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Knee compression sleeves can be helpful for people who need extra support around their knee when taking part in exercise or other physical activity. Some knee compression sleeves provide overall support to the whole knee area, while others add targeted support to the kneecap.

A quick look at some of the best knee compression sleeves

This article provides information on what to look for in a knee sleeve, when a person should use one, and the effectiveness of these sleeves. It also offers a list of knee sleeve products to consider when looking to buy a knee sleeve.

Knee sleeves provide compression and support for the knee. However, they should not limit movement in any way.

These sleeves can be useful if an individual has experienced a minor injury.

The compression a knee sleeve provides increases blood flow to the area to reduce pain and help reduce swelling after workouts.

A 2017 study concluded that compression garments aid recovery after exercise, particularly after strength exercises.

Medical News Today chooses fitness equipment that meets the following criteria:

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Here are some knee compression sleeves for a person to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best breathable: CW-X Stabilyx Knee Compression Sleeve

This product is available in black or blue and black. It also comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large.

It features an EXO-WEB support panel, which stretches two ways and reportedly provides targeted support. The company also says that the fabric is breathable and wicks away moisture to keep the skin dry. The sleeve’s design features flat seams to prevent chafing.

The support panel consists of nylon and Lycra, while the body is made of polyester and spandex.

It can be a good option for older adults who enjoy running.

Other features include:

  • ultraviolet (UV) protection
  • a machine-washable design
  • a 1-year warranty
  • a 30-day return policy

Some pros and cons of this product include:

Pros

  • suitable for older adults
  • protects the skin from UV
  • machine-washable
  • suitable for people with arthritis
  • returns within 30 days

Cons

  • may not remain in place
  • potential shipping delays

The CW-X Stabilyx Knee Compression Sleeve sleeve costs $30.

Best lightweight: Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support

According to the manufacturer, this product, which is reportedly light and airy to wear, features an elastic knitted fabric that regulates compression.

Bauerfeind claims that it has anatomically shaped the support to help a person move freely. It also has a front pad to absorb pressure.

It is available in six sizes, ranging from XS–XXL, and three colors:

  • blue and green
  • black
  • pink

The manufacturer recommends this product to adults who play sports such as tennis, baseball, soccer, and basketball.

The product has:

  • a 30-day return policy
  • a 1 year warranty
  • a machine-washable and moisture-wicking fabric

Below, we look at some pros and cons:

Pros

  • returns within 30 days
  • 1-year warranty
  • different sizes and colors are available
  • stays in place

Cons

  • may cause blisters
  • may increase pain
  • the material is not very stretchy

The Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support sleeve is available to purchase online for $89.99.

Best anti-slip: UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support

This unisex product is available in sizes S–XL and in three colors. UFlex Athletics’ design allows the sleeve to offer support for minor knee conditions.

The brand also states that the nylon fabric is breathable, combats odors, and wicks moisture away from the skin. The nylon forms a knitted 3D structure with elastic so that it fits the knees curvature. A person can adjust the fit of the sleeve with its silicone strap.

In addition, it produces a heating effect that the company claims can promote muscle healing.

The company states that the knee compression sleeve has an anti-slip design so it stays in place.

It also extends a 30-day returns policy.

Some of the products pros and cons include:

Pros

  • may best suit people who regularly walk and run
  • comfortable
  • machine-washable

Cons

  • may not suit people with sensitive skin

Pricing for the UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support is around $21.

Best for all-day use: Cambivo Knee Compression Sleeve

The company claims this sleeve may be suitable for use playing sports and for people with arthritis, tendonitis, and other knee injuries.

The sleeves come in paired sets and consist of 3D knitted nylon, latex, and spandex. There are also antislip silicone waves at the top to help keep them in place. Additionally, the extra thick material reportedly provides more support than other types of knee sleeves.

The product description states that these sleeves are suitable for all-day use, and are lightweight, breathable, and moisture wicking.

The sleeves are available in five sizes, ranging from S–XXL.

Below are some pros and cons of this product:

Pros

  • suitable for all-day use
  • fits under clothing
  • different sizes available
  • reduces swelling and supports muscle recovery
  • possible returns with Amazon Prime

Cons

  • sizing may be inaccurate
  • may cause skin rash

A pair of Cambivo knee sleeves cost between $10–14.

Best with multidirectional stretch: Pro-Tec Gel Force Knee Support

This sleeve is available in one color and four sizes, from S–XL.

It contains a thick oval gel that aims to provide comfort and support to the kneecap.

The product features a nylon fabric design that is reportedly breathable and soft, with a multidirectional stretch.

The company states this stretch applies even compression throughout the knee.

Some pros and cons are:

Pros

  • option to choose from small to extra-large sizing
  • a 30-day return policy available
  • 6-month warranty

Cons

  • may slip
  • possible inaccurate sizing

The Pro-Tec Gel Force Knee Support sleeve costs around $30.

Best odor-free: POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve

This knee compression sleeve claims to help reduce knee pain and improve blood circulation. It could also provide support during workouts. It may particularly benefit people with arthritis.

