One of Leatt’s latest knee pads is this sleeve-like Airflex Hybrid with a tubular fit and mid-level coverage and protection. Does its performance match the high price tag?
The long (35cm) cylindrical tube has Leatt’s perforated Airflex padding cupping the knee with a kind of memory foam style impact gel padding. On top of this are harder plastic sliders to protect against heavier impacts at the knee bone and upper shin – the last part a prime zone for accidental attacks from pedal pins when things go wrong.
There’s also an extra panel of foam padding just above at the bottom of the thigh muscle to resist further knocks from handlebars.
The main sleeve uses a coarse woven mesh fabric on the front and sides to resist abrasions and a finer transparent mesh on the back for better cooling and a softer touch against delicate flesh. An elasticated band with silicone grippers holds things in place at the top of each leg and the pads extend further up the thighs than many.
Fit and retention
Leatt’s fit is good; tight but not restrictive and the knee cap zone stays perfectly in place. During a day lapping Dyfi bike park I had to pull the thigh band higher multiple times though as the upper elasticated band isn’t as thick as some. And with the overall construction a bit soft and floppy, this upper part can wriggle down the leg if things get really hectic on the bike.
Obviously, this might not happen for everyone, but I do have pretty big thighs and had a reasonably tight fit at the top to keep things stable. The cupped-out shape seems to keep the impact-hardening Airflex part in place around the knee though.
Comfortable and highly breathable
Aside from the occasional pulling up, overall comfort is excellent with a really soft, cosy feel against skin and no rubbing. Cooling is pretty decent too, especially round the back where plenty of air pumps onto your legs through the fine mesh.
Leatt’s extended coverage pads are comfy and unrestrictive then, but I’ve had better stability with similar tube pads like 7iDP Sam Hill pads. The high price here is also £40 more than that rival product and there are plenty of other options besides.
We put these Leatt pads in a ‘head to head’ against the Poc Oseus VPD knee pads
Leatt’s extended coverage pads are comfy and unrestrictive with a good fit but I've had better stability with similar tube-style pads. The price is also higher than rival products too.