Knee sleeves have surged in popularity recently. These compression sleeves can help alleviate knee pain, provide support, and increase mobility.
People use knee sleeves for different purposes. Some people use them to aid faster recovery after an injury. Others use them to support the knee during a workout or competition. Knee sleeves can also increase blood flow and circulation.
Overall knee sleeves are ideal to provide support and warmth to your knees during all forms of activities like running, basketball, squats, lifting and more.
There are many knee sleeves to choose from made from various materials, sizes, colors, etc.
However, not every knee sleeve on the market works as advertised. So, which is the best knee sleeve to buy? Our editorial team went out to find the answer to that question. Here is our list of the best knee sleeves to consider buying in 2021.
Ranking the Best Knee Sleeves and Compression Brace Products
Here are the top-ranked knee sleeves:
- Exo Sleeve
- TheraICE Rx Compression Sleeve
- PentagonFit Knee Sleeve
- KneeWrap Pro
- Knee Force
- Knee Hero
- Knee Relief Patches
- Smart Knee Pad
- Kompress Kinetic Socks
- Soul Insole
- Feel Good Knees
To learn more about these products, here is a rundown of each item:
If you’re looking for the best knee compression sleeves on the market, Exo Sleeve is among your best options. The Exo Sleeve brand upholds a strong reputation by offering high-quality, effective knee sleeves that work in multiple situations. Knee sleeves from this brand have been successful for years. In addition to knee sleeves, the company makes weight belts, sandbags, belts, resistance bands, and other fitness equipment.
Knee sleeves from Exo Sleeve are available in three sizes—5mm, 7mm, and light. The 7mm and 5mm sleeves are ideal for those who do CrossFit, powerlifting or bodybuilding looking for additional support.
Alternatively, the light sleeve with a thickness of around 3mm is fit for agility. It works for those who want to enjoy the benefits of a knee sleeve while maintaining mobility during lighter actives.
Priced from $29 a pair, Exo Sleeve is among the few brands that offer a wide selection of designs and colors.
TheraICE Rx Compression Sleeve
TheraICE Rx Compression Sleeve claims to eliminate pain in just minutes. Priced at $35, this knee sleeve boasts thousands of five-star reviews online. According to the manufacturer, it uses a mix of heating, cooling, and compression technology to help users enjoy their favorite workouts and activities without the pain.
To get started with the device, users need to place it in a freezer or microwave. The sleeve comes with a built-in gel that freezes or heats up based on where it’s placed. Once frozen or heated up, users can slip the sleeve on any part of the body and let it stay there for 15 minutes.
During this period, the user can enjoy the benefits of heat, cold, and compression therapies delivered by one convenient device. So far, the TheraICE Rx Compression sleeve has garnered more than one million dollars in sales. This makes it one of the best-rated knee sleeves available on the internet today.
Caresole Circa Knee Compression Sleeve
A product of Caresole, the Circa Knee Compression Sleeve is one of the best knee sleeves available today. Made of neoprene material, this sleeve keeps the knees warm, lubricates joints, and prevents injuries. Unlike other knee sleeves that are designed for bodybuilders, this knee sleeve is ideal for everyday use.
It works for those who want to avoid slipping as well as those who regularly walk on hard surfaces. Embracing the best stabilization technology, this knee sleeve comes with a contoured fit that delivers maximum comfort and minimum slippage. It also allows users to support a full range of motion while giving them better agility than most other competing options on this list.
Priced at $42 per piece, the Caresole Circa Knee Compression Sleeve works for both men, women, and virtually anyone who wants to move or walk more easily. Additionally, it’s one of the most fair-priced options on this list.
PentagonFit Knee Sleeve
This medical-grade knee sleeve provides instant knee support, stability, and protection. The Knee Sleeve from PentagonFit claims to relieve pain and prevent injury while supporting faster recovery. Additionally, this knee sleeve offers other benefits we don’t see in other products.
For example, the sleeve supports blood circulation, increased stability, and support. It also claims to minimize knee pain and inflammation while increasing the range of motion and protecting knee injuries, as stated on the official website.
