In this Leatt Airflex Pro knee pad review, we look at the Airflex Pro Knee Pads and whether they live up to expectations.
As you send it down mountain bike trails, over rocky features or hard fast dirt, your knees are exposed and can take a bit of a battering if you hit the ground.
Protecting your knees with a set of pads is essential to mitigate the risk of damaged kneecaps and scraped-up shins. With that in mind, you also don’t want your knees to overheat, cause rubs and chaffing, or make a dent in your wallet!
The Leatt Airflex Pro is a set of protective yet lightweight, slimmer-style mountain bike knee pads that are certainly worth considering as your next pair.
When holding the Leatt Airflex Pro, you may have some doubts over the protectiveness of the shell covering the knee. “It’s so light” or “seems too comfy to be protective” may be the thoughts passing through your head as you pick up these soft, flexible, lightweight pads. However, the shell is made from D3O. It is a light and malleable material that hardens under impact.
With the Airflex Pro, you get a set of pads you barely notice you are wearing unless you take a tumble. Then you notice your knees never felt a thing!
So what makes these pads special? Lets look into a bit more detail…
Leatt Airflex Pro Knee Pad Review
Leatt began in the early 2000’s developing revolutionary motocross protection gear, and extended their range into mountain bike gear too. The knee pads come from a well-developed range, from slim line pads such as the Airflex Pro (and Hybrid) to the more bulky pads such as the Dual Axis knee and shin guard.
- D3O Material
- Pedal friendly
- Flexible and comfortable
- Good price
- Could be a little more breathable
- Thin material may stretch over time
What kind of riders is the Leatt Airflex Pro aimed at?
Ideal for casual rides, nothing too hard and fast. Ideal for warmer temperatures. And ideal for those who don’t really enjoy wearing knee pads as it is comfy and you barely notice that they are there (especially while descending).
Also pretty handy for those who don’t like to pedal up in the pads. They actually fold down pretty small- I chuck mine in my bum bag for the climb. Or I wear them around my shins.
On the descent, I genuinely don’t notice they are there. The silicon grips at the top of the sleeve keep the pads in place. They don’t slip down, twist around or anything like that.
The airflow while descending is pretty good. If they were sweaty at the top, the certainly aren’t at the bottom.
- Pedaling and Ascending
Unless it is super warm, I am happy to keep my knee pads on my knees for the whole ride. The pads don’t get in the way on climbs, or even the ride to the park and back home. They don’t rub or cause any irritation to the skin.
If it is a warm day or there is a long climb ahead, I will keep my knee pads in my bum bag, or just around my shins. And on cooler days, they can act as knee warmers!
The D3O padding is flexible and doesn’t get in the way of pedaling. This is because it is actually pre-curved to fit the knees well.
- Impact Protection
The D3O padding hardens on impact. This means it is nice and malleable while pedaling, then once it comes under impact, the material solidifies, protecting your knee. It is honestly surprising the level of protection that these seemingly thin pair of knee pads offer, due to the D3O padding.
See here for a bit of info on what D3O actually is.
There is a bit of padding on either side of the knee as well to prevent knocks to your inner and outer knee.
The material is pretty thin, and I feel as though the material between the top of the sleeve and the top of the D3O inset might stretch out of place pretty easily.
The Leatt Airflex Hybrid has slightly thicker material and would help with this issue. For the mean time, I pull the pads on from the D3O inset to prevent any unnecessary stretching of the fabric.
Construction of the Airflex Pro
The Airflex Pro is a lightweight set of pads, with no velcro, no chunky fabrics or pads. Essentially you pull the sleeve on, up and over your knee, with silicon grips preventing them from sliding down.
The pad is built with a pre-formed bend for comfort over the knee (it’s not a straight plank that your knee bashes into every pedal stroke).
There is an open back which improves the ventilation over the knee.
- Super Slim pads
- Open back for ventilation
- Silicon grips at the top of the sleeve
- No velcro
- Padding on either side of the knee
- D3O Impact protection
- Upper knee protection
How does the Airflex Pro compare to other knee pads?
The knee protection offered is roughly middle of the range. It doesn’t have the bulk of the gruntier knee guards but offers substantially more knee protection than the foam inset pads.
The Fox Enduro Pro has a slightly slimmer D3O pad, offering a little less kneecap protection. It also doesn’t have padding above and beside the kneecap.
However, it is a little more ventilated and has exceptionally high comfort levels. They are the sort of pads you wouldn’t bother taking off for the climb! They come in a little pricier than the Airflex Pro, so it depends on whether you prioritize comfort or protection.
The Leatt Airflex Hybrid is very similar to the Airflex Pro. The key differences are the more durable fabric making up the sleeve – however, this makes it a bit warmer too – and the slightly slimmer padding.
Again, a very comfortable set of pads. The silicon grip panels at the top of the sleeve are similar to that of the Airflex Pro and the Fox Enduro Pro.
The Hybrid is slightly more expensive than the Airflex Pro, which personally doesn’t make sense to me as the Pro is better ventilated and offers better protection.
The Leatt Airflex Pro is the ideal knee pad for a large range of riders. It offers superb comfort levels, optimal fit, and substantial protection levels, given the slim profile.
Pretty ideal pads for your everyday riding, however I wouldn’t recommend these for the downhill riders, park lap riders, or anyone needing a bit more bulky knee pads.
The main flaw I see in these is the durability of the sleeve. While these have not stretched out of place for me yet, I do tend to be quite careful in order to extend the life of the pads.
For more posts like the Leatt Airflex Pro knee pad review, check out these posts