Top 8 knee braces for working out according to our team of physical therapists.
The best knee brace for working out must do a few things well:
First, it should support the knee joint. Compression knee sleeves are popular because of this. They provide knee support, keep your joints warm, and reduce knee pain.
Second, the fabric must be breathable and allow free range of motion. Several materials fit this criteria, including neoprene, spandex, nylon, and others. Of course, each type of fabric also has its pros and cons that we took into account.
Lastly, it should fit your budget. We made sure to include the price of every knee brace we tested in our assessment. Some of them offer incredible bang for your buck. Others, albeit more expensive, have features that we know are worth every penny.
We know it’s a lot to think about, especially when you’re also trying to keep track of your PRs and macros. So, we streamlined the market into these products to hopefully help you find what’s best for you.
Our Top Picks:
Best Overall: MyCocoon Hot and Cold Knee Compression Sleeve
Excellent comfort and compression with hot and cold properties to help you before, during, and after your lifts.
Best for Preventing Injuries: Incrediwear Knee Sleeve
Research-proven with numbers to back up all of its claims, the Incrediwear Knee Sleeve is for the lifter who’s preventing or dealing with injuries.
Best Value for Money: PentagonFit Knee Sleeve
The PentagonFit Knee Sleeves were designed by a team of pain therapists. Its durable fabric provides support and freedom of movement at an affordable price.
Best for Weightlifting: ProFitness Knee Sleeves
Designed specifically for weightlifting, this thick pair of neoprene knee sleeves will help bust you out of any plateau. Free bag, too!
Best for Weightlifting Runner-Up: Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves
Very similar to ProFitness knee sleeves in terms of feel and function, this knee support will serve any serious lifter well.
Best for Stabilizing Sprains: NEENCA Knee Brace
This has side stabilizers and a patella gel pad that not only adds stability to your knees, but also relieves pressure and pain from your kneecap.
Best for Looking More Athletic: POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve
This is the lengthiest and coolest-looking knee brace on our list but it’s not all form over function. It offers excellent compression and comfort, too!
Best for Penny Pinchers: UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve
It might not be the most comfortable and durable but you can’t beat its price. If you’re working out on a tight budget, definitely have this on your shortlist.
Comparison of 10 knee support braces for working out
This sleeve simply makes the competition look obsolete.
You can wear it as a standalone sleeve where it offers excellent compression. Or, better yet, use it as a portable hot/cold pack whenever you head out to the gym.
Compression alone will help with blood flow and keeping your joints warm but adding actual warmth to those knees takes it to another level. On the other hand, adding cold with compression also helps you recover after a tough workout and making sure that your joints don’t swell and hurt too much.
Comfort and Stability – So comfortable, it almost feels like new sheets on a lazy Sunday morning.
Our team used it on rigorous leg-building routines with some of the most common leg-building exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges, leg curls, and even a few plyometrics. Not once did any of us complain about the MyCocoon being uncomfortable.
It didn’t bunch up behind our knees, it didn’t smell like an old sock, and it didn’t slide down despite being put through God-knows-how-many sets.
The added heat was also particularly useful in keeping our knees warm when we took our time to catch our breaths in between sets.
Size options: S, M, L.
Color options: Black
Durability and Quality – Tougher than the spotter screaming in your ear.
As fitness enthusiasts ourselves, we understand how crucial durability is for lifters – and it’s a large reason why MyCocoon is at the top of our list.
These sleeves are double-stitched and made with heavy-duty lycra. Meaning, you can take them with you on every leg day and you won’t be left disappointed. You can focus on your workout without having to worry about undoing seams and any leaking hydrogels.
Who this knee sleeve is for – It’s made for every lifter who wants to avoid or recover from injuries.
Compression alone has benefits for injury prevention and recovery. But MyCocoon’s heat and cold properties take its effectiveness to the next level.
Not to mention, its level of comfort will also make you want to use it more instead of taking it off. That, in itself, should help with injuries.
Who this sleeve is not for – It might not be the best for lifters on a budget.
