best-knee-sleeves-for-squats

Article Last Updated: June 1, 2020

Did you know, according to Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada a knee can obtain up to 49.7 N/kg during squatting. (1)

For those of you who are not scientists.

That’s alot of force on your knee joint and surronding muscles. This increases if you have poor form. 

Squatting is one of the fundamental exercises that you must do to truly boost your strength.

However, a poor form combined with heavy weights can quickly weaken and, eventually, injure your knees. (2)

We have reviewed the best knee sleeves for squats in the market to support your knees and prevent injuries.

The knee sleeves work by providing compression and enduring the additional stress that may cause damage to your knee structure.

Related: 

Best Knee Brace For Crossfit
Best Overall Knee Brace
Overall Best Knee Sleeves

IMAGE

PRODUCT


#1 Nordic Lifting Knee Brace
 

Best for heavy weight squats. Used by many and endorsed top heavy lifting athletes.

#2 IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief & Patella Stabilizer

Knee strap for lightweight support. More for prevention. 

#3 UFlex Athlethes Compression Sleeves 


A generic brand, commonly used for running. Not specifically designed for lifting. 

Top 7 Knee Sleeves for Squats 

1. Nordic Lifting Knee Brace

Nordic Lifting is a brand trusted by hundreds of weightlifters, crossfitters and powerlifters.

If you are looking for the best knee sleeves for working out, then this is a product to consider.

The knee sleeve is made from high-end Neoprene and has been designed ergonomically to provide optimum stability and compression, while you are lifting heavy weights.

The knee sleeve has not just been designed to protect your knee, but the manufacturer aims to improve your athletic performance and strengthen your knee joints when you are lifting weights with the sleeves on.

Whether it’s your first day of the gym or you are a pro lifter who is fed up of the ordinary knee sleeve, Nordic Lifting knee sleeve works equally well in either cases.

Comfort and Stability

The knee sleeve is designed to be comfortable, while providing optimum support. It comes with breathable fabric, which keeps the knee skin fresh.

Durability and Quality

It has a premium construction and has been carefully designed under professional trainers’ guidance to perfect it for usage in the gym. It is made from the best neoprene fabric that will not weaken, even after months of daily usage.

Nordic Lifting Knee Brace

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Takes your performance to the next level
  • Provides optimum support
  • Unisex
  • Compression for muscle recovery and strengthening
  • Useful with all fitness workouts
  •  Lifetime warranty

2. IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief & Patella Stabilizer

For our first option, we are going to have the one and only IPOW knee straps.

These are sold by IPOW, which is an internationally recognized brand for recovery from sports related injuries.

These knee straps are going to be the lightest weight option that you can have, while also being the most affordable.

The knee straps come in a single size but are fully adjustable to your liking. We recommend these for light weight squatting.

The stabilizers will be a good option to provide some warmth, which is really what you’re looking for when you’re looking for knee straps.

The segmented fix design of these knee straps allow them to fit naturally on your knees and absorb the shocks that will generate during your training routine.

You can wear these knee straps independently or combine them with a pair of proper knee sleeves.

These are also very versatile; instead of just throwing on a knee sleeve, you can precisely put the strap above or below your knee cap, where you need the most support.

Comfort and Stability

IPOW ensures that these knee straps are comfortable. The fabric of the knee straps is made from high quality, soft and breathable material. This gives the fabric a soft and smooth touch. The straps are non-slipping in design.

Durability and Quality

Despite being low in price, the IPOW knee straps are fairly durable. Since they are made from a composite fiber material, the straps are exceptionally rigid. They have been tested in real-life situations and have been updated constantly to ensure that the knee straps are ready to take on the workout challenges with you.

Ipow Fully Adjustable Jumpers’s Knee Patellar Tendon Support Strap Band Review

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Comfortable and anti-slip
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Targeted compression
  • Quick relief
  • Adjustable
  • Soft-touch composite fiber
  • Easy to wear
  • 100% satisfaction warranty

3. UFlex Athletes Compression Sleeve

Our last product in this review is from UltraFlex.

UltraFlex is one of the most sought after knee brace for squats. It is a heavy duty variant, which supports your knees with the latest compression technology.

Unlike some heavy duty knee supports which comprise on comfort, UltraFlex allows you to enjoy your workout in breathable and anti-odor fabric.

The knee braces stay in place owing to the anti-slip design and keep up the support even under tremendous strength. UltraFlex is used by many professional athletes which is a testament to the quality of this product.

The knee sleeves fit snug and comfortable, which keeps out any stress from developing in your joint. This allows you to feel light and easy as you go through the motion of squat.

Comfort and Stability

UltraFlex knee brace is a lightweight and flexible option. It keeps on your knees without irritating your skin or causing any allergies.

Durability and Quality

The U Flex fabric has been created after stringent testing. Made from a thick multi-layer composite material, the fabric does not break under stress or sweat. Moreover, it also does not lose its compression over time.

UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support Review

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Anatomically fit and sizing
  • Instant impact and quick recovery
  • Heating effect
  • Targeted recovery
  • Moisture wicking and breathable
  • Warranty

4. Rehband 7051 Knee Sleeves

Next up, we have Rehband 7051 knee sleeves. Now these are the most classic knee sleeves one can buy.

If you are a regular gym goer, you would understand what we are talking about.

You will see not only weightlifters using these sleeves, you’ll see weight lifters wear them, power lifters and also a lot of strongmen use them.

The reason why these knee sleeves are one of the top knee sleeves for squats is simply the unrelenting compression they provide.

This compression warms your leg muscles and gets the blood circulation improved through the length of sleeve.

The latter helps you recover from injuries and prevents your legs from getting tired quickly.

The compression provided is targeted and will allow you to comfortably lift additional weight in your squat, which would not have been safely possible before.

Comfort and Stability

The 7051 knee sleeves are soft and cushy. You can wear them for long hours, while having complete mobility and outstanding stability. Since Rehband is created by medical experts, the ergonomics and comfort of this pair is on point.

Durability and Quality

Like most top knee sleeves, this pair from Rehband is also made from high grade neoprene. This material does not breakdown under stress or tear easily. Moreover, the double stitched seams of the fabric hold on to the structural integrity and provide continued compression, even after months.

Rehband Knee Sleeves Review

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • High quality neoprene fabric
  • Anatomical shape
  • Perfect fit
  • Allows you to achieve more
  • Heat therapy
  • IPW / IWF approved
  • Designed in Sweden and made in Estonia
  • Certified by professional weight lifters

5. Sling Shot Mark Bell’s Knee Sleeves 2.0

The Slingshot 2.0 is a new product in the market, but it has already become a top one and is listed as Amazon’s Choice in the knee sleeve category.

This is a remarkable testament to the product’s quality, but it is nothing surprising given the features it has.

The Slingshot 2.0 is really supportive, but it is also flexible. It is going to provide you with complete compression throughout its length to support dynamic movements during squats.

The knee sleeves are approved by IPF and can also be worn in the CrossFit Games. We recommend these highly if you need a knee sleeve for medium weight lifting or training long sessions.

We find them to have the best combination of comfort, support and warmth in the market.

Do note, however, you will get a little sweaty in them though.

Comfort and Stability

The knee sleeves have a soft material in the inner layer that touches your skin. This prevents chafing, itching and any irritation. Moreover, the anti-slip design keeps the knee sleeves in position to provide stable compression.

Durability and Quality

Made from patented 7mm neoprene composite fabric, these knee sleeves are thick and rugged. They can be worn for any exercise and will last for many months.

Mark Bell’s STRONG Knee Sleeves Review

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Instant support and stability
  • Multiple sizes
  • Multiple colors
  • Patented design
  • IPF, CrossFit Games & USPA approved
  • Dynamic movement
  • Increased support, rebound and feel
  • Prevents injury and builds lifting confidence

6. Sling Shot Mark Bell Strong Knee Sleeves, 1 Pair

Here we have Strong Knee Sleeves, which are also made by the same company which produces the aforementioned Slingshot 2.0.

The Strong Knee Sleeves come as a pair. You can compare this pair to an ProFitness pair (reviewed below), if you have ever used them.

