9 Best Knee Braces and Sleeves for Running (2023) | Buyers Guide and Reviews

Written by on October 9, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By: Mitch Torres (PT)

most common knee injuries are referred to as “Runners Knee”

There’s a reason why one of the most common knee injuries in the world is called “runners knee” – and that’s because this sport can take a heavy toll on this joint. Luckily, the best knee braces and sleeves for running can help.

Knee sleeves and knee braces help support your knees while also providing some much needed warmth and blood flow. This, in turn, can help prevent injuries and promote recover.

The problem, however, is that there’s way too many options out there. I and my team of physical therapists took this personal, so we tested dozens of knee supports and found the best ones for running. Reviews of each one as well as a short buyer’s guide can be found below. So, are you ready? Get set… Let’s go!

Our Top Picks:

Best Overall: ArmaJoint Knee Compression Sleeve
Best in its class in terms of compression and practicality. Great for mild to moderate running injuries.

Best for Recovery: Cocoon Knee Flex Pro
The most comfortable knee sleeve we’ve ever tested that also comes packed with heat and cold. This works best before and after you run to help you recover.

Best for Patellar Issues: Braceability Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace
Its U-shaped buttress and side stabilizers provide lateral stability, optimized patellar tracking, and knee pain relief. This knee brace is for runners with all sorts of patellar problems.

Top 10 reviews – The best knee braces and knee sleeves for runners

1. ArmaJoint Compression Sleeve


  • Effective pain relief.
  • Durable compound materials.
  • Exceptional freedom of motion.
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee.


  • Doesn’t offer as much support as the Shock Doctor.

ArmaJoint’s Knee Compression Sleeve offers all the best parts of knee sleeves without breaking the bank.

The ArmaJoint knee brace was designed by pain therapists to reduce inflammation and knee pain while boosting circulation. This, in turn, promotes recovery and overall knee health.

It does so with a mix of nylon and spandex that’s not only effective but also comfortable and durable. This fabric combination also results in superior compression all around your knee, so it’s going to work for nearly every kind of knee injury – including runner’s knee.

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What I will say, however, is that it won’t provide enough support for moderate to severe sprains to your knee ligaments. For those injuries, I recommend hinged knee braces.

  • Material: 80% Nylon, 20% Spandex
  • Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Color options: Black

2. Cocoon Knee Flex Pro


  • Effective pain relief.
  • Durable compound materials.
  • Exceptional freedom of motion.
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee.


  • Doesn’t offer as much support as the Shock Doctor.

The Cocoon Knee Flex Pros are perfect for pre- and post-run recovery.

First of all, it feels luxurious. We’ve tested many knee supports throughout our search for the best knee sleeves for running but none – I repeat, NONE – have felt quite like these Cocoons.

They’re made with lycra that not many manufacturers use. It’s also packed with hydrogel. The lycra is what gives it its superior comfort while the hydrogel allows it to retain both cool and hot temperatures while also adding weight to its compression.

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You can pop these cocoons in the microwave and use the heat and compression to warm up your knees; or throw them in the freezer to act as all-in-one compression knee sleeves and cool packs that are perfect for limiting pain and inflammation after running.

Like ArmaJoint, however, it’s not all that supportive. Plus, the lycra that makes it super comfortable also makes it slide down quite often, so I don’t recommend wearing these while you’re running.

  • Material: Lycra, hydrogel.
  • Size: M, L.
  • Color options: Blue.

Recommended: Ice or heat – what’s best for knee pain after running?

3. Braceability Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace


  • Side stabilizers add more support to your knees
  • U-shaped buttress optimizes patellar tracking
  • Durable material
  • Velcro straps to help prevent slipping
  • Wide size range
  • Excellent customer service


  • Slightly above average price
  • No color options
  • Bulkier and slightly more inconvenient to wear

Braceability’s Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace is for the runner with a problematic knee cap.

Not many runner’s realize this but improper tracking of your patella and muscle imbalances are one of the most common reasons of running-related injuries. This, of course, includes patellar tendonitis and runner’s knee.

Braceability’s patella stabilizing knee brace helps fix this with its u-shaped buttress. This feature is meant to keep your knee cap properly aligned, improving the biomechanics that make your knee work the way it should. Plus, there are a side stabilizers that provide lateral stability.

