The best knee sleeves are ones that not only protect your knees while performing athletic movements and lifting weights, but they also need to be durable and provide good value.
The importance of protecting arguably the two most used joints in your body (your knees) is often overlooked while squatting, deadlifting, and playing sports.
This top list of the best knee sleeves reviews will cover everything you need to know about picking the right ones for you.
Best Knee Sleeves Reviews
|Sleeves||Product||GainsBible Rating||Opinion||Get it here|
|Rehband 7051||(4.5 / 5)||Great knee sleeves||Get them here|
|Emerge Knee Sleeves||(4 / 5)||Solid sleeves for a great price||Get them here|
|SBD Knee Sleeves||(4.5 / 5)||Best lifting knee sleeves||Get them here|
|Kunto Knee Sleeve||(4 / 5)||Good compression knee sleeves||Get them here|
|Rehband 7751 Sleeves||(4 / 5)||Good light compression sleeves||Get them here|
Best Knee Sleeve Individual Reviews
Before we get into the individual reviews, let’s go over some ground rules for what exactly makes a knee sleeve good.
- Comfort – The sleeves need to provide compression to protect your knees and give support, but not be uncomfortable to wear
- Durability – If you lift 3+ times a week, you’re going to want a durable pair that won’t fall apart after a few months
- Compression – Bouncing off of the above point, the main job of the sleeves is to compress your knees to provide support and keep them warm – are they made of the right material to get the job done?
- Material – On material, if you have allergies or material preferences then this may be important to you
- Price/value – Last but certainly not least, in this world value is always a concern. Are the sleeves budget, middle of the road, or high-end when it comes to price and value?
Let’s take all of these factors into consideration and find out more on how to pick the right knee sleeves for the job.
The Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve (4.5 / 5)
In a line: Best overall knee sleeves
Walk into any gym or watch any crossfit/powerlifting/olympic lifting videos and these sleeves will start to look realllll familiar. Rehbands are a high-quality knee sleeve and this is one of their most popular models. Let’s look at the features:
- IPF and IWF approved – important for competing
- 7mm thick Rehband neoprene
- Prevent injuries and also wear them to rehab your knees
- Proven to increase performance
- Sized from 27cm-42cm+
Really this is the top of the line when it comes to the best knee sleeves out there – you pay a premium price and it’s only for one sleeve but I’ve never seen a pair of them break. The only downside is that the Rehband logo will wear out fairly quickly.
The Emerge 7mm Knee Sleeve (4 / 5)
In a line: Solid knee sleeves for a great price.
If you’re after the highest quality, best priced, most reliable knee sleeves on today’s market, Emerge is your only choice. They’ve got the best balance of compression and flexibility we’ve ever come across. Take a look at their other standout features:
- Breathable, ultra high density neoprene
- Soft, yet durable material
- Sweat absorption and odor free
- Fitted anti slip material
- 100% lifetime guarantee
Emerge may not be the most well known brand on the market, but if you are wanting to pay for performance, rather than a brand name, it’s the obvious choice. In terms of cost effectiveness, performance and durability nothing compares to Emerge.
Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves (3.5 / 5)
In a line: Great value knee sleeves
Aside from the Rehbands, the Nordic Lifting sleeves are my second go to recommendation and sometimes I’ll even suggest them over the Rehbands because of the great value. You get two ready to go sleeves for the price of the Rehbands and they’re almost on par with them – the material is slightly lower in quality.
- Includes a pair of sleeves (not just one)
- 7mm thick neoprene – very similar to the Rehbands
- Provides great compression
- Great value
They won’t last quite as long as the Rebands, but the value is great for the price and they’ll last you well for a year or two at least. They’re basically the same sleeve as the higher-end options but the material isn’t as high-quality – the compression and elasticity will wear out over time.
SBD Knee Sleeves Review [4.5]
In a line: The heaviest duty sleeves that are competition legal
These are the heaviest duty sleeves that I would go with for squatting before you’re getting into the category of knee wraps and heavy compression. The goal of a good knee sleeve is to provide compression, support, and keep the knees warm. While it’s more about protection, some performance increases can be seen from just knee sleeves. SBD walks a fine line between the two and these are the heaviest sleeves I would recommend for heavy squatting.
- Max specifications permitted by the IPF (see what I mean?)
- 7mm high-grade neoprene
- 30cm in length – this comes up the quad and goes down the calf for connective support
- 9 sizes available
These are really the cream of the crop when it comes to heavy-duty sleeves. I recommend them for athletes and lifters on high-intensity programs where they’re squatting multiple times per week. The durable construction is designed to maintain elasticity and compression over thousands of squat sessions. Don’t hesitate to pick these up.
