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.
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: