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
By Taren Weidaw:

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
  • Price: See Here
Ultra Flex Open Patella Brace
  • Ultra Flex Open Patella Brace
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Open Patella design
  • Price: See Here
McDavid Compression Sleeve
  • McDavid Compression Sleeve
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Anatomical design with seamless back
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Knee Braces

 

Mueller Jumper’s Knee Strap

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

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

SB Sox Compression Knee Brace

Even though this knee brace may not look all that tough, it is way more supportive than the first glance gives away. The SB Sox Compression Knee Brace hugs your knee, providing stability and support while remaining comfortable and irritation free.

This brace is made of lightweight, breathable, anti-odor material, and is made to be worn during any physical activity for which you need support. It is great for running, weight lifting, or even just day-to-day movement. As an added bonus, this product comes with a free e-book from the company.
Pros

Provides 360 stability and support for your knee

Breathable and moisture-wicking

Multiple sizes available

Multi-sport use

Great price

Cons

Closed knee design may not be desired by some athletes

McDavid Reversible Neoprene Knee Support

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

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

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

SB SOX Compression Knee Brace

While searching for best running knee brace, typical runner has two requirements: protection and comfort. Nobody can imagine resigning from their favourite sport only because of injury. At the same time, runners want a good mobility and still excellent running performance. This knee support for runners will give it to you. It is very lightweight and is made of breathable materials.
Pros

No slipping

 Improve blood circulation in a knee

 Not really expensive

 It’s not sticky 

 Wicks moisture away

 There is no bad influence on running performance

 It perfectly reduces  swelling

 It has double grip to provide more protection

Cons

 Some buyers said that the sleeve rolls down

TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support

This knee brace is next product worthy of note. It gives a lot of support in any sport activity. When it comes to running, it is well designed with open patella. Made of breathable neoprene , this knee support for runners will let you do your hobby for the very long time. It’s easy to use and there are two sizes available
Pros

 Many buyers said that it fitted even more bigger legs

It really helps with inflammation

 It surrounds the knee but you have full range of body motion

Velcro Straps help to provide support and compression

This running support really absorbs sweat

Cons

 It may sometimes slip away from the place

Bracoo Knee Support

Brace for runner’s knee must be supportive and that’s why we put this knee sleeve for running on our list. It reduces stress on joints and prevent running injuries. It is very thick sleeve made of neoprene and this boosts blood circulation. You can wear it underneath your clothes. It has open-patella design.
Pros

Special stabilizing ring makes sure your knee is in proper position

Stretchy Velcro straps help to adjust the  tightness

Easy to put on and off quickly

Doesn’t make your skin sweat

 It doesn’t cost a lot

Cons

Some  runners may find Velcro strips uncomfortable

Seagull Knee Support

This running support is made of very high quality neoprene. You don’t need to worry about the sweating as it’s very breathable. You can easily regulate the pressure on your knee. It gives a lot of confidence in running as you don’t feel that you’re wearing it. The big advantage of this knee support for running is flexibility.
Pros

It has non-slip design

 Good for people with sensitive skin

 It doesn’t restrict running movements

 Easy to wash and very durable

 Very lightweight material

Cons

 Some buyers said it was too small

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 the first pair of knee braces might become a daunting process. With many sizes and shapes that are different, offering varied support levels that depend on the particular type of injury of the knee , it means getting the perfect pair can prove to be a  difficult task.

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 in achieving your fitness goals and also your knee recovery process.

Below are most of the options a runner has when looking and picking the perfect brace for their knee:

  • Knee braces by support level: They can be basic knee braces, advanced knee braces, elite knee braces or just simple knee pads
  • Knee braces designed for a specific or particular  conditions: these conditions include any form of injuries (ACL) or arthritis,
  • Knee braces determined by style: some of the styles of knee braces are neoprene, pull ups, hinged, wrap around braces magnetic braces and braces that look like knee straps,
  • Knee braces determined by manufacturers: we have different types of manufacturers like Thermoskin, Ace, McDavid, Neo G and  Mueller,

 

The Support Level Offered and the type of Planned Activity

Knee braces have  different support levels. The support level is very  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 knee injuries tend to require extra support compared to others: for instance knee brace worn after a knee surgery  requires plenty of  support in order to stabilize the injured knee while  injuries like patella tendonitis/  a mild knee ache,  will  require much lower support level that allow knee flexibility minus  much restriction.

