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POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads Review

POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads

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Are you a fan of protecting your elbows but you like More minimal and like to forget you’re wearing them. then the POC Joint VPD air elbow pads might be just the ones for you. 

In this review I’ll tell you all about them both good and bad and how they compare to other elbow pads on the market .


POC created these with a minimal design in mind but still having the advanced impact material that you see in leading mtb elbow pads on the market. They are minimal in both size and weight, which makes it so it’s easy to forget you are even wearing them.

They still meet all of the same safety certification levels despite their size. The area that is protected is a little smaller and your arm has far less covering it, but if you are rider in hot weather these may be preferable to elbow sleeves like the TLD that cover a majority of the arm.

  • Padding Type: VPD (Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough) Compound
  • Certification: EN1621-1 Level 1
  • Weight: 7.1 oz.
  • Sizes: XS-XL
  • Material: Neoprene
  • Closure: Reinforced Stretch Fabric, Neoprene Anti-slip Inner, and a Crash Retention Strap
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
  • Recommended Use: Trail / Enduro
  • Rating:

    4.5 out of 5 star rating

View on Amazon

Key Features of POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads

Like all mountain biking elbow pads, the key features all resolve around the impact material and size that is protected as well as the sleeve material itself so let’s look at those now.

The impact material in these POC elbow pads is VPD(Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough) that is similar to the D30 impact material in some other pads such as the Fox Enduro and the Troy Lee Speed Designs Elbow Speed Sleeves. It is the the same type as the most advanced on the market.

It is a non-Newtonian material that is very flexible until it gets a sudden Impact in which it hardens up instantly. As far as I can tell the only difference in these is that the material covers less of the elbow by size. this is largely due to it being a smaller and more minimal elbow pad.

The sleeve material is a breathable neoprene blend with silicone grippers inside to keep them from moving. silicone seems to do a good job since they don’t move while riding. The material just covers the VPD impact pad itself so beyond that is your arm open to the air instead of being covered by a sleeve.

Like I said, these are just the pad itself and there are many people that prefer that, especially in hot weather.

User Experience and Performance

Like any of the mountain biking elbow pads, you need to take them out onto the trail quite a few times to get a feel for how they perform in the real world. So I decided to test them out on a cool fall day.

They are exceptionally easy to get on due to their smaller coverage. however, they stayed in place perfectly fine on energetic trail rides.

I didn’t take these on any kind of extreme rides or wash them to know how durable they are so I would have to defer to the community on that. But from the amount I’ve used them for and by looking at them, they look like there’s a lot of attention to detail in the way the pads are put together.

Being that these are smaller and more of my arm is just plain open to the outside air, my arms state plenty cool. They’re very comfortable to wear and if you’re looking for a smaller pad coverage especially in hot weather these are perfect 

Material and Construction

By far the most important material in these is the VPD compound that does the impact protection. the VPD compound is amazingly flexible and lightweight and almost doesn’t feel like there’s even impact material in there. It’s flexible and moves right with you.

The VPD compound sits on top of a neoprene sleeve that breeze well through the back of them. There’s even a crash retention strap which will allow you to tighten the cuff at one side to ensure they stay in place. The neoprene is anti-slip and with the Crash Retention Strap (CRS) they stay in place like you’d expect.

So far the material seems pretty durable and with the reputation of POC I expect they will last a long time.

POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads Rear View

The rear view of the POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads showcases the Crash Retention Strap (CRS) for a non-slip fit.

Comfort and Fit

Comfort is always an important factor for elbow pads since you’ll be wearing them for hours and in hot weather it can get itchy with some of the sweat and such. 

These MTB elbow pads are extremely lightweight and cover a minimal amount of the arm so that it truly protects your elbow and a little bit of your forearm only. The material of the sleeve is comfortable and it’s quite easy to forget that you’re even wearing them after a few minutes of riding.

For all of my riding, they stayed in place and I didn’t have to readjust them at all. I only snugged the crash retention strap but if need be I could have tightened it more, which shows how well the neoprene anti-slip sleeve works.

Protection Level

Like the other pads I give a thumbs up to, the POC Joint VPD Air elbow pads meet the CE EN 1621-1 safety certification level. Frankly, any pad that doesn’t meet this you should avoid entirely.

It passes easily due to the advanced VPD compound that is a non-Newtonian compound that is very flexible until a sudden impact or hit makes it harden instantly. It’s very cool stuff and extremely effective.

