Best Kids Protective Gear For Biking

Whether your child is a new biker or a seasoned shredder, wearing protective gear can be a real life saver. While wearing protective gear doesn’t eliminate the risk of injury entirely, it can significantly reduces the severity of injuries and provides peace of mind for both you and your child. Here are our top recommendations for the best kids protective gear for biking.

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Does I Need Kids Protective Gear for Biking?

There is no way to keep falls from happening, but there are ways to mitigate some of the damage that can result when they do. Helmets are a must for riding bikes, but there’s a range of other protective gear, clothing and even shoes that makes kids safer when biking.

For kids who are just learning to ride a bike or are still mastering their balance, knee and elbow pads, and gloves, provide an extra layer of protection in case of falls. Toddlers are still developing their coordination and may be more prone to tipping over while riding.

Kids who are riding on challenging terrain have a higher risk of more serious injury from a fall. Gear like a chest protector, knee and elbow pads, and a full face helmet can offer an extra layer of safety.

Girl in a bike crash
Bike crashes happen but with proper gear you can minimize injury.

Protective Clothing and Shoes

Choosing the right clothing and shoes for kids to wear while biking is another way to help keep them safe (and save some skin). Long sleeve shirts and shorts or pants made from durable materials provide extra protection for falls. Both of my kids wear the Fox Youth Defend Shorts and they are durable and offer great protection.

My son is in the “I wear athletic type shorts every day” phase and it takes some effort on my part to get him to wear bike shorts when riding the bike park. The problem with these loose-fitting athletic shorts is they’re so light and loose that when kids fall, they ride up and expose a lot of skin.

Child wearing bike knee pads and Five Ten shoes.
Bike-specific shoes like the Five Ten Freerider’s have a wide toe box and grippy soles.

Mountain biking is tough on shoes and choosing a sturdy pair that has an added layer of toe protection will ensure your kids doesn’t blow through several pairs in one summer. Biking specific shoes have a wide toe box and flat, grippy soles that stay on pedals. My personal favorite bike shoes for kids are the Five Ten Freerider’s but there are a few great options out there.

Choosing Kids Bike Protection

Proper Sizing

Protective gear is only effective if it fits correctly. Ill-fitting gear may not offer adequate coverage or may shift during a fall, leaving vulnerable areas exposed to injury. Well-fitting gear is also more comfortable for kids to wear.

Properly sized protective gear for biking allows for optimal movement and flexibility. As much as I love and use hand-me-downs, gear that is too large or too small can restrict movement and hinder a child’s ability to control their bike, increasing the risk of accidents. Hand-me-downs are great, as long as they fit.

Toddler wearing Zippy Roos gloves.
Proper fitting bike protection for kids is a must!

Can I Buy Used Gear?

Absolutely – as long as it fits your kid, and it’s free from defects. Helmets are one piece of gear that I always buy new because it’s hard to know what kind of life a used helmet had. I have had great success finding used bike gear at local outdoor gear consignment shops as well as online marketplaces.

With used gear you will want to inspect it for signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or weakened straps. If the pads show significant wear or damage, it’s best not to use them, as they may not provide adequate protection in case of a fall.

Keep in mind that older pads may not offer the same level of protection as newer models with advanced technology and materials. Consider the age and condition of the pads when assessing their suitability for use.

Kids Biking Knee Pads

7iDP Transition Knee Pads

The 7iDP Kids Transition Knee Pad is a very affordable, lightweight compression-type knee pad. The 7iDP Youth Transition Knee Pad is step up from the Kids version with a breathable mesh panel in the back and silicone grip to keep the compression pads from slipping down.

Sizing is consistent across both types of pads. The size small/medium fits 10.5″ – 12.5″ upper thighs and the large/xl fits 12.5″ – 14″. My 7 year old wears the small/medium and they fit her skinny legs well.

The kids small fits most 2-3 year olds, some of the best tiny pads out there!

Fox Launch Knee Pad

Girl wearing Fox Launch knee pads
Fox Launch Knee Pads are very adjustable and fit even the skinniest of legs.

Fox Launch Knee Pads are a slip on full coverage pad which extends down the shin. The material is breathable and my son often wears these pads for a full 6 or 7 hour bike park day. The sizing is Youth One Size, which fits an 11″-12″ upper thigh. The top is adjustable with a hook and loop velcro closure.

