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What Are Knee Sleeves For

Knee Sleeves Vs Knee Braces

Do Knee Sleeves Really Prevent Further Injury

Knee sleeves provide only minor support, Minnis says, compared with knee braces, which offer a wider range of support. A rigid, hinged brace provides the highest level of support and can be used after surgery or after a more serious knee injury.

You should use a knee sleeve only in an attempt to reduce mild or moderate pain and improve stability during activity.

Are Knee Compression Sleeves Effective

A 2017 review evaluated the use of knee sleeves in people with knee problems. They found there were improvements in walking and balance in individuals with osteoarthritis affecting their knees. The study also found improvements in knee function in individuals with knee injuries.

However, a 2021 study discovered that knee sleeves did not appear to have much of an effect on people when weightlifting.

There is a lack of research into the benefits of using knee compression sleeves for other physical activities.

The following are common questions and answers about knee compression sleeves:

How To Choose The Right Knee Compression Sleeve

Choosing the right knee compression sleeve for you is often a matter of trial and error. The first thing you should do before making this choice is to talk to a professional. They will be able to guide you in choosing the right sleeve for your activity level and knee issue.

Once youve chosen the type of knee sleeve you want to buy, you will need to get the right fit. This is crucial to getting the most from your knee sleeve. You will need to measure:

  • The knee center
  • 6 inches above the knee at the thigh
  • At the calf, 6 inches below the kneecap

Based on these measurement, you should be able to choose the right knee sleeve following the size charts that are provided with your chosen sleeve. Remember that the sleeve you choose may feel too tight at first, but it will loosen with wear, so don’t be tempted to go up a size unless advised to by a professional.

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Our Top Recommended Knee Sleeves

Aside from the material, it is also important to take into consideration when buying a knee sleeve whether or not it fits properly and comfortably to you. No matter how expensive or high quality the knee sleeves is, it will not be worth it if the sleeves do not snug perfectly to your knee. We have provided a list of some of the best knee sleeves for running out in the market.

  • Has a good fit and is true to size
  • Keeps the alignment of your knee
  • Offers good support
  • Significantly more expensive than most sleeves
  • Some customers complain that it tends to irritate the skin when the weather gets too hot
  • Some users complain that the product sent to them was already used
  • Has a good fit and is true to size
  • Keeps the alignment of your knee
  • Offers good support
  • Significantly more expensive than most sleeves
  • Some customers complain that it tends to irritate the skin when the weather gets too hot
  • Some users complain that the product sent to them was already used

Why Should You Trust My Recommendation

Nylon Knee Sleeve

I have been competitive powerlifting since 2007 having competed at 12 National Powerlifting Championships and three World Championships. I have also been the Head Coach for Team Canada Powerlifting since 2012 and have worked with both World Powerlifting Champions and World Record Holders.

Each of the knee sleeves I have personally used at various times throughout my powerlifting career. As well, I consulted with 13 top-level powerlifters when writing this article, all who have worn these knee sleeves, and provided their feedback. This was to ensure my reviews werent based on my own personal likes/dislikes but incorporated a subset of the broader powerlifting community.

Lets get started!

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Alternatives To Knee Sleeves

A knee brace is a more supportive alternative to a knee sleeve. Taping, which involves wrapping the knee in special tape to limit unwanted movement and support the joint, is another alternative, Minnis says.

However, keep in mind that tape has to be applied each time before the activity, while a sleeve simply needs to be pulled up and youre ready to go, he says.

Who Should Buy Exo Sleeve 7mm Knee Sleeves

  • Weightlifters who are looking to compete or train weightlifting with some level of seriousness will appreciate the high quality make of these sleeves.
  • Athletes who want a supportive knee sleeve that also doesnt hinder mobility or range of motion.
  • Lifters who want a pair of knee sleeves to last with reinforced stitching and a quality build these are made of 7mm antimicrobial neoprene.

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Which Knee Sleeves Are Right For You

A lot of this is based on personal preference, but we loveRockTape for functional fitness and Olympic weightlifting. These are neoprene sleeves that provide the perfect balance of compression and warmth. When you slip these on, you instantly feel the difference. Theyre tight without being suffocating, largely because their sizing systemsare accurate and simple to use.

How Healthy Are Most Peoples Knees

Rehband Knee Sleeve Review

According to the statistics, not very.

Nearly half of American adults develop knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime and one in twenty Americans already has an artificial knee. The statistics for athletes must be even higher from the constant stress of running, jumping, and lifting heavy things. Here at Gunsmith Fitness, we believe that a strong knee is a healthy knee, but you cant get around the fact that lifting progressively heavier loads grinds the kneecap onto itself.

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Support Your Joints With One Of These Picks

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. Youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Knee sleeves are thin, stretchy pieces of fabric that you can wear over your knees for additional support and comfort. Similar to knee braces, knee sleeves are designed to support the knees during exercise and other activities. But because knee sleeves tend to be sleek and low-profile, they offer a more flexible and less intrusive alternative to classic knee braces.

