Dakine Slayer Knee Pads - Review

Feb 23, 2016
by Mike Kazimer  
Dakine Slayer kneepad


For 2016 Dakine has introduced a brand new line of protective gear that includes two different models of knee pads and a set of elbow guards. The Slayer knee pads are aimed at the all-mountain crowd, and are intended to be comfortable enough for long rides while still providing actual knee protection when things go south, thanks to the use of CE-certified DK Impact foam that hardens on impact.
Dakine Slayer Knee Pad Details

• 3D molded, CE certified DK Impact foam
• Polygiene odor control fabric
• Colors: black, sulphur
• Sizes: S, M, L
• Weight: 370 grams (size M)
• MSRP: $65 USD
www.dakine.com/bike, @dakine

The pads use a simple slip-on design, with a strip of silicone inside the upper elastic cuff to help keep them from sliding down. In order to promote airflow on warm days, the pads use an open back in conjunction with a thin, perforated material called AriaprenePro. Available in either black or sulphur in sizes S, M, and L, the Slayer pads retail for $65 USD.


Dakine Slayer kneepad
The Slayer knee pads use a 3D molded foam that hardens upon impact to protect those vulnerable knees.
Dakine Slayer kneepad
An open back design and the use of a lightweight, perforated material help keep temperatures from rising too high.


On the Trail

I'm pretty picky when it comes to knee pads, but this winter the Slayer pads have been the ones that I'm most likely to grab before heading out for the trails. Why? Well, for one, they're incredibly comfortable, even when climbing - there were no hot spots or chafing, and even on warmer days they're ventilated well enough that I didn't feel the urge to rip them off as soon as the trail began to head uphill.

The foam used for impact protection is reassuringly thick, and compared to some of the pads out there that are basically glorified knee warmers, the Slayer pads provide real protection for those moments when gravity seems to be stronger than usual. I luckily managed to avoid any spectacular crashes while wearing the Slayer pads, but the small spills and knee vs. stem impacts that I did incur were all handled without any issues. As far as durability goes, so far all of the seams have held up, and there's only the tiniest of tears at the rear of one of the pads that was caused by a sharp pedal pin; otherwise they're looking as good as new despite three months of regular usage.



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesFor their first foray into mountain bike protection, Dakine nailed it, creating a pad that works exactly as it should, delivering a commendable blend of comfort and protection at a reasonable price. - Mike Kazimer





104 Comments

  • + 48
 I think Dakine is really one of the most consistent all around companies out there. Great review too. Gotta get my hands on some of these!
  • + 5
 Yup, I've worn their shorts, shirts, and backpacks, its great stuff. I hope they make FR/DH kneepads too!
  • + 1
 @dropoffsticks oh! I forgot about those, my next kneepads for sure! Hopefully my IXS's will wear out quickly lol.
  • + 0
 I love their packs but haven't been impressed with a "storm" jacket i had from them, zipper and velcro went bad within a month and the warranty department was a real hassle to work with.
  • + 1
 I like their stuff as well, but the quality of the clothing has been suspect. I've had several cases where the velcro hook has ripped out the the loop-side stitching, and zipper teeth breaking.
  • + 2
 I think that their zippers on a whole aren't so hot.
  • + 2
 @plyawn and @VTwintips - don't own any of their outerwear, but don't they use standard industry zippers like everyone else (like YKK)? Did the zippers look undersized, compared to other items made for similar use? I just had a Backcountry house brand (Stoic) Gore Tex ski jacket have a zipper fail on me - and it looks undersized compared to what I've seen on Patagonia or Arc T'ryx (sp?) jackets that it would have competed with (and which would have been more expensive). My DK backpack (avy gear for skiing) is doing great (wore it for MTB for a while as well, and it survived some pretty gnarly crashes), plus the zippers are pretty beefy. My windsurf stuff over the years (really, since early 90s) has never disappointed (always been well made). And my MTB shorts have been bomber.
  • + 1
 Agree. I've never had a single issue and their stuff looks and works great. Dakine is about as good as it gets.
  • + 1
 Any reviews of the Hellion?
  • + 2
 It's be great if their warranty dept got back to me in a timely fashion. Kneepads? Pass.
  • + 1
 @g-42 I don't think they're too different from everyone else, though a lot of their clothing would be considered "lifestyle" and not nearly as beefy as some other more mainstream brands. I've never done a warranty with them, but did one with a Marmot jacket that was > 10 years old. They sent me to a local seamstress who *did* put a bigger zipper in it.
  • + 1
 They were oversized. I have an old Heli Pro. I think that there was too much play between each tooth, and the way the stitching was made it wear out really quickly. There was a point just below the top corners of the bag, which is obviously the highest stress in the zip due to the change in direction. At that point, they made it so the zipper snagged the stitching of the bag and it wore out very prematurely. Amazing bag otherwise. That slider where the sternum strap is also fell off. Bitch and a half to get back on. At least that is made by the same company that L.L. Bean makes so losing it isn't a real issue.

