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iXS Flow Knee Pads (discontinued)

Average User Rating: (Spectacular) Vital Rating: (Excellent)
2017 iXS Flow Knee Pads
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Tested: iXS Flow Knee Pads

Rating: Vital Review

by Lee Trumpore

iXS has answered the call of the growing all-mountain, adventure, and enduro crowds with the new ultra-light Flow Knee Pad. Developed at the request of Hans Rey, the Flow Knee Pads take minimal protection to a whole new level weighing in at about 300 grams per pair, but still have enough padding for serious abuse.


Flow Knee Pad Highlights

  • Designed in collaboration with Hans Rey
  • Ideal for trail riding and enduro racing
  • Super lightweight and super compact design (+/- 300g pair)
  • "X-Matter" - high impact absorption, energy absorbing, open cell, slow rebound foam compound
  • 360° all-around, breathable, moisture wicking, anti-bacterial"AeroMesh" material
  • Tear resistant and stretchable Kevlar knee cover
  • "KneeGusset" integrated horse shoe formed pad to prevent rolling and to spread impact force
  • "LoopLock" fasteners for maximum security, adjustability, and quick decompression
  • Silicone cuffs for a non-slip, no creep fit
  • MSRP $70

Initial Impressions

It’s immediately obvious that the Flow Knee Pads were designed with the bare minimum in mind. Any material that was not deemed absolutely essential was removed, leaving a light, soft, and flexible pad that can be rolled up and stored almost anywhere. They're so compact, in fact, that we often travel with ours stuffed in our shoes. At first we thought they might be a bit too soft for serious impacts because the squishy padding material is highly pliable and flexible when compared to traditional rigid knee cups. However, banging the X-Matter foam on the ground elicited a loud, almost plastic sound as the material firms up considerably when struck hard. Wearing the pads and hitting them a few times with our pedal wrench, we never would have known otherwise that there wasn’t some sort of rigid material over our knees. Lightweight but packing a seemingly heavyweight punch, we felt a lot more confident taking these out on serious trails after a little experimentation.

On The Trail

There is no side or upper-leg padding on the Flow Knee Pads, and the material in these areas has been reduced to the lowest possible practical level. While they will never offer as much protection as iXS’s other pads, such as the Carve or Dagger, they are far lighter and more comfortable. So much so that they quickly became our go-to pads as the Spring and Summer temperatures pushed well into the 90’s. Even on primarily XC rides where we’d usually debate bringing pads or not, we almost always chose to wear the Flow Knee Pads.


The fit is fantastic and the light, breathable design never left us overheating or pushing them awkwardly down to my ankles like some of our bulkier pads. They stayed in place both while riding and occasionally crashing, with the latter never leaving us wishing for more pad coverage. That said, these are not DH pads, and there certainly comes a point where the available protection gets questionable.  Ultimately that’s a decision for the end user. Bump up to a traditional knee cup for added security or use the Flow Knee Pads for an almost-not-there fit at the expense of all-out protection. For us, we’ve opted for the Flows almost exclusively as the padding that is there is in the most important spot and is impressively capable of taking care of severe impact - pointy, blunt, or otherwise. We're currently on an eight week trip in the Alps covering the World Cup and Enduro World Series while getting in as much riding as possible, and these are the only pads we packed.

Things That Could Be Improved

As much as we love the fit, feel, and ventilation of the Flow Knee Pads, we found it annoying that we still have to remove our shoes to take them on and off.  For their intended purpose, the Flows are well on their way to 5-star material, but we think a pad aimed straight at the heart of the enduro/all-mountain movement really needs to be able to be taken on and off quickly while still wearing our shoes.


Long Term Durability

We’ve used these almost exclusively for three months and they really do look as good-as-knew. The seams are still tight and the LoopLock straps grip securely with no obvious signs of wear or fraying despite frequent washings. The knee cup portion of the Flow Knee Pads utilizes a slightly tougher Kevlar material that has done a good job preventing abrasions and tears despite our best efforts to destroy them while crawling around rocks on our knees taking photos between the inevitable crash or two. Despite their lightweight appearances, these pads are built to take some abuse.

What’s The Bottom Line?

If you're in the market for a minimalist knee pad with protective qualities on a similar level as traditional knee cups, but with far less bulk and weight, we’d suggest giving the iXS Flow Knee Pads a serious look. For the all-mountain warrior, aspiring Hans Rey style adventurer, hardcore enduro racer, or skinny jean dirt jumper, these pads are right on the money.

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About The Reviewer

Lee Trumpore has been riding bikes for more than 20 years on just about every material and technology the bike industry has come up with. In more than a decade of professional DH racing, Lee won a Collegiate National Championship and was a mainstay at major North American races as well as occasionally snagging a last page result in the World Cup series. Testing prototype components and suspension setups was common during his racing days. He has a smooth, light style on the bike even while holding it wide open. An East Coast native, his favorite trails are fast and flowing technical descents with as many corners as possible and just enough moisture to keep things interesting. Nowadays, rather than racing the clock, he'd rather enjoy a rad descent after a hard pedal to the top. A closet nerd with a Master's degree in education policy Lee currently lives in Taipei, Taiwan where he splits his time teaching mathematics to the next generation of computer geniuses and behind the lens as a photo mercenary for VitalMTB and other industry clients.

Comfortable, all-day protection

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Can pedal with them, they stay in place, comfortable, not too hot, protection is good.

The Bad:

Could maybe have more side protection? Really reaching here...

Overall Review:

These were my 4th set of knee pads in the last 6 or so years and every time I always had the same complaints: Knee pads are uncomfortable to pedal in, they slip down my leg if I ignore the pinching while pedaling, and when I do fall on them, they slide around and my knees get bashed up anyway. Enter the IXS Flow knee pads. Not only do they address all of my previous complaints regarding knee pads, but they also stay cool on hot days, are super comfortable to wear ( I often forget they are on) and they do a formidable job of protecting my knee when I do fall. I was worried about only having one strap, especially during falls, but for whatever reason, maybe the silicon band on the inside, they stay in place. I was also worried that the silicon band would pull my leg hair, but I've never worn a set of pads that have been this comfortable before. I guess if I was forced to find a weakness I would admit that if I fell at a 90 degree angle onto my knee, I'm not sure there would be much protection there. However, in my falls that has never happened and my knee has been spared much pain by these pads.

Because they are so comfortable I wear them on nearly every ride I go on, something I never used to do with my old pads. If you are anything like me, you only fall on easy trails you've ridden a hundred times, so having them on when I normally wouldn't has saved my knees at least a half dozen times this season. Oh, and they don't funk up much and wash and dry very well. 

IXS Flow Knee Pads - 1 season Review

The Good:

Ease of movement
Ease of dawning and doffing
1 velcro strap below the knee
Elastic Grip above the knee

The Bad:

Dirt can stain the color even though the pads are a black fabric.

Overall Review:

The comfort of these pads can't be stated enough. I often forget i wearing them after i'm done riding. For being a softshell pad, they take impact extremely well, they move freely while pedalling, and the pads do not bunch up behind the knees. The pads wash well in the laundry.

1 year of use - no tears, no damages. Ridden in the bike park, ridden on 25 mile enduro races, and at the local dj spot.

I'll be getting the zipper type this winter for added user friendliness.


Product iXS Flow Knee Pads
Riding Type Trail, Other
Pad Type Soft Shell
Material "X-Matter" - high impact absorption, energy absorbing, open cell, slow rebound foam compound. // Tear resistant and stetchable Kevlar knee cover.
Knee/Shin Coverage Knee Only
Size S, M, L, XL
Color Black
Miscellaneous 360° all around breathable "AeroMesh", moisture wicking, anti bacterial - does not stink! // "KneeGusset" integrated horse shoe formed pad to prevent from rolling and to spread impact force. // "LoopLock" - fasteners. maximum security and adjustability, decompression. // Silicone - no slip, no creep! // EN1621-1 Tested // +/- 300g (pair)
Price $70
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