10 Best Knee Sleeves Tested & Compared
In a Hurry? The test winner after 306 hrs of research
Fantastic anti-slip technology
Good 4-way stretch to keep you flexible and supported
Relives minor pains
Increases blood flow
The most popular option out there
- Ultra Flex Athletics
- Mava Sports
- BLITZU Flex Plus
- CopperJoint Copper
- Pro-Tec Athletic Gel Force
- RockTape Knee Sleeves
- Sable Knee Brace
- BERTER Knee Brace
- Shock Doctor 865 Compression
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Knee Sleeves
1. Ultra Flex Athletics
Fantastic anti-slip technology
Good 4-way stretch to keep you flexible and supported
Relives minor pains
Increases blood flow
The most popular option out there
Very slight sizing issues
Ultra Flex Athletics makes a product that is renowned for being the best on the market, and it’s not hard to see why. The anti-slip silicone gives proper sturdy protection and guards really well to keep you as mobile as possible, and the 4D technology keeps you protected and free.Read more
The compression here is fantastic and really allows for quick recovery and excellent stability and support without sacrificing mobility or flexibility. It has a 4-way stretch capability to keep you unrestricted and the lightweight design keeps it comfortable and supportive. It also offers enough protection to relieve minor pain while exercising. The sizes are comfortably snug, which is just what you want.
A very small amount of users have experienced sizing issues, so make sure you read the sizing guidelines before ordering one. Other than that, everything here is great, including durability.
Cost and Value
Slightly pricey, but absolutely worth it.
2. Mava Sports
Way more comfortable than most other fibrous options
Warming and supportive
Genuinely comfy enough to wear all day
Accommodate to your size and shape fairly well
Not as durable as some others
The material attracts dirt
What makes Mava Sports pretty unique is that it’s fibrous without being itchy or irritable. So if you prefer something a little soft, but you can’t find a comfy one, this is for you. It offers a good amount of compression without stiffness and it's comfy enough to wear all day, which is handy if you’re recovering from an injury.Read more
The comfort here is great, with no restrictive squeezing and no uncomfortable itchiness. It’s designed for retaining heat, which helps you to quickly recover and gives a nice feeling while wearing. The compression and support are very nice here without becoming too tight and helps to prevent injury while you’re on the move. The anatomical design helps to accommodate the size and shape of your legs and knees.
Some people find the fit a little too tight, but these are otherwise of good quality. The stitching comes away from a little quicker than others on the market, and the material can attract dust and dirt. That said, they are still of decent durability compared to lots of other options.
Cost and Value
A good bargain option!
3. BLITZU Flex Plus
Good durability and flexibility
Accurate sizing in most cases
Some stretching out reported around the top and bottom seams
The knee cap area is a little tight for some
The BLITZU Flex Plus knee brace is a great choice for anyone who does a lot of running or impact activities be it sports or working out. The amazing support and stability you get from these braces are unlike anything you have felt before!Read more
There are three sizes to choose from- small, medium, and large and each one is designed to fit snuggly and comfortably from the start or your run or workout session to the end. Be sure to check the sizing chart to make sure you get the size brace that is just right for you! Once you know your measurements it is easy to know what size to order and you can be sure the fit will be just right.
The BLITZU Flex Plus knee brace is designed with stretchy material that is both durable and breathable for maximum comfort and usability. It is designed to hold the patella in proper position and is also designed to offer stability and support for your ACL, PCL, LCL, and MCL ligaments.
This knee brace is a must have for men, women, and elderly and for anyone who has weak knees or who has suffered an injury in the past. These knee sleeves are extremely comfortable and can be worn every day and care used to help speed recovery following an injury and can also help you prevent injury as well as pain, soreness, cramping, fatigue and get the support you need! It's perfect for people who need a durable support system for their knees to help them get through any and all activities they may have planned!
