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Review: Dainese’s Trail Skins 2 knee pads offer the holy trinity of comfort, protection, & ventilation

Dainese Trail Skins 2, on legs
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Looking at the little triangles on their clever pad design, I couldn’t help but thinking how with the Trail Skins 2 kneepads, Dainese has achieved three key qualities all riders want in protective gear- Comfort, ventilation and solid crash protection.

I’ve been riding the Trail Skins 2 knee pads since mid-April, and I’m pretty impressed with them all around. They are among the most comfortable knees I’ve worn, and the heavily cut-out Pro-Armor pad is something other companies should be envious of: Dainese has created a protective cap that’s rigid against impacts yet flexible on your legs, allows airflow through its entire surface, and keeps a slim profile.

Dainese Trail Skins 2 kneepads, Pro Armor protective cap

Resembling structural ribs more than a solid chunk of material, the Pro-Armor pad provides excellent impact protection by taking hits to the standing edges of the ribs. At the same time their unique shape and the gaps in between allow the ribs to flex quite well, while keeping the pads’ weight down.

Looking closely at the Pro-Armor pad, you can see how the gaps are smaller in high-impact areas (closer to the center) and they transition from tight triangular holes into larger hexagonal holes around the outside edges. This allows for as much airflow as possible, and even on the sides the cut-outs are small enough that I doubt sharp rocks would be able to poke through.

Dainese Trail Skins 2 kneepads, side padding

Aside from the main pad, Dainese added their thin crash-absorb pads on the inside and outside of the knees as well. The side pads also have relief cuts in them so they’ll bend with your legs while pedaling or crouching into a steep descent. Despite all this protection the pads are quite slim fitting overall, and don’t look or feel bulky on your legs.

Ride Impressions:

Dainese Trail Skins 2 kneepads, backsides

I tested a pair of size small Trail Skin II’s, and they fit me very well. While theoretically I might favor pads with cut-outs inside the joints, the Trail Skins 2’s enclosed (but very thin) backsides did not bunch up at all or create any comfort issues. The top and bottom silicone grippers stuck to my legs, and the hems don’t have any uncomfortable seams or create any pinch points.

Dainese Trail Skins 2 kneepads, Steve Fisher riding Pemberton B.C.

The Trail Skins 2’s Velcro closure tabs are minimal, but easy to grab with gloved fingers. Throughout my whole test period, the pads did a great job of staying in place. The top fabric/strap did sag a bit onto the knee pad but the bottom closure always kept the pads from slipping down my legs.

Dainese Trail Skins 2 kneepads, mesh inside panels

I was very pleased with the pedaling mobility of these knee pads. The flexibility of the Pro-Armor pad is noticeable, and the knees never felt stiff or bulky during climbs. I also really liked the soft, slippery mesh fabric that’s suspended behind the Pro-Armor pad. My kneecaps will move up and down inside the pads as I pedal but the fabric is soft enough that it doesn’t irritate my skin, even after several hours on the trails.

Dainese Trail Skins 2 kneepads, light coming through pad

Finally, the Trail Skins 2’s ventilation is excellent. It’s not often you can feel air flowing right through your knee pads’ protective cap, but I did with these knees. Once the air gets through, the mesh sewn in behind the pad creates a little airspace too, so while you’re still going to come home with sweaty knees the Trail Skins will outperform most brands’ pads (especially anything with a solid cap) in terms of staying cool.

MSRP for the Trail Skins 2 is $84.99 USD, and they come in sizes S-XL in Black only. You can purchase them or find a retailer via Dainese’s website.


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Dr Sweets
5 years ago

Perhaps these new ones are better, but Dianese’s first Trail Skins were horrid. They chaffed like crazy and never stayed in place not to mention the stitching came apart quickly. I switched to Dakine Slayers/Hellions thereafter and haven’t looked back.

5 years ago

I’ve been wearing these for a month. Advantages to the first generation, mainly being that they don’t pop apart in the wash. I find them comfy but the top strap doesn’t play well with all my shorts so it comes undone regularly. I do like feeling the breeze on my knees. Just saw that they have a hard capped version coming out, might be an good pair to try.

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