Mountain biking is now more exciting than ever, owing to the fact that modern models are very powerful and fast. This then enhances their downhill performance, and while this is thrilling, it also comes with an increased chance of crashing. Unfortunately, when it comes to mountain biking safety equipment, most people focus on helmets & shoes and often overlook knee pads until they need them most.
A great pair of knee pads is a critical element of your equipment arsenal. We reviewed the best MTB Knee Pads models in the market right now based on factors such as ventilation, peerless protection, and comfort. We have also compiled a comprehensive buying guide that highlights the top factors that you should consider before making a purchase. Let’s dive into it!
Chances are that as you were looking for the best MBT knee pads, the 7iDP Sam Hill model showed up multiple times. Well, they’re so good that Sam Hill, the downhill legend, and Enduro World Champ had no option but to put his name on them. They come with protective knee caps that don’t impact your movements and a 4-way stretch feature to ensure your movement is restricted.
One of the main reasons why these knee pads are insanely popular is that they are race-worthy. Their padding is extensive, so more parts of your legs will be covered, and the fabric used is breathable, so you’ll stay cool as you cycle. All these features combined result in highly protective knee pads. 7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads also have silicone leg grippers that ensure they stay on.
The Endura MT500 Lite Knee Pads are our premium pick, and here’s why; even though they are relatively pricey, they’re worth every dime you spend on them. The manufacturer collaborated with D30, that’s a well-known impact protection specialist, to enhance your safety. These knee pads also come with a Jacquard loop system to ensure they stay in place all day long and meet meets CE EN 1621/1 standards.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing features of these pads is their ghost protection. This type of limb protection is one of the most flexible and thinnest, yet it exceeds the set impact standards. These pads also have a compact construction, so you can easily put them in your backpack when you don’t need them. They are also highly comfortable and have an open grid structure that enhances ventilation.
The Dakine Slayer model is proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a good pair of knee pads. These pads strike the perfect balance between affordability and functionality and are available in most sizes. So rest assured that you’ll find a pair that fits. They come in a sleek black color and have effective foam padding that protects you against torn ligaments and broken bones.
In the past, Dakine’s knee pads were mainly focused on gravity, but the Slayer is all rounded. It guarantees all-day comfort and has an impressive minimalist design. For instance, the Dakine Slayer doesn’t come with buckles or straps, and you simply slide the pads on. This model has a pre-curved fit design that enhances comfort by ensuring the pads don’t bend against your knees when you’re riding.
The IXS Unisex Flow Evo knee pads are one of the most popular and premium models in the market, and it’s not hard to see why. They guarantee high levels of comfort and are the perfect fit. They’re available in 5 sizes; small, medium, large, extra-large, and XXL. These knee pads are light, super thin, and compact enough to fit in any backpack. They also have LoopLock closings for easy adjustments.
One of the features that sets the IXS Unisex Flow Evo knee pads aside from the rest is the Viscoelastic polymer that’s flexible enough to absorb force upon impact without impacting your range of motion. This foam is very strong and can take on impact multiple times and in the same spot without losing its shock-absorbing properties. Most importantly, we loved that these knee pads can also be used by racers.
The POC Joint VPD Air Knee Pads are flexible and can be used for all MTB rides. They’re highly durable and come with a tenacious shell that can withstand all kinds of abrasion abuse. They also come with an anti-slip neoprene lining that keeps them in place throughout your ride, as well as Velcro fastening. These pads also guarantee breathable comfort thanks to the perforated ventilation.
One of the elements that set these MTP knee pads aside from the rest is that they come with a VPD padding that is highly pliable but then stiffens during impact. This allows them to evenly distribute force, preventing you from fall injuries and heavy blows. These pads are also highly flexible and can be worn when riding uphill without feeling restrictive. They also have Kevlar-reinforced stitching for durability.
Most knee pad models in the market have one shortcoming; basic designs. This is because manufacturers focus on functionality and completely neglect the aesthetic appeal aspect of the pads. Well, the Demon D3O Hyper Knee/Shin Mountain Bike Knee Pads are not only made of high-quality material but are also very comfortable. They have a woven upper elastic comfort strap and a Kevlar front shield for full protection.
