The Best Knee Braces for Running & Support Reviewed

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Searching for Knee Braces? Take a look at the best knee support braces of 2017, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying them online or in a store.

Injuries are an unfortunate fact of life. Participate in any sport long enough and injuries (hopefully mild ones) will undoubtedly strike at some point. Running is no different. Put enough wear and tear on your legs and sometimes you will end up with an injury.

Injuries can be extremely frustrating in that they are not only painful, but the eliminate or reduce your capacity to take part in the sport you love. Some injuries (chronic ones) can even nag you for years. There are a lot of different injuries that can occur and hit many different parts of your body. Today we’re going to focus on knees however. If you have knee issues you know how challenging it can be to maintain a running regime with these type of problems.

Last Updated: May 2, 2017

We have taken some time to do a bit of research into just what makes a good knee brace for running. While conducting our research, we have come up with quite a bit of helpful information, which we have added to this buying guide.

Additionally, we looked into some of the questions and concern many others had when looking at braces for themselves. As a result, we have put together a selection of frequently asked questions that we hope will help you in your search.

Neo G VCS Advanced Brace
  • Neo G VCS Advanced Brace
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 2 point hinge system on each side
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Ultra Flex Open Patella Brace
  • Ultra Flex Open Patella Brace
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Open Patella design
  • Price: See Here
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McDavid Compression Sleeve
  • McDavid Compression Sleeve
  • 4 out of 5
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  • Anatomical design with seamless back
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10 Best Knee Braces

 

Mueller Jumper’s Knee Strap

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Our number 1 pick is from Mueller. Comes in seven different colors bucking the convention that all braces must be black. A great pickup for anyone trying to deal with tendonitis this strap is small, lightweight, and easy to wear, making it/them an ideal for runners. A great choice in lieu of a full support knee brace.
Pros
  • Available in 7 different colors
  • Strap is fully adjustable, comfortability is good
  • Fits a wide range of knee sizes
  • Extremely well reviewed
  • Helps with patellar tendon issues as well as osgood-schlatter’s disease
  • Very budget friendly
Cons

Obvious coverage limitations when compared to full brace

Neo G Medical Grade VCS Advanced

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For those who need some high grade support and stabilization look no further than the Neo G Advanced Hinged Brace. This is specially designed to provide optimum support and stabilization to the knee. It can be a great aid for arthritis or a simple fallback for runner’s knee. The hinge system ensures your leg stays in a relatively consistent range of motion, this greatly reduces the odds of pulling or tearing something. The neoprene material is perfect to provide a bit of heat for sore joints and best of all this brace can be worn on either knee.
Pros
  • Helps with stabilization and patellar tracking
  • Two point geared hinge provides a lot of support
  • Reinforced Patellar gap
  • Made from durable high quality material
Cons
  • A bit more expensive

TuffBrace Athletics Knee Support

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In terms of a full coverage brace it’s tough to find one that is more compact and less intrusive than the TuffBrace. Coming in at a very reasonable price point the Tuffbrace has a perforated, thin, and malleable feel for maximum breathability. The velcro straps mean you can play with the compression level until you hit the sweet spot. Add in an open patella design and you’ve got yourself a top shelf knee brace good for just about any use — none the least of which is running.
Pros
  • Open patella design, reduces pressure on the knee
  • Excellent price-to-value ratio
  • Essentially waterproof
  • Great for post surgical recovery
Cons
  • sizing runs a bit small

McDavid Reversible Neoprene Knee Support

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Runner’s knee got you down? Fight back with the McDavid Neoprene support brace. This is a simply designed and easy to use sleeve that slides over your knee, improving blood flow, stabilization, and offering a bit of support. In terms of neoprene sleeves this is the de facto brace. It’s seamless so you can expect a smooth and comfortable fit. All in all its a good way to get a handle on stiff and sore knees.
Pros
  • Fits left or right knee, versatile
  • Made from durable nylon
  • 5 stitch construction does not stretch or fray easily
  • Latex-Free
  • Anatomical design, fits comfortably
Cons
  • Tends to slip if not sized perfectly

EzyFit Knee Brace Support Dual Stabilizers & Open Patella

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A great knee brace for folks suffering from ACL or Meniscus injuries, the Ezyfit Brace is a full coverage knee brace made from classic neoprene material. This brace features a gap for your patella to stick out, and generally conforms to your body making you forget you’re wearing a brace at all. Made to last the EzyFit comes in three handy sizes.
Pros
  • Non-slip silicone strips at the top and bottom of the brace ensure it stays in place
  • Does not restrict range of motion
  • Velcro straps for a snug fit
  • Breathes well and is easy to wash
Cons
  • Lacks some patellar stability

