Everyone who has had a high impact crash during mountain biking can fully appreciate the importance of quality knee pads. While it is a no-brainer that they are necessary it is not quite so easy to find the right ones for each individual rider.
To make the search easier we have created a list of the best available knee pads and some insider information on how to choose between them.
What to Look For
Flexibility. While this is not always possible, see our section about Hard-Shell vs. Soft-Shell, it is a good idea to opt for the knee pad that provides you with the most flexibility without compromising the quality of protection.
Attachment. The pads on our list can be attached either by slipping them on or via straps. This really comes down to personal preference but it should be considered.
Weight. Balance is everything in mountain biking and it can be affected by new pads. Don’t just opt for the best mountain bike knee pads but try to get ones that fit the weight and size of the ones that you are used to. If you don’t, then you need to prepare for an adjustment period.
An intricate foam padding couples with Kevlar knee coverage.
What Are the Most Important Features?
The only real factor that counts when you are choosing between the various knee pad options is how much protection they provide. Here are some ways to assess the level of protection that a particular product can provide:
Hard Shell vs. Soft Shell. These two types of knee pads will be made of various materials and are beneficial in differing ways.
Hard Shell – Provides greater protection against impact but weighs more and restricts movement.
Soft Shell – Does not provide great impact protection but is lighter and is more comfortable to wear.
Padding. After you have looked at the plastic or Kevlar outer layer then you need to check out the padding. Many of the products on our list have an advanced system of overlapping padding to provide the highest amount of protection. Mostly the quality of the padding will determine how comfortable the knee pads are.
Shin Guards. For those looking at more extreme variations of mountain biking then an extended knee and shin guard is a good investment. Any rider that is only looking at recreational mountain biking then a lighter knee pad will be sufficient.
The POC Joint VPD 2.0 knee pads are perfect for when you want lightweight protection that is effective and durable. These are some of the best mountain bike knee pads because they aren’t so bulky that they will restrict movement but they will protect your knees.
The flexibility in these knee pads is something that all bikers can appreciate. Whether you plan to test the limits of the knee pads or just want to be extremely careful at all times, these are the perfect ones to have as part of your equipment.
The way these knee pads wear is obviously important but so is having them stay in place. The POC Joint VPD 2.0 have been designed to stay where you put them without having an overly tight band cutting off the circulation in your legs.
Fox Racing Launch Pro MTB Shin and Knee are great for downhill mountain bike runs as well as normal street riding. When you start wearing these pads, it is normal and should be expected that you will have to get used to how much tension you need to make them stay in place.
One of the best things about this combo is that they can be worn together or you can just wear the knee pads and use the shin guards when you are going to be doing more serious biking.
These are really some of the most comfortable pads you could choose. They will fit well, which means they stay in place during a lot of riding and moving around. This also makes for a better buy when you consider the cost.
When you want more athletic knee pads that are also incredibly sturdy and durable, you couldn’t do better than the JMB Knee Pads. These are made of a breathable material that holds them onto your knee and a hard yet flexible shell to cover the kneecap.
The protection that you get from these knee pads really gives you the extra peace of mind that you need when mountain biking. This is something that you will immediately be able to tell when you try these on and feel the quality for yourself.
Comfort is also something that is important for anyone that will be mountain biking for any period of time. These pads also deliver in that department making them a great overall product.