Best 5 MTB Knee Pads for 2023: Our Top Picks Reviewed and Rated

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Mountain biking safety should be the topmost priority for every rider. If it's not, it's high time to make it one. A single fall can be catastrophic if the necessary safety measures are not taken. Therefore, it's essential to have the right protective gear in place before hitting the trails.

Arguably no bit of protection is more vital in mountain biking than a set of MTB knee pads to guard your knees. While it’s important to protect your elbows with pads, knees tend to take precedence over the arm joints because you don’t pedal with your arms.

What Are Knee Pads?

Let’s start with the obvious.

Knee pads are pieces of protective gear designed to protect your knees from serious injury in the event of a fall. While they won’t totally absolve you from feeling the impact of a tumble should your bike lock and hurtle you over the handlebars, they’re designed to lessen the blow.

They're also built to absorb as much of the strike to the knee as possible. This absorption property can go a long way in preventing serious injury or truncating recovery time if an injury does take place.

What are the best-rated mountain/MTB bike pads on the market?

Hold on! there are some important factors you should consider before rushing to your nearest sporting goods store or bike shop. Don't worry, we've got you covered. In the following recommendations, we'll provide you with all the necessary information you need to make an informed decision.

Top MTB knee and elbow pads - Tested and Reviewed 

editors pick
Fox Racing Launch Pro D30 Knee Guard

Fox Racing  LAUNCH PRO D30 KNEE GUARD 

Why is it better?

  • High-quality materials
  • Ergonomically design
  • Easy to wear

84/100
our score


researched sources

6

Researched sources

reviews considered

166

REviews considered

hours researched

7

hours researching

products compared

16

products compared

Last Updated: January 23, 2023

By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding knee and elbow  pads  available for those who are interested in their protection while riding bicycles.. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best knee and elbow pads currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

editors pick
Fox Racing Knee Guard

Fox Racing Launch Pro MTB Knee Guard

Why is it better?

  • High quality materials
  • Ergonomically design
  • Easy to wear

84/100
our score

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  
Fox Racing Knee Guard

FOX RACING LAUNCH PRO D3O KNEE GUARD

Rating: 84/100 View Latest Deal →
Best knee pads for biking

JBM BMX BIKE KNEE PADS AND ELBOW PADS

Rating: 83/100 View Latest Deal →
Mongoose Knee and Elbow Set

MONGOOSE BMX BIKE GEL KNEE AND ELBOW PAD SET

Rating: 82/100 View Latest Deal →
Alpine Knee Guard

ALPINESTARS PARAGON KNEE GUARD

Rating: 79/100 View Latest Deal →
Fox Shin And Knee Guard

FOX HEAD MENS LAUNCH D30 KNEE SHIN GUARD

 
Rating: 76/100 View Latest Deal →

Best MTB Knee and Elbow Pads in 2023

It’s not uncommon to see a set of bike knee pads being sold in tandem with elbow pads. This is a good thing. After all, elbow pads will give you the same level of protection for your main arm joints – You'll be glad you had an MTB knee and elbow pad if you take a hard tumble.

Here are our choices for the best knee and elbow pad combos on the market.

1. Mongoose BMX Bike Gel Knee and Elbow Pad Set

Mongoose Knee and Elbow Set

MONGOOSE BMX BIKE GEL KNEE AND ELBOW PAD SET

  • Superior padding provides durable multi-sport protection 
  • Extremely durable form-fitting pads are comfortable and protective
  • Gel inserts add comfort and extra shock absorption
  •  For children ages 8-14 
  • Adjustable straps for perfect custom fit

Designed for younger riders, this pair of MTB knee pads set is cost-effective. They represent a fantastic value, as the level of technology that goes into these pads makes them much more valuable than what their price tag may indicate.

First off, these pads are stylish. If you’re planning to get this set to your child, they won’t complain about how “lame” they look.

This set’s tough outer shell combines with soft internal gel padding to establish a solid protective barrier. The gel in the padding is designed to add additional shock absorption in case of a spill.

It also makes wearing the pads substantially more comfortable – another element that will encourage them to wear the gear. The outer shell also goes a long way in protecting your little rider from any minor scrapes and bruises should they take a tumble. 

If your child is a bit of a daredevil when it comes to riding around in the neighborhood, the high durability will help whenever they go for a ride on their own.

