A knee sleeve is designed to provide relief from knee pain caused by weight lifting, running, arthritis, and a variety of other causes. Knee sleeves provide compression to your joints, which can help your knee feel more stable and supported. A knee sleeve may make it easier to do everyday activities, such as walking up the stairs, or more strenuous activities, such as high intensity workouts.
Like ergonomic chairs and seat cushions, knee sleeves are designed to keep you more comfortable as you go through your day. Our product picks include some of the best knee sleeves to help provide the relief you need.
- BEST OVERALL: POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Modvel 2 Pack Knee Compression Sleeve
- BEST HIGH-END: Incrediwear Knee Sleeve
- BEST FOR RUNNING: NEENCA Professional Knee Brace & Compression Sleeve
- BEST FOR SQUATTING: Mava Sports Pair of Knee Compression Sleeves
- BEST FOR ARTHRITIS: UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Knee Sleeves
Every knee sleeve on the market is unique. They come in a range of different designs and features, and some are created for specific purposes. The following key features can help you determine what you need in a product, so the knee sleeve you choose will appropriately address your needs.
When looking for a knee sleeve, read the description and intended use of the product. Some options are specifically designed for a particular activity, such as weight lifting, while others may be more versatile.
One of the main features that determines a knee sleeve’s intended use is its thickness. Knee sleeves are typically 3, 5, or 7 millimeters thick. Base the thickness on when and why it’s needed.
At 3 millimeters, the thinnest knee sleeves are best suited for endurance or agility workouts or training. Because they’re more flexible and very lightweight, they’re often a good option for long distance runners.
Knee sleeves with a 5-millimeter thickness are suitable for many sports, such as volleyball or soccer. They still allow for a good deal of motion at the joint, while also providing adequate support for your knees.
The thickest and most supportive option, the 7-millimeter knee sleeve, is best for heavy weight lifters or for those with more serious knee pain, who need a greater amount of support and stabilization.
Knee sleeves are not only designed to be worn for extended periods of time, but are often worn during vigorous exercise. Make sure that the sleeve is made from a comfortable material, such as:
- Neoprene: this fabric is used to make most knee sleeves because of its ability to stretch and conform to the shape of the knee, while still allowing for airflow.
- Nylon and spandex: this blend provides breathability, sweat absorption, and flexibility for full range of motion and protection.
- Nylon and polyester: knee sleeves with this blend are also breathable and moisture wicking.
- Silicone: some knee sleeves contain silicone pads or strips to help the sleeve stay in place and maintain a good fit.
Look at the stitching on a knee sleeve you’re considering. If the sleeve isn’t properly stitched and reinforced, then it will be more likely to fray or tear.
Higher quality knee sleeves have reinforced stitching. Some options have double or even triple stitching to prevent the sleeves from fraying, and some manufacturers even use hooked stitching to further reinforce the sleeves.
A breathable knee sleeve is a must. Even if you’re not wearing the knee sleeve during intense exercise, a sweaty knee is not ideal. Breathable knee sleeves allow more air to circulate, keeping the knees cool and dry. A breathable option also helps prevent the knee sleeve from sliding down a sweaty knee. Some knee sleeves are designed with mesh fabric to further promote air flow.
Size and Fit
If a knee sleeve doesn’t fit properly, it can’t do its job effectively. Most products on the market are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate both men and women of different sizes. Before adding a knee sleeve to the shopping cart, look for the sizing guide from the manufacturer and closely follow the directions to ensure a good fit.
Knee sleeves are designed to feel tight to provide compression to the joints and keep them stabilized. However, it shouldn’t be so tight that it cuts off circulation.
Our Top Picks
These products were selected because of their quality, durability, comfort, and performance. They can help provide the knee with the support and stabilization needed to relieve pain and keep their users comfortable.
The POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve is designed to provide support for the knee during workouts and everyday activities. Featuring a flexible nylon and spandex blend, this sleeve is supportive while allowing a full range of motion, without impacting performance. This product is designed to be breathable and absorb sweat to keep wearers cool and comfortable.
Silicone gel strips combine with the sleeve’s knitted design to help the sleeve stay in place. Five sizes are available to help ensure the perfect fit, available in five color options.
The Modvel Knee Compression Sleeve can help stabilize the knee to provide relief from pain caused by arthritis or sports injuries. The sleeve has an ergonomic design that conforms to the shape of the leg. It’s designed to be unobtrusive while working out, competing in a sporting event, or simply walking around the neighborhood.
