The Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads of 2024

Our team of mountain bikers and testers have spent hours researching, testing and reviewing knee pads to bring you the ultimate guide to the best 2024 mountain bike knee pads.
Fox Enduro Knee Pads

We reckon most people would agree our knees are pretty important! So let’s get straight to it and find out what the best 2024 mountain bike knee pads are and get those joints protected.

With so many to choose from it can be overwhelming to find the perfect pair that fits your riding style, offers enough protection and comfort for those long rides.

Our team of mountain bikers and testers have done the hard work and given their honest opinion backed up by years of experience so you don’t have to look any further than Pro Mountain Bike for the best knee pads available today.

Short Summary

  • Our team of testers and mountain bikers reviewed the top knee pads for 2024.
  • We tested our picks based on protection, fit & comfort, pedal-friendliness, ventilation & breathability, and durability.
  • Trust us to make an informed decision for your specific needs.

What are the Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads for 2024

James Mackie wearing mountain biking gear

When it comes to protecting your knees mountain biking you don’t want to cut corners. Our testers have put the best of 2024’s knee guard and protection line up to the test to see which is best. Our list covers various riding styles and protection levels so you can find the perfect fit for you.

Our top picks for the best MTB knee pads include:

Each of the above have their own features and benefits. Read on to find out the pros and cons of each knee pad and make an informed decision for your next ride.

Fox Racing Launch D3O

Fox Racing Launch D3O

Price: $119.99

Pros:

  1. Ergonomic Fit: Stands out for its ergonomic fit, ensuring comfort and protection during rides.
  2. Secure and Adjustable: Features hook & loop straps for a secure and adjustable fit, keeping the pads in place.
  3. CE Level-1 Rated Protection: Offers CE Level-1 rated protection with a slip-on design, Lycra sleeves, D3O insert, and silicone embroidery.
  4. Versatile Use: Favoured by trail, all-mountain, and enduro riders for its excellent protection and comfort.

Cons:

  1. Ideal for Short to Medium Length Rides: Not ideal for long, pedal-heavy rides; optimal for outings lasting between 1 and 2.5 hours.

The Fox Racing Launch D3O pads are ergonomic, protective and comfortable. They have hook and loop straps for a secure and adjustable fit so the pads stay in place during your ride. The Launch D3O has CE Level-1 rated protection with a slip-on design, Lycra sleeves, D3O insert and silicone embroidery. Closed cap knee pads, great for trail, all-mountain and enduro.

But the Fox Racing Launch D3O may not be for long, pedal-heavy rides. Our testers found they are best for 1-2.5 hour rides. Despite that limitation the Launch D3O’s padding is plush and comfortable so if you want protection without compromise on comfort then the Fox Racing Launch D3O is a good choice. Just be aware of its limitations for long, pedal-heavy rides.

So, if you’re looking for a knee pad that offers serious protection and doesn’t sacrifice comfort, the Fox Racing Launch D3O is an excellent option. Just be mindful of its limitations when planning long, pedal-intensive rides.

Dakine Slayer

Dakine Slayer

Price: $90

Pros:

  1. Discreet Design: The pads feature a discreet, low-profile design, providing a sleek and unobtrusive look.
  2. Comfortable Construction: Utilizes an all-fabric construction for enhanced comfort during rides.
  3. Superior Protection: Equipped with SAS-TEC Viscoelastic foam padding, offering effective protection for the knees.
  4. Abrasion Resistance: The outer layer incorporates Cordura for improved abrasion resistance, enhancing durability.

Cons:

  1. Limited Breathability: Testers observed potential issues with breathability, leading to discomfort in hot or strenuous riding conditions.
  2. Durability Concerns: There might be susceptibility to tearing, especially after a crash or extended use, raising durability concerns.

The Dakine Slayer Knee Pad features:

  • Discreet, low-profile design
  • All-fabric construction for comfort
  • SAS-TEC Viscoelastic foam padding for superior protection
  • Cordura on the outer layer for enhanced abrasion resistance

The Dakine Slayer has a great fit and protection but has some issues. Testers found it may not be very breathable, uncomfortable in hot or high intensity riding. And the fabric may tear after a crash or extended use.

Despite the issues, the Dakine Slayer Knee Pad is a good choice for riders looking for a mid-duty knee pad with great fit and protection. Just be aware of the ventilation and durability concerns and if those are important for your riding style.

