Best Knee Brace for Sports | Top 10 List

Playing sports inevitably increases your risk of knee issues. But, having the right knee brace can help you recover faster and even reduce your risk of injury.

Now, the best knee brace for sports is the one that helps you perform better without restricting your range of motion.

Compression sleeves are a popular choice. They reduce knee pain and swelling – great for sore knees, joint pain, or chronic knee pain.

But, a hinged knee brace is better for recovering from a ligament or meniscus tear.

Apart from the design of the knee brace, you should also consider the fabric, any extra features, and your budget.

We know it’s a lot to take in, so our team of physical therapists compiled this list of 10 knee braces for sports.

They noticed common knee injuries in their physically active patients and found the best braces for those issues. We’re confident you’ll find something that fits your needs below!

Our Top Picks:

Best Overall: Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

Studies show these sleeves can speed up your recovery by 46% and reduce your risk of knee injury by 67%. This is due to their unique, semi-conductor fabric.

Best for RecoveryMyCocoon Hot and Cold Knee Compression Sleeve

This compression sleeve doubles as a hot/cold pack. Its versatility can boost the recovery of any type of injury in sports – sprains, strains, tears, chronic knee pain, or even post-op healing.

Best Value for MoneyPentagonFit Knee Sleeve

A durable, breathable, and comfortable compression sleeve at an affordable price. Keep your knee joint warm, reduce swelling, and decrease pain with this one.

Best for StabilityShock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Guard

This sturdy knee brace has metal hinges, a kneecap hole for patella support, and doesn’t limit mobility. Rest assured, your knee will be safe and stable while wearing it.

Best for Chronic Injuries: Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support

This Bauerfeind has side stabilizers and a unique kneecap gel pad that massages the tissue in the area. This reduces pain and stimulates muscles, increasing stability.

Comparison of the top 10 knee braces for sports

1.  Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

These sleeves were tested in studies with professional athletes. The results speak for themselves.

One study showed that soccer players recovered 46% faster while wearing them. Another study showed that they reduced the risk of injury by 67%.

Researchers found these results are due to the material itself.

Comfort and Stability

The breathable fabric is embedded with germanium, a semiconductor element. It increases blood flow in the area where it touches your skin.

This, combined with the compression from the sleeve, promotes recovery and reduces the risk of injury. All of this without limiting mobility.

Size options: M, L, XL, XXL.

Color options: Grey, black.

Durability and Quality

Their 3D woven technology and germanium make them more durable than average. They’re machine-washable as well.

Who this compression sleeve is for

Perfect for athletes of any sport, physically active people, and anyone prone to injured knees.

If you’re recovering from an injury, wear them one hour before and after your training for better results.

Who this compression sleeve isn’t for

These sleeves are an investment. They may not be suitable for people on a budget.

This is the best athletic knee brace! Try it with our 20% discount when you buy 2 sleeves:
CODE: knee20

2. MyCocoon Hot and Cold Knee Compression Sleeve

Compression and cold provide pain relief and reduce swelling after working out. Heat increases blood flow and warms up your joints before training. It enhances recovery too.

Well, MyCocoon combines all of these. You can’t get a more versatile ally for recovery.

Comfort and Stability

The fabric of this pull-on sleeve is made of spandex. But the key is its hydrogel filling – a material that retains temperatures. This gives the 360° hot/cold therapy your knee joint needs.

Size options: S, M, L. Wear the same Cocoon on other joints.

Color options: Black.

Durability and Quality

The hydrogel is leak-proof and the strong lycra is double-stitched. MyCocoons are designed to last more than average.

Who this knee compression sleeve is for

We recommend MyCocoons for recovering from any joint injury. They can help after knee surgery, meniscus injuries, or just a mild sprain.

Who this knee compression sleeve isn’t for

MyCocoons don’t have side hinges – they’re not the best at providing support for ligaments. Yet, they can boost the healing process of a ligament injury.

MyCocoons are the most versatile sleeves we’ve ever seen. Try them with our 15% coupon code:
CODE: KNEEFORCE

3. PentagonFit Knee Sleeve

This is our favorite sleeve if you’re on a budget. A team member wore it during his injury recovery process and was amazed by the quality and breathability of the material.

Comfort and Stability

The fabric is a blend of nylon and spandex, making it a more breathable material than neoprene. This guarantees compression without sweatiness.

The anti-slip silicone strip keeps the brace in place most of the day. It slides down from time to time, but this is a common issue in sleeves.

Size options: M, L, XL, XXL.

Color options: Black, red, blue.

