I’m a sucker for new technology, and when that technology comes in the form of a new style of knee pads…well, I’m still a sucker. CL-7 sent us a pair of their Redbacks Knee Pads which work well with any work pants or trousers that have knee pockets. While Blaklader has the market all but locked up in the U.S., the European market has several companies to choose from. These knee pads came all the way from Northamptonshire in the UK.
Above all, these knee pads look different from any other we’ve seen. Most pads are gel-filled creations in various configurations and shapes, but the Redbacks Knee Pads are decidedly unique. They utilize a leaf spring cushioning system that literally distributes weight in both horizontal planes when you apply pressure to the middle.
A Unique Shape and Design
More than just flexible in design, the honeycomb shape of the Redbacks Knee Pads can actually be customized or cut to fit into smaller compartments. The end result is that these pads come in one size for all applications. I liked the naturally curved shaped of the pads and try squeeze easily to fit them into a knee pocket.
Testing and (Ab)use
For testing we used a pair of Blacklader 1630 8 ounce Bantam pants and compared the Redbacks Knee Pads to both the Blaklader standard 4011 knee pads and their premium Cordura reinforced pads.
So how do you test knee pads? Twenty drops in a row-straight onto concrete with your knees. I’m 40 years old, so that’s a high risk move by any standards. Still, anything for the sake of the test!
My results were fairly conclusive. The Redbacks softened the blow considerably. Amazingly, in fact-though the Blaklader Cordura gel pads did equally well. That’s not to say there weren’t clear observable differences. For one, the Redbacks felt more solid. They weren’t uncomfortable, just more substantial, so that I didn’t feel as if I was wearing them out with each impact. They tended, in the Bantam pants at least, to slip downward slightly-just far enough to make me uncomfortable. It felt like the next kneel could result in a very sensitive part of my body coming into contact with the ground-but that never happened. The Blaklader Cordura reinforced pads had a bit more “stickiness” in the knee pocket of the work pants.
There are a couple of ways in which I feel the Redbacks Knee Pads are truly a superior style of knee pad. For one, they provide a certain level of penetration protection not found in gel-based pads. The integrated leaf spring provides a solid barrier that stands at least a chance of deflecting a fastener, though it won’t stop anything really rigid and sharp. Also, the Redbacks are dry cleanable, washable, and completely waterproof. You don’t even have to remove them from your work pants when you throw them in the wash! We tested this out, and I have to say it’s one of the most advantageous qualities of the pad—they wash with your pants.