Review: Dainese Armoform Knee Guards

May 24, 2018 at 4:45
by Paul Aston  
Dainese Armoform knee pads - Check Out May

My earliest memories of downhill mountain biking always include full body 'turtle suits' from Dainese. I even had one of the massive exo-skeleton-like onesies myself. But, they were hot and uncomfortable, and ever since Sam Hill came along in the mid '00s wearing soft 661 knee pads and making flat pedals cool again, most mountain bikers have been wearing that style of pad ever since.

Hardshell pads fell out of favor because of bulk and lack of comfort, but there are advantages to plastic, mainly in the way they to slide over dirt and protect against sharp edges and points that non-Newtonian foams like D30 or similar can't always save kneecaps from.

The Armoform knee pads from Dainese offer an articulated fit, with three separate shells joined to a fabric sleeve. The shells are perforated with a fractal-inspired pattern that's similar to the lightweight Trail Skins 2 pad; behind the plastic is memory foam and a couple of extra soft pads on the outside of the knee. Silicone backed elastic straps are adjustable with Velcro closures top and bottom, and there is also an extra strap which goes over the top of the calf muscle to adjust the fit.

Armoform Knee Details
• Articulated hard-shell kneepads
• Memory foam with polyethylene hard shell
• Elastic straps with silicone grippers
• Available in black only
• S, M, L, XL
• $99USD / €99

Dainese Armoform knee pads - Check Out May
The hard-shell pattern is based on fractals and should allow good airflow.

Dainese Armoform knee pads - Check Out May
There are soft memory foam pads on the outside of the knee along with an elasticized Velcro strap to adjust the fit.

Views: 3,151    Faves: 2    Comments: 0
The articulated design means the pad can move freely with your joints.


This test set of Armoform pads have accompanied me on over 300kms of riding, including shuttling with downhill bikes and epic, yes I am going to say it, epic eMTB rides. Weighing in at 470 grams for the pair they are lightweight, and the articulated system means the pads pull less on your skin and joints while pedaling than most soft knee pads. The perforated outer shell and inner foam let air flow through the pads, which can be felt directly on your skin, this, combined with the main knee shell not touching your skin, gives a very cool and airy fit.

The only downside of the pads I found is that there are a few too many hard edges, and stitching inside the pad that can cause some irritation when riding, but this is simply more of an annoyance than abrasion.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesOverall, the Armoform pads offer a secure fit, and are a lightweight and comfortable option for riders looking for a hard-shelled pad and their protection benefits. Paul Aston

MENTIONS: @Dainese


  • + 65
 For a kneepad review, why include a vid of the reviewer doing squats, but none of him getting hit in the knee with a 2x4?
  • + 23
 Plastic shells are the way forward, but can you please stop adding a pattern which will increase the chance of the pad snagging and sliding down. Pads sliding down is something we can all do without.

Every pad I have owned (and I've owned a lot of 'high end' pads, such as POC, IXS slope, 661 Strait etc.) has suffered from this and it could have been avoided with a nice simple smooth plastic cup (I currently own Fox Launch Pro pads and the fox logo on them is raised, so they will most likely snag as well)
  • + 31
 whatch out for new 2019 Leatt hardcap knee&elbow protection range to be launched at eurobike and available from Q4 2018.
We modified the former range / hardcap molds exactly according to what you said above (yes, I am a Leatt employee).
  • + 3
 @one38: I have your Dual Axis knee guards
They are best I've ever had , no slippage at all , easy to peddle in and no rubbing .
  • + 2
 @one38: Sounds good, My Launch Pro's are only 3 rides old, so might be a while until it's time for a change lol.
  • + 3
 @one38: I know this pad issue can be a bit of a misfit, but when all hell breaks loose in this violent world, a smooth pad shell will be a benefit. Leatt pads are the business and also carried by my LBC so I will be looking for them in the fall as my current pair should be ready for replacement by that time. Between your pads and a good MIPS helmet, I think my skull will be just fine. Keep on danzig!
  • + 3
 @matwilliams I agree with you 100% about pads having a sliding surface instead of material or pattern that snags and pulls them off your knee.
  • + 7
 Buh buh but it's fractal inspired!
  • + 1
 The older Kali hardshell knee pads are still my favorite so far. Hardshell and velcro, a little warm when if is hot but great knee protection.
  • + 4
 "I currently own Fox Launch Pro pads and the fox logo on them is raised, so they will most likely snag as well". Get out the sander. Smile Unless the logo is recessed in the back - then you'd have a Fox shaped vent.
  • + 2

