The 11 Best Knee Sleeves of 2021

Protect your joints with one of these picks

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Best Knee Sleeves

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Our Top Picks
"A great pick for everyday use, this knee sleeve absorbs moisture so you can effectively avoid itch and odor."
"Score two knee sleeves for the price of one without skimping on quality, and enjoy consistent pressure with each wear."
"The unique padding of this knee sleeve is designed to surround the kneecap, cushioning and supporting it as you move."
"This sleeve provides plenty of tight, supportive compression and successfully maintains its compressive fit over time."
"Complement your running routine with this sleeve, which features a four-way stretch design that won't limit your range of motion."
"This lightweight sleeve will keep your knee supported, cool, and comfortable as you trek along your favorite trail."
"The contoured design of this knee sleeve makes it a great pick for those who need extra support when tackling intense workouts."
"Padded with foam, this sleeve holds up to wear and tear from your favorite sport all while preventing you from overheating."
"Made from a bamboo charcoal fiber, this sleeve is comfortable enough for everyday wear, especially for those with arthritis."
"The gel padding in this knee sleeve contours to your knee to provide additional support every time you wear it."

Knee sleeves are thin, stretchy pieces of fabric that you can wear over your knees for additional support and comfort. Similar to knee braces, knee sleeves are designed to support the knees during exercise and other activities. But because knee sleeves tend to be sleek and low-profile, they offer a more flexible and less intrusive alternative to classic knee braces.

“Someone may wear a knee sleeve because they feel it will help decrease their knee symptoms or improve their function,” said Brandon Schmitt, DPT, ATC, chair of the Knee Special Interest Group of the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy. Knee sleeves may also give people more confidence when tackling certain activities.

Of course, knee sleeves aren’t a replacement for a proper physical therapy program, but they may serve as a useful addition to one. “A knee sleeve may be worn as long a patient feels they may benefit from it,” said Schmitt.

Here are the best knee sleeves on the market.

Best Overall: PowerLix Knee Compression Sleeve

Lightweight, comfortable, and breathable, this PowerLix knee compression sleeve is a great option for everyday use. A stretchy blend of nylon and spandex, the sleeve effectively absorbs moisture so you can avoid both itch and odor all day long.

Meanwhile, the sleeve’s four-way compression design applies stable pressure across your knee, giving you support without limiting your range of motion. And since it's lined with slip-resistant silicone grips, you won’t have to worry about it sliding out of place as you move. The sleeve is currently available in sizes small through extra-extra-large.

Best Budget: Cambivo Knee Sleeve 2-Pack

Cambivo Knee Sleeve 2-Pack

This two-pack of Cambivo knee sleeves costs less than a single sleeve from other brands without skimping on quality. They are crafted from a lightweight blend of nylon, latex, and spandex, and they apply consistent pressure across your knee every time you wear them, delivering compression that feels both warm and supportive. Plus, the silicone strips that run along the top of the sleeves keep them securely in place, no matter your activity.

These knee sleeves are currently available in sizes small through extra-extra-large.

Best Splurge: Bauerfeind Sports Knee Brace

If you’re looking for a knee sleeve that offers more support, this option from Bauerfeind Sports is worth the higher price tag. It's constructed from a lightweight Air Knit fabric, which is both flexible and comfortable. And since the fabric wicks away moisture effectively, you can work up a sweat in your knee sleeve without feeling too uncomfortable.

The sleeve also features a ring of contoured padding that lines the center to surround the kneecap, providing ideal amounts of cushion and support as you move. This component makes it feel more like a knee brace without sacrificing the sleek flexibility you expect from a knee sleeve.

The sleeve is currently available in sizes extra-small through extra-extra-large.

Best Compression: Jiufentian Copper Knee Sleeve

Many knee sleeves are made from a blend of nylon, spandex, and latex, but the Jiufentian Copper Knee Sleeve primarily uses copper fiber cloth, a textile that is genuinely infused with copper. Though there is limited research on the benefits of copper-infused fabrics, one study suggests it may have antibacterial and water-resistant properties, making it easy to keep clean. This knee sleeve provides plenty of tight, supportive compression and successfully maintains its fit over time.

Meanwhile, there's no need to worry about overheating—this knee sleeve is just as breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying as any other on this list. It's currently available in sizes small through 4XL. 

Best for Running: UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve

UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve

Breathable, flexible, and durable, the UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve makes for a great addition to any running routine. The sleeve is made from a blend of nylon mesh and spandex, which is lightweight yet durable. Its four-way stretch design also offers plenty of support and compression without limiting your range of motion. And since the interior is lined with wavy silicone grips, you won’t have to worry about it sliding out of place as you run.

The sleeve is currently available in sizes small through extra-large.

