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 knee and elbow pads. We’ve tested a bunch to help you find the best ones.
Our favorite kids knee and elbow pads are the G-Form pads. They are comfortable, provide good protection, and are easy to wash. Want more options? Read on.
(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).
Our Top Picks
|What We Love
(out of 100)
|List Price (elbows / knees)
|Flexible and comfortable
|$40 / $50
|Good balance between protection and comfort
|$27+ / $30+
|$40 / $40
|IXS Carve EVO
|Extreme protection for downhill riding
|$99 / $115
G-Form Knee & Elbow Pads // Best Overall
Price (List): $50 (knee) / $40 (elbow)
No matter how many knee and elbow pads our son has tested for us, the G-Form pads remain his tried and true favorites. This is because they are comfortable, flexible, and don’t interfere with movement on the bike.
Kids can put them on and take them off by themselves, and they stay in place. My son is super picky about the way things *feel* and he barely even notices he’s wearing these. They aren’t bulky and they fit just fine underneath pants or long sleeves for BMX or downhill mountain biking. (They also work well with shorts and a t-shirt).
One pair of G-Form pads has fit my son for five (!!!) years! They were too big when we first got them, so we put a stitch at the top cuff of each pad to hold them up better. We’ve since cut those stitches out and he continues to wear them.
In the meantime, we’ve also tested out the Prevelo branded G-Form pads. These are an even smaller version of the youth pads sold by G-Form directly. This makes them ideal for younger riders (ages 5 and under).
And over all of these years, the pads have survived countless crashes, mud, and blood. I’m grateful that they are machine washable and they’ve held up beautifully.
For super serious downhill riding, you may want to consider a more burly pad, but for 95% of rides and 95% of kids, the G-Form pads are where it’s at.
7iDP Transition Kids Pads // Best Balance Between Comfort & Protection
Price (List): $27+ (elbow), $30+ (knee)
The 7iDP Transition Knee and Elbow Pads provide a bit more protection than the G-Form pads but are still more flexible and comfortable than hard shell pads. It’s no small feat to find protective gear that our kiddo is willing to wear without a fuss, and these pads have hit the mark beautifully.
The Transition pads are incredibly comfortable, thanks to their sleeve design, and have silicone grippers to keep everything snugly in place. This means more riding and less adjusting, a win-win in any parent’s book.
What sets these pads apart is their soft, malleable padding which, despite its flexibility, offers a reassuring level of protection for downhill and more adventurous riding. While they might not provide the fortress-like shield of bulkier pads, they strike a perfect balance between comfort and safety, making them a solid choice for young riders who prioritize both.
The addition of a mesh panel at the back of the knee and elbow for enhanced airflow is another thoughtful touch, addressing the common complaint of overheating that often comes with wearing pads.
They come in a wide variety of sizes and the smallest will fit kiddos as young as 2 years old.
The only issue you’ll find with these pads is that they are bulkier than the G-Form pads and are pretty much impossible to fit under pants or long sleeves. And while they’re malleable, they are better suited for bike park type riding than active pedaling. Kids will complain if you’re riding very long distances in these.
Read Our Review: 7iDP Transition Pads
Woom NEEBOWS // Best For Breathability
Price: $39 elbow / $39 knee
The Woom NEEBOWS are exceptionally good pads. They are reasonably flexible, comfortable, and stay in place.
But what makes them really stand out compared to other pads is their level of breathability. The back of the knee and elbow both have mesh, and do a good job of keeping little riders from getting overly sweaty.
They are both bulkier and less flexible than the G-Form pads, but they are also a little cheaper. I think they are ideal for use at the pump track or on driveway jumps. If your child is doing longer mountain bike rides, go with the G-Form.
The pads are a memory-foam type material that compress when impacted. My son has had several crashes in these, and they’ve held up well.
The pads also come in 3 sizes so you can ensure a perfect fit. Assuming you pick the correct size, the silicone grippers help keep the pads firmly in place so your child can focus on biking, not on re-adjusting their pads.
Read Our Review: Woom NEEBOWS
IXS Carve EVO Pads // Best For Downhill Mountain Biking
Price: $99 (knee), $115 (elbow)
The IXS EVO pads are rated for downhill riding, so they are our go-to pads when our son is planning on going big at the bike park or on a shuttle run. Unlike most downhill pads, they come in small enough sizes for even the youngest downhillers.
Unlike the other pads on this list, they use Velcro straps rather than relying solely on silicone grippers. This makes them less comfortable but they stay firmly in place.
They are also less breathable and more bulky than the other options on this list, but that’s because they are designed for high speed impacts. These are NOT the pads you want for casual trail riding or playing at the pump track, but if you want to keep your child safe, these will do it.
Read Our Review: IXS pads
Here are some other pads you may want to consider:
- Strider Pads – Strider makes great balance bikes, and these pads are a tiny, affordable option for the toddler crew. These velcro-on knee and elbow pads have a hard plastic exterior and are appropriate for little ones as young as 18 months.