This BLITZU Flex Plus brace is durable and versatile and is made of breathable, washable, antibacterial, moisture-wicking fabrics for ultimate comfort. It also features UPF50+ and 100% Permanent UV / Sun protection to keep you protected and comfortable even on the longest of runs. The Blitzu POWER + superior grade circular knit structure allows for greater flexibility and range of motion as well as making this a very durable brace that is super comfortable to wear.
These braces are very affordable and their easy to use design and durable material composition and versatile applications in real-world settings all work together to make this one of the best knee braces available. The BLITZU Flex Plus is a smart investment for anyone to make in their running gear so be sure to get yours now!
4. CopperJoint Copper
Built with copper
Four-way compression which helps with mobility
Very good anti-slippage
Good for injury recovery
The copper can eliminate odors
Way too tight for some users
Not the best durability
Can cause rashes
CopperJoint uses the fairly popular copper inclusion which can help your body to recover and feel supported. This one is again built for recovery, but it's sufficiently light-duty that you can wear if simply for support and stability. It has a double silicon structure for massive anti-slippage and it keeps your knee at a good temperature by providing warmth without too much heat.Read more
The moisture-wicking design stops you from becoming saturated while exercising. There is no chafing or itching here thanks to the great ergonomic design. The anti-slip technology is genuinely fantastic and the copper helps to eliminate odors, which is handy if you plan to wear this all day. This reduces pain well and helps to recover after injury.
The design is comfortable and provides snugness while the four-way compression helps with mobility. Unfortunately, this is too tight for some users, so if you don’t like a squeezing fit, this might not be ideal for you. The tightness can also cause rashes.
The materials are quality, but the tightness is an annoying issue. The durability is around middle-range; not bad, but there are better options on the market.
Cost and Value
5. Pro-Tec Athletic Gel Force
The gel is very comfortable and snug.
Really nice feel on the leg
Doesn’t feel too tight
Good for recovery, support and reducing pain
Can slip quite a lot
The fit isn’t reliable
Not the best durability
A little pricey
Pro-Tec Athletic Gel Force is for recovery and support and does a decent job of reducing pain. It has four-way stretch material to allow for great flexibility and compression, while the gel layer is great for comfort and for added protection against impact. There are medial and lateral spirals in the design to keep the knee joint stable, and the breathable material keeps you cool.Read more
The gel on this is nice and thick so it really offers a unique and comfortable feel on the knee, with good fluidity and movement. The gel also means that it doesn’t feel as tight as other ones on the market, despite being nice and snug. The fit and stretch offer very good support.
This slips a little at times, more than most others on this list, and the durability is not as good as some might hope. The fit can also be a little wrong at times. It is otherwise of very good quality.
Cost and Value
Very pricey in comparison to most others here.
Great price point
Very good breathability
Can slip a little
Isn’t as sophisticated as some more expensive brands
ACE excels with stability, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking to avoid and prevent injury. The three-strap system keeps you really stable, an effect aided by the dual side stabilizers at each side of the knee. The material is pretty comfortable, particularly behind the knee, and the material is pretty breathable. It is also odor-resistant and latex-free.Read more
The Velcro can potentially irritate the knee a little. The neoprene material is thinner than many other bands while still offering similar support which many users like. The band is nice and snug without too much tightness, and the breathability is really quite effective.
The durability here is good, but the Velcro system can often cause the brace to slip and come loose. This is otherwise good quality given the price. You won’t get the luxury of more expensive brands, but this really does a good job for what it is.
Cost and Value
This is a really good bargain option.
7. RockTape Knee Sleeves
Lots of support
Open patella design is good for stability
Gets you moving naturally
Good price point
Decent durability for Velcro
Can scrape the leg
Sizes can be slightly off.
Restricts motion a little too much for some
RockTape Knee Sleeves provide a great option for athletes and runners who need some extra support and protection for their knees. Runners with weak knees or how have had an injury in the past can benefit from added support and stability while on their runs. These knee sleeves are durable and long lasting too!Read more
This set of knee sleeves provide great stability with a firmer material design but still allows for a good range of motion so you can run and enjoy your workouts. They help keep the knee joint stable and support the muscles and tendons to help your avid strains and injuries while you run.