Related Article: Mountain Bike Protective Gear – 11 Vital Items


Leatt Airflex Pro

Leatt Airflex Pro

Price: $74.99

Pros:

  1. Balanced Protection: Strikes a balance between protection and pedal-friendliness, making it suitable for a variety of riding styles.
  2. Competitive Pricing: Priced competitively, providing value for riders seeking quality knee protection without breaking the bank.
  3. 3D-Molded Silicone Design: Features a main armor patch constructed from 3D-molded silicone, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit.
  4. D30 Padding: Utilizes D30 padding for smart and substantial protection.
  5. Flexible Geodesic AirFlex Gel: Incorporates a highly flexible, triangular segmented geodesic AirFlex Gel in the knee piece for added comfort and stability.
  6. Silicone Grippers: Silicone grippers hold the pads in place, preventing irritation even during extended rides.

Cons:

  1. Short Upper Sleeves: Testers found that the upper sleeves may be too short for some riders, potentially leading to a less secure fit.
  2. Limited Breathability: The pads may feel warm with limited breathability, which could be a concern for riders in hot conditions.

If you want a knee pad that’s balanced between protection and pedal friendly the Leatt Airflex Pro is a good choice. Priced competitively these pads are for riders who want low profile knee protection. The main armor patch of the Leatt Airflex Pro is 3D-molded silicone for comfortable and secure fit. The Leatt Airflex Pro has D30 padding for smart and substantial protection. The pads have a flexible, triangular segmented geodesic AirFlex Gel in the knee piece, extra padding at the top of the knee and on either side. Pads are known for comfort, stability and no irritation even after long rides thanks to the silicone grippers that keep them in place.

But the Leatt Airflex Pro has some issues. Testers found the upper sleeves to be too short for some riders, less secure fit. And the pads may feel warm, limited breathability. If those are not deal breakers for you, the Leatt Airflex Pro is a great balance of protection and pedal friendly for any type of riding.

7iDP Project Knee

7iDP Project Knee

Price: $129.99

Pros:

  1. Maximum Protection: The 7iDP Project Knee offers high levels of protection, featuring a thick and flexible main armor patch on the knee cap.
  2. Durable Construction: Crafted from tightly knit and durable fabric with a long sleeve, ensuring longevity and resilience.
  3. Additional Exterior Protection: Incorporates a harder plastic patch on the exterior for an extra layer of protection, facilitating sliding during a crash.
  4. Double Velcro Straps: Distinctive double velcro strap system enhances pad security and adjustability.

Cons:

  1. Pedal-Friendly Concerns: May not be the most pedal-friendly option, potentially impacting ease of pedaling during rides.
  2. Costly: The 7iDP Project Knee Pads could be relatively expensive compared to other options in the market.

The 7iDP Project Knee offers maximum protection with a comfortable fit. Its features include:

  • Crafted from a tightly knit and durable fabric with a long sleeve
  • Main armor patch on the knee cap is thick and flexible
  • Harder plastic patch on the exterior provides an additional layer of protection and enables sliding in the event of a crash
  • Secondary protection around the perimeter of the main armor patch

7iDP Project Knee pads have burly knit construction and heavy duty material for durability and longevity. Double velcro strap system is a unique feature for added pad security and adjustability.

Downside is not the most pedal friendly and may be expensive. If maximum protection and comfort is your priority the 7iDP Project Knee is a good choice.

Sweet Protection Knee Guards

Sweet Protection Knee Guards

Price: $89.95

Pros:

  1. Lightweight Design: Offers a lightweight construction, contributing to overall comfort during rides.
  2. Comfort and Breathability: Prioritizes comfort and breathability, making it a suitable option for riders who value these features.
  3. SAS-TEC SCL 2 Viscoelastic Foam: Utilizes SAS-TEC SCL 2 viscoelastic foam known for impact absorption and flexibility.

Cons:

  1. Limited Protection: Provides minimal protection, as noted during testing, potentially making them less suitable for more demanding rides.
  2. Durability Concerns: Testers found potential durability concerns, which may impact the longevity of the knee guards.
  3. Breathability Issues: Rated as the least breathable among the tested pads, leading to increased sweating during rides.
  4. Impact Protection: SAS-TEC foam may not provide as much impact protection compared to other pads in testing.

Sweet Protection Knee Guards (also known as sweet protection pads) are lightweight, comfortable and breathable for riders who value these. But provides minimal protection and may have durability concerns. The knee guards have SAS-TEC SCL 2 viscoelastic foam for impact absorption and flexibility.

During testing, these knee pads by Sweet Protection were found to have the following drawbacks:

  • They were the least breathable, resulting in increased sweating.
  • The mesh on the rear only covered a small portion of the protective pad.
  • The SAS-TEC foam did not provide as much protection as other pads tested.

But if you’re looking for a lightweight, comfortable and breathable knee pad for less aggressive riding the Sweet Protection Knee Guards fit the bill. Just be aware of the minimal protection and durability concerns.

Rapha Trail Knee Pads

An image of Rapha Trail Knee Pads, which are considered the best mountain bike knee pads for trail riding.