They also didn't give me warranty. Had the zippers replaced for 2/3 price I paid for the bag.... which yah know... was like 35 bucks since it was only 50 new since I got 60% off, and think I'm a badass.
  • + 28
 $65 for knee pads that are comfy, do their job, and doesn't look like colored cardboard? seems legit.
  • + 3
 Yeah, I'm on the market for a lighter-but-not-too-light kneepad and those seem to fit the bill just right. I'll be looking for them in stores.
  • + 1
 I actually bought these pads. I think Dakine is typically on point when it comes to details. However, I don't agree with Mike Kazimer on this one. Although I think quality of construction is fantastic, I'm not stoked about these pads and am relegating them to the visitor riding gear bin. Here's why - no matter how tight I cinch down the top velro strap, they always slowly slip down my calves right in the middle of a descent. And that drives me crazy! I'm not a small guy and I don't have small calves. If these pads had a lower strap they'd be perfect.
  • + 4
 @trimakas, it sounds like you have the slightly burlier Hellion knee pads, rather than the Slayer pads reviewed here. The Slayer pads don't have an upper strap - they rely solely on the elastic at the top and bottom.
  • + 2
 Guess you're right Mike! Tried to look for a name on them but couldn't find one...
  • + 4
 They had me at "Slayer". The rest is a bonus!
  • + 9
 @trimakas let us know what size pads you are running. Might be time to size down for a better fit. Hit us at info@dakine.com and we will see if we can swap you into a better size.
  • + 1
 @dakine, now that is customer service! That just impressed me. Thanks Dakine. I'll definitely take you up on that.
  • + 1
 @dakine, where can I find a size chart for these?
  • + 1
 Doesn't race face have similar cheaper pads?
  • + 1
 I've seen one by race face last year in a shop but I can't find it anymore on their website. Closest would be the Ambush and I think it is priced about the same. The Ambush looks a little hotter but might fit/hold better.
  • + 14
 Dakine, now that you've arrived in the knee pad game please stay a while. We promise we won't keep you long.... WE'LL KEEP YOU FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!! #SLAYER
  • + 13
 SLAYER!! \m/
  • + 1
 SLAYER!!!
  • + 3
 Haha do you even like Slayer, Kyle??
  • + 4
 1st thought: This is some kind of Slayer-Merchandising... They are some time around now and fans are getting older. It´s tough to get on your knees nowadays.
Wonder if there will be knee-pads from Iron Maiden someday (like ski or beer...). Propably made out of steel than out of "CE certified DK Impact foam"...
  • + 4
 \m/ Angel of Death!! \m/
  • + 5
 We used to have Slayer Sunday's at the shop.
  • + 1
 i wear the hellion knee pads and they have decent protection, also on the sidenof the knee as well. comfort is subjective with knee pads, moreso than elbow pads. i wear these to be able to ride the next couple days after a havin a spectacular crash. these seem more substantial in materials than most others at the price.
  • + 1
 good to hear some PB comments on these.
been lookin at Dianese, RF , 661, Alpinestars for new kneepads.
tmy LBS doesn't carry alot so this all helps me lots.
might also go w/light motopants w/inserts.
doesn't really warm up till June round here
  • + 2
 I'm sure they are comfortable an all but knee pads need to have a hard cap (either internal or external). Without this the first time you have a real impact you are going to bust your knee real bad.
  • + 1
 That's the draw here (and d3o and other hardening materials). Flexible, but when things go bad, they harden like a hard shell.

