The Best Knee Support Products, And How To Use Them

DonJoy's Deluxe Hinged Knee Brace checks the boxes for style, support, and more

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Best Knee Support Products

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Knee pain can be frustrating—especially for individuals who walk, run, hike, or weightlift. Luckily, knee braces, sleeves, and straps can provide short-term help by alleviating regular pain. This can make your day-to-day more manageable while you build lasting strength and endurance through a physical therapy program.

Reviewed & Approved

DonJoy's Deluxe Hinged Knee Brace offers moderate support and is suitable for a wide range of knee issues. Abco's Tech Patella Knee Strap is fully adjustable and makes for an easy clean.

You'll want to choose a knee support product based on the kind of knee pain you're experiencing. You'll also want to ask yourself what kind of activities you're trying to complete while wearing the brace, sleeve, or strap. It's important to note that "knee bracing is not recommended for the long ​term to promote optimal knee stability" because it can limit our knee's natural ability, says Sherif Elnaggar, PT, DPT, OCS​, a board-certified ​orthopedic ​clinical ​​​​​​specialist.

We researched dozens of knee support products and evaluated them for material, price, adjustability, breathability, and ease of clean. Each of the knee support products chosen in this article was determined to be the best of these factors.

Here are the best knee support products on the market.

Best Overall: DonJoy Deluxe Hinged Knee Brace

4.8
DonJoy Deluxe Hinged Knee Brace

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Safe for daily use

  • Suitable for a wide range of knee issues

  • Balances support and comfort

Cons
  • Bulkier than other options

Who else recommends it? Men's Health also picked the DonJoy Deluxe Hinged Knee Brace.

What do buyers say? 70% of 300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

This knee brace is our best overall choice because it offers moderate support, making it a good fit for daily use, as well as more intense activities. Designed for athletes and active individuals dealing with ligament instabilities, meniscus injuries, sprains, or osteoarthritis, our experts like that the brace delivers compression to the soft tissue of the knee, offering both comfort and support. Meanwhile, the hinges on either side of the brace provide even more stability.

We like that shoppers can choose from two different styles—a tighter-fitting wraparound option and a more discreet sleeve. Available in both neoprene and Drytex materials, the brace is even suitable for use in water. It's available in a range of sizes—from XS to 3XL—and you can find a detailed size chart and fit guide on the DonJoy website that'll help you select the best brace for you.

Price at time of publish: $120

Type: Brace | Closure: Velcro | Compression: Yes | Special Features: None

Best Strap: Abco Tech Patella Knee Straps 2 Pack

Abco Tech Patella Knee Strap

Amazon

Pros
  • Fully adjustable strap

  • Light and soft on the skin

  • Easy to clean

Cons
  • Only one size

This knee strap from Abco Tech is crafted from a blend of neoprene and nylon, which leaves it feeling light and soft on your skin. We like that the fully adjustable strap fits as tightly or as loosely as you need—simply use the Velcro straps to fasten it over your patellar tendon (just below your kneecap) to achieve your ideal level of support and compression.

Since you’re in control of the tightness of the strap, you don’t have to worry about it slipping down your leg as you run, hike, bike, or do any of your other favorite activities, making it a perfect pick for active individuals. The breathable strap also absorbs sweat, keeping your knee dry and free of irritation and itching. Plus, it's machine washable so it won't be a pain to clean after workouts.

The strap is one size fits all and comes in four colors.

Price at time of publish: $13

Type: Knee strap | Closure: Velcro | Compression: Yes | Special Features: None

Best Brace: DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace

DonJoy Performance Bionic Knee Brace

Amazon

Pros
  • Stays in place as you move

  • Comfortable and breathable

  • Suitable for a wide variety of knee issues

Cons
  • Bulkier than other options

This performance product boasts a number of thoughtful features, like stash pockets for storing your keys and reflective details that enhance your visibility in low-light conditions (which experts say make it a great option for running at night). The brace itself is crafted from a breathable neoprene material, and its adjustable pull tabs make it easy to achieve your perfect fit. We also love that It comes equipped with “anti-migration technology,” which promises to keep it in place as you move.

