Best Knee Braces

Knee pain is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone, especially athletes. Most sports require leg work and having your knees ache every time you move them can hold you back from training.

Fortunately, there are ways to fight against knee pain. Using knee braces can be life-changing if you suffer from this issue. They help you stabilize your joint while you train to strengthen your legs.

Knee braces (also known as knee straps or sleeves) are over-the-counter products that help protect weakened muscles without reducing their range of motion.

When you use one of these braces, the gentle pressure will improve blood flow and oxygen to the targeted area, reducing pain and tenderness.

Best Overall: Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve

The good

  • Perfect for compression
  • Dry fit
  • Best bang for your buck

The bad

  • Tends to stretch

Description

More than a thousand Amazon reviewers gave this knee brace 4 stars or more. That means more than a thousand people received a certain degree of relief from the Shock Doctor over-the-counter knee sleeve.

What's the best part? This knee sleeve is breathable, comfortable, and moisture-wicking. That means your knee will always be dry and secure. You can thank its materials (lycra, silicone, and neoprene) for that!

There are different options for different people: you can get this knee sleeve in several sizes, including everything from small to extra large. When you wear it, it'll adjust to your leg. It's a soft knee sleeve that will support your knee and help you forget about aches and ailments there.

Best Budget: Equate Adjustable Knee Brace

The good

  • Great for small budgets
  • Three-strapped design
  • Great for compression

The bad

  • May not fit the right way

Description

Are you on a tight budget? There's no reason to feel pain because of that. You can buy this adjustable knee brace and find relief for little money. It's flexible - but certain reviewers claim it may not fit the right way. On the plus side, it has a triple-strap and compressive design, so it'll bring comfort one way or the other.

Best Compression: Neenca Professional Knee Brace

The good

  • Amazing compression
  • Comes with gel pads
  • Different color options

The bad

  • Smaller than others

Description

Thanks to its nylon and spandex materials, this knee sleeve delivers a breathable product that compresses your knee like no other. It's a medical-grade brace that comes with gel pads for your patella and spring stabilizers for extra support. The main issue here is how extra snug it is (and sometimes will feel smaller than usual) - but it comes in a wide variety of sizes (from S to XXXL), so you can make it work.

Best for Injuries: Doufurt Knee Brace Stabilizer

The good

  • Dry fit
  • Comes with stabilizers
  • Compressive design

The bad

  • May roll down your knee

Description

Are you coming back from an injury? This open-patella option could be the best choice for you. It comes with a compressive design and provides support from all sides. There's a reason for that: its design helps drive blood and oxygen to the troubled area to improve healing and speed up recovery.

Best with Stabilizers: Bodyprox Knee Brace with Side Stabilizers

The good

  • Comfortable
  • Comes with gel pads
  • Side Stabilizers

The bad

  • Two sizes only

Description

If you're looking for an absorbent, breathable, and compressive option, look no further. The Bodyprox knee brace is the one for you. It comes with gel pads for your patella and side stabilizers so you can have a safe and steady experience. It alleviates pain while ensuring a full range of motion. Unfortunately, it only comes in two sizes: regular and extra large. On the plus side, they are adjustable, so that may do the trick for you.

Best Hinged: Shock Doctor Ultra Knee Guard Hinged Compression Knee Brace

The good

  • Anatomical contouring
  • Compressive design
  • Side hinges

The bad

  • Expensive

Description

Are you looking for a hinged design? Here's the right knee brace for you. It comes with hinges on both sides for bilateral support. At the same time, the fabric compresses your knee while its anatomical design allows you to move freely. It comes in a wide range of sizes, from S to XXXL.

Best for Sports: Cambivo Knee Brace Compression Sleeve 2 Pack

The good

  • Perfect for athletes
  • Comes in pairs

The bad

  • Doesn't adjust

Description

Here's the perfect choice for athletes. Whether you play ball, cycle, hike, love HIIT, or run, Cambivo has the ideal knee brace for you. It's the perfect brace for plenty of reasons: it minimizes stiffness, stabilizes pressure, and provides comfort. Choose your size wisely, though - because you won't be able to adjust it.

