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A knee compression sleeve provides support for enjoying your favorite activities. Here are the best options to get you confidently back on your feet.

If you have knee pain or are rehabilitating a minor injury, a knee compression sleeve can offer support during physical activity. Different from knee braces, which restrict knee motion either fully or partially, knee sleeves are made of stretchy fabric that stabilizes and supports the joint without impeding movement.

We’ve rounded up the best knee sleeves based on a range of activities, price points, and levels of support. Read on to see our picks and for tips on how to choose the right knee sleeve for you.

Pricing guide

Knees sleeves come in a variety of materials and have different levels of support. This range is reflected in pricing — some simple knee sleeves cost less than $10 each while more advanced and supportive sleeves can cost up to $90.

  • $ = under $15
  • $$ = $15–$30
  • $$$ = over $30
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Price Sizes Who should use it
UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve$$S–XLpeople who want a highly secure compression sleeve
Cambivo Knee Compression Sleeve$S–3XLpeople looking for a budget option
Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support$$$XS–2XLendurance athletes or anyone who works out for longer periods of time
BLITZU Flex Professional Knee Sleeve$$S–XLpeople who want a sleeve that’s good for activities other than working out
Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve$$S–XLpeople in need of a moderate amount of support
NEENCA Knee Compression Sleeve$$$XS–3XLpeople with chronic conditions

When selecting the top knee sleeves available, we considered a range of priorities, including:

  • Functionality: Style over substance isn’t usually what you want when it comes to supportive workout accessories. We made sure our knee sleeve selections checked all the boxes for support, flexibility, and durability.
  • Sustainability: Making a short-term investment is fine in some cases, but you want to make sure your workout gear will last through multiple sessions over time. Our picks are proven to hold up to a range of exercise expectations, and are machine washable for long-term hygiene.
  • Affordability: Budget is key when planning how you’re going to support your activity. If you’re looking for a quality sleeve, it helps to have choices at various price points.

The primary feature of a knee-compression sleeve, or knee sleeve, is its ability to stretch over the knee and provide support and protection to the joint.

Rather than restricting knee movement, like a knee brace, the sleeve allows for motion but helps align the knee joint and protects it from damage by compressing the muscles and tissues around it. This compression increases blood flow to the area, which can reduce pain, and swelling, like from knee effusions, or fluid buildup in the bursa of the knee joint.

Knee sleeves are often used during periods of physical activity, when the knee joint is overworked and in need of extra support. This is particularly the case for those taking part in load-bearing or knee-centric activities, such as weightlifting, running, or jumping.

It’s important you get the right fit when choosing a knee sleeve, says Greg Minnis, DPT, of Excel Physical Therapy in New Jersey. Make sure that the sleeve is not so tight that it causes discomfort, but not so loose that it slides around when you’re moving.

How to choose at a knee sleeve

It’s important you get the right fit when choosing a knee sleeve. Dr. Greg Minnis, a physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy in New Jersey, says you want to make sure that the sleeve is not so tight that it causes discomfort. “On the flip side, you don’t want the brace to be so loose that it slides around when you’re moving,” he says.

Minnis’ tip for purchasing online is to buy two sizes and keep whichever one feels more comfortable while you’re walking or performing the activity you intend to use the sleeve for.

When should I wear a knee compression sleeve?

A 2017 study found that a compression knee sleeve is an effective and immediate way to reduce pain, and improve knee stability and confidence during activity. If you’re experiencing pain while doing exercises that involve significant motion at your knees, you may benefit from wearing a knee sleeve.

Minnis says it’s important to keep in mind that knee sleeves provide only minor support, and as such should be used to reduce mild to moderate pain and improve stability during activity. Those with a more serious injury, or those recovering from major knee surgery, may need the stability of a rigid, hinged knee brace, rather than a sleeve.

Taping, which involves wrapping the knee in special tape to limit unwanted movement and support the joint, is another alternative, Minnis says.

Another good option for knee support is a knee strap, a patella brace (a smaller product that only wraps around the leg below your kneecap), or a pain relief patch. You can also opt for ace wraps or elastic tubular bandages.

If you sleep on your side, you may want to look into a small knee support pillow to promote hip and spinal alignment. Low impact exercise also helps strengthen the muscles around your knee, providing better support.

Finally, if you’re experiencing knee pain, consider using ice for 15 minutes on and off; elevating your leg whenever possible; or speaking with your doctor or other healthcare professional if the pain begins to interfere with your daily activities or is accompanied by redness, swelling, or warmth.

Knee sleeves come in a range of materials with elastic and moisture-wicking properties, including polyester, cotton, nylon, and spandex.

Different materials will likely be better for certain activities. For example, the best knee sleeve for powerlifting most likely contains neoprene because it’s highly flexible yet durable for heavy  workouts.

Our top pick for the best brand knee sleeve is UFlex Athletics. But the best brand of knee sleeve really depends on your needs. All the brands on our best of list offer support, flexibility, and durability for a range of activities, and most have good customer reviews.

That said, the brand of knee sleeve with the most customer reviews is Cambivo, with over 42,000 reviews, and an average of 4.4 stars at time of publish.

But the best knee sleeve is the one that works for you and your unique needs.

For example, the best knee sleeves for arthritis will likely offer a higher level of support in the form of gel inlays, hinges, and thicker materials. While the best knee sleeves for walking are those with lighter materials and flexible design, which allows for mobility.

Knee sleeves offer compression and support that can increase blood flow, stabilize the knee joint during movement, and reduce discomfort.

They’re particularly good for those who participate in high intensity exercise, work out for prolonged periods, or need injury prevention due to past joint trauma.

Note that if you’ve experienced serious trauma to the knee, or are recovering from surgery, you may need additional support than what a knee sleeve can offer. Consult with a doctor to make sure that a knee sleeve is right for you.

The best devices for knee pain are those that offer a moderate to high level of support. In addition, it’s important to seek out a device that offers good patella support, such as the Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support or the NEENCA Knee Compression Sleeve.

Supporting the patella encourages proper positioning and alignment without added stress on the joint. In addition, it’s good to look for thicker knee sleeves that can help keep the joint warm during movement.

Those with advanced osteoarthritis in their knees experience bone on bone pain, when the cartilage that cushions the joint wears away. The best knee brace for bone on bone is one that provides maximum support with bilateral hinges, in addition to compression.

The NEENCA Knee Compression Sleeve offers this level of support. Not only does this prevent injury, it can support the knee during pain flare-ups, common in those with bone on bone pain and stiffness.

If you have minor knee issues and are looking to reduce some knee pain and support your mobility, a knee sleeve could be a great option. The guide above can help you find one with the right level of support for your particular knee issue and activity level.

However, if you’re finding that a knee sleeve isn’t providing the results you had hoped for, or you continue to experience significant pain, consider meeting with your doctor or a specialist to discuss your options. They can better evaluate your situation and recommend next steps, quality knee braces, or possible treatment plans and therapies.