This pack includes two sleeves made from a breathable nylon, spandex, and latex blend to help keep users comfortable. Toss them in the washing machine for easy cleaning. The Modvel knee sleeves come in four size options and five colors.
The Incrediwear Knee Sleeve has features you won’t find in most other options. This product contains semiconductor elements that may help increase circulation and deliver more oxygen to the joint to help the knee heal more quickly.
The sleeve contains a moisture-wicking and breathable blend of nylon and polyester, which can help reduce inflammation caused by tendonitis, arthritis, sprains, or other injuries. Wear them for 24 hours a day to enjoy maximum healing benefits. Available in black and gray, these Incrediwear sleeves come in four sizes.
The NEENCA Knee Compression Support Sleeve is built with exclusive spring knee support technology. Unlike many other options, this sleeve has a gel pad that contours to fit over the patella. Metal spring stabilizers along the sides of the sleeve help provide stability for comfort and pain relief.
This knee sleeve is made from an air-knit nylon and polyester fabric that’s fast-drying and breathable. The sleeve also has non-slip silicone pads to keep it in place. Find it in six color options and six sizes.
For those who want to keep their knees protected during heavy lifting, the Mava Sports Knee Compression Sleeves are a good option. This pair of 7-millimeter-thick compression sleeves will provide stability and support for squatting and lifting.
Each neoprene sleeve is anatomically shaped to fit perfectly over the knees to keep users comfortable and improve their performance. Five sizes and six color options are available.
The UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve is a good choice for those dealing with arthritis knee pain. These sleeves compress the joints to increase blood flow and reduce swelling and inflammation, with a built-in heat effect.
These nylon and spandex sleeves also can aid in reducing the risk of a future injury. They help warm up the joints and muscles, decreasing the chances of injury. This UFlex Athletics sleeve comes in four sizes.
The Advantages of Owning Knee Sleeves
Those suffering with joint pain from arthritis or an injury may want to purchase a knee sleeve. Designed to provide compression to the joints through a tight fit, the sleeve helps increase blood flow to the knee, which helps decrease inflammation and pain.
The compression and increased blood flow provided by knee sleeves can help knees warm up more quickly during a workout. Knees also stay warmer during the entire workout. Warmer muscles and joints are less susceptible to injury.
Another benefit of a knee sleeve: They may help athletes perfect their weight-lifting technique. Wearing a knee sleeve provides additional support to the patella and knee joints, which helps many lifters remain more stable while squatting and lifting heavy weights. Knee sleeves may help:
- Increase blood flow to provide pain relief;
- Keep the knees warmer during a workout to prevent new injuries; and
- Improve your technique while lifting weights.
FAQs About Your New Knee Sleeves
If you still have questions about knee sleeves, take a few minutes to read through these frequently asked questions. You’ll find more information about how knee sleeves work and how to select the best knee sleeve for you.
Q. How do knee sleeves work?
Knee sleeves provide compression to your knees, which can help reduce the pain you’re experiencing and increase blood flow.
Q. Are knee sleeves the same as knee braces?
No, knee sleeves are not the same as knee braces or knee pads. A knee brace limits the range of motion more than a sleeve to prevent further damage to a previous knee injury.
Knee sleeves can help reduce pain and inflammation. They don’t limit the knee’s range of motion as does a brace. Knee pads are designed to cushion your knees to protect them while in motion.
Q. How should I measure for a knee sleeve?
For most knee sleeves, measure the circumference of your thigh somewhere between 2 and 5 inches above your knee. Some manufacturers also may ask you to measure the circumference of your calf below the knee. Since each knee sleeve may fit a bit differently, check for the specific measuring instructions from each manufacturer.
Q. How tight should knee sleeves be?
Knee sleeves are meant to be tight enough to compress your joints to stabilize them. However, if a knee sleeve cuts off your circulation, it’s too tight.
Q. Can knee sleeves be worn all day?
If your knee sleeve fits properly, is not uncomfortable, and provides relief for your pain, you should be able to wear it all day. However, check with your doctor if you want to wear your knee sleeve while you sleep; compression while sleeping may have a negative impact on circulation.
Q. How long do knee sleeves last?
The amount of time a knee sleeve will last varies. The quality of the product, how often you wear the sleeve, and how you take care of it—all impact its longevity.