Durability and Quality

The moisture-wicking fabric has a 3D weaving. This makes it both durable and resistant to use. However, it’s best to wash it by hand to prolong its life.

Who this knee sleeve is for

If you’re an active person, we recommend having a high-quality sleeve. It will help you prevent injuries, reduce pain, and manage swelling.

The PentagonFit can give you that without a huge financial investment.

Who this knee sleeve isn’t for

If you have moderate or severe knee issues. You will need more protection.

4. Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Guard

This Shock Doctor knee stabilizer takes support to the next level. It’s your best choice for recovering from a meniscus and/or ligament injury.

Comfort and Stability

It has removable metal hinges for stability. Leave them on in the early stages of recovery and remove them once the injury heals.

Also, the knee straps provide additional lateral support. Customize the pressure on the velcro straps for more or less stability.

Its open-kneecap design relieves pressure on the patellar area, thus reducing pain as well.

And, although the latex-free fabric feels tight at first, it can be broken in after a few uses which gives it a better fit.

Size options: S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL.

Color options: Black.

Durability and Quality

The metal hinges are as durable as they come, and the velcro is very strong. If you follow the washing instructions, this brace will last a long time.

Who this knee brace is for

For people with chronic instability. Or while recovering from meniscus injuries, or ligament sprains -like on the anterior cruciate ligament and/or medial collateral ligament.

Who this knee brace isn’t for

It’s excessive for people with mild injuries. The Bauerfeind or Neenca knee braces may be better options.

5. Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support

This renowned German brand offers one of the best knee support for sports.

It has a little bit of everything – kneecap support, stabilizers, compression… Your knee will be grateful for this brace.

Comfort and Stability

The fabric is specifically designed for sports. It’s lightweight, soft, and dries quickly – the perfect balance between breathability and comfort.

It also has two side stabilizers for additional support – an amazing option for people recovering from mild injuries.

And, we love the patella gel pad. It has a patented design that massages the tissues around the kneecap and stimulates the muscles in the area. Ideal for chronic injuries.

Size options: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL.

Color options: Black, blue, pink.

Durability and Quality

This fabric withstands frequent use – 3 to 5 times a week – without losing elasticity.

Who this knee support is for

A perfect brace for physically active people with chronic knee issues – sprains, tendinitis, jumper’s or runner’s knee…

It will prolong your knee health, regardless of your athletic expertise.

Who this knee support isn’t for

Not for wearing in sedentary activities, like sitting in the office. It may bunch up behind your knee. In that scenario, the PentagonFit or Incrediwear sleeves are better choices.

6. IPOW 2 Pack Knee Strap

Knee straps provide compression to the patellar tendon. This helps treat knee pain from runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, and similar knee injuries.

Now, Ipow offers the most budget-friendly option of adjustable straps we’ve seen, without compromising quality. The pack includes a pair of straps for each of your knee joints.

Comfort and Stability

One key feature of this knee strap is the velcro. It’s strong and it doesn’t pop out, meaning it will stay in place while you run or jump.

The padding is extremely soft and comfortable. It doesn’t accumulate sweat or chafe the skin either.

Yet, one thing we missed is some cushioning on the back. The velcro can pinch a little behind the knee if you don’t put the strap correctly. This won’t be an issue if you put it on right.

Size options: One size fits all – from 10 to 18 inches in knee circumference.

Color options: Black, pink, white.

Durability and Quality

The velcro is particularly strong and resistant to use. The padding may stretch over time, though – this is true with most straps.

Who this knee strap is for

The minimalistic design of this knee strap provides a big relief for patellar tendon injuries and anterior knee pain.

Who this knee strap isn’t for

It won’t provide lateral stability. The Shock Doctor, Bauerfeind, or Neenca knee braces are better options in that case.

7. NEENCA Professional Knee Brace

This knee brace is a budget-friendly option to the Bauerfeind. It has a classic patella-gel pad, side stabilizers, and a slip-on design that makes it easy to put on and off.

Comfort and Stability

The patella gel pad reduces the pressure on the kneecap, alleviating knee pain in that area. Its design may not be as unique as the Bauerfeind, but it will get the job done.

Its bilateral side stabilizers provide support while allowing full mobility. And, the fabric is soft yet comfortable and breathable.

Size options: S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL.

Color options: Black, blue, gray, pink, beige.

Durability and Quality

The stitching is strong and the fabric has 3D weaving, so don’t worry about undoing seams. The silicone gel strips are a bit delicate, though.