According to DonJoy, the Bionic Knee Brace is well-suited for people with mild or moderate ligament sprains, mild or moderate tendon strains, hyperextension, or meniscus injuries. It also offers patella support and stability.

Price at time of publish: $85

Type: Brace | Closure: Wrap-around, velcro | Compression: Yes | Special Features: Stash pocket, reflectivity

Best Sleeve: UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve

UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve

Amazon

Pros
  • Sleek, low-profile design

  • Comfortable and breathable

  • Heating effect for muscular recovery

Cons
  • Less supportive than braces

Sleek, affordable, and decidedly discreet, we like that the UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve offers all-over compression without any bulk. It's crafted from a breathable, quick-dry fabric, which our experts say is great for sweaty situations. And no need to worry about slippage—the sleeve boasts “silicone grip gel” panels, keeping it firmly in place no matter what you’re doing.

According to UFlex Athletics, the Knee Compression Sleeve can reduce soreness, stiffness, and inflammation, and it’s suitable for use during just about any activity, from low-impact exercises like yoga to high-impact sports like skiing and running. It even has heating capabilities to aid in post-workout muscular recovery.

Price at time of publish: $19

Type: Sleeve | Closure: Slip-on | Compression: Yes | Special Features: Heating effect

Best Compression: PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve

PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve

PowerLix

Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Lasting compression power

  • Soft and breathable

Cons
  • Loses elasticity quickly

The PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve is designed to deliver firm compression for an extended period of time, which the manufacturer says can provide pain relief from a variety of ailments, including arthritis, swelling, tendonitis, meniscus tear, soreness, stiffness, ACL, PCL, MCL, and other knee pain. 

Crafted from a soft, breathable fabric, we like that the sleeve absorbs moisture effectively, keeping your leg sweat- and odor-free for extended periods of time. It comes equipped with silicone gel support strips that hold the sleeve in place during physical activity.

According to PowerLix, it's good for daily use, recovery between workouts, and for most sports. It comes in a range of sizes and in three different colors.

Price at time of publish: $30

Type: Sleeve | Closure: Slip-on | Compression: Yes | Special Features: None

Best Discreet: ACE Compression Side Stabilizer Knee Brace

ACE Compression Side Stabilizer Knee Brace

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Low-profile design

  • Contours well to the knee

  • Won't limit range of motion

Cons
  • Slips down the leg over time

  • Too short for taller individuals

Sleek, tight, and budget-friendly, the ACE Compression Side Stabilizer Knee Brace is our top pick for those who want support that can be worn easily and comfortably under clothing. The brace’s low-profile design promises to contour to your knee, offering you a tight fit and the all-over compression you need in a sleeve.

Ideal for stiff, weak, sore, or injured knees, the sleeve comes equipped with a behind-the-knee comfort panel which keeps it from bunching up or falling down. And the side stabilizers running along both sides of the brace provide lateral support without limiting your range of motion. The sleeve comes in a range of sizes, from S to XL.

Price at time of publish: $15

Type: Brace | Closure: Slip-on | Compression: Yes | Special Features: Side stabilizers

Best Heavy-Duty: Shock Doctor Hinged Knee Brace

Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression
Courtesy of Amazon.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Won't limit range of motion

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Bulkier than other options

We recommend this knee brace to those looking for maximum stability and support for higher-impact activities. Its pre-curved design is crafted with the contours of your knee in mind, delivering comfort and compression in equal measure. The hinges on either side of the brace offer additional support, while its stretchy textile lets you move around with ease.

Even though the brace is thick and padded, it’s vented for breathability, allowing you to cut down on nuisances like odor, bacteria, and moisture. According to Shock Doctor, it's designed to help with medial and lateral instability, minor patella instability, meniscus injuries, minor ligament sprains, hyperextension in joints, and arthritis.

