If you’re looking to start BMX riding, you’re going bail, and that means you’re going to need plenty of protection.
In my years of riding BMX, mountain bikes and motocross I’ve learnt one thing; don’t try and scrimp and save buying low quality protection. You might save yourself a few dollars initially, but durability, comfort and protection are compromised…it costs you more money and your health in the long term.
Today’s guide covers BMX knee pads and shin guards that offer the best value for money, but also maximum protection and comfort.
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BMX Knee Pads Vs Shin Guards
The first thing you need to decide is whether you’re going to buy BMX knee pads, or those pads that incorporate shin guards too.
Naturally, knee pads with integrated shin guards are going to offer maximum protection, much more than just a knee pad. So, why don’t all BMX riders use them? From my experience, a sleeve based knee and shin guard reduces flexibility in the knee and can make it harder to do tricks.
For this reason, you’ll see a lot of BMX riders at skate parks not wearing knee or shin pads at all. This certainly isn’t advisable. I’ve had multiple injuries from extreme sports even wearing pads, so who knows how bad those injuries would have been without protection; it’s just not worth the risk.
If you’re prepared to get BMX knee pads that restrict you slightly (which is fine unless you’re doing crazy tricks), then a knee and shin pad combination will be fine; this is exactly what I use.
The Best BMX Knee Pads & Shin Guards
As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve been riding all kinds of bikes (including BMX bikes) for decades. Over the years I’ve tried a ton of different BMX knee pads, some with integrated shin guards. What I’ve found is the best knee and shin guards tend to be lightweight, and sometimes designed for MTB.
Below, I’ve included my top picks from Fox Racing, Demon and G-Form.
Fox Racing Launch Pro
Of the 3 BMX knee pads on this list, these are the ones I’d be heading for.
If you’ve read any of my other BMX, MTB or MX gear reviews, you’ll know I’m an absolute sucker for Fox Racing; they produce some of the best extreme sports gear in the world.
Here’s why the Fox Racing Launch Pro BMX pads have made it onto this list.
Strapped pads are only suitable for motocross (where you have pants keeping them in place). And, that’s why you’ll see BMX pads like the Fox Racing Launch Pro incorporate a sleeve. This ensures that they’re not only flexible and comfortable, but they also stay in place during impact.
And, you’ll even get hook and loop adjusters to get the perfect fit (which can’t be said for all sleeve type BMX knee guards).
There are plenty of cheap brands offering something very “similar” to the Fox Racing Launch Pro, but they’re simply not the same.
With cheaper knee pads, you’ll sweat like crazy and after a days riding, that’s going to end up with chaffing, discomfort, and sometimes even blisters.
That’s not the case with the Fox Racing BMX pads. They have a perforated neoprene construction, inclusive of abrasion resistant fabric. That means maximum comfort, minimal sweating, and no chaffing.
Not only is the knee area protected, you’ll get some protection on the shin. So, if you accidently flip your pedals round into your skin (painful!), the Fox Racing pads will take the brunt of the impact.
Who Are They For?
You’ll see recommendations coming from Demon and G-Form below, but the Fox Racing Launch Pro BMX knee pads are the ones I’d be throwing my cash at.
They offer the best overall protection, breathability, and comfort. They’re not the cheapest pads on the market, but they’ll stand the test of time.
G-Form Pro X2
As a brand, G-Form certainly aren’t as well known as Fox Racing. But it’s worth mentioning that G-Form focus only on sports protective equipment; that’s their speciality. And, over the past few years, they’ve become extremely popular in the BMX and MTB with products like their G-Form Pro X2 BMX knee guards, which are inclusive of some shin protection too.
The G-Form Pro X2 incorporate SmartFlex technology. Not only does this mean you have plenty of flexibility when pedalling, but on impact it will harden to offer you maximum protection. And, like the Fox Racing Launch Pro BMX pads, they use a compression sleeve that helps to keep your pads in place.
As you can see from our two picks so far, we’re focusing on protection, fit, but also comfort. And, comfort comes not just from the flexibility in the pad, but also thanks to its breathability.
The BMX pads from G-Form use moisture wicking material. Essentially, that’s able to evaporate sweat much quicker than your average pad, keeping your knees and shins dry and comfortable throughout your ride.
That’s accompanied by a 2 panel second, it’s almost like a skin fit. And, at the front of the pad you’ll get an air hole, which ensures you’re getting maximum air circulation whilst popping those tricks at the park.
Who Are They For?
Whilst the Fox Racing Launch Pro BMX pads are my favourite, there’s little in it between Fox and the G-Form Pro X2. Essentially, it comes down to the design you prefer and the price.
