Leatt’s AirFlex Knee Guard Hybrid Pro has been built to offer lightweight but flexible protection and they certainly do just that. They are comfortable pads with tonnes of coverage and an impressively high level of protection that can be used all day. However, they are not entirely faultless as they're not great at wicking moisture and the price is on the higher side of the spectrum.
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Leatt AirFlex Hybrid Pro - Technical details
The AirFlex Knee Guard Hybrid Pro uses Leatt’s recent AirFlex impact gel tech to provide a slim and lightweight option that’s big on protection. Boosting protection are two hard-sliding plates that have been included to help the pad deflect energy upon impact.
It’s not just about the knee pad itself, as Leatt has been rather smart and has included an extra slither of protection above the main pad to help protect against strikes with handlebars.
All of this is built into a soft-touch fabric sock which uses a combination of Leatt’s MoistureCool and AirMesh wicking fabrics. They feature a pre-curved tailored design and a stretch material that helps the pad conform to the knee and the surrounding areas.
That sock then comes with silicone grippers at the top, and the AirFlex pad is cupped to help keep the knee guard in place.
On Leatt’s protection score, the AirFlex Hybrid Pro sits at a respectable 14 out of 25. In other terms, they’re certified to EN1621-1 certification.
Leatt AirFlex Hybrid Pro - Performance
Generally, there’s an awful lot to like about the AirFlex Knee Guard Hybrid Pro simply because they do a lot very well. Firstly, the coverage of the AirFlex impact protection is spot on. All of the important parts are covered and coverage stretches down the shin. The protector at the very top is also a great inclusion, offering coverage against any rare, but possible knocks to the upper knee or lower parts of the thigh. I’m a fan of the small hard shells, too, as they add some abrasion resistance and extra protection.
I've taken a number of tumbles in this pad and the protection levels are brilliant, especially for its slim size. One crash was a somewhat gentle low-side, where I happily got up and rolled away. The other featured a front-wheel washout where I landed knee-first directly onto some loose but very sharp shale at a reasonable speed. Where my monosuit was torn to shreds, the kneepad only showed light scratching and my knee was fine. Having essentially shrugged off this spill, I've been given a lot of faith in the AirFlex Hybrid Pro's protective qualities.
The AirFlex pad lives up to its name, too, as it is pretty flexy. It also gets bendier with the application of body heat which makes them very comfortable, especially out on a long ride.
The fit is very good, too. I tested them in medium, my chosen size for all pads and I can’t complain. There are no tight are loose spots. The pad stretches fairly far up the thigh which is great for the security of the pad and eliminates the chance of a knee pad gap. And with the great fit, comes great stability because they stay in place. Granted, the silicone gripper does tend to slip, but all of the protective elements stay put, which makes the slippy silicone more than forgivable.
There is one thing that holds the AirFlex Hybrid Pro back from being the perfect lightweight knee guard and that’s the lack of moisture-wicking and airflow, which is an unfortunate downside to an otherwise excellent piece of protection. Although, in cooler conditions, they make for a top choice.
Leatt AirFlex Hybrid Pro - Verdict
As far as lightweight knee guards go, at £130, the Leatt AirFlex Hybrid Pros are up there in terms of pricing. POC’s VPD System Lite knee pads are £10 cheaper but Leatt’s offering comes up trumps as it does everything better than the VPD System Lite. They are more comfortable, offer more coverage and are more stable on the knee.
Though, they have some serious competition from G-Form’s Pro Rugged 2 knee pads. At just £83, they offer a similar level of protection but deal with airflow and sweat much more effectively. They might not look as sleek as The AirFlex Hybrid Pro, but they are a more capable all-around pad.
If coverage, comfort and protection are what you’re looking for in a knee pad, the Leatt Air Flex Hybrid Pro knee pad does an excellent job, ticking all three of those boxes. However, they can get warm and a touch sweaty.