The quality of the RockTape Knee Sleeves is pretty good, and when you consider the frequency of use these sleeves will last a long time compared to some others. They are easy to clean and care for which helps to extend their life and allows you to get even more use out of them.
Cost and Value
The price for a pair of these knee sleeves will vary from the cheap to the expensive end depending on the size, style, and color you choose. There are sleeves for small and large legs so you can get something that fits just right and meets all of your wants and needs. It is a great investment to make in your running gear.
8. Sable Knee Brace
Easy fit design with multiple sizes available
Compression support throughout the brace
Breathable materials for good air flow
Durable design and versatile applications
Little pricey for some runners
If you want a knee brace that is easy to use and that also performs well when worn during a number of activities, then this versatile brace from Sable is just what you have been looking for!Read more
Sizes available for the Sable Knee Brace range from Small to Extra Large. Wider Coverage of compression support ensures less pressure point pain and allows for a more uniform and complete support coverage of your knee and the surrounding muscles and tendons. You get good coverage above and below the knee with an equal pressure distribution no matter what size you buy.
With a unique blend of quality synthetic materials, the Sable Knee Brace offers supportive compression for the full coverage area and allows you to move more freely. With additional support and stability, you can be more confident with every step that you take while wearing this brace. It is made to be soft and will not itch or irritate your skin and it is also made to be cooler and more breathable than many other braces on the market today.
This knee brace is perfect for runners and active individuals who want to be on the move! It is made with runners in mind and will hold up well to the wear and tear of active use day in and day out. It won’t stretch out of shape or wear down and it will last you for a long time to come thanks to the great design and superior craftsmanship of the Sable brand.
This knee brace provides enough support so you can easily be out and about on the go again. It is designed to help people like you enjoy demanding activities like running and working out as well as a range of sports such as basketball, football, tennis, weight-lifting, and more- all while keeping you comfortable. No worrying about constantly adjusting the brace whole you are out and about and no itchy and sweating and irritation to worry about either. All you get is supportive comfort!
When you want a good value for your money one great option to consider is the Sable Knee Brace. It is affordable and will serve you well no matter what activities you have in mind. Any runner or athlete would benefit from having the Sable Knee Brace on hand!
9. BERTER Knee Brace
Provide excellent stability and support
Comes with a one year warranty
May develop an odor
Great for lifting
The BERTER Knee Brace is a great choice for runners who want a reliable and easy to use knee brace to keep their knees safe and stable while out on a run. They are highly affordable and provide you with the support, stability, and comfort you need. These are popular among beginner and experienced runners alike.Read more
If you have suffered a knee injury in the past or at risk for injury due to weak or unusable knee joints, then these knee sleeves are just right for you. They keep your knee stable and supported while still allowing some range of movement so you can go on your runs and do your normal workout routines.
The BERTER Knee Brace is made to last and will hold up well to the rigors of daily workouts and even long distance runs. With a unique wrapping strap feature, you can get the perfect fit each and every time you put them on. They will handle the wear and tear well and will keep your knee supported and stable.
Cost and Value
As one of the most affordable options on this list, the BERTER Knee Brace is great for runners who need a new knee brace or who are looking for a reliable back up option to have on hand in case of an emergency. The price is low and is well within any runner’s budget which makes it popular among runners new and old alike.
10. Shock Doctor 865 Compression
Nice freedom of movement
Comfortable enough to wear all day
Nice warming design
Not great if you want something intense
Quite a lot of slippage at times
Sizes run small
A little pricey
The lycra design for the Shock Doctor 865 Compression has a nice amount of breathability, which is enhanced by the open-patella design. This sleeve has a good combination of providing warmth with wicking moisture. This is built for support which makes it a good choice for prevention and protection, but it will work for mild recoveries.Read more
The lycra gives good binding without restriction and allows for good movement when wearing the sleeve. It’s comfortable enough to wear all day and the design stabilizes the knee very well. The warming effect on these is very effective while keeping you comfy and providing some support. It’s very lightweight. If you want something hardcore, Shock Doctor makes many more braces for more intense needs, but this one should suit most runners.
