The Fox Enduro D3O is one of the most popular mountain bike knee pads on the market at the moment and for good reason! This Fox Enduro D3O knee pad review will look into the pros and cons of the Fox Enduro D3O knee pads.
The Enduro D3O is aimed at trail riders, through to the less gnarly of the enduro riders. It is a bit of a step up from the Fox Enduro knee guards due to having D3O padding. This padding hardens on impact to allow for maximum comfort while pedalling, and provides impact protection when you need it.
What to Look for when Buying Knee Pads?
There are a few things to keep an eye out for when purchasing a mountain bike knee pad.
How much pedaling will you be wanting to do while wearing the knee pads? Often it is just a straight climb to the top, followed by one big descent. If this is what you ride, then you can get away with carrying the knee pads up (in a backpack etc) and having more protection on the way down.
However, if you are constantly needing the knee pads on (ie: undulating terrain) it is probably better to have pedal friendly pads. You want to look for thinner, lighter materials that don’t rub or pinch your skin.
Often it is a bit of a trade-off between having pedal friend pads and having protection. However, protection is getting better these days with the likes of D3O and similar materials which are flexible but harden on impact.
In addition to D3O materials, you will also want to keep an eye out for protection on the sides of the knee and down the shin. The more protection the better!
Construction and Durability
Another important aspect is how durable the materials are. A key area to look out for is beneath the upper strap. This can stretch out of place, or even tear as you try to put your knee pads on. Also, you want the knee pad to be comfortable. If it is not comfortable, you will be less likely to reach for the pads as you head out for a mountain bike ride. And a knee pad that doesn’t get used is worse than a less protective pad that does get used.
You want to look at how the pads stay up. I find that a velcro strap works the best, as you have a bigger range of fit. And if the knee pad doesn’t stay up while riding, it won’t do much good in a crash!
Fox Enduro Knee Pad Review
- Pedal Friendly
- D3O Protection
- Good value for money
- Limited Protection
- Not very durable
The Fox Enduro Knee sleeve, despite the name, is not really designed for enduro racers. There is minimal padding compared to something like the Fox Launch Pro, and is likely a better set of pads for trail riding.
The material that makes up the padding in the sleeve is the very popular D3O material. This material is soft and flexible while riding, but hardens on impact to protect your knee cap. It does this by dissipating the energy from the crash, and directing the force away from the knee cap.
While the padding does work wonders in a crash, it won’t stop direct and hard rock strikes. However, in my experience, the knee pad will stop the general bruising and scrapes that tend to happen in a slide. The shin is also protected a little, with the padding extending down from the knee to provide a bit of a shin guard.
There is minimal foam padding around the outside of the knee, which leaves your knee vulnerable to knocks on either side of the knee cap. The inside of the knee is vulnerable to knocks from the frame and having a little extra knee protection in this area would make a world of difference.
The Enduro D3O has been constructed of lightweight breathable materials. The back panel is made of moisture-wicking fabric to ensure you don’t get too sweaty while out mountain biking. The sleeve is an ideal length, spanning from just underneath your mountain bike shorts, down the shin.
One of my favorite aspects about the knee sleeve is that the inner pads are removable. This allows you to wash the sleeve without damaging the inner pads. A big advantage, especially for those of us who sweat a fair bit on rides!
The knee pads stay up on your leg with a bit of help from elastic bands that sit around your thigh and calf. These are assisted by silicon grippers which stop the pads from sliding around. This is crucial in a crash as you don’t want the pads sliding down away from your knees!
Sometimes I find that the elastic on the top of the pad can be a little restrictive while pedaling. All I can suggest is do a couple of dummy pedal strokes when you try the pads on to see if the elastic is restrictive as you contract and relax your muscles.
Unfortunately, the thin materials on the back panel of the sleeve are especially vulnerable to tearing. The back mesh panel has a tendency to tear if you aren’t super careful. The photo below shows my pads which had a brief encounter with the pedals.
The front of the pads are thankfully a bit more durable. One thing I always keep an eye out for is stretching and tearing between the elastic at the top and the top of the actual knee pad. However, in the past few years of riding in the Enduro D3O, there has been no wearing of this section.
The front of the actual pads is made of ‘Cordura’ fabric which is resistant to abrasion. The pads are also reinforced to prevent ripping in crashes, and so far it has worked well!
The main objective of the Fox Enduro D3O is that it is a comfortable pedal friendly knee pad that can be worn all year round. Fox has certainly excelled here. I could comfortably ride in the knee pads all day if it’s not too hot outside.
There are no pinch points or parts of the pads that rub anywhere. The fit is comfortable, and the materials don’t restrict pedal movement anywhere.
The thin and lightweight materials allow for great ventilation while you ride. These knee pads are easily one of the better sets of pads in terms of breathability, and will always be my go to on a warmer day.
Value and Comparison
The Fox Enduro Pro is relatively similar to the new Leatt Airflex Hybrid knee pads. The Fox Enduro Pro is a bit lighter and more breathable, but the Leatt Airflex Hybrid wins on the durability front.
The price of the two pads are generally pretty similar, so our recommendation would be to prioritise the aspect of the pads you think will have more of an impact on your riding. If you prefer a lighter, more breathable set of pads, go with the Fox Enduro Pro. Or for a set of pads that might last a little longer, go with the Leatt Airflex Hybrid and sacrifice a bit of breathability.
It is worth checking out our review on the Leatt Airflex Hybrid here if you want a more in depth comparison.
Fox has created an extremely comfortable, easy to pedal in, and very popular knee guard with the Fox Enduro D3O.
The bottom line is that the Fox Enduro D3O is not made for hard and fast downhill riding. It simply doesn’t have enough protection. However, there are A LOT of riders out there who don’t actually need the protection that a bulky downhill pad provides.
If you are a trail rider wanting a pedal friendly, very comfortable and breathable knee pad, the Fox Enduro D3Oare ideal. All day rides are no issue with the Enduro D3O, and I certainly recommend these to any rider not needing a particularly heavy-duty knee guard.
Just remember that anyone can come off- whether it’s an easy trail or not. Having protection on your knees when you do take a tumble can make difference of whether you ride out or walk out!
If you enjoyed this Fox Enduro D3O knee pad review, see here for more pedal friendly knee pads to consider (although the Fox Enduro D3O is hard to beat!).
Or, if you are looking for something a little bulkier, we’d recommend checking out the Fox Launch review here.