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If you have used knee pads for long enough, undoubtedly you’ve come up with reasons to avoid using pads altogether.

  1. At the trailhead, your shoes are all laced up when you realize you forgot to slip the knee pads on first. Good one, dummy!
  2. To avoid de-shoeing at the top and save yourself from unnecessary chaffing, you slide the pads down to the shins for the climb, which encumbers you in other ways.

With the Anthem Knee Pads from Dakine, you do not have to remove your shoes to take them on or off. While this easy on/off feature isn’t exactly innovative, it’s one that has been lost on similarly-built “trail” models that have moved to a slip-on sleeve style.

On and off without fussing with shoes

Anthem Knee Pads Specs

  • 3D molded, CE certified foam
  • 4-way stretch, perforated AriapreneMax with Polygiene Odor Control
  • Lateral and medial side padding for extra protection
  • Interior patella support
  • Easy on/off feature
  • Pre-curved ergonomic fit
  • Silicon gripper elastic
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Colors: sulphur, black
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • MSRP: $70

Open back design for improved comfort and range of motion.

Form

The Anthem’s main foam inserts are similar to many current constructions which comply with movement, but harden on impact. Dakine merged Ariaprene with an open-backed design, a layer of breathable mesh, and Polygiene for effective air circulation and odor control. Additional padded panels medial and lateral to the knee expand coverage where most trail pads do not.

The Anthem pad is ergonomically-shaped and its open backing tailored to fit the natural curve of the knee in a semi-flexed position. The pre-curved fit is seen in the pad’s primary foam insert, and a cleverly-cut backing eliminates unnecessary material. Upper and lower leg Velcro straps attach at two points to provide excellent stability, which is further enhanced by silicon striping.

Two point Velcro attachment.

Function

While dedicated downhill riders might prefer something a little bigger and stiffer, the Anthem pads are overkill for XC-oriented rides. The Anthem pads fit squarely with the enduro crowd, where pedaling is limited and downhill protection is a must.

The Velcro straps shift a bit if not dually secured as described above. This occurs mainly on the upper leg strap if, like me, you have thunder thighs. As a result, some rear leg hot spots will develop over the course of sustained pedaling, but that’s what’s great about these pads — you can de-pad without de-shoeing! Of course, you’ll still need to haul the Anthem pads up if not dangling them about your shins, but this is an inconvenience that’s unlikely solvable in the foreseeable future for any pads.

Tailored side profile for better fit and breathability.

Despite being easily removed, I couldn’t pass up a breathability test. At first sight, the Anthem pads look and feel bulkier than comparable pads, but they ride much lighter and breathe better than they look.

I’ve taken a handful of spills while testing and ripped the outer material, but I’ve yet to see a knee pad able to withstand the same abuse unscathed. If you’re in the market for new pads, consider whether you find the on/off sans shoe removal a feature you’d appreciate. Outside of that, the Anthem is another solid protective product from Dakine.

Thank you to Dakine for the providing the Anthem Knee Pads for review.

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