Best Knee Compression Sleeves in 2022

There are many reasons for knee pain: injury, overuse, or even referred pain from the hip or ankle. But whatever the cause, knee pain can prevent you from living your life to the fullest.

Whatever is behind your knee pain, using one of the best knee compression sleeves can help alleviate your pain, improve recovery, and bring back a full range of motion.

We chose the Zensah Compression Knee Sleeve as our first option. It has a seamless design, provides pin-point compression, and has a silicone gripper to prevent it from moving.

Decide for yourself which of these 9 knee sleeves is right for you.

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

Zensah Compression Knee Sleeve

 

  • Pinpoint compression
  • Silicone grip inside
  • Seamless design
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CEP Compression Knee Sleeve

 

  • 3D anatomical design
  • Full range of motion
  • Silicone top band
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Shock Doctor Compression Knit Knee Sleeve with Gel Support

 

  • Contoured compression fit
  • Elastic knit
  • Moisture-wicking
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Best Overall

1. Zensah Compression Knee Sleeve

The Zensah Compression Knee Sleeve provides targeted compression and supports both the knee and the IT band using a special ribbing design.

It’s seamless and flexible, allowing for a full range of motion while wearing it.

The Zensah Compression Sleeve is light and flexible enough to wear while doing exercise or simply resting after your activity.

It’s designed to improve circulation in the knee, bringing oxygen-rich blood to the area to help it heal and recover faster. When worn during activity, it minimizes shock and jarring to the joint.

An ergonomic design uses 3D knit for pinpointed, muscle-mapped compressive support. Strategically-placed mesh panels provide good ventilation.

It’s also moisture-wicking and anti-odor, using silver ion technology to prevent odor-causing bacteria from growing.

A wide silicone gripper around the top of the sleeve helps keep it in place and prevents it from falling down while you’re moving. You will need to find the right height for it, as it may roll down if placed too high.

PROS:

  • Pinpoint compression
  • Silicone grip inside
  • Seamless design
  • Moisture-wicking and anti-odor fabric

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the sleeve rolls down a little at the top if worn too high

Top Value

2. CEP Compression