The buttress and stabilizers, along with its velcro straps and other bells and whistles make it slightly pricier, bulkier, and more cumbersome to wear than the conventional knee sleeve, however. Oh, and it also only comes in 1 color.

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size: S-4XL
  • Color options: Black

4. Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Support


  • Unmatched knee joint support.
  • Extremely heavy duty.
  • Comfortable.


  • Very tight.

The Shock Doctor SD 875 is a heavy-duty knee support compression brace with bilateral hinges.

The SD 875 is as solid as it gets! In fact, our testing has it as one of the most heavy-duty designed braces on the market. It’s perfect for runners that came off serious knee injuries or those with knee joint instability.

The Shock Doctor comes with bilateral aluminum hinges that offer unparalleled support. Even better is that these hinges are removable, giving the knee brace the ability to quickly be converted into a knee compression sleeve.

However, this knee brace feels tight at first. It needs to be worn in like brand new shoes to feel snug, so that’s a bit of a hassle.

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size: S-4XL
  • Color options: Black

Recommended: How tight does a knee compression sleeve need to be?

5. Bauerfeind Sports Knee Brace


  • Exceptional comfort and stability.
  • Sophisticated pain relief.
  • Available in many size options.


  • Not as durable as the Shock Doctor.
  • Skin irritation.

When it comes to Bauerfeind Sports knee braces, we talk about top-notch German quality.

The Bauerfeind is made from air-knit fabric, making it highly breathable. The brace is also wonderfully comfortable.

The Bauerfeind comes fitted with an anatomically contoured pad that surrounds your kneecap. This helps distribute pressure evenly around your knee joint while stimulating the muscles around it. Along with improved circulation, this is crucial for runners like you to in order to preserve your knee’s health.

For the price it comes in, though, we do wish it was more durable. It likely also isn’t for runner’s with sensitive skin. If you can live with those issues, the Bauerfeind knee brace will work well for mild-moderate knee injuries.

  • Material: 3D knitted neoprene
  • Size: XS-2XL
  • Color options: Black, Pink, Rivera

6. UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support


  • Aids in reducing knee pain
  • Suitable for running
  • Features the anti-slip silicone
  • Made with stylish yet durable materials


  • The rubber strips may wear out after a few uses
  • Machine wash is not recommended

The UFlex Athletics Compression Knee Sleeve is for runners on a budget.

Despite the super affordable price it comes in, the UFlex Athletics knee sleeve is one of the most effective knee brace for running that we’ve tested.

It’s designed to be able to stretch 4 ways which, in turn, grants excellent compression all around your knee. Ultimately, this should help relieve knee pain and inflammation while promoting recovery, warmth, and circulation – as every knee sleeve should.

However, it fell to the bottom half of our list because it really isn’t all that durable. It also slides down more often than the ArmaJoint knee sleeve, so there’s that.

  • Material: Nylon
  • Size: S-XL
  • Color options: Black, Red, Blue, Pink

7. Run Forever Patella Strap


  • Features fully adjustable straps
  • Perfect for runners
  • Made of very good quality materials
  • Durable


  • You might get a small bruise if you fit it too tightly
  • The padding may be too thick for some

While you probably won’t be able to run forever, these knee straps are great for patellar tendon injuries.

Knee straps are made to treat very specific injuries and those injuries all involve the patellar tendon. Just a few examples that are common in runners include patellar tendonitis and Osgood Schlatter disease.

That being said, the Run Forever knee strap relieves pressure directly on your patellar tendon. This, in turn, distributes pressure more evenly as you bend and straighten your knee, allowing you to run in spite of knee pain.

Take note that knee straps such as this won’t give your knee any support or compression whatsoever, so don’t expect it to. You’d need a knee brace or a knee compression sleeve for those. That being said, I don’t recommend this if you have smaller knees as this only comes in 1 size.

  • Material: Neoprene, nylon
  • Size: One size only
  • Color options: Black, Blue, Grey

8. Winzone Knee Brace


  • Ideal for running
  • Easy to wear
  • Comfortable and supportive
  • Excellent compression and comfortable warmth


  • The strap band may cause skin irritation
  • Slides down your knee fairly often

The Winzone Knee Brace is easy to wear and adjustable but you might have to pull it up fairly often.

