Knee and elbow pads are generally frustrating for parents and kids alike. As a parent, getting kids to put their pads on is usually just as frustrating as trying to get them to keep them on. As a child, pads are bulky, scratchy and just plain uncomfortable. When worn however, protective pads will not only save both parents and children from blood, sweat and tears, they can also help build confidence in hesitant kids. Dreamt up by athletes and created using reactive protection technology (RPT), G-Form protective pads are a modern-day solution to an old school problem.
Made of soft, pliable foam that hardens on impact, G-Form pads provide the protection parents want with the comfort that kids need. At the time of this review, G-form pads were only available in adult sizes, but they now offer youth sizes! Their new Youth large size is the same as the XXS we tested and their Youth Small is one size smaller than that. The XS we tested is still an adult XS. G-forms sizing chart can be found directly on their site.
How They Work
G-Form pads essentially harden on impact. As shown in the video below, the molecules in the foam repel each other when at rest, making the pads soft and flexible. When faced with an impact, the molecules use the increase in energy to form clusters, thereby hardening the material and providing rigid protection.
*Update: G-form now makes pads specifically for kids, which are smaller and have a shorter sleeve. The XXS we used is not a Youth Large, the XS adult is still an XS adult.*
Knowing ahead of time that we would be testing adult-sized pads* on kids, we anticipated some concerns with sizing. Unlike standard pads, the nylon sleeve of G-form pads are not adjustable but are offered in nine different sizes to ensure a proper fit. For adults, adjustability is not a concern, but for kids who continue to grow, products need to be able to grow along with them. To determine how the nylon sleeve would “grow” along with a child, we tested the XXS and XS elbow, knee and shins pads on a four, six, seven and nine-year-old. While it was apparent from the start that the nylon sleeve was slightly too long for our testers’ child-sized limbs, the sleeve itself was quite forgiving and easily accommodated various aged children. Our very tall four-year-old tester easily fit into the XXS elbow and knee pads and loved them from the minute he put them on. Whether worn over a shirt or on his bare skin, he was more than happy to put and keep the pads on. While in use, the flexible nature of the G-Form pads kept the pads close to his body, thereby preventing them from becoming caught on his seat or bike when attempting to do “tricks.”
The XXS elbow and knee pads also fit our six and seven-year-old testers while the XS pads fit our nine-year-old. The XXS small shin guard, however, did fit our four-year-old and six-year-olds but did not fit our seven-year-old. Smaller in diameter, the XXS shin-guard however, was able to be used as an elbow pad for another smaller four-year-old tester. To ensure a proper fit, sizing charts for each product are available at g-form.com.
G-form’s New Youth Sizes
G-form offers youth sizes in elbow, knee, shin pads as well as compression shirts and bottoms, G-form’s Youth line.
Smooth and flexible, comfort is where G-form pads really excel. Free of rough edges, tags or stiff material, each pliable pad uniquely bends to conform to the various contours of its wearer. Unlike standard pads, our testers enjoyed wearing the pads and often preferred to keep them on upon completion of their bike rides. In fact, our seven-year-old tester liked wearing them so much, she decided to climb a tree with them on.
Getting more bang for your buck, G-form pads also protect a greater surface area as compared to other pads. In addition to the kneecap and elbow, the pads extend to protect above and below the joints, as well as the sides. As an added bonus, the G-form pads are also machine washable.
While our testers did not experience a fall or crash while testing out the pads, they were able to test the durability of the pads in different ways. From a standing position, our seven-year-old tester fell to her knees on the concrete driveway. Impressed that she felt no pain from the impact, she then proceeded to crawl down and jump down the driveway on her knees, often dragging the pad as she went. Once completed, we closely inspected the pads and was not able to find a single scratch. In the event of a rip or tear, however, G-form does offer a limited lifetime warranty.
At $60 a set, G-form pads come at a price, but worthy of the expense if you have a hesitant, accident prone child or simply want to ensure your child’s safety. Compared to other pads, G-Form pads were the only pads our testers were willing to wear for an extended period of time and are also the only truly washable pair. Due to the give of the nylon sleeve, you can also expect the pads to fit your child for several years.