Compared to other knee braces on this list, like PentagonFit for example, you will have to pay a premium price for MyCocoon. That’s to be expected for such a feature-packed product but, in our opinion, it’s well worth every penny.
There are cheaper alternatives that also have heat/cold abilities but neither of them are as well-built as these cocoons, nor are they as comfortable. And, really, they look quite ugly.
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Every knee sleeve in the market claims it relieves pain, prevents injuries, and accelerates recovery. And, while those claims might be true, very few of them have concrete numbers to back it up. Incrediwear is one of the rare few.
Think of it this way: You talk to a dude half your size who says he can squat more than you. You probably wouldn’t believe him. That’s most of Incrediwear’s competition.
But then you see Phil friggin’ Heath walk into your gym and easily squatting 3 times his weight. That’s a story you can believe in. Why? Because you saw it with your own eyes. Now that’s Incrediwear.
Comfort and Stability – Incrediwear Knee Sleeves are comfortable without restricting your range motion.
A good majority (49%) of the fabric used in these sleeves is polyester. From experience, I can tell you that this is largely why Incrediwear feels so soft. The rest of the fabrics in the blend is added so the sleeves don’t feel too warm without affecting the level of comfort.
Given how soft it feels, its surprisingly quite supportive. However, the support stays sometimes caused the sleeve to pinch the back of my knee. It’s a bit annoying when it happened but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I was still able to power through my entire routine with more confidence and without having the urge to want to take it off.
Size options: M, L, XL, XXL.
Color options: Grey, black.
Durability and Quality – The Incrediwear Knee Sleeves are form-fitting and 3D woven for extra durability.
The sleeves are made to follow the shape of your knee and the 3D weaving means it’s all one large piece of fabric. This means there’s very little to worry about when it comes to overstretching the sleeve, even as you deeply bend your knee on those ass-to-grass squats.
Who this knee sleeve is for – This sleeve works great for cutting down the time you spend away from the gym because of injuries.
What makes Incrediwear so incredible is that its fabric is embedded with carbon and germanium. These elements are body-heat activated, so simply wearing the knee sleeves already promotes blood flow, relieves pain, enhances recovery, and helps prevent injuries.
Here’s what the research says:
“Incrediwear® recovery leg sleeves may help reduce time-loss in professional soccer players after lower extremity injuries and lower extremity soft tissue injuries.” – Brian Stirling ,SPT,CSCS et al
“The Incrediwear products help to improve players’ recovery, provide effective regenerative supplementation on travel days and generally reduce muscular issues.” – 1. FC Köln GmbH & Co. KGaA, Mr. Klaus Maierstein, Head of Physiotherapy
“GE (germanium embedded) knee sleeves could play an important role in optimizing nonsurgical management of patients with knee OA, especially patients with grades 1 and 2 OA, as demonstrated by the clinically significant improvements.” – Katherine Marino et al
Who this sleeve is not for – This is NOT the best choice for penny-pinching lifters
Like MyCocoon, Incrediwear Knee Sleeves come at a premium price. Making matters worse is that you won’t have any kind of return policy if you purchase your sleeves from 3rd-party sellers.
But don’t worry. We have a coupon code that will help make this a significantly better deal.
Get 20% off if you buy 2 Incrediwear Knee Sleeves using our code. Authentic and with return policies, guaranteed!
Support for your heavy sets, compression to help control post-workout swelling, warmth so you stay ready, pain relief to keep you on your feet – everything you want in a knee sleeve for working out, PentagonFit will deliver.
To sweeten things up some more, this package comes at an incredibly affordable price.
Comfort and Stability – PentagonFit Knee Compression Sleeves remain comfortable throughout your lifts
Given you pick the right size, PentagonFit Compression Sleeves have the right amount of elasticity that it gets you compression all around your joint without cutting off blood circulation. It also wicks away moisture better than we anticipated, so it doesn’t become more and more uncomfortable as you sweat through your workout.
Moreover, it feels supportive without hampering range of motion in any way.
There’s silicone lined at the ends of these sleeves to help keep them in place throughout any movement as well. But, these silicone bars are not 100% effective, so you will find yourself pulling them back up at least a couple times during your sessions.
Size options: M, L, XL, XXL.
