Whether your kiddo is racing BMX, hitting up the bike park, or just learning to ride, you are going to want to find good-fitting child-specific protective pads. Until recently, these were nearly impossible to find, with many young riders wearing XS adult versions that didn’t fit well.
Luckily, as more and more kids enter the sport, increasing numbers of options are entering the market. Here’s a round-up of the best kids knee pads and kids elbow pads for toddlers to pre-teens.
We’ve included elbow and knee pads for casual riders (the vast majority of folks reading this), as well as the more intense members of our community–mountain bike and BMX families.
(Note: This is a bike website, so we’re clearly focused on protective pads for biking. That said, these knee and elbow pads also work great for scootering, skateboarding, and other wheeled sports).
Knee and Elbow Pads For Toddlers
Let’s face it: toddlers fall a lot. Poor little things. A pair of pads can make a big difference between a minor fall and a traumatic accident.
We don’t think all toddlers need pads to ride a balance bike, but if you know your little one is a little wild and accident-prone it’s not a bad idea to throw some knee and elbow pads on them.
Just keep in mind that many toddlers are also really sensitive to anything sensory, and may not like wearing them.
Strider Pad Set
Strider builds great balance bikes for toddlers, so it makes sense that they would make a great pad set for toddlers as well. For kids under 5, the Strider Pad Set is probably your best bet for pads that actually fit.
These velcro-on knee and elbow pads have a hard plastic exterior and are appropriate for little ones as young as 18 months.
Price: $29.99 (Last updated: 2021-05-30 at 02:47 – More Info)
7iDP Transition Kids Pads*
These are a bit more spendy, but in our opinion, worth every penny. The soft sleeves with foam padding are far more comfortable than hard-shell pads and they stay in place without slipping.
These are the best fitting pads we’ve found for little ones. The size small fits toddlers as young as 2 years old.
Pads For Young Kids (Casual Riding)
We don’t necessarily recommend making your kids wear pads for riding around the neighborhood. (Although they should ALWAYS wear a helmet).
That said, if you have a crazy or accident prone child, then by all means–pad them up! Knee and elbow pads can also make sense if your child is just learning to pedal and you don’t want them to end up with scraped knees.
Bern Junior Pad Set
The Bern pads are designed and marketed as skateboard pads but can be used on the bike as well. They come in only one size and fit best for kids ages 5 to 8.
These pads are comfortable but somewhat large and bulky. We like them best for parent’s who want one set of pads to do it all–bike, skateboard, rollerblading, etc.
Fox PeeWee Titan Pads
The Fox brand oozes “coolness” and kids love their stuff. The knee pads have all around great reviews; some parents complain about the fit of the elbow pads and say that they are hard to keep up.
These pads fit kids in 3T to 4T clothing to about 8 years old.
Price: $12.95 (Last updated: 2021-05-30 at 02:47 – More Info)
Protective Pads For Mountain Bike and BMX Families
If your child is doing serious riding, they need good quality protective gear. Here are some of our top picks for trail riding, downhill days, the BMX track, and even the skate park.
These options are significantly more expensive than our “casual” picks above, but they also offer more protection and more comfort.
G-Form Pro-X Youth Pads
While a little pricey compared to the other pads listed here, the quality of the G-Form pads make the price tag worth it. These are grown-up quality pads for kids who are serious riders.
The pads are soft, machine washable, and stay in place. Appropriate for ages 4+, though you may need to add a stitch or two to hold up pads for skinnier kids.
Read Our Review: G-Form Pads
- Pro-X Elbow Pads: $49.99
- Pro-X Knee Pads: $39.99
POC POCito Joint VPD Air Protector
The POC POCito pads are relatively new to the market, but have quickly become a favorite of many families we know.
The pads can be used on either knees or elbows, so it’s fairly easy to get a good fit. And once kids are ready to size up, they can move the knee pads to their elbows.
Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2021-05-30 at 02:47 – More Info)
Troy Lee Speed Sleeves
Troy Lee offers quite a good line-up of youth protective gear for young riders. The Speed knee sleeves are our favorite.
These are the same great design as the adult Speed pads, but sized down for little riders. Their youth pads are appropriate for 5+, but may be a bit large for petite kids.
Leatt 3DF 5.0 Mini
The Leatt 3DF 5.0 knee pads offer plenty of breathability making them our top pick for summer riding. They are flexible and have a Velcro strap around the thigh to help hold them up on small thighs. Should fit most kids ages 5-6 and up.
IXS Carve EVO Pads*
The IXS EVO protective pads have quickly become a favorite of ours because they fit our small-sized son so well. Many pads are overly bulky or don’t fit the youngest downhillers.
The IXS pads are rated for downhill riding, so they are our go-to pads when heading to the bike park or on a shuttle run.
Read Our Review: IXS pads
|Brand||Model||Best Use||Recommended Age/Sizing|
|Bern||Junior Pad Set||Casual||One size (ages 5-8)|
|Strider||Pad Set||Casual||One size (ages 18 months- 5 years)|
|Troy Lee Designs||Speed Knee Youth Sleeve||MTB||Youth Medium (10.5”-12” measure 4” above knee cap center) |
Youth Large (9.5”-11” measure 4” above knee cap center)
|Fox||PeeWee Titan Knee Pads||Casual||One Size (3+)|
|Fox||PeeWee Titan Elbow Pads||Casual||Small (Ages 3-5) |
|G-Form||Pro-x Youth Knee Pads||MTB||S/M (10”-12” around thigh) |
L/XL (12”-14” around thigh)
|G-Form||Pro-x Youth Elbow Pads||MTB||S/M (8”-9.5” around bicep) |
L/XL (9.5”-11” around bicep)
|Leatt||3DF 5.0 Knee Pads||MTB||One size (10.5″-12.5″ around thigh)|
|IXS||Evo Knee Pads||MTB||S (30-32 cm around thigh)|
M (32-34cm cm around thigh)
|IXS||Evo Elbow Pads||MTB||S (18-20cm around bicep)|
M (20-22cm around bicep)
|POC||POCito Joint VPD Air Protector||MTB||S (14-20cm)|