I've never used it, but that's the claim anyhow.

Adkins is one of my favorite brands. I'm for sure giving these a shot this year.
  • + 3
 I have the hard capped 661 knee shin combo paddy thing. Whacked me knee the weekend after xmas. Knee is still jacked up...

The hard cap is also what cut me from impact force alone.... .

www.pinkbike.com/video/432564
  • + 3
 @StackingItSince1991 I have to disagree. I have a pair of RaceFace Ambush knees, and I totally love them. I promise I have crashed enough for all of us, and they have been awesome. Not only have I not missed the hard shell of any of my old pads, these have less movement on my leg than any other pads I have had. I am convinced that the flexible nature helps them stay in place and not sliding down my shin. To each their own, but to state factually that this style won't protect the knees just isn't right.
  • + 1
 Sure there might be soft pads that do a good job, but a good set of pads with a hard cap is going to give better protection. So why would you go for less protection? Also, there is a huge range of hard cap options to choose from a lot of which are equally as comfortable as the soft pads. I use TLD and while you are riding you really don’t notice it has an internal hard cap….until you land on a rock.
  • + 2
 Just for clarity, we're not talking about a pure soft pad here. We are talking about a pad that hardens on impact. Effectively giving you a hard cap, but only when you need it. Just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing. There are certainly soft pads that won't harden on impact. We are not talking about those.
  • + 1
 I know these use ‘harden on impact’ technology which is better than a true soft pad –but this doesn’t mean the pad is magically the same as a hard cap on impact. The primary benefit of a well-made hard cap pad is that it dissipates the impact energy over a much wider area which is much better when you are landing on hard surfaces (rocks, concrete etc).
  • + 2
 @StackingItSince1991 Hard Caps are certainly really great purely for dissipating the energy of the impact, totally agree. In a perfect world those hard caps stay put and do a great job. My experience though was that unless the knee pads really fit perfectly (they never do!) the hard cap styles often would be forced down my shin through the repetitive motion of pedalling. This led to the hard cap being somewhere underneath my knee cap, and I would have to reach down to pull them back up. If the cap doens't cover the area it is supposed to, it quite easily can cause more damage than it is suppossed to reduce. I rode with a guy whose knee cap was displaced by a hard shell knee cap that was out of place when he crashed. Stoked your happy with your hard shells, All I am saying is that a D30 style knee pad can provide excellent coverage and protection. I have wrecked hard in mine with great results...for a crash.
  • + 1
 @VwHarman I think what you're describing is just fit. regardless of hardshell or hardening soft foam fit comes first. I have the Fox launch which is an internal hardshell and it fits perfectly. Granted, I don't think I would qualify it as a full on hardshell as its still a little flexible. I've had those old school roach knee/shin pads with the external shell and those never moved on me either.

