We’ve selected the 11 best MTB knee pads for your reference.
Mountain bike knee pads are a type of professional equipment designed to protect the rider’s knees, primarily to prevent knee injuries from accidents or other causes during cycling. In mountain biking, the knee joint is a particularly vulnerable area, especially during intense off-road and downhill riding, where falls and impacts are more likely to occur. Therefore, knee pads are necessary for protection. In this article, I will review several of the most comfortable and safe mountain bike knee pads, helping you choose the most suitable one for your mountain biking and providing ample protection for your knees.
All test results are presented as numerical values, and we will provide final evaluations based on the test results and actual use.
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2023 Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads List
- Sweet Protection knee pads ($79)
- Fox Racing Launch D3O ($95)
- Dakine Slayer ($68)
- Leatt Airflex Pro ($89)
- 7iDP Project Knee ($125)
- Rapha Trail Knee Pads ($)
- Leatt Airflex Hybrid ($110)
- POC Joint VPD System ($149.95)
- Pearl Izumi Elevate ($124.95)
- iXS Carve Evo+ ($89.9)
- Endura MT500 Hard Shell ($129.99)
1. Sweet Protection knee pads
- Price: $79
- Protection: Front protection
- Weight: 222g
- What we like about it: Ample patellar protection padding with a great fit.
- What we don’t like about it: The price is slightly high.
The Sweet Protection knee pads are professional mountain bike knee pads with various advantages and features. First, it uses high-quality materials and manufacturing techniques to provide excellent protective performance, effectively preventing knee injuries. Second, its design considers ergonomic principles, with a high fit that won’t slide or fall off during cycling. In addition, it also has excellent breathability and comfort, making riders feel comfortable during cycling. Sweet Protection knee pads have a wide range of applications and are suitable for various cycling scenarios such as off-road cycling, mountain downhill cycling, and road cycling.
Although Sweet Protection knee pads have many advantages, there is also a drawback, that is, its price is slightly higher than some other brands of knee pads. To solve this problem, two methods can be adopted: one is to choose the appropriate size and style when purchasing, which can reduce the price to a certain extent. The second is to wait for the brand to hold some promotional activities or price discounts after the knee pads are officially launched, to obtain more cost-effective products. In conclusion, it has excellent protective performance, fit, and comfort, and is suitable for various cycling scenarios. Although its price is slightly higher, this issue can be solved by choosing the appropriate size and waiting for promotional discounts. For riders who value cycling safety and comfort, Sweet Protection knee pads are a highly recommended product.
2. Fox Racing Launch D3O
- Price: $95
- Protection: Side protection for top and bottom
- Weight: 445g
- What we like about it: Unparalleled comfort and excellent fit.
- What we don’t like about it: It’s thicker overall.
Likewise, the Fox Racing Launch D3O is a mountain bike knee pad with several advantages and features. First of all, it is made of D3O, a material that is very soft and comfortable under normal conditions, but immediately hardens when subjected to impact. This provides excellent protection against knee injuries. The Fox Racing Launch D3O is suitable for a wide range of riding scenarios and will protect you throughout your mountain biking trip.
The downside of the Fox Racing Launch D3O is that because of its heavy design, riders will feel a certain amount of heaviness and inconvenience during the ride. To solve this problem, consider choosing a lighter product or properly reducing the weight of wearing other cycling gear before a long ride to reduce the burden on the rider. But no one can question its quality protection. In addition, it is suitable for a variety of riding scenarios. Although it is designed to be heavy, this can be solved by choosing a lighter product or by properly reducing the weight of other equipment. Overall, the Fox Racing Launch D3O is a highly recommended product for riders who are concerned about riding safety and comfort.
3. Dakine Slayer
- Price: $68
- Protection: Front
- Weight: 366g
- What we like about it: Fantastic fit at an affordable price.
- What we don’t like about it: It tears easily.