Color options: Black, red, blue.
Durability and Quality – These knee sleeves are built tough like the military.
PentagonFit Knee Sleeves are inspired by the military. And, let’s face it: Your workouts, although intense, aren’t really as tough as what our armed forces go through. So, if these sleeves can withstand military fitness, it sure as hell is tough enough to help you through your sets at the gym.
A caveat, though:
Make sure to only wash these by hand. As I unfortunately found out, while these sleeves may be durable between steel plates, the washing machine is its Achilles heel.
Who this knee sleeve is for – This will work wonders for lifters who want an all-arounder that won’t break the bank.
While PentagonFit doesn’t have the heating/cooling properties of MyCocoon or the science of Incrediwear, it’s cheaper than both of those and still quite the versatile beast.
Who this knee sleeve is not for – It’s not the best choice for lifters with knee sprains.
These include ligament injuries like ACL or MCL tears, as well as as meniscus injuries. If you have these issues, you will need a brace with more support. Especially for moderate to severe tears, consider putting hinged braces at the top of your priority.
Beware of counterfeits! The button below takes you to the bona fide PentagonFit Knee Sleeves, plus FREE shipping and a 60-day money-back guarantee.
The ProFitness Knee Sleeves are your classic weightlifting sleeves – no fuss, thick as nails, supportive as heck.
Not to mention, these sleeves are affordable, come in pairs, and even has a free drawstring bag.
The supportiveness of ProFitness Knee Sleeves will carry you through your heaviest lifts
These knee sleeves are 7mm thick. Mind you, that’s way thicker than most other knee sleeves you’ll find in the market. It’s also made of neoprene.
This combination doesn’t make it the most comfortable option. It retains heat pretty badly, so expect your knees to be sweaty (and probably itchy like mine was). It’s also relatively challenging to slip on.
Take the struggle as a sign that you picked the right size, though. If you can easily wear these sleeves, you likely have the wrong size.
But, what’s a little struggle and discomfort compared to setting a new PR, am I right? The support these thick, neoprene sleeves give is simply next level. I’ve had an extensive history of knee injuries but I was able to power through all my sets without an ounce of pain while wearing these sleeves.
Size options: S, M, L, XL, 2XL.
Color options: Black, blue, grey, red.
Recommended: Reviews of the best knee supports for weightlifters
ProFitness Knee Sleeves use durable neoprene. But the stitching? Meh.
You’d think a 7mm thick knee brace that’s made of neoprene would be as indestructible as it looks but its stitching is a glaring weak link.
After taking it with me to the gym for a couple of weeks, wearing it everyday even when it’s not leg day, the seams have already begun to come apart. The fabric itself is relatively unscathed but I’m not confident that it’s hemmed as well as it should to last me months of heavy lifting. If you want this to last longer than it did for me, I suggest using it only for exercises that require heavy leg use.
Nevertheless, the ProFitness Knee Sleeves will work wonders for serious lifters.
Whether its aiming for new PRs or grinding through rigorous training, the supportiveness of these knee braces will anchor both your knees.
It’s just not the most practical choice for everyday use.
It’s going to be way too hot and uncomfortable if you wear it while only sitting down at the office or if you’re just lounging at the sofa. If you’re looking for something more for everyday use, PentagonFit and Incrediwear are better options.
These sleeves are very – and I mean very – similar to the ProFitness knee sleeves. They’re just as thick, made from the same materials, about the same price, and feel almost the exact same.
Really, the only reason this pair of sleeves isn’t placed higher is because it doesn’t come with a free drawstring bag.
Comfort and Stability – It’s not the most comfortable but it’s supportive as heck.
Like its ProFitness counterpart, the Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves are 7mm thick and are made of neoprene. This combination alone makes it incredibly supportive. I know this because of how confident I felt with my lifts while wearing them.
However, they can feel quite hot and mucky, especially after a few heavy sets when the sweat’s been dripping.
They stay in place fine, though.
One area where Nordic Lifting is better than ProFitness, though, is that it has a wider range of sizes. So, it’ll fit more lifters regardless of body type.
Size options: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL.
