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Leatt Airflex Pro Review

A high-quality and versatile knee pad that splendidly blends protection and pedal-friendliness
Leatt Airflex Pro
Photo: Leatt
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Price:  $90 List | $71.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Wisely-placed protection, dialed fit, reasonable price, pedal-friendly for protection level
Cons:  A little clammy, sleeve could be longer at top
Manufacturer:   Leatt
By Pat Donahue & Jeremy Benson  ⋅  Apr 6, 2021
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Protection - 30% 8
  • Fit and Comfort - 20% 9
  • Pedal Friendliness - 20% 8
  • Ventilation and Breathability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Leatt Airflex Pro are supremely versatile knee pads that play well in nearly any situation. They are more robust than some of the ultra pedal-friendly options but don't feel as bulky as some of the more aggressive pads. They occupy a comfortable middle ground in our test class. The armor consists of a pliable 3D molded rubbery plastic that hardens upon impact. In addition to the main armored patch, these pads have additional padding along both sides and across the top of the knee. We found the fit to be relatively dialed and true to size with all-day comfort and pedal-friendliness we didn't expect from pads with this much protection. These pads are highly adaptable and can span a broad range of riding styles and applications.

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Leatt Airflex Pro
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Leatt Airflex Pro
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $71.99 at Backcountry
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$80 List$59.95 at Backcountry
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$51.39 at Amazon
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$60 List
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Pros Wisely-placed protection, dialed fit, reasonable price, pedal-friendly for protection levelProtective, comfortable, retains nice pedaling abilitiesExceptionally pedal friendly, comfortable, lightweightWell-rounded, attractive price, dialed fitComfortable, pedal-friendly, excellent fit
Cons A little clammy, sleeve could be longer at topHeavy, not the best for long ridesNot very protective, soft material may tear easilyPoor ventilation, could be prone to rippingSmall armored area, some may find aesthetics to be unattractive
Bottom Line A high-quality and versatile knee pad that splendidly blends protection and pedal-friendlinessA perfect blend of substantial protection, supreme comfort, and respectable pedaling abilitiesA lightweight and extremely pedal-friendly knee pad with a minimalist approachA well-rounded knee pad with a quality fit at an attractive price pointA comfortable and pedal-friendly light to mid-duty knee pad
Rating Categories Leatt Airflex Pro Fox Racing Launch D3O Fox Racing Enduro K... Dakine Slayer Six Six One Recon
Protection (30%)
8.0
9.0
4.0
7.0
6.0
Fit And Comfort (20%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Pedal Friendliness (20%)
8.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
Ventilation And Breathability (20%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Leatt Airflex Pro Fox Racing Launch D3O Fox Racing Enduro K... Dakine Slayer Six Six One Recon
Weight (per pair, size L) 256 grams 445 grams 198 grams 366 grams 147 grams
Padding Material AirFlex impact gel D3O polyurethane Not specified DK impact foam Poron XRD
Body Material Moisture Cool, Airmesh 20% nylon, 40% neoprene, 5% polyester, 5% spandex Perforated neoprene Aramid fiber Lycra, stretch mesh
Adjustments? No No No No No
Safety Certifications CE EN 1621-1 CE EN 1621-1 Level 1 Not specified EN 1621-1 Level 1 CE
Available Sizes S - XXL S - L S - XL S - XL S - XL

Our Analysis and Test Results

Leatt recently updated the Airflex Pro pads with a new main armor patch over the front of the knee. This new pad is more flexible and breathable than the previous version, improving the comfort and pedal friendliness of one of our favorite models. They offer a truly impressive blend of pedal-friendliness, protection, comfort, durability, and ventilation. These well-designed and well-executed pads work in nearly any situation, from rides with 3000 feet of climbing to bike park laps.

