Whether you're dealing with an injury or trying to protect your joints from long-term damage, a really great knee sleeve is a must. In fact, the best knee sleeves can keep you healthy, active, and pain-free for a long time to come.
Sports chiropractor and former performance therapist for the Chinese Olympic Committee
Dr. Ian Shaw agrees. "Having a sleeve around the knee can help secure the knee in correct alignment and also provide support when the knee is placed in compromising positions." Before you invest in one, though, Dr. Shaw emphasizes that it's really important to look for an adjustable knee sleeve that's tight enough to stay put, yet won't cut off circulation.
Another thing to consider is the type of activities you tend to participate in most. For example, if you're playing football, volleyball, or another high-impact sport, you may want to opt for a padded knee sleeve to prevent injury. On the other hand, you'll definitely want a thinner, more flexible option for running or walking. Whichever way you go, Dr. Shaw advises that the "material should be breathable and robust enough to provide decent support."
It's not exactly easy to find a high-quality knee sleeve that's just right for you. Here's a round-up of some excellent options to help you get started.
The Expert Dr. Ian Shaw is based in Hong Kong and has a background as a chiropractor and strength and conditioning specialist. He earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and has a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology & Health Sciences from Canada’s York University. 1 The Fan Favorite: NEENCA Professional Knee Brace
Backed by over 43,000 ratings (and 4.3 stars overall), this
knee sleeve is one of Amazon’s best sellers. It’s made from a breathable knit compression fabric with a nonslip seam that helps keep the brace in place while you move. What’s more, there are springy metal stabilizers and a contoured silicone gel pad to surround your knee and provide stability. Choose from 11 colors. According to one reviewer: “I wear a compression sleeve for arthritis. This particular one has blown the others I’ve tried right out of the water. The support allowed me to regain a normal walking stride with minimal pain. The day after purchasing my first one I ordered a second [...] Because I’m able to walk with greater ease, the muscles around the knee are getting stronger and are aiding with the support. It’s been a win/win situation.” Sizes: Small — XXX-Large 2 The Best For Joint Pain & Injuries: Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeves
pair of knee sleeves is perfect if you regularly suffer from joint pain or have an old injury you want to protect. It's made with a flexible, neoprene fabric that offers ample compression to keep your knees properly aligned, whether you're lifting weights, walking, or full-out sprinting. Where some knee sleeves rely solely on compression to hug your legs, these sleeves feature an anatomically shaped design that makes them even more comfortable. They also offer compression in all the right places to reduce inflammation and help your joints recover after a tough workout or long day on your feet. According to one reviewer: “I perform a great deal of running up and down a stair case in my employment. Up was bearable; but, down became extremely painful. Day one with a Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeve was extremely effective. Absolutely no knee pain; especially during the downward motion. In fact, I found myself moving faster than normal at work throughout the day.” Sizes: Small — XXX-Large 3 The Best To Reduce Next Day Soreness: Copper Fit Pro Series Compression Knee Sleeve
To reduce the dreaded soreness that goes hand-in-hand with a challenging workout, this
copper-infused knee sleeve is a must. Like other sleeves, this one is made from flexible materials that won't bunch up or roll down, but it also features high-performance copper and kinesiology bands that provide targeted support. The compression works to reduce swelling and speeds up healing time so you can get back to your workouts ASAP. According to one reviewer: “I work in the food service industry and am on my feet for up to 12 hours a day. This brace provides the support I need to relieve arthritis pain for my work day. And nobody can even tell I’m wearing it under my clothes!” Sizes: Medium — XX-Large 4 The Best For High-Impact Sports: McDavid Knee Sleeve with Gel Insert
Whether you play a high-impact sport or need a little extra support while you're gardening, this
padded knee sleeve is a miracle worker. For one, it's latex-free and breathable, so you still stay cool and comfortable even as you sweat. The highlight of this sleeve, though, is the gel insert. It pads your knee to soften impact and is stitched in so it won't move around even during intense workouts. According to one reviewer: “These arrived yesterday and I played two softball games in them. They're comfortable and won't slip while you run or slide; one of the best attributes about them is you quickly stop thinking about them and don't notice you're wearing them. I wore them under pants for a couple of night games and they didn't feel hot or restrictive.” Sizes: Small — X-Large 5 The Best For Running: UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve
Thousands of Amazon reviewers insist this
highly flexible knee sleeve works wonders to protect their knees while running. Unlike other sleeves, this one is made with a lighter fabric blend and features breathable mesh so you won't overheat as you jog, walk, or run. It also features a bit more flexibility at the actual knee cap so you can comfortably bend in it, while also offering targeted compression at the joints and ligaments so your entire leg stays in alignment during strenuous exercise. Both novice and advanced runners can't say enough good things about this knee sleeve. According to one reviewer: “This is the first time I've used a knee compression sleeve. While I envisioned it would restrict my movement to some extent, it has not. The sleeve has helped my knee pain on runs, while doing squats, and on short hikes. I also like how it stays in place.” Sizes: Small — X-Large 6 The Best For Weightlifting: ProFitness Knee Sleeve Squat Support
durable sleeves are perfect for anyone lifting heavy weights and regularly putting strain on their knees. They come in a pack of two, and each sleeve is made from thick neoprene that applies graduated compression to sensitive joints and ligaments that take the brunt of your body weight. On top of that, they won't slip or roll down as you squat and lift, and they also offer the right amount of flexibility to allow you to move while still keeping your knees safe and stable. According to one reviewer: “Highly recommend for your heavy squats or deadlifts. Whether we need that extra support when lifting heavier weight, or just to provide extra stability when squatting lower, these knee sleeves work wonders. It had helped remove some of my knee pain when lifting.” Sizes: Small — XX-Large 7 The Best Knee Sleeve With A Strap: Pure Support Knee Brace
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knee brace with a double strap for greater adjustability and extra support. The sleeve is made from a breathable, stretchy polyamide-spandex blend with a nonslip silicone band to prevent it from slipping. With graduated compression, this knee sleeve offers support and comfort for all kinds of physical activities. According to one reviewer: “Backstory: I have a damaged meniscus so when I go down into a squat my knee wants to let go and drop me.This brace is like I never had a problem with my knee before. I get nervous going into a squat but, everytime it saves me. I've had the brace for almost a year now I wear it just about everywhere [...] The straps are a great for added support.” Sizes: Small — XX-Large Study referenced: Hansrani, V.; Khanbhai, M.; Bhandari, S.; Pillai, A.; McCollum, Charles N. (2015) The role of compression in the management of soft tissue ankle injuries: a systematic review, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25649317/ Expert: Dr. Ian Shaw, sports chiropractor at Hong Kong Sports Chiropractic, and former performance therapist for the Chinese Olympic Committee
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This article was originally published on
June 21, 2020