Color options: Black.
Durability and Quality – The neoprene fabric is durable but its stitching is weak.
It looks like their design team focused more on aesthetics than functionality. Their seams look cool but they tear apart pretty easily.
I recommend only wearing this on heavy leg days and cardio if have unstable knees to prolong its lifespan.
Who these knee sleeves are for – Weightlifters of every shape and size.
Its wide range of size selections make it suitable for every lifter, from petite to humongous.
Who these knee sleeves aren’t for – Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves are not made for everyday use.
They’re not the most durable and they’re not the most comfortable. Using them everyday will only cause you more headaches and skin rashes.
The function and features of the NEENCA Knee Brace far surpasses its price.
It costs right around average and offers incredible support and pain relief for those suffering from mild knee injuries. However, this knee brace would have ranked higher on our list if it purchasing it wasn’t so much of a coin toss.
Comfort and Stability – The NEENCA Knee Brace is better than average when it comes to stabilizing your knee but beware of design differences.
Two things that make the NEENCA Knee Brace unique are its side stabilizers and patella gel pad. I found these especially useful since I have an extensive history of knee sprains and I’m no Jeff Bezos. My injuries have since healed but it helped with my confidence knowing that the brace I’m wearing had actual stabilizers rather than just fabric. The patella gel pad helps with the occasional knee pain, too.
However, a gripe our team members and I have about the NEENCA knee brace is its design differences.
Naturally, we picked different colors and styles. What we didn’t expect was that the features were also different for some. One brace we received didn’t have silicone strips, another had different side stabilizers, and another seems to have a different gel pad. We can’t figure out what designs get certain features either, so it feels like a gamble.
Size options: S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL.
Color options: Black, blue, gray, pink, beige.
Durability and Quality – The seams come apart quickly because of the side stabilizers.
The knee brace itself is 3D woven which helps prolong the elasticity and life of the sleeve.
However, because of frequent knee bending and squatting, the side stabilizers make the seams at the top of the brace as well as the seams that hold the stabilizers in place unravel pretty quickly.
Who this knee brace is for – This will be great for lifters with mild knee sprains and knee pain.
The side stabilizers aren’t rigid enough for moderate-to-severe knee injuries but it’ll be more than enough for mild sprains. The patella gel pad also helps keep your kneecap in place and will reduce knee pain when you bend or straighten your knee.
Who this knee brace is not for – This won’t hold up well with long-term deep squatting
We noticed that deep knee bends, regardless of exercise, puts excessive pressure on the stitching. Over time, this will cause the side stabilizers to pop out of its housing. For one, this just wouldn’t be comfortable. But, more importantly, you will lose the added stability that supposedly makes this a great option for sprains.
The Powerlix Knee Compression Sleeve is among the most popular knee braces on Amazon – and I’m not surprised. It’s longer and thicker than most knee sleeves on the market which made me look like I run more than actually do. That was pretty cool.
But it does have a glaring drawback in terms of staying put.
Comfort and Stability – Powerlix is as comfortable as they come but it also keeps on sliding down.
In terms of comfort, it feels similar to Incrediwear and PentagonFit but it somehow doesn’t have the same level of support. Nevertheless, it didn’t feel too warm when I worked out with it and it also did a wonderful job of keeping the back of my knee dry.
However, what annoyed me a little bit was the fact that I had to pull it back up after a couple of sets or so. It just wouldn’t stay put! PentagonFit has this same problem but not to this extent. I’m sure I picked the right size, too, because the compression I felt was top notch.
Size options: S, M, L, XL, XXL.
Color options: Black, blue, nude, pink, orange.
Durability and Quality – It shrinks when washed
After using this knee sleeve for a few sweaty workouts, I felt like it was time to give it a wash. I followed Powerlix’s instructions and only handwashed mine. That didn’t matter because it shrunk down a size. That wasn’t a big problem to me, though. It eventually stretched back to its original size and gave me a snug fit. My problem with this is that it might also stretch out sooner than I would expect. But, to be fair, it is pretty cheap.
Who this knee sleeve is for – The Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeves are for the weekend warrior.
