Obviously, using knock off or shitty PPE is not recommended, I mostly did this for science as I was curious. Quick and dirty write up for anyone curious.
At first glance, they look nearly identical. Every small geometric detail is visible in the knock off, but upon closer inspection, it’s pretty evident that they come from different molds.
Small details like the flare around the strap clip are absent on the real deal. I was hoping that these were from the same factory/mold as the real thing, but unfortunately they are not.
Next is the material choice.
Both sets of pads had tags on them detailing the material makeup which revealed very similar material composition. The main hard brace of the pads are made out of polypropylene, although the real Leatt knee pads have a more smooth texture, which will likely lead to you sliding better in the event of a fall. Otherwise, both sets of knee pads flex similar amounts and display very similar superficial properties. Moving on to the interior, the padding feels identical. I tried shuffling them around and trying to guess which is which, but they just feel the same to me. They even look the same. The mesh air intakes on the fakes felt cheaper and weak, but is much more porous than the Leatts. The elastics and clip also felt nearly indistinguishable to me. Unfortunately, the fakes have a stiffer knee hinge, where it made steps feel a little heavier. The difference isnt huge, but it was clear while wearing one of each. it’s fine for bending your knees while skating, but walking longer distances with these on will be worse than the real Leatt pads.
Shitty uninformed conclusion: Will these protect you? Probably, just not as much as the real Leatt Dual Axis. Honestly, Dual Axis are moto grade, meaning they are generally way overbuilt for what we are doing on skateboards. If you ride ~20mph (32km/h) and were looking for knee pads, these will likely do the trick for just 30% of the cost. Of course, i’m not a professional, I dont know what i’m talking about, take my conclusions with a grain of salt and make your own decision. Thanks for coming to my TED talk. Here’s the link.
(BTW, the “one size” is the Leatt size L/XL. If you have skinny legs these aint gonna work for you.)