While the activity type or sporting activity that one plans to undergo will also determine the type of knee braces one ought to buy. In cases where a patient needs a short period of resting with little knee movement, a knee brace with higher support will perfect to make sure the injury stays  immobilized.

Sizing of the Knee Brace

Many knee braces being sold tend to have size guide, but one should always make sure that they take measurements of their leg and also of the knee, and all the areas that the brace might sit on. This will prevent a scenario of one guessing their sizes. Getting the right size will ensure that you are comfortable and the knee brace has a great fit.

Wearing a wrong fitting brace will cause extra damage than the intended good, a more tight brace will also place pressure on your injured knee, restricting the injured section and blood flow. This will cause plenty of discomfort for the athlete. A larger brace will not be bale to provide the wanted amount of support that the knee needs so it may cause more damage to your knee when involved in any activity.   In case you realize that the measurements you have are above/ below the preferred average proportions, its best  to determine the  best  knee brace that suits you.

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 that you get a perfect fit, the circumference measurements ought to be taken when the leg is  straightened, you should use a tape measure that is soft.

If you can not find such a  tape measure, you can opt to use a yarn or string. 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

Breathability

You should look for a product with a maximum ventilation. Running in knee brace and sweating may cause blisters. The breathable mesh prevents sweating so make sure that it is moisture-wicking and it reduces heat retention.

Type of Injury

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. 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:

Knee Braces by Level of Support

The Basic Knee Braces: They are perfect for current knee conditions which demands for support. They are easy to wear, very affordable and provide a small amount of support.

The Advanced Knee Braces: They are perfect for providing support but in moderate levels & for reduction in forces that go through the foot (particularly the knee). They are long lasting and adjustable to provide a comfortable and good fit.

The Elite Knee Braces: They provide a very large degree of stability hence no giving way. They are
perfect for knees that face repeatedly buckling or after undergoing a surgery.

The Knee Braces, the Pads model: They are perfect in reducing pain and providing the needed protection when an athlete is kneeling. It’s a must have for people or athletes who spend a lot of time kneeling.

 

Knee Braces for a Specific Illness or Conditions:

Arthritis type of Knee Braces: They reduce the amount forces that go through knee (arthritic parts) , offer ample support, improve the stability of the foot and reduce pain. They can delay the need for undergoing a knee surgery.

ACL type of Knee Braces: They provide the maximum stability and protection. They are perfect to be used after the knee ligament tears and a reconstruction surgery was done or to hinder any form of knee injury

Type of Knee Braces depending on Style

The Pull Up Sleeve type of Knee Braces: They are simple with pull up design supports which provide basic support, compression and warmth. They are great for knee injuries and knee pain that are minor.

The Wrap Around type of Knee Braces: They are adjustable and have velcro straps, hence allowing them to offer the most perfect fit for the knee. They are especially good when swelling tend to come and go.

The Hinged type of Knee Brace: They provide a good amount of support to your knee. This is done using a variety of hinges that offer support and offload the joint of the knee. They are perfect for sever to moderate instability and pain around the knee.

The Strap type kind of Knee Braces: They are double/ single strap in order to reduce pressure exerted on the tendons of the knee. They are perfect for people with conditions such as knee pain (anterior) etc

The Magnetic type of Knee Braces: They are made with magnets that are inbuilt, the magnets are designed to enhance the healing process, reduce pain and promote the general health of the knee.

The Neoprene type of Knee Braces: Neoprene happens to the most preferred material when it comes to heat retention, this helps in promoting healing and reduces the pain and the swelling of the knee.