Someone may wear a knee sleeve because they feel it will help decrease their knee symptoms or improve their function, says Brandon Schmitt, DPT, ATC, chair of the Knee Special Interest Group of the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy. Knee sleeves may also give people more confidence when tackling certain activities.

Of course, knee sleeves arent a replacement for a proper physical therapy program, but they may serve as a useful addition to one. A knee sleeve may be worn as long a patient feels they may benefit from it, says Schmitt.

Verywell Fit reviewed the best knee sleeves on the market. Here are our picks to keep your knee secure and comfortable.

  • Helps prevent itch and odor

  • Slip-resistant

  • Hand wash only

Who Should Buy Exo Sleeve 5mm Knee Sleeves

  • Any lifter who wants additional knee support for heavier training sessions and squats.
  • Athletes who want a pair of knee sleeves that are reinforced and durable to stand the test of time. These are made of a 5mm anti-microbial neoprene.
  • Lifters who compete in the IPF, USPA, USAPL, and many more large federations .

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How Do I Use A Knee Brace

Knee braces should be used as directed by your doctor. When you wear the brace depends on what kind it is and what its treating. Some are worn all the time. Some are only worn during sports, exercise, or physical activity. You should check the placement of the brace during activities to make sure that it hasnt moved. Poorly positioned braces can do more harm than good.

Protecting And Supporting Your Knees Safely

Compression Knee Sleeve by Copper Fit

Knee braces and supports give your knee added support and stability. If you have knee pain, see your doctor. Your doctor can help you choose the right knee brace based on your knee exam and your level of activity.

This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Difference Between A Knee Sleeve And A Knee Brace

There is a key difference to understand between knee braces and knee sleeves. The protective cushioning of the knee brace is meant to protect the anterior knee and patella, which provides a lot of ligament support. Knee sleeves do this as well but only minimally.

If you have an unstable knee and are using a knee sleeve to fix or stabilize the knee, it probably wont work. If you have serious knee pain or mobility issues you need to visit your doctor or orthopedic surgeon and look into the matter further. Knee sleeves are like preventative medicine. Knee braces are post-injury. See the difference?

When Should A Person Use A Knee Sleeve

Knee compression sleeves are not suitable for constant use. Instead, they are for wearing during physical activity, when people may need extra knee support. They can provide stability to the knee during exercise or prevent post-workout soreness and pain.

Activities where a person may wish to consider wearing a knee compression sleeve include running, weightlifting, squats, and other cardio activities.

Some companies claim their product may also be suitable for those with arthritis or other knee-related injuries.

A person may wish to contact a doctor to check if knee compression sleeves will be right for them to avoid worsening existing injuries.

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Mcdavid 6446 Hex Padded

The previous entry was interesting in terms of choice. Well, this one is going to blow your mind away. McDavid offers their padded knee sleeve in 7 different sizes and 8 amazing color choices.

The design itself is very similar to the previous entry but just a bit longer on the bottom side. The 9mm HEX Technology padding serves a dual purpose of protecting you from getting injured and looking really cool. The extended length on the bottom side keeps your calves warm and offers plenty of support while not inhibiting knee movement.

This model is made from a washable and highly-durable material that ensures longevity and minimizes the wear and tear of the knee sleeve. As far as the value for money goes, this one is close to the top of the list, if not at the top.

The variety of choice, the level of sophistication including an hDc moisture management technology implemented, and the overall quality of the product surely make it a good choice, especially at these prices. And even a couple of thousands of reviews is in agreement with us on this one.

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The Types Of Knee Sleeves

SBD Knee Sleeves Review (UPDATED): Best for Competition?

There are a couple of different options you can choose from when buying knee sleeves. They are cloth sleeves, Neoprene sleeves, and knee wraps. Cloth sleeves are the loosest on the list and are designed to provide a modicum of compression and some warmth to the joint while including little support. A Neoprene sleeve is perhaps the most common and is designed to provide warmth, injury prevention, and some mild compression. Finally, there are knee wraps, which can be adjusted to be as tight or loose as you want. These are typically worn when someone wants to improve their athletic performance.

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So Which One Is Better For Prevent Injuries During Lifting

It depends on your requirements and your preferences as well. If you have weak knees, then knee wraps can improve your deadlifts and squats because they work wonders for weightlifters and powerlifters. There isnt much you can do other than using them.

But if you feel that knee wraps are too much for your knees then try knee sleeves. They have similar perks, but they are easier to wear and offer a good amount of support without being a hindrance.

Generally, powerlifters prefer knee wraps, while the CrossFit community like knee sleeves. So, instead of looking at others, allow your fitness goals and concerns to guide your final decision.