The sizes on these do run small, and it can be prone to quite a lot of slippage. The durability is good.
Cost and Value
A little more expensive than some on this list.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The purpose of the knee sleeve is to make the run more comfortable and to facilitate a better performance. It’s there to protect against future injury and to provide support for old ones. All of this can be undermined if the knee sleeve does not fit properly. With the right amount of compression to the knee joint, circulation can be improved, speeding up the healing process and providing additional focus to that area. The wrong amount of compression can end up cutting off your circulation and having the opposite effect.
Before choosing a knee sleeve, try on one of comparable size. Make sure that it fits snugly, but that it’s not digging into your skin in a way that causes pain or makes it difficult to move. It can also help to measure the area surrounding your knee. A large knee sleeve is usually rated from 17 to 19 inches, a medium one is from 15 to 17 inches and a smaller one is 14 to 15 inches.
As we said before, you want the size to be slightly snug but not digging into the skin in a way that’s distracting or causing any additional injuries.
The material used for the knee sleeve should be both breathable and elastic. You also want it to be strong enough that it doesn’t stretch with time. This can result in the loss of support and add to the need to purchase a new one. A good product should be an investment in your health and not a bottomless money pit. Some knee sleeves can be fairly expensive and buying one a week because it’s poorly made just isn’t in the budget. If the material is too thick, it can lead to unnecessary sweating and slippage of the sleeve over time.
The thickness of the sleeves can be grouped into three major categories: 3 mm, 5 mm and 7 mm. The sleeves that are 3 mm thick are worn by marathon runners, they are able to provide stability and additional support during long runs. Weightlifters wear the 7 mm sleeves because they give additional support to the knees. The 5 mm sleeves happen to fit in all the other sporting activities, it is the universal knee sleeve for most athletes.
Knee Sleeve with 3mm thickness: Sports that need endurance
it's perfect for sports that need endurance like long-distance running. Athletes involved in such sporting activities use this type of knee sleeve cause it’s lighter. Hence making the sporting activity much easier. The sleeve provides support when the athlete starts to feel exhausted and weary by providing support towards the completion of the work out hence gaining control of one’s knees movements.
Knee Sleeve with 5mm thickness: For a mixed sporting activity
Ideally recommended for mixed sporting activities. Athletes who are involved in a variety of sporting activities that require a certain level of agility and extra support would find the 5 mm sleeve very helpful. The beauty of it is that it is used for a wide variety of sporting activities from track running to yoga fitness activities. It’s what many athletes would call a universal knee sleeve for all sporting activities.
Knee Sleeve 7mm thickness: For heavy but short activity
These type of sleeve calls for much heavier sporting activity but very short. It’s able to offer maximum stability to those athletes that are involved in heavy lifting. Extra support is provided during rehabilitation. The 7 mm sleeve has always been used by heavy lifters to provide the additional support when lifting weights, though recently it’s been a favorite of people who work out in the gym and practice heavy lifting. It’s designed in a way that it ensures the knee has a maximum support for intensive but short sporting activities. Hence the exercises can be done more securely and precisely.
You should not wear your knee sleeves during the entire work out session as this would make you feel uncomfortable and also make the sleeve to be more rigid. It's advised to use them semi-frequently and also to pick the sleeve thickness that matches your sporting activity: for powerlifting, usage get thicker ones, for Olympic lifting and CrossFit get thinner ones, and for regular everyday use get thinner ones.
This is especially true if an athlete is involved in a variety of sporting activities. If you do squats frequently every week, then you need a pair of knee sleeves that don’t rip after several uses. Knee sleeves that are found to be most durable are made of the neoprene material, that is both flexible and soft. The cloth is also used cause it’s more breathable and has good stretching that is constant. For perfect durability look for a knee sleeve that has reinforced stitching this prevents ripping of the sleeve during several washes and wear.