- POC Pocito Joint VPD Air Protector – We love the POC Pocito kids helmets, and like most things POC, the Pocito pads are really well made. Unfortunately, the sizing is a bit wacky on these and they run really small. If you have a petite kiddo, they would be worth a look.
- Fox Peewee Titan pads – These pads look cool and they are affordable. For casual use, they’ll work just fine, but they aren’t as comfortable nor do they stay in place as well as the other options we’ve listed here.
- Troy Lee Designs Speed Knee Youth Sleeve – Here is another sleeve style knee pad. (This is only offered as a knee pad not as an elbow pad). It offers more protection than the G-Form, but isn’t quite as comfortable.
- Leatt 3DF 5.0 Knee Pads – Another good option for downhill mountain biking, these come in two different size options: mini or junior and should fit most kids ages 5-6 and up.
How We Came Up With This List And Scored The Pads
We’ve been mountain biking with our son since he was a toddler (he’s 11 now). All of the pads on this list are ones we’ve been using FOR YEARS. Depending on the type of pad, we’ve used them for countless trail rides, at the pump track, racing BMX, and even at Whistler Bike Park.
To help quantify our experience, we rated the pads on this list in 4 categories:
- Protection (30% of total score)
- Comfort and flexibility (30% of total score)
- Fit (20% of total score)
- Breathability (10% of total score)
Protection is the most obvious way to rate knee and elbow pads. That’s why we’re having our child wear them after all.
That said, not all kids need the highest levels of protection. Yes, some kids are hucking off huge drops, but most are not. Most kids are playing around in the driveway and on local trails.
Here’s how we scored these pads in terms of protection.
The IXS Carve EVO came out the obvious winner. These pads are designed for downhill riding and are meant to be burley. On the other end of the spectrum, the Woom Neebows got our lowest score for protection. But, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It just means that the Woom pads are better oriented for the average kid who isn’t doing anything too crazy.
Comfort And Flexibility
As important as protection is, comfort and flexibility isn’t far behind. If a pad is too big, bulky, and inflexible, kids simply won’t wear them.
Here’s the G-Form pad compared to your typical kids knee pad. In this case, it’s the Razor knee pads, but there are a ton of brands similar to this.
Of the pads on this list, the G-Form pads are the most flexible and comfortable. This makes them a fantastic option for trail riding and wearing for long periods of time. The IXS Carve EVO pads are the least flexible and comfortable. We’d only recommend them if your child is doing lift serve or shuttle riding because they’re not great for pedaling.
Do the pads come in multiple sizes to ensure a good fit? Do they stay in place and not slip around? These are the questions we ask when considering fit.
Velcro straps can help quite a bit when keeping pads snug, but they also affect comfort. Most of the pads on this list are sleeve-style pads and stay in place via an elastic band and silicone. In this case, offering multiple sizes is really key because they need to be a tight fit to stay in place.
The 7iDP Transition pads scored the highest in terms of fit. They come in the largest number of sizes to fit kids from toddler to tween, and stay firmly in place assuming you get the correct size.
Breathability had the least weight of any category in our scoring (10%), but this could be a critical deciding factor if you live somewhere hot. Kids can get really sweaty, and the heat factor is a real issue.
The most breathable pads on this list are the Woom Neebows. Our son has never complained about being hot in these (and he’s a complainer folks). The G-Form pads don’t have the same breathable fabric at the back of the knees and elbows, but also do a pretty good job of staying cool.
To keep you from running around looking for size charts, here are the measurements for each of the pads on our list. If your kiddo is tiny, the G-Form Prevelo pads and the 7iDP Transition pads are your best bets. The other pads will work well for ages 5 through tween.
|Small (7 – 7.5in)
Medium (8 – 8.3in)
Large (8.3 – 8.7in)
|Small (10 – 11in)
Medium (11.5 – 12.2in)
Large (12.2 – 12.5in)
|Pro-x Youth Knee Pads
|S/M (10”-12” around thigh)
L/XL (12”-14” around thigh)
|Pro-x Youth Elbow Pads
|S/M (8”-9.5” around bicep)
L/XL (9.5”-11” around bicep)
|One size (ages 2-5+)
|SM/MD (7″ to 9.5″)
LG/XL (9″ to 11.5″)
|Evo Knee Pads
|S (30-32 cm around thigh)
M (32-34cm cm around thigh)
|Evo Elbow Pads
|S (18-20cm around bicep)
M (20-22cm around bicep)
|Kids: One size fits most (ages 2-5+)
Youth S/M: 18-21cm around bicep
Youth L/XL: 21-24cm around bicep
|Kids S: age 2-4
Kids M: age 4-6
Kids L: age 6-8
Youth S/M: 27-32cm around thigh
Youth L/XL: 32-36cm around thigh
To measure your child for elbow pads, you’ll want to use a cloth tape measure around their bicep (about half way between their elbow and shoulder). For knee pads, measure around the thigh about 1/3 of the way between the knee and hip.
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The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.
Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.
If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!