Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads: Protect Your Joints From Impact
Save your knees from the injuries of high speed crashes with some of the best mountain bike knee pads
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
It’s not uncommon to fall off a mountain bike, and the hands and knees are the most vulnerable points of injury. You can protect your joints from serious damage, including a shattered knee cap, as well as minor grazes by wearing knee pads. Here are a few of the best knee pads for riding a mountain bike.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Mountain Bike Knee Pads
- Protect your skin. One of the best ways to protect yourself on rocky terrain is by investing in the best MTB knee pads. Downhill mountain bike knee pads provide a layer of protection on the thin layer of skin on your knees.
- Avoid injuries. Both amateurs and professionals can benefit from using the best knee pads for mountain bikes. Crashes and accidents can occur whether you're a beginner or an expert rider.
- Be part of the team. It's becoming more and more common to see mountain bikers wearing knee protection. The best mountain bike knee and elbow pads will ensure that your ride is both fun and safe.
Types of Mountain Bike Knee Pads
This type of mountain bike knee pad features shell caps that are specially designed to protect your kneecaps. They are typically constructed of high-density materials like plastic, gel, rubber, or carbon fiber. The interior of the shell is usually elastic in nature for comfort and an improved ergonomic fit. Hard shells are heavy-duty and necessary for more serious MTB riders who race, perform tricks, or ride down steep trails at high speeds and require a high level of protection. However, they tend to be heavier, bulkier, stiffer, and more expensive than other types of pads.
Foam Padded Caps
This is one of the most basic styles of mountain bike knee pads. They feature soft and durable foam padding that protects your knees from injuries. They are lightweight and flexible, and the foam can be made from a wide variety of materials, such as polyurethane (PU), ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), nylon, or neoprene. These lightweight knee pads are great for everyday riding and protect against minor falls. However, they do not provide much protection in a serious downhill impact or wipeout.
This type of knee protector is popular among trail riders. These pads feature a honeycomb design that enables them to conform better to the shape of your knee and leg. They usually include impact-absorbing foam. If you're looking for superior comfort and flexibility on long rides, consider this type of knee pad.
This South African company was founded in 2001. It manufactures a wide range of neck braces, helmets, body armor, and other protective gear for thrill seekers. One of its popular products is the Leatt 3DF AirFlex Knee Guard.
Bodyprox is a Canadian brand that designs products strong enough to withstand serious training. They are comfortable for everyday wear and offer good protection. Many of its products are made from durable, stretchable, and breathable Neoprene. One top seller is the Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads.
The Swedish company POC was founded in 2005 with an initial focus on the ski racing market. The company currently develops products for gravity sports athletes and cyclists. One of its popular products for impact protection is the POC Joint VPD System Knee Protector.
Two brothers created Demon in 1999 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their aim was to manufacture the best protective gear for athletes. They currently sell more than 150 products, including the Demon Enduro Mountain Bike Knee Pads.
Mountain Bike Knee Pads Pricing
- Under $25: The best budget mountain bike knee pads are ergonomically designed and allow a good amount of movement and flexibility for the amount of protection they provide. They tend to be the lightest type of pads and work well overall.
- $25-$50: If you spend a little more money, you will get better quality knee pads for the bike park. They will usually provide a superior grip and non-slip features. They are easy to put on and are comfortable.
- Over $50: If you are really serious about mountain biking, you want a knee pad that can stand up to potential abuse. Products in this category have the same features as less expensive pads but they usually have additional top and side padding for even more protection.
When you're shopping for top-rated mountain bike knee pads, comfort should be one of your top priorities. If they don't feel comfortable on your knees and legs, you're less likely to wear them. They need to conform to the shape of your leg because if they don't, they can make pedaling miserable.
Just because a pair of knee pads feel comfortable doesn't mean they’re the best fit. You need to make sure the product doesn't slip off your knee. This can be problematic during an impact. Several brands tout the anti-slip properties of their knee pads, so make sure they fit well for maximum protection.
This is another important feature, particularly if you like riding on hot summer days. Look for products that are breathable and provide a bit of airflow. Even though products with extra layers may be more protective, you need to find the right balance between abrasion resistance and ventilation so you don't turn into a sweaty mess.
- Attachment Type: The best enduro mountain bike knee pads typically have one of two types of attachments. Some you pull up onto your knee like a sock. Others are attached by clips and Velcro straps. The latter do not require the rider to remove their shoes should they decide to put them on halfway through a ride. Knee pads with clips are also heavier and warmer.
- Style: This is a personal preference. The best knee pads for mountain bike trail riding come in a wide variety of colors and styles, so you have a lot of options. While black is the most common color, there are products available in other hues that can match your clothing or bike.
Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- In addition to wearing knee pads, you should also wear elbow pads and a helmet when riding to protect yourself from injury. Also, buy comfortable riding gloves to keep your palms blister-free.
- Knee pads are more comfortable when you wear them underpants. They stick better to the skin, and you avoid expanding them if you put them over your pants. Also, you get less sweaty that way.
- Wash your knee pads according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Then turn them inside out, and allow them to dry out in the sun to kill the bacteria.
- You can also wear your knee pads as elbow pads if they are a comfortable fit and conform to the shape of your elbow.
Q: Do knee pads relieve joint pain?
A: A heavily-padded knee pad with extra straps at the knee can help relieve pressure at the joint and reduce muscle strain to relieve pain. However, you should consider other options for relieving knee pain if it's caused by your cycling habits. You may want to take medication or ice your knee on a regular basis to reduce pain.
Q: How tight should mountain bike knee pads be?
A: They should feel snug and not too loose or too tight. If they’re too tight, they may reduce blood flow around your knee area, and you may sweat a lot when cycling. If they’re too tight, they may curl up behind your knee and pinch your skin.
Q: Do knee pads protect against broken bones?
A: Knee pads can cushion the impact of a fall, prevent scratches, and reduce the chances of dislocating your knee cap. They don’t, however, protect against broken bones since the knee pads don’t keep your feet stiff. Knee pads are a padded piece of clothing that don’t stand a chance against an external force that may break your bones.
We chose the POC Joint VPD Air Knee Pads as the best mountain bike knee pads. They offer a lot of protection and flexibility.
A more affordable option for keeping your knees cool, comfortable, and protected is the G-Form Pro-X Knee Pads.