Ipow Fully Adjustable Jumpers’s Knee Patellar Tendon Support Strap Band

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While not a full on brace the Ipow Support Strap acts as a buffer between the point where the tendon meets the tibia. This buffer can go a long way toward alleviating pain for many types of patella-related issues. A great stabilizer, this strap provides support where you need it but doesn’t constrict your normal movement either.
Pros
  • Adjustable design, can be amended to fit any body type
  • Very soft and breathable for a comfortable fit
  • Produced from quality materials
  • Easy to wash
Cons
  • Singular use, does not provide full support

There are many things you can do to avoid injuries or ameliorate them if they do occur. One of the simplest is where a brace when you run for a bit of extra support. We are not medical professionals, but we do know a thing or two about knee braces. Below we’ve gone through a lot of the options and presented a few we feel are the best.


The criteria used when choosing The Best Knee Braces for Running 

Getting a knee brace isn’t an easy task, especially if you want to find the appropriate knee brace for you, the one that will fit like a glove and provide just the support you need. Buying your first knee brace can be a daunting prospect. With so many different shapes and sizes, levels of support and types depending on specific injury, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you.

When looking for a knee brace you will realize there are hundreds of different knee braces that are available in the market and are able to function in different ways. It’s important to get something that will work for you and help you in achieving your fitness goals and also your knee recovery process. There are hundreds of different knee brace options out there and here we will help you work out what is the best for you.

Knee braces provide different levels of support and fix to the knee in a number of different ways. They also come in different materials and vary enormously in price.

Here are all the options you need to help you find the right brace for you, whatever your problem. You can search by:

  • Support Level: Basic, Advanced, Elite, Knee Pads
  • Braces for Specific Conditions: Arthritis, ACL injuries
  • Style of Knee Brace: Pull Ups, Wrap Arounds, Hinged Braces, Knee Straps, Magnetic Braces, Neoprene braces
  • Manufacturer: Ace, Donjoy, McDavid, Mueller, Neo G, Thermoskin

In each section you can find a range of appropriate braces, find out how they work, what conditions they are suitable for and read reviews of each brace so you can find the best knee brace for you.

Level of Support and Planned Activity

The level of support is crucial. Be it support needed due to a knee injury or just support needed during a workout session. The type of sporting activity one takes part in is also very crucial in determining the amount of support you will need. Often some injuries require more support than others for example a post-surgery brace will require a lot of support to stabilize the knee whereas less serious injuries such as patella tendonitis or simply a mild ache in the knee will only require a low level support which will still allow flexibility of the knee without too much restriction.

The type of activity that you plan to undergo is also an important consideration, for example a runner with only a mild knee injury may only need a low level support that will allow them to continue with their sport without too much restriction but whilst still offering pain and pressure relief from the injury.

Equally if a patient requires a period of rest with minimal movement of the knee, a higher supporting brace will be required to ensure the injury is immobilized. Patients may also want to change between braces as the progress of the injury changes for example they may begin with an ultimate support brace when their injury first occurs and then decrease the level of support as they begin rehabilitation and returning back to sport.

Sizing

The majority of knee braces will have a sizing guide however you should always ensure you measure your leg and knee or any other area the brace will sit rather than guessing to ensure you get the size right. Getting the right size will ensure that you are comfortable and the knee brace has a great fit.

Wearing an ill-fitting brace can again cause more damage than good while a tight brace may place too much pressure on the injury and restrict the area causing discomfort whereas a brace that is too large will not offer the support needed which may lead to further damage to the injury when undergoing activity. If you find that your measurements are above or below average proportions, you should consult with the salesperson to determine what best suits you and to discuss which brace and size you should get.

Price

Knee brace prices start at $100 and run up to about $400 per brace. Arthroscopic surgery averages about $7,000, and a complete knee replacement will cost around $30,000. Well there is an option of flying to India and having either of these surgeries performed for less.

Wearing a knee brace is no guarantee you’ll avoid an injury that may require surgery. But if you buy the right brace – one that fits you well – and you wear it while riding (or skiing, or snowboarding) you’ll be far-better protected against a knee injury that could sideline you now or later in life. The knee brace is a good investment that you should consider buying and that’s why it’s good to make sure you get what suits you best in terms of knee injury, fit, comfortability and style. Cheaper knee braces are most often soft-shell braces.