 

Type of Knee Braces depending on the Manufacturer

The Ace Knee Braces:  cotton is a fovourite material of this company, these braces aren’t very expensive
The Donjoy Knee Braces:
perfect for athletes but also for normal runners, especially good for arthritis
The McDavid Knee Braces:
these knee support are very durable and they are easy to put on and take off
The Mueller Knee Braces:
not very expensive, popular brand with very comfortable braces
The Neo G Knee Braces:
they give great support and are very praised by reviewers

 

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 pair of knee braces 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 that you get something that will work for you and assist you in achieving your fitness goals and also your knee recovery process. Knee braces are normally grouped into 4 major categories which are the sleeves, the hinges, the stabilizers and the supports.

Knee sleeves can be sized in a way that and can be  worn  on knee by just slipping on, however the knee supports tend to be more adjustable. They also  wrap around your knee; the two offer basic support, compression and the needed warmth.  The knee stabilizers have steel springs for added support and are installed on the sides of the wearer’s knee, on the other hand the knee braces that are hinged, have hinges that offer freedom for the knee to have a natural movement and also offers advanced support.

Q. Which style of a knee brace will suit me? do I want?

A. When shopping for knee races you will find two styles of knee braces that are considered the basic styles: the  slip on design  and the wraparound design.

The Pull Up Sleeve type of Knee Braces: They are simple with pull up design supports which provide basic support, compression and warmth. They are great for knee injuries and knee pain that are minor.

The Wrap Around type of Knee Braces: They are adjustable and have velcro straps, hence allowing them to offer the most perfect fit for the knee. They are especially good when swelling tend to come and go.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

The Slip on type of Knee Braces: these braces are worn by sliding onto one’s knee by putting the foot into the brace’s opening then pulling it up.  The brace is normally sized, hence offers ideal fit which gives the knee  proper support.

There are also other style of knee braces.

Basic Knee Braces: They are perfect for current knee conditions which demands for support. They are easy to wear, very affordable and provide a small amount of support.

Advanced Knee Braces: They are perfect for providing support but in moderate levels & for reduction in forces that go through the foot (particularly the knee). They are long lasting and adjustable to provide a comfortable and good fit.

Elite Knee Braces: They provide a very large degree of stability hence no giving way. They are
perfect for knees that face repeatedly buckling or after undergoing a surgery.

Knee Braces, the Pads model: They are perfect in reducing pain and providing the needed protection when an athlete is kneeling. It’s a must have for people or athletes who spend a lot of time kneeling.

Arthritis type of Knee Braces: They reduce the amount forces that go through knee (arthritic parts) , offer ample support, improve the stability of the foot and reduce pain. They can delay the need for undergoing a knee surgery.

ACL type of Knee Braces: They provide the maximum stability and protection. They are perfect to be used after the knee ligament tears and a reconstruction surgery was done or to hinder any form of knee injury.

The Hinged type of Knee Brace: They provide a good amount of support to your knee. This is done using a variety of hinges that offer support and offload the joint of the knee. They are perfect for sever to moderate instability and pain around the knee.

The Magnetic type of Knee Braces: They are made with magnets that are inbuilt, the magnets are designed to enhance the healing process, reduce pain and promote the general health of the knee.

The Neoprene type of Knee Braces: Neoprene happens to the most preferred material when it comes to heat retention, this helps in promoting healing and reduces the pain and the swelling of the knee.

 

Q: Should i get a knee brace that the patella is open or closed?

A: The knee braces that are designed with  closed patella are for athletes who would like the knee caps of their legs to get the same amount of support and compression offered to the other parts of the knee.   While the knee braces with open patella offer relieve to the knee cap from any pressure that is exerted on it. It can also offer additional support.

Q: What size is best for my knee?