Who this knee brace is for

For active people wanting additional support, compression, and kneecap relief at an affordable price.

Who this knee brace isn’t for

It’s excessive if you only need swelling management, pain relief, or injury prevention. The Incrediwear, MyCocoons, or PentagonFit sleeves are better options.

8. Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeve

This closed-kneecap compression sleeve is longer than most – it covers half the thigh and half the calf.

This makes it a great, affordable option for marathoners and athletes with long training sessions, like weight-lifters.

Comfort and Stability

Powerlix’s fabric is 80% nylon and 20% spandex. This makes it soft and comfortable, yet breathable enough to dry quickly. Plus, it won’t accumulate odors as fast as neoprene.

The silicon strips are good at keeping the sleeve in its place. However, they can be too aggressive for sensitive skin.

Size options: S, M, L, XL, XXL

Color options: Black, blue, nude, pink, orange

Durability and Quality

The downside of the fabric blend is that it may stretch over time, at least compared to neoprene sleeves. Also, it’s best to hand-wash it to protect the silicone strips.

Who this knee sleeve is for

For managing mild to moderate swelling and for keeping your knee joint warm while working out. All of this at an affordable price.

Who this knee sleeve isn’t for

If you need additional stability or have a moderate/severe injury. The Shock Doctor, Bauerfeind, or Neenca are better options.

9. MODVEL 2 Pack Knee Joint Brace

The Modvel offers a pack of 2 closed kneecap compression sleeves at an average price. It also has the most variety of colors on this list.

Comfort and Stability

This is your classic knee sleeve – soft, breathable, and elastic enough to manage mild swelling effectively.

What we love the most is that it comes in pairs. You can wear them on both knee joints or have the other sleeve as a spare.

Size options: S, M, L, XL, 2XL.

Color options: Orange, black, blue, green, yellow, pink, purple, skin.

Durability and Quality

This comfortable sleeve can withstand machine-washing without losing its elastic properties. But, it will inevitably stretch over time.

Who this knee sleeve is for

This is a great option for people on a budget wanting a knee sleeve that will get the job done – keep your knee joint warm and manage swelling.

Who this knee sleeve isn’t for

If you want a compression sleeve that will last a long time. In that case, Incrediwear, MyCocoon, or PentagonFit are better options.

10. Vive Knee Cold/Hot Gel Brace

The Vive compression brace provides an easier way to do the RICE protocol after working out.

It’s not as versatile, comfortable, or durable as MyCocoons, but it’s a fine option if you only want cold therapy.

Comfort and Stability

The wrap is made of neoprene and the pack includes 3 gel packs that fit into “pockets” at the front and back of the brace. The 4 adjustable straps customize the compression level you desire as well.

However, we tested the gel pads for heat and the temperature didn’t last much.

Size options: One size fits all. Fits knee circumferences up to 21”.

Color options: Grey.

Durability and Quality

The fabric itself is machine-washable and the velcro is strong. Yet, the gel pads tend to break down after a while and the content leaks out.

Who this knee wrap is for

For an alternate way to apply cold therapy to your sore knee at an affordable price.

Who this knee wrap isn’t for

If you want a versatile sleeve that also provides hot/cold therapy. If that’s you, MyCocoons are a better choice.

Factors to consider when choosing the best knee braces for playing sports

Comfort and Stability

First, consider your needs. For starters, if you have a severe meniscus tear without ligament injuries, unloader knee braces are your best bet.

But, if you want to prevent injuries and keep your knee warm, a sleeve will be more than enough.

Your brace must be comfortable enough so it doesn’t hinder your performance. However, keep in mind that additional stability can make the brace a little uncomfortable.

However, you can fix this easily by wearing a thin sleeve underneath.

Durability and Quality

The fabric must be strong and durable enough to withstand your training frequency. You may want to consider having more than one brace to alternate them and prolong their life.

Also, think about the materials. Neoprene is durable but it accumulates odors fast. Certain fabric blends don’t retain odors as easily but stretch after a while.

Value for Money

If you’re a seasoned athlete, we recommend having at least a high-quality sleeve. It will help you manage pain and swelling after hard workouts.

Also, if you have chronic knee problems, it may be best to invest in a high-quality brace.

These may be an investment at first, but they will save you time and money down the road – fewer injuries, less off-time, etc.

Conclusion

The best knee brace for playing sports will enhance your performance. And, have any additional features necessary to help you manage or prevent injuries.

Yes, there’s an immense variety of braces, but we hope this list pointed you in the right direction. We’re confident you’ll find the best one for you!