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After my son took his first spill last week I've deiced to get him some light protective gear. We mainly do light XC stuff through the woods but I would like to at least get him some knee protectors to keep him from getting a purple/green bruise in his knee again. I didn't find much locally we could actually try on so now I'll have to rely on size charts and internet reviews.

I like the look of the G Form simple on and off. He's 14" around the thigh which puts him at the top of the range of the youth sizes. Should I be looking at the adult sizes instead? I imagine if I get a size too large I can run a stitch/seam and tighten it up a bit until he grows into it?

How does something like that compare to something like the RaceFace Protekt? The strap on hard armor seems like it would be more protection (maybe overkill for XC). But maybe it isnt as restrictive because it's open at the back instead of a spandex sleeve? I want something comfortable for him with a good range of motion that isn't restrictive. Any thoughts which styles your kids found more comfortable?
 

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If you are riding on terrain that has fairly forgiving dirt then the g-forms should be OK. I would go with the youth size since all pads that use sleeves need to fit well to stay in place. But when they do fit well they tend to stay in place better than the open back pads. Order from amazon and return if there is an issue with fit.

The problem with g-forms is 1) if your son tends to take a spill every ride or two on rockier terrain they will quickly tear, 2) they can easily be bypassed by a sharp rock or protrusion from a tree. At a similar pricepoint try Alpinestars paragon pads which can be found in small sizes.

I'd also highly recommend a set of gloves. hands and knees are what kids are most likely to scrape in a fall.

A bit of bargain hunting advice: look under the used listings on amazon for pads sold by amazon warehouse. Often a good discount on pads that have been returned unused. Also, size small women's gloves can often be found on amazon for 60% or more off.
 

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The Gform can work tho we've even found their limit on smooth dirt when my oldest was 5 and got knee bruises. My 4yr wears them and they work well for him on green single track shuttle runs. The beauty is that they are comfy AND you can easy sew them down to fit and grow with the kid.

A step up would be something from IXS (they run small fyi).

I ALWAYS have sold my kids to wearing knee and elbow pads and a full face helmet and gloves. Its saved us so many times. Even before that my 3yro wrecked his face on a pump track, bled everywhere and nearly killed a tooth (no FF helmet). It's just not worth it, they just need to get used to it. It's their confidence you are protecting too which is key. Kids just crash a lot. It can be tough to get some kids to wear them tho.

You can get a super cheap Demon Armor combo that has a decent jacket with pads and spine protector when he starts to ride bigger stuff. It's not perfect but its affordable.
 

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I've got my similarly sized kid in a set of IXS Flow kneepads. They are n't super tight on the thigh, but the calf strap holds them in place excellently. Plus, if I sized them tight up top, I think that he'd complain too much about the tightness.

The Alpinstar Paragons someone mentioned earlier are a decent option. Their elbow pads are essentially just smaller knee pads, so you can actually fit them on pretty small knees if you want. That said, they aren't that tough. I have a pair that I've used for less than a year and the elastic is all stretched out and the pad is split in a way that worries me as far as a rock/stick poking through (like the gforms). Now, that's adult use. So kids mileage may vary. And they are both cheap and comfortable.
 

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The Gform can work tho we've even found their limit on smooth dirt when my oldest was 5 and got knee bruises. My 4yr wears them and they work well for him on green single track shuttle runs. The beauty is that they are comfy AND you can easy sew them down to fit and grow with the kid.

A step up would be something from IXS (they run small fyi).

I ALWAYS have sold my kids to wearing knee and elbow pads and a full face helmet and gloves. Its saved us so many times. Even before that my 3yro wrecked his face on a pump track, bled everywhere and nearly killed a tooth (no FF helmet). It's just not worth it, they just need to get used to it. It's their confidence you are protecting too which is key. Kids just crash a lot. It can be tough to get some kids to wear them tho.

You can get a super cheap Demon Armor combo that has a decent jacket with pads and spine protector when he starts to ride bigger stuff. It's not perfect but its affordable.
Our kids only have FF. Now technically the younger 2 have the Bell ones with the detachable chin guard but they don't know it detaches yet. We make them. Their worst wrecks have been the casual messing around stuff. Not even flying down mountains or jumping.

We bought some cheap knee and elbow pads we got off of amazon that have velcro straps that they use for everything except that gnarly stuff. They wear those all the time! Takes 5 seconds to put on and off, they don't have to take their shoes off. It wouldn't protect you from bone stuff but it has prevented many a scrape and scratch.
 
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