Greatest mountain bike knee pads reviewed and rated by consultants

Scott Mission Evo Knee pads

Scott Mission Evo

You’ll barely know you’re carrying them

Weight: 122g | Sizes: S-XL | Ranking: 9/10

Professionals: Superlight and tremendous secure

Cons: You might have considered trying extra safety for extra excessive terrain

The Scott Mission Evo knee pads are the lightest and most discrete design we’ve ever examined. So flighty you received’t even know you’re carrying them, they really cowl a good part of the knee, with prolonged padding excessive of the shin. Remarkably secure due to broad bands and dotty silicone dimples, the Mission Evos will not be finest suited to a scorpion right into a rock backyard, however they’re an important resolution for path rides the place you need safety and absolute freedom of motion.

Learn our full check evaluation of the Scott Mission Evo pads

Kali Mission 2.0 knee pad

Kali Mission 2.0 knee pad

Glorious light-weight knee pads from Kali

Weight: 252g | Sizes: S-XL | Ranking: 10/10

Professionals: Comfortable, comfy match. Light-weight. Lengthy sufficient to cover pasty pores and skin!

Cons: No lateral safety. Can expose pores and skin in a crash if worn with shorts.

The Mission 2.0 Knee Guard is a pull-on pad and consists of light-weight four-way stretch Spandex sock overlaid with a 3D-moulded pad and abrasion resistant pores and skin. There aren’t any straps or Velcro, it simply depends on the stretchiness of the fabric and silicone grippers on the hems to stick with it. The Mission 2.0 does glide on although, and suits amazingly snugly over the knee. It solely provides mid-level safety, nevertheless it’s a supremely comfy kneepad that matches so nicely I forgot I used to be carrying it. Which implies, for these of you which might be new to knee safety, or hate any feeling of restriction, that is the one to get.

Learn our full evaluation of the Kali Mission 2.0 knee pad

Knee pads are standard apparel these days

Knee pads are mild and versatile sufficient to imply there aren’t any causes to not put on them on a regular basis

How we examined the most effective mountain bike knee pads

Consolation is a key consideration when carrying a knee pad, and the one manner tp p[ut this to the test is to use alt he pads on all-day trail rides, involving extensive climbing and descending. During test rides we made a note of any chaffing or soreness, and whether the pad stayed in place. We also kept an eye on durability because pulling the pads on and off can put extra stress on the lightweight material, especially at the upper seam. All the sample pads are medium size and the weight listed in the specification is for a pair.

Fully crash tested by professionals (Cotic/Richard Baybutt)

What to look for in best mountain bike knee pads:

When buying your first set of pads you could go for a heavy duty nee/shin, which extends all the way from the knee to the ankle. This offers the most protection, but if you’re pedaling all day, this style of pad can get pretty hot and uncomfortable. For trail riding, we’d recommend a lighter-weight design. Most still have a reinforced pad to shrug gravel rash and small impacts, but they’re more comfortable and don’t get as clammy when you turn up the heat.


Silicone grippers help stop the knee pad sliding down the leg

What stops knee pads from slipping down?

To stop unwanted movement, knee pads use a silicone gripper or an elastic hem, like you’d find in a pair of Lycra shorts. Silicone tape can cause a bit of soreness so what feels comfy in the shop may not after a few hours riding.


Most of the best mountain bike kneepads are left and right specific

Are all knee pads leg-specific?

Knee pads are either left and right specific or can be worn on either leg. There’s often a label inside telling you want pad goes on what knee. If in doubt, go for the configuration that shows the brand logo on the outside of the legs, as that’s often the way they’ve been deliberately designed.


Ventilation is important

Will I get too hot in knee pads?

Cutaways at the back of the knee stop rubbing of the ligaments and also increase air flow. On some designs the kneecap is also left uncovered or has a honeycomb/perforated surface to channel air directly over the knee.


Smart materials, such as D30, help increase protection without impeding movement

What are smart materials and how do they help in a crash?

The protective cap used in most of the knee pads is often an impact-resistant foam, but some use hi-tech materials, such as D30 or Armourgel. These stiffen under impact and reduce the amount of force felt at the knee. Smart material are lighter but they are ore expensive.

What are the pads usually sewn on to?

To reduce weight, the base material for the majority of knee pads is either Lycra or a thin neoprene. A Kevlar cover is often placed over the knee area to increase scuff resistance.

Do I need to look for knee pads with Velcro straps?

To really batten down the hatches some knee pads have an additional Velcro strap, either at the top or bottom. Look for a long strip of of Velcro and a strap that doesn’t bunch up or narrow as you pull it tights, which can cause it to dig in. They’re not strictly necessary though, and some of our favourite and most stable pads don’t use them.

How much protection do I need?

It’s best to think about knee pads in three different categories: lightweight, trail and heavy duty. The lightest pads are designed to offer abrasion protection at best, they sacrifice extra protection for breathability, low weight and breathability. Trail knee pads are the go-to option for most of us, comfortable enough to ride all day in but tough enough to protect your patellas in a proper crash – at their best they’re lightweight and breathable and offers a good level of protection with malleable pads made from materials like D30 and Sas-Tec. Then there are enduro pads, better able to absorb impacts, they often have extended coverage down your shin, a plastic or TPU shell and offer maximum protection – the tradeoff is they’re often hotter to wear, stick out more and are less comfortable.

Know your riding

Get started by working out which is best for your kind of riding, there’s no point lugging around more material than you need to, pedaling in a pad that’s designed for downhill only. Mountain biking is fun, and we want to keep it that way. In the same vein, if you spend lots of time at the bike park it makes total sense to compromise on breathability and pedaling performance, so if you do hit the deck you’ll be able to bounce back up again without a trip to A&E.

How do I choose the right size knee pads?

The best mountain bike knee pads in the world are useless if they’re not comfortable and you end up leaving them in the car. Plenty of what makes wearing a kneepad a nice experience is the fit, get this right and it’ll stay squarely in place when riding (or crashing), and ideally will be so unobtrusive as to disappear when you’re wearing it. Most brands give you a detailed fit guide based on thigh and calf diameter. Knee pads are available in overlapping (small/medium, medium/large) or single sizes such as small, medium and large. Individual sizes offer a better fit but as always it makes sense to try beforehand because they do vary between manufacturers.

Sleeve or wrap-around design?

There are two types of fit, those that slip on via your foot like a sock, and those that fully open to strap around your knee. They both have advantages and disadvantages, slip on designs are generally lighter and less fussy but you do have to take you shoes off to don them. Fitted knee pads can be taken on and off when you need them on a ride, without having to take your shoes off. If your riding consists of one or two big ups lasting over an hour, fitted pads might suit you better, but if you’re constantly gradient hopping then something you fit and forget is the ideal.

Is it worth looking for integrated shin protection?

Kneepads vary in length from very short enough to just cover your knees, like the Sweet Protection, to long enough to slide under your chamois and still reach half way down your shin, like the 7idp Sam Hill Lite Knee. Why is this important? If you’re tall, longer pads are recommended, first to avoid the t@@t gap between your shorts and knee pads, and second so they actually fit your longer limbs.