Performance Comparison


The Airflex Pro knee pads do an amazing job of blending protection...
The Airflex Pro knee pads do an amazing job of blending protection, pedal friendliness, and all-day comfort.
Photo: Laura Casner

Protection


The Airflex Pro pads deliver impressive protection without feeling overly bulky. Bigger and more protective pads have a lot of padding and a lot of mass, meant for gravity-fed endeavors with less emphasis on pedaling. The Airflex Pro packs a healthy amount of armor into a slimmer and more streamlined package. This is a high compliment, and we think Leatt knocked it out of the park in terms of design.


The most prominent piece of armor sits front and center on the knee. This is a molded, silicone printed material that is perforated to provide a little airflow. It is soft and easy to bend with a cupped shape that feels good on the knee. This pad is relatively thin and lightweight, but it has a substantial feel to it. Upon impact, this material feels very robust and protective, especially considering how comfortable it is on the knee.

Leatt recently updated the primary armor patch on the Airflex Pro...
Leatt recently updated the primary armor patch on the Airflex Pro. This pliable, rubbery material conforms very well to the knee.
Photo: Laura Casner

On both sides of the main armor, there are three patches of padding arranged vertically on the side of the knee. This is not the same sort of material as the flexible, molded armor on the front and center, but more of a traditional foam. This padding is broken up into three patches on each side of the leg that work together to cover approximately 5-6-inches. On the front of the pad, just above the main armor patch, there is another rectangular patch of foam padding. This spot on the knee is a prime location for smashing a knee on the bar should you slip a pedal.

The overall length of the sleeve is about average. Even where there is no armor, riders can enjoy some sun protection and have a layer of material between the skin and any branches or thorns hanging into the trail.

With a large main armor patch and smaller patches on both sides and...
With a large main armor patch and smaller patches on both sides and the top of the knee, the Airflex Pro provides a lot of protection, especially considering how comfortable and pedal-friendly they are.
Photo: Laura Casner

Fit and Comfort


The Airflex Pro deliver a nice fit — snug without feeling like they are constricting blood flow. They come in 5 sizes, S-XXL, so there should be a size for most riders. We measured our legs and used Leatt's size chart before ordering and found it to be accurate. The pads slip on and have no adjustments. The upper cuff is slightly looser than the lower. Silicone leg grippers on the inside of the upper and lower leg openings work well. They stay in place brilliantly and don't tend to spin or slip at all.


The Airflex Pro pads are also quite comfortable. That said, they can't match the comfort levels of the super airy options that emphasize comfort and pedal-friendliness over protection. They have a slightly thicker and heftier feel than the lightweight knee pads. But, while these pads have a bigger and thicker feel, they are still plenty comfortable. During testing, we kept them on for 3-hour long pedal fests with no hot spots or irritation to speak of. The main armor patch is contoured nicely, and they stay in place impressively well. They do feel a bit clammy on hot days, but that is the case with virtually all knee pads. Considering their protection level, we think they breathe relatively well.

These pads have a dialed fit that cups the kneecap well with no...
These pads have a dialed fit that cups the kneecap well with no awkward bulging or loose material.
Photo: Laura Casner

One minor qualm about the Airflex Pro is that we wish the overall sleeve length was a bit longer at the top of the pad. If the top of the sleeve extended another 2-3-inches, it would eliminate all concerns of pad gap. Pad gap occurs when there is skin showing between the bottom of the shorts and the top of the knee pad.

While they look symmetrical, the Airflex Pro pads are side-specific. That information is printed on the back of the lower leg of each pad.

We were blown away by how comfortable these pads were. We could ride...
We were blown away by how comfortable these pads were. We could ride all day in these without any irritation or discomfort.
Photo: Laura Casner

Pedal Friendliness


These pads are surprisingly pedal-friendly. They can't match the supreme pedal-friendliness of the superlight and less protective options, but considering their level of protection, we were impressed by how nice they felt on pedal-heavy rides.