The bike pads are also easy to put on and take off, thanks to the pads’ Velcro straps. These straps are completely adjustable and so easy to use.

2. JBM BMX Knee Pads and Elbow Pads with Wrist Guards

Best knee pads for biking

JBM BMX BIKE KNEE PADS AND ELBOW PADS

  • IMPACT RESISTANT
  • ONE SIZE FITS ALL
  • Wrist guard, Knee pads and Elbow pads Included
  • DESIGNED For Adult
  • FASHION OUTLOOK

Perfect for kids and adults both, this adjustable knee and elbow bike pad combination costs between $25 and $35. The pricing is competitive even though they offer something other elbow pads don’t – wrist guards

These pads are specifically built for hardcore bike riders; one that doesn’t mind pushing the limits of their cycling through difficult trails and terrains. The wrist guards offer proof of this. Once strapped, they will offer your wrists an extra layer of protection in the event of a hard tumble.

These MTB bike pads are made of durable PE and PP materials to provide toughness. They also feature breathable polyester sleeves to allow an extra measure of comfort, even as it protects.

The bike pad's adjustable straps also offer plenty of room for flexibility. This is an important factor to consider depending on the type of ride you’re planning to enjoy. 

The adjustability also makes them a true "one size fits all" option. This is especially important if these are being bought for a teenage cyclist that hasn't stopped growing quite yet.

The bike pads’ neutral color scheme will also make it easy to match with any other gear you have. This includes helmets, jerseys, and padded bike shorts

What’s more, these pads are versatile in the sense that their effectiveness isn’t just limited to cycling. If you also enjoy rollerblading, skateboarding, or other “extreme” sports, these pads can easily be used for those pursuits, too.

3. Fox Racing LAUNCH PRO D3O KNEE GUARD

Fox Racing Launch Pro D30 Knee Guard

FOX RACING LAUNCH Pro D3O KNEE GUARD

  • LAUNCH PRO D30 KNEE GUARD
  • The D3O CE certified build allows the MTB knee guard to stay flexible
  • The Launch Pro D3O Knee Guards have a breathable, moisture wicking construction for all day comfort.
  • Features a perforated neoprene and stretch material. Provides optimal function for the best performance.

Fox has developed a loyal following for its equipment over the years with high-quality pair of knee pads.

The MTB knee and elbow pad’s perforated Hypoallergenic Ariaprene Neoprene chassis provides comfortable, durable knee protection that can withstand all sorts of punishment – both from the rigors of cycling and the elements that you may encounter during a ride.

The pads are ergonomically CE certified and are designed with D30 insert to protect the knee during the full range of pedaling motion. More importantly, they are shaped to help keep your knee stabilized as you cycle, further protecting you from the scourge of injury.

The combination of elastic strapping on the top and bottom of the pad and the silicone gripper behind the knee keeps it firmly in place.

The MTB knee bike pads are built with a fabric that is moisture-wicking and keeps your legs cool and dry in every weather condition.

While these MTB knee pads don’t feature “one-size-fits-all” adjustability, they do make a set of knee pads for children. This is good news for families that enjoy the occasional outing down mountain trails.

4. Fox Head Mens Launch D30 Knee Shin Guard 

Fox Head Mens Launch D30 Knee Guard

FOX RACING LAUNCH D3O KNEE GUARD

  • LAUNCH PRO D30 KNEE GUARD
  • The D3O CE-certified build allows the MTB knee pads to stay flexible
  • The Launch Pro D3O Knee Pads have a breathable, moisture-wicking construction for all-day comfort.
  • Features a perforated neoprene and stretch material. Provides optimal function for the best performance.

Sometimes, you want a little extra protection. If so, Fox is ready to help you scratch that itch. Like their MTB knee pad, this knee/shin guard is worth every penny.

The knee pad has a perforated neoprene design, giving you a level of breathability you may expect from a soft-shell pad.

Yet this is no cream puff – the sleeve’s Kevlar front knee panel covers a flexible plastic knee cup, offering you optimal protection even in the nastiest of falls.

The knee pad/shin guard hybrid is also ergonomically designed. This means that the guard will keep your entire lower leg stable, regardless of how rough the terrain of your road may be. Coupled with the material’s breathability, you won’t feel like your leg is engulfed in fabric.

The sleeve will remain locked in place with relative ease, as well. Elastic strapping at the sleeve’s top and bottom will keep the pad in place, as will the silicone gripper that’s located behind the knee.

