The Best MTB Knee Pads For Mountain Biking

knee pads

MTB knees pads are a must-have gear when biking in rough terrain or rough terrains. Some riders might say that they are not necessary, but they provide a lot of benefits. They help protect the rider’s knees and spread out the impact across a larger surface area, which prevents injuries and damage to the joints.

It is essential to have knee pads while mountain biking to protect yourself from injury. Even if you have never had an accident on your bike, it is a smart idea to invest in some knee protection because accidents can happen at any time.

Knee pads are not just for protection and safety, but they can also provide comfort when you are biking for long periods of time.

There are many features to look for in the best mtb knee pads, and that is quality of the materials, how well they fit, how well they hold up, and of course ultimately how well they protect your knees and shins.

So if you’ve come here looking for the best mtb knee pads, you’re in the right place! Get comfortable and read on to find the best and why they are the best knee pads you can get.

The best mtb knee pads are the Fox Launch D30 Knee Guard and the G-Form Pro X2. Both are the very best you can buy and are the top choices.

Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads

fox knee pads

Fox Launch D30 Knee Guard

Professional Grade Knee Protection

Fox Racing is well-known for making some of the best safety requipment, and the D30 knee guard is a prime example. These have passed the industry tests with flying colors.

$70.85

Pros

  • Stays Dry and Cool with wicking design
  • Comfortable to wear for hours
  • D30 insert
  • CE certified
  • Elastic straps make for a snug fit

Cons

  • Stitching could be better

Fox’s Launch D30 Knee Guards is a knee insert that gives industry-leading impact performance at a very reasonable value. These inserts are CE certified so it has proven protection. When you hit your knee or shin on rocks, you’ll be really glad you’re wearing these things.

These are pull-on sleeves so you pull them on, and then you use the hook-and-loop straps to tighten them up.  Sometimes velcro can bother the skin, but these are still the best straps to get the proper fit on safety gear.

These are also mesh so they naturally wick well and stay dry.  Very handy in watery riding and such to stay the least.

G-Form X2 Knee Pad

G-Form Pro X2

Weird Looking But Excellent Performer

These knee pads look very high tech and futuristic, but they are exceptional at protecting you from scrapes and bumps.

$49.33

 

Pros

  • SmartFlex – Flexible but hardens on impact
  • High level of impact protection
  • Well ventilated
  • Compression-fit
  • Moisture wicking

Cons

  • While compression fits without chaffing, straps would have better adjustment

The G-Form knee pads have a multi-level foam pad system that is flexible and moves easily when you are riding around, but on impact the pads stiffen and distribute the force to protect your knees and shins.  It really is an amazing system that keeps the guards lightweight and comfortable yet with maximum protection.  You really can ride around and barely notice you have these on.

As uncomfortable as they are, I do prefer velcro straps on knee guards instead of the compression sleeve these come with.  These do have silicone on the inside so they don’t slide as easy which is a plus.  It’s just that they’re always a little too loose or a little too tight without the velcro to get it just right.

POC Knee Pads

POC Knee Pads

Simple and Effective

These POC knee pads are lightweight and low profile. They are minimal for those who don’t like wearing pads.

$79.95

 

Pros

  • Special lightweight VPD compound
  • Stretch fabric with an adjustment strap
  • Low profile under clothing

Cons

  • A little more on the expensive side

These POC knee pads are a unique combination of pieces that I really like.  The first is they have the VPD Air layers they call them, which is material a little like what is in the G-Form in that it stays flexible and cool and becomes rigid during a crash.  For anyone that doesn’t like wearing knee pads and getting all sweaty and uncomfortable, these solve that issue.

The second thing I like is that they are low profile under other clothing and I really prefer padding that isn’t bulky.  For one, it means you can move much easier.  That the whole goal actually, to wear the pads but not feel like you are wearing them.  That and they look cooler under other clothes or even blend in well when over them.

The third thing I like is that it uses stretch fabric like many have done, but in this case there is the additional adjustable strap (or Crash Retention Strap they call it).

Overall these are a really solid pair of knee pads that are highly effective. They are just a little on the expensive side and are directly competing with Fox wear that has a long history.

JBM Knee Pads

JBM BMX Knee Pads

Budget Knee and Elbow Pads Package

High-quality set of biking knee and elbow pads in some convenient package at a low price.

$28.98

 

Pros

  • Both knee and elbow pads
  • Comes with wrist guards too
  • Budget priced

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as more expensive pads
  • One size fits all – may not fit as well as more expensive models

If you’re on a tight budget, these JDM knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards make for a very economical package.  They are made very durable and for most people are plenty of protection.  Certainly plenty if you’re just riding normal trails.