@StackingItSince1991 What hard cap knee pads are you using? I've been moderately interested in the 7idp Control knee pads as well.
  • + 1
 @jojotherider1977 I'm using the TLD 5450 with the internal hard-cap. But as you say the fit is important - and the fit on the TLD ones are a bit weird.
  • + 1
 @jojotherider1977 Fit is king! That is exactly what I was referring to. My experience (not the gospel by any means!) is that there is less forgiveness regarding fit quality on the hard-shell style caps. If they fit well you are golden. I find they leave less room for differences in body type than the "hardens on impact" style. Also had an old pair of Roach pads when I was a younger rider. If they didn't fit like elbow pads now, i'd still rock those!
  • + 1
 Dakine Slayer vs Ion K-Lite pads anyone (for protection & comfort?) I have Fox Launch and Fox Launch Enduro knees right now and looking for something between those in terms of protection; the Slayer and Ion both seem to fit the bill.
  • + 5
 For 65$ these seem awesome!
  • + 1
 Typical Dakine. Stitching's even coming away in the first photo. Neg prop away, but every single item of dakine stuff i've owned has fallen apart far too soon.. which is a shame because I want to like them.
  • + 1
 Ditto. I have a big package of their crap product I'd love to drive to HR but then I realize it's not worth the effort.
  • + 1
 Thats funny how diferrent people have different experience. All my Dakine stuff (buying since 2000 ) are the one that last the longer and never break. After 10 years of abusing my helipro bag each day ( and even worst on the week-end),the zipper broke but every thing else was still A1 on the bag. Ive got shorts, shirts, even snowboard gloves for years and i know that everything will be as good as new for another 5 years !
  • + 1
 "The foam used for impact protection is reassuringly thick, and compared to some of the pads out there that are basically glorified knee warmers... "

Which are the other pads you write of, so that I might avoid them?
  • + 1
 I would guess g-form and similar. I've never wanted to try those because they look so thin.
  • + 1
 Not to mention the g-forms are kind of strange looking...

Fox and 661 have lighter pads. Are they any good?
  • + 1
 Raceface slide on version any good?
  • + 2
 i have 661 knee pads, i'll be getting these @TheR
  • + 2
 I used the gform for a while; seemed like reasonable protection for how light they were, but pretty minor coverage. Yes, they feel like legwarmers instead of knee pads. But for abrasion with no serious impact, probably OK. I went to something a little beefier (POC VPD 2.0), partially because I wanted more protection, partially because the gform were too tight on me (XL - should have gotten XXL, it turns out - thick calves - but then again, the top already didn't stay up that well, so maybe that wouldn't have helped). Considered Fox Launch Enduro - but those also seemed more like abrasion rather than impact protection.
  • + 2
 I've given my gforms a solid workout (knees and elbows) and never had an issue banging into rock. They harden up just like the review ones so the technology either works or it doesn't. I don't think they've ever claimed to be any more than trail pads. I wouldn't rely on either for more serious DH tracks.
  • + 2
 Not a huge pad guy.
Knee/leg warmers are great mud condoms. I think of them as tear-offs to help keep my car clean on the drive home.
Gforms add enough protection for most of my riding, and they have that sick American Gladiator / soft rugby helmet / future look to them.
I have these Dakines too, they feel much more like real deal knee pads to me. A little hot but they've stayed on while I've pedaled in them. Manufacturing quality seems on the high end for Dakine. I like them. Thanks bro.
There's my report.
  • + 1
 Are you sure this is the impact hardening stuff? It isn't mentioned on the Dakine page. you'd think it would be a selling feature you'd want listed.