Each knee sleeve is constructed with just a single seam, which allows the whole structure to generate compression and have a strong rebound.

We consider it as one of the best knee sleeves for squats in terms of the combination of maximum support and comfort. It’s a little bit more flexible than other comparable knee sleeves, which allow for greater mobility.

However, if you’re a power lifter in USPA or IPF, you cannot wear these unfortunately.

Comfort and Stability

The Strong Knee Sleeves pair provides you with high end compression, without limiting your mobility or giving you skin irritation. It provides you with a snug support that will keep your knee in position, even if you wear it for several hours a day.

Durability and Quality

Each knee sleeve is made from a level 3 neoprene, which is the most premium grade of material found in knee sleeves. This material is flexible, yet strong enough to endure the wear and tear of rigorous workouts. A locked single seam stitching holds the fabric together. Stack weights and continue your squats, without worrying about these knee sleeves coming apart.

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Aids in pain relief
  • Prevents injury
  • Provides more blood flow + recovers faster
  • Creates kinetic awareness
  • Limits patella movement  
  • Anti-slip
  • Usable with your entire workout
  • Warranty

7. ProFitness Knee Sleeve

Here we have another Amazon’s Choice knee sleeve: the ProFitness squat support.

Now these knee sleeves are not the most comfortable in the market, but they provide maximum support and truly boost your squatting performance.

You will find many professionals wearing this for competitions, due to the sleeves dynamic support and multiple (from a XS to a 3 XL).

The knee sleeves compress your knees and provide support to the joints, for enhancing your recovery and allowing you to lift more.

The compression is graduated and is optimized for support during lifting.

However, this doesn’t mean you cannot use the knee braces for any other type of exercising. Your will your knees will feel indestructible in the SPD knee sleeve.

Comfort and Stability

Since they are made for maximum lifting, the knee sleeves favor functionality over comfort. They are not soft from the inside. However, once you get used to them, you will not mind having these on for the compression and stability they provide.

Durability and Quality

Made for lifters and CrossFit athletes, the knee braces are of top quality and should be able to take on the wear and tear of training sessions. The thick neoprene fabric will not tear under stress and continue to maintain its shape / compression for a long time.

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Anatomical shape
  • Daily usage – breathable fabric
  • Thick neoprene material
  • Unisex & multiple sizing
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Guaranteed improvement in lifting
  • Improves endurance
  • Warranty

Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Knee Sleeves for Squats

Sports-wise Factors

Squatting knee sleeves can be used by various strength athletes:

  1. Powerlifters: They should get knee sleeves that are stiffer and more rigid. This will allow them to train with heavier loads.
  2. Weightlifters: They should look for knee sleeves that are lightweight, comfortable and warm. Since the squatting will require catching the weight at the bottom, these athletes need to have a more flexible option.
  3. CrossFitters: These athletes require knee sleeves that are versatile to accommodate a dynamic range of movement. They should check for support, ergonomics and versatility during their purchase.

Comfort and Stability

Since you are going to be squatting regularly, you need a knee sleeve that can be worn comfortably. An uncomfortable knee sleeve will eventually cause you to stop using it and may lead to a wasted purchase. When you are looking for a knee brace, you should check if it has a soft inner layer. Knee braces with this feature are generally a lot more comfortable than other variants. You should not take any risks stability wise as there is no use of an unstable compression – in fact, this may do your knee more harm than good.  

Durability and Quality

Durability and quality of the best knee sleeves for squats go hand in hand. If the knee sleeves are of high quality, they are going to be durable. This means that the fabric they come in is rigid and has strengthened stitching to prevent the knee sleeves from coming apart under stress. A great indicator of a durable product is the warranty it comes with. High quality products have a long or even lifetime warranty.

Cost and Value

The cost and value of the best knee sleeves for squats is quite subjective. If you have the budget, even an eighty bucks variant would look worth it. On the other hand, if you have a limited spending, then you may find a budget variant more ideal. In either case, we have listed products in our review that offer outstanding features in varying prices.  You will definitely find one that fits your budget and recovery requirements.

