help keep you riding in event of an unscheduled landing. Thanks to our friends at CompetitiveCyclist.com, we were able to get resupplied with freshies to make this video and group review happen. We are thankful to have the autonomy to select products we want to test, review and share with our readers. If you’ve never mountain biked in knee pads, are looking for a new set or just want to see what some of the other pads on the market have to offer, welcome and enjoy. Our best tip is to ensure you measure your leg, check the sizing chart and get the right pad for the job without going too overboard. If you get a pad that’s too hot, heavy or overbuilt for your application, then chances are you’ll get tired of hot and sweaty knees and you won’t wear them, which inevitably will be the day you crash! And, if you’re riding hard, shredding super rocky trails, then don’t buy something really thin and light, as chances are they’ll only protect you superficially and leave you hanging when your patella slams into a boulder at 20mph.

G-FORM PRO-X2 KNEE PADS
MSRP: $59.99
RECOMMENDED USE: Trail

You can’t wear bulky, uncomfortable pads that hold you back. But when the elements turn against you, it could put you on the sideline, and you can’t let that happen. With Pro-X2 Knee Pads, you have the protection you need, when you need it. The rest of the time, you won’t even know it’s there.

Featuring SmartFlex: Flexible as you Ride. Hardens on Impact.

  • Comfortable: Lightweight, flexible mountain bike knee pads giving you total comfort during any ride
  • Body-mapped impact absorbing SmartFlex™ pads
  • Secured: Compression sleeves with silicone gripper to keep your pads secure
  • Ventilated: Stay cool with ventilated pads and moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ fabric

OUR TAKE
SmartFlex works well and these pads are a great product for riders unsure of wanting to venture into the knee pad space or refined mountain bikers who want something thin, minimalist and breathable. If you can get over the alien-aesthetic, these thin pads will offer some quality trail-level protection in a small package.

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FOX RACING ENDURO D3O KNEE PAD
MSRP: $84.95
RECOMMENDED USE: Enduro/Trail

The Enduro D30 Knee Pad offers the best in protection and performance that Fox Racing has to offer. It combines and ultralight, pedal-friendly sleeve with D30 padding, Fox’s leading pad for impact protection. D30 minimizes restrictions by staying flexible while riding but hardens upon impact, and the perforated neoprene sleeve ensures the utmost ventilation and quick-drying comfort. Fox reinforced the skid plate and added Cordura paneling to provide long-lasting durability.

  • Fox’s highest level of protection that’s light and pedal-friendly.
  • Removable D30 pad stays flexible while riding and hardens on impact.
  • Perforated neoprene enhances overall breathability.
  • High-stretch rear panel allows for a full range of motion.
  • Pedal-friendly, slip-on design doesn’t interfere with riding.
  • Cordura and reinforced skid plate ensure long-lasting durability.

OUR TAKE
Although we find the Enduro name of the pads to be a bit misleading, these are some of our favorite trail to aggressive trail level pads. We love the D3O material, find them to breath well and are very comfortable, even on long days. The Fox Enduro knee pads are definitely top recommendations for riders in the 120-150mm spectrum in our opinion, unless you ride in super rocky terrain regularly. Check the sizing as these pads are a bit snug and may require some break-in time if you’re between sizes.

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KALI STRIKE KNEE/SHIN GUARD
MSRP: $85.00
RECOMMENDED USE: Enduro/Downhill

These guards feature a molded Xelion kneecap that takes the brunt of big blows, while allowing air to pass through so you can keep cooler. The sides of the guards are decked out with EVA pads to elevate the protection for charging big lines where error is not an option. The top and bottoms of the pads feature silicone grippers to keep them locked into place and utilize hook and loop straps on the top to keep them extra secure. Kali Protectives uses a lightweight mesh along the back of the knee, so sweat can be wicked away and fresh air can meet your skin for ultimate cool riding.

  • Low profile protection with next level breathability.
  • Molded Xelion kneecap takes the brunt of blows.
  • EVA padded sides protect from stray branches.
  • Mesh backing helps wick away sweat and breathe.
  • Hook and loop closure secures guards in place.
  • Silicone grippers on top and bottom prevent mid-ride slippage.

