Pearl Izumi Summit vs Elevated Bike Pads

Travis GneitingApparel, Reviews

Pearl Izumi has two collections of knee and elbow pads the Summit and the Elevated.  The Summit series is aimed at being a lightweight super minimal knee and elbow pad and the Elevated is designed to be a bit more robust. How do you know what pads to buy?

You may have been shopping for a lightweight knee and elbow pad and seen there are many options that are very similar. Even the Peral Izumi Summit and Elevated pads are fairly similar. This buyer guide will help you determine which pad is best for you.


  • Both the Summit and Elevated knee and elbow pads are CE level 1 certified
  • Both use D3O® protective material in different thicknesses
  • Both use Cordura® fabric for durability
  • Both are the same length
  • Both use the same breathable mesh back panels
  • Both have the same care instructions, simple detergents, don’t pour detergents directly on pads, low dryer settings, 


Summit Knee and Elbow Pads

The Summit knee and elbow pad are a slightly lighter weight pad that differs from the Elevated knee pad in a few ways: 

  • Retail Price $85.00 USD Knee and $65.00 USD Elbow 
  • The D3O® Pad is not removable
  • The pad is made from 83% polyamide, 13% elastane, 4% polyurethane

Elevated Knee and Elbow Pads

The Elevated knee and elbow pad is designed to offer a little more protection over the Summit pads.  The main difference between the Elevatrred Knee and elbow pad is: 

  • Retail Price $125.00 USD Knee and $85.00 USD Elbow
  • Removable D3O® Pad
  • D3O® Pad is about twice as thick
  • The pad is made from 82% polyamide, 15% elastane, 3% polyurethane 6OD: 55% polyester, 26% polyamide, 16% elastane, 3% polyurethane
  • There are 4 small high density foam pieces around the main knee pad
  • A velcro strap around the top of the calf
  • D3O® is T+ and T- which means it’s rated and tested for warmer and colder conditions ( EN 1621-1 CE standard)


I have been riding both of these Pearl Izumi knee pads for the last couple of months in the extreme heat of the desert with temperatures above 100 degrees. These pads fall in the light trail riding category. I would not recommend them for downhill cycling.  

Both pads are lightweight, very comfortable to pedal in, breathable, and provide just enough protection to save your skin if you were to fall with them on. 

Both pads stay in place when pedaling, and honestly, it might be hard to tell a difference when riding with either pad.  The main difference is the thickness of the padding on the Elevated pads.  They offer a bit more impact protection over the Summit.  

If you are looking to save a few bucks and are more concerned with how comfortable a pad is to wear and are less worried about the impact of a fall, I would recommend the Summit knee pad. I’ve put 4-hour rides in with them on and could keep going. They breathe well and provide a little peace of mind.

If you are looking to push it a little harder, but aren’t interested in a full enduro or downhill set of pads. Or, if you are looking for better protection from the impact I recommend the Elevated pads. That is if the additional $50 for knee and $20 for elbow pads aren’t an issue.