Best for Arthritis: Modvel Compression Knee Sleeves 2 Pack

The good

  • Ergonomic design
  • Comes in pairs

The bad

  • It's on the smaller side of things

Description

Are you suffering from arthritis? You may want a comfortable option that supports your knees - and it doesn't get any better than Modvel's knee sleeve. It features an ergonomic design and compressive fabric, the perfect combination to alleviate your pain and help you move your knees the way you used to.

Best with Patella Gel Pads: TechWare Pro Knee Compression Sleeve

The good

  • Comes with gel pads
  • Features spring stabilizers

The bad

  • Not adjustable

Description

This knee sleeve has two spring stabilizers that are flexible enough to provide comfort and compression without limiting your range of motion. The best part is the patella gel pad that comes with it, though. It's gentle enough to compress your knee without bothering you in the slightest.

Best Stabilizing: DonJoy Performance Anaform Shin Splint Sleeve

The good

  • Perfect for stabilizing your joints
  • Compressive design
  • Anti-migration technology

The bad

  • Doesn't adjust

Description

Do you want to recover your stability? You can't go wrong when you choose DonJoy's knee sleeve. There are pros and cons to this product. It comes with anti-migration technology, stabilizing your joints while providing relief - but it doesn't adjust to your knee. It does bring relief to your sore and stiff ligaments, though.

Best for Recovery: Physix Gear Knee Compression Sleeve Support Brace

The good

  • Budget-friendly
  • Works for knees and elbows

The bad

  • Doesn't adjust

Description

Do you want a comfortable and compressive knee sleeve? This option is perfect if you're coming back from a sprain or sports injury. Why is that? Because you will feel a gentle pressure from this knee sleeve that will help you recover faster than usual - and it will happen without bothering you in the slightest.

Final Verdict

If you want the best knee brace, buy the Shock Doctor Compression Sleeve. It will support your knee like no other, is a breathable option, and won't have a hard time with sweat.

Then again, you may be on a budget. If that's so, choose the Equate Adjustable Knee Brace. It's the best bang for your buck: supportive and compressive, provides pain relief, and doesn't hurt your wallet.

What to Look For in a Knee Brace

Material

You will often find knee braces made out of neoprene or a blend of nylon, lycra, latex, or spandex. Most (if not all) of these products use synthetic materials. A few of them will have metal hinges or stabilizers for extra support. Silicone linings aren't rare either, which helps the brace stay in place.

Fit

Buying a knee brace that doesn't fit is the same as not buying one at all. These products come in various sizes, from S to XL and beyond. Keep in mind a fitting knee brace shouldn't be too tight because that would restrict blood flow (and that's the exact opposite of what you want). Adjustable knee braces are your safest bet.

Open vs. closed patella

There are two options regarding your patella: open and closed. Open means you can see your knee cap; closed means your knee cap is covered. They both come with their own benefits: a brace with an open patella offers more breathability and takes the pressure off your knee; a brace with a closed patella is warmer and is better for circulation.

Patella gel pad

Some (not all) knee sleeves come with a patella gel pad. It's extra cushioning for your knee cap. Getting a knee sleeve featuring this pad is not a bad idea if you have trouble there.

FAQ's

What does a knee brace do?

A knee brace helps compress your knee joint to improve blood flow and oxygen circulation in the troubled area. By doing that, a brace reduces swelling and improves your recovery rate. It also reduces pain and stiffness.

How do you put on a knee brace?

That depends on a case by case basis. Standard knee sleeves require little effort: you simply slip your foot and pull it over to your knee. If you choose a brace that wraps around your knee, put it on the back of your knee and wrap it around. After that, secure the straps.

How long should you wear a knee brace?

That depends on your situation! You may have to wear a knee sleeve for a week or a month. You may have to use it all day and night or take it off occasionally. Make sure you follow the instructions provided by your physical therapist.

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