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Best Knee Sleeves (2022): All the Support You Need Through Squats and More

Knee Sleeve with Garage Reviews and Rogue Logo

We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

Table of Contents

Knee sleeves are a support tool designed to help athletes in various disciplines—but usually powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, Strongman, and CrossFit—move heavy weight around without compromising the knee joint.

The best knee sleeves will allow you to maintain full range of motion in the knee, but provide a level of support and stability that helps you get out of the bottom of a deep squat, catch a heavy snatch, and throw an Atlas stone with minimal risk of joint deviation.

Ahead, I share our top picks for knee sleeves for different sports and activities, based on thorough hands-on (er, knees-on) testing from members of our team and a weightlifting team.

8 Best Knee Sleeves in 2022


Best Knee Sleeves Overall:

Best Knee Sleeves Overall
Rogue Fitness Knee Sleeves
Rogue Fitness Knee Sleeves

These knee sleeves are a great choice for anyone who wants durable, supportive sleeves and the option to choose from different thicknesses.

Rogue Fitness Knee Sleeves Specifications
Material Neoprene
Thickness 3, 5, or 7 mm
Best Use CrossFit (3 mm), powerlifting (5 or 7 mm)

Pros:

  • Choose from 3, 5, or 7 mm
  • Durable neoprene
  • Reinforced stitching

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Don’t come in many colors
  • Thicker options are hard to get on

Rogue Fitness rarely lets us down. That’s certainly true for the Rogue Fitness Knee Sleeves, which our product testers believe are the best overall sleeves for most people. We love that these supportive sleeves come in three width options (3, 5, and 7 millimeters) and feature double-reinforced stitching for longevity.

Our only complaints are that the sleeves can be hard to pull on—specifically the 7-millimeter option and especially when your legs are sweaty—and that the sleeves are pricey at almost $90 for a pair. However, we’re confident that these will hold up for many years and are worth the price.

Best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit:

Best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit
 Rehband Rx Knee Sleeves
Rehband Rx Knee Sleeves

These knee sleeves are perfect for someone who wants a reasonably priced pair with more flexibility and a bit of support.

Rehband RX Knee Sleeves Specifications
Material SBR/Neoprene blend
Thickness 3 mm
Best Use CrossFit

Pros:

  • Optimal mix of mobility and support
  • Not too expensive ($30 for one)
  • Easy to pull on

Cons:

  • Sold in singles, not pairs
  • Rogue Fitness only sells one colorway (black)
  • Testers report slight bunching

The best knee sleeves for Olympic weightlifting or powerlifting won’t be the same as the best knee sleeves for CrossFit. For the sport of functional fitness, you’ll need to optimize knee support and mobility at the same time—a feat that’s not easy to do.

The Rehband RX Knee Sleeves are our top pick for CrossFit because they do just that: These sleeves will take you through a metcon with heavy squats and 100 wall-balls all the same. Constructed of neoprene and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), these Rehband sleeves will help in all CrossFit disciplines that involve knee flexion and extension.

Best Knee Sleeves for Powerlifting:

Best Knee Sleeves for Powerlifting
Best Knee Sleeves for Powerlifting logo
SBD 7MM Knee Sleeves

These are perfect for athletes who need a serious knee compression sleeve and built-in anti-slip grips.

SBD 7MM Knee Sleeves Specifications
Material Neoprene
Thickness 7 mm
Best Use Powerlifting, squats

Pros:

  • Extensive sizing: 3XL–5XL
  • Extremely compressive
  • USAPL-, IPF-, and USPA-approved and IWF-compliant

Cons:

  • Hard to get on and off
  • Not very breathable
  • Hand-washing recommended

A popular brand among powerlifting athletes, SBD literally stands for “squat, bench, deadlift,” so you can rest assured that these knee sleeves are the best of the best for powerlifting. Constructed of high-quality neoprene with double-reinforced stitching, these SBD sleeves are approved for use by every major lifting organization in the world and U.S.

Our product testers loved how assistive these were without feeling like they were cutting off blood flow or overly compressing the kneecap. Neoprene isn’t a very breathable material, and these are super thick, so these did result in sweaty knees. SBD also recommends you hand-wash and air-dry them, which isn’t a dealbreaker, but can be kind of annoying. Finally, we love the extensive size range SBD offers, from triple-extra-small to quintuple-extra-large.