Best for Hiking: Blitzu Knee Compression Sleeve

When you're hiking, you need a knee sleeve that’s supportive, flexible, and breathable. This one from Blitzu delivers on all fronts. It's constructed from a flexible performance fabric that’s durable but soft to the touch. Meanwhile, its four-way stretch design delivers the compression you’re looking for without limiting your range of motion. Lightweight and breathable, it also keeps you cool and comfortable on your treks.

The machine-washable sleeve is currently available in sizes small through extra-large.

Best for Weightlifting: Iron Bull Strength Knee Sleeves

This two-pack of knee sleeves from Iron Bull Strength is ideal for weightlifters looking for a little extra support during intense workouts. The sleeves are made from a thick neoprene-flex material, which is both stretchy and supportive. Meanwhile, the contoured design of the sleeves ensures that you get the snug, cozy fit you need.

And don’t worry about these sleeves slipping down your legs mid-workout. The top of each sleeve is double-lined with silicone gel strips, which keep them securely in place as you lift. The sleeves are currently available in sizes small through extra-extra-large.

Best for Basketball: McDavid Hex Knee Compression Sleeve

This two-pack of compression knee sleeves from McDavid gives you the flexible support you need while you're on the court. They are padded with foam, giving you plenty of cushion to tackle sports like basketball and volleyball with confidence. They are also crafted from a moisture-wicking blend of nylon and spandex, which allow you to work up a sweat without getting uncomfortable.

Most importantly, the sleeves are durable, holding up to wear and tear from your favorite game. They are currently available in sizes small through extra-extra-large, and they come in a one-size-fits-all Youth size as well.

Best for Arthritis: Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeves

This knee sleeve is a particularly soft option that’s comfortable enough to wear every day, making it an excellent pick for folks with arthritis. Some research suggests that wearing a knee sleeve during everyday activities like walking can help relieve arthritis symptoms.

While many knee sleeves are made from a stretchy blend of spandex, nylon, and latex, this design uses a bamboo charcoal fiber instead of nylon. The result? Super comfortable compressive support. This two-pack of knee sleeves is currently available in sizes small through XXXL.

Best with Gel Pad: Neenca Gel Pad Knee Sleeve

If you want a knee sleeve with a little extra support, then try this option from Neenca. The stretchy sleeve is crafted from a woven compression fabric, which absorbs moisture and dries quickly to keep your knee comfortable. There is also a ring of gel padding in the middle of the knee sleeve that contours to your knee to offer additional support every time you wear it. Spring stabilizers lining the sides of the sleeve provide stability and support as well.

This knee sleeve is currently available in sizes small through XXL. 

Best with Strap: Pure Support Knee Sleeve

Most knee sleeves boast a pull-on design that locks in place with silicone grip strips. This knee sleeve from Pure Support does the same thing, but it also comes with a built-in strap that makes for an even more snug and secure fit. The sleeve is constructed from a breathable, moisture-wicking textile that applies graduated compression across the knee, which means it gets tighter as you move toward the knee and looser as you move away from it.

Since the sleeve fastens using two different mechanisms—internal silicone grip strips and an external strap—you can rest assured knowing it will stay firmly in place as you move. The sleeve is currently available in sizes small through extra-extra-large.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a classic knee sleeve, the PowerLix Knee Compression Sleeve is a solid option. It's lightweight, flexible, and breathable, and its four-way stretch design will give you the comfort and support you need.

If you prefer a more supportive option, the Bauerfeind Sports Knee Sleeve is a great pick. The additional ring of padding designed to surround the kneecap provides additional support and comfort during wear.

What to Look for in a Knee Sleeve

Material

Many knee sleeves are crafted from a blend of nylon, spandex, and latex. However, some are made with softer materials, such as bamboo charcoal fiber. And others use more durable materials like copper fiber cloth. Consider what you’d like your knee sleeve to feel like before shopping to ensure that you select one that feels comfortable to you.

Padding

Some knee sleeves come equipped with padding, which can offer additional comfort and support. This padding is often designed to surround and cushion the knee joint without detracting from the sleeve’s sleek profile. With that said, some designs feature thicker padding down the front of the sleeve to protect the knees during more intense activities like sports.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who have tried them.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hong HR, Kim J, Park CH. Facile fabrication of multifunctional fabrics: use of copper and silver nanoparticles for antipacterial, superhydrophobic, conductive fabrics. RSC Adv. 2018;8:41782-41794. doi:10.1039/C8RA08310J

  2. Schween R, Gehring D, Gollhofer A. Immediate effects of an elastic knee sleeve on frontal plane gait biomechanics in knee osteoarthritisPLoS One. 2015;10(1):e0115782. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115782

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