Your knees – that marvel of human evolution that’s allowed us to be the only species to walk on two legs. They’re valuable assets that are worth protecting, especially during a fall.
Whether you want to upgrade your current inserts or buy some slip-on protection here’s our guide to help you look after that most valuable body part.
Best Motorcycle Knee Pad Reviews
Knox Flex Lite Knee Guards
Armour specialists Knox advertise these slip-on knee protectors as discrete and comfortable enough to wear all day. It’s unclear what material the stitched in armour is made from, but it has a CE approval rating.
The knee guards are contained within a stretchy, breathable polyester mesh that’s washable and has two Velcro straps to secure the pads in place. There is a further nice addition with a silicon gripper strip at the top of the sleeve to prevent slippage.
Feedback from some users suggests that they’re comfortable and light, and the Velcro straps adequately hold the armour in place. However, some report that they can become uncomfortable over time, especially if the straps are too tight.
All things considered these popular CE approved knee guards are well priced, versatile and easy to wear.
Comfortable, flexible and light
Double strap options ensure armour is held in position
Can become uncomfortable if too tight
May be tight under snug trousers
Held Quattrotempi Knee Protectors
The held inserts come in at a great price. This is surprising given that they are made from high quality SAS-TEC armour with full level 2 certification.
The armour is lightweight and flexible and can be “persuaded” into most garments.
They also work as shoulder or elbow protectors for added flexibility.
Light and comfortable
Great upgrade option
None, simple and effective
Spada Knee Armour
Another set of slip on units, from Spada, again with an unspecified material. These simple kneed protectors are the cheapest slip-on items in our review.
They’re machine washable and the armour can be removed, to save you fishing pieces of armour out of your partners underwear.
Users feedback suggests they do slip down, with no anti-slip banding on the upper part of the sock.
Velcro retention strap
Edges can irritate after prolonged use
Can slide down the leg
Resurgence D3O Knee Armour
These inserts are crafted from D3O, so they are supple and mould well around the area of protection. They’re CE level 1 approved and also come with additional hip inserts.
The knee inserts have a ‘hook and loop’ system which allows for further Velcro securing in compatible trousers. Although many users have suggested that they fit in a myriad of other jeans and trousers. The D3O material is easy to trim to adjust to smaller pockets making them very compatible with differing brands.
With their CE level 1 rating, velcro retention system and hip armour, these offer decent protection at a reasonable price.
Comes with additional hip inserts
Hook and Loop retention system
Compatibility, can be trimmed
Higher end price
Not great value if you only want knee inserts
Dainese Kit Pro-Shape Protection
Finally, the most expensive item in our review list is a set of CE level 1 inserts that are described as elbow or knee protectors (obvs not at the same time).
Claimed to be designed for Dainese jackets and trousers, only a small minority of users have indicated successful use in other manufacturer garments so it would be wise to check compatibility.
Made from vulcanised rubber, the material has a perforated structure making it lightweight and flexible.
CE Level 1 certified
Soft and comfortable
Uncertainty over compatibility with non Dainese products
Expensive for what is effectively a piece of perforated rubber
So how do you know if your armour is going to do it’s job? It can be a mind numbing area when you get into the detail, but there are essentially two main certification standards that manufacturers can apply to their products:
CE Level 1: The armour has been tested to provide reasonable protection for general use.
CE Level 2: Offers almost double the protection of CE1 and with recent advances in materials technology can remain light and flexible. Always go for level 2 if you can afford it.
Read more about armour standards.
Inserts or strap-on?
As with all armour, knee protection is available in insert of strap-on options. With the latter being available as a sock style pull-over or a motocross/track style strap on guard.
These are best to upgrade existing armour, however, they are not always compatible with every type of trouser/jeans. Softer materials such as D3O and SAS-TEC can be trimmed.
Strap-on and pull-over armour
It’s less convenient but better at holding armour closer to the area it’s protecting. Mostly in a pull over sock type form.
There is also a further enhanced range of protection available, consisting of knee guards and sliders for more specialised track/adventure/MotoCross riders.
Your height and ride type will also affect your options.
Knee armour in jeans/trousers is set in a static position. This can create misaligned armour for the vertically challenged or sportbike riders in a very folded position. This is where Pull-over armour offers an effective solution.
When you fall, you are going to have momentum, and in turn your knees are an extremely vulnerable body part that demands protection.
Pull-Over armour is certainly a better option for holding armour in place, but is a bit more of a ‘faff’. Ultimately It will all come down to personal choice, but whatever you go for, make sure you back it all up with a decent pair of abrasion resistant strides.
All images via SportsbikeShop