Investing in the best MTB knee pads is arguably the smartest decision you’ll ever make as far as mountain biking goes.
An ideal mountain bike knee pad is something like the Fox Racing Launch PRO D30. This is because it offers significant amounts of padding.
At the same time, it doesn’t compromise fit, comfort, and flexibility. What makes it even better is that it is extremely breathable. The material used has superior moisture-wicking properties for a more comfortable riding experience.
9 Best MTB Knee Pads
Best Overall MTB Knee Pads
The Fox Racing Launch PRO D3O has a steep asking price. However, for those looking for nothing but the best protection, the premium is well worth paying. This is because these knee pads are the best that Fox Racing has to offer.
These mtb knee pads have arguably the most padding of any product on our list. At the same time, the quality of the padding is better. The CE-certified D30 insert offers best-in-class impact protection.
Also, these knee pads have plenty of straps. This helps guarantee an even tighter and more snug fit.
The Fox mtb knee pads also use a very breathable material with superior moisture-wicking properties. At the same time, it’s anatomically designed to offer better protection without compromising mobility and comfort.
Save for how taking off these knee pads is a bit cumbersome, there’s nothing negative we can say about them.
- Superior comfort and protection
- Generous amounts of padding
- Doesn’t limit mobility
- Wearing and removal is a bit cumbersome
Despite being one of the more expensive mtb knee pads, the POC, Joint VPD System don’t offer the most protection. It’s a close second though, and the difference isn’t much.
Not to mention, the material used for these knee pads is arguably the most flexible yet. It’s also available in numerous sizes and caters to both women and men.
Speaking of the padding, despite the extra-reinforcement, these knee pads use a lightweight and breathable material. This allows your legs to breathe better without making your rides more strenuous.
As for security and fit, the anti-slip inner lining is enough to make sure that the mtb knee pads stay in place. However, if you feel that it’s not enough, that’s okay. The POC mountain bike knee pads come with an extra Velcro strap.
- Flexible and breathable
- Easy to wear and remove
- Sizing issues
3. 7iDP Project
The 7iDP Project Knee Pads prioritizes comfort above all else. The knitted construction gives it the flexibility that you need on the trail. At the same time, the material choice gives it excellent moisture-wicking properties for added breathability and comfort.
Other things that help add to how comfortable these knee pads are to wear is its light hybrid-style soft and hard armor.
These knee pads are packed with a flexible hardshell exterior. In case of an accident, this allows you to just slide over multiple types of surfaces.
At the same time, the material also helps disperse the shock of the initial impact. The soft armor underneath then absorbs the brunt of the fall. This helps make sure that your knees are well-protected in case of an accident.
As a bonus, these mtb knee pads look very stylish. This allows you to look good and feel good, even when you hit the ground a bit too hard.
- Ideal shape for riding
- Multi-layer protection
- Competitive pricing
Best for Downhill Riding
The Kali Protectives Strike is one of the more unique knee and shin guards. It uses a unique grit-pattered external padding to provide your knees and shin with adequate protection.
The CE-certified soft and rubbery material it uses supposedly provides better breathability compared to other pads. The mtb knee pads also pair this material with a full-length sleeve and side padding on the knee joints.
All in all, these, along with the extra foam layer, combine for added comfort and protection. Meanwhile, it has silicone grippers and silicone strips found on both cuffs and top sleeves.
This helps guarantee a secure fit. You can also find an additional Velcro strap at the top cuff if you want to adjust the fit further.
As for the overall shape, these knee pads provide excellent freedom of movement. This allows you to pedal better on these knee pads compared to others.
Also, because of the multiple and adjustable straps, the protector stays up all the time. This is true even when you’re riding downhill.
Speaking of riding, the breathability of the material of choice does an excellent job of wicking sweat away. This makes it an ideal choice for all-day rides, especially in less-than-forgiving weather.
- Ergonomic shape
- Loose fit
- Limited strap adjustments
Best for Enduro
Whereas most mtb knee pads are happy tacking on the padding and weight, the Fox Head Enduro goes the other way. It goes full minimalism to make it very easy to pedal with and perfect for longer rides consisting of steep climbs.
There’s virtually zero restriction to your pedal. At the same time, the soft armor provides ample protection without feeling harsh on your skin.
Sure, the protection could be better. However, that’s not exactly what this knee pad was designed for. This is a knee pad that you buy for its pedal-friendliness and affordability. Anything else is a bonus.
With that said, it should go without saying that these mountain bike knee pads aren’t well-suited for beginners and newbies.
- Very lightweight
- Minimalist design
- Soft on the skin
- Minimal protection
Best for Trail Riding
Hans “No Way” Ray designed the IXS Unisex Flow Evo+ with extreme levels of knee protection. Sure, it lacks any side padding, but that’s by design.
Instead, this lightweight knee pad uses an integrated X-Matter foam. This makes sure that your knee caps are well-protected in case of an accident.
For optimal moisture-wicking properties and breathability, you can thank the lightweight 3D performance aero mesh. The same material also helps the knee pads keep its structural strength.
