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Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guards Review

Leatt Airflex Elbow Guard

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Whether you’re new to mountain biking or a seasoned professional, preventing injury is always your first goal so you can keep biking day and day. The Leatt AirFlex elbow guards can go a long way to helping you achieve that goal.

Leatt is one of the leading bike safety gear manufacturers and these elbow pads are a prime example of a capable elbow pad.

In this review I’ll look at how these Leatt elbow guards hold up on the trails. I’ll go over the key features of these, access the comfort, breathability, and protection abilities of these elbow guards. Finally, I’ll compare them to a couple of other elbow pads to see how they hold up against the competition.


When you’re hauling it down a trail, the last thing you want is to be weighed down by your bike gear. However, the bike gear is needed to keep you safe so you can ride another day.

Looking at the specs gives you a good first glance at how these elbow guards are going to perform.. Looking closely at the Leatt AirFlex elbow guards’ technical details shows some serious potential.

These guards have Leatt’s AirFlex foam padding. This type of padding offers high levels of protection while still being breathable and flexible. The guards also use moisture-wicking fabric to help keep sweat off of your skin to keep your arms cool.

These elbow guards meet the safety certification for elbow pads so they are very capable, probably more than the numbers hint to.

  • Padding Type: AirFlex
  • Certification: EN1621-1 Level 1
  • Weight: 8.5 oz.
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Material: MoistureCool and AirMesh
  • Closure: Slip-on
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
  • Recommended Use: Enduro / All-Mountain
  • Rating:

    4.0 out of 5 star rating

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Key Features of Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guard

One of the most important features of the Leatt elbow guards’ AirMesh is moisture-wicking and helps to pull sweat off of your skin while you are riding.

The MoistureCool takes this a step further and helps to get sweat off of your skin and allow fresh air in. Combined with AirMesh, it’s a double-dose of cooling.

When you look at how thick the padding is on these and what they can handle, that much cooling is much appreciated so your arms don’t overheat.

The AirFlex gel in these is fairly unique to Leatt and it’s somewhat like the D30 or VPD material in Fox and POC. This gel is a non-Newtonian liquid that upon impact will harden. Pretty cutting edge stuff and there’s an ample amount to cover some serious hits.

User Experience and Performance

After using them for quite a few rides, the Leatt AirFlex are pretty impressive elbow pads. The AirFlex gel comforms to my elbow shape quite nicely so it’s snug and without play, but no restrictive.

After a few miles I didn’t think much about these until I stopped for a break. They do run a little warm for elbow pads even with all the breathing ability and the cutout of the fabric on the inside of the elbow, but not enough that it’s that distracting in fall weather.

I did catch a couple of heavy branches with my elbow and while I could feel the impact I didn’t get hurt at all. These make a pretty impressive barrier that makes you worry a bit less the more you wear them knowing they have your back.

Even though they ran a little warm, the moisture wicking feature of these worked exceptionally well. When i was done riding, I took them off and they would dry pretty quickly. Obviously after a washing they take a little longer to dry but I would say they dry a little faster than average but not enough it would be a deal breaker either way.

They stayed in place for all of my cross-country and trail rides without needing readjustment. Fairly standard but still an absolute requirement for an elbow pad.

For trail riding, enduro, BMX, etc, these will work well. I would be happy grabbing them for any ride since they just work well without any fuss.

Material and Construction

The Leatt AirFlex elbow guard has some pretty advanced protection due to the AirFlex gel. This is a protection material that is flexible and moves with you, but on impact it hardens instantly to protect you from those hard surface such as trees and rocks.

The sleeves are made from AirMesh and MoistureCool fabric that does a pretty good job at keeping the sweat at bay and your arms cool.

There is a certain attention to detail on these elbow pads that you don’t see on many elbow pads. The stitching, the design and placement, how the Airflex gel is molded. You can just feel that a lot of time has been put into making these the best possible.

There aren’t too many where you just feel they are capable and durable, and these are and that’s why they are in my top 10 elbow pads.

Leatt Airflex Elbow Guard - Back View

The back of the Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guard, showing how it’s open to allow better airflow.

Comfort and Fit

These are among my favorite elbow pads in terms of comfort and fit for a few reasons.

The first reason is the AirFlex gel. It is very flexible and moves with your without restricting movement. It’s like the silent protection partner that is there when you need it, but otherwise you don’t notice it.

The second reason is the silicone grips on the inside of the sleeves do a great job of keeping them in place while you are riding. No need to re-adjust these which you expect from a good pair.

The AirMesh material also does a great job of letting plenty of air flow around.

So these fit so well you don’t notice they’re on most of the time but they come to the rescue when you need them.

