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A knee sleeve provides extra support for enjoying your favorite physical activities. Here are the best options to get you comfortably and confidently back on your feet.
- Best overall: UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve | Skip to review
- Best budget: Cambivo Knee Compression Sleeve | Skip to review
- Best with built-in patellar pad: Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support | Skip to review
- Best for light support: BLITZU Flex Professional Knee Sleeve | Skip to review
- Best for moderate support: Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve | Skip to review
- Best for heavy-duty support: NEENCA Knee Compression Sleeve | Skip to review
If you have knee pain or are rehabbing an injury, a knee compression sleeve can offer support during physical activity. This stretchy band of fabric worn over the knee helps to stabilize the joint without impeding movement.
We’ve rounded up the best knee sleeves based on a range of activity levels and price points. Read on to see our picks and to learn more about how to choose a knee sleeve that’s right for you.
The price range for knee sleeves is based on average prices of the products we’ve vetted and selected.
- $ = under $15
- $$ = $15–$30
- $$$ = over $30
|Product||Price||Sizes||Who should use it|
|UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve||$||S – XL||people who want a highly secure compression sleeve|
|Cambivo Knee Compression Sleeve||$$||S – 3XL||people in larger bodies|
|Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support||$$$||XS – 2XL||endurance athletes or anyone who works out for longer periods of time|
|BLITZU Flex Professional Knee Sleeve||$||S – XL||people who want a sleeve that’s good for activities other than working out|
|Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve||$$||XS – XL||people in need of a moderate amount of support|
|NEENCA Knee Compression Sleeve||$$||S – 3XL||people 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.
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?
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 of the brands in 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.
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 showing you 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.