Before you go out and buy a pair, you must familiarize yourself with Fox’s size chart. Some people have reported inconsistencies with the equipment’s size about their size. If you don’t get to know the size chart, you may run into similar problems.

5. Alpinestars Paragon Knee Guard

Alpine Knee Guard

Alpinestars Paragon Knee Guard

  • Material: stretch mesh
  • Closure: slip-on
  • Protection Area: knee
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 21 days
  • Certifications: CE

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the Alpinestars Paragon Knee Pad will fit your need rather well. 

First off, these knee pads are extremely lightweight, making them one of the best MTB bike pad options out there for the casual cyclist. This gear counts for its high durability.

The bike pad’s mix of polyester, polyurethane, and spandex combine with a breathable stretch mesh knee sock, collectively creating a fit that’s close, yet extremely comfortable.

It also features a pre-shaped ergonomic design that helps keep your knee stable regardless of the level of cycling you perform. This helps protect your knee from going a bit wonky should you hit a rough spot on the road.

The pad is built to slip on your knee, which makes putting the device on more efficient. At the same time, elasticated cuffs and silicone printing provide reinforced stabilization once the pad is set in place.

You won’t have to worry about this pad slipping off your knee at all. Some people have noted that the Alpinestars size guide is just a little bit off.

The consensus is if you find your knee to be in between two sizes, your best bet is to opt for the smaller size for a more agreeable fit.

Why Are Protective Knee Pads So Important?

To fully grasp why the importance of protective knee pads, it’s vital to consider what the knee pad is protecting. Essentially, the protected element is critical to our day-to-day lifestyle, on or off the bike.

The knee joint is the largest joint in your body. It’s also one of the most intricate, complex joints.

When you mountain bike, the demands you put on this system go beyond the realm of mere rigorousness.

Knees Cycling

If you ride your bike consistently, you're putting your knees' proficiency to extreme usage. For instance, if you go on a two-hour ride at an average of 80 rpm, your knee will bend roughly 10,000 times during the journey.

If your knee is even slightly hurt, biking could result in massive pain. While knee pads will obviously protect your knees from absorbing the brunt of a fall.

Knee injuries are huge disruptors, and not just because they threaten to keep you off the bike for weeks or months.  As such, it’s safe to say investing in the best MTB knee pads will help keep you moving.


Common FAQs

Do knee pads work?

Top-quality knee pads can help you to minimize the impact on your knees.    They also help you to avoid getting a patellar fracture.
A good knee pad will keep you safe from sharp objects like glass, nails, or stones. Many knee pads are also designed to absorb shocks of hard floors. Knee pads are vastly improved in all aspects, then be it safety, comfort, or durability. They are more breathable and are designed to look much better than before.

Are MTB knee pads worth it?

A broken knee cap can be very painful and takes a long time to recover. Good pair of knee caps while mountain riding is necessary and worth investing in.

What are the best MTB knee pads?

  • Fox Racing LAUNCH PRO D3O KNEE GUARD 
  • JBM BMX BIKE KNEE PADS AND ELBOW PADS
  • MONGOOSE BMX BIKE GEL KNEE AND ELBOW PAD SET
  • ALPINESTARS PARAGON KNEE GUARD
  • FOX HEAD MENS LAUNCH D30 KNEE SHIN GUARD
  • Why do mountain bikers wear knee pads?

    Mountain bikers wear knee pads due to 2 reasons, either the rider has experienced an injured knee, or they want to protect their knee from stones and rocks. Having a good pair of knee pads helps in increasing your confidence and keeps your knees warm enough and comfortable.

     

    Where do you wear knee pads?

    Make sure you do not place your knee pads on your knees directly. Place them on your upper shins. Also, make sure they are tight enough.

     

    Know the Different Types of Knee Pads

    When you get ready to buy knee pads, you’ll find a surprising array of options to choose from. These options could be a little overwhelming if you’re not expecting them. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you parse through all the choices.

    The first thing to take note of is the shell. There are two types of shells to consider:

    • Hard shell knee pads
      ard shell knee pads
    • Soft shell knee pads

    The two shell types have some shared features that work toward the same goal of protection. Both pads have some sort of soft, flexible sleeve and padding to protect the knee and the area surrounding the joint. These are where the similarities end.

    As the name suggests, a hard-shell mountain bike knee pad will be encased in a hard, plastic shell. The shell itself is either riveted or Velcro-ed on to the front of the knee. The shell provides a greater level of protection, and it particularly enhances protection from rocks, trees, and other such foreign objects.

    The soft-shell knee pad is small and lighter, making it more comfortable than your typical knee pad. While it doesn’t provide the level of protection that’s afforded by a hard-shell pad, it will have an abrasion-resistant panel for protective purposes.

    It should be noted that soft pads aren’t as durable as hard pads.There is a third option available to cyclists; one made from advanced protective materials like VPD or d30. 

    This advanced pad is a hybrid between the soft and hard pads. These materials start off as soft and pliable, yet instantly stiffen during an impact. While they’re hard to get now, this may not be the case in a few years.

    You also need to consider the type of closure offered by the knee pads. Again, you have two widespread options to consider:

    • Butterfly closure
      utterfly closure
    • Slip-on knee pads

    Butterfly closures wrap around the knee and are fastened behind the knee. This makes it possible to put them on or take them off without removing your shoes. You’ll typically see this design corresponding with hard shell pads.

    Slip-on pads do indeed slip on – they slide up the leg up to your knee. These are typically associated with soft shell knee pads. They tend to be more affordable mountain bike knee pads compared to their butterfly cousins, which may make them the best option for the budget-conscious.

    The design of a knee pad is perhaps the biggest factor to determine because its usage is somewhat predicated on the kind of cycling you plan to enjoy.

    The three types of design are:

    • Lightweight knee pads
      ightweight knee pads
    • Trail knee pads
      rail knee pads
    • Heavy duty knee pads
      eavy duty knee pads

    Lightweight pads are obviously light, but they also tend to be well-ventilated and comfortable. The weight of these pads is designed to allow cyclists to nearly forget their wearing protection. 

    While these provide the utmost in comfort, their downside is that they aren’t optimal when it comes to protection.

    Trail knee pads have come a long way in the last few years. While they aren’t anywhere near as svelte as a lightweight pad, they aren’t as big and bulky as they used to be. As such, these knee pads have become more popular with MTB trail riders of late. These pads provide solid protection against the hazards of mountain biking

    Hybrid Technology

    Heavy duty knee pads are big and bulky, so they’re not pretty to look at.

    But what they lack in aesthetics they more than make up for in protection. These are still used by racers and those that attack their mountain biking with great vigor. If you’re new to them, be forewarned: they take a while to get used to.

    Why Should You Choose Your Knee Pads Carefully?

    The main point of getting knee pads is to protect your knee from getting injured as best as possible. However, this does not mean you should solely use protection as your knee-pad buying metric.

    The big factor here is comfort.

    Your knees act like pistons on a bike, and they’re going to be in a heavy state of stress. Adding extra poundage to your knees may cause a measure of discomfort you may not want to deal with. In turn, this may make you a bit reluctant to hop on the bike and go.

    Once you know the size you’re targeting, you’ll next want to determine the material of the pad. There is an abundance of options at your disposal here, including:

    • Elastane
    • Cotton
    • Polyester
    • Neoprene
    • Rubber
    • Silicone
    • Polyurethane
    • Plastic

    Each material has their own benefits that should be considered before making a concrete judgment. For examples, neoprene's rubber-like qualities make them resistant to water and provide greater flexibility.

    Plastic, on the other hand, tends to possess better absorption properties during contact. Determining your purpose and style of cycling will go a long way in helping you to determine what material is better suited for you.

    As such, you should figure out the impetus of your cycling routine before you reach this step.

    Knee pads kneepads


    Conclusion

    Protecting your knees deserves to be a high priority. Failure to do so can cause significant pain, but it can also threaten to mess with your head.

    It should be noted that buying a set of knee pads does not guarantee that you won’t get hurt. Accidents do happen, and sometimes even the best equipment can only do so much.

    Still, investing in a high-quality knee pad will help mitigate the potential for catastrophe in a significant manner. This alone should be enough to inspire a purchase.

    1 thought on “Best 5 MTB Knee Pads for 2023: Our Top Picks Reviewed and Rated”

    1. Wraparound or dual-wrap braces work well for athletes experiencing mild to moderate knee pain, providing more support than sleeves. These braces are easy to put on and take off, and can be used while training — they don’t have the bulk and heaviness of hinged braces.

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