You’ll save a few dollars by grabbing the G-Form Pro X2 BMX knee guards over the Fox Launch pro.
Demon Hyper X
Demon are a brand well known for extreme sports protection; I’ve used plenty of their snowboarding protection over the years and have been impressed. And, the same goes for their Demon Hyper X BMX knee guards.
This is a much more hardcore knee guard compared with the Fox Racing and Demon products mentioned above.
It’s made from a range of Poly, Neoprene, and Kevlar. Couple that with D30 padding (soft during normal pedalling, but hardens on impact), and what you’ve got here is maximum protection.
Hands down, this is the least comfy, but most protective pad on this list. Remember, this pad, whilst high quality, doesn’t offer any shin protection.
The material used here is perforated neoprene. It offers some ventilation, but nothing like what you’ll get from Fox or Demon BMX pads.
Who Are They For?
If you’re willing to compromise on comfort (especially in the breathability area) to get maximum protection, then these are the pads for you.
Review Verdict: Fox, G-Form or Demon
For the best combination of comfort, design as well as knee and shin protection, I’d be heading for the Fox Racing Launch Pro pads. There’s not much in it between the Fox pads and G-Form, so if you’re looking to save a few bucks, G-Form is for you.
However, if you’re willing to lose a bit of comfort and breathability and want knee protection only, the Demon Hyper X pads offer the highest level of knee protection.
The Best BMX Elbow Guards
G-Form Elbow Pads
G-Form are similar to the likes of Leatt, EVS and Demon, in a sense that they focus on producing protective equipment for extreme sports junkies. A lot of brands these days produce anything and everything, meaning their product range might be stacked, but R&D on any specific product is limited.
In general, you’ll get a much better value product from a specialist like G-Form.
There are two different sets of G-Form elbow pads that are suited to riders like us:
- Pro-X2 Elbow Guard (youth/kids sizes available)
- Rugged Elbow Pads
We’ll cover the specs (and my opinion) of each, or, if you’d prefer to skip to the end, I’ll be highlighting the G-Form elbow pads that I’d be buying if I was replacing mine today.
Pro-X2 Elbow Pads
If you’ve already read our guide to BMX knee pads, you’ll know we’re a big fan of G-form, and their Pro-X2 range. Like the knee pads, the G-Form elbow pads are incredible value for money, not to mention they offer excellent protection for all types of bike riders.
If you compare the Pro-X2 G-Form elbow pads with the Rugged guard in their range, there’s a $20 difference. So, if the Pro-X2 is suitable for you, you’ll have some change to blow on your bike instead of spending it on pads!
We’re a big fan of G-Form elbow pads, and in fact, all the products in their range, as they offer maximum comfort, without compromising when it comes to protection.
They’re able to do this by using flexible pads, using SmartFlex technology. The sleeve helps to keep the pads in place with its silicone gripper, and the moisture wicking material alongside ventilation holes means you won’t feel the discomfort of sweat.
The extra $20 or so for the Rugged G-Form elbow pads gives you a little extra protection, in comparison to the basic SmartFlex pads used in the Pro-X2. However, in my opinion, the padding on offer from the Pro-X2 is more than sufficient for the average BMX, MTB and MX rider.
Rugged Elbow Pads
The Rugged is the top of the line G-Form elbow pad.
As we’ve mentioned, you’re going to have to fork out around an extra $20 for the Rugged guard, over the standard Pro-X2. The question is, are they really worth that extra cash?
Like the Pro-X2, you’ll get SmartFlex pads, which mean these pads are extremely comfortable. However, the Rugged pad incorporates a double-knit compression fabric for additional comfort. And, we’ve found the mesh back provides adequate ventilation and doesn’t expose the elbow like the Pro-X2 does.
Finally, they have an inner foam, making these much more comfortable overall than the Pro-X2 G-Form pads.
Another upgrade here, is Armortex technology. It doesn’t just provide some extra integrity to the pad, it also stops it from ripping and tearing, meaning these pads are going to last the test of time.
Review Verdict: Pro-X2 or Rugged G-Form Elbow Pads?
Personally, I don’t see the extra $20 that the Rugged pads demand, as money well spent. In fact, I prefer the type of pad and design of the cheaper Pro-X2 over the Rugged elbow guards.
The Pro-X2 offer the comfort and protection that any BMX, MTB or MX rider needs, so there’s little point spending more, for essentially, nothing.
If I were buying new G-Form elbow pads today, the Pro-X2 guards would be getting my cash.
Other BMX Protection You Need
Remember, you don’t just need knee pads to be safe on a BMX. We’ve created other guides on protective gear that’s worth a read: