best knee sleeves

How To Find The Best Knee Sleeves For You

When it comes to running, perhaps you love nothing but the feel of the wind against your chest, your legs, and arms. You also love the breathlessness it makes you feel, mile after mile, from roads to trails to sand. You like the challenge and health benefits you get from running, and could not ask for any more than that.

However, recently you have been starting to feel slight pain in your knee whenever you apply pressure to it. You might feel it when you are running or even when you are walking, and it can be rather uncomfortable. You might not be sure just what it is, but little do you know that you probably have patellofemoral pain syndrome, or “runner’s knee,” which can worsen and be extremely painful if you continue to run on it. Not only that, but also it can negatively affect your everyday life.

That said, what can you do? While there are running shoes for bad knees and knee braces to help you out, we propose to you knee sleeves as another alternative to getting better. Learn more in this article on how to find the best knee sleeves for running, and soon enough, you can get back into your normal running routine in no time.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

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Benefits to Wearing a Knee Sleeve

First things first, you might wonder just how can a knee sleeve help heal your injured knee? Here are just a few reasons why you ought to give knee sleeves a try:

1. Compression.

By compressing the knee cap area, it can help to take away some of that pain associated with knee injuries. Having tightness around there can also make it easier to get around, and otherwise continue your usual daily routine. However, make sure that it is not too tight, so that it does not get too uncomfortable to wear.

2. Protection.

Especially if you are an accident prone, e.g. tripping, falling, hitting your knee, then having a barrier to cushion the impact can lessen the intensity of the accident. Knee sleeves come in varying degrees of thickness, so it is important to figure out just how thick you want it to be.

3. Stability.

Similar to compression, having a knee sleeve helps to stabilize, perhaps even correct the knee cap as you are slowly healing. Maybe your knee cap had been misaligned, so now, a knee sleeve can help to fix that. It holds the knee cap in place, so that you can run forward more efficiently and painlessly.

Here is a video describing more of the benefits of knee sleeves: 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Knee Sleeve

Before you get started even purchasing a knee sleeve, you will need to take into consideration just a few aspects to make sure that you end up getting the right one. After all, you would not want to get one that is too loose or uncomfortable, so researching beforehand and knowing just what you need will make the searching process easier and more convenient for you.

That said, here are some things to look out for when looking for the perfect knee sleeve:

1. Size.

As an obvious, you will need to figure out just what is the best size for you to wear, based on your knee size and also your active lifestyle. Measured in millimeters, knee sleeves come in these various sizes:

  • a. Three millimeters. The thinnest of the bunch, it is also the lightest and most breathable knee sleeve out there.
    Hence, it is ideal for those who are endurance runners, or those who work out over long periods of time and need something light and flexible to prevent it from getting stuffy and overwhelming when doing so. It works with the knee rather than against it, so by the end of the workout, you can regain full control of your knee movement through it.
  • b. Five millimeters. The most versatile out of the bunch, five-millimeter knee braces are great for mixed activities, such as running, weight-lifting, and so forth. It has just the right amount of support and flexibility to keep you protected and agile, respectively, so most people choose to go for this particular size.
  • c. Seven millimeters. The thickest out of the three sizes, the seven-millimeter knee brace offers the most cushion and support, which makes for the perfect sleeve for weight-bearing exercises, again such as weight-lifting. It stabilizes the knee, making sure that it does not move all over the place, so you can practice concentration and movement while lifting heavy weights.

Another thing is to measure your knee area for the best fit. Check out this video to learn how to do it: 

2. Material.

Aside from getting the right size, the material is also very important as well. In essence, depending on the type the material is meant for compression and protection while you are working out. Here is a list of commonly-used materials for knee sleeves:

  • a. Cloth sleeves. Just like the clothes you wear for working out and casual wear, cloth sleeves offer compression and some warmth to keep the area nice and tight while exercising. However, it might be as breathable as other materials, since it can have a hard time soaking up sweat and keeping things cool and dry.
  • b. Knee wraps. This type of material is for the hard-core athletes out there, involving extreme compression to help you perform well in any race or competition. While it might not ideal for casual workouts, if you want to be taken seriously as an athlete, then this one can be a good type for you.
  • c. Neoprene sleeves. Made from synthetic material, neoprene sleeves offer warmth, some compression, and injury prevention for an all-around solid knee sleeve. It can be well-worth the investment for runners and other athletes because of all the features mentioned. The only downside would have to be the fact that it can create an unpleasant odor, since it is not made from necessarily breathable material.

3. Budget.

This might be the most of your concerns, but in any case, it is best to use your personal judgement to figure out how much you should be paying for a knee sleeve, depending on the quality and effectiveness of the product. There is no specific range to expect, so trusting your instincts is the best way to go about it.