As a result, this combination of a high level of protection and comfort lets you stay focused and dry while on the trailer.
In addition, these mtb knee pads use LoopLock closings. Because of its adjustable fit, you can rest easy knowing that these knee pads will stay in place, regardless of the steepness of the descent.
As a bonus, for experienced riders, these mountain bike knee guards can easily be packed away on a backpack.
- Comprehensive knee cap protection
- Fair price
- Easy to pack and store
- Zero side protection
Best for XC Riding
For low-profile knee pads and cross-country riding, the Leatt Airflex Pro is an excellent choice. It’s designed for all-weather and all-terrain use.
It doesn’t matter where you ride it. These mtb knee pads can provide ample protection without sacrificing comfort and flexibility.
This is all thanks to the thin yet extremely effective absorbing gel that these mountain biking knee pads use. The material will keep you safe in case of a stumble.
However, it is stretchy and breathable enough to keep your skin feeling airy and breezy, even on long rides. Even better, the pad can be worn under your clothes for a more low-profile look.
If it were up to us, we’d recommend thicker padding for longer rides. Beginners, in particular, will benefit better from it. However, for the more advanced users and lighter rides, these knee pads provide more than enough protection.
- Priced well
- Stretchy and breathable
- Stretchy fabric tends to wear out quickly
Best for Those on a Budget
If you’re on a budget, we’d recommend nothing else than the G-Form Pro X2.
Make no mistake, even though these knee pads are low price, they’re right up there among the best MTB knee pads on the market.
There’s a laundry list of reasons for this, topped off by its stylish and modern design, as well as supreme functionality. It offers plenty of protection around the thigh area while offering a high level of mobility.
These budget-friendly MTB knee pads also use what they refer to as “SmartFlex” technology. This basically means that, despite being tough and durable, the padding is also soft and flexible at the same time.
The same technology is also the reason for how breathable these knee pads are.
The lack of side knee protection is a bummer. So is the sizing issues. However, saying those are deal-breakers is already nit-picking, at this point.
The truth is, for the price, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better.
- Low price
- Excellent shock absorption properties
- Fit issues
- Poor construction quality
Best for Extra Protection
The name TROY LEE DESIGNS KG 5450 is a handful. That’s okay though. You won’t need to remember it anymore unless someone asks you what kind of MTB knee pads you can recommend.
Lightweight, durable, and with adequate levels of protection, the best part about the KG 5450 feels very minimalist when worn.
They feel like nothing when worn even though they’re not that lightweight. Not to mention, these don’t just protect your knees. These pads also protect your shins as well.
In addition to a more comprehensive level of protection, these mtb knee pads are some of the most comfortable knee pads on the market.
The only issue we see here is that these pads don’t have straps. Although it is a secure fit most of the time, without straps, sizing becomes an even bigger issue.
- Protects knee and shin
- Feels like nothing
- No straps
MTB Knee Pads Buying Guide
Falling off a 27.5 hardtail mountain bike or other mtb types is like a rite of way. You’re not a true cyclist if you haven’t experienced your fair share of cuts and bruises. However, this also makes it important to get the best MTB knee pads.
To make sure that your money is well spent, consider these factors first:
Comfort and fit should be your top priorities. It doesn’t matter if the knee pads provide excellent protection. If they don’t feel comfortable to wear while riding, they can make pedaling so much harder.
Most of the time, you’ll feel tempted to get them out of the way in the middle of the ride.
Also, it’s not enough that mtb knee pads are comfortable to wear. They should also be a good fit. They shouldn’t fall off your knees when you’re riding, especially during descents.
Otherwise, they can slip and become useless during impact since they’re not where they’re supposed to be.
There are different levels of protection available on mtb knee pads. The best ones are made out of lightweight material that’s designed to disperse and absorb impact. (1)
Usually, this is done with an outside material that helps disperse the impact. Meanwhile, the inner foam layers help absorb the impact. However, this comes at a significant price premium, so keep that in mind.
If you’re on a budget, the least that you can look for is proper knee cap coverage.
Ventilation and Breathability
Since you’ll be subject to harsh weather in the mountains, proper ventilation and breathability is a must.
What this usually means is that you should be willing to give up extra layers of foam. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a thick pair of moutain bike knee pads that make it uncomfortable to ride during hot summer days.
It’s a given that your mtb knee pads will be subject to a lot of abuse. It’s only natural then that you want something that can withstand harsh levels of punishment without showing signs of wear and tear.
The best MTB knee pads come with removable knee pad protectors that can be replaced, repaired, or washed.
The Fox Racing Launch PRO D3O is, hands-down, the best MTB knee pads.
The premium price is offset with its supreme comfort and protection. Not to mention, the eco-friendly material is safe on most skins and is breathable. As a bonus, each pad uses a kind of fabric with much better moisture-wicking properties than what others can offer.
Although these two are nowhere near as breathable and comfortable to wear, they also cost less than half.
At the end of the day, the best MTB knee pads are based on what you prefer and how much you can afford. Because of this, we recommend that you take a good look at our recommendations.
At the same time, you should also research other mountain bike knee pads that you feel might suit your preferences better.
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