Price at time of publish: $58

Type: Brace | Closure: Velcro, slip-on | Compression: Yes | Special Features: Bilateral dual hinges, antimicrobial technology

Best for Hot and Cold Therapy: Vive Knee Ice Pack Wrap

Vive Knee Ice Pack Wrap

Amazon

Pros
  • Machine washable

  • Versatile

  • Stays in place

Cons
  • Gel packs don't stay cold for very long

Designed to alleviate knee pain and swelling, Vive’s Knee Ice Wrap is essentially a wearable ice pack and a compression sleeve in a single product. The brace comes with three removable and reusable gel packs you can use for both hot and cold therapy. Each pack conveniently slips into one of the brace’s pockets, allowing you to target pain points as they arise.

You can use the brace’s four adjustable straps to keep your gel packs firmly in place or use them to deliver all-over compression to your knee. The wrap is crafted from a light Neoprene blend that’s soft and breathable. We especially like that it's machine washable. Plus, the non-slip material will keep it from bunching or twisting while you use it.

Price at time of publish: $33

Type: Brace | Closure: Velcro | Compression: Yes | Special Features: Hot and cold therapy

What the Experts Say

"There is no brace that can prevent injury from occurring or that can take the place of normal ligamentous stability or muscle strength. Strength and flexibility are still more important than any kind of bracing in order to perform an activity or daily task. A brace in itself cannot cause harm​,​ in my opinion, but reliance on one instead of ​addressing ​underlying issues is not maximizing the use of the brace." —Erin Pereira, PT, Physical Therapist in Wheaton, Illinois

Best for Running: TechWare Pro Knee Brace

TechWare Pro Knee Brace

Amazon

Pros
  • Sweat-wicking

  • Stays in place when running

  • Won't limit range of motion

Cons
  • May wear with frequent use

The TechWare Pro Knee Brace offers maximum support for runner’s knee and is designed to solve many of the problems runners encounter while wearing knee braces. For starters, the brace’s wraparound design and adjustable straps combine to offer a fit that won’t slip out of place as you log your miles. And the brace’s fabric is lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking, allowing you to run long distances without it becoming too wet or heavy.

Our experts also like the brace's open-kneecap design, which promises to offer relief and compression in equal measure without limiting your range of motion while you run.

The brace comes in four sizes, from M to XXL, and it's also suitable for youth.

Price at time of publish: $21

Type: Brace | Closure: Velcro, hook and loop | Compression: Yes | Special Features: None

Best for Weightlifting: Iron Bull Strength Knee Sleeves

Iron Bull Strength Knee Sleeves

Courtesy of Iron Bull

Pros
  • Plenty of stability and support

  • Won't limit range of motion

  • Helps reduce swelling

Cons
  • Sizing runs small

Our top pick for weightlifters, these knee sleeves were designed with all weightlifters in mind—from CrossFitters to powerlifters to regular gym rats—offering support and stability without sacrificing comfort or range of motion. The sleeves are lined with silicone gel strips that hold them firmly in place while you work out, and they’re crafted from a flexible compression fabric that helps reduce swelling during activity and promotes recovery afterward.

The brace comes in various stylish colors and a range of sizes, from S to XXL, with a detailed size chart and instructions for measuring your knee to find the perfect fit.

Price at time of publish: $50

Type: Sleeve | Closure: Slip-on | Compression: Yes | Special Features: Anti-slip technology

How We Selected the Best Knee Support Products

To determine which knee support products to feature in our roundup, we spoke to two physical therapists—both of whom specialize in orthopedic physical therapy and sports physical therapy. One of these experts emphasized that comfort and range of motion are key features to look for in a knee support product. (After all, if a knee support product is uncomfortable, you may not want to wear it.) So we kept this in mind as we considered dozens of top-rated knee support products, favoring those that offered stability and support without dramatically sacrificing comfort or mobility.

What to Look for in a Knee Support Product

Style

Most over-the-counter knee support products come in the form of a brace, sleeve, or strap, each of which addresses different types of knee problems and pain. It's important to understand the underlying problem with your knee first before outfitting it with additional support so you pick a product that can provide proper relief.