Top Five Best Knee Sleeves

** Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices, choose the colors and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

Made from 100 percent neoprene, Nordic Lifting’s knee sleeves offers a heavy-duty protection that is perfect for doing activities such as weight-lifting or running. It has a distinctive compression technology to help with injury prevention, along with muscle recovery. It comes with sizes ranging from XS to XXL, thereby including all sorts of different body shapes and sizes.

Pros

  • Made from 100 percent neoprene for heavy-duty protection.
  • Has compression technology for injury prevention and muscle recovery.
  • Sizes range from XS to XXL.

Cons

  • Tends to slide down when exercising.

Opinion

Overall, I found Nordic Lifting’s knee sleeves to be quite protective, especially since it is made from 100 percent neoprene. It is good on the compression feature and I have been enjoying it so far. However, my only gripe is that it tends to slide down whenever I am running, weight-lifting, or otherwise bending my knees, which is a bit of an inconvenience to constantly adjust each time.


Coming with an extra-long length and extra-thick support, Evolutionize’s 7-millimeter performance knee sleeves are all the rage when it comes to covering as much of the area as possible to reduce and recover from knee pain. It is extremely heavy-duty, thereby allowing you to do heavier reps in weight-training and otherwise pushing yourself to perform your best in just about any race or competition! Plus, it comes as a pair!

Pros

  • Comes in an extra-long length for more coverage around the affected area.
  • Is heavy-duty to allow for heavier reps and running performance.
  • Offers extra-thick support at 7 millimeters.

Cons

  • Bunches up when squatting or bending the knee, which can be uncomfortable.

Opinion

Evolutionize’s 7-millimeter performance knee sleeves turned out to be a pleasant surprise, considering that they are longer and thicker than your average knee sleeve. I have used them and so far, I have enjoyed how compressed and protective they are on my joints- no pain whatsoever! Only thing is that it tends to bunch up whenever I bend my knees, so it can be rather uncomfortable in the back.


Not only does Ultra Flex’s knee compression sleeve reduce swelling and inflammation, but also it offers pain relief for all sorts of knee injuries, including runner’s knee and tendinitis. What makes Ultra Flex’s knee compression sleeve even more distinctive is that it has an anti-slip silicone, to prevent the sleeve from riding down and otherwise bunching up whenever you work out. From running to contact sports, this knee sleeve is a good product to consider.

Pros

  • Reduces swelling and inflammation and offers pain relief.
  • Has an anti-slip silicone to prevent the sleeve from moving.
  • Excellent for all types of sports, from running to basketball to weight-lifting.

Cons

  • Sizing tends to be tricky for some knee sizes.

Opinion

Ultra Flex’s knee compression sleeve turned out to be a worthwhile investment, for it has reduced swelling in my knee and lessened the pain of my injury. I really appreciated the anti-slip silicone feature, so that I did not have to worry about the sleeve riding up or bunching up when I exercised. Sizing can be tricky, but once I got it down, it worked great.


At 5 millimeters, Rehband Rx’s knee support makes for just the right balance between not-too-thin and not-too-thick for support you in just about any sports activity you choose to do. It is made from neoprene material and it offers warmth, i.e. increase blood flow throughout, to keep your knee flexible enough to perform activities with minimal pain.

Pros

  • Offers the right balance of thickness and breathability at 5 millimeters.
  • Made from neoprene material for warmth and increased blood flow.
  • Has a 3D contoured design to mold to fit your knee’s shape.

Cons

  • Sold as one unit, rather than as a pair.

Opinion

I found Rehband Rx’s knee support to be just the right thickness (5 mm) for performing anything from running to weight lifting…pain-free! The neoprene material from which it is made offers plenty of warmth and blood circulation, so that is much appreciated. Wished that it came in a pair, rather than as one unit, though.


Containing 13 to 20 mmHg of compression, Mava Sports’ knee sleeves provide an adequate amount of protection and stability to help you continue doing what you love to do, e.g. running, weight-lifting. It is made from lightweight, soft material and even better is not itchy. No slipping is involved when you use this product, so that you can work out without having to worry about that!

Pros

  • Contains 13 to 20 mmHg of compression.
  • Made from lightweight, soft material and is not itchy.
  • No slippage involved, for a convenient workout session.

Cons

  • More suitable for short-term use, for it starts to get uncomfortable at the end of the day.

Opinion

Mava Sports’ knee sleeves offer a decent amount of pressure and is lightweight, two aspects which I really liked when I first wore them. Even better, it is not itchy at all and there is no slipping involved. Only thing is that it starts to get uncomfortable after wearing it for most of the day, so that’s own downside.


Winner of the Roundup

Overall, the winner of the roundup goes to Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve (#3).

Not only does it reduce swelling and offer pain relief for knee injuries, but also it does not slip when you work out. It offers plenty of great features, all of which are reasons why you ought to invest in this knee sleeve for future use.

References

http://www.rehband.com/blog/pick-right-knee-sleeve-3mm-5mm-7mm/

​https://www.crossfitinvictus.com/blog/the-benefits-of-knee-sleeves/

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