Mountain bike protection is big business and a tough one for manufacturers to get right, especially those competing against the likes of Fox, 661 and Scott. IXS have been at it for a while now, and their latest crop of armour, which includes the Carve knee pads, has been great.
The Carve pads offer decent coverage, extending a little way below the knee to boost protection that bit further. Front impacts are soaked up effectively by their slow rebound X-Matter foam padding which covers the knee area, and there's low-profile foam either side to deal with awkward crashes.
The Kevlar outer cover is pretty robust and will take a lot of abuse. It's reasonably stretchy, and moves with the main body of the pad, so your own movement is not restricted.
All this protection is sewn onto a moisture-wicking Aeromesh body, which does a fantastic job of keeping the knee area cool and ventilated. The entire pad is held in place by elasticated velcro straps at the top and bottom, and an internal silicone print. This meant we had no slippage when using it. The Carve knee pads fit well and are very breathable, making them some of the best we've tried.