6 Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads: The Ultimate Guide

In the world of mountain biking, few things can be as commonplace or as painful as skidding on your knees when you fall off

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In the world of mountain biking, few things can be as commonplace or as painful as skidding on your knees when you fall off your bike. In a worst-case scenario, slamming your knee into a jutting rock or fallen tree. To that end, knee pads are an invaluable source of protection that will keep you mobile after the unexpected happens. So, what are the best kinds?

The best knee pads are ones that will last you a long time. We have found six knee pads that will work best for you in any situation:


  • Fox Racing Launch D3O Mountain Bike Knee Guard
  • Leatt Knee Guard AirFlex Pro
  • EVS Sports TP199 Lite Knee Pad
  • 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Knee Pads
  • Sweet Protection Knee Guards


Keeping your knees safe requires reviewing a few checks and balances before shopping for your next pair of pads. You should consider overall mobility, how the pads fit and feel on longer rides, how expensive they are, and how well they stand up to the test of time (or how tough you are on your equipment). In that case, we encourage you to continue reading for more information. 


What Are the Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads?


Finding the best knee pads depends on your budget, the durability of your knee pads, and your comfort on longer and more arduous trails. To that end, here are the six best knee pads you can get your hands on without breaking the bank.

knee pads

1. Fox Racing Launch D3O Mountain Bike Knee Guard


The Fox Racing launch combines everything you need while on the trail into one tight, neat, and well-designed package. It’s slim enough not to impede your peddling abilities but strong enough to take the strongest scrapes, slides, and slams that you can expose yourself. 

The guard itself comes in three sizes to choose from and is guaranteed to be non-slip with the adjustable hook and will keep you dry and cool even when you are peddling your hardest.

knee pads

2. Leatt Knee Guard AirFlex Pro


Leatt takes things into a slightly more defensive position with its innately curved design that will help fit better and provide extra protection utilizing its silicone cupped knee support. 

The interior of the knee pad itself is fitted with both MoistureCool and AirMesh technology, meaning you won’t be suffering from that gross behind-the-knee soup build-up that most knee pads will generate, and they provide optimal protection from both the side and upper knee as well, giving you protection where you need it most.

knee pads



Fox Racing has been in the business of protecting people’s bodies for quite some time. It only makes sense that you’ll see them enter the list several times. The Launch Pro D30 is no exception to this rule. 

Once again, it features three unique sizes to choose from and an even more advanced layer of protection for your knee with a removable hard cap to prevent rocks and tree limbs from penetrating your knee upon impact.

The PRO D30 is also built for comfort as it features the same moisture-fighting ability that you’ve come to know and love with their products, but it’s also breathable, so you won’t have to worry about things getting too slimy on the interior of your knee pad.

knee pads

4. EVS Sports TP199 Lite Knee Pad


EVS takes things to a slightly different level with their knee pads, forgoing the typical hard cap instead of a molded bio-foam for something that doesn’t generate nearly as much impact on your knee when you do need to use it, and distributes that energy with more finesse, making the entire event less damaging on you overall.

It also has a custom-made strip that prohibits the pad from sliding around too much while on the trail. Best of all, this knee pad covers more than just your knee cap and is suitable for motocross or anyone who constantly takes some pretty intense falls.

knee pads

5. 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Knee Pads


Assuming you are a little more careful on your journeys and less prone to spills, the Sam Hill Lite Knee Pads may be just what you are looking for. These pads feature a very sleek, slim-fitting design that is geared at keeping you as mobile as possible while also giving you optimal protection in the off-hand chance you do take a spill.

What the Sam Hill lacks in general protection, it makes up for in its moisture-wicking capabilities and overall abrasion-stopping performance. This knee pad will cover from your upper thigh to just beneath your calf on most people, meaning the protection from scrapes and cuts is more distributed. The lightweight materials will make you almost forget you are wearing them.

knee pads

6. Sweet Protection Knee Guards


Sweet Protection comes last on this list, but not because it is the worst, but more so because it comes with a very minimalistic, no-nonsense design. The padding itself is very slim fitting and cut resistant, with a smaller hardened pad located directly on the knee-cap, it comes in five different sizes and will fit comfortably on just about anyone, if you are looking for something that is going to get the job done, but not snag or hug you too closely, this is one of your best options.


Should You Wear Knee Pads Mountain Biking?


Truthfully, this shouldn’t even be a question, even if you are a genuinely experienced mountain biking veteran riding a course you’ve been on literally hundreds of times. You should always wear knee pads, as without them, should something happen, you can suffer anything from deep cuts and scrapes to entire lacerations, penetration by tree limbs, or even broken bones. For these reasons and more, you should always wear a knee pad when you are out and about on your mountain bike.


Are Foam or Gel Knee Pads Better?


Technically speaking, foam pads are better because they provide very similar impact resistance. The difference is that gel knee pads are prone to ripping after significant impact or hitting temperature thresholds that may cause them to become less protective than normal or, again, ripping entirely.


How Do I Choose Knee Pads for My Mountain Bike?


Consider many things before purchasing knee pads for your mountain biking experience. For example, if you need to take a break and sit somewhere momentarily, you must find knee pads that allow you to move fluently. Some knee pads do not offer this, so it is essential to look for that. However, other things must be remembered, like comfortability, affordability, and protection. 


1. Comfortability


You won’t want to wear your knee pads constantly if you don’t feel comfortable using them. To that end, you want to shop for a pair of knee pads that fit you comfortably and prevent you from getting so drenched in sweat that they slide off or hinder your peddling ability. We’ll dive more into that in the mobility section.


2. Protection


The entire point of wearing knee pads is the valuable protection they provide. As such, you don’t want to cut corners just to be able to peddle better. While you can technically call a T-shirt-sized layer of padding on your knee a knee pad, if you slam onto a rock, it won’t make too much of a difference, as opposed to if you’d been wearing something with a little more cushion for the pushing, so to speak.


3. Materials


Double-checking the materials your knee pads are made of will allow you to gauge what kind of protection they offer and how much they can endure before being rendered useless. Another aspect to be wary of is how well the knee pads you are considering distribute heat and whether or not they will slide off you when you start getting sweaty.


4. Value


Everything you spend money on should hold some value, and knee pads are no exception. The longevity your pads have in them, as opposed to how much you paid, should be an essential factor. While you can spend $20 on some knee pads once a month, a nice $70 pair that lasts you for a minimum of a year would be a much better investment, and odds are, will provide you with more protection and comfort for the price, which leans into two of the core things we’ve already gone over.


5. Mobility


Retaining mobility with your new knee pads will allow you to maximize your ride. While you don’t need to be covered in pillows from the waist down, you also don’t want to go for something paper-thin. To that end, get a pair of knee pads that won’t innately inhibit your ability to peddle or navigate, and double-check to ensure they don’t snag on your bike itself, depending on its design and attachments, of course (think water bottle storage and other add-ons).


6. Ventilation & Breathability


As you may have noted, we touched on this topic several times throughout the article, but having the ability to get proper airflow in your knee guards is imperative to them not falling off of you when you need them most or building up a pool of sweat making them feel grimy and slimy while you are in the middle of the trail, to that end you’ll want to check the material your knee-pads are made of, and gauge what kind of preventative measures the manufacturer has in place to combat these annoyances.




At the end of the day if you plan on doing any mountain biking, you are going to need knee pads, it isn’t a question of if, but more so a when, and whether or not your knees are going to be protected optimally, or if you may need to go to the hospital or not, be careful, and make a purchase that is right for you, or your loved ones.


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