According to the manufacturer, some other features are:

  • anti-slip
  • 3D knitting
  • a four-way compression system
  • odor-free design
  • a 6-month money-back guarantee

Sizes range from S–XXL, and people can choose from colors like orange, black, blue, and dark gray.

Some pros and cons of this product include:

Pros

  • a 6-month money-back guarantee
  • suitable for long-distance running
  • supports mild sprains

Cons

  • may slip for some people

The POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve costs between $18–30.

Best adjustable: ABYON Adjustable Knee Braces

ABYON’s knee sleeves come with adjustable elastic Velcro straps to provide an easy and comfortable fit.

They also have spring stabilizers that fit the knee’s curve.

The company recommends the product for people with knee pain or recovering from an injury.

Additionally, the knee braces have ventilation holes, are soft, and are made from a sweat-wicking material.

Other features include:

  • a double anti-slip technology
  • four-flexible side stabilizers
  • adjustable straps
  • a strong-hold Velcro
  • 30-day return policy

It is available in black and green, and sizes vary from S–5XL.

Pros and cons include:

Pros

  • adjustable design
  • stays in place
  • relieves throbbing pain
  • provides flexibility and comfort

Cons

  • may be defective
  • may look bulky

ABYON’s knee sleeves cost around $17–20.

Below is a comparison of the above products:

CW-XBauerfeindUFlex AthleticsCambivoPro-TecPowerlixABYON
Price$30 $89.99around $21around $10–14around $30around $18–30around $17–20
Fabricsnylon, Lycra, polyester, spandexelastic knitted fabricnylonnylon, latex, spandexnylonneoprenesilicone
Sizes availableS, M, LXS, S, M, L, XL, XXLS, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL, XXLS, M, L, XLS, M, L, XL, XXLS-M, L-XL, 2-3XL, 4-5XL
Colors availableblack, black and blueblue and green, black, pinkred, black, pink blue, blackblueorange, black, pink, blue, and greygreen and black
Additional featuresEXO-WEB support panelpressure-absorbing kneecap padadjustable silicone strapthicker material for additional supportgel to support the kneecap areaanti-slip fit and breathable compression fabric to provide joint stabilityadjustable taps, suction Velcro, side stabilizers

A few factors to research when purchasing a knee compression sleeve include:

  • Breathability: A person may wish to choose a fabric that is breathable and moisture wicking, which can help keep their skin dry and reduce odors.
  • Flexibility: An individual should ensure the sleeve they choose does not restrict their mobility.
  • Size range: People may wish to ensure the brand of knee sleeve they choose has a range of sizes, so they can find a sleeve that fits them well and is not too tight or too loose.
  • Additional features: A person may wish to check if a knee compression sleeve comes with extra features, such as kneecap cushioning or adjustable straps.

Knee compression sleeves are not suitable for constant use. Instead, they are for wearing during physical activity, when people may need extra knee support. They can provide stability to the knee during exercise or prevent post-workout soreness and pain.

Activities where a person may wish to consider wearing a knee compression sleeve include running, weightlifting, squats, and other cardio activities.

Some companies claim their product may also be suitable for those with arthritis or other knee-related injuries.

A person may wish to contact a doctor to check if knee compression sleeves will be right for them to avoid worsening existing injuries.

A 2017 review evaluated the use of knee sleeves in people with knee problems. They found there were improvements in walking and balance in individuals with osteoarthritis affecting their knees. The study also found improvements in knee function in individuals with knee injuries.

However, a 2021 study discovered that knee sleeves did not appear to have much of an effect on people when weightlifting.

There is a lack of research into the benefits of using knee compression sleeves for other physical activities.

People who have had a knee injury should seek medical advice if they enjoy exercising and are looking for additional support or something to help ease the pain.

The doctor may be able to offer advice on the best product for them and may also suggest a workout program suitable for their condition.

The following are common questions and answers about knee compression sleeves:

What is the difference between knee sleeves and knee braces?

Knee braces restrict movement, while knee sleeves should not. Additionally, knee sleeves may be suitable for those with minor knee injuries, whereas braces are suitable for more serious injuries to help with a person’s recovery.

How long do knee compression sleeves last?

The durability of a person’s knee compression sleeve will depend on how frequently they use it. On average, they can last approximately 6 months to a year.

Can you wear knee sleeves all day?

A person should only wear a knee sleeve when they need extra knee support for physical activity. An individual may be at risk of developing issues with the knee joint if they wear a knee compression sleeve that restricts their movement for long periods.

How do you measure for a knee compression sleeve?

A person can check to see if a company has a measuring guide on its website. To find the right size, an individual can bend their knee slightly and measure the circumference of their leg around the top of their calf.

How tight should my knee sleeve be?

The knee sleeve should be as tight as possible without restricting any movement. The tightness should help promote blood flow in the knee but not cut off circulation or pinch the skin.

While knee compression sleeves are suitable for use during physical activity, they can also benefit people with minor injuries or pain that affects the knee. The compression from the sleeve can promote blood flow, which can reduce the likelihood of pain and swelling in this part of the body.

A person may wish to consider contacting a doctor if they have severe or long lasting pain in their knee.