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What Are Knee Sleeves

To clarify, knee sleeves are not the same thing as knee braces. A knee sleeve provides some support, but does not function in the same way a knee brace would. Knee braces are designed and used to protect a previous injury from further endangerment. Knee sleeves are designed to protect the knee from future injury or risk of damage. This protection is especially important for knees put under great daily pressure .

Knee sleeves also add a valuable compression element that increases blood flow and reduces pain, not only during but also after performance. The reason this compression aspect is so important is that a compressed knee encourages blood flow through the blood vessels of the knee. Here is how I would draw it up on a chalkboard: compression + blood flow = better recovery. Simply put, using a knee sleeve results in less pain and swelling during and after performance.

Knee sleeves are generally made from neoprene material and slide on over the knee. In simple terms, the idea behind the knee sleeve is to reduce pain. More specifically, the sleeve adds warmth, limits patella movement, and can increase proprioception . In other words, the sleeve is more than a mechanical support mechanism for the joint, but is also used to improve proprioception.

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Best Powerlifting Knee Sleeves

Competitive and recreational powerlifters alike know that a good pair of knee sleeves can separate a successful squat session from a bad one. To perform well in the squat and even the deadlift, if you prefer you need a durable pair of sleeves that can handle heavy weights as well as your own body.

The SBD Knee Sleeves can go the distance and then some. Not only are they constructed with reinforced stitching and high-quality neoprene to endure thousands of reps of squats, theyre also IPF and USAPL compliant, making them a reliable choice for meet day.

Features To Look For When Shopping For The Best Knee Sleeve For Arthritis

Tommie Copper Men

As with any purchase, there are a few important considerations that you need to make before you buy one.

To help you out, weve put together a list of the most important things to look out for.

Purpose of Use

Consider what you need the compression knee sleeve for. Clearly, if you have arthritis then youre purchasing it to support your knees and keep them stable.

Your options include closed knee sleeves, models with built-in stabilizers and open knee sleeves.

A built-in stabilizer is a really great option if you have arthritis as itll support your ligaments and joints.

Moisture Absorption

If youre going to wear a compression sleeve around your knee all day, itll eventually build up moisture, causing discomfort, itching, and maybe even a slightly unpleasant odor. Luckily, there are moisture-wicking knee sleeves out there that help to eliminate discomfort and chafing.

Just make sure that it can still retain heat even though it absorbs moisture. This feature can significantly reduce your risk of developing injuries as an arthritis sufferer.


Measure your knees and legs prior to purchasing a knee compression sleeve to make sure that its not too small or too big. What you want is a proper fit that wont feel out of place on either of your knee.

Keep in mind that youre looking for something thatll support your knee through daily activity so it should fit well and be comfortable.



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Choosing The Best Knee Sleeves

How do you pick knee sleeves that are best for squats or leg workouts? There are a few options for knee sleeves whether youre looking for powerlifting knee sleeves, CrossFit knee sleeves, or compression knee sleeves.

Ultimately, they should all do the same job and provide support, compression, and recovery relief.

Whats the difference between powerlifting knee sleeves and CrossFit knee sleeves?

Mainly the thickness of the knee sleeve material. Powerlifters typically use thicker knee sleeves orknee wraps for support and stability.

Knee wraps are made from the same elastic material that is used in making wrist wraps and store energy that gives the power and momentum to complete a squat. Knee wraps are also popular with powerlifters and bodybuilders.

A CrossFit sleeve or a compression knee sleeve is made out of Neoprene material and comes in different thickness options . Compression knee sleeves are made to last due to the Neoprene material, working to hold and retain heat.

The heat from the knee sleeves helps regulate blood flow, reduce muscle stiffness, and improves knee mobility. In addition to CrossFit, the thicker material knee sleeves are perfect for powerlifting, cross-training, weightlifting, bodybuilding, and all other fitness enthusiasts.

When To Use Knee Sleeves

Lifting force involving a decent amount of mass, i.e. you lifting progressively heavier, literally grinds the kneecap onto itself. This is often the cause of progressive tendonitis. An interesting statistic published by the Huffington Post indicates that nearly one in twenty Americans older than fifty have artificial knees. Thats more than four million people. So if thats what happens to the average population, imagine the scenario for athletes and those who weightlift on a regular basis.

Knee sleeves do not need to be worn for all weightlifting exercises. If the knee is not involved as a primary lifting source, they are not necessary. They do however provide the support necessary for performing squats, the snatch, or the clean and jerk. Any time the knee is left weak or vulnerable, it is at great risk for damage, and usually long-term damage, unfortunately.

If you are fairly new to weightlifting, I wouldnt spend the money on knee sleeves. Simply put, there isnt enough pressure bearing down on your knees to require their use. But again, that is all relative to your age, athletic background, and more than anything else, form and technique. Poor training or technique can be disastrous in and of itself, so to help retrain the proper muscles might require a little support. Otherwise, after a year or so of lifting sleeves might be helpful, but only for the portion of your workout that involves the knees.



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