Best Knee Sleeves Buying Guide: What to Look For In Knee Sleeves

buying guide: find the best knee sleeves

It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious athlete or you’re an average Joe because knee sleeves are useful for so many different reasons. Some of them are better for people living with arthritis, while others are better for activities like Olympic lifting.

Knee sleeves provide warmth, compression, and support to your knees when worn correctly. For athletes that count on having the best performance, having the best knee sleeves can be invaluable.

Disclosure: We receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

But how do you know which ones are the best? We’re going to help you out there by giving you some solid advice on what to look for, what to avoid, where to find them, and reviews from the best and worst knee sleeves on the market.

You’ll also want to consider the value for your money. The value may vary depending on where you are in your athletic journey. If you’re in the market for knee sleeves, but you want them primarily for warmth or support, you may not be willing to spend as much as you would if you expected high performance for a more serious athlete.

Don’t forget to check the flexibility of your knee sleeve. Some are more flexible than others, and it mostly depends on the thickness of the neoprene.

squatting in best knee sleeves

Some quick tips to help you decide on how flexible you want your knee sleeves to include tight sleeves with less flexibility if you’re going to be lifting heavier weight, moderate flexibility if you’re going to be running or cycling, and high flexibility if you’re more focused on improving recovery.

Durability is another key point in selecting your knee sleeves. Take special note of the stitching as well as the shape of the sleeves. Ideally, you can expect them to last at least a year or two if you use them all the time. Check reviews to see what others have experienced, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

When you’re looking at the shape of the sleeve, check out the edges to see if they’re contoured and designed to hug the quad and calves effectively. If you intend to wear them during competition, then you’ll want to make sure that the knee sleeves are approved for competition wear.

What to Avoid in Knee Sleeves

You may think that knee braces and knee sleeves are the same things because they are sometimes described interchangeably. They’re not at all the same.

In fact, knee sleeves that are described as braces should be avoided. Knee braces protect your knees from injuries you’ve already sustained. Knee sleeves are meant to offer proactive support to prevent you from injuring your knees.

Something else you may see are knee wraps. They offer something similar to the way that knee sleeves work but tend to work against the overall gains you’re looking for.

In short, knee wraps remove much of the expected workload from the knees, and instead the wraps take most of the load. This prevents you from building strength around your knees, although they do offer support. Your knees can even become dependent on the wraps.

Wraps also sometimes prevent adequate blood flow, which as any powerlifter can attest to, will cause problems like dizziness and possibly fainting. 

The effect of wraps is very different from the compression that knee sleeves offer, so don’t get them mixed up.

wearing best knee sleeves

Where to Find the Best Knee Sleeves

You can find the best knee sleeves for your requirements in many different places. The places to look include online stores that specialize in athletic equipment.

Knee sleeves are more than athletic wear or athletic accessories. They are a real piece of equipment that can and will make your workouts more effective.

When you go looking for specific knee sleeves, look to sites like KneeSleevesReviews.com for top performance sleeves. From there, you can find them on Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and occasionally, even Walmart.

You’ll notice that they come in single packages or in pairs, so keep an eye out for that as you search, too.

A Few of the Best and Worst Reviews in Knee Sleeves

Don’t forget to check out reviews for knee sleeves as part of your research. To help you out, here are a few of the best choices in knee sleeves along with some lesser choices to give you an idea of how to compare them. First, the positive reviews.

Rehband Rx Knee Sleeve 7mm - Black - Medium - 1 Sleeve

 

Rehband Rx Knee Sleeve 7mm - Black - Medium - 1 Sleeve
  • Feel more confident and secure in any activity, from weekend warrior pursuits to powerlifting or elite competitive...
  • The Rehband knee support pattern construction is built on an anatomical fit so unique that it has been patented! Due to...
  • The Rehband knee sleeve provides reinforcement all the way around the knee, and allows for a safe, optimal range of...

The manufacturer claims that you will feel more secure in powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and other lifting-related sports. With decades of research, testing, and expertise behind them, Rehband has developed a reputation for being the best of the best.

The only downside to this particular knee sleeve is that it is sold by the piece instead of by the pair. They’re not cheap, either, but then again, this is one of those things that you’ll get what you pay for.

Checking on Amazon, you’ll see over 1,200 reviews with the vast majority of them being positive about the way the Rehband helps their performance in some way. One reviewer says “Get the 7mm, they are great! I don’t think they help you lift more, but they certainly make a nice difference! I wear them for every workout! A nice benefit for cross fit is that they are nice when it comes to burpies (sic), and lunches or anywhere where your knees hit the ground.”

Another reviewer states, “These knee sleeves provide tremendous knee support, I have a bad right knee but ordered two, one for each knee. I never squat without them!” In reading the reviews, the consensus is pretty clear – depending on the individual, the knee sleeves help in one way or another.


RockTape Assassins 5mm Knee Sleeves (2 Sleeves)

 

RockTape Assassins 5mm Knee Sleeves (2 Sleeves)
  • SUPPORT, COMPRESSION & WARMTH RockTape Assassins provide support, compression and warmth to your knees during any...
  • TWO LEVELS OF SUPPORT RockTape Assassins are available in both 5mm and 7mm Neoprene thicknesses - 5mm is great for...
  • SOLD AS A PAIR RockTape Assassins Knee Sleeves are always sold as a pair. You have two knees, so you deserve two...

