Your knees are definitely one of the most vulnerable areas while riding a motorcycle. If you fall or hit something with the side of your bike, your knees will be the ones to pay the price.
Unless, you have great knee guards/braces to shield you from the impact! But the problem with knee guards is that they’re often uncomfortable to wear, OR they are comfortable but don’t provide sufficient protection.
Finding the right balance between tough materials, size and comfort can be quite difficult. This made me go on a quest to help out myself and my readers: I tried out 15 of the best rated knee guards to find the ones that fit the bill. These 5 came out on top:
I found these to be the best of the bunch. They cover a pretty large area of the knee and tibia with a tough PP shell that is known for being able to sustain a lot of impact.
HOWEVER, the biggest selling point for me was the fact that this large and sturdy area had little impact on my leg movement. This is due to a specific design modification, which provides 30-180 degree rotation at the joint. I could honestly walk around and ride while wearing these without any discomfort.
The metal mesh which serves for ventilation is another bonus. Some knee guards just don’t provide enough air flow. This can cause skin irritation and sweat accumulation. This doesn’t seem to be a problem with this model, at least not during my test ride under some pretty scorching sun.
I think that these knee guards would fit on most people, because the elastic strap and buckle provide significant adjustment space and are easy to set up. I’m 5’9 and 170 lbs so most knee guards fit me well but I think even larger and smaller people would find them easy to set up.
Unlike with other knee guards on this list, I didn’t find any problems to report on these. So this is my top pick and I’m keeping them for personal use!
2. Fox Racing Titan Pro Knee/Shin Guard
First of all, these caused some extra sweating. There is an air mesh of course, but it should be a bigger in my opinion. However, the more pressing issue was the slippage. Since the bottom strap is a bit tight, they tend to ride down. One other reviewer experienced this same issue. The solution: tug your pants into your boots so that the boots stop the knee pads from sliding down further.
Those two were the only cons I’ve found with this product. These are very tough and they protect the entire knee area as well as the shin/lower thigh. Great movement as well, though you won’t be able to run in them. If you are going on some tough rides and need unquestionable knee protection, I would even sacrifice a bit of comfort in order to ensure maximum safety.
3. Leatt Dual Axis Knee Guard
This knee guard closes my top 3 selection. It could really be on #1 or #2 spot, but it costs more and I didn’t find the features to be that much better. But for perfectionists, this is the go-to knee guard.
The main upside is the comfort, more specifically the weight. These knee pads feel virtually weightless, I could almost forget that I had them on. The ventilation is excellent as well.
Many users have complained with other knee guards that they tend to slip off. These are the least slip-off prone of the bunch. They are strap on, which means that you place them over the knee and then wrap strap around the back to secure. This is also convenient because you don’t have to remove your boots when putting them on or taking them off.
As far as protection goes, they are the same design and hard shell material as the before mentioned knee guards. The extra $20-$30 goes for the additional comfort and I assume the cool color/design variations as well (which you can check on the Amazon product page).
4. LEATT Adult 3.0 EXT
I recommend these for hot and humid weather especially. You could be wearing these in very hot weather without getting sweaty legs thanks to the improved ventilated impact foam and airmesh fabric.
The only problem I have with these knee guards is that they’re a bit on the small size. Few other customers complained in the reviews about this as well. So I think you should get a size larger than usual.
5. Leatt Brace Z-Frame Knee Braces-L
Want the best possible protection for your knees? You’ll have to pay a little extra but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. The answer are these top of the line Leatt Knee Braces that cost around $200.
These are made from reinforced carbon composites and aluminum lining that is very tough and durable. But don’t worry, they don’t feel like you’re a medieval knight struggling to walk. Quite the opposite, they have a slim profile.
The protection really comes from the way the material is distributed to prevent hyper extension of the knee up to 20 degrees. This is a significant limitation for preventing ACL injuries.
Perhaps more importantly, they are easy to fit regardless of the type of boots you’re wearing thanks to the low-profile shin bone pad. Fitting them on is also a smooth process: you pull on the sleeve, put on the brace, then fold the top and bottom of the sleeve back over the brace.
If you check them out on Amazon, you’ll find an inspiring review left by a customer who got into a serious motorcycle accident but his knees stayed intact thanks to wearing these braces.
Overall, these are my favorite knee guards/braces. The Leatt Brace (#5) are the most highly priced, but you could go cheaper by selecting one of the other 4 models. Either of these 5 choices will provide a regular motorcycle rider with ample knee protection.
Riding always carries a risk but protective gear brings it to a viable minimum. Hopefully this review article will help you solve the knee part of that equation successfully.