Treble’s Gear Reviews: Deadbolt APEX Knee Pads

deadbolt apex kneepads

I was recently lucky enough to be asked to review the new Deadbolt Apex Knee Pads. I employed my good friend R2-Dee2 to help me! Here’s what we thought….

What Deadbolt say

Always listening to their customers and following their quest to create the perfect knee pad, the Apex pads are slimmer than the previous iteration, the Grand Slam pads to help keep your crossovers unhindered. The Apex pads have the same pillowy memory foam padding and improved, reinforced straps to keep the removable caps in place.

The caps have also been improved and are still non-marking and customisable. The casing is industrial strength cordura, the velcro is non abrasive and the neoprene and elastic are superior quality. The knee ‘pocket’ has a deep shape for a great fit.

Replacement inner foam called Rehabs are also available to save you having to buy new pads when the foam wears out but the casing is still good.

First Impressions

On un-boxing the pads, I was impressed by how light and high quality they felt. The material really does feel long-lasting and like it can take the demands derby skaters will put on it.
When I put the pads on, they felt really comfortable straight away. In fact, they almost feel like you don’t have knee pads on (which might have been why I managed to skate a jam without any knee pads on at SciFight…). By this I mean that they are not only light, but they don’t restrict your legs when you’re not in skates and in derby stance. Most other pads make you walk funny unless you’re in derby stance! These did not do that.
The comfort didn’t take away from the feeling of being protected though. A few living room knee falls proved that there is plenty of padding that will protect your precious knees from impact.
And amazingly, the straps on both the thigh and calf actually fit my legs! This almost never happens. My calf muscles are not the size of the “average” person, I guess, and I would say this is probably true for most skaters. Deadbolt have taken this into consideration and I finally found a pad that can encompass my enormous calf muscles!
apex knee pads deadbolt

How do they skate

I’ve been wearing these now for over a month and have skated in two tournaments – SciFight and EuroClash in them, as well as at our usual training.

They are definitely very comfortable to skate in, although without gaskets I found the velcro straps to scratch me a little. Crossovers are a breeze; the lower profile and overall slim-ness of the Apex pads means they aren’t cumbersome at all. These have a lower profile than my S1 knee pads and my friend’s Killer 187 pads.

I was concerned that these would twist – as this was a common problem with the Grand Slams – but it seems that wearing them in a bit and wearing on the correct leg (I like to wear mine the wrong way round!)  has solved this problem for me. I know there are some people that still find that they twist, but I had that same issue with the 187 Killer Pads – I think it probably just depends on the person, the shape of their knees and the size of their legs (and possibly whether they wear gaskets or not). Over time, I think the Apex pads have formed to my knees so stay in place better.

I haven’t noticed the pads at all when falling….. and I mean that in a good way. I get hit over/fall over a lot, and I tend to make quite an impact, but I’ve felt protected and like the pads have stayed in place. The Grand Slams (and my old 187 Killer Pads) seemed to roll to the side if I knelt or landed fully on my knees, meaning the brunt of the impact into my knee would be through the side padding, which is fairly thin. I haven’t had this problem with the Apex pads.

Ideally, I would prefer a little more material and padding encasing the side of my knees. I think this would help stop any kind of twisting that people are experiencing.

deadbolt knee pads

What R2-Dee2 thought

Like many derby skaters, my knees ain’t what they used to be and I understand the importance of good kit to protect them. I’ve tried bulkier pads in the past but didn’t like how they felt to fall on or during cross overs. My current set up is TSG Force III which I love, but they’re a couple of years old now so I’m keen to upgrade.

The first thing I noticed was the velcro – no more snagging the rest of my kit or clothes! I loved how comfy the pads were between me and the floor as I was tying my skates up; it made me realise how in need of new pads I am, but it was like kneeling on a very supportive cloud. Lovely stuff! The straps were a little bit scratchy next to my skin, but I think this would improve with wear and getting used to them, and would no problem if I decide to wear gaskets underneath (which I probably should anyway!).

The deadbolts were great during skating; no slipping, no getting in the way during crossovers etc, and they just felt really secure and supportive. I tried a few falls whilst wearing them and again, there was no slip whatsoever and I felt like I was falling onto air; no pain at all when hitting the deck!

I really love these pads; it’s hard to believe how comfy and protective they were despite their low profile. Being able to replace the padding in the future is really reassuring too. The caps are customisable too, which makes me really happy! I’m definitely going to be getting a set to keep.


You can get the Deadbolt Apex Knee Pads here or at your local reputable skate store!
Treble + R2-dee2

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