OUR TAKE
Overall the Kali Strike knee pads have impressed us. Our team likes the breathability through the Xelion material and the fact it’s a bit harder should mean it’ll slide across hard terrain nicely. We’d like to see some EVA padding in the center of the outside portion of the knees, but realize the lack of that padding is why they pedal well. The large silicone grip strips are a bit overpowering for some riders, so it’s worth noting that they could irritate the back of the thigh on long days. Critiques aside, we like the Kali Strike knee pads and their long coverage area.

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LEATT AIRFLEX PRO KNEE GUARD
MSRP: $89.99
RECOMMENDED USE: Enduro/Downhill

Designed to split the difference between hard-shell and barely-there pads, the Airflex Pro uses low-profile soft-shell foam to protect the front, top, and sides of your knees without restricting your pedaling prowess.

The 3D molded gel impact pad is perforated to improve cooling and moisture-wicking airflow, and it is stuck to a sleeve made of Airmesh and Moisture Cool fabrics to keep the undersides of your knees dry. There’s also silicone printing in key areas of the sleeve.

  • Slim knee pads strike a balance between protection and pedaling ability.
  • Pre-curved 3D protection pad fits perfectly around your knee cap.
  • Anti-odor treatment extends the life of the pads and keeps you comfortable.
  • Gel-based pads absorb impact more effectively than foam and pedal well.
  • Perforated materials throughout the pad’s construction offer breathability.

OUR TAKE
Another awesome mountain bike knee pad. The Leatt Airflex Pro pads are Nic Hall’s favorite and other testers here also love them for every day rides. If you’re debating on whether you should wear pads, or no pads today, these are the ones to get. Some riders had a little bit of rub on the knee cap if they wore them for multiple hours for a few days in a row, but besides that, these things are great for that 100-140mm rider.

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TROY LEE DESIGNS SPEED KNEE SLEEVE
MSRP: $54.00
RECOMMENDED USE: Trail

For the minimalists out there, Troy Lee Designs created the Speed Knee Sleeve for people like you. Lightweight, breathable, and flexible, the sleeve provides 4mm of D3O foam cushioning to shield your knees and shins without inhibiting your ability to spin the pedals quickly. The entire sleeve is constructed free of seaming to eliminate the likelihood of chafing or irritation, and it features reflective logos to keep you visible in case you have to ride a few miles on the roads to get to the trailhead. The abrasion-resistant cover will save you from scrapes and scratches against trail furniture, while the silicone gripper band keeps the whole piece in place so you can focus on your ride.

  • Minimalist knee pad for lightweight, flexible protection.
  • D30 foam shields your knee and shin in an impact.
  • Lightweight material stretches and allows plenty of airflow.
  • External fabric is abrasion-resistant for durability.
  • Seamless construction eliminates chafing and irritation.
  • Silicone gripper bands secure the position without squeezing.

OUR TAKE
Like your old trusty pair of sweatpants, the Troy Lee Designs Speed Knee Sleeves are comfortable if nothing else. We haven’t crashed in these pads luckily as the 4mm D3O padding is probably just there for peace of mind and surface abrasions more than anything. While we understand these pads are comfortable, light and very popular, they’re probably not pads we’d wear very often as we like to ride aggressively on jagged terrain and think there are some better looking options. That said, if you want the absolute minimal amount of padding and the maximum amount of comfort, these could be for you.

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ION K-TRAZE KNEE PAD
MSRP: $89.95
RECOMMENDED USE: Enduro/Trail

When you are looking for an every-day knee pad, you will surely have some priorities. Firstly, you need pedal-ability, then breathability, comfort, protection, and a secure fit, and Ion’s K-Traze Knee Pads offer just that. These lightweight pads contour to your body with flexible SAS-TEC padding, providing protection from abrasion, and light impacts, while super Super Perforator neoprene keeps the fit snug, and allows sweat to escape. The back of the knee utilizes Ion’s mesh panels that let the breeze in, helping you stay cool on punchy climbs, and a compression strap on top locks the fit in place.