store.dakine.com/slayer-knee-pad.html?cat_id=50
  • + 3
 Could be a good light weight option but I want something I don't have to take my shoes off to put on or take off.
  • - 1
 Unfortunately the velcro often doesn't hold when you fall, so the protection is next to worthless, and they tend to be less comfortable. The slip on kind are way more secure and usually fit better, easier to pedal.
  • + 3
 @teschenbrenner look at the Race Face Ambush pads. They are a bit bulky for all day affairs but you can take them off and put them on rather easily.
  • + 1
 Looks like a great product! Have been using my 661 D3o knee pads for years now but I'd love something a bit lighter and more friendly when it comes to pedaling for 4-5 hours straight.
  • + 3
 And they even look good. No neon-bright logos drawing attention to my knees. ;-)
  • + 0
 I love dakine, and I'm sure they did a great job, but the whole "hardens on impact" thing is bullshit. I used to wear g form knee pads, (which use the same foam that is supposed to harden on impact) and the first big fall I had in then broke a kneecap. 100% would go for some pads that have a hard kneecap if you're doing anything risky. The self hardening stuff is great for light stuff where you aren't really gonna be falling though.
  • + 4
 The G-form pads were shit but i would'nt write off every knee pad that uses a none-newtonian foam because of a lightweight pad made for xc. D3O and SAS-TEC knee protector inserts are about as safe as you get and id trust them over hard shell every time.
  • + 3
 I have the THE knee pads with the sas-tec foam and honestly it works ,I dont know about the others but last weekend I had a big fall over my knees and all I was left with is a bad bruise on the upper leg because of rolling after I falled
  • + 1
 I've had several crashes on my RF Ambush and recently Leatt 3DF. I'm impressed with both.
  • + 0
 I've been riding the 661 EVO D3O kneepads for a few years on DH rides and never had an issue even though they're designed for trail riding... and I've had my fair share of spills.
  • + 2
 Those gform pads are really shitty and should only be worn for xc, if at all. The foam does work when used in a more stout, better design like the slayers or POCS knee protection.
  • + 2
 I have a pair of POCs that use non-Newtonian foam as well, and they've worked as advertised. The problem with those is that the elastic has worn out - so they slip a bunch. Other than that, they've been great. Getting someone to stitch some new elastic Velcro straps to my POCs would likely cost me about $40 or so - and that's not addressing the issue of the stretch-out issue in the main body/sleeve of the pads, so it's tempting to just go DK instead. The POCs were super tight when I first got them, so perhaps I just overstretched them - bought according to their size chart, though.

These pads look really good. I'm a little concerned about the cutout in the rear. I used to get serious chafing in the back of my knees from my Fox Launch pads right at the corners of the cutout in the material there. Always thought they'd be better not bothering with a cutout - the POCs don't have one, and they don't chafe there, and it's not like that little bit of air will make a huge difference on temp.
  • + 1
 @g-42 I had the same problem with my POC vpd2.0 knee ... then I put them in the washer and they fit like new again.
  • + 1
 @SteveDekker - right on, I'll try that. Been a while since I washed them (perhaps that's why people look at me strangely on the trail?). Did you have the problem with the elastic velcro strap wearing out as well?
  • + 0
 Yeah I took them to the dry cleaners and the nice lady sewed them up for me for $15.00, its a pretty easy fix shops that do sewing and alterations can usually do it. I had to use the yellow pages.
  • + 1
 I said it up a little bit, and I'll say it again-@RaceFace Ambush pads FTW! I have been super impressed with the protection, durability and comfort. To each their own, but there are examples of really well made flexible knee pads.
  • + 0
 I actually wanted the RF's but they're kinda hard to get, at least in my size.
  • + 1
 The problem I experienced with foam pads (I am riding Sas-Tec equipped O'Neal Sinners) is the lack of cushioning. As you crash and hit a rock or a root, the foam hardens and then all you have left between your knee and the now hard foam shell is a bit of fabric. So your knee basically still hits a hard surface, just sort of molded to the shape of your knee before the impact. The molded shape depends on the fit of the knee pad but I think it is never going to be perfect since the foam is usually quite slow and the shape of your knee doesn't stay the same during the tangling of extremities that usually occurs when crashing. Now the shape will certainly always be much knee-friendlier than a pointy rock with a sharp edge but the fact that it only offers a hard surface towards the knee also makes it worse than hitting a nicely cushioned hard shell.
To be clear: I have never owned real hard shell pads, I can only assume they are cushioned on the inside. I have owned two pairs of 661 Kyle Straits before the O'Neals and they had nice cushioning between the knee and the semi hard shell. And it is my impression that those offered better protection. The O'Neals however are far more durable, provide the nicer fit and enough protection for most of my crashes. Took me two or three years to crash hard enough to end up with a bruised knee.
  • + 1
 @martn, i get what you mean there, i designed a knee brace with a sas-tec knee protector and researched both them and D30, they basically make the knee protector out of a lower density foam for comfort, but i think it would be a more effective protector against rock strikes if it had a higher density outer shell to reduce deformation.
Its worth remembering that whether its SAS-TEC or d3o, the protector inserts are the same for every pad you see with the label on (661 evo, raaceface ambush, scott grenade, all exactly the same knee insert), and it isnt specifically designed for our sport, most were designed for motorcycle protection which is a totally different ball game when it comes to the type of impacts sustained.
  • + 1
 @g-42: Late to the party by over a year, but figured I'd respond. I recently ditched my POC VPDs for a pair of these dakines (I was looking for reviews and found this). The VPDs fell off on impact one too many times, the last time my knee slammed into a fist sized rock and put me out of commission for over a week and I had to stumble out several miles. If I had been going faster, it would have been a lot more serious (impact was on the upper part of the kneecap).