Knee sleeves should not only provide support to your knees but then they should also be very comfortable. Excellent support and compression are provided by the best knee sleeves for squatting. It’s important when shopping for a knee sleeve to look for one that won’t chafe your skin or make you feel itchy.
A comfortable fit is very important during your workout, even though it’s possible for sometimes the fit to affect the comfort of the knee sleeves. In order to make sure you attain both good fit and comfortability it’s important to look for a 3 D design because this allows the knees to fit snuggly. And without digging deep into your skin. The ergonomic knee sleeve has also been known to achieve a comfortable fit and to help support your body weight as you run.
If money is no object, then go for the most expensive brands. There are budget-savvy knee sleeves brands, however, which provides superior comfort, protection, and performance without the heavy price tag. If you got a budget then stick to it, remember expensive doesn’t always mean it will serve you best. Consult with the salesperson on the different effective uses of the knee sleeves before making the purchase.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Although they're designed to prevent future injury and wear-and-tear on your knees, sleeves aren't meant for existing injuries. If you have an injury you're looking to mitigate, check with your doctor and purchase a brace instead. If you have an old injury that ha weakened your knee, these sleeves can offer additional support and stability, but you should still talk to your doctor to make sure they will be sufficient for your needs.
Some runners, especially beginners, can be turned off by the price tag attached to some knee sleeves. It is important to remember you are not just buying something to help your knee right now. You are investing in future runs and in most cases, investing a little more at first to get a quality product is well worth it. It will last longer, hold up better, and provide better support for your runs.
Other Factors to Consider
The knee sleeve should remain intact regardless of the workouts you are doing that is why an excellent grip is very important. The sleeve should stay on the kneecap regardless of the various work out positions you assume while training. No rolling off or sliding done. This will only be achieved by getting the right size of your knee sleeve.
When picking the size make sure that you go 15 cm down from the mid patella and also remember to measure the circumference of your knee. If you need an extra tightness in your knee sleeve, then you can size down or just use the normal measurements if you are involved in regular sports.
This type of knee sleeve is able to offer warmth and compression in a very efficient way. They also prevent injuries and improve the performance of the knee during training. Anatomically shaped knee sleeves are the type that is able to conform to the body’s natural movement during workout hence making sure the sleeve has an excellent grip at all times.
Design in terms of the material used is very important. Since sleeves don’t come in very stylish designs the material is given more importance. The Neoprene so far is the best material in the industry offering protection against injury and also offering mild compression. The material also enhances warmth thereby making the muscles around the knee to perform more during training. Simple designs are what you will find when purchasing a knee sleeve.
Color should also be considered. This will depend on personal preference. Most knee sleeves are black in color, but you can still get them in other colors. If you need help when picking the color its best to consult a fashionista who will guide you effectively on the color taking several factors into consideration. You don’t want to be in the pink sleeve while everybody else is in a dull color, worse if you are self-conscious. Honestly, I would go with more neutral colors. They are the safest.
There are different types of knee sleeves and all have different advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on what you want to achieve in terms of your fitness goals.
Open Knee Sleeves
Just by looking at their design you will notice that they do have a hole on the front. The design is meant to significantly reduce the amount of pressure on the knee and also around the knee during any work out exercise, this helps to enhance the breathability of the knee.
Closed Knee Sleeves
They are all round wrapped with no hole, they are designed in a way that makes sure that the knee receives maximum heat by enhancing the level of heat retention. It’s also able to provide support to the entire kneecap.
You will find some knee sleeves have been manufactured with built stabilizers. The design of these types of sleeves is very impressive, they are able to provide additional support to ligaments that are located on the knee. No injuries at all.
The material used in making the knee sleeve plays a very important role in determining how effective the knee sleeve will be. Knee sleeves are made using two materials:
Cloth – As you know, any cloth is manufactured to keep you warm. Same with cloth sleeves, they offer warmth and support at the same time making sure you are always warm during the training session. They are recommended for those who have training in the morning hours (when it’s a little chilly) and have a number of resting breaks during workouts.