These don’t have the wicking qualities or the perfect fit of the more expensive models, but you’re also talking less than $30 for a full set of guards that in itself there is enough in this package to cover all of the bases.

Demon Enduro Knee Pads

Demon Enduro MTB Knee Pads

Ultralight pads at a Reasonable Price

These pads are designed to fit under pants and have kevlar reinforced knee cap covers.

$37.99

 

Pros

  • Fit under any pants if desired
  • Breathable
  • Kevlar-reinforced knee cap covers
  • Ultralight

Cons

  • No velcro adjustment straps
  • Only fit under pants by design

These knee pads caught my eye while I was putting together this list.  While I haven’t tried this set on, they are very reasonably priced with hundreds of happy review.  I found the kevlar reinforcement for the knees the most interesting as they’ll withstand a really hard hit right on the knees, so if you are downhill biking these might be a really great choice.

They do run small, so order a size up when you order them. While they are a slide-on sleeve with silicone bands at the top and bottom to keep them in place there are no velcro adjustment straps so make sure to check the measurements before ordering.

These pads have a neoprene base so they’ll allow airflow which should keep them very breathable under pants.

Bodyprox Knee Pads

Bodyprox Knee Pads

Amazing Protection on a Slim Budget

These knee pads have tens of thousands of positive reviews and cost under $15. What a combination!

$14.99

 

Pros

  • Under $15
  • More than 25,000 positive reviews
  • Flexible high-density foam
  • Lightweight and doesn’t restrict movement

Cons

  • No velcro adjustment straps
  • Good for normal biking but may be too light for extreme downhill and such

If you’re doing normal cross-country biking trails and such, then these Bodyprox are some of the best bike pads. They are lightweight and cheap at under $15. They are high-density foam and are very simple but effective knee pads.

These pads are not only good for biking, but due to their nature are good for other sports like skiing, snowboarding skateboarding, and more. Since they are a compression sleeve, they actually make good knee braces in addition to knee protection so there are so many possible uses that for the price you really can’t go wrong with these.

Mongoose Youth Knee Pads

Mongoose Youth Knee Pads

Youth Knee and Elbow Pad Set

Mongoose has been in biking for nearly 50 years, and they put their expertise into making these youth knee and elbow pad sets. Great for ages 8 to 14.

$16.13

 

Pros

  • Best youth pad set for ages 8-14
  • Designed by Mongoose
  • Superior protect for kids
  • Adjustable straps for the perfect fit

Cons

  • None, these are the ideal knee and elbow pads for kids

No review of mtb knee pads would be complete without a recommendation for kids.  Mongoose has been around for 50 years, and you know if it has the Mongoose name on it you are going to get quality.  They have hit a home run with these pads that are the very best kids can wear.

These knee pads are great for mountain biking, but they are also great for skating, ice skating, riding a scooter, or even a skateboard.  They are the real deal and extremely reasonable in price. They also have gel inserts for extra shock absorbing on top of the already ultimate protection.

They also look pretty cool so it’ll be easier talking kids into wearing them. Since it’s the whole set you are also covering all the bases all at once. With the adjustable straps you should be able to get a good 2-3 years of use out of these before needing to go up in size as well.

Kali BMX Knee Pads

Kali Knee Guards

Rugged Terrain Knee Pads

Kali put together a solidly built knee guard that is lightweight and breaths. The velcro straps are a real bonus.

$84.97

 

Pros

  • Mess sides and mesh back allow it to breathe
  • Hook and loop straps
  • Strong knee cap protection

Cons

  • Only one velcro strap, ideally I prefer two.

Kali put together a pretty decent set of knee and shin guards.  These have Xelion to take a brute force hit to the knee caps, and what I really like is that the sides and back are mesh.  Most of the pull-on sleeves are fairly solid, but this one has some breathable mesh to it so the back of your knees doesn’t get so sweaty.  That was unique enough I had to include it in the list.

I did mention in the Cons section above that it only has one strap and I still say I prefer two straps. However, it does have silicone grips built in to the top and bottom so it won’t slide as easy. It’s enough that I look at the rest of the features to compare it to the competition. While it’s not my top choice, it’s still a mtb knee pad I will gladly wear and that’s why it makes the list.

What You Need to Know To Get The Best Knee Pads

What Makes MTB Knee Pads the best?

There are many subjective things such as do you like the look of mtb knee pads, but these are what makes a set of mtb knee pads the best:

  • They protect your knees (naturally)
  • They fit well
  • They are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time
  • They hold up well to being used

To protect your knees, mtb knee pads need to protect your knees against both direct hits and scrapes.  All of the ones I suggest above work well for this, but not all pads are created equal. However, many of knee pads protect pretty well.