When you are spinning away in the saddle, the motion of the Airflex Pro is relatively free. There are no restrictive points of the pedal stroke, but you are quite aware of the presence of the knee pads. When you are at the top and bottom of the pedal stroke, you can feel the 3D molded rubberized padding. This isn't all that uncomfortable or irritating to the skin but is noticeable enough to be worth mentioning. As a result, we find these pads are best for rides of about 3-hours or less. If you're looking to log some serious pedaling time in the saddle, we recommend reaching for some of the lighter weight and slightly less protective options. They are sleeker, lighter, and a bit less bulky, making them better suited for big rides.

We don't want to scare you away from the Airflex Pro pads. They do pedal well, but there are other options that are more pedal-friendly. That said, we still feel they offer excellent pedal-friendliness for their protection level.

We took these pads on multiple test rides that had well over 3,000...
We took these pads on multiple test rides that had well over 3,000 feet of climbing to test their pedal-friendliness. We were pleased to find that they stay in place well, don't chafe, and don't inhibit the pedal stroke at all.
Photo: Laura Casner

Ventilation and Breathability


The Airflex Pro breathe well for a mid-duty pad. Even though they have a lot of substance, they also have decent cooling properties. Leatt appears to have gone out of their way to make these pads as breathable as possible while still maintaining a high degree of knee protection. A good example of this the main armor pad over the knee. This molded rubber pad is perforated with hundreds of small triangles that allow a small amount of air to pass through. That said, they are still relatively warm on the knees.


The back panel of the sleeve is made of Moisture Cool wicking fabric that is intended to allow heat and moisture to escape. In the center of that panel is a large circular cutout on the backside of the knee. The cutout allows air to flow at the back of the knee joint, which is a pretty sweaty location for most riders. The rest of the pad is constructed with a stretchy, wicking material that pulls sweat away from the skin. Despite all these features, you are still wearing knee pads, and there is inevitably going to be a clammy feel to them. Still, the Airflex Pro seem to perform well in this area, considering the protection they provide. After a ride, the pads dry relatively quickly.

If you're seeking the best blend of ventilation and protection, these are the pads for you. If you want something a tad bit lighter and airier, check out the pedal-friendly pads that have far less padding, which creates better airflow.

Moisture Cool fabric and openings behind the knees help manage sweat...
Moisture Cool fabric and openings behind the knees help manage sweat a little, but these pads are somewhat warm on the knees.
Photo: Laura Casner

Durability


We don't have any serious durability concerns regarding the Airflex Pro. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we didn't have any crashes in these pads, so we can't comment on how they will fare. We can, however, make an educated guess based on experience with a great number of knee pads.

The front armor panel feels durable and won't be damaged easily. High-speed crashes on the outside of the leg could do some damage to the fabric, though — the foam padding that runs down the sides is our biggest concern. If you crash on this part of the pad and slide, we can't rule out some sort of rip or tear.


We would recommend removing your shoes to put on and remove these pads. It can be done without doing this, but stretching these over a shoe is a bit of a pain and will likely put stress on the seams, fabric, and silicone leg grippers and may result in premature wear. Overall though, if treated with a reasonable degree of care, we feel the Airflex Pro are a durable set of knee pads. No pads are impervious to damage if crashed on frequently, but that depends on the rider.

The Airflex Pro appear to be well made and highly durable.
The Airflex Pro appear to be well made and highly durable.
Photo: Laura Casner

Value


The Airflex Pro pads are a strong value. The price tag is fairly common for substantial and more aggressive knee pads. More importantly, Leatt delivered an excellent product that provides solid protection, a great fit, and high comfort levels.

Conclusion


Among all our tested pads, the versatile Leatt Airflex Pro deliver the best blend of protection, pedal-friendliness, comfort, and fit. They work well in nearly any situation. Leatt paid attention to the details and delivered a high-end knee pad at an attractive price tag.

If you want to protect your knees without sacrificing comfort or...
If you want to protect your knees without sacrificing comfort or pedal-friendliness, we think the Ariflex Pro are an excellent option to consider.
Photo: Laura Casner

Pat Donahue & Jeremy Benson