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When you run, no other part of your body feels the strain more than your knees.
So, whether you have a half-marathon on your agenda or just want to hit the pavement on the weekend, these 5 best knee compression sleeves for running will keep your joints protected every step of the way.
The Best Knee Compression Sleeves for Running, My POV
All of the compression sleeves mentioned below are just fine for the average user. However, the one I’d recommend the most is the Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeve.
It sports an almost flawless design as it wraps tightly around the knees without squeezing the skin and making you feel uncomfortable.
It’s also quite flexible, so you can run up and down, bending your knees with relative ease.
The materials also absorb sweat, allowing the use of the sleeve for hours at a time without chafing your skin or smelling like a pig.
Other names on my list are:
- Uflex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve for Running
- Cambivo Knee Compression Sleeve for Running
- Sable Knee Compression Sleeve for Men
- Physix Gear Sport Premium Recovery & Compression Sleeve
What Are Knee Sleeves?
A far cry from knee braces, knee sleeves (also known as compression sleeves) are pieces of garment that fit tightly around the knee.
Thanks to their close-fitting design, they provide your knees with extra support during running, which could keep you from damaging or injuring the area.
They also increase blood flow and reduce any pain, not just during the run but even after it.
That occurs because the compression of the garment forces more blood to flow through the knee, speeding up your recovery time.
How to Choose the Best Knee Compression Sleeve for Running
Type of Material
The first thing you need to keep in mind when shopping for the best knee compression sleeve for running is the garment’s material.
This factor could significantly affect the way the knee sleeve works for you as each option provides different support for your knees.
So, here are the most common materials used:
Neoprene: Also known as polychloroprene, this synthetic rubber is the most common option for making compression sleeves.
That’s because the material is quite stable (meaning it doesn’t rip or wear out easily), and it also maintains its flexibility even under extremely low temps.
FYI, rubber usually gets stiff when it’s exposed to cold, but this material doesn’t work like that.
Nylon/Spandex: Some brands also use nylon and spandex to produce their knee sleeves.
This choice is intentional as both materials are known for absorbing sweat and preventing your skin from chafing. They’re also quite flexible, allowing you to move around without feeling constricted.
Copper-Infused Sleeves: Even though it’s a relatively new entry in the world of compression garments, copper-infused knee sleeves are slowly gaining traction thanks to copper’s antimicrobial properties and its ability to speed up healing.
What I can say is yes, the sweat smell doesn’t build up as much as neoprene. But, since there are no studies to back these claims up, I’d take them with a grain of salt.
Knee sleeves also come in three different widths, each of which serves a different purpose.
3mm: This thickness is recommended for anyone who needs light support, increased flexibility, and intends to use the sleeve almost every day, a.k.a. Runners.
5mm: These sleeves provide an extra layer of support, but are still flexible. That’s why I’d best recommend them for Crossfit athletes.
7mm: A common choice among weightlifters, this thickness is the least flexible but provides the maximum support for athletes.
Some may associate this trait with the product’s material, but a knee sleeve’s durability also depends on the way it was manufactured.
So, when you are about to buy a new pair, check out the quality of stitching and the shape of the garment.
If you notice any defects, move on to the next one as these minor could mess with the product’s durability.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is the sleeve’s size.
Each manufacturer produces different sizes, so it’s best to check out their size guides before you take the leap.
What I do is measure the area about 4” above my knee cap, and then I know the perimeter of the sleeve I’m going to need.
In some cases, I buy one size smaller because I prefer a tight over a loose fit.
I’m going to be honest: The warmth of a compression sleeve is a rather personal issue.
And that’s because some can’t stand the heat while others can’t do without it.
But, since we’re looking for the best knee compression sleeves for running here, warmth should be at the top of your must-take-notice list.
You see, the extra heat increases your blood circulation and, thus, improves your performance and recovery.
So, make sure the sleeve you pick is as warm as possible.
The 5 Best Knee Compression Sleeves for Running, Reviewed
Uflex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve for Running
The first thing I noticed about this sleeve was the unique 3D knitting technology.
Specifically, the sleeve comes with a 4-way stretch, which means it extends both cross- and length-wise.
That’s a must-have for runners because it provides enough flexibility to move around without burdening the patella.
The sleeve also features an anti-slip silicone wave, which prevents the thing from sliding or rolling down as you run.