Price: $122

Pros:

  1. Mid-Duty Protection: The knee pads offer excellent mid-duty protection, striking a balance between safety and comfort.
  2. Comfortable Fabric: Crafted from soft and stretchy fabric, enhancing overall comfort during rides.
  3. Stay-in-Place Design: Features a silicone print on the inside to ensure the pads stay securely in place during movement.
  4. Innovative Padding: The padding is made from an ‘active polymer’ that hardens on impact, providing effective protection.

Cons:

  1. Warm in Hot Climates: The long sleeves may lead to discomfort and warmth in hot climates during extended rides.
  2. Higher Cost: These knee pads may be relatively costlier compared to alternative options in the market.

The Rapha Trail Knee Pads are mid duty protection and comfort and a popular choice among riders for that balance. These pads have:

  • Soft and stretchy fabric
  • Silicone print on the inside helping the pads stay in place
  • Padding made from an ‘active polymer’ that hardens on impact

However, the Rapha Trail Knee Pads may not be suitable for hot weather as the long sleeves will be uncomfortable and warm during long ride. And more expensive than other options in the market.

If you want a knee pad that has mid duty protection and comfort the Rapha Trail Knee Pads are good. Just be aware of the warmth and cost when you decide.

Leatt Airflex Hybrid

Leatt Airflex Hybrid

Price: $94.99

Pros:

  1. Versatile Design: Suitable for most trail and all-mountain riding, offering a versatility choice for a wide range of riders.
  2. Lightweight and Comfortable: light and comfy – great combo that allows riders to focus on their ride without discomfort.

Cons:

  1. Moderate Protection: Not ideal for aggressive riders on rough trails, as the pads are designed for more moderate protection.
  2. Durability Concerns: The knit fabric of the sleeves may be prone to tearing after a crash, potentially affecting the longevity of the knee pads.

The Leatt Airflex Hybrid is suitable for most trail and all mountain riding, good option for many riders. These knee pads are light and comfy – great combo to focus on the ride without discomfort.

But not ideal for aggressive riders on rough trails as the pads are designed for mid protection. And after a crash the knit fabric of the sleeves may tear and affect the life of the knee pads.

If you want a knee pad that works for most trail and all mountain riding the Leatt Airflex Hybrid is a good option. Just be aware of the limitations in terms of protection and durability when you ride aggressive.

Understanding Knee Pad Types and Protection Levels

Choosing the right MTB knee pads involves understanding the different types of knee pads and their protection levels for different riding styles. The importance of choosing the right knee pad for your riding style and protection level can’t be stressed enough as it can affect your safety and comfort on the trails.

From lightweight cross country pads to full on downhill pads with maximum protection, there’s a knee pad out there for your riding needs. By understanding the different types of knee pads and their protection levels you can make an informed decision that keeps you protected and comfortable on your ride.

Cross Country

Cross Country knee pads are for riders who prioritise light protection with maximum ventilation. These pads have limited protection and are good for occasional use or less demanding rides. Not as much protection as other types of knee pads but light and breathable makes them a good option for cross country riders who value comfort and ease of use.

These are light and breathable so you can stay comfortable and cool.

Enduro/Trail

Enduro/Trail knee pads are for comfort, Level 1 protection and staying power during the ride. These pads have protection on the inside and outside of the knee so the fit won’t move during your ride.

For comfort and versatility enduro/trail knee pads are a good option for riders who ride multiple mountain biking disciplines and want protection without compromise.

Downhill

Downhill knee pads are for riders who need maximum protection during the ride. These pads are strapped and not as comfortable as other types of knee pads but protection is their focus so ideal for aggressive riders who ride rough terrain.

Impact (EN1621-1) Certifications

To categorize knee pads and their protection levels the EN (European Norm) 1621-1 standards are used. These standards test the protection of knee pads and categorize them into two main levels: CE Level 1 and CE Level 2.

CE Level 1 is lighter protection, CE Level 2 is more protection. By understanding these standards you can make a better decision when choosing the right knee pad for your riding style and protection needs.

Materials and Technologies Used in Knee Pads

Various materials and technologies are used in the construction of knee pads to provide maximum protection and comfort. From elastic sleeves to padding materials, every part of a knee pad is important.

One technology used in knee pads is non-Newtonian materials, phase-changing viscoelastic materials that harden on impact, more protection than traditional padding materials. Impact absorption is also important in knee pad design, some pads have advanced materials and technologies like visco elastic polymer dough to absorb and dissipate impact energy.

By understanding the different materials and technologies used in MTB knee pads you can make a better decision when choosing the right one for you.

Finding the Perfect Fit: Sizing and Comfort

Getting the fit of your MTB knee pads right is key for comfort and performance. A knee pad that’s too tight will be uncomfortable and restrict movement, one that’s too loose won’t provide enough protection. To get the right fit use the fit guides provided by the manufacturer and measure your leg circumference with tailor tape.