Best Knee Sleeves with Gel Pads:

Best Knee Sleeves with Gel Pads
Neenca Gel Pad Knee Sleeves
Neenca Gel Pad Knee Sleeves

These knee sleeves are a good option for people recovering from knee injuries such as ligament (e.g., ACL) sprains and meniscus tears, if cleared by a doctor.

Neenca Gel Pad Knee Sleeves Specifications
Material Neoprene, Spandex/elastic, silicone
Thickness Not specified
Best Use Post-injury activity

Pros:

  • Open patella gel pads
  • Silicone gel feels good on the patella
  • Spring stabilizers increase knee stability

Cons:

  • Not meant for heavy lifting
  • Sold as individuals, not pairs
  • More of a knee brace than a sleeve

Truthfully, a better descriptor of the Neenca Gel Pad Knee Sleeves might be “best knee brace for working out,” because it’s definitely more of a brace than a simple sleeve. Sold as singles, they feature non-slip silicone grips to help the sleeve stay in place, which is super important considering the spring stabilizers and gel knee pad which are intended to stabilize and protect the knee joint.

The Neenca sleeves offer relief from joint pain associated with prior or existing injuries, as well as osteoarthritis and tendonitis. Our product testers say this sleeve took some getting used to, and that they’re definitely not meant for lifters doing heavy sets. But, they’re a great option for people dealing with knee pain who need some extra support after an injury—who have been cleared to exercise with a quality compression brace by their doctor.

Best Knee Sleeves for Olympic Weightlifting:

Best Knee Sleeves for Olympic Weightlifting
1KILO 2-Ply Knee Sleeves
1KILO 2-Ply Knee Sleeves

Olympic weightlifters who need quality knee sleeves for snatches and cleans will love these supportive, IWF-legal sleeves.

1KILO 2-Ply Knee Sleeves Specifications
Material Proprietary Spandex blend
Thickness Not specified (2-ply material)
Best Use Olympic weightlifting

Pros:

  • Approved by IWF for competition
  • Supportive yet flexible
  • Moisture-wicking fabric

Cons:

  • Material not disclosed
  • Hard to pull on despite pull tabs
  • No exchanges or returns for buying the wrong size

These are not your average knee sleeves. In fact, they’re not even made of the same neoprene material seen in most athletic knee wraps and sleeves. The 1KILO 2-Ply Knee Sleeves are constructed of an undisclosed proprietary material and designed by accomplished weightlifter and coach Wil Fleming.

Featuring pull tabs to make it easier to slip these on and an ultra-ergonomic design to increase blood flow to the knees, customer reviews indicate that wearers are surprised these sleeves are even legal for competition. Our own tester was blown away at the support and comfort she experienced. Despite the pull tabs, our tester said these were still tough to get on and wear for long periods of time, but since most weightlifters re-wrap between sets anyway, it’s no biggie.

Best Knee Sleeves on a Budget:

Best Knee Sleeves on a Budget
Gymreapers Knee Sleeves
Gymreapers Knee Sleeves

Recreational athletes who want decent knee sleeves for a low price will love these simple sleeves.

Gymreapers Knee Sleeves Specifications
Material Neoprene
Thickness 7 mm
Best Use Heavy lifting

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Sold as pairs
  • Reinforced stitching

Cons:

  • Not as durable as other options
  • Only available in one thickness
  • Don’t wick moisture well

For those new to lifting weights, spending $100 on a pair of knee sleeves might seem outrageous. That’s where the Gymreapers Knee Sleeves come in. This budget-friendly pair of sleeves clocks in at just $50, and they’re of good quality, making them the perfect pair for new lifters or recreational athletes who don’t need the best of the best.

These are just your basic neoprene knee sleeves: They stay put, our testers said, but they’re not quite as snug as some other brands, so consider sizing down if you want a super compressive fit. The Gymreapers sleeves are only available in the 7-millimeter width, so keep that in mind if you do more circuit work than one-rep-maxing.

Best Everyday Knee Sleeves:

Best Everyday Knee Sleeves
Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeves
Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeves

This lightly compressive and breathable option is great for everyday physical activities.

Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeves Specifications
Material Neoprene
Thickness Not specified
Best Use Everyday use

Pros:

  • Silicone strips prevent slippage
  • 6-month money-back guarantee
  • Lightweight and breathable

Cons:

  • Sold as singles
  • Not a true weight training sleeve
  • Not extremely supportive

Available on Amazon for a low price, these machine-washable knee sleeves offer light compression and all-day pain relief for basic physical activity. They are a great option for people who work on their feet all day long; distance runners; and those who play dynamic sports with a lot of lateral movement, such as basketball and tennis.

To be clear, the Powerlix sleeve isn’t a true weight training knee sleeve. Instead, it’s more of a lightweight support tool for longer-term (i.e., more than an hour two) activity. Our testers say the Powerlix sleeves are extremely breathable and flexible, which makes them perfect for all-day wear.

Best Multi-Sport Knee Sleeves:

Best Multi-Sport Knee Sleeves
Copper Knee Brace
Copper Knee Brace

You’ll love the Copper Knee Brace if you like to dabble in a lot of different activities and need light, breathable support.

Copper Knee Brace Specifications
Material Copper, Spandex, latex
Thickness About 2 mm
Best Use Everyday/multi-sport use

Pros:

  • Breathable material
  • 60% copper ion fiber
  • Easy to get on and off

Cons:

  • Sold as singles
  • Contains latex
  • Hand-wash only

The Copper Knee Brace is a thin, pull-on sleeve that contains copper ion fiber, which is reported to relieve swelling, pain, and soreness. Additionally, the brace provides light compression and joint support. Our tester felt these did a great job of supporting the knee joint during several different sport and outdoor activities, including basketball, walking, running, yardwork, and errands.

The only real downsides to the Copper Knee Brace are that it contains latex, so people with a latex allergy must avoid them, and that they aren’t machine-washable. We think this is due to the actual copper content.

 

Benefits of Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves offer many benefits to athletes of all skill levels. Here’s a look at the top three benefits of knee sleeves.

  • Joint support and stability: Knee sleeves compress the knee joint to maintain alignment of the various tendons, ligaments, and bones that comprise the joint.
  • Warmth: Knee sleeves can keep your knee joints warm during the winter months, helping you stay ready for each set.
  • Compression: Compression aids in blood flow to the knee joints, keeping the joints primed and ready for exercise and reducing swelling.
 

What to Look For in a Knee Sleeve

Ready to buy your own pair of knee sleeves? Keep these factors in mind when shopping.

Fit

Good knee sleeves have a contoured design that accommodates the natural curvature of the knee joint. Look for this, as well as an ample size range. Also, any brand worth buying from will have a size guide to help you find the right fit.

Thickness

Aside from fit, width is probably the most important factor in a knee sleeve. A 3-millimeter sleeve will feel extremely different from a 7-millimeter sleeve. The thicker the sleeve, the more support it offers, but the less mobility you’ll have.

Material

The vast majority of athletic knee sleeves are made of neoprene or a neoprene blend. Multi-sport and everyday sleeves are generally constructed of a neoprene, Spandex, and/or woven elastic blend.

Mobility

The thinner the sleeve, the more mobility you will have. If you’re looking for everyday knee sleeves, traditional sport sleeves, or athletic sleeves for something like CrossFit, you’ll want to get a pair that’s 3 millimeters or less in width.

Durability

Durable knee sleeves feature reinforced stitching and strong materials. Woven sleeves, such as the Powerlix and Copper Knee Brace, won’t be able to withstand the same type of use as something like the SBD or Rogue Fitness knee sleeves.

 

FAQs

Knee sleeves help because the compression of the fabric around the knee joints increases blood flow to the joints to prevent pain and swelling during and after workouts. Knee sleeves also stabilize the joint due to the compression. In winter months, knee sleeves can help keep your knees warm and ready to move.

You can wear knee sleeves whenever it benefits you. Most people choose to wear them during heavy weight training workouts, high-volume resistance training workouts, or while playing sports. They may also benefit you on long walks, runs, or at work, if you stand on your feet for many hours at a time.

No, knee sleeves don’t inherently cause any knee problems. However, if you notice new knee pain or other problems while wearing knee sleeves, contact an appropriate medical professional, such as a physical therapist.