Mountain Bike Action Product Test: Pearl Izumi Elevate Knee Pads

Pearl Izumi
Elevate Knee Pads

Pearl Izumi isn’t the first company to come to mind when considering knee or elbow pads, mostly because up until now they have not offered them. For Pearl Izumi’s spring 2020 gear line, the company introduced not one but two different pairs of elbow and knee pads. The Summit is a lighter-weight pad with minimal protection, and the Elevate line provides more robust protection. Both pads utilize the many years of experience Pearl Izumi has had designing knee and arm warmers for road cyclists. Considering Pearl Izumi’s reputation for quality, we jumped at the opportunity to put Pearl Izumi’s new Elevate knee pads to the test.

Tech features: 

The Elevate pads are sturdier than the thinner and lighter Summit pads. Deigned to be worn all day, Pearl Izumi’s Elevate pads provide medium protection. Long sleeves help keep the pads in place, and well-thought-out vents prevent your knees from getting too sweaty. A relief cut at the back of the knee pads doubles as a ventilation port and prevents the sleeve material from bunching up while you are pedaling. Pearl Izumi teamed up with D3O, a well-known impact protection company, to make these pads as protective as possible. The D3O padding is also removable and washable. To increase comfort, the Elevate pads feature four-way stretch materials and a mesh backing, along with elastic grippers and silicone interior prints. Pads are sold in sizes from extra small to extra large and retail for $125. Matching elbow pads can be had for $85.

Field test results: 

As with most knee pads, it took a ride or two for them to conform to our leg shape, but as they broke in, our level of comfort continued to increase. These aren’t the type of pads you just pull on as you get to the top of the trail; they are meant to be pedaled in all day, from the trailhead to your favorite post-ride restaurant. During our testing, we had the pleasure of riding in mild temperatures, so our knees getting too hot wasn’t an issue. The Elevate pads do a nice job of pulling air through them, thanks to the mesh materials. You won’t confuse these pads with Pearl Izumi’s knee warmers. As far as protection is concerned, the pads were quite sturdy with a nice-sized pad that covered our knees and even offered side protection. Riders looking for a balance of knee protection and freedom to move will find the Elevate pads as the right tool for the job. Meanwhile, the lighter-weight Summit pads are ideal for riders seeking minimal protection. If a new pair of knee pads is in your future, check out Pearl Izumi’s new protective gear line.

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