8 Best Knee Sleeves – 2021 Buying Guide
We tested and reviewed a number of high-quality products, but our list of the best knee sleeves are primarily lightweight, comfortable and breathable.
Take a peak at our top picks and test a few options yourself.
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. All of this can be undermined if the 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 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 knee 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
This 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 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 ensures the knee has maximum support for intensive but short sporting activities. Hence the exercises can be done more securely and precisely.
Durability is very important when looking for any sportswear. A good note was made of the material and how the stitching was done. This will determine how the sleeve will be able to stand up to the frequency of use. It's ok to pay less for a sleeve because expensive doesn’t always mean durable. But still, it’s good to play it smart when determining the durability of a knee sleeve. If you intend to have a high frequency in terms of the use of your knee sleeve, then you will definitely need something that is way durable.
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 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.
Knee sleeves should not only provide support to your knees but then they should also be very comfortable. 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 the fit to affect the comfort of the knee sleeves. In order to make sure you attain both good fit and comfort, it’s important to look for a 3D design because this allows the knees to fit snuggly. 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 that provide 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.
13 Best Knee Sleeves
1. Ultra Flex Athletics
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.
What we love most about this design is that it is lightweight and super stretchy while still offering a good deal of compression to know muscles and joints. If you are worried about your range of motion when training, this flexible design from Modvel is a great choice. Plus, it comes in at a super affordable price point that won’t break the bank.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is the size. It boasts a long frame that runs low below the knee and higher on the thigh for a secure fit that won’t slip down, even as you pick up the pace. It also has stretchy panels on high impact areas that won’t limit your full range of motion.
The unique knit design provides excellent compression while improving range of motion as well as lift hot air up and away from your skin where it quickly evaporates on the surface. An advanced knit technology compresses muscles without cutting off circulation or slipping down your leg as you train.
Cost and Value
The best part about this option from Modvel is that it comes in a pack of two and is offered at a super affordable price point. Users love that this design is super stretchy and works incredibly well as circulating the blood flow to ease overworked and strained knees to keep you out on the roads!
3. Bear KompleX
Looking for something that is super effective that adds a pop of color to your workout gear? What we like most about this design is that it comes in a wide variety of bright and punchy color options and designs that users really love. It comes in a wide variety of sizes and thickness options that provide you with just the right amount of compression that you need.Read more
What makes this option stand out from the pack is that it provides users with different levels of compression. It is offered in designs that are 5-7 mm thick. 5 mm options are slightly thinner but provide you with a heightened range of motion. 7 mm designs are slightly thicker, but provide users with more compression.
This design is composed of neoprene, which providers runners with optimal compression to soothe painful joints. The only downside to the use of neoprene is that it is not as breathable and flexible as some of the other knit designs out there on the market. If you are willing to sacrifice a full range of motion, this is a great option.
Cost and Value
Bear KompleX provides users with excellent stability and compression that is perfect for those that need a little extra support. The downside of this option is that it is a little less flexible than other designs that we have seen so far.
4. Physix Gear
Not only is this design from Physix Gear affordable, but it is composed of premium materials that are incredibly comfortable. Users love that this design is super-stretchy and slips up over your knee without cutting off circulation or digging into your skin. Plus, improved features help to keep the sleeve firmly in place, even when worn all day long. Plus, it comes in at a super affordable price point worth checking out!Read more
One of the most notable features of this design is that it is composed of stretchy materials that make it a little easier to slip up over your knee. Users found that this design is even easy to slip on after you have laced up your sneakers! The interior shell is composed of No-Slip Silicone Grip Wave that grips your skin to hold it firmly in place.
Users also found that the frame of this design is long enough that it won’t dig into your skin or cut off circulation, making it a great design to be worn all day long. It also provides users with a heightened range of motion that doesn’t feel too stiff. It’s a great choice for easy runs, as well as HIIT and CrossFit.
If you are on the market for something that won’t limit your full range of motion and is comfortable enough to wear all day long, you can’t go wrong with this option from Physix Gear.
Cost and Value
It is incredibly affordable and also comes in a few different color choices to add a little extra pop of color.
5. Mava Sports
What makes Mava Sports knee compression sleeve 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 knee compression sleeve a little too tight, but these are otherwise of good quality. The stitching comes away from a little quicker than other options 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! This might be the best knee compression sleeve when it comes to pricing.
6. BLITZU Flex Plus
The BLITZU Flex Plus knee support sleeve comes 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 it also offers stability and support for your ACL, PCL, LCL, and MCL ligaments.Read more
This BLITZU Flex Plus 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.
These knee sleeves are extremely comfortable and can be worn every day. These help prevent injury as well as pain, soreness, cramping, and fatigue. 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.
Cost and Value
These knee sleeves are very affordable and easy to use. The durable material composition and versatile applications in real-world settings all work together to make this one of the best running knee sleeves available.
7. CopperJoint Copper
Knee sleeves by CopperJoint use the fairly popular copper inclusion which can help your body to recover and feel supported. This option 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 compression knee sleeve 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 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.
Cost and Value
Pro-Tec Athletic Gel Force knee support sleeve 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 knee support sleeve 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, 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 knee support sleeves here.