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The 10 Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads of 2022

By: Jon Kennedy: Bike Buyer | May 13, 2022
 

 Talk to anyone who’s been mountain biking for a while and they’ll be happy to regale you with stories of their gnarliest crashes. After all, messing up and crashing is how we get better at riding. But, knowing you might crash and not doing anything to mitigate the effects of those impacts is just plain reckless. That’s why experienced riders wear kneepads. They’re a small investment that makes for big payoffs in comfort and safety. The best mountain bike knee pads are comfortable and lightweight enough that you can still pedal easily in them, but provide adequate protection from both the ground, and your bike. 

This list covers several different styles of mountain bike knee pads, knee guards and knee sleeves. There’s everything from hard-shelled DH kneepads to soft and light knee sleeves, designed for long pedals. Knee pad manufacturers continue to innovate, using non-Newtonian materials that are soft and supple while you pedal but harden instantly on impact. This year’s crop of the best MTB knee pads is both more comfortable and protective than ever before. So go tell your crash stories, regale your friends with your slams, but pad up to dissipate the worst brunt of those impacts.

For more on choosing the the best mountain bike knee pads for you please see our mountain bike knee pads guide.

7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads

7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads

The 7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pads are the pro model pads for World Enduro Series Champion Sam Hill. These hard hittin' enduro specific pads are designed to offer maximal protection on the downhill and stay out of the way on the up. They have mesh fabric for breathability, plenty of padding, and gripper elastic on both the inside and the outside so the sleeve stays put on your leg and your shorts stay put on the sleeve. The 7iDP Sam Hills are equally at home in the bike park or on long pedally rides.

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$89.99Foam+plasticEnduro/DH

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Dakine Slayer Knee Pads

Dakine Slayer Knee Pads

The Dakine Slayer Knee Pads emphasize breathability and comfort without compromising protection where it counts, achieving the perfect balance of lightweight mobility and impeccable, certified knee protection. The Slayer is a great do-it-all pad. Light enough for all day pedals, but with plenty of protection for bigger features.

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$89.99DK Impact Polyurethane FoamTrail/Enduro

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Dakine Slayer Knee Sleeves

Dakine Slayer Knee Sleeves

Slip on the Dakine Slayer Knee Sleeves when you want sufficient knee protection without sacrificing freedom of movement. These are Dakine's lightest, most low profile knee pads. These are some of the most pedal-friendly knee pads on this list, perfect for XC and trail riders who want a little extra protection.

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$74.95DK Impact Polyurethane FoamXC/Trail

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Fox Enduro Knee Pads

Fox Enduro Knee Sleeves

Ultralight and low profile, the Fox Enduro Knee Sleeves are easy to pedal in while their moisture-wicking fabric and open stretch mesh at the back of knee provide uncompromising breathability. No annoying straps or scratchy velcro!

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$59.95Impact Absorbing FoamTrail/Enduro

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Fox Launch Pro D3o

Fox Launch Pro D3O Knee Guards

Protect what's important with the Fox Launch Pro D3O Knee Guards. Combining a breathable, hypoallergenic Ariaprene™ neoprene primary with dual-level impact protection and anatomically designed paneling, the Fox Launch Pro D3O Knee Guards offer premium performance for hard charging riders. The Launch Pro’s hard plastic shell means that they offer maximum protection in a package that’s still reasonably light and comfortable.

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$139.95D30 insert and hard plastic shellEnduro/DH

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G-Form Pro-X3 Knee Guards

G-Form Pro-X3 Knee Guards

The most comfortable pads you're likely to pedal in, the G-Form Pro-X3 Knee Guards are the low-profile, high-protection favorites of many riders. They're thin enough to wear under long pants but protective enough for the heaviest enduros. With breathable pads like these, there are zero reasons not to wear something over your knees. G-Form does a remarkable job of creating pads that protect you without even feeling like you’re wearing something extra.

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$64.99SmartFlexTrail/Enduro

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POC Joint VPD Air Knee Guards

POC Joint VPD Air Knee Guards

The POC Joint VPD Air Knee Guards think that dealing with restricting, bulky knee pads is a violation of your rights. Breathable, enhanced flexibility and neoprene anti-slip will allow you to forget you're even wearing these until you take a spill. The VPD Airs are lightweight and comfortable, but still offer plenty of protection.

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$80VPD AirXC/Trail

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POC VPD Air Fabio Edition Knee Guards

POC VPD Air Fabio Edition Knee Guards

POC VPD Air Fabio Edition Knee Guards are low-pro enough to fit under long pants, but they sport Fabio's signature so superfans may want to opt for shorts. VPD Air padding is flexible and lightweight, perfect for pedaling, but it'll firm up instantly should you find yourself smacking into something hard. Playing it safe never looked so rad! All of the comfort and protection of the regular VPD Airs, with a special signature colorway.

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$80VPD AirXC / Trail

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Troy Lee Designs Stage Knee Guards

Troy Lee Designs Stage Knee Guards

The Troy Lee Designs Stage Knee Guards will fit under riding pants, so there's no problem with shorts. They're soft and flexible enough that you can pedal all day in them, but their D3O® inserts will magically firm up to absorb impacts if you should happen to bail. Knee protection for anyone from trail riders to park rats, these are essential. The Stage is a great choice for enduro racing or just casual rides on consequential trails.

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$79D30 InsertEnduro

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Troy Lee Designs Speed Knee Sleeves

Troy Lee Designs Speed Knee Sleeves

Enjoy featherlight knee protection with the Troy Lee Designs Speed Knee Sleeves. These sleeves use a silicone gripper to hold 4mm D30R padding inserts for a slimmer, more effective knee guard ideal for riders that want to keep things as fast and light as possible. The Knee Sleeves are a nice balance between a full on knee pad and a regular cycling leg warmer.
 

Original PricePad TypeRecommended Use
$54D30XC

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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.