  • Light and breathable pads for everyday trail riding.
  • SAS-TEC padding protects from abrasion and light impacts.
  • Flexible construction is built to move with you.
  • Let your skin breathe with super perforated neoprene.
  • Compression strap on top secures your fit in place.
  • Contoured construction is super pedal-able.

OUR TAKE
Heavy duty protection around the knee cap without the excessive and supporting bulk of enduro/DH pads. We like the SAS-TEC material and breathable, perforated neoprene. These are good pads for those not quite in the full blown enduro or shuttle realm but live to shred their trails hard and want pinpoint protection around the kneecap for when they do slam. We like these pads but find them to be in a bit of a no-man’s-land between burlier pads and thinner trail sleeves. No doubt these will be ideal for some riders though.

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FOX LAUNCH D3O KNEE PAD
MSRP: $79.95
RECOMMENDED USE: Downhill/Enduro

Go big or go home, but do not go home for the season. With the Launch D3O Knee Pads you can charge steep lines with confidence knowing you are covered if things do not go as planned. Advanced protection comes from the D3O knee inserts that stay flexible while riding so you can shred with comfort but will harden upon impact to protect you in a crash.

  • Advanced knee coverage for enduro and downhill riding.
  • D3O stays flexible while riding, hardens upon impact.
  • Breathable neoprene sleeve for a comfortable, secure fit.
  • Pre-curved shape will not interfere with pedaling.
  • Hook-and-loop strap lets you customize the fit.

OUR TAKE
Similarly to the K-Traze, these pads aren’t quite strong enough for DH park duty on the regular but are a bit too sweaty to be a daily pedal kind of pad. We love the comfort and neoprene material as they just welcome our knees every time. The downside is they can get a bit sweaty, however they still remain very comfortable even when wet. Once again, these are great for aggressive riders who aren’t quite sending it huge or regularly crashing. We will certainly wear these on eMTB days and when shuttling milder epics in Oakridge, Oregon.

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POC JOINT VPD SYSTEM KNEE PAD
MSRP: $149.95
RECOMMENDED USE: Downhill/Enduro

Sitting at the heart and center of this protective mountain bike knee pad, POC’s ingenious VPD (visco-elastic polymer dough) foam stays pliable until impact, at which point it stiffens up to disperse heavy blows. This means you’ll be able to wear this pad while pedaling uphill, as it’s non-restrictive nature won’t sacrifice flexibility. Complementing the VPD padding, the high-tenacity shell is highly resilient from abrasion, so you won’t suffer from a skinned knee after falling over rugged terrain.

  • Pliable knee pad for all-mountain rides.
  • VPD padding stiffens upon impact to disperse force.
  • High-tenacity shell is highly resistant to abrasion.
  • Kevlar-reinforced stitching for bomber durability.
  • Perforated ventilation promotes breathable comfort.

OUR TAKE
While we loved the VPD material and how much of it cushions the knee, we just can’t get behind these pads. Besides not digging the look of these pads, the bottom part of the VPD “block” has a pretty sharp curve and fold that digs into our testers shins. Combined with the high price tag, the discomfort and looks make the POC VPD a no go in our book. For some riders out there we are sure they work great and may be your favorites, and for that reason we always suggest trying on pads when possible, but these aren’t the pads for us.

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G-FORM E-LINE KNEE
MSRP: $109.99
RECOMMENDED USE: Enduro / Downhill

For rowdy downhill trails or sending it in the jump line, the E-Line Knee pads from G-Form offer premium protection to keep you going after a bad spill. The quad-layer protection system combines flexible padding with hard shell areas over the knees to keep you mobile and unrestricted.

  • Mountain bike knee pads built to keep you protected on heavy-duty trails.
  • SmartFlex pads conform to your knees and harden on impact.
  • Armortex fabric is tear and abrasion resistant.
  • Hardshell section takes brunt force from branches or rocks.
  • Active Airflow 4-layer ventilation system increases airflow.
  • Flatlock seams reduce rubbing and irritation.
  • Fit strap is easy to adjust and offers added security.

OUR TAKE
Some of our favorite pads in the aggressive, enduro to DH-level spectrum the G-Form E-Line pads check every box for us. They are easy to remove and put on, even with your shoes tied up, they offer solid protection, breathe well for the genre and look good. Definitely a top pick from our crew.

