I ended up ordering and keeping the POC VPD 2.0 pads. They're a little beefier than what I wanted, but will be perfect for days when I'm wearing short sleeves, or trying trails/jump lines above my level with bigger consequences (with a baggier jersey on). They fit incredible and have an amazing amount of VPD material. Like 1/2" or so of padding! They're way thicker than any other elbow or knee pad I've tried or own! Yet, it's not too thick. It's perfect. And It is VERY interesting stuff. When they are cool or cold, the VPD material is almost hard. But as soon as it's had time to warm up to your body, it becomes more like thick dough, and moves with you so well. Yet, the second it gets whacked or hits something, the material stiffens up. It's amazing stuff!
Plus the whole elbow sleeve fits incredible! And it's the perfect amount/size for an elbow pad! All the other pads are SOOOO huge, with their insane amount of sleeve that goes above and below your actual elbow. It's really annoying. Whereas these are perfect. They protect your elbow joint (the most important part), and then come down your forearm a bit, and just above your elbow joint. So you don't have all this extra material or pad on your arm you don't need!
The size L fits me like a glove. Not constricting, but firm. Plus it has these thick wetsuit like foam gripper pads at the top and bottom that really help lock the sleeve onto your arm. Pus they offer more padding protection. And it is very dense material. Not some cheap thin loose foam like most pads have. And the sleeve itself is a great stretchy thinish material that gives and moves, yet seems durable. Plus it has the two straps on the top and bottom you can tighten down, just to give it even more tightness if you want. But if you just size these right, you almost don't even need the straps. They fit and stay that well! But it's REALLY nice to have the straps. WAY too many elbow and knee pads are just sleeves and to me, those are an easy cheap stupid way for manufacturers to get out of designing a good pad that stays put! NO IDEA why these MTB companies don't just go buy a bunch of hockey pads and learn a thing or two about how to make super light, but super protective pads. It boggles my mind. Plus the prices the MTB companies charge for their cheap pads that don't work as well is insane! You can go buy an incredible set of elbow or shin/knee pads for hockey for way less than these MTB pads AND their way better! It's insane.
And then of course the outer part of the pad is made of a super durable nylon like material that seems like it will last forever. These are HEAVY DUTY extremely well made pads. Of all the other pads I've tried or own, these are at least 2-4 levels above the others in construction, function, durability and performance. A few of the pads I've bought and return claim to be CE lvl 1 or 2 and these are WAY heavier duty then any of those! These are for DH or people that want ultimate protection while riding hard and trying crazy stuff. Yet still light and move with your body. I'd say if you pedal more than you go down, these probably aren't for you. But if you go downhill, go fast, and don't pedal as much and are looking for the ultimate in elbow protection, I don't know if you can do any better, other than getting a hockey elbow pad!
The only thing I'm not too excited about is how thick they are. I was hoping to get something exactly like this, but just a bit thinner and more close to my arm, so I can wear them under my jersey, but still have a donut shaped protective cushion on the inside at the elbow joint. These will probably be a little too thick to wear underneath my normal size jersey's. Maybe the POC VPD Air is what I need? But we'll see, maybe they'll fit and just stretch the jersey a little bit. Otherwise, I'll be wearing these all the time when it's warmer weather and I'm only wearing short sleeve shirts or jerseys. Or I can put on my slightly larger jersey and these and my chest/back protector when attempting crazy new trails or jump lines.
Overall I'm very happy with these and can tell if I crashed hard, these would save my ass! Money well spent for sure. Can't believe how high quality and beefy these are compared to all the other pads I've tried (knee or elbow). It's NIGHT AND DAY different how much higher quality these are!