G-Form Knee Pad

Girls wearing G Form knee and elbow pads.
G-Form Youth Knee Pads and Elbow Pads

The G-Form Youth Knee Pad is an affordable, low profile knee pad for kids. My daughter benefited from these pads when she was new to pedaling. In the bike park, they don’t offer as much protection as the 7iDP or Fox pads.

G-Form Toddler Knee Pads come in size small/medium which fits a 7″ – 9.5″ thigh and large/extra large for a 9″ – 11.5″ thigh. These pads are truly toddler and little kid size. My daughter outgrew at age 6.

G-Form Youth Knee Pads are offered in size small/medium for a 10″ – 12″ thigh or large/xl for a 12″ – 14″ thigh.

Bonus – if these are too big, they are relatively easy to toss a quick stitch into so they stay up on skinny legs.

Woom Neebows Pad

Woom Neebows Pads are a soft, slip on style pad with silicone grippers on the thigh to help keep them in place. These are great for every day neighborhood biking and mellow trails.

Size small fits a 9.5″ – 11″ thigh, medium fits 11.5″ – 12″ and large fits a 12″ – 13″ thigh. In my opinion these run on the big side. The padding is also a bit square and boxy. My daughter says, “the knees don’t bend very well”.

Kids Biking Elbow Pads

7iDP Transition Elbow Pads

We really like the 7iDP Transition Elbow Pads because they stay up and they don’t restrict elbow bending movement. Same as the 7iDP Transition Knee Pads, they come in kids (little kids) and youth (big kids) sizes. My petite 10 year old wears the youth size small/medium and they don’t slip down.

The Youth version is a little beefier and great for mountain biking, bike park or jumps. The Kids version is pared down and better for every day cycling or gentle trails.

Fox Launch Elbow Pad

Fox Launch Elbow Pads are really awesome, full coverage pads for older (6+ years old) kids. They come in one youth size that is for age 6-14. There is a velcro strap at the top of the pad which makes these fairly adjustable for size. My 10 year old wears these and they are a perfect fit.

Fox Pee-Wee Elbow Pad

Girl wearing Fox Pee Wee elbow pads.
Fox Pee-Wee Elbow Pads fit my 6 year old perfectly.

The Fox Pee-Wee Elbow Pads are my favorite toddler and little kid elbow pads. They come in one size, which fits toddlers approximately to age 5. The design is simple and the two velcro straps make these highly adjustable, and they can easily fit over a long sleeve shirt or jacket.

These are tough enough pads for real mountain biking but also great for neighborhood cycling, scootering, skateboarding – anywhere that falling is inevitable.

G-Form Elbow Pad

The G-Form Elbow Pads are just like the knee pads, but designed for elbows. TMM Team Member Jami uses these on her kiddos for trail riding, only downside as they are sometimes pretty long on the little arms and turn into full sleeves which can get warm on hot days.

The G-Form Toddler Pro-X3 Elbow Guard is one size and recommended age range is 2-5 years old. The G-Form Youth Pro-X3 Elbow Guard comes in a small/medium fitting a 8″-9.5″ biceps and a large/extra large fitting 9.5″-11″ biceps.

Jami feels like the size chart is pretty accurate, so measure twice before ordering and don’t order too big otherwise they just slide down.

Kids Chest And Back Protection

Fox Youth Titan Jacket

Kids wearing chest protectors in the bike park.
August, left, in the Fox Youth Titan Jacket and Harper, right, in the Fox Pee-Wee chest guard.

We have been using the Fox Youth Titan Jacket for bike park riding and it’s saved our skin more than once! The great thing about a jacket is you just zip it on over a shirt, no elbow pads to mess with or back protectors to keep in place. Yes, it’s a big piece of gear but honestly my son never complains.

The Titan Jacket comes in one youth size, but with the adjustable elbow pads and waist band you will get many years out of it. My son started wearing it around 7 years old and at age 10 it’s still a great fit.

The high impact chest, back, shoulder and elbow plates will protect kids when they fall but the mesh throughout the jacket is actually very breathable and does not restrict movement.

Fox Pee-Wee Titan Chest Protector

Girl wearing Fox Pee Wee chest pad.
Fox Pee-Wee Titan Chest Pad.