Priced at $39.95, this knee sleeve is ideal for those who are experiencing knee arthritis, muscle sprains, knee tendonitis, and ligament tears, among other issues. Importantly, it comes with a moneyback guarantee.
VitaKnee is another knee sleeve worth considering in 2021. This popular ergonomic knee sleeve comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and hundreds of five-star reviews from genuine buyers online. However, its manufacturers have less reputation than most other knee sleeve manufacturers on this list.
All the same, VitaKnee has carved out a niche in the budget market by providing a quality knee sleeve at an affordable price. Priced at $39.99 per unit, this product is ideal for anyone looking for a knee sleeve to strengthen, support, and protect the knee.
KneeWrap Pro is a lightweight compression sleeve that users can slip on their knees to enjoy a relieving compression force. It also eliminates pain and discomfort throughout the lower body. Just as other knee sleeves on this list, KneeWrap Pro is machine-washable. This makes it suitable for both athletic and non-athletic settings.
At $39 per unit, KneeWrap Pro gives similar value to other knee sleeves on this list. Additionally, the manufacturer offers discounts on multiple orders, which drop the price to as little as $20 per piece. This knee sleeve is ideal for anyone looking for a simple knee sleeve made of quality fabric.
Compressa is among the best-selling and most popular knee sleeves available online today. This knee sleeve serves both as a compression sleeve and as a knee brace. According to the manufacturer, the Compressa Knee Sleeve supports the knee, increases circulation, controls temperatures, and facilitates faster recovery among other benefits.
This knee sleeve is ideal for different applications. Athletes can use it, as well as basketball players. Some people can also use it while lifting weights or playing other sports. Priced at $59.99 per unit, Compressa Knee Sleeve is more expensive than most other competing options on this list.
However, with the higher price tag come three sleeves per package while most others contain only one or two knee sleeves. This again makes it one of the best-value options on this list.
This knee sleeve is designed to alleviate knee pain, increase knee-length, and provide soothing comfort on the knee and the entire lower leg. Priced at $39.98 per unit, Knee Force is among the best knee sleeves available today. It’s made of breathable mesh, which makes it easy and comfortable to wear when working out or during everyday activities.
Additionally, Knee Force comes with a similar design to other compression sleeves listed here. It’s also available in multiple colors including green and black. The sleeve also boasts hundreds of five-star reviews online, which adds another layer of legitimacy to its authenticity. Most importantly, users can buy it through a 50% discount code, which puts it among the best-value options on this list.
If you’re looking for a knee sleeve that supports the meniscus, ligaments, kneecap, and knee joint, Knee Hero could be your best option. This breathable, non-slip knee brace is meant for daily use and during workouts to support the knee joint and prevent sprains and strains.
According to the manufacturer, the Knee Hero compression sleeve boosts recovery and helps eliminate joint pain. It comes in three sizes including medium, large, and extra-large. Priced at $65 per unit, it’s among the most expensive options listed here. However, it also comes with a one or two-year warranty, something unavailable in other knee sleeves listed here.
Knee Relief Patches
This knee sleeve is sold exclusively on KneeReliefPatches.com. Knee Relief Patches are the only product listed here that’s available as a patch—not a sleeve. Users can apply the Knee Relief Patches for up to 24 hours. Informed by traditional Chinese medicine, each patch contains proven ingredients, which it transfers to the knee and surrounding tissues. According to the manufacturer, these patches can help alleviate arthritis and meniscus injuries. Additionally, the patches provide maximum absorption at the knee while delivering ingredients directly to the source.
Unlike other knee sleeves that simply wrap the knee in a compressed fabric, Knee Relief Patches supply the knees with the necessary ingredients for recovery. Users can even use the patches alongside a compression sleeve for maximum effectiveness. Each unit of 12 single-use patches is currently priced at $39.75.
Smart Knee Pad
The Smart Knee Pad sleeve is available online at SmartKneePad.com. It’s the first knee sleeve on this list that uses smart technology to deliver soothing relief. Each smart knee pad comes with three temperature levels to combat three different ailments. Besides, the pads are made from graphene to provide the constant temperature.
