This is a product review for Boneless Pro Slim knee pads.
Short Version: A great knee pad if you wear it with a knee gasket. Great protection, and not too bulky. These have become my go-to all-purpose pads.
Long Version: I’ve been rocking Pro-Designed mini ramp pads for a long time. Love them. After I broke my leg, I’ve been wearing pads a bit more for general street/park skating, too. While PDs are great on transition/ramp, they can be a bit bulky for street. So, I started looking for something a little less cumbersome for when I wear pads in those other settings.
First, I tried some of the Pro-tec street pads. They were cheap-ass garbage, that I quickly threw-out. Next, I tried a set of Killer 187 Fly pads. These were certainly an upgrade from the Pro-Tecs, but they have their own drawbacks, too. They are a little uncomfortable, and have pressure points due to their “ergonomic” design. Sizing can be a little off/tight. Caps are not replaceable. Padding is sufficient, but sometimes you can “feel it” if you go down hard on them. That said, for $40-$45 bucks, they are decent.
Enter Boneless Pro Slims. These run $90 a set (not cheap, but not super expensive, either). They have replaceable caps, which is a huge plus. The Pro Slims are almost the exact same size as Killer 187 Fly pads, but with more padding right where you need it. They are not as bulky as 187 Pros (which stick way the hell out, and also have annoying presser points), or PDs. I also feel like the Boneless Pro Slims offer more padding that even Pro-Designed mini ramp pads, which is crazy, because they are so much more compact than PDs. I am not sure I’d want to bail a 6’ air on a vert ramp with the Pro Slims, but I can’t do 6’ airs on vert ramps, so nothing lost there (I'm sure the Boneless Pros would have you covered for that). For an older skater who skates a lot of 4’ – 6’ tall mini ramps, parks, and street, the Pro Slims offer a perfect amount of protection, without being too bulky.
So, I mentioned knee gaskets at the very top. Time to say a bit more about that. For starters, I do not know why anyone would ever wear knee pads without knee gaskets. Knee gaskets perform some important functions. First, they add some more padding to your knee. Second, they help relieve any pressure points your knee pads might have. Third, they keep your pads from slipping down when you fall/slide on them. Last, and most important, they serve as sweat sponge. This is to say they keep your pads from getting too gross, too fast (e.g., the knee gasket soaks up most of your sweat, rather than having it penetrate deeply into your pads). To that end, knee gaskets are much easier to wash/dry, than knee pads. Thus, it is beyond me why anyone would ever choose to do without knee gaskets.
That said, I hate butterfly-backed knee pads. Why? Well, if my shoes are already coming off to put on knee gaskets, then slip-on pads are just a lot quicker/easier to put on than butterfly-backed pads. Moreover, butterfly-backed pads often have a few pressure point spots that slip-ons do not. Boneless Pro Slim pads (which are butterfly-backed) take me longer to put on than my (slip-on) PDs. Without knee gaskets, they are few spots on the back of the Pro Slims that can be a tad uncomfortable (add a knee gasket, and that problem instantly goes away). So, my only "complaint" about the Pro Slims is that they are not slip-ons, but that isn't a really a real "complaint." But, yeah, just wear knee gaskets. They make everything better.
I’ll wrap-up by saying I absolutely love these pads. I have been such a loyal Pro-Designed customer for years, that I almost feel bad giving Boneless pads such a glowing review. But I also can’t lie; the Pro Slims are a great product, cost less than PDs, and are little more versatile (than PDs) due to their slimmer size. In closing, if you are looking for a great all-around pad, you would be doing yourself a grave disservice if you didn’t give the Boneless Pro Slims a HARD look. I would highly recommend them to anyone.
(Note: If you're looking at the Boneless web site, you may seen the "Park Pad" listed. These have been discontinued--they were replaced by the Pro Slim pad).
Below is a clip of my Pro Slims in action a with a nollie shove-it to b/s revert over a little spine (the link this does not seem to be showing-up on hand-held devices for some reason).