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Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Guards Review

Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Pads

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Kali Protectives makes protective gear designed for extreme sports and activities like mountain biking. The Kali Mission elbow pads provide lightweight protection for your elbows when riding trails or racing downhill. Read on for a complete review with all the key details about these popular elbow guards.


The Kali Mission elbow pads have good features for riding that set them apart from competitors. These pads use Kali’s own technology called Composite Fusion. This combines rigid outer plastic shells with foam cushioning pads located in the key impact zones.

The elbow area has something called Low Profile Armoring. This puts thick specialized foam padding right over the point of your elbow for maximum protection. The elbow cups closely match the natural shape of your arm for better comfort and flexibility when riding.

For extra security, there are bands both above and below the elbow. These bands have silicone grippers on the inside to cling to your arm. This way the pads won’t ever slip out of place accidentally. The fabric layers use lightweight mesh material that allows air to pass through and keep you cooler.

  • Padding Type: Polyurethane
  • Certification: EN1621-1 Level 1
  • Weight: 6.4 oz.
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Material: Polyurethane and Mesh
  • Closure: Slip-on with silicone grippers
  • Protection Area: Elbow
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
  • Recommended Use: Trail / Enduro
  • Rating:

    4.5 out of 5 star rating

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Key Features of Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Guards

The Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Guards bring a trifecta of comfort, flexibility, and security to your ride. At their core is shock-absorbent PU padding, a stalwart against the jolts and jabs of the trail. This isn’t your average cushioning; it’s a flexible barrier designed to eat up impacts without eating into your mobility​​​.

But protection that shifts is as useful as a chocolate teapot, right? That’s where the non-slip bands come into play. Positioned at the top and bottom, these bands are the unsung heroes that keep the pads where they should be, even when you’re rattling down a rock garden or pumping through berms​​​.

Add to that a breathable mesh back panel and you’ve got a recipe for all-day comfort. Up hills, down dales, and during those unexpected ‘dismounts’, your elbows stay cool under pressure. And the slip-on design? That’s just Kali’s way of shaving precious seconds off your gearing-up ritual, no fiddly straps or adjustments needed​​​.

Designed ergonomically for both climbing and descending, these pads are a nod to the relentless pursuit of mountain biking perfection. They’re lightweight, which means they won’t bog you down when you’re pushing for that extra mile or aiming for the summit. And because Kali is all about commitment, they back these guards with a reassuring 1-year warranty​.

User Experience and Performance

I ended up buying the Kali Mission elbow guards for some added protection after I took a rough spill that bruised up my elbow real good. I didn’t break any bones but it hurt to fully bend my arm for almost two weeks. And it made me realize my bike handling skills aren’t good enough yet to ride exposed trails without pads.

The first thing I noticed after strapping on the Kali Missions was the slim, lightweight feel. I half expected bulky pads that would hinder my movement but these hugged my arms without noticeably restricting me. And once I started hammering some fast flowy singletrack, I appreciated the cool mesh fabric that wicked away sweat and prevented stuffiness.

During one tricky rock drop, I lost control and violently crashed down right onto sharp granite. Luckily the Mission pads took the whole force and saved my elbows from certain gashes and cuts. The durable plastic shell held up nicely even as I slid a few feet across the jagged surface. So from then on I knew not to leave home without this reliable protection!

Now after a full season using the Kali Missions for my usual weekend riding, I can’t recommend them enough. For an intermediate guy like me that lacks technique finesse, these became indispensable every time I push my skills just a little too far past my limits. It’s nice knowing my joints and soft tissue stay protected when I inevitably go flying over the bars on rough stuff!

Material and Construction

The Kali Mission elbow guards use advanced materials engineered for performance and reliability:

  • Outer Shells – The exterior plastic shells provide rigid protection and resist abrasion from ground impacts while sliding. The material disperses impact forces over the whole pad instead of focused points.
  • Foam Padding – Underneath the shells are foam pads rated to Kali’s Level 1 impact standards. This high-density cushioning absorbs the hardest crashes common when riding challenging trails.
  • Mesh Fabric – Between the padding is lightweight mesh that enhances breathability and ventilation. It also stays flexible to not restrict movement during activity.
  • Silicone Bands – The upper arm and forearm bands have silicone grippers that keep the pads firmly in place by clinging to your arm sleeves.

Comfort and Fit

Most riders find the Mission elbow pads are comfortable enough to wear riding for hours. The slim design with strategic material removal reduces bulk without sacrificing protection. The pre-curved elbow cups provide an excellent ergonomic shaping for close fit.

For adjusting fit, make sure to follow the published sizing guidelines:

  • Small – for relaxed fit shirt sleeve lengths around 30-33 cm
  • Medium – for sleeve lengths around 33-38 cm
  • Large – for sleeve lengths around 38-43 cm

The exact fit can vary based on your body shape and arm muscle size. The flexible mesh sleeves and silicone bands allow the pads to conform well to different arm sizes. Riders confirm the Kali Mission elbow pads stay completely fixed in place without sliding throughout even aggressive trail riding.