“First and foremost, it’s necessary to find something that will give you the most comfort with the purpose of stabilizing your joint,” Mark Russ, PT, DPT, at Ohio Health in Columbus, Ohio, says. “Whether you’re an athlete that needs lightweight material so you can play your sport, or you’re someone working through an orthopedic injury, comfort is key.” He says that a support product that doesn’t feel good means you likely won’t be wearing it often.

Support

The amount and type of support will vary from product to product. For instance, some sleeves provide a simple sense of compression while other braces tighten with straps to counter joint instability. 

“If someone is going through an osteoarthritis flare-up or has chronic knee pain, I would recommend a brace,” Russ says. “If someone is in athletics or is a weekend warrior, then it’s typically recommended to use a sleeve or strap.” He notes that a sleeve or strap increases stability without restriction—allowing you to move your joints more freely.

Breathability

If you plan on wearing a knee support product during your favorite activity, prioritize the breathability of the fabrics used in its construction. A lightweight, moisture-wicking, and breathable material will make all the difference in keeping you both comfortable and pain-free as you run, hike, lift weights, and more.

Adjustability

If your knee condition fluctuates from day to day, consider the adjustability in the knee support product you ultimately pick. For instance, braces with straps allow you to adjust the general fit, compression, and amount of joint stabilization, which also impacts your overall range of motion.

Russ also says that a knee support product that fits someone else might not fit you. “Since most people have different sizes (and sometimes shapes) of knees, it’s important to have an adjustable brace to ensure it fits snuggly and doesn’t slip down the leg,” he adds. This versatility is particularly helpful when you deal with varying levels of inflammation or when you're working to improve your overall knee condition with a physical therapy routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between a knee support and a knee brace?

    Knee braces and knee supports such as knee sleeves and straps are all supportive devices that can help with knee pain, but they’re used for different issues. A knee strap may provide support and help reduce stress and pain for conditions such as runner’s knee and iliotibial band syndrome.

    Knee sleeves may be used to provide compression to alleviate swelling and increase blood flow for injuries such as bruised or sprained knees, runner’s knee, or osteoarthritis.

    A knee brace might be recommended after knee surgery, ligament injuries, or meniscus injuries to provide more support and comfort during activities.

  • Do knee supports help knee pain?

    Wearing a knee support may help with knee pain by providing support and compression to the knee. One of the best ways to determine if a knee support can help is to simply wear it and see if the pain dissipates.

    You can also consult your physical therapist or doctor for advice on whether you need to use a knee support and when to wear it.

  • Is it ok to wear a knee support all day?

    The amount of time you wear a knee support really depends on the type of support and the activity. “If someone is wearing a patella strap for tendinopathy, they may only wear it during higher-level activities, such as tennis,” says Brandon Schmitt, DPT, ATC, chair of the Knee Special Interest Group of the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy. “An individual with patella femoral pain may feel the need to wear a compressive sleeve most of the day when they’re walking or moving around.” 

    Talk to your doctor or physical therapist for guidance on if and how long you should wear a knee support.

  • How tight should a knee support be?

    Knee supports should be tight enough that they’re snug and won’t slip, but also loose enough that they’re comfortable and not restrictive. If you feel that it’s pinching or cutting off your circulation, then it’s too tight.

  • What can you expect to pay for knee support products?

    Depending on the type of knee support product you're in the market for, pricing will vary. If you need a high-support knee brace you can expect to pay anywhere from $20-$200. Whereas a knee strap or sleeve may cost you less, often listed between $10-$50. The cheapest product on our list, the Abco Tech Patella Knee Straps at Amazon, is often available for just $13. While our top recommendation, the DonJoy Deluxe Hinged Knee Brace at Amazon, was $120 when we published this list.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. Her goal is to recommend products that are genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them, and that adhere to basic guidelines laid out by licensed medical experts.

2 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. Cudejko T, van der Esch M, van der Leeden M, et al. The immediate effect of a soft knee brace on pain, activity limitations, self-reported knee instability, and self-reported knee confidence in patients with knee osteoarthritisArthritis Res Ther. 2017;19(1):260. doi:10.1186/s13075-017-1456-0

  2. 9 Best Knee Braces for Men With Knee Pain for Fitness. Men's Health. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a35765224/best-knee-brace/