The Fox Pee-Wee Titan chest pad is an inexpensive gear that offers so much protection for little kids! The chest, back and shoulder plates protect without being too bulky. The velcro straps make adjustments easy and the mesh throughout keep the little ones from overheating.

This is a piece of gear that is truly designed for the youngest riders. The size small/medium fits age 4-7 and the medium/large fits age 6-9. For reference, my 7 year old has been in the size small/medium for a few years and I think we will get another summer out of it.

Kids Full Face Biking Helmets

Our team worked very hard to put together an entire post just about kids full face biking helmets. The options listed below are my personal favorites that my own family has tested. If you’re full-face interested, I highly suggest reading our full blogpost Choosing A Kids Full Face Helmet.

Picking out the perfect helmet can take some time but it is important to remember that the best full face helmet for your kids is the one that they will actually wear.

7iDP M1 Helmet

Girl wearing 7iDP M1 full face helmet
7iDP M1 Full Face Helmet.

The 7iDP M1 Full Face Helmet is a great all-around pick with plenty of ventilation (13 vents!) and a lightweight design. The M1 helmet comes in a full range of youth sizing from 47 cm. – 52 cm. My 7 year old wears a youth medium and my 10 year old is in a youth large.

After using the M1 helmets for a full year the only con I can think of is that the buckle is impossible for kids to do independantly, especially with gloves on.

Fox Youth V1 Helmet

Boy wearing the Fox Youth V1 Helmet.
Fox Youth V1 Full Face Helmet.

The Fox Youth V1 Helmet is a great full face helmet for kids who are sending it on downhill trails or the bike park. This helmet doesn’t have the ventilation that I wish it did, so on hot summer days it gets a little sweaty. It does have MIPS though and I can deal with the sweaty head in favor of increased safety.

The helmet comes in three youth sizes, fitting a range from 47 cm. to 52 cm.

Bell Sanction

Girl wearing the Bell Sanction full face helmet.
Bell Sanction Full Face Helmet.

The Bell Sanction is our top pick for toddlers and very little kids! Even though the website says the helmet is for adults, their size range includes toddler sizing. The helmet is available for kids starting at 49 cm.

TMM Team Member Jen’s daughter has a 48.5 cm. head and she wears the size youth xs – and loves it!

Kids Biking Gloves

Besides a helmet, I strongly feel that gloves are the next most important piece of biking gear. Falls happen, and hands are usually the first to hit the dirt. Scraped, bloody hands are totally preventable with bike gloves!

Our team compiled an entire post about our favorite biking gloves for kids. You can read the full article here!

Fox Ranger

Boy wearing Fox Ranger gloves.
Fox Ranger gloves offer full finger protection and warmth on chilly November Fruita rides.

The Fox Ranger gloves are my kids’ favorite biking gloves. They are full finger gloves with a velcro wrist closure. They stay on and offer great grip without being too hot and bulky. They hold up well to lots of use and most of the pairs we own we’ve used for two summers.

Troy Lee Designs Youth Air

Girl wearing Troy Lee Designs gloves.
Troy Lee Designs Youth Air gloves.

Our favorite full finger gloves for riding in hot temperatures is the Troy Lee Designs Youth Air. These are a great full coverage glove that’s surprisingly lightweight and breathable. They have a minimal feel which makes them great if your child doesn’t like the feel of full gloves.

Zippy Roos

Girl wearing Zippy Roos gloves.
Zippy Roos gloves.

The Zippy Roos are a great option for toddlers who might need a fun design to convince them to wear gloves. They come in 6 different fun patterns and sizes that will fit even the smallest of toddlers and they come with a soft nose wipe on the thumb.

Family wearing full bike pads.
The best bike pads are the one’s that your kids will wear, and gearing up
the family is a great way to encourage kids to wear protective gear.

Wearing protective gear like knee and elbow pads, full finger gloves and a full face helmet can significantly reduce injury when (not if!) your kid wipes out on their bike. It’s also a great confidence boost for kids who are just getting started on a bike, or a kid who is new to the bike park or more aggressive trails.

Does your child wear protective gear for biking? Did we miss your favorite piece of biking protection gear? Be sure to drop us a note in the comments!

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Best Kids Protective Gear For Biking

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