Like the CompressionGear knee brace, Winzone’s compression and fit is also adjustable. It’s also made with neoprene, comes with velcro straps, and an open patella design.

So, by all means, Winzone should be just as good as CompressionGear – but it isn’t. At least not quite. Don’t get us wrong, though. It’s still a supportive knee brace; it’s still great value for money; it still stabilizes your patella but it doesn’t fit quite like its competition. So, all these benefits are also a notch lower.

It is, however, easier to wear because you’d only have to fiddle with 2 straps instead of 3. The caveat is that it also slides down your knee more frequently and the straps might also be a bit more irritating to your skin.

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size: One size only.
  • Color options: Black

9. SB Sox Compression Knee Sleeve


  • Solid compression for pain, inflammation, and recovery
  • Made of lightweight materials
  • Perfect for runners
  • Very affordable


  • Not very durable
  • Returning the product can be a challenge

SB SOX’s Compression Knee Sleeve is the alternative for runners on a budget.

To recap, this list has ArmaJoint, UFlex, and now SB SOX’s knee sleeve for all-around compression. ArmaJoint is, by and large, the best one of these 3 but UFlex and SB SOX come at cheaper prices.

With that established, SB SOX still offers solid compression which, in turn, helps with minimizing knee pain and inflammation. This knee sleeve also promotes circulation and recovery without compromising your range of motion.

The major difference is that both SB SOX and UFlex aren’t as well made. This means they’re not as durable and will lose their stretch faster.

  • Size: S-XL
  • Color options: Charcoal/red, Grey/black, Solid black

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Knee Brace for Running (Buyer’s Guide)

Comfort and Stability

Running, especially during longer and/or more intense sessions such as training for sprints and marathons, will inevitably become uncomfortable. To truly augment your performance, your knee brace, knee compression sleeve, or knee straps shouldn’t add to this discomfort.

They also shouldn’t limit your knee’s range of motion unless otherwise specified by your physical therapist or doctor, as is the case when you’re returning from serious injuries.

Durability and Quality

With knee braces, quality reigns supreme.

Sadly, most knee sleeves and knee braces on the market that have top-notch build qualities also come with top dollar prices. There are a handful of exceptions though – and we sincerely hope this list highlights some of them.

Nevertheless, high quality knee braces will also very likely be durable. Our advise? Get the best quality that you can afford, which brings us to the next factor you should consider…

Cost and Value

How much you want to invest on a knee brace, knee sleeve, knee straps, and any other type of knee support is entirely up to you.

While sorting through literally thousands of choices can be truly disheartening, the silver lining is that these supports also come in a wide variety of prices that suit your budget.

Many of them that come in the same price bracket will also come with more or less the same features but one of them will eventually fit your condition more. So, be sure to read customer reviews as well as the manufacturer’s own descriptions to gather accurate information before placing your order.

Why you should trust Knee Force

Kris is a physical therapist who specializes in sports rehab and sustainable fitness. His expertise has led him to treat athletes from a wide variety of sports with an even wider array of joint injuries, including those that stem from running.

He also has his fair share of knee joint ailments – from full-grade ACL tears, torn menisci, and sprains on other knee ligaments. He’s also had to use a knee brace during his recovery from knee surgery and when he was getting back into his sport.

Hence, he draws his medical opinions from both evidence-based knowledge of physical therapy and experience.

For this article, he and our team of physical therapists tested dozens of knee braces, knee sleeves, and supports, took note of important features, and compared his own findings with other people’s experiences. Finally, he chose what he found were the best ones.

Conclusion: What are the best knee sleeves and knee braces for running?

The best knee sleeves and knee braces for running are those that offer the best value for money while also effectively tackling your needs.

Our list comprises many types of knee supports that spans different features and price ranges to help you find one that suits you best.

To recap, our top 3 knee joint supports that help you deal with the most common running injuries include: ArmaJoint knee compression sleeves for effective knee pain relief at a practical price; Cocoon Knee Flex Pros for pre- and post- running recovery; and Braceability’s Patella Stabilizing Knee Brace for runners with problems that come from their knee caps.