The Smart knee pad works on more than just the knee. It can work around the elbow or calf as well. The heated knee brace eliminates discomfort while preventing injury wherever it’s applied.
At $79.95 per piece, Smart Knee Pad is slightly more expensive than other options here, owing to its use of more technology. It’s ideal for those who want to customize their knee sleeve’s heating therapy according to their preference.
Kompress Kinetic Socks
Kompress Kinetic Socks claim to alleviate knee pain without actually touching the knee. According to the creator, good foot support is crucial in knee pain and back pain management. Most chronic body pain traces its source to the feet and back.
Once worn, the Kompress Kinetic Socks delivers the targeted relief on the entire soles of the feet and ankles. By using patented technology for focal compression, the focal straps wrap around the upper ankle to prevent injury. The socks can be used alongside other top-ranked knee sleeves on this list or on their own to alleviate pain and injuries.
Regardless of the way they are used, the socks deliver a proven technology that targets the ankles and soles of the feet. Priced at $24.99 per unit, the Kompress Kinetic Socks are among the best-value options on this list.
Soul Insole is available in the form of a pad that a user can easily slip into the shoe to support the foot and help alleviate knee pain, back pain, and overall body pain. This product supports the arch of the foot and allows the body to absorb its impacts more effectively. It also helps align the body in an optimal way.
It’s most useful for those who experience plantar fasciitis or pain along the arch between the toes and the heel. However, others also use it for overall pain relief. Priced at $30 per piece, it’s among the best-value options on this list. Regardless of the way it’s used, this compression sleeve can improve health, relieve pain, and save money. The insole is also washable and reusable.
Feel Good Knees
This knee treatment program is available online through FeelGoodKnees.com. The program is structured in the form of instructional videos and PDF eBooks, as well as physical copies. Created by Tod Kuslikis, MPA, this guide involves using eastern and western holistic practices to enhance the body’s natural healing process.
Some people believe that healing knee pain could be a complex project and not just a case of wearing a knee sleeve or applying the right cream. Instead, it requires a holistic, whole-body approach to health and wellness.
Priced at only $15, the Feel Good Knees program is the cheapest product on this list. While it’s not a sleeve itself, it offers concrete information with proven techniques that users can implement to relieve knee pain.
How We Ranked the Best Knee Sleeves
All knee sleeves promise to eliminate knee pain, improve comfort, and protect the knee. However, only the best products live up to this promise. To separate the best from the worst, our editorial team used the following metrics:
Knee sleeve manufacturers use different materials to make their products. Some companies use an elastic material that stores energy and makes it easier to complete bodybuilding exercises. Other manufacturers use Neoprene. For this listing, we considered the type of material used in making a knee sleeve.
Knee sleeves come in different thickness levels. This makes it easier to customize the product according to the user’s unique preferences.
Fit and Comfort
A good knee sleeve should fit properly—not too tight, loose, or baggy. Instead, it should fit snugly for the best support. Some knee sleeves are uncomfortable in any size. We tested various products and chose only what we considered fit and comfortable.
Some knee sleeves are products of physical therapists, doctors, and other professionals. Others are made by a team of marketers looking to make quick money. For this listing, we considered products that were supported by doctors or medical professionals.
Some knee sleeve manufacturers exaggerate their advertised benefits to make a sale. For instance, some claim their products can eliminate knee pain overnight. Others say their products can boost users’ running performance or squats. Our team was wary of companies that advertised dishonest or unrealistic benefits.
Manufacturer Reputation and History
Some companies have been in business for decades, making high-quality knee sleeves. Others have a reputation for making substandard products. For this listing, we preferred knee sleeves from proven reputable manufacturers.
Value for Money
Some customers can spend as much as $200 or more on knee sleeves. Others would want to spend only $20. Without being biased towards any specific price point, we emphasized good value at any price point. For example, a customer paying a premium price for a knee sleeve should get a premium product. At the same time, a customer paying a budget price should expect good value.
Reputable knee sleeve manufacturers make high-quality products and stand behind their products with a satisfaction or moneyback guarantee. For this ranking, we preferred knee sleeve products that came with a moneyback guarantee as opposed to those with hidden fine prints and no refund policies.