For one, it’s going to make you look more athletic. That’s always a good thing if you ask me. Second, it will last quite a bit longer if you don’t plan on using it everyday. But, when you do use it, it will still offer amazing compression, a bit of support, and will help keep your knees comfortably warm while you go through your sets.
Size options: S, M, L, XL, XXL.
Color options: Black, blue, nude, pink, orange.
Who this knee sleeve isn’t for – I don’t expect the Powerlix to satisfy the needs of many serious lifters.
While it might look cool, it won’t support your knees as much as the previous knee braces on this list. And, if you do plan on using it everyday, having to pull it back up as often as I did will quickly become more annoying than the idiots who don’t put their weights back.
Like Powerlix, UFlex Knee Compression Sleeves are quite popular on Amazon. But, while they do have their similarities, my experience with UFlex was different. Overall, UFlex produces one of the best bang-for-buck knee braces but it compromises on comfort and quality.
Comfort and Stability – UFlex Knee Compression Sleeves stay well in place but it can also feel too tight.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Personally, I found the UFlex knee sleeves to be adequately comfortable and supportive, especially considering how it’s significantly cheaper than the competition.
The brace I wore fit snuggly around my thighs and knees. The silicone strips at the top of the brace also helped it stay in place while I did my workouts. It didn’t bunch up behind my knee as I did my squats either – and you just know that’s a good thing.
However, one of our team members felt it was too tight around his thighs despite following the manufacturer’s size chart. This was particularly uncomfortable because the same silicone strips that helped keep it up were also digging through his skin. Although, he was quite a bit larger than I was.
Size options: S, M, L, XL.
Color options: Red, black, pink, blue.
Durability and Quality – It’s not the most durable but it should hold up well for occasional use.
The stitching at the top and the silicone strips are particularly flimsy. If you plan on using this everyday, it doesn’t look like it’ll last for more than a couple of months. Worn 2-3x per week solely for leg day and cardio, however, the UFlex Knee Compression Sleeves are worth a try.
Who this knee sleeve is for – This knee sleeve is cheap as heck, best used sparingly, and for petite- to average-sized lifters.
If you’re on a tight budget, don’t do a lot of cardio and leg day, and aren’t the biggest person in the gym, I highly recommend having this on your shortlist. It will feel adequately comfortable, will last you a few good months, and you won’t have to empty your wallet.
Who this knee sleeve is not for – You will quickly be disappointed if you plan on using it everyday and are larger than average.
The seams and the silicone strips fall apart quickly which doesn’t make this an everyday kind of product. If you do plan on using it everyday, you will eventually find yourself pulling on the knee sleeves quite often. And, every time you pull, more of the stitching will come apart.
Plus, the opening at the top of the knee sleeve feels too small for those of you with larger thighs.If you’re looking for a more long-term knee brace that doesn’t compromise on comfort and quality, I highly recommend MyCocoon. If that doesn’t fit your budget, try PentagonFit.
Factors to consider when choosing the best knee brace for workouts
Comfort and Stability
For maximum comfort, the fabric must be breathable and have moisture-wicking properties. The best materials for this are often blends of nylon, polyester, spandex, etc.
Neoprene generally offers more support than the types of fabric I mentioned but it’s also not as breathable.
Think about your needs and what you’re willing to trade for your knee health.
If you have a previous knee condition, consider a multipurpose sleeve. MyCocoons, Incrediwear, or Neenca, are great, versatile options.
Durability and Quality
Fabric blends often feel softer and more luxurious than neoprene, but some of them stretch more easily. This affects the durability of the sleeve.
This doesn’t mean that blends aren’t high-quality. But, it’s key to be honest about your training frequency so you can manage your expectations.
Value for Money
There are several budget-friendly options on this list. Some of them may be more or less durable, though – this depends on how often you’ll wear them.
Consider brands that sell sleeves in pairs if you need a brace that will get the basics done. Or, use our discount codes for high-quality sleeves at a lesser price.
The best type of knee brace for working out will be comfortable and breathable, while also enhancing your performance.
There’s an infinite variety of knee braces that may help you. We hope this list saves you time, so you can focus on getting stronger!