Troy Lee takes a notably three-dimensional approach to knee protection on its high-end enduro kneepad, the Raid. Its multi-panel skin is stitched together in a way that's more form-fitting than the padded tube socks you often see on the trail. The deep cup over the kneecap fits close to your skin because it was shaped properly around it, not because it's pulled tightly against it. And it extends almost halfway down the shin, which not only offers even more protection, but also helps the Raids stay put.
And they do excel at staying put. Most enduro pads have no definite home base over your knee and need constant re-adjustment. The Raids rest in just one position–the right position. They need only a single strap above the knee and a few non-slip panels to stay in line.
Wearing the Raids is like getting two tiny warm hugs from Troy Lee himself. You get the feeling that they can handle some significant impact despite their comfort and flexibility. The advanced D30 material that makes up the main front panel is flexible until impacted, and it's thicker and covers more of the kneecap than most enduro pads do.
The side panels are also substantial. Instead of being an afterthought, all the extra protection just might put the Raids beyond the enduro category. After all, they're not particularly light and not particularly breathable. But they don't fight you, whether you're pedaling or not. Even if you opt to wear pads only on descents, you'll still need to move your legs. You may even need to turn the cranks a few times. If you're wearing the Raids, eventually you'll forget they're there. And the less you think about your pads, the more you can think about the trail.
$115 / troyleedesigns.com