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IXS TRIGGER KNEE PAD
MSRP: $149.00
RECOMMENDED USE: Downhill/Enduro

the iXs Trigger Knee Pads are designed for more aggressive riding, protecting not just the whole knee but the upper shin as well. These pads are left-and right-specific, giving each side of your body an ergonomic, asymmetrical shape that adds reliable protection while promoting a natural range of motion in the bike. The integrated Xmatter foam padding provides high impact-absorption and protection during high-speed spills, and it can even be easily removed for washing after sweaty days or replacement when the crash proved to be too much. AeroMesh comprises the sleeve body of these pads to offer moisture-wicking, odor-fighting, and highly breathable performance when you are pushing it to the limit in the saddle. Plus, the pads slide on quickly and easily over your feet and are held snugly in place by a pair of LoopLock closures and silicone strips.

  • Confident, comfortable knee and shin protection for aggressive riders.
  • Foam padding adds high impact-absorption to knee and shin area.
  • Pads are easily removed for washing or replacement.
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry and fights odors.
  • LoopLock closure provide a locked-in, snug fit through wild rides.

OUR TAKE
We’ve ridden in the iXS Trigger knee pads quite a bit and have mixed feelings. Some days we love them and other days we just tolerate them. What we’ve realized is that on days when we wear riding pants, we don’t have as good of an experience. We think the material is a bit grippy and pulls on the pants and they’re also a bit thick, which means some tighter pants will constrict the pads and force them to rub a bit more on the knee cap, which we felt on really long pedals. If you mostly shuttle, ride in shorts or don’t do really long pedals on the bike, then these are going to be some solid big mountain knee pads. We’ve kept them and ridden in them as much as we have for a reason, and that’s cuz we feel safe in them and like how they feel.

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ENDURA MT500 HARD SHELL KNEE PAD
MSRP: $114.95
RECOMMENDED USE: Downhill/Enduro

The MT500 Knee Pads implement a hard D3O shell over the kneecap in order to provide uncompromising deflective properties to one of the most vulnerable areas for downhill riding.

Two velcro straps keep the pad in place no matter how rowdy the drops and rock gardens become. Extended side foam padding supplies added coverage, ensuring no detail is left unchecked.

  • Hard shell knee pad is designed for rugged use on gnarly trails.
  • D3O insert provides lightweight and breathable shock absorption.
  • Hook-and-loop straps supply a comfortable fit.
  • Extended side foam padding provides added coverage.
  • CE EN 1621 certification gives you peace of mind.

OUR TAKE
We’ve had minimal experience with Endura products and these pads have impressed. The hard shell knee cap over the D3O give these mountain bike knee pads an instant leg up as we’re fans of hard cap protection and D3O material. Our team likes the fit, safe feeling provided and feel they breath well for a pad with this much protection. Obviously closed cap knee pads don’t let air pass through as much as other materials, but it’s a compromise we make for downhill days and eMTB rides on rugged trails.

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7iDP SAM HILL KNEE PAD
MSRP: $84.99
RECOMMENDED USE: Downhill/Enduro

7 Protection took Sam Hill’s feedback into the design of the Transition Plus Knee Pad to ensure that it is race-worthy, so whether you are crushing laps at the park or competing you can perform efficiently. Extra side padding and an extended pad design increase your odds of hitting foam instead of something you can hurt. The pad sits higher on the thigh than most pads of similar design and has a silicone strip that enables it to hold its position. The knit sleeve is constructed with breathable material and features a mesh back panel for maximum airflow—preventing your knee pit from becoming swampy so you can finish your ride comfortably.

  • Knee pads protect so you can perform.
  • Four-way stretch lets you move freely.
  • Extended padding for more covered surface area.
  • Breathable fabric keeps you cool while you pedal.
  • Silicone strips minimize slipping.

OUR TAKE
Warm but insanely comfortable. We spent all summer riding these at our recent Bike Park Review Tour and have lived to tell about it thanks to these pads. The 7iDP Sam Hill pads offer a ton of pillow-like cushion all around the knee and upper shin, have a long stocking and last very well. Solid choice if you’re a downhill fiend and like riding hard.

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