Send Climbing knee pads?!?!?!??!?!?

I know what you’re thinking: It’s summer and not even the greatest knee pad ever designed could get me up my projects in the inferno that is currently Hueco Tanks.

The Send SLIM pad

But wait! There are places to kneebar other than Hueco. Ever heard of Rifle?

Now I know, talking about using anything other than a sleeve-style pad duct taped to your leg in Rifle is pretty much blasphemy, but keep an open mind. The folks at Send Climbing designed their new Send SLIM and Send SLIM Mini pads specifically with the demands of limestone sport climbing in mind.

Having used both the SLIM and SLIM Mini for months now, I can safely say that they are built for sport climbing and give you the same high performance as the original DownGrader pads, but with their lower profile you don’t feel like the Terminator when you strap on two of them.

Send SLIM Specs

The most important thing to know about the Send SLIM is that it has the same great design as the original DownGrader knee pads. I could go into depth about why this design is so great, but Dan Mirsky already did that for us in his review of the DownGrader. Check out his review if you’ve never tried any of the Send pads before and want to know exactly why the strap-on design works so well.

Send SLIM pad fully open

For now though, let’s focus on what the Send Team changed with the SLIM. Here’s what they have to say about these new pads:

Introducing the STRAP-ON SLIM knee pad! Designed with THINNER rubber and THINNER neoprene for an ultralight, ultra low profile, high performance kneepad with increased sensitivity for those who want a little less bulk.

ALL THE SAME FEATURES YOU LOVE, ONLY SLIMMER. The Strap-On SLIM features our Wrap-Around design for easy on/off, Sticky Neoprene plus Super Sticky Rubber! Strap it On and SEND!

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but the key difference between the original Send pads and the SLIM is that both the rubber and the neoprene are thinner. For comparison’s sake, here are the stats for both knee pads:

  • Strap-On SLIM knee pad:
    • 3mm of sticky Send Rubber
    • 2.8mm of one-sided airprene
  • Strap-On Classic knee pad:
    • 4.2mm of sticky Send Rubber
    • 3.8mm of one-sided airprene

As you can see, there’s a big difference between the two. What this means for you is two things:

First, you get much more sensitivity with the SLIM. This means that for super technical kneebars, where you aren’t worried about mashing your knee into some sharp spike, you’ll be able to feel exactly how you’re placing your knee.

Second, because the SLIM has so much less material, it breathes way better. While this may not come into play on your winter bouldering trip, it certainly does when you’re 80 feet up a pitch in the summer heat.

But don’t take my word for it. Let Send athlete, Rifle veteran, and kneebar enthusiast Dan Mirsky tell you what he thinks.

Enter Dan…

Sport climbers rejoice! The awesome folks at Send Climbing listened to those of us that know a thing or two about throwing in knee bars on slippery angular limestone while crawling your way up 100+ foot sport climbs on 90 degree days in places like Rifle Mountain Park. Their solution is the new Send SLIM strap-on knee pad.

Matt Pincus climbing on Hand Me the Canteen Boy 5.12d in Rifle, CO | Photo: Edwin Teran (@edwinteran)

Don’t get me wrong: I have used original Send DownGrader pads in the full sized and mini editions, on both sport routes and boulder problems and they work great. But just like with the four pairs of climbing shoes I have in my daily kit, it’s all about having the right tool for the job.

When I am in Hueco putting knee against an iron hard syenite spike, I want the body armor thickness of OG DownGrader pad so I don’t wind up with a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my thigh.

However, on soft soapy limestone, sensitivity is the name of the game. When I’m Houdini kneebarring on routes like Tom Foolery 5.14b/c on a nonexistent foot and to an even less existent knee smear, if I can’t feel what I am doing, well, to quote Kurt Smith, “You’re out of there!” It’s instances like these that the thinner Send SLIM Strap-on is my tool of choice.

Now, we’ll pump the brakes for a second. I realize I might be getting ahead of myself here, so let’s back up for a second and start by answering the first question all you sport climbing kneebar fanatics are asking. Yes, I use strap-on knee pads for sport climbing, and yes they work just as well as your tried and true sleeve-style pad.

There, I said it. The Send SLIM pads are awesome, and I waste 3,000% less duct tape using them. With the Send SLIM pads, I now don’t have to make biweekly trips to Lowes to buy “the good duct tape” and I have been able to re-allocate both my duct tape budget and my lady Bic leg-hair shaving razor budget on more useful things, like more IPA’s…

Seriously though, the Send SLIM pads work great. In a previous review, I went into detail about the smart Wrap-Around design of the Send Pads. I’m not going to recap it all here, but suffice it to say this design allows you to get the pad snug to your leg without being debilitated by the straps digging into your femoral artery.

The back side of the Send SLIM Mini

I do, however, want to highlight one feature that really comes into play when you are kneebarring multiple times over a 150-foot sport pitch in the summer heat and that’s the perforated Airprene interior. This material, which is a standard on all the Send pads, breathes extremely well, which lets it maintain friction on your thigh. I am not saying that you won’t develop some thigh sweat, but that’s what you get for wrapping your leg in the middle of July.

What I am saying is that despite your swamp leg, due to its intelligent design and increased breathability, the Send SLIM will not be down around your ankle when you are clipping the chains. If you don’t believe me or just really love pulling out your leg hair, feel free to put a turn or two of duct tape around the top of your pad. You don’t need to and Send doesn’t recommend it, but hey sometimes old habits die hard, I get it.

Get Your Knee Pads Here: SEND CLIMBING

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(Cover Photo: Matt Pincus (@mpincus87) resting on Hand Me the Canteen Boy 5.12d in Rifle, CO | photo: Edwin Teran (@edwinteran)

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