I am actually going to do this. As soon as replacement caps are in stock at CRC!
  • + 2
 IXS Dagger FTW
  • + 3
 @MrMentallo: The Leatt knee pads were just tested by Enduro Mag and offered the least protection of all tested "heavy duty" knee pads:
  • + 2
 @sam2222: I've thought of trying these, they look pretty sweet. I have Ion K pacts right now that are amazing, but warm and hard to get off after riding. I didn't pay the extra for the zipper like I should have.
  • + 1
 @jmrmuc: you're right, but a small sidenote: even though the Leatt pads scored lowest on protection, the protection itself was still mentioned as "very good".
  • + 8
I'm Dainesse owner too, but more light model «trail skins» — it is a best knees pad what i used (661, fox, fuze and tsg). BUT resin ribons are very sprawling past six month and i no idea how to replace they. One spoon shit in big honey pot.
  • + 25
 I have no idea what I just read, but it was friggin awesome.
  • + 3
 I hate it when someone ruins a perfectly good honey pot
  • + 3
 @bishopsmike: sorry, that other reply was an incompatible laughing emoji Big Grin
  • + 11
 You just had to mention ebikes, didn't you?
  • + 19
 are ebikers the new vegans?
  • + 8
 @colincolin: most likely they are both the same
  • + 4
 @SmashedFungi: throw an iPhone into the mix and you'll have the complete stereotype.
  • + 7
 @southoftheborder: don't forget the man bun! Wink
  • + 12
 @southoftheborder: Let's conclude the stereotype
A modern western intelligent young man should work as a JS developer using Macbook, with iPhone of course, be a vegan, do CrossFit, have a beard, listen to indie music on vynils, do his own craft beer and ride an e-bike. Any mother will be happy to find this type of groom to her daughter!
  • + 10
 @SmashedFungi: i though only fat f*cks ride ebikes, make up your mind guys im not sure what to hate today
  • - 4
flag southoftheborder (Jun 7, 2018 at 6:43) (Below Threshold)
 @eugen-fried: slow clap> You sir have won the internet today.
  • + 4
 @eugen-fried: @eugen-fried: you built it up, I'll tear it down: JS built by tw*ts is the reason internet browsing today is more of a hassle than it was in the 90's with Netscape (yes, I am that old), Macs are sh*te since the bo$$ passed away, iphones are leaky surveillance machines, veganism is for ppl who've never been outside their G8 bubble (e.g. good luck with that in China), CF is MMA workout for sissies (and I don't mean queers, they're cool AND most of them have a fashion sense), indie music pretty much died in the late 80s, beer sucks -> 38% Vol. & MJ ftw and ebikes will remain butt fugly for at least another 20 years (slow innovation trickle, cuz they need to sell units every year to make the shareholders happy). Man, that felt good! Smile What was the article about again? (^irony disclaimer)
  • + 11
 Nothing fractel in that pattern. Marketing bullshit .... again
  • + 5
 I don't see why they did it on the outside either. If they choose for the hardshell in order to slide over harder obstacles, they'd better place that ribbing on the inside. I ride with IXS Dagger kneepads and feel they are nice and comfortable. I wonder how these compare.
  • + 0
 @MysticMCyclist "In a pattern of evolving symmetry" would that make you feel better and less marketing ? It's not even a selling point how can that be marketing, do you even know what marketing is ? The only thing it achieve is to make is easier to read, next time should we replace "honeycomb pattern" by "a pattern composed of identical hexagons" so you don't feel tricked by marketing ?
  • + 6
 Does anybody else manages to hit their knee on the side, exactly between the side pads or do I have a special talent?
  • + 2
 You're not alone. For speaking up first you can be President of the club. Makes for an awesome bruise too.
  • + 1
 @LoganKM1982: Oh that's a title I prefer not holding Big Grin
  • + 2