Protection Level

The Kali Mission elbow pads meet the CE EN 1621-1 Level 1 impact standards. This means they provide substantive padding for mountain biking activities like cross country trails, bike parks and moderate downhill grades.

The pads are not meant for extreme downhill or enduro racing with big jumps and high speeds. The foam cushions moderate blows and absorbs energy from impacts very effectively. And the plastic shells resist abrasion well from sliding across ground or gravel.

For higher intensity riding demands, Kali offers their Saha and Strike pads engineered for Level 2 extreme downhill protection. But for most rough trail riding the Mission pads offer reliable cushioning from crashes balanced with good flexibility.

Price and Value

The Kali Protectives Mission elbow pads retail around $60 which is reasonable compared to competing brands with similar class lightweight padding. When you consider the CE Level 1 protection, ventilated sleeves, premium Composite Fusion shells and secure gripper bands, the Missions deliver extremely good value.

If your trails demand beefed up padding, it is worth upgrading to the higher end $90 Strike pads from Kali. But for typical riding conditions on bumpy singletrack and bike park runs, the Mission hit the sweet spot on both performance and affordability.

Comparison Of Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Guards With Other Brands

The Kali Mission elbow guards compete directly with several other top MTB elbow pads in terms of protection standards, materials, and intended use:

7iDP Transition Arm Guards – These pads offer similar CE 1 foam protection but at a slightly heavier weight. They use basic Velcro straps which don’t always stay fixed in place. The sleeve fit is also less adjustable than the Kali pads.

G-Form Pro X3 Elbow Guards – The G-Form guards have some nice flexibility but forego hard shells in favor of soft padding that firms up on impacts. They can absorb small hits but won’t resist abrasion from slides across the ground as effectively.

POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads – The POC Joint pads focus heavily on flexibility using visco-elastic foam that stays somewhat soft until an impact occurs. This technology works well but costs over $100 making the POC pads expensive compared to Kali.

The Mission elbow pads stand out by blending reliable CE Level 1 cushions and durable outer shells with an ergonomic sleeve-type fit. They find the right mix of staying securely in place while delivering high-performance ventilation, movement, and underarm comfort.

There are many other options on the market. If you are looking for a sleeker design, read our review on the Dakine Slayer elbow sleeves might be a good option for you. If you have a little more to spend, read more on the Fox Enduro D30 elbow pads to see what are among the best on the market.

Comparison of MTB Elbow Pads: Kali Protectives Mission vs POC VPD Air Sleeves vs 7iDP Transition
Feature Kali Protectives Mission POC VPD Air Sleeves 7iDP Transition Elbow Pads
Material Polyurethane Padding, Mesh Construction VPD Compound Foam, Mesh Backing
Closure Pull-on with silicone grippers Elastic Strap Silicone Printed Grippers
Protection Area Elbow and surrounding muscles Elbow Elbow
Certifications EN1621-1 Level 1 Certified EN1621-1 Level 1 Certified EN1621-1 Level 1 Certified
Manufacturer Warranty 1 year 1 year 1 year
Available Sizes S, M, L, XL XS, S, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL
Additional Features Articulated design, Non-slip bands Lightweight, Multi-purpose High compression design

User Reviews and Feedback

Actual customer reviews for the Kali Mission elbow pads are very favorable overall. A common theme from online user feedback is praise for the comfortable sleeve-type fit that eliminates unwanted shifting while riding aggressively over difficult trail features.

Many riders call out the impressive breathability and ventilation from the mesh fabric saying their arms never overheated even in direct sun. For sizing, most customers recommend ordering a size up if you fall between the published ranges. Riders also consistently mention how well the Composite Fusion shells hold up when crashing on gravel protecting their elbows from abrasion.

Most user comments validate Kali’s claim for CE Level 1 impact protection saying hard crashes and direct blows left their elbows well cushioned and pain free. Overall the consensus is the Mission elbow pads deliver impressive perfomance and reliability that outpaces expectations for the reasonable price.

Is Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Guards Right for You?

The Kali Protectives Mission elbow guards hit a nice sweet spot between protection and flexibility. They work well for riding that demands technical pads that can handle moderate impacts without restrictive bulk.

For easy cross country trails or casual riding, the guards offer reliable abrasion resistance without going overboard on padding. And the mesh fabric keeps your arms cool enough for all day events. If hitting jumps in bike parks or pushing downhill speeds on rutted singletrack, the CE Level 1 shields provide substantial enough cushion and bump absorption to keep your elbows safe from jarring crashes.

Riders needing hardcore downhill or enduro race protection may demand beefed up plastic shields or stealth rubber slide pads that take the worst impacts imaginable. But for anyone that wants sturdy, well-ventilated, and comfortable elbow guards purpose built for tough all mountain riding, the Kali Protectives Mission pads are an ideal choice.

Beyond that, there are lots of choices on the market if these don’t fit your needs. I put together a list of he best MTB elbow pads on the market to help you find one that fits your needs.

About the Author

Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed