Choosing the perfect pair of knee pads

Choosing the perfect pair of knee pads

With an overwhelming amount of new gear and equipment available, it may seem difficult to find the right product for your own riding style. In this blog post, we'll help you identify and decide what knee guards are right for your trails and how to factor in your own personal preferences.

This topic was brought to us by a customer asking which knee pads were right for the type of riding they do. For this post, we'll compare and contrast two amazing, but substantially different pads so you can get an idea as to how each performs and what to look for when you're looking at different models. We'll look at the TLD Speed knee (left image) and the burlier TLD Raid (right image). The same comparison can be made between the Fox Enduro Knee Sleeve Pads and Launch Pro knee pads.


When you look at new pads, there are three big things that you should consider:

  • Protection
  • Range of movement
  • Breathability

As much as we would love there to be a set of pads that offer the best in each category, that simply does not exist. This is where you need to prioritise and choose which part is more important for you. DH riders - the burlier Raid (or other heavier pads) is the correct choice for you. Protection is more important than breathability when you're charging DH runs. XC and light trail riders - the speed knee is the better choice. As you can see in the photos, the Speed looks much more breathable and offers a better range of movement, something that is extremely important when you need to pedal!


If you're in between, how do you decide? Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

Are you going to leave your pads on the entire ride?

It's not uncommon for riders to throw their pads in their packs on long climbs. If the trails you ride just have one big climb to the top, carrying your pads in a pack will be comfortable and you can use more protective pads on the descents. If you do plan on wearing your pads throughout the course of your ride, bulkier pads such as the Raid will eventually feel hot may become uncomfortable further into the ride. The Raid, for example, is an extremely comfortable pad for DH and Enduro, however, after a while, you'll know you're wearing DH pads!


How much protection do need?

You'll have to decide what's the appropriate amount of protection for your own riding style and the trails you choose. You can assume that more technical terrain and higher speeds should require more protective knee pads.


Will bulky pads bother me?

Bulky pads can definitely be annoying when you're trying to pedal up a big hill, in 40° weather, with a heavy pack, 4 hours into your ride. Again, you'll have to be the judge. For the same reasons that you likely won't wear a full face while on a trail ride, you'll probably want to avoid the bulky protective DH pads if you need to pedal a fair amount.


What's the temperature like?

Knee pads are warm, some more than others. Pads that offer more protection are generally going to be hotter than lightweight trail pads. If you live in cooler areas (those of you in Tassie) or winter is approaching, heavier pads can also double as knee warmers! If bulkier pads don't bother you, you can double up on protection and warmth!


Hopefully, this post will help you identify pads that are suitable for your trails and your own personal preferences. Using the photos above you can see a clear difference in the intended use of both pads and that will help you pick out your next set. As always, if you ever have further questions, we are always here to help!


To view the rest of our knee pad inventory, Click here.


Until next time,


Andrew Schneider

Back to blog