A: First make sure you have a rough idea of the size of your knee, then pick the knee brace of your choice. Size will totally depend on the type of knee brace you have selected.  Each brace comes with details of the measurements which will guide you in making sre that you get the proper snug fit. Apart from that you can also look at the sizing chart that offers a clear guideline with regards to the appropriate size for ones knee.  In case you are making an in house purchase at your local store, then you can always consult with the sales person to get the perfect size for your knee.

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.If you can not find such a  tape measure, you can opt to use a yarn or string. 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.

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

Q: How long will the brace last?

A: We can’t tell how long exactly your brace will last because it depends on many factors. If you use it very often, it’s obvious that it will damage faster. The next thing that is important is the maintenance of the product. Most braces need to be cleaned in no-detergent products and you should also let them dry on air. Typical braces usually are able to last for 2 years but you must remember that soft goods may be not as durable as the rest.

Q: How does knee sleeve work?

A: As the braces are rigid, they gives a big support to a knee and they can have an impact on an angle of the knee. If you have problems with ligaments, your ability to run is much less effective. Wearing a knee sleeve support will give you stability because the straps are kind of additional ligaments. Knee support also helps to deal with inflammation and prevents swelling.

Q: What is a rigid knee brace?

A: These kind of braces are recommended while taking part in extreme sports but they can also be used for running too. They improve the precision of movement and give perfect mobility. They help to prevent further damages. They provide pain relief and give you possibility to run with perfect performance level. However, they are more expensive than the fabric sleeves. What’s more, there is usually assessment needed with an expert to find the best brace.

Q: How can I take care of my knee brace?

A: Taking care of your running brace is crucial if you want to use it for a very long time. Always read the instructions how to wash it. We don’t recommend to dry it with dryer- let it dry on fresh air. You need to clean in regularly. If there’s a mud on you knee support sleeve, it may damage the hinges . What is very important, if the brace is damaged, it shouldn’t be worn as it doesn’t work well.

Q: How can I know that it’s the time for a new brace?

A: There are some signs that let you know that you should buy a new one. If the is a tearing of straps or there is something wrong with seams, this means you should look for a new brace. Also try to check the tightness. If brace started to be too loose, we would recommend to buy a new one.

Q: I’m taking part in a marathon. Should I consider wearing a knee brace?

A: This may be a very good idea. While such a long run, there is a lot of work for our knees. It’s advisable to make sure that they are less susceptible to injuries. When your feet hit the ground, the knee sleeve support can help to absorb to shock. You should look for a brace with kneecap stabilization. Searching for a brace which main aim is to relieve pain may be a bad idea because this type of braces may have bad impact on your running performance. What you also should look for is a lightweight material as you don’t want anything bulky on your knee. Try to look for breathable material which is also very flexible.


 

Here are some sources we used while conducting our research

As finding the best knee brace is our big task, we spend hours looking for the best products that will let our readers run with no worries.

Sources

  1. My Access Health, Best Knee Braces 2017: Comparison and Reviews, Health Website,
  2. Joint Healing , Knee Brace Selection Guide - pick the best knee brace -- JointHealing.com, Health Website,
  3. Health Best Reviews, Best Knee Brace Reviews: Top 10 for 2017, Health Website,
  4. Ossur, What is the best knee support for Osteoarthritis of the Knee? - See more at: https://www.ossurwebshop.co.uk/blog/what-is-the-best-knee-support-for-osteoarthritis-of-the-knee#sthash.DjI67Hxx.dpuf, Consumer Website,
  5. Arthritis.org, When Knees Need Support, Health Website,
  6. My Knee Stretches, Reviews of the 4 Best Knee Brace, Health Website,
  7. Knee Pain Guide, What’s the Best Knee Brace for Running? , Health Website,
  8. Med Consumers, 6 Best Knee Braces for Arthritis 2017, Health Website,
  9. Med Consumers, 10 Best Knee Braces for Torn Meniscus 2017, Health Website,
  10. Knee pain explained, Knee brace quide, kneeb problems sote,
  11. Michael Core, brace site,
  12. Bone, muscle and joint team, health site,
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