On top of that, it’s tight enough to support your knees and warm enough to stimulate blood flow.
In other words, it fits perfectly and keeps the area warm, reducing inflammation and minimizing recovery time in the process.
It also comes in multiple sizes, so you can find the one to fit you pretty easily.
IMO, the only thing that’s missing from this sleeve is a couple of hinges or straps for optimal support.
Cambivo Knee Compression Sleeve for Running
If you want to go the extra mile, the Cambivo knee sleeve may be the right choice.
First off, it’s made from a nylon/spandex/latex combo, which means it’s breathable.
That’s a big bonus if you consider that the sweat won’t build up and:
- allow bacteria to accumulate,
- produce a stinky odor and,
- make your skin chafe.
The sleeve also sports a 4-way stretch, which equals maximum flexibility.
So, even if you run up a hill and force your joints to move in a bunch of weird ways, the sleeve will definitely keep up.
It also features a double-line, slip-resistant silicone on the inside that increases comfort and keeps the thing steady throughout a running session.
It’s also reinforced with a specially designed wave that distributes the pressure equally on the patella, joints, and surrounding area.
Due to its tight fit, it also ensures a smooth blood circulation, which prevents swelling, inflammation, and pain.
It also comes in multiple colors.
This way, you get to choose a pair depending on your preference or matching outfits.
The only thing I think it’s an issue about them is that they are a bit short behind the knee.
Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeve
To say that it was love at first use would be an understatement as this piece of equipment is the definition of power-gear (at least, to me).
First of all, the sleeve has a well-thought-out design that applies pressure across the joint, which means every part of your knee is supported – even if you’re running off-road.
Thanks to its flexibility and 4-way stretch knitting technology, it also allows you to move around without limiting your motions.
The product also features double, silicone gel strips that lock the top side in, especially during long-distance runs.
This way, you don’t have to stop every once in a while to roll the sleeve back up. It’s also made from sweat-absorbing, breathable materials, which keep the knee dry and odor-free.
The stitching on the sides is also impeccable, which means it could last for many years (if washed by hand and air-dried).
The company also offers a 6-month money-back guarantee, making sure you get your money’s worth even if you’re not satisfied with the product.
Sable Knee Compression Sleeve for Men
Sable is a company that is known to put a lot of effort, thoughts, and research into their products – and this knee compression isn’t an exception.
The product is made of both nylon and spandex, which means three things:
- it allows your skin to breathe and prevents it from getting irritated,
- it absorbs sweat pretty quickly, eliminating the chance of foul odors, and
- it provides the area with the necessary warmth to boost your blood flow and reduce pain.
Besides that, the garment is also knitted to perfection, making sure your knee joints are secure, no matter how intensely you run.
It also has a strong stretch capability, which allows you to move to all sides and directions without injuring your knees.
If you check the inside, you’ll also see that it has a spiral elastic weaving, which makes the product even more durable than the rest of its kind.
The sleeve also comes in XL, which is more than enough for most men.
Physix Gear Sport Premium Recovery & Compression Sleeve
Maybe sometimes you just want to go for a run without feeling like something pushes against your knees I think the Physix is a good choice to start with.
The sleeve strikes a perfect balance between flexibility and sturdiness, which means that it can support your knees without irritating your skin or making you feel uncomfortable.
But, don’t be fooled!
Just because it has a snugly feel to it, it doesn’t mean it’s not powerful enough to support your knee joints.
In fact, it sports a unique “Physix Flexi Knitting” technology that adjusts to your knees and provides you with a full range of motions.
Unlike most compression garments on the market, it also has a lightweight design, allowing you to wear it under a pair of sweaters.
That’s why I’d recommend it to be used during the winter. It’s also made of 4-way stretch nylon/lycra/latex blend, two materials that are known for their long-lasting potential.
It slides on very easily and stays put every time you use it thanks to its non-slip silicone grip wave.
The only thing you should keep in mind is that it’s slightly more expensive than most knee sleeves on the market.
The editor’s choice
Compression sleeves are protection pieces that are meant prevent you from injuring your knees.
Keeping these pieces in your gym gear arsenal is very advantageous.
Choosing one to be part of your arsenal depends mostly on your personal preferences, but there’s a catch because they have a lot of different features and the one I most recomment is the Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeve.
So, in your opinion, which is the best knee sleeve?
Let me know in the comments below!