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You never realize how nice knee pads are until your slam your knee on something. I started wearing knee pads consistently in 2015. It's so much easier to just put them on when you go to ride instead of waiting until you crash to start wearing them. Picking a pair of knee pads that fit right and feels comfortable will really change your level of riding.
I used to wear these when i'd ride. They cost me around $10 and lasted around 6 months. I bought white pads so eventually the sweat turned them brown. Falling with these knee pads on helped a little bit but they are not the best.
I wish I could find the video. Way back I saw a video of Mark Webb talking wearing these pads because they were so cheap and the got the job done. I'm sure he wears high quality pads now that he's such a big level.
Currently, I ride Fuse Alpha Knee pads. I like that they cover my whole knee and they are super flex-able. Sadly, they are not cheap. Every session for the last three years I've had these Fuse pads on me knees.
A Knee pad that I see a lot of bmx riders riders are the G-Form Pads. I see a lot of hype around these pads and It is kind of cool. The idea behind these pads are that they harden on impact. So they stay soft until they get hit. This gives you a lot of flex-ability.
I have never tried these pads and I really don't see that they can really do much protection. The pads just seem so thin with so much spacing, I think it leaves your knees open for a lot of whammy's.