To fit well, there are lots of ways it can be done.  Most knee pads go on by sliding a sleeves up your leg over your knees and shins. Some of these have silicone bands inside to keep them from sliding around.  Some have straps.  I prefer if possible to have at least the velcro adjustment straps that are wide enough to hold them in place but without specific pressure points.

For mtb knee pads to be comfortable to wear for hours, they’ll need to have some way for ventilation so that your legs don’t get all sweaty which can leave to skin irritation.  The best knee pads have a mesh back and ideally mesh sides for ventillation.

Durability is the one thing that is tough to gauge.  It truly depends on usage and how they are treated.  Washing them more often causes more wear of course.  The knee pads above are all made well and have a reputation for lasting much longer than the competition.

So there are many things that go into making the best mtb knee pads and you can see what I judge them on for my recommendations to you.

Should I Wear MTB Knee Pads?

If you are new to mountain biking, then it is important to know what kind of gear to wear when riding. It is also important to have safety equipment that will keep you safe and comfortable for the whole ride.

Whether you are new to mountain biking or an experienced rider, wearing the right gear can make all the difference between a safe and enjoyable ride. When it comes to mountain biking, there are a lot of risks. You should wear knee pads to protect yourself and enjoy the sport.

You should wear mtb knee pads to save yourself from injury. If you’re riding your bike on a rugged trail, you might fall and hit the ground. The impact of this can cause serious damage to your knees and other body parts. You’ll want to protect yourself with knee pads that are designed for mountain biking so that you won’t get hurt.

Do You Wear MTB Knee Pads Over or Under Pants?

The issue of MTB knee pads and pants is a controversial topic with many MTBers debating whether or not to wear knee pads over their pants or under them. I decided to test out these two styles by going on the trail without the pads and without the pants. I found it to be much more comfortable to wear them over my pants as opposed to under.

There really are arguments for both ways.

For wearing MTB knee pads over your pants:

  • You get a better range of motion
  • An extra layer of protection for your knees
  • It helps prevent chafing from the knee pads since your legs only touch jeans

For wearing MTB knee pads under your pants:

  • They don’t stand out as much, many are low profile knee pads
  • Since your jeans get dirty, you don’t have to wash your knee pads as often
  • Easier to slide over your legs than over jeans that bunch up.

Realistically wearing them over your jeans gives you more freedom of movement which is the only thing you’ll really notice out on the trails. If you want knee pads that fit under your pants, you may want to check out my page on knee pads for xc riding that generally has plenty of flexibility but less maximum protection.

How Do You Fit Mountain Bike Knee Pads?

Mountain bike knee pads are an essential part of your mountain bike riding gear. They are designed in such a way that it provides protection against rocks, dirt, and other environmental hazards. They also provide protection against sprains and injuries when you fall down.

There are many different types of knee pads you can use depending on the type of terrain you ride on. There are some that have a hard plastic shell with soft padding on the inside, while others come with a hard shell but have foam padding to provide comfort and support.

Common mistakes when wearing these pads include not wearing them correctly or not using an anti-skid material on the bottom of it to avoid slipping on your knees

When choosing a pair of knee pads, it is important to consider the material used in the knee pad’s construction and how well it works with your biking style and riding position. It is also important to consider how breathable the material is so that it does not make your skin feel sweaty or hot when wearing the knee pad over long periods of time. There are three main types of materials used in the construction of knee pads: neoprene, mesh, and plastic (many brands use all three).

Make sure to measure around your knees and just above and below so you order the right size knee pads. Many have adjustable straps which make it easier to fine-tune to your own fit.  The key is that MTB knee pads should fit snug with but plenty of flexibility to move freely.

Why Do Mountain Bikers Wear Knee Pads But Not Elbow Pads?

There are a lot of reasons that people wear only knee pads when they mountain bike. These range from convenience, to style preference, and to the fact that it is more comfortable.

It is more convenient to wear knee pads than elbow pads because one can easily put them on without removing gloves or adjusting gloves.

Knee need more protection than elbows because there is a lot of pressure on the knees when riding. When riding downhill on a mountain bike, the knees hit the ground first and then it transfers to the elbows for greater impact.

If you are a mountain biker and want to be protected from injury, you should have both elbows and knees protected by knee pads and elbow pads respectively.

How Do I Maintain My MTB Knee Pads?

Most knee pads are very easy to clean. The easiest way is to put them in the washer in cold water on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Then just air dry them. If you don’t have a washer, they can be soaked in a tub or bucket with some mild soap and then air dried.

I have a full article here on the site with more about how to wash mtb knee pads if you’d like to know more.