From competitive powerlifters to senior citizens-wearing a knee brace has benefits for everyone. With the right brace, you’ll get superior knee support and enhanced athletic performance. But with the wrong one, you’ll be stuck with a sleeve that feels like a dead fish.
In a Hurry? Check out our recommendation for best knee brace: TechWare Pro Knee Brace
Looking to add more pounds on the squat? Rack up more miles during your runs? Get back into a workout program post-injury? In this article, we’ll discuss why people use a knee brace, what to look for when you’re out shopping for one, and recommend a few products based on those key qualities.
Here’s our top 5 in no particular order:
- Powerlix Knee Sleeve
- Cambivo Knee Brace
- TechWare Pro Knee Brace
- Blitzu Flex Plus Knee Brace
- Physix Gear Knee Support Brace
What Are The Benefits Of A Knee Brace?
A knee brace supports the knee by wrapping around the joint. It’s made of compression material that keeps the knee in place during activity. Also, the best compression knee brace keeps the knee warm. A knee brace can help you:
- Lift more weight
- Recover from injuries quicker
- Relieve knee pain if you’re overweight
- Prevent injury at the onset
Lift More Weight
The best knee support brace adds stability and cushioning to help you lift slightly heavier. How does this happen? The fabric of the knee brace wraps around your knee and area above and below it. This stimulates the nerve endings in that area, making the athlete more aware of the knee movement. This added awareness helps you lift more since you’re more aware of your form.
According to this crossfitting chiropractor, a knee sleeve can enhance performance in power by 1-2 percent. That’s not bad, considering that all you need to do is slip one of these one.
Recover From Injuries Quicker
A knee sleeve may quicken the healing process. Whether that be from a minor or a more serious injury. According to Vanderbilt University, the warmth and compression of the brace relieves pain, especially for the first few days after the injury. It can ease prior arthritis or any type of degeneration in the knees.
This video by physical therapists Bob and Brad outline 5 exercises you can use for knee arthritis:
Relieve Knee Pain If You’re Overweight
I remember when I started working out at my heaviest weight -230 lbs.- I would get shin splints every time I ran. The excess weight caused uncomfortable pressure and pain on my knees.
High impact exercises like jogging and lunges only exacerbate them. This might stop people dead in their tracks from losing weight. A knee sleeve can give the padding needed to absorb the impact.
Prevent Injury At The Onset
Athletes tend to lose awareness of their form when they’re fatigued. They get exhausted, losing focus on their movement and get sloppy. Most injuries occur when this happens. An athletic knee brace counteracts that.
If you’re starting to get a mild ache and feel like something’s off, a knee sleeve may help prevent further injury. Subconscious awareness of the knee position discourages bad form: just having one on is enough to pay more attention. Coupled with a warm up and stretching regimen, a knee sleeve keeps the joint aligned, reinforcing proper form.
The Most Important Benefit of a Knee Brace You’ve Never Heard Of
We mentioned earlier that a knee brace can help you lift more because it stimulates nerve cells around your knee. But what exactly does this mean?
One word: proprioception.
What Is Proprioception?
Proprioception means “sense of self.” It refers to a sense of awareness of the body’s movement. There is a network of proprioceptors that creates awareness of the whole body. They are like sensors that provide information about joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension.
A proprioceptor is a type of nerve that tells the brain how the body orients in space. The brain interprets this information. It gives us a sense of coordination during physical activity. A knee brace covers the knee cap and muscles above and below it. The compression from the brace stimulates the proprioceptors there.
Thus, a knee brace creates a greater sense of awareness of the knee.
This means that with a good knee brace, the athlete is more aware of the knee movement. He pays more attention to technique and as a result is able to lift heavier. Furthermore, a senior citizen in post recovery avoids re-injury and heals quicker.
What Do The Top Rated Knee Braces Have In Common?
Contrary to what you might think, a copper fit knee brace isn’t a quality among them. Actually, the top knee braces have 3 things in common:
- Quality material
When you try on the knee brace brand, be sure to pay close attention to these specifics so that it doesn’t end up in the trash.
The sleeve should compress enough to keep the joint stable. But not too tight that it restricts your movement. If it’s too loose, the sleeve won’t compress your joint and give support.
There are reviews of people who were a size between and had to go up or down a size. This was an issue as many people ended up with sleeves that were too big or too small.
Carefully read the fitting instructions. Look at other reviews to see how accurate the manufacturer’s sizing is. The best way to make sure it fits is to physically try it on. Manufacturers we researched happily issued replacement sleeves when the first one didn’t work.
You found a knee sleeve that fits great, but is it comfortable? Or does it make you itchy? Does it keep rolling down your knee? Does it bunch up every time you start jogging?
Finding a comfortable knee brace is important because if it’s not, you’ll never wear it. Reviewers with large thighs complained that sleeves were too tight above the knee, yet too loose below it. During exercise, some reported that the sleeve bunched up or rolled down. They’d have to constantly adjust it. Others reported that the sleeve left imprints on their leg after taking them off.