I could never get them to fit. I tried several sizes and they all slid down. I figured that at least with dakine, if I don't like them, I can return them (REI sells their products). So far they are a LOT more secure and fit, they also seem to offer more protection coverage than the POCs do. They also don't protrude as much, which means they are less likely to snag your bars or something similar.

I also had the g-forms everyone here is talking about. I don't often wear elbow pads, but I do when I'm riding something rocky enough to justify it. I had them on and bashed my elbow into a similar rock the same time as the incident above. I still walked away bruised on my elbow, but nothing serious. I did hope/expect for more protection, though, so I'm replacing them.

The padding on the dakines is a lot thicker even without an impact. It's not as soft as the POC or g-form is, I'd expect that even in it's standard state (no hardening on impact), they would offer more protection than either of the above did for me. If they actually do harden, then all the better.
  • + 2
 @Adodero: Yep, I ended up going the same way, getting the Dakines to replace the POCs. Been riding them for a year, they have held up well. They do seem to get a little loose after a few weeks of wear - but a washer/dryer cycle fixes that right up and they fit like new again. Given the amount of use they've gotten, at this point I'm good with them - if they died on me now, they'd have still been well worth it and I'd buy another pair. They're still going strong, though, despite some of the fabric having developed some tears from run-ins with pedal pins and brush.
  • + 4
 I kneed these!
  • + 2
 No adjustment bands and no side knee protection? I'll stick with my Trailskins, specially at the same price point.
  • + 1
 Looks good, but I'll stick with my RaceFace Ambush pads. Can cinch them up better and don't have to take shoes off to put them on. Have more protection as well.
  • + 1
 DaKine is one of my favorite companies. They have their hands in a lot of sports/lifestyles and excel in all of them. Keep it up guys. Want to replace my 661's with these.
  • - 1
 Mikey Liked em'. Personally I've had to return every piece of Dakine gear I've ever purchased. I bought a way cool pack... but it only lasted two rides, the gloves that fell apart after a month or so. At least these aren't too pricey, The POC pads I use are twice as much, but they do pretty well.
  • - 1
 Every piece of Dakine gear I've ever purchased has stood the test of time. I like their stuff cause it's not too flashy, competitively priced, and seems to hold up well.
  • + 2
 I agree with @SteveDekker here. They must use the lowest priced shops in Taiwan. All of their crap falls apart quickly. I've had a pack, gloves and a jacket all fail within a month. The shorts I have from them are horribly fitted with a high crotch and insanely deep pockets. I'll buy other brands on sale.
  • + 3
 Rocky called... they want their Slayer back
  • + 2
 I would like Rocky to bring their Slayer back too!
  • + 0
 Love my dakine kit. Quality product that can take a beating. Not happy wirh my current 661 knee pads due to injury wile wearing them. looks like these will be added to the short list of replacemnts
  • + 1
 negative props for saying i got hurt because the pads suck? 661 fanboy must be angry.
  • + 3
 Dead Skin Mask @oliv3r
  • + 1
 Prolly my fav
  • + 2
 @oliv3r
That made my night!! Thanks
  • + 1
 Hey Mike what size do you wear?
  • + 2
 @Shadowracer80, medium - I bet that would be your size too.
  • + 1
 basic but cheap
  • + 1
 I dig mine!
  • + 0
 there's nothing SLAYER about them
  • + 4
 They're black, and they're will be blood...if u don't wear them!
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