What Do Knee Sleeves Do?
Knee pain can strike at any age due to aging or joint problems. Medical conditions like arthritis or gout can also cause knee pain. Fortunately, knee sleeves can help alleviate the condition.
Knee sleeves are made of compression material that supports the knees. The material strengthens the knee joint while adding extra protection during physical activities like athletics, basketball, running, or lifting weights.
How Do Knee Sleeves Work?
Knee sleeves work in multiple ways. They make the area warm while improving blood flow. Besides, they facilitate the recovery process by minimizing swelling and pain. A knee sleeve can also help reduce the risk of injury by limiting kneecap movement.
Here are some of the most important functions of knee sleeves:
Provision of warmth and compression: Most knee sleeves use compression technology. They provide warmth while increasing blood flow to the area. This action also boosts the responsiveness within the knee.
Delivering better control and stability: By wearing knee sleeves, users can improve their control and stability. Using compression technology, the sleeve improves responsiveness and makes it easier to control and stabilize the area.
Limitation of movement: Knee sleeves allow users to limit their movements to a defined range. This action allows them to minimize the chances of injury.
Stimulation of blood flow: Once worn, knee sleeves improve blood flow to the region and help with recovery and pain management.
Swelling reduction: A knee sleeve can reduce swelling in an area and help in recovery management after a workout. These products are of great help especially to people who experience pain or swelling in the knees after a workout.
Who Should Use Knee Sleeves?
Knee sleeves are beneficial to anyone. Many people wear knee sleeves to alleviate joint pain and aging-related mobility issues. Others use knee sleeves for CrossFit, intensive workouts, or general athletic activity.
Overall, here are some of the people who could benefit more from knee sleeves:
Any person involved in workouts, runs, or general exercises
Anyone with joint pain or arthritis
Any person who wants to prevent swelling or inflammation after a workout while boosting recovery
Anyone who wants to improve mobility, movement, and range of motion without attracting pain and inflammation
People suffering from lower leg pain or other lower body pain due to arthritis, ligament tears, knee tendonitis, muscle sprains, and more
Generally, anyone can benefit from a good knee sleeve. They are good for managing pain, recovery, and improving performance.
How to Pick the Right Knee Sleeve Thickness
Most knee sleeves are available in thickness of about 7mm. However, 5mm knee sleeves are equally available. Here are the steps to picking the best knee sleeve size:
3mm knee sleeve for maximum agility and mobility
The 3mm knee sleeves are the slimmest in the market. They are made of lightweight pieces of material and in most cases, spandex or nylon—not neoprene. These types of knee sleeves are common among runners and those undergoing endurance training. However, they’re less common among weightlifters and cross-training athletes. They are mainly designed to offer maximum agility and mobility while compromising on support and stability.
5mm knee sleeves for medium strength and agility
The 5mm knee sleeves are ideal for people who want the best of both worlds. This type of knee sleeve provides good strong support without interfering with quality. They allow users to get adequate strength for easier powerlifting. They also support agility and mobility to run without problems. Overall, the 5mm knee sleeves are ideal for weightlifters and athletes.
7mm knee sleeves for normal strength and support
Most knee sleeves are usually available in 7mm thickness to provide maximum strength and support. Made of stiffer, more stable fabric, these knee sleeves give users more confidence during weightlifting or cross-training. While they compromise on mobility more than the 3mm and 5mm models, a well-fitting 7mm knee sleeve should support the user’s movement significantly.
Benefits of Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves offer several proven benefits. Good knee sleeves deliver the following benefits:
Knee and Patella Support
Using compression technology, knee sleeves control the movement of the patella (kneecap) and strengthen the joint to reduce the risk of injury. A well-fitting knee sleeve adds an extra layer of protection to keep the kneecap and knee joint in place regardless of the intensity of the activity.
By minimizing slippage and movement in the knee joint, knee sleeves boost faster recovery. They can also increase warmth and blood flow in the area, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the area to boost recovery.
Many people like knee sleeves for the warmth they provide. Naturally, knee joints warm the joint and boost blood and oxygen circulation. This leads to faster recovery and performance.