These pads cover less of the arm, but they do it very well and are more than suitable for trail, enduro, etc.

Price and Value

These POC elbow pads strike a good balance of price to value. You get the very advanced impact material that is far lighter for your normal riding. They are also smaller if you prefer a more minimal elbow pad.

Now, if you have a tight budget, these cost a little less than the Fox Enduro pads and about the same as the 7iDP. The TLD speed sleeves have the same advanced impact material (D30) but cost far less than the POC pads. However, the sleeve covers far more in those. So you’d have to decide if having smaller pads is worth the cost.

These still rank easily in my top 6 or 7 for price to value since these have high quality and they are smaller for when you don’t want bulky elbow pads out on the trails.

Comparison Of POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads With Other Brands

POC made a winner with the Joint VPD Air elbow pads, but how do they compare to other well-known brands? Let’s put them up against the Fox Enduro D30 sleeve and the G-Form Pro X3 as they are both well-known in the industry.

All 3 of these have advanced non-Newtonian impact compounds, so I would put that about on equal ground. Fox uses D30 and G-Form uses SmartFlex.

The Fox Enduro goes for a more minimal elbow pad. G-Form is normal length. So when you look at these, the G-Form covers the most of the arm, with the Fox Enduro not too far behind. Finally, POC truly has a minimalist elbow pad with these.

Now, if you’re out on trails with stickers, thorns, etc, sticking out, you’d probably want the G-Form in that case since it protects the other parts of your arm more. However, for this comparison I’m going to consider being more minimal a win which puts POC ahead.

In hot weather, the smaller POC allows far more air to reach your arms than you could ever get through the sleeve on either competitor.

Price-wise, Fox is the most expensive, followed by POC in the middle, with G-Form being the cheapest. You’re only talking about a $20 difference between the most and least expensive, but budget may be a factor for a lot of folks who would rather put that extra money in other gear like a helmet or a set of gloves.

Weight-wise, G-Form Pro X3 is very clearly the lightest elbow pad of the three. POC is still considered lightweight and lighter than the average elbow pad.

So looking at the 3 of these, Fox has the strongest reputation, but really it comes down to budget and coverage. For that the POC were designed for, they clearly take the win.

If you really need to tighten the budget on these, there are many other mtb elbow pads such as the Pearl Izumi Elevate elbow guard, which is a bit cheaper than all 3 of those I mentioned above.

Comparison of MTB Elbow Pads: POC Joint VPD Air vs Fox Enduro Sleeve vs G-Form Pro X3
Feature POC Joint VPD Air Fox Enduro D30 Sleeve G-Form Pro X3
Material VPD (Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough), neoprene fabric Spandex, Polyester, Polyurethane, D30 SmartFlex™ pads – flexible and hardens on impact
Closure Slip-on with elastic strap Slip-on with silicone gripper Slip-on with silicone gripper
Protection Area Elbow joint Elbow joint Elbow joint
Certifications EN 1621-1 Level 1 certified EN 1621-1 Level 1 certified EN 1621-1 Level 1 certified
Manufacturer Warranty 1 year 1 year 1 year
Weight 7.1 oz 8.6 oz 5.28 oz
Available Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL XS, S, M, L, XL
Color Options Uranium Black, Moonstone Grey Black Multiple color options
Price Around $65 Around $80 Around $50
Additional Features Lightweight and shock absorbing, stays in place due to the elastic strap High-stretch rear panel, maximum breathability Moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ fabric, ventilated pads

User Reviews and Feedback

Looking at the reputation of these around the community, forums, reviews, and more, these are well-liked by its users. Many riders say that you forget you’re even wearing these which is about as  good of a compliment as you can get for elbow pads.

On the other side, there are some riders that wish for more sizing options so they can fit better.

Nothing really surprising and these are some of the more popular elbow pad which really says something.

Is POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads Right for You?

The POC Joint VPD Air is a great elbow pad to use for mountain biking on trails, enduro, cross-country, BMX, and much more. They are so minimal they are good for pretty anything where you want to protect your elbow.

They are about middle of the road for pricing for elbow pads with the more advanced impact compounds and a little higher than elbow pads with the more traditional impact foam.

If you are looking for more minimal mtb elbow pads, then these are perfect for you. If you are looking for longer arm coverage or for a pad more suitable for extreme mountain biking, then you may want to check my list of the top MTB elbow pads on the market to help you find the ones for you.

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