Tips For Preventing Knee Pain When Squatting

Many people often complain about not having recovered from their respective knee injuries, despite wearing some of the bestselling knee supports.   If you are a professional weight lifter, you would know that knee sleeves are not going to miraculously solve your knee problem if your squatting form is wrong. Whether it is knee over-extension, overuse, degeneration or ligament rupture, most of the knee injuries that occur are from faulty mechanics. In this section, we are going to quickly review some tips to ensure your knees go from strength to strength:

  • The most common problem with new weight lifters is the weakness at the hip. When you squat with your knees coming together, this creates excessive stress at the knee and a loss of tension from your hip. Remember to always keep your hip in line with the knee and knee in line with the ankle. This is only achievable when your knees are pushed out.
  • Always do exercises to strengthen the muscles involved in squatting. This will help you in preventing injuries in the long term. A great exercise is hip lift. You need to lie flat on the bench and push your hips upward till your belly aligns with the height of your knee. This will boost your glute muscles, which will basically help you in lifting more weight during squats without worrying about any injury.
  • Another exercise is to do step up. This is a simple one in which you need to lower yourself from a stair or a raised platform. Put one leg on a platform and with the other leg, lower yourself towards the floor. What you need to make sure is to not push the knees too close or too far. Keep them aligned with your hips. When you do controlled lowering of your leg, you will see that your glute muscles are getting worked. The overall tension of the exercise should be in your glute muscles. You should keep at this exercise until the point of failure. Do not overdo it as you do not want to injure your knees.
  • The last exercise we want to tell you about is band side step. It is another simple exercise in which you need to put your ankles inside a resistance band and take side steps, while keeping your upper body isolated. Again, the band will work to push your knees to come together, but you need to focus with your hip to keep the knees pushed out. So as you can see, that band is kind of trying to pull the knees in, and what you’re wanting to do is be active and pushing the knees out so that we’re strong through the hips.

These may seem like simple exercises but these will really boost your squat strength and bring down your knee injuries. A good squad is one where the major power is coming from your glutes. If your form is not correct, you will be using the knees to provide tension and this will put the knee joints in undue stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do knee sleeves help squats?

Yes, knee sleeves help in squats. They provide compression to your knee which keeps the knee cap in position, while you are squatting. The knee sleeves also reduce swelling after your training session and improve blood flow to the knees.

How do I choose a knee sleeve?

Depending upon the weight you are lifting, you can wear a very tight knee brace or a moderately tight one. A super tight knee brace will provide you with ultimate compression that will let you lift greater weight without worrying about injuring your knee. Please refer to our buying guide section above to see how you can find a knee brace that is perfect for your need.

How tight should my knee sleeves be?

You should go with knee sleeves that are tight enough to provide adequate compression, without cutting off the blood flow to your knees. Tight knee sleeves are tricky to put on so you should put them on inside out and then pull them to your knees. 

Do squats destroy your knees?

Squats are not harmful for your knees. If your knees hurt after squatting, it may be because you have a prevailing knee injury. If you do not have any injury, you should check on your squatting form. If your form is not correct, you would be putting tension on your knees instead of your glutes and this will lead to knee injuries. Check our section on tips for knee injury prevention above.  

How thick should knee sleeves be?

Most knee sleeves are 3mm, 5 mm or 7 mm thick. We recommend 5 mm for normal usage and 7 mm if you are working out with heavy weights.

How to measure knee sleeves?

You should flex your knees to 30 degrees and measure 10 cm down from your knee cap. This will give you the circumference of your knee region.

Conclusion

Now that we have reviewed 7 of the best knee sleeves for squats, we really hope that you found a product that suits your requirements.

All the products listed here are from trusted manufacturers and have had positive feedbacks from their users.

We hope that one of our mentioned knee support will help you improve your knee, enhance your balance and reduce the occurrence of any injuries.

IMAGE

PRODUCT


#1 Nordic Lifting Knee Brace
 

Best for heavy weight squats.

#2 IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief & Patella Stabilizer

Knee strap for lightweight support. 

#3 UFlex Athlethes Compression Sleeves 


Most bang for your bucks.