You can find RockTape sleeves online at Amazon or directly from the manufacturer, and you have two different thicknesses to choose from – 5mm or 7mm.

The 7mm knee sleeves offer more compression and warmth compared to the 5mm thickness. They also come in various sizes to ensure the best fit. On Amazon, there is a detailed description that explains how you’re supposed to figure out your size, too.

With over 500 reviews, a full 75% of them are 5-star reviews. One reviewer, among many, notes that when you’re selecting your size, you need to go one size down. “This is my first pair of knee sleeves. I ordered the large even though the size chart recommended the XL (my knees measure 15 ¾ inches around the patella). I read several reviews stating to go one size down. They are right, but I was able to do air squats and walk around with no issues. After a few uses, they fit very comfortable and do not slip.”

The suggestion about sizing is something you’ll see across many different reviews depending on the brand and design, so consider that as you select your knee sleeves.


Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves (1 Pair) Support & Compression for...

 

Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves (1 Pair) Support & Compression for...
  • Knee Sleeves Taking Your Performance to the Next Level - by Premium Weightlifting Brand Nordic Lifting
  • Provides the Best Support for Both Men & Women - Please Check Listing Images for Sizing Chart
  • Compression is Proven to Promote Muscle Recovery & Injury Prevention

These are sold in pairs and are suggested for compression, weightlifting, and cross training. They come in a 7mm thickness and are made from neoprene.

As a bonus, Nordic Lifting offers a 1-year no-hassle replacement guarantee for their knee sleeves, so if for some reason you need to return them within a year, you’re free to do so without a headache.

There are also over 2,000 reviews for this pair of knee sleeves, and approximately 80% of them are positive. One such review states that buying these knee sleeves was “one of the best decisions I’ve made so far!! I was searching around for the best price and quality. I looked into SBD and REHBAN (sic). Those are on the pricier side..looking towards 90-100$ (sic)!!. These Nordic sleeves are just as thick and the quality is 100. I was hesitant at first, but once I bought it and used it at the gym, it helped my squatting formation even better. It was a great purchase. I also got it for my friend too! I would highly recc if youre (sic) looking for an inexpensive sleeve but still good quality.”

You’ll see plenty of reviews that echo the same sentiments, too.


Knee Sleeves (1 Pair) Compression Support for Weightlifting,...

 

Knee Sleeves (1 Pair) Compression Support for Weightlifting,...
  • STYLE AND CONFIDENCE ON YOUR KNEES – Finally! A Durable Compression Knee Sleeve designed to last, without compromising...
  • TAKE YOUR WORKOUT TO THE NEXT LEVEl: Your durable knee sleeves work with your routine. StarkTape Knee Brace provides all...
  • SPEED UP RECOVERY, BUILT TO LAST for Men & Women. StarkTape sleeves protect your knees, prevent injuries, reduce pain,...

Reviews can make or break a product, especially on Amazon, and unfortunately, these have several critical reviews that you should really pay attention to as to things to avoid in a pair of knee sleeves.

First, while they are made primarily from neoprene, they also incorporate wraps, which are generally not recommended when working out due to blood flow being restricted.

The top critical review states that “I bought the size it recommended AFTER I measured my knee more than one time. The sleeve is a good fit, but try to wrap those seriously tight straps around your leg as shown in the picture and you’ve got yourself a tourniquet!! OUCH. Without straps it is a nice knee sleeve. With the straps, it is an amputation waiting to happen.”

You’ve been warned, though, that straps aren’t a good idea as part of a knee sleeve, so remember that when you’re searching.


jadedragon Elastic Breathable Wrap Knee Elbow Wrist Ankle Hand...

 

jadedragon Elastic Breathable Wrap Knee Elbow Wrist Ankle Hand...
  • High quality Elastic ,Fabric is breathable, Anti - allergy, wear soft and comfortable
  • Extra Support and easy adjustable,Many people prefer wraps over a knee brace, knee sleeve, or knee support, because...
  • These knee compression support wraps won't slip, unroll or fall off. Stronger material provides best support for heavy...

This seems to be the perfect example of what not to get if you’re looking for something that provides extra support in an athletic environment.

According to their description, these are supposed to provide support for heavy squats as well as high-intensity lifting. They are also made of elastic fabric as opposed to the preferred neoprene.

The top customer reviews mention a few things to be aware of. The first one claims that these wraps are “total junk, slips down and doesn’t stay in place, hard to reuse too because it twists and doesn’t stay on and cuts off circulation. Sent back weeks ago and still not refunded!!!!”

Losing circulation is a problem, especially in high-intensity workouts. Upon further reading the reviews, you’ll notice that the negative reviews indicate that these wraps don’t work for their intended purpose but may actually work for simple knee pain.

Making Your Choice

If you enjoy high impact sports, then knee sleeves could be highly beneficial to you. If heavy lifting is more your thing, knee sleeves are also a good idea.

People living with Arthritis can also enjoy the benefits of knee compression because the effect can help joint pain feel better and more manageable.

Before you make your choice, review the options out on the market, compare reviews, and then decide what is going to best fulfill your needs.

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