Kunto Fitness Knee Sleeve (4 / 5)
In a line: Another pair of heavy-duty sleeve without the heavy-duty price tag
This next sleeve here is a middle ground option between something like the Rehbands or Nordics and the SBD’s. These are heavy duty but not quite on the level of the SBD’s. I like the tapered quad section of the Kunto’s that makes for a really comfortable and secure fit. I recommend these sleeves for the athlete or lifer that does a healthy mix of both powerlifting and olympic lifting because it’s suitable for both of them and you won’t be wishing yo got something heavier for squats.
- Very comfortable with a tapered design
- Non-neoprene sleeve
- Provides excellent compression for any activity
- Medium-duty sleeve (great for oly and powerlifting together)
- Manufacturer has great continued support
Overall these are a really great option for the multi-athlete not wanting a light-duty pair of sleeves, and not wanting to shell out for a paid of SBD’s. These are a great pick for that scenario.
Rehband 7751 Knee Sleeve Review (4 / 5)
In a line: Crossfitter’s choice, light-weight and durable
Did you think you were going to make it out of this article alive without another mention of the Rehband brand name?! Introducing the 7751 is the light-duty Rehband sleeve that’s gaining popularity in the powerlifting and olympic lifting crowds. Rehban’s construction is so solid that they decided the could shave off 2mm from their sleeve thickness and still kick ass.
- 5mm thick neoprene
- Offers that same great Rebhand durability and compression
- Light-duty sleeves
While being 2mm thinner they would be classified as “light-duty” I beg to differ. These lack no support for any of the big compound movements or athletic training. They’re lighter, you barely notice them, and you can still max out your lifts in them. The 7751’s also have quite a variety of colors and designs available if that’s your thing.
How to pick the best knee sleeves for lifting
Hey! You made it through my top 5 lifting knee sleeve picks, and you still don’t know which ones to get? Don’t worry I’ll sum it up quickly so you can get back to gaining ASAP:
- For powerlifters: If you’re on a budget, go with the nordic sleeves. If not, pick up the SBD’s or Kunto’s – they’re heavy duty and will last you over the years while providing excellent compression.
- For olympic lifting: If you’re on a budget, go Nordic. If not, pick up one of the Rebhand’s.
- For crossfit: It’s hard to argue with the versatility of the Rehband 7751’s – go with these if you can.
On sizing, if you can try them on in store always do that. If not, err on the smaller size when ordering online as I prefer the extra compression wherever possible. In either case, most big online retailers have great sizing information and return policies so it’s hard to fail.
When measuring your knee make sure you follow the manufacturers guide to measure the proper parts of your knee and leg – this will ensure the best fit.
What do knee sleeves do?
Good question! And good information to know when you’re trying to find the best knee sleeves for the type of lifting you’re doing so you can assess the features and come to a decision.
Knee sleeves work to protect your knees by first keeping them warm and insulated. Next they provide compression to the knee joint and surrounding tendons/ligaments to support the knee. Finally, when performing an athletic movement or a squat they provide elasticity which can allow you to perform more by lifting heaver weights but also protect you from straining your knees and ligaments.
Do I need knee sleeves?
If you squat more than once a week I would say so. Most beginner programs should have you squatting more than three times per week and I always advocate the inclusion of knee sleeves into a program.
Now, that leads me into my next point – you SHOULDN’T always wear your knee sleeves. In the end, they do provide artifical support that your body no longer needs to produce when wearing them.
I suggest warming up without your knee sleeves, and only using them for heavier sets. You should also work into your program days and weeks where you don’t touch the sleeves at all to ensure your muscles, ligaments, and joints are developing properly.
I’ve heard I can wear them while I’m not lifting
Well then you would have heard correctly. The compression that the knee sleeves provide can be therapeutic in reducing recovery times. You can also wear them throughout the day if you work a strenuous job or have a knee injury.
So summing up the uses of knee sleeves, you can:
- Wear knee sleeves while lifting weights to protect, support, and increase perfromance
- Use your knee sleeves when you’re resting to reduce recovery times
- Put your knee sleeves on while performing everyday strenuous activities
- Wear your sleeves to rehab injuries, say after surgery or if you have a sprain – this studied showed a reduction in pain and inflammation after wearing sleeves
Overall they’re very useful to have in your lifting equipment arsenal and I recommend every serious lifter should own a pair.
Knee sleeves are not to be confused with knee wraps which are another type of supportive knee equipment used in heavy squatting and powerlifting trianing, and more specifically in equipped powerlifting competition. We have a review page covering the best knee wraps here.
I set out to create ths article to help lifters find the best knee sleeves for lifting and provide real-life information reviews to save you time researching, so you can keep gaining. If you liked my reviews let me know in the comment, if not let’s hear it! Tell me about your experiences with knee sleeves and which ones are your favorites.