People have different preferences when it comes to warmth. Some people like their muscles to feel warm during a workout or athletic event. Others disregard it. Overall, it’s up to the user.
Knee sleeves are equally comfortable to wear, which is why many people like them. Some people don’t like the feel of squatting without knee braces because they believe the braces add stability and peace of mind.
Besides, knee sleeves can also improve control. By making it easier to feel what goes on around the knees and legs, it helps users adjust their muscles for the exercise.
Knee Sleeves versus Knee Wraps versus Knee Braces
Knee support products are available as knee sleeves, knee wraps, and knee braces. While they seem to have similar roles, they work in different ways:
Knee Sleeve: This type of knee support system provides moderate compression to the knee joint to keep it warm and safe. For instance, it could be necessary when doing squats. It could also help with recovery, inflammation, and joint pain.
Knee Brace: Braces offer protective cushioning for the front knee and patella. These are crucial parts of the knee because they support the ligaments. A knee brace could also help people who have unstable knees recover from injuries. Unlike a knee sleeve that works generally, a knee brace is designed specifically to support the front knee and the kneecap.
Knee Wraps: These knee support devices are not as common as the sleeves. However, some people, especially bodybuilders use them for extra performance. Knee wraps allow users to lift more weight in particular movements such as squats. They are made of elastic material that preserves energy and boosts performance. All the same, some experts are against using knee wraps because they push the kneecap against the thigh bone, which increases friction.
Best Knee Sleeve Fabrics
Most knee sleeve manufacturers use neoprene. However, other knee sleeve materials are also available for different uses. Here are the best three fabrics for sleeve fabrics:
It’s the most common material for knee sleeves. All of the knee sleeves on this list are made of neoprene. Some manufacturers may call it “high-performance fabric” or “mesh underlayer” but it’s just neoprene. This material delivers good comfort and flexibility at discounted rates.
This material is used for slimmer knee sleeves. While they don’t deliver the same support as neoprene, they support agility and mobility.
This material is gaining traction, with some people claiming that copper-infused fabric supports a faster healing process. However, there’s no evidence for this, although the material limits the accumulation of bacteria and odors.
Knee Sleeve Studies: What Does Science Say?
Some scientific studies support the use of knee sleeves. These knee support devices can help reduce injury and relieve pain. However, according to some studies, knee sleeve benefits are attributed to the placebo effect.
In one study, researchers evaluated the effects of a knee brace and two types of neoprene knee sleeves. The researchers discovered that the braces did not affect athletic performance. However, the study revealed that knee sleeves and braces could potentially impact the adjacent joints around the knee.
In another study, researchers discovered that knee sleeves could help improve strength and performance because they “can effect functional improvements to knee problems.”
Some people also use knee sleeves to alleviate pain. This practice is common among people with osteoarthritis. In a study conducted in 2019, researchers analyzed the effects of knee sleeves on victims of early osteoarthritis. According to the study, knee sleeves could reduce pain significantly while improving mobility.
Some knee sleeves manufacturers use elastic materials to make the products. According to a study conducted in 2015, wearing knee sleeves while walking could reduce knee adduction angles, moments, and impulses, in patients with osteoarthritis.
Knee sleeves are equally beneficial during squats. According to some studies, the sleeves could help boost performance during squats. However, as shown by one study published in Human Movement in Science Theses and Dissertations, knee sleeves had no functional effect on squat performance.
Overall, many studies opine that knee sleeves don’t significantly help with performance—but they don’t hurt it either. While some users benefit immensely from knee sleeves, others just need the comfort, warmth, and control they deliver.
Best Knee Compression Sleeves Final Word
Knee sleeves can redefine the way you do your workout. Once tried, most people never go back to working without knee sleeves. However, not every knee sleeve on the market is good. Just like other products, some knee sleeves are way better than others.
Some offer extensive support while maintaining agility. Others are made from cheaper, substandard materials. To get started with the best knee sleeve today, use any of the top-ranked knee sleeve companies on this list.
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Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely a substitute for sound medical advice from a licensed healthcare provider. Make sure to consult with a professional physician before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary as the statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.