Skip to Main Content

The 8 Best Mountain Bike Elbow Pads of 2022

By: Jon Kennedy: Bike Buyer | May 27, 2022

 

Elbow pads are one of those pieces of protective equipment that you won’t know you need until it’s too late. Sure, kneepads are an easy choice when deciding what to wear mountain biking, but once you take a few crashes you’ll understand why many riders wear mountain bike elbow pads as well. They’re a lightweight, comfortable form of insurance against common crashes. But not all elbow pads are created equal. The best mountain bike elbow pads deliver an appropriate level of protection for your average rides, while also being comfortable and fitting well. So shop for your needs, not some artificial standard.

New This Year:

All of the elbow pads on this list are designed to be comfortable enough to wear all day long. But where they vary is the amount of padding they use. Riders on mostly XC trails will want a lighter, less padded option than those riding bike parks or shuttling. Some of the pads on this list are closer to thinly padded sleeves, while others use non-newtonian materials or harder pads to keep you protected. But no matter which pads you choose, remember that their fit and your comfort are the highest priority. No pad is protecting you if it’s so uncomfortable that you never wear it.

best mountain bike elbow pads

Dakine Slayer Elbow Sleeves

You're not afraid to fall off your bike, but it's easier when you're protected. Put your mind at ease and feel the breeze when you slip on the ultra-breathable and ultra-flexible Dakine Slayer Elbow Sleeves. The Slayer is a lightweight, comfortable pad that still offers plenty of protection for XC and trail rides.

Pad TypeStandout FeatureOriginal Price
Polyurethane foamPolygiene odor control technology$64.95

Shop Now

best mountain bike elbow pads

POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Guards

When you bump your funny bone you can usually find the humor, but most bike-related elbow injuries are no laughing matter. Protect your elbows with the low profile POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Guards - with the lightweight, impact-absorbing VPD compound and neoprene anti-slip fabric, you won't even know you're wearing these puppies until you decide to show your buddies how to go over the handlebars. The POC VPD is a nice midweight pad, perfect for everything from casual group rides to enduro races

Pad TypeStandout FeatureOriginal Price
VPD compoundAdjustable straps$70

Shop Now

best mountain bike elbow pads

Fox Enduro Elbow Sleeves

With a no-hassle slip-on design, the Fox Enduro Elbow Sleeves offer lightweight, breathable protection. If you want some elbow pads that allow for full range of motion, then look no further.

Pad TypeStandout FeatureOriginal Price
FoamAllows full range of motion$5399

Shop Now

best mountain bike elbow pads

Troy Lee Designs Stage Elbow Guards

The Troy Lee Designs Stage Elbow Guards don't have a microprocessor. There's no little padding army inside to help its padding go from soft and flexible to hard upon impact, but there's something going on. Maybe its D3O® inserts are alien technology, because that's what happens!

Pad TypeStandout FeatureOriginal Price
D3O® InsertPadding goes from soft & flexible to hard upon impact$69

Shop Now

best mountain bike elbow pads

7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads

These are the long-cut, compression-fit pads that EWS Champion Sam Hill trusts to keep him safe while he flies down the mountain. The 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads are low profile and breathable so they can stay out of the way under long or short sleeves jerseys, and not get too hot while you're pushing the pedals on all-day rides. But don't worry. Despite their low bulk, they still perform above and beyond elbow protection certification standards. The Sam Hill Lites are a versatile pad that offers a lot of protection in a very comfortable package.

Pad TypeStandout FeatureOriginal Price
FoamExtended bicep sleeve$69.99

Shop Now

best mountain bike elbow pads

G-Form Pro-X3 Elbow Guards

The extra confidence you get from elbow pads is worth the inconvenience, and in the case of the G-Form Pro-X3 Elbow Guards, there are hardly any negatives. These slide on easily and stay put as you ride, blocking the sun in between protecting your arms from surprise low-sides. Think of these as conversation non-starters - as in you'll not have to sheepishly admit you removed half your elbow skin in a bike crash. The Pro X3 is an ultra-comfortable elbow pad that still packs a lot of protection

Pad TypeStandout FeatureOriginal Price
SmartFlexDouble-knit compression sleeve$54.99

Shop Now

best mountain bike elbow pads

ION E-Sleeve Elbow Pads

The ION E-Sleeve Elbow Pads provide lightweight protection that's perfect for all-mountain riders. Their 3D-shaped compression design ensures a snug, non-slipping fit while the memory foam padding and abrasion-resistant Ultra Aramid surface fabric ensure durability and longevity. If you want a nice middle ground between arm sleeves and bulkier elbow pads, the E-Sleeve hits the mark.

Pad TypeStandout FeatureOriginal Price
PolyamideRemovable padding$59.99

Shop Now

best mountain bike elbow pads

POC VPD Air Fabio Edition Elbow Guards

The world's (or at least the internet's) most famous mountain biker knows a thing or seven about crash protection. Fabio Wibmer is insanely skilled, loves riding bikes of all kinds, and he's sure as heck not looking to take any time off from injury, The POC VPD Air Fabio Edition Elbow Guards are low profile and comfortable, making them perfect for gigantic youtube stars and you, too. Trials, trails, downhill mashers, and ripping through the city are all better knowing you can mess up a bit without losing any skin from your arms. These bring all the protection and comfort POC is known for, with a little extra Fabio style.

Pad TypeStandout FeatureOriginal Price
VPDCrash retention strap$70

Shop Now
Shop All MTB Elbow Pads
See All

Learn More With Our Other Bike Guides:

Learn About our Favorite Bike Gear:

The Selection Process:

Our bike buyer has an endless amount of knowledge on all things bike stemming from years of experience in the bike industry in tandem with their countless hours out on the dirt, gravel, and tarmac. evo's buyers assess all products coming to market, lean into this knowledge, and put together this selection of the best products. They have a unique perspective as they truly see everything offered across the category.

Jon Kennedy

Jon is a Bike Buyer and joined evo in 2015 to help launch the category. He has a long tenure in the bike industry bringing over 20 years of experience.

Jon was formerly the Marketing Manager for Diamondback bikes and was the Executive Director for the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance prior to that. His broad experience in the bike industry from the brand, advocacy and retail side has contributed to a well-rounded understanding of trends, needs and opportunities.

Jon grew up in the Seattle area and currently resides there with his wife Ilana, kids Erez and Lilah, and his Boston Terrier Marley. He is a daily rider packing countless miles in every year, loves all disciplines, and simply considers himself a cyclist… a title he embraces with great passion.