These types wrap the leg and brace in Neoprene® or other soft material, even if they use a hinged knee. Rigid-style braces are the more expensive ones, and they use frames made of carbon fiber or aluminum, creating a brace designed to closely mimic your knee’s motion while protecting it against any unwanted and potentially dangerous motion ranges. Both types of knee braces have limitations.

Softer braces are not able to provide enough protection and cannot eliminate all knee injuries, but then they are still able to offer protection to the knee from a lot more damage compared to someone not wearing any knee braces. The soft-shell braces will have a shorter life, and that all depends on how hard and how often you ride. The more rigid knee braces are able to protect you knee but then its capable of while transferring a damaging force to your femur (thigh bone). Maybe, but even a broken femur is better than a destroyed knee, which may never heal completely. The more-expensive rigid-frame knee braces should last for a long time, assuming you don’t need a different size. Therefore, it’s important to consult with your doctor on the right type of brace to use.

Fit & Style

If your riding buddies are stopping to adjust their knee braces, or if they complain about fit, they’re not doing it right. Comfort and protection can co-exist. This can only be achieved by getting the right size of the knee braces. To ensure a proper fit, circumference measurements should be taken directly on the skin with the leg straightened, using a soft tape measure.

If a soft tape measure is not available, a piece of string or yarn may be used to calibrate the leg’s diameter, then measured against a hard tape measure. Sizing charts for each knee brace are available on most online stores. You can successfully fit a knee brace by following the maker’s instructions and taking some careful measurements around your knee. The manufacturers all use unique sizing methods, and the more detailed ones are outlined on the Chaparral website.

 

 

Other important factors to consider

Type of Injury

Before you decide which knee brace is right for you, you need to ensure you know exactly what injury you have. If you are unsure of your injury, you should always seek medical advice. A medical consultation will not only determine the type of knee injury but also you will know what type of knee braces is perfect to purchase. Purchasing a knee brace which isn’t designed to deal with your particular injury can be dangerous and can cause further complications and usually more damage than good. Once you have a thorough diagnosis you can begin looking for a brace which deals with that particular injury. There are many on the market which are designed for specific injuries such as ACL braces, Arthritis braces, Post-surgery braces etc. which have certain features and fittings to add support and relieve pressure from particular areas of the knee. But in cases where there are no injuries, you can just by a knee brace to get extra support during your workout session, then it doesn’t need a visit to the physician.

Below are the different types of knee braces available in the market:

Braces by Support Level

Basic Level: Perfect for ongoing knee conditions that require a low level of support.
Low cost, easy to put on & provide some support.

Advanced Level: Perfect for moderate levels of support & for reducing forces through the knee.
Long lasting & adjustable for good fit & comfort.

Elite Level: Provide maximum stability to prevent giving way.
Perfect for the knee that repeatedly buckles or following knee surgery.

Knee Pads: Perfect for reducing pain & providing protection when kneeling.
A must for anyone who spends lots of time on their knees.

Braces for Specific Conditions

Arthritis Braces: Reduce the forces going through the arthritic parts of the knee, provide support, improve stability, reduce pain. Can delay need for surgery.

ACL Braces: Provide the ultimate stability & protection. Perfect for use after ligament tears reconstruction surgery or to prevent injury

Knee Braces by Style

Pull Up Sleeves: Simple pull up supports that provide warmth, compression and basic support. Great for minor injuries and pain

Wrap Arounds: Adjustable with velcro straps allowing a perfect fit to your knee. Especially good if swelling comes and goes.

Hinged Braces: Provide good support to the knee using a range of hinges to support & offload the knee joint. Perfect for moderate/severe instability & pain

Knee Straps: Double or single straps to relieve pressure on the knee tendons.  Perfect for conditions like Jumpers Knee ITBS & anterior knee pain.

Magnetic Braces: Braces with inbuilt magnets designed to improve healing, reduce pain & promote general well-being

Neoprene Braces: Neoprene is the best material for retaining heat which helps promote healing & reduces pain and swelling.

Braces by Manufacturer

Ace: Ace stands for All Cotton Elastic and they have been making braces for nearly 100 years. Provide mild-moderate support at low cost.

Donjoy: Top of the range braces for everyday to elite athlete use. Pioneering, innovative designs. Particularly good for ACL instability and arthritis.

McDavid: Well trusted brand that offer a whole range of products that receive great reviews. Effective, durable, easy to use & good value for money.

Mueller: Another well respected brand that have been making braces for a whole range of knee problems for over 50 years.