Another aspect of fit and comfort is the design of the knee pad. Pre-bent pads that fit the rider’s body while in the saddle and pedaling, others use straps, zippers and various materials to enhance comfort and fit.

Weight and Ventilation Considerations

Weight and Ventilation Considerations

Weight and ventilation are important when choosing MTB knee pads as they can affect your comfort and performance on the trails. Lighter knee pads may have less protection but are more comfortable and breathable so good for less demanding rides or hot climate. Heavier knee pads may have more protection but less comfortable and breathable.

When choosing knee pads think about the type of riding you’ll be doing and the conditions you’ll be riding in. If you ride in hot climate or prioritize comfort and breathability, lighter knee pads may be the way to go. If you’re tackling aggressive trails and need more protection, heavier knee pads may be the better option for you.

Sustainable Practices and Eco-Friendly Options

A person wearing mountain bike knee pads with closed cap

As the world becomes more aware of environmental issues, it’s important to consider sustainable practices and eco-friendly options when choosing the best MTB knee pads for you. Some knee pads like the Dakine Slayer are made from recycled materials, others use sustainable and biodegradable materials for construction.

Besides choosing knee pads made from eco-friendly materials, proper care and maintenance can also contribute to sustainability. By cleaning your knee pads regularly and checking for wear and tear you can extend their life and reduce waste. Wearing your knee pads correctly and following the manufacturer’s guidelines can also extend their durability.

Looking After Your Knee Pads: Maintenance and Inspection

Looking after and inspecting your knee pads is key to their effectiveness and life. Regular cleaning and checking for wear and tear will help you identify any issues that can compromise the protection. If you notice any issues with the elasticity or padding of your knee pads it’s time to replace them.

After a big crash it’s especially important to inspect your knee pads. Check for any debris lodged under the fabric and make sure the foam is intact and not damaged. By looking after and inspecting your knee pads you can extend their life and they’ll continue to protect you on your rides.

How We Tested and Selected Our Top Picks

James wearing mountain bike knee pads with foam padding

To bring you the ultimate guide to the best MTB knee pads 2024 our testers rode for several weeks in different terrain while wearing different knee pads. We evaluated each pad based on:

  • Protection
  • Fit and comfort
  • Pedal-friendliness
  • Ventilation and breathability
  • Durability

This testing process allowed us to choose the top knee pad for different riding styles and protection levels.

Our team of mountain bikers and testers bring you the inside scoop and recommendations based on their experience and knowledge of testing and reviewing knee pads. You can rely on us and make an informed decision when choosing the right MTB knee pads for you.

Trusting Our Expertise

Fox Enduro Knee Pads

As mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts our authors and testers have extensive knowledge and experience of testing and reviewing knee pads for mountain biking. Our guide is based on hours of research, testing and firsthand experience so you get the inside scoop and recommendations to help you make the best decision for your riding style and protection needs.

Trust our expertise and choose the perfect knee pad to keep you protected and comfortable on your next ride.

Mountain Biking Accidents and Statistics: The key factors associated with off road cycling incidents are trail surface irregularities, excessive speed, mechanical failures and loss of control.

Summary of the best mountain bike knee pads

In summary investing in a good pair of knee pads is key to your safety and comfort. Our guide to the best MTB knee pads 2024 gives you options for different riding styles and protection levels. By understanding the different types of knee pads, materials and technologies and the importance of fit and comfort you can make the right decision for your protection and to enhance your ride. So gear up and hit the trails knowing you’ve chosen the right knee pads for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should knee pads fit?

Knee pads should fit snug but not cut off circulation or restrict movement for maximum protection. Too loose and they won’t work; too tight and they could cause more harm.

Ensure a comfortable yet secure fit for the best results.

Do I need knee pads for mountain biking?

Yes, knee pads are recommended for MTB as they give you protection and confidence when riding new trails or stepping up your skills.

Knee pads can reduce the risk of injury and give you a layer of protection from rocks, roots and other obstacles. They also give you a sense of security when trying new trails.

Why wear knee pads mountain biking?

Wearing knee pads MTB is a good idea as they protect you in case of a crash, give you more confidence while riding and keep your knees safe from scratches or cuts.

They also support the joint itself and let you ride without fear of serious injury.

What types of knee pads are available for different riding styles?

There are lightweight cross country knee pads, enduro/trail knee pads with Level 1 protection and downhill knee pads with the highest level of protection for different mountain biking styles.

Knee pads come in many styles and levels of protection so riders can choose the one that’s right for the type of riding they do. They are designed to protect as much as possible while still giving you freedom of movement.

No matter what type of mountain biking you do, having fun is important.

What materials and technologies are used in knee pads?

The best knee pads use non-Newtonian materials for impact and different padding for comfort.

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