I’m not a big knee guard guy… until I hit my knee on a ride, and then I swear I’ll wear knee guards on every ride, from now on! But then I don’t, usually because, well, knee guards are usually heavy, bulky, and uncomfortable. But not the Leatt AirFlex Pro Knee Guards. I’ve been wearing these for a couple months now, and donning them for a ride has become almost as natural as strapping on a helmet.
Leatt says the AirFlex knee guards are their “slimmest (and) lightest” and as you can see just by looking at the photos, they cut a seriously low profile. The main impact zone is covered in a perforated 6mm layer of flexible ArmourGel that stiffens on impact. The gel pad is perforated to allow ventilation, and the whole thing is shaped to work with your natural motion on the bike.
I tested the Pro version of the AirFlex knee guard ($79 US) which adds side and upper knee protection over the standard version. This certainly adds a little weight and bulk to the guards, but the pair still weighs just 300g.
When it comes to comfort, the AirFlex Pros beat all the others I’ve tried by a long shot. First off, these guards don’t have any straps (velcro or otherwise) to potentially dig into your legs. Sure, that means getting into and out of these knee guards takes a little extra effort, but it’s oh-so-nice to ride for hours without getting annoyed by your protective equipment. Leatt added silicone grippers to the AirFlex knee guards to keep them in place, and I can attest to their utility. However, the grippers seem to work best when they’re gripping another piece of fabric (say, the hem of your short liners) rather than your leg. Without straps, it’s impossible to tighten the fit, so be sure to order the right size (see below).
Leatt touts the breathability of the AirFlex knee guards (it’s kinda baked into the name even) and based on my tests, they mostly deliver. The thing is, you’re wrapping something around your leg, so it’s not going to be 100% breathable or even 50% breathable. In my experience, these knee guards felt comparable to wearing a pair of knee warmers. This works out well for rides when you would wear knee warmers anyway, but be warned that your knees will sweat on warmer days.
Thanks to their flexible design and integrated armoring, the Leatt AirFlex knee guards wash up easily after muddy and sweaty rides. I’ve thrown mine in the washing machine a couple times already and they aren’t any worse for the wear. I recommend skipping the dryer and hanging to dry.
Finally, a word about sizing: before ordering, take a minute to measure the circumference of your thigh and calf according to Leatt’s online sizing guide. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than getting a knee guard that’s too big, because you’ll find yourself constantly tugging at it to get it back in place. Don’t have a flexible measuring tape? Use a piece of string, mark it, then lay it out on your ruler. And if you’re between sizes, go down a size.
With knee protection as comfortable and easy-to-use as the Leatt AirFlex Pro knee guards, preventing injuries is a no brainer.
Thanks to Leatt for providing the AirFlex Pro knee guards for review.