Neo G: Relatively new boy on the block, these braces are quickly taking the market by storm. They receive excellent user reviews for comfort, support and value.

Thermoskin: Thermoskin supports are made of specially designed material to raise temperature below the skin for pain relief and healing, especially for arthritis.

 

 

FAQ

Below are some of the questions that people ask when they want to purchase a knee braces, the answers give a clear explanation to the questions.

 

Q. What type of knee brace do I need?

A. When looking for a knee brace you will realize there are hundreds of different knee braces that are available in the market and are able to function in different ways. It’s important to get something that will work for you and help you in achieving your fitness goals and also your knee recovery process. Knee braces can be categorized into four types:  sleeves, supports, stabilizers, and hinges.

Knee sleeves are sized and can be slipped on over the knee, while knee supports are adjustable and often wrap around the knee; both provide basic support along with warmth and compression.  Knee stabilizers contain steel springs on both sides of the knee for advanced support, while hinged knee braces contain hinges which allow the knee to move in a way that is close to the knee’s natural motion for the most advanced support.

Q. What style of knee brace do I want?

A. There are two basic styles of knee braces:  slip on and wraparound.

Slip on Braces: Slip on braces are slid onto the knee by placing your foot through the brace’s opening and pulling up.  This type of brace is sized, as the ideal fit is necessary for proper support.

Wraparound Knee Braces: Wraparound knee braces can be placed either in front of or behind the knee, depending on the type, and adjusted with the brace’s Velcro straps.

There are also other style of knee braces.

Pull Up Sleeves: Simple pull up supports that provide warmth, compression and basic support. Great for minor injuries and pain

Hinged Braces: Provide good support to the knee using a range of hinges to support & offload the knee joint. Perfect for moderate/severe instability & pain

Knee Straps: Double or single straps to relieve pressure on the knee tendons.  Perfect for conditions like Jumpers Knee ITBS & anterior knee pain.

Magnetic Braces: Braces with inbuilt magnets designed to improve healing, reduce pain & promote general well-being

Neoprene Braces: Neoprene is the best material for retaining heat which helps promote healing & reduces pain and swelling.

Q. Do I want a knee brace with a closed or open patella? 

A. Knee braces are made with a closed patella for those who want their knee cap to receive the same compression and support provided to the rest of the knee.  Open patella knee braces allow for any pressure on the knee cap to be relieved, and depending on the particular knee brace, may also allow for additional support and/or proper tracking and movement of the knee cap.

Q. What size do I need?

A. What size of knee brace you will require will depend on which brace you choose?  Each brace will tell you what measurements are necessary for a proper fit, as some require a measurement around the knee, others three inches above/below the knee, and still others a calf and thigh measurement.  Regardless, those measurements in inches or centimeters can be compared with a sizing chart for your knee brace to determine your proper size.  If you find yourself to be between sizes, it is often recommended to purchase the larger of the two.

Q. What is a soft and rigid brace?

A. Soft knee braces are most often soft-shell braces. These types wrap the leg and brace in Neoprene® or other soft material, even if they use a hinged knee. Rigid-style braces are the more expensive ones, and they use frames made of carbon fiber or aluminum, creating a brace designed to closely mimic your knee’s motion while protecting it against any unwanted and potentially dangerous motion ranges. Both types of knee braces have limitations.

Softer braces are not able to provide enough protection and cannot eliminate all knee injuries, but then they are still able to offer protection to the knee from a lot more damage compared to someone not wearing any knee braces. The soft-shell braces will have a shorter life, and that all depends on how hard and how often you ride.

The more rigid knee braces are able to protect you knee but then its capable of while transferring a damaging force to your femur (thigh bone). Maybe, but even a broken femur is better than a destroyed knee, which may never heal completely. The more-expensive rigid-frame knee braces should last for a long time, assuming you don’t need a different size. Therefore, it’s important to consult with your doctor on the right type of brace to use.

Q. How should I fit my knee braces?

A. This is how to Get the proper fit. To ensure a proper fit, circumference measurements should be taken directly on the skin with the leg straightened, using a soft tape measure. If a soft tape measure is not available, a piece of string or yarn may be used to calibrate the leg’s diameter, then measured against a hard tape measure.

Sizing charts for each knee brace are available on most online stores. You can successfully fit a knee brace by following the maker’s instructions and taking some careful measurements around your knee. The manufacturers all use unique sizing methods, and the more detailed ones are outlined on the Chaparral website


 

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