The Demon D3O Hyper Knee/Shin Mountain Bike Knee Pads are unique in that they can also be used on motorcycles. The front shield, in particular, is critical when it comes to protecting you against injuries caused by rocks and hard dirt. These knee pads also come with a perforated neoprene that comes in handy when it comes to moisture control. They also have wicking that’s lined for enhanced comfort.
If you’re looking for knee pads that offer the perfect combination of value focused-build and impact-absorbing protection, then look no further than the Fox Head Men’s Launch D30 Knee Guards. This model is available in 3 sizes; small, medium & large and are made from mesh and breathable D30 foam. These pads are also lightweight and come with a slip-on design.
Compared to most knee pads models in the market, the Fox Head Men’s Launch D30 Knee Guard offers more coverage as it extends slightly below the shin. This model also has impressive ventilation capabilities thanks to its open mesh design combined with a moisture-wicking build. This makes it the best option for long rides, especially when the weather is overbearingly hot.
Bike injuries are on the rise, but there's still reason to ride
Riding a bike as an adult, it’s just like … well, riding a bike, right? But for all its fitness benefits and trendiness among commuters, older cyclists are part of a big increase in injuries while biking.
, cycling accidents are on the rise. You can, however, protect yourself by ensuring you have all the necessary safety gear, including high-quality knee pads. Interestingly, some mountain bikers consider their shin and knee scars as a source of pride, but if you enjoy having smooth shins, you should definitely get knee pads. They not only keep you warm on cold days but also help with insurance claims in major accidents as well as protect you from impact.
In this guide, we’ll highlight everything you need to know about buying the best pair of knee pads, including the top factors that you should consider.
If you’ve been researching the best MTB knee pads, then you’ve probably noticed that there’s an overwhelming number of models in the market. How do you choose the best ones? Here are the top considerations.
Every mountain biker is unique, and the riding style varies. For instance, there are hardcore cyclists, recreational riders, as well as shuttle-only gravity riders. Make sure you go for a knee pads model that suits your riding style. For instance, if you’re mostly a downhill race, then the perfect option is the 7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads. They will not only enhance your riding performance but ensure that you’re comfortable throughout the ride.
Your preferred MTB knee pads should be greatly influenced by the size of your shin. This is the only way you’ll end up buying a model that fits. For instance, if you get knee pads that are too small, they’ll end up feeling tight and ultimately uncomfortable. On the other hand, if the knee pads are too big, they keep falling off, thereby impacting your riding performance.
The good news is that most knee pads, such as the IXS Unisex Flow Evo come in various sizes, so you’ll easily find one that fits. You should, however, be cautious because some sizes run too small. Go through the reviews to find out whether some customers have issues with the sizing and then choose the next size up where applicable. Some models come with fastening straps or silicon strips to keep the pads in place but even then, you need to get a model that is a snug fit.
The kneepad’s materials and technologies have an intricate relationship with the protection they offer and their level of comfort. Keep in mind that the best knee pads should be flexible enough so that they don’t impact your motion but also have enough to absorb shock and perfect you from impact.
Pay close attention to the protective caps; what are they made of? If you fall, will they shatter from impact? Do they offer penetrative protection?
One of the most important considerations when it comes to the material is its breathability. Cycling can get really sweaty, and if your kneepads don’t provide sufficient ventilation, the moisture could build-up, causing extreme discomfort.
There are 2 main types of knee pads; those with a slip-on design, such as the Fox Head Men’s Launch D30 Knee Guard and others with straps & sleeves like the iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads. Most of the time, your decision should be based on your preferences, but you should factor in how well the pads fit. For instance, if you go for slip-on knee pads, they need to be a great fit; otherwise, they’ll keep falling off during your ride. On the other hand, if your preferred model comes with sleeves or straps, you should ensure that it’s not small; otherwise, you could sustain painful friction burns.
Some of the other factors that you should consider include:
Based on our review of the best MTB Knee Pads, our top 3 picks are the 7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads, the Endura MT500 Lite Knee Pads, and the Dakine Slayer Knee Pad. The 7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads are our top choice because they are comfortable, fairly priced, and have impressive protective features. The Endura MT500 Lite Knee Pads come with premium features such as a flexible D30 insert that’s flexible enough that they don’t impact your motion but hard enough to absorb impact. Finally, if you’re looking for an affordable model that offers all the important features, we recommend the Dakine Slayer Knee Pad.