Lizard Skins Knee Shin Combo Pads

written by: J.A. Caldwell

History:

Lizard Skins is a 10 year young company based out of Orem Utah. They make most of their products in house and are very proud of it. Lizard Skins has invested in quality equipment in order to manufacture products to the highest standard. They ship products worldwide to over 60 different countries.

The Product:

The spotlight for this review is on the Knee Shin combo pads from Lizard Skins. We saw the new version of these pads back at Interbike and were impressed with their look and features. We got a set to try out and see if they worked as well as we thought they would.

Front side of the pads

Rear side of the pads

Intended Use:

The Knee Shin combo pads are useful for all genres of mountain bike riding. From dirt jumpers to aggressive trail riders to full on downhillers can all get use out of these pads. The pads are light enough to race in yet the offer the protection needed when things go wrong.

Features and Materials:

The Knee Shin combo pads are primarily made out of Lizard Skins’ SOFTCELL 6mm EVA foam that is ventilated to allow for good airflow. The SOFTCELL foam is double padded and attached to the plastic knee and shin protector caps. The liner of the entire Knee Shin combo is made of moisture wicking fabric in order to keep your legs cool and dry. The outside knee areas are reinforced to protect you from side impacts.

The inside of the knee area has extra cushioning near the top in order to prevent the pad from slipping down the leg and help absorb impacts.

The strapping system used in the knee area is made of neoprene and elastic Velcro which feels soft and supportive. The lower straps are also made of this elastic Velcro with large D rings for added support.

Fit and Finish:

The Knee Shin combo pads are created as a one size fits all. I was apprehensive about this claim at first. Like helmets, gloves, and other clothing items the right size can make a difference in the comfort and fit of a product. Protection products when not fit properly can be very hazardous and should always be avoided.

Lizard Skins put some thought into the design of these pads in order to make them a universal fit. By creating two strapping mechanisms in the knee area you are able to dial in the pads to the right size. By adjusting these correctly the pads don’t move much at all. To further augment these straps another set of straps is attached that overlap the area and add final security. My legs are pretty skinny and I was able to get these pads to fit without having a big flap of Velcro hanging off the side. One of the nice features about the way they did the Velcro is they laid it on the pads such that you cannot get poked by the spiky side.

One problem I did have when I was getting these pads dialed in was that I had the pads tensioned too tight. I wore the pads for an extended period of time the first day and managed to get a little chafing on my shins near the knee cap. Once I readjusted the knee area and lowers to be slightly less constricting I didn’t have anymore problems with this. The lower straps fit as securely as the top straps did with little to no Velcro overlap. Since my shins are a little short, I’m 5’6”, the pads did run a little lower than they would on someone bigger. Some riders that are shorter than me could have a problem with them digging into they’re ankles. They didn’t go too far for me allowing total coverage of my shin with full ankle articulation. For taller individuals the coverage is very adequate allowing for full coverage of the shin with not much left unprotected.

The construction quality of these pads is on par with what you would expect in a dependable protection item. No loose threads, snags, or fabric anomalies. By using mesh to hold the structure together Lizard Skins created a tear resistant framework for added durability.

Riding Results:

Having worn these pad for stretches of 8 hours at a time as well as during shorter sessions I thought they worked very nicely. I did get some rubbing the first time I wore them but that’s because I was a little overzealous with my tightening. Once I loosened the straps a little the pads were able to shift just a bit more and not cause any rubbing issues while still being able to protect my legs when taking a spill. If you notice in the pictures the knee cup hangs over the shin area a little more on my shorter legs.

I think this had something to do with the initial rubbing before I loosened the knee area. Your legs can get a little hot while standing around on a warm day but once you start riding again the airflow quickly cools everything back down. The pads never felt overly sweaty even after hard sessioning. I actually drove home from the park through heavy traffic in my manual car with the pads on and never had any issues with feeling uncomfortable or overly hot.

If you take a spill in these pads they help out a lot. The knee cap area is heavily padded and the construction is overly built in order to fully protect the entire knee. The cushion on top of the knee is a nice new feature for these pads this year. It really helps to keep the pad up on the knee in the correct position while riding and not allow the pads to slip down the leg. When taking a good shot at your knee the cushioned area helps to keep the knee protected instead of taking the initial blow and exposing the knee to other objects as you crash. The lowers wrap around the sides of the leg nicely protecting a majority of your leg from debris and sharp objects during an ejection.

Pro’s and Con’s:

Pro’s:

  • Pads do not overly slip or shift on the legs
  • Ventilated structure provides good temperature control
  • Padding and plastic structure do a good job of keeping objects from causing bodily damage
  • Offer a lot of knee and side protection

Con’s:

  • Universal fit sounds good but may not work for everyone
  • Like all pads, they will cause chafing if not correctly tensioned

Availability:

The Shin Knee combo pads are in stores now. The MSRP is $64.99 but they can be found for close to $20 less. You can find them for sale through Lizard Skins’ website, your favorite online retailer, or local bike shop.

Conclusion:

Upon initial inspection we thought the Knee Shin combo pads had some nice features but we were skeptical on the fit. Since I am not the largest person in the world my experiences have proven that these pads can work for those of us that aren’t so meaty. For others than are built more burly these pads can work for you as well. By offering two sets of straps in the knee area and ample adjustability in the lowers these pads are able to fit a large number of riders. The materials and features of these pads are impressive. By being able to incorporate breathable fabric with added cushioning in critical areas Lizard Skins have developing a worthy set of pads for those that want full knee and shin protection.

Interbike coverage: Lizard Skins 2006 Interbike

Website: www.LizardSkins.com

Contact information: 801.785.SKIN(7546)