Neoprene – Being considered by Olympic powerlifting persons as the best material, the material has a lot of positive feedback from users due to its high compression feature. It’s also able to prevent any injury to the knee and also like the cloth sleeve able to keep the knee warm at all times.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the difference between Knee Sleeves and Knee braces?
Many people will confuse the two and think they refer to the same product. They both sporting accessories that are worn around the knee, though their functions are almost similar. Knee sleeves are sports outwear that is worn around the knee. They both provide support to the knee though they are designed to function differently from knee braces.
On the other hand, knee braces offer protection to an already injured knee, while knee sleeves offer protection to the knee against any possible injury or risky situations that can harm the knee. The protection is important for athletes who are involved in sporting activities that involve a great amount of pressure like the heavy lifting of weights etc. Knee sleeves have a compression effect on the knee that enables increased blood flow hence reducing pain during and after work out.
q: What do knee sleeves do?
They provide support to the knee though they are designed to function differently from knee braces. The protection is important for athletes who are involved in sporting activities that involve a great amount of pressure like marathon running and weightlifting etc.
Knee sleeves have a compression effect on the knee that enables increased blood flow hence reducing pain when the work out is going on and when it's over. They work to protect your knees by first keeping them warm and insulated. Next, they provide compression to the knee joint and surrounding tendons/ligaments to support the knee.
q: Do I need knee sleeves?
If you squat more than once a week I would say so. Most beginner programs should have you squatting more than three times per week and I always advocate the inclusion of knee sleeves into a program. Also if you are involved in sporting activities that require a great amount of pressure being exerted on your knees then you should definitely have knee sleeves as part of your sportswear.
Don’t wear the sleeves during the whole work out session, you can skip wearing them during the warm-up session as you prepare to start your training. You should also try and come up with a schedule on when to wear your knee sleeves and when not to.
q: What are the benefits of using knee sleeves as an athlete?
Apart from just protecting the knees, these sleeves are made in a way that they not only provide support to the knee before the injury but they can also provide the support after the injury. They are able to do the same work as knee braces. Another thing about this wonderful sportswear is that it’s able to increase how much weight you can lift by providing additional support to the runners’ knees.
They provide compression hence being able to give a rebound out of your run. During compression, the knee is able to have increased blood flow, hence be able to receive input. This enables an athlete to perform movements that more stable, more comfortable and more controlled. Also, the material has a warming effect that also aids in increasing the flow of the blood and also keeps the knees warm during the whole exercise experience.
q: Do you really need them when running?
If you’re squatting multiple times per week we recommend picking up knee sleeves to not only protect your joints as you go through the motions but to stabilize and enhance each rep through the added support provided from the sleeves. Most beginner programs should have you squatting more than three times per week and I always advocate the inclusion of knee sleeves into a program.
Also if you are involved in sporting activities that require a great amount of pressure being exerted on your knees then you should definitely have knee sleeves as part of your sportswear. Don’t wear the sleeves during the whole work out session, you can skip wearing them during the warm-up session as you prepare to start your training. You should also try and come up with a schedule on when to wear your knee sleeves and when not to.
q: Is there more than one use for knee sleeves?
Knee sleeves are not only made for squats or leg workouts. The best thing about going with a quality neutral knee sleeve is that it can be used in a variety of different environments.
When experiencing knee pain throughout the day/sitting down they can be useful.
They can be effective when playing active sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, soccer and even running.
Throughout rehab/injury recovery they can provide support and stability to help with recovery and prevention of further injuries.
Overall, knee sleeves have multiple uses and are a great addition to any gym bag both inside and outside of the gym. They offer support to the knee, protection to the knee, warmth to the knee and also help in healing injured knees (just like the knee braces).
If you need to wrap your knees up, here we have you (and them) covered. Get wrapped and get running! Check our in-depth review of the 10 best knee sleeves for more!
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