IXS FLOW LIGHT KNEE PAD REVIEW
ALL DAY COMFORT
Photos & Words by Dario DiGiulio
I look at knee pads in the same way I do cameras. The old adage of “the best one is the one you have with you” applies just the same in both cases. As a result, I’ve always tended towards the lighter style of knee pads, as they’re that much easier to slip on before any ride. This genre is becoming well accounted for, with many brands making great options, but few really stand out. There are a few refined elements of the IXS Flow Light Knee Guards that have made them rise to the top of my current list, while remaining nice and simple. Dig in to see if they’re the right choice for you.
IXS is pretty no-frills about their approach to mountain bike armor, with a clean gray aesthetic that seems to be in keeping with their German roots. The Flow Lights are their simplest offering, with a sleeve-like construction that relies on a silicone thigh gripper to stay in place. An Xmatter viscoelastic foam insert offers protection to EN1621-1:2012 Level 1 standards and can be removed for replacement or cleaning.
The main body of the IXS Flow Light knee pad is made with “Aero Mesh” – a Lycra mesh fabric which should keep things comfortable and flexible, with moisture wicking and anti-bacterial properties. The knee pads are available in sizes XS to XXL, and retail for $89.90, and there is an elbow equivalent for $69.90.
Prior to trying these svelte IXS pads, my long-standing favorite has been the Race Face Indy pad, which strikes nearly the exact same price point at around $90 USD. Based simply on usage frequency, I seem to be preferring the IXS Flow Lights these days, and it really comes down to one factor: they’re so damn light and breathable that you don’t realize you’ve been wearing them all day. As the winter slowly starts to fade here in Washington, I’m getting some time in the heat with these simple sleeves, and so far, they’ve performed marvelously.
It’s worth noting the fit of the IXS Flow Light pads: I’m 6’3” and around 175lbs, with a fairly slim build, and the medium size seems to be perfect for me. As with all gear, it’s worth trying a pair on if you can, but the sizing charts seem to do a good job of giving you a sense of how they’ll fit after taking a couple of measurements of your legs.
When it comes to all-out protection, I think the Race Face Indys might have the Flow Lights beat, but the latter certainly isn’t a slouch. I’ve taken plenty of hard spills on some pretty rugged terrain, and came away feeling good as new thanks to those Xmatter inserts. Coverage is good, though pretty much focused only to the front of the knee, where most impacts happen. I’ve never quite understood the ultra-wide wrap some pads employ, so the lower-profile pad employed here really doesn’t bother me.
Having worn these day in and day out for the past few months, durability has proven to be excellent. Despite crashes; very long days of use; many trips through the wash; and some rough yanking on and off, the stitching and fabric have remained intact and unperturbed. The foam is holding up well, and still holds its shape nicely. They even seem to be a bit less stinky than other pads in my rotation, likely due to the very lightweight fabric.
The Wolf’s Last Word
My rough rule of thumb is that the best knee pads are the ones you’re wearing when you need them, and the IXS Flow Light Knee Guards are passing that low bar with flying colors. Beyond that simple requirement, they tick all my boxes: they’re lightweight and breathable; they stay up all day regardless of sweat and leg hair, and they’re holding up to my daily use quite nicely. All to say, the Flow Lights have become one of my top options for an everyday pad that you’ll actually want to wear.
Warranty: 2 Years
Perfect fit stays put
Lightweight yet still fairly durable
Sleeve-style fit might not be for everyone
Protection is focussed to the middle
LEAVE A COMMENT, WIN FREE SWAG!
Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack and get the latest news and read the latest reviews on the top mountain and electric mountain bikes.