Look at those graphs. Now tell me how on earth hard shells are the way forward? Hard shell armor is more likely to break bones and bruise organs. A little snag on a rock? Never had that problem with anything BUT hardshell pads. It's the same logic as people use to justify wearing DOT Snell helmets on their mountain bike.

Or maybe, Dainese needs to get with the program.
  • + 2
 Enduro Mag (I think) did a bunch of testing and found the same results. Viscoelastic foam protectors have a lower peak and longer curve which means less energy and over a longer time = better for your knees. Hard shells slide better, but is that a good trade off?
  • + 3
 @kingtut87: I just know a hardshell can save your knee and break your femur from all that force.

I like the cap on 7iDP Control knees. It's a poly fiber shell (weak carbon fiber) but it slides and lasts. POC and Fox have the right idea with a hard cap over visco. too.
  • + 1
 Individually I agree hardshell protectors are worse. However, I see it this way: viscoelastic protectors provide better shock absorption, while hardshell protectors provide better penetration protection and force distribution. Therefore, the way forward would be what Fox has done: combining a hardshell cover with D3O (or comparable) inner.
  • + 2
 I have this pads mostly for DH, I have take a couple of bad spills and my knees have been intact, Excellent protection and they stay in place. You forget you have then on once you are in attack position. I really have not pedal much in them to judge them on that, the only down side of the is that i have found them very uncomfortable to walk with. Size seems to run a little small. besides that solid protection and quality.
  • + 1
 I kinda feel like its a step backwards with hard armor im a big fan of d30! That said this does look like a good option for hard armor! But probably the most irritating thing about new armor is nobody has anything covering full shin and I assume thats because the rise of clipless pedals but I still only ride flats!
  • + 2
 Daunese costumer service sucks!!!

Great padds they are !!

I use them 5-6 months
Super ventilated
Odd sizing/tight
  • + 5
 I kneed these.
  • + 0
 The shell you do.
  • + 2
 these are by far the most comfortable "big" kneepads when pedalling around. The upper joint is ingenious, you hardly feel the pads at all
  • + 2
 Awesome pads with panty hose mesh. Oh, that's a terrible image. Pads are comfy, mesh backing is supa thin.
  • + 3
 Coming next, kneeofoam elbow pads
  • + 1
 Just got these but didn't try them outside yet. Sharp stitching inside that irritates is true, felt this when tried them on for the fit.
  • + 0
 This knee pads are too tight !! The size chart from Dainese is complety wrong ! I bough a XL size and just dont suit me , is like an M size !! I use L from Dakine slayer and L from new Fox lunch pro D30 and suit pretty well
  • + 1
 No padding on the inside of the knee to protect from top tube impacts? Lame.
  • + 1
 Been looking to get some hardshells ever since I punched a hole through my Hellions.
  • + 1
 The Dianese sizes always have run small. Buy a size up from normal.
  • + 1
 i only use launch pads.
  • + 0
 I don’t want to clean the mud out of all those little holes
  • - 3
 It wasn't called a 'Turtle Suit'.
The name Dainese used was 'Safety Jacket'
I imported one from France in 1996, and wore it under my leathers
I think I paid just over $300 for it back then
  • + 2
 Pressure suit I thought they called it back then
  • + 5
 @StevieJB: I thought the pressure suit was from sixsixone.
  • + 1
 I still have a Safety Jacket and use it occasionally.
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