A knee sleeve is worthless if it’s not comfortable enough for you to be in for long periods of time. Make sure it’s comfortable.
Look at the inside gel strips. They are supposed to keep the sleeve from moving around during activity. If they lose their grip, you might end up with an annoying sleeve that doesn’t stay put.
Look at the inside stitching. Is the material high quality, or does it feel like they’ll eventually unstitch? Reviewers report stitches getting unthreaded after only days of use. Inspect the material on the inside and out thoroughly. Be sure they’ll stand the test of time.
The 5 Best Knee Braces
crossfit and basketball. It’s also flexible enough for yoga. This lightweight knee brace doesn’t lock your range of motion; the knee is free to move. It has a sleek design and easily slips under your clothes if you want to wear it all day.
- Sweat absorption keeps knee dry and odor free
- Keep it on all day long
- Beneficial for both workouts and everyday activity
- 6 month money back guarantee
- High quality material doesn’t leave elastic marks
- Discreetly slips over and under leggings or workout pants
- Sleek and stylish design
- Manufacturer’s size chart may not apply to all body types
- Only has silicone gel strips on the top band
- May be forced to choose a size up or down if fit is between
- Only comes in black or light blue color ways
Cambivo has a reputation for excellent customer service. Reviewers reported prompt responses to their inquiries.Solution oriented representatives went out of their way to send replacement orders when the first one had issues. They also have high quality stitching and double silicone grip gels on the top and bottom of the brace.
- Receptive and prompt customer service
- Comes with 2 sleeves; good value for price
- Many color ways to choose from to fit your style
- Double silicone grip gels on top and bottom ensures brace stays in place during vigorous activity
- 5mm thick for extra protection
- Quality, sturdy material that will last
- ”Cambivo” lettering on sleeve not a minimalist design
- Manufacturer tag on inside is not knitted in and may cause discomfort
- May not fit properly for people with larger thigh to knee ratios
TechWare’s Knee brace is unique in that it is the only one on this list with a bi-directional strap system: One strap wraps around one direction and the other strap wraps in the opposite direction.
This makes for a more uniform compression and tension around the patella and is the best knee strap system we’ve seen. Also, if either the top or bottom are too tight or loose, you can easily adjust one or the other for a truly custom fit.
- Open patella design keeps brace locked in place during vigorous activity
- Has 4 flexible spring stabilizers that provide extra lateral movement support
- Silicone gel strips on top and bottom of sleeve
- High quality material
- Velcro straps make it very easy and quick to adjust
- No need to slip on or off– just detach velcro
- Recommended not to wear for long periods of time
- Shorter length sleeve compared to other competitors: only 7”
- Price is for 1 sleeve only
This brace rates highly among crossfitters and runners.
It’s comfortable enough to wear all day, even while you sleep. It is lightweight and sleek. You can easily wear it under work clothes and slip into your workout clothes later. Also, the purchase comes with 2 knee sleeves.
- Warming effect prevents injury during warm-up when limbs still cold
- Made of power premium performance fabric that has UV/Sun protection
- Comes with a free pain management ebook
- Long length 10.5”
- Supportive but not restrictive for comfort
- BLITZU and logo are a vinyl type iron on that may start to loosen
- Knee area is thinner than the rest of the sleeve
- Some users report they slide down
It has a tactical design that some may find visually pleasing.
The Physix knee support brace has neoprene stabilizer wraps that are built to last heavy knee movement activity. This makes it durable for sports like MMA and any other activities where the knee is in contact. This also may be the best knee supports for arthritis.
- Can wear all day
- Easily slips underneath clothes
- Quick dry breathable fabric
- Made with neoprene material
- Stabilizer technology perfect for those with a meniscus tear or arthritis
- Absorbs sweat and keeps knee dry/odor free
- Only comes in 2 different color ways; black and pink
- May not fit properly for people with larger thigh to knee ratios
- Sleeve may be too tight or too loose with the wrong size
- Manufacturer size chart does not apply to all body types
The clear winner is TechWare Pro Knee Brace.
This is likely the best knee brace for working out. Their 2 strap system evenly distributes support around the entire knee. It satisfies all the criteria mentioned earlier:
- Fit: Its bi-directional strap system give the user a more customized, fitted experience. A common issue among knee braces was that while the top or bottom fit, the other end was either too loose or too tight. The strap system eliminates this problem.
Check Price: TechWare Pro Knee Brace
- Comfort: The smaller length of this brace makes it less likely to bunch up or roll up. The slightly thicker padding around the knee makes it comfortable for movements like lunges and squats. The velcro also makes it easy to take on and off without having to slide it up and down.
- Quality Material: The designers at TechWare really thought this product through. They took into consideration the strengths of other products and combined them to create this one. It’s made of neoprene material that is tough enough to withstand vigorous activity. The circular gel pad around the kneecap of this knee supporter gives extra stability during movement. There are flexible metal stays that run vertically down each side of the knee to keep the joint sturdy.
There’s a reason this is the best knee brace on certain internet platforms and we agree this it’s worth giving a shot.