Review | These Leatt 3DF 5.0 soft-shell knee pads are almost perfect

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James Vincent gives us his longterm review of Leatt’s soft-shell 3DF 5.0 Knee Guards

It’s incredibly rare that you’ll see me out on a bike sans knee pads. Ever since I had a relatively innocuous low speed crash that left me with a loose ACL and needing 13 stitches in my left knee, I’ve worn pads. In fact, in the 19 years since that incident, I can probably count on one hand the rides I’ve ridden where I haven’t worn them.

bloody knee injury ouch cut
This is why James wears knee pads.

For some unknown reason, my elbows, wrists and shoulders all escape unscathed (famous last words), but my knees continue to take the brunt of any crashes (which to be fair are few and far between, but when they happen, they happen in a big way).

leatt 3df 5.0 knee guards pads
Leatt’s 3DF 5.0 Knee Guards use a soft-shell construction.

I have no doubt that I’m doing something wrong, but until that changes, I’ll continue to wear pads. And so it is, my ideal knee pad is something soft and relatively unobtrusive that I can happily pedal in all day, while providing enough protection to keep my delicate patella in one piece.

Upon first inspection, these 3DF 5.0 Knee Guards from those South African purveyors of protection, Leatt, looked like they’d fit the bill.

Leatt 3DF 5.0 Knee Guard Features

  • 3DF AirFit Impact Foam
  • CE Certified as impact protection [EN1621-2]
  • Pre-curved 3D design for better fit and function
  • Perforated for ventilation
  • Increased Side Protection
  • Aramid Outer Layer
  • Anti-Odor & Wicking Fabrics
  • Silcone printed non slip cuff
  • Sizes: S/M & L/XL
  • RRP £74.99
leatt 3df 5.0 knee guards pads
They feature a slip-on, tube-style construction.


The 3DF 5.0 pads are a slip on affair, so you’ll be fitting them at the start of a ride, rather than faffing around with them at the top of a Lakeland pass while your riding buddies scoff Haribo. Fortunately, they’re very comfortable and you won’t object to wearing them while pedalling in all but the hottest of conditions.

They feature a pre-curved foam pad for the primary protection, and plenty of additional protection at the sides. If you’ve ever had the misfortune to catch the side of your knees you’ll appreciate this extra padding.

The outer soft shell is hard-wearing aramid (similar to kevlar), and there’s a mesh back with plenty of ventilation, including a whopping great hole right at the back of the pad so there’s no bunching up of material. A silicone lined elastic cuff works in tandem with a single velcro strap at the top of the pad to let you fine tune the fit, while the lower cuff relies on some elastic and silicone thread.

leatt 3df 5.0 knee guards pads
The pre-curved foam pad is designed to conform around your knee, though it’s quite bulky.

Fit & Comfort

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Looking for more knee pad reviews? Then check out our group test, which has 14 different knee pads tested & reviewed!

Review Info

Product:3DF 5.0 Knee Guards
Price:£74.99 (pair)
Tested:by James Vincent for 9 months

James Vincent

Having ridden bikes for as long as he can remember, James takes a certain twisted pleasure in carrying his bike to the most inaccessible locations he can find, before attempting to ride back down again, preferably with both feet on the pedals.

After seeing the light on a recent road trip to Austria, James walked away from the stresses of running a design agency, picked up a camera and is several years deep into a mid life crisis that shows no sign of abating. As a photographer, he enjoys nothing more than climbing trees and asking others to follow his sketchy lines while expecting them to make it look as natural and stylish as possible.

He has come to realise this is infinitely more fun than being tied to a desk, and is in no hurry to go back.

Comments (1)

    how do they compare to the fox enduro pads?

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