Protection Level

The Leatt AirFlex elbow guards are among the strongest elbow pads you can buy out there. They easily pass the CE EN1621-1 Level 1 safety certifications which means that in rigorous tests these will do a great job of protecting your from harm.

The AirFlex gel is a non-Newtonian gel which means it is soft and flexible and moves as you move and you don’t notice it’s even there. When the material stakes a sudden jolt, the material suddenly hardens up. The material is really amazing and not entirely unlike the D30 from Fox or the VPD from POC. This material is about as advanced as it gets.

Leatt Airflex Elbow Guard - Protection Score

The Leatt rating system that defines deflection, knee cup, shin, and side protections for superior safety standards

Price and Value

There are many reasons why the Leatt AirFlex stand out when you’re talking price and value around mtb elbow pads.

The AirFlex have AirFlex gel as the impact material which is comparable do the D30 and VPD material which is state-of-the-art. the Airmesh material breathes really well. Wearing them they are even better than the specs allude to.

These compete head-to-head with the best out there but at a far better price. I would even consider these for some situations over the biggest brands.

Per dollar, these are some of the best elbow pads you can buy.

Comparison Of Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guard With Other Brands

Beyond what elbow pads are capable of, it’s natural to wonder how they do against competitors. So let’s compare them now against the Fox Enduro elbow pads and the G-Form Pro X3 elbow pads. these are among the best ones out there.

Fox Enduro are some of the best known elbow pads and one of my favorites. The Fox is a great elbow pad, but it has a premium price. The Fox Enduro and the Leatt AirFlex perform pretty close to each other, so if you are saving money to get a better helmet or other gear, you can get the Leatt and do well for normal riding like enduro and trail.

G-Form Pro X3 has SmartFlex impact material which is very similiar to the D30 of the enduro and AirFlex in the Leatt. So they all have comparable safety protection. Leatt is a little cheaper and breathes a little better so so save a few bucks I’d choose the Leatt AirFlex.

Honestly all 3 are good choices and they are all in my top 3 recommended mountain bike elbow pads.

For those interested in exploring different styles and protection levels, our in-depth look at the Troy Lee Design Speed Elbow Sleeves offers yet another mtb elbow pad that is highly recommended. Additionally, our review of the 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads, brings another option beyond that and is very popular in the mountain biking community.

MTB Elbow Pad Showdown: Leatt AirFlex vs Fox Enduro Pro vs G-Form Pro Rugged
Features Leatt AirFlex Fox Enduro Pro G-Form Pro Rugged
Material MoistureCool, AirMesh, AirFlex padding
AirFlex gel padding
Cordura, F3 Armor Body-mapped SmartFlex pads
Closure Slip-on / silicone grippers Slip-on with reinforced skid plate Compression sleeve with silicone grippers
Protection Area Elbow Elbow Elbow
Certifications EN1621-1 Level 1 EN1621-1 Level 1 EN1621-1 Level 1
Available Sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL S – XL S, M, L, XL
Additional Features Silicone printed grips Moisture-wicking micro-Lycra sleeve, D3O elbow inserts SmartFlextechnology, Ventilated mesh back, Machine washable

User Reviews and Feedback

Looking at how it’s received in the mountain biking community, Leatt has a lot of satisfied customers. The most common thing I see is that people are saying once they get riding, they don’t even notice they are wearing these elbow pads due to their weight and how they fit well. Probably the next most common things is that people are thrilled that they stay in place and rarely need adjustment.

Not everything is positive on these. There are some riders in host climates that say these run a little warmer than some other brands and could use more airflow. I do agree, but no mtb elbow pads are perfect. Maybe if you are riding some canyons in Arizona you may want to wear something lighter, but for many places like where I am this isn’t too big of a deal.

Now, if you’re in a hot climate like the Moab, you may want to grab a pair of 7iDP or maybe Fox Enduro if you’re riding in the sweltering sun.

Overall I would say these are very well received by the MTB community which backs up my own impressions of them.

Is Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guard Right for You?

The Leatt AirFlex elbow guards are are a very capable and very well made pair of mtb elbow pads. The question is if they’re right for you.

The first thing to look at is your riding and your climate. If you ride cross-country, enduro, trail, BMX, etc, then these match well with that riding. To be honest these are probably plenty for normal downhill (extreme is another matter entirely). These also run a little warmer when you are wearing them then some others, so if that is a priority it’s possible you may want to look at some of the other recommendations I have for the best MTB elbow pads.

The AirFlex gel in these are amazing how they are flexible but they turn into this hardened shield if you bang into something. Gotta love technology.

The Leatt AirFlex are an excellent choice for elbow pads if they fit your needs and budget.

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