This time, let’s take a look at the Dakine Slayer, also a professional mountain bike knee brace with attractive advantages and features. Firstly, it is ergonomically designed with an excellent fit to protect the knee. Secondly, it is made of highly elastic and breathable fabric, which makes the knee pad very comfortable and breathable. In addition, it is also anti-slip and wear-resistant, which can effectively improve the safety of riding and the durability of the knee pads.
One disadvantage of Dakine Slayer is that the knee pad material is relatively thin, which can easily tear during intense riding and affect the protective performance of the knee pad. To solve this problem, you can take the following two approaches: First, pay attention to the maintenance of the knee pads during use, and regularly clean and maintain the knee pads to avoid the accumulation of dust and bacteria. The second is to choose a more wear-resistant material when purchasing knee pads to improve their durability. Overall, the Dakine Slayer is a highly recommended product for riders who are concerned about cycling safety and comfort.
4. Leatt Airflex Pro
- Price: $89
- Protection: Added topside and backside protection
- Weight: 256g
- What we like about it: Lighter weight and high flexibility.
- What we don’t like about it: The top half is shorter.
It is very lightweight, providing excellent flexibility and freedom, so riders won’t feel oppressed or uncomfortable during cycling. Secondly, it uses high-quality materials and manufacturing techniques, providing excellent protective performance while ensuring full flexibility, and allowing for full movement during cycling.
One drawback of the Leatt Airflex Pro is that the upper part of the knee pad has a shorter coverage area, which may not provide sufficient protection. To solve this problem, two methods can be adopted: one is to choose the appropriate size and style when purchasing, to ensure that the coverage area and protective performance of the knee pad meet the requirements. The second is to adjust the position and fit of the knee pad during actual use to ensure that it can provide maximum knee protection. However, it must be said that the Leatt Airflex Pro is a lightweight and highly flexible mountain bike knee pad with excellent protective performance and fit, suitable for various cycling scenarios.
5. 7iDP Project Knee
- Price: $125
- Protection: Enhanced front protection
- Weight: 420g
- What we like about it: High-quality material craftsmanship, overload protection.
- What we don’t like about it: Expensive, non-breathable.
The 7iDP Project Knee is a high-quality mountain bike knee pad with multiple advantages and use cases. Firstly, the product uses premium materials and craftsmanship, providing better protection than traditional knee pads. Secondly, it has an overload protection capability that effectively reduces the impact and pressure on athletes’ knees during cycling, reducing the risk of injury. Additionally, the product’s design considers the diversity of usage scenarios, with adjustable magic tape straps that can be adjusted according to personal needs, ensuring comfort and tightness.
However, the 7iDP Project Knee also has some drawbacks, the most significant being its high price and poor breathability. Due to the use of high-quality materials and craftsmanship, the price is relatively high and may not be suitable for all consumers’ budgets. Additionally, due to the high density and texture of the product’s materials, its breathability is not as good as some lighter knee pad products, which may cause discomfort during cycling. In summary, the 7iDP Project Knee is a high-quality mountain bike knee pad, and if you have overload sports requirements, it will be an excellent choice.
6. Rapha Trail Knee Pads
- Protection: Extension to the front of the calf
- Weight: 372g
- What we like about it: The reinforced protection on the front of the calf.
- What we don’t like about it: The long version is not suitable for hot summer days.
Firstly, compared to traditional knee pads, this product provides more comprehensive protection. It not only covers the knee but also extends to the front of the lower leg, effectively reducing the impact and pressure on the lower leg during cycling, and providing more comprehensive protection. In addition, the material of this product is durable and easy to clean, making it suitable for long-term use and keeping it clean. Also, the product is designed to fit the body’s curves closely, ensuring the athlete’s comfort and flexibility.
However, the long length of the product may not be suitable for hot summer conditions. Due to the extended protection design of this product, it is relatively long, which may cause discomfort during hot summer cycling. Additionally, due to the high material density of the product, it may not be as breathable as some lightweight knee pad products. In summary, the Rapha Trail Knee Pads are knee pad products designed specifically for mountain biking, with multiple advantages and application scenarios. We can make it even more outstanding in terms of protection and comfort while making it more suitable for the needs of different seasons and consumers.
7. Leatt Airflex Hybrid
- Price: $110
- Protection: Smaller protected area
- Weight: 363g
- What we like about it: Proper protection area for weaving through most trails.
- What we don’t like about it: The protection may not be quite enough for intense riding.
The product provides adequate coverage and is suitable for maneuvering through most trails, ensuring protection without limiting the athlete’s flexibility. Additionally, it uses highly elastic materials that provide better adaptability and fit. It also has efficient shock absorption and cushioning effects, reducing the risk of injury.
However, due to the relatively small coverage area of the product, it may not provide sufficient protection for extreme cycling situations, particularly for the knee and shin areas. To address these issues, we can consider increasing the product’s coverage area. For example, adding materials with higher stretchability increases the coverage area. Through continuous improvement and innovation, we can make it even more outstanding in terms of protection and comfort while making it more suitable for the needs of different consumers.Product link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HPCM74Z
8. POC Joint VPD System
- Price: $149.95
- Protection: Front
- Weight: 372g
- What we like about it: Hardens on impact, three-layer conforming structure.
- What we don’t like about it: The shorter length.
Featuring a three-layer composite structure filled with POC’s patented VPD material, the POC Joint VPD System hardens quickly upon impact, providing superior protection compared to traditional knee pads. It effectively reduces the risk of injury to bones and soft tissues from impacts, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of activities, including mountain biking, off-road cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, and skiing.
However, the length of the pad may affect some users’ experience. When the user’s knee is bent, the protection range of the POC Joint VPD System may be limited, leaving some blind spots. To address this issue, it is recommended that users carefully measure their knee size before purchasing and choose the appropriate size to ensure more comprehensive protection coverage.
In addition, users can also combine the pad with other protective gear for better protection.
If you are a mountain bike enthusiast or engage in other outdoor activities, the POC Joint VPD System is a worthwhile protective gear product to consider.
9. Pearl Izumi Elevate
- Price: $124.95
- Protection: D3O Viscoelastic LP1 pad
- Weight: 337g
- What we like about it: The combination of high-level protection and lightweight design.
- What we don’t like about it: The hard part has some rubbing on the skin.
It features a high level of protection designed to effectively protect your knees from external objects such as debris and tree branches. Secondly, Pearl Izumi Elevate is designed to be lightweight and breathable, so it won’t weigh you down. It also keeps your knees dry and comfortable. Finally, the knee brace is equipped with a flexible material that provides better comfort and stability, thus reducing the risk of knee injuries. Whether you’re on the trail, downhill, on the track, or just training for the day, these knee pads will provide you with superior protection and comfort.
However, there are some disadvantages to these knee pads. One of the main drawbacks is that the hard part of the knee pad may rub against your skin and cause you discomfort. This problem can be solved by correct sizing and wearing position. It is recommended that you read the instructions carefully before wearing them to ensure that they are worn and sized correctly. Overall, the Pearl Izumi Elevate is an excellent mountain bike knee pad that offers a high level of protection and comfort.
10. iXS Carve Evo+
- Price: $89.90
- Protection: Removable X-pad
- Weight: 420g
- What we like about it: Thick protection and the fixation behind the knee make it feel secure.
- What we don’t like about it: The greater weight.
The iXS Carve Evo+ knee pads feature a robust protective design that effectively shields your knees from external objects like rocks and tree branches. Additionally, the knee pads have fastening straps at the back of the knees to provide added stability and a greater sense of security. The iXS Carve Evo+ knee pads also have removable pads for easy cleaning and maintenance, offering a more convenient user experience. Moreover, the outer shell of the iXS Carve Evo+ knee pads is made of high-strength fiber material, which can resist varying levels of impact and wear, making them more durable.
The downside of these knee pads is their weight. Due to their robust protective design and high-strength materials, the iXS Carve Evo+ knee pads are relatively heavier compared to other lightweight knee pads. However, this is a necessary trade-off since the sturdy protective design is the key to making this product safer and more durable. If you need a reliable mountain bike knee pad that offers a high level of protection, the iXS Carve Evo+ is a great choice.
11. Endura MT500 Hard Shell
- Price: $129.99
- Protection: Frontal protection
- Weight: 320g
- What we like about it: Hard protection and very lightweight, with wide Velcro at the top of the pad to provide a perfect fit.
- What we didn’t like about it: The pad was a little hot.
The hard shell design of this knee pad effectively protects the knee from accidental injuries such as falls and scratches, making it safer for riders during their travels. The knee pad also features a lightweight design that reduces the burden on the rider, making it more comfortable during long rides. Another important feature is the magic tape at the top of the pad, which provides a perfect fit. This design allows the knee pad to fit tightly on the knee, without slipping or shifting, increasing stability and comfort during use. This knee pad is perfect for extreme sports enthusiasts, such as mountain bikers, in complex terrains and conditions.
However, this knee pad does have one drawback, and that is that the pad can be a little hot. Due to its hard shell design and tight fit, the knee pad can make the rider feel a bit stuffy during high-intensity exercise. However, this problem can be solved by choosing breathable cycling clothing and appropriate riding times. If you are a rider who values safety and comfort, I highly recommend using this knee pad.
How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads?
Mountain bikers need to wear knee pads while cycling to prevent leg injuries from accidents. Beginners often like to challenge steep slopes and thick rock descents, and for this, you need more reliable knee pads. Experienced riders often measure their abilities and have senior mountain skills. They often prefer simpler things, such as lightweight or medium padding. However, protection, although the most important, is not the only aspect of mountain bike knee pads.
The 7iDP Project Knee is the most protective knee pad on this list and is suitable for newcomers to the mountains. If you are looking for knee pads that prioritize protection, it would be a good choice. The knee pads have a hard plastic patch on the outside to provide extra protection and allow the pad to slide during impacts to protect the knee. The Project Knee also offers level 2 protection, surrounding the primary armor patch to provide excellent protection for the knee’s front, which won’t be directly impacted. Although these pads have a bulky structure and high protection, their breathability is not good and not suitable for riding. Also, they are heavier than lightweight, low-protection options, but they can provide effective protection for your knees.
Fit and Comfort
Every mountain biker wants a knee pad that is comfortable and fits snugly. To find the perfect knee pad, carefully designed fit and high comfort are crucial. Even if some pads provide good protection, if they cannot provide an excellent fit and comfortable feel, you won’t want to use them. To evaluate this indicator, we just need to repeatedly wear these pads for a long time.
The Rapha Trail Knee Pads are one of the most comfortable knee pads in our test, with a consistently perfect fit that is impressive. Even when soaked in sweat, the quality of their materials is evident, and they can comfortably fit snugly on the leg. The RHEON Lab armor patches are soft and comfortable, able to fit the knee bone. These pads can remain stable and comfortable, whether climbing or descending.
Although the sales of mountain bike knee pads are much less than those of bicycles or wheels, buying them still requires you to spend some hard-earned cash. Nobody wants to buy a pair of knee pads that are torn to shreds after one impact or start unraveling after just a month or two of owning them. Although durability accounts for only 10% of our final score, we believe this is an important consideration.
We cannot objectively and accurately discuss the reaction of each welding point during impact. However, we can carefully evaluate the structure and layout of each model based on decades of riding and collision experience and comment on its performance in the rigorous testing of mountain biking.
In the field of mountain bike knee pads, a lot of industry slang and technical terms can be confusing. The plethora of choices on the market also makes it challenging. Similar marketing copy and design aesthetics make all these knee pads begin to blend in the minds of ordinary consumers. However, in our reviews, there are indeed significant differences between all knee pads. Our best advice is to have a clear understanding of your own needs and find the knee pads that are most suitable for your terrain, riding style, and collision preferences. Therefore, we have found the best 11 knee pads for 2023, regardless of price range or other aspects you need. By the way, if you want to go riding in well-known terrain or special terrain, you can book your accommodation on IHG Hotels & Resorts. It is not only rich in variety but also easy to operate.
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