Knee sleeves are a useful tool for those suffering from knee pain and can be especially helpful for high-volume lifters. These sleeves sit securely around your leg, delivering individually determined compression to your knee.

They should be snug but not so tight that they pinch or cut off your circulation. Some also have extra features such as wavy silicone grips, patella pads, and stash pockets.


Knee pain isn’t just painful, it can also be debilitating and prevent you from performing your best. It’s one of the most common problems that athletes and lifters experience, and it can rob you of your ability to perform even your most basic exercises. Luckily, you can help alleviate the pain by incorporating knee compression sleeves into your training routine. visit

However, not all knee sleeves are created equal. The fit is a crucial factor in the effectiveness of any knee sleeve, and it can have a significant impact on your ability to lift. Generally, you will want to go with a sleeve that is tight enough to give you good compression without being too snug that it restricts your knee movement or cuts off circulation. To find the right fit, use a soft tape measure and start at your kneecap. Then, measure up about 4 inches towards your thigh. This will give you a general idea of what size to order. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s sizing chart to make sure that the sleeve you select is accurate for your measurements.

The thickness of a sleeve can also have an impact on its effectiveness. Thicker sleeves offer more support and stability for lifting than thinner sleeves. They also tend to fit tighter and hold their elasticity better over time.

If you’re a powerlifter, you’ll want to choose a pair of sleeves that can withstand heavy weights and the stress of repeated squats. This pair from Gymreapers has reinforced stitching, high-quality neoprene, and is USPA compliant. These features help to ensure that your sleeves will be durable enough to last through meet day.

On the other hand, if you’re a cross-training athlete, you may prefer sleeves that provide a little more flexibility and support while keeping your knees warm. This pair from Bauerfeind is a great choice for those who need a more versatile option. It features a no-slip grip wave on the inside, a contoured design that helps to prevent bunching, and an elastic knit neoprene material that repels sweat and oil.


The thickness of the fabric is one of the most important factors when choosing a knee compression sleeve. Some people prefer a tighter fit, while others like the more loose feel of a less thick sleeve. The best way to figure out which thickness is right for you is to try it on and imagine using it for the activities you have planned. Some manufacturers even provide sizing charts to help you choose the right sleeve for your specific activity level and knee issue.

The thinner the sleeve is, the more breathable and flexible it will be. This makes them better for general use and lighter activities such as walking and running. Thicker sleeves are better for heavier activities and lifting because they offer more support and stability.

Some sleeves will have a hole in the area of your kneecap (patella) to allow you to move freely. These are referred to as open patella sleeves. While these are good for some athletes, others find them to be too loose and don’t offer enough stability for the heavy, repetitive movement that is found in weightlifting.

Another factor to consider when selecting a sleeve is the quality of the materials. Higher-grade sleeves will typically be double stitched and have stronger elasticity to prevent them from stretching out over time. They will also often have anti-microbial linings to prevent the all too common stinky knee sleeve smell.

Knee compression sleeves are a great option for pain relief and reducing swelling in the knee. However, they don’t replace a proper knee injury treatment regimen, including icing, elevation and proper stretching. In addition, a compression sleeve isn’t the same as a knee brace, which provides rigid elements to keep your knee in a more stable position than a sleeve can. For these reasons, it is essential to work with a professional to identify the cause of your knee pain or injury and make an appropriate treatment plan. This may include the use of a knee compression sleeve along with other knee joint support techniques such as taping, or a full knee replacement.


The fabric that a knee sleeve is made from has an impact on its fit. Some fabrics are more breathable than others, which can help keep the knees cool and dry during a workout. Breathability is especially important for individuals who work out outdoors, or in hot environments where sweat can accumulate quickly.

Other factors to consider when choosing a knee sleeve include the material’s durability and how it will respond to repeated wear. For example, some materials are more stable than others under heavy weight, which can be an important factor for lifters who compete. The Gymreapers 7mm Knee Sleeves, for example, are made from neoprene, which is a tough material that holds up to repeated wear. Its reinforced stitching and high-quality construction make it an excellent choice for powerlifters who want to stay competitive.

In addition to material, a person should consider the sleeve’s texture and color. Some sleeves have a smooth surface that feels comfortable on the skin, while others have a more rough surface that may be irritating to the knees.

Another important factor is how tight the knee sleeve fits. The sleeve should be snug enough to support the knee, but not so tight that it restricts movement or cuts off circulation. Many brands provide a sizing guide, which can help a person determine the correct size.

In some cases, a person may also choose to use a knee brace instead of a knee sleeve. Knee braces are more structurally sound and offer greater support, but they can also be more cumbersome to use.

In general, a person should try out different knee sleeve and brace options to find which ones are most effective for them. It’s also a good idea to consult a medical professional before using a knee sleeve or brace for pain or injury. They can recommend the best product for a particular condition and advise you on how to properly wear and care for it.


A sleeve that’s too tight can actually restrict the knee joint, so it’s important to find one that fits well. Swanson recommends measuring around your calf close to the knee, with the knee slightly bent. Then, compare the measurements to the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you’re getting the right fit. “You want to be able to bend and straighten the knee without discomfort,” she says. “It should be tight enough to provide support, but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable.”

Aside from size and thickness, the material and design of the knee compression sleeve will also affect how it feels and performs. The most common material for sleeves is neoprene or some neoprene blend. Some are made of SBR, a rubber compound that helps prevent permanent stretching. Others are made of Spandex and nylon. Some are designed for specific activities, such as weight lifting or cycling, while others are built to be worn everyday.

Knee sleeves are a great choice for athletes and anyone who needs extra support when doing knee-bending exercises, such as lunges or squats. They can help keep the knee warm and reduce inflammation from heavy or high-volume lifts. They’re also useful for preventing injury during sports that require lateral or unstable movement, such as basketball and trail running.

For weightlifters, a good pair of knee sleeves will be durable and able to stand up to the wear and tear of heavy lifting and repeated movements like the squat. For example, the Gymreapers 7mm Knee Sleeves are USPA compliant and made of high-quality neoprene to ensure they hold up to thousands of reps of squats and other exercises. They’re not the cheapest on this list, but they are one of the most durable options for squat day or general use.

Regardless of what kind of knee compression sleeve you choose, it’s important to wash them regularly to maintain their durability and to avoid irritation or an allergic reaction. You should wash your sleeves every 2 weeks, or more frequently if you sweat a lot while working out. A good indication that your sleeves are due for a wash is when they start to smell.

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