Slytech Kneepro NoShock XT Trail Knee Pads - Review

Dec 7, 2016
by Vernon Felton  
Slytech Noshock XT pads

I wandered into Slytech’s booth during Interbike and was given the dog and pony show. Instead of rambling for days in geek-speak, the Slytech representative pulled out a series of pads—conventional EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam padding, a D3O pad and their own NoShock XT pad—and proceeded to drop a metal ball on each of them. The ball bounced impressively high on the foam pad and significantly less so on the D3O insert. When they dropped the ball onto their own NoShock pad, it sort of thought about bouncing for a millisecond or two and then just settled back on the pad as if it just couldn't be arsed.

Slytech Kneepro NoShock XT Trail Knee Pad Details

• Slytech 2nd Skin™ XT proprietary foam padding
• EN 1621-1 Level 2 certified
• Sizes: S/M, L/XL
• Weight: 510 grams a set (size L/XL)
• MSRP: $150 USD / @slytechprotection

The basic idea here? Slytech’s proprietary foam dissipates energy very well, which should mean less “Ow” when you eat shit. The question, of course, is whether or not little demonstrations with metal balls actually equate to less pain when you start plowing trail with your limbs. Slytech offers a variety of kneepads—I opted to test the Kneepro NoShock XT Trails, which, in addition to having an extraordinarily long name, is one of their burlier, trail riding options.

Slytech Noshock XT pads
Slytech uses their proprietary visco-elastic padding. Think "soft when you're pedaling, yet firm when you are smacking".
Slytech Noshock XT pads
The 2nd Skin XT foam features a honeycomb cone design, which Slytech says "encourages a multi-directional distribution of impact energy."

On the Trail

While it sure shouldn’t be hard to remember to put your pads on before you squeeze into a pair of shoes, I have found myself making that error on many a pre-coffee morning. There are also a lot of people who prefer to stash their pads in their packs while climbing and only slip then on before the big descent. If you find yourself in either camp, you’ll be stoked on the Slytech’s basic architecture. As with RaceFace’s Ambush guards, the Kneepro NoShock XT Trails feature a completely open back. The pads are secured by two long straps. Getting them on and off is refreshingly simple. But do they actually stay in place? Yes, they do. Quite well, in fact. Each strap features two healthy Velcro patches and, while I had my initial doubts, I’ve yet to experience any slipping whatsoever.

The pads are also very comfortable—there’s none of the back-of-the-knee cheese gratering action going on here. Slytech claims that the pads’ hexagonal perforations also aid in improving airflow, though I can’t really speak to that as I’ve been using them in brisk to cold weather. For shits and giggles, I tried blowing on the front of the pad and, yeah, you can feel air coming out the back of them, but I think calling these (or any other heavier-duty pads) “well ventilated” would be a stretch.

Do they actually work? I’ve gone sailing over the bars a couple times since I started wearing these and, yes, they do a good job of blunting the trauma—my knees have been unscathed. That said, I wasn’t at the bike park and I wasn’t riding trails that were particularly rocky. My home trails are more of a loam and roots mix with the occasional mangling rock outcropping tossed in here and there. These pads do meet knee and arm guard impact certifications (EN 1621-1 Level 2 certification), but it wasn’t as if I crashed several times at the same speed, on the same exact stretch of trail wearing a variety of pads from Troy Lee, RaceFace, Dakine, etc. So whether or not they are 10 or 20 or 30 percent better or worse at reducing energy transfer is, honestly, anyone's guess.

Slytech Noshock XT pads

What do l like? As I said, they’re comfortable, they stay put while pedaling and they are convenient. I particularly like being able to easily remove the pad inserts when it’s time to wash and dry these things. Most importantly, they mute the devestation of crashing without being awkward and bulky. All solid points.

Downsides? First and foremost, the price is high. Pads in this category generally range in price from $60 to $100, so the $150 sticker price here is a bit of a shock. No way around that fact. Second, while I appreciate the relatively slim profile, the pads could use a bit more padding on either side of the insert. You know when you wreck and the inside of your knee smacks the hell out of your top tube or the outside of your knee bangs into Mother Earth's sharp and pointy bits? Well, in cases like that, these pads could use a bit more padding. Just a bit.

Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesVery solid, comfortable and convenient pads. Definitely top-rung gear. The price though? It's a bit painful. - Vernon Felton


  • + 35
 Not for me, the product names not long enough
  • + 12
 But it has XT in the name...
  • + 17
 Just wait for the Slytech KneeAm NoFork SLX version. 661 reasons to hold your rage.
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: you forgot 'enduro'
  • + 32
 For $150 ill just take garbage bags and stuff 75 1 dollar bills in each then tie them around my knees. Probably still offers more padding than these in paper thickness
  • + 10
 LOL An every time you look down, you'll think of all the money you're saving!
  • + 25
 xt name eagle prices?
  • + 13
 So there's more padding in the price than in the product?
  • + 9
 It's good when manufacturers are actually making money and evolve and bring great products but man I really don't see how these pads are worth the $150 wayyyyyy OP
5\10$ out of the factory
  • + 6
 "soft when you're pedaling, yet firm when you are smacking"
As a potential buyer I would like to know in enhanced detail how soft they get when peddling and how firm they are able to become when you start to smack.
  • + 6
 Pedaling is a over cooked potato and smacking is a raw potato. Good enough?
  • + 6
 @yerbikesux: I AM THE FARMER!
  • + 4
 Slimish fit +1. No slippage +2 Open back design +6. No toptube wack pads -6. Price -4. Dammit, so close. Ambushes are getting pricier too mind, but not having the sides of the knee protected is a definite no go for me.
  • + 3
 Lol at that price. I get that there will always be expensive products in any industry... but why is that PB seems to only review these outrageously priced products? Sure I could afford these, but the majority of PB users aren't willing to pay $150 for knee pads, myself included. I miss the days when reasonably priced products where reviewed for us common people.
  • + 2
 Well they also have their less expensive "one" material that also have level 2 certification. Plus, both the XT and one are available with closed back and padding on the side. The idea with the "trail" pads are that you pedal to the top without pads and then quick and simple put them on without removing your footwear.
  • + 2
 My worry would be, in the more high speed crashes... how many peoples pad has 'slipped' or 'spun' around?
These seem that it would take anything more than a direct frontal impact (how many of those do we actually encounter in real life?) I feel and sliding across the ground of any kind would cause them to spin or slide down in an instant!
  • + 6
 White shorts after Labor Day? Oh, Vernon...
  • + 2
 I actually prefer kneepads that you have to pull on and have a closed back of the knee. Who cares if you forget and have to take off a shoe? It takes a few seconds and is mildly inconvenient.
  • + 0
 Does anybody make knee pads that have more padding for that left knee than the right? I always seem to crash only only my left side. Or if anyone has any insight on why I do that I would appreciate it. Sincerely asking, no troll.
  • + 1
 If, when cornering for example, you crash that way, it could be because your natural way to turn is to the right. Riding bmx and park etc, you'll naturally spin one way and that could be the same with cornering. You could find naturally cornering right easier than left. Just a guess, I know I find left ruts slightly harder to slap than right hand ruts.
  • + 1
 Because your left leg weighs more than your right leg. Sincerely saying, no troll.
  • + 1
 Do you always ride with your left foot down, even when making left turns? That could do it.
  • + 3
 Looks good, I will be getting my girlfriend a pair for Christmas, wink wink!
  • + 2
 I am afraid to ask how much the Slytech Kneepro NoShock XTR Trail Knee Pads cost.
  • + 2
 Yo yo what up my kneepro?
  • + 1
 Reece Wallace wears them and he's does crank spins in mid air so they must be sick!
  • + 2
 that would be $200.00 Canadian dollars.
deal breaker
  • + 1
 Issue with most knee pads is that top of pad sits way too low. This is why i love the 7idp product best so far.
  • + 1
 It's got Enduro pricing all over it!
  • + 0
 150 $ seems way too overpriced, and i would never feel comfy with pads that are not closed behind the knee...thanks i'm out
  • + 1
 Pretty sure Mcgazza swore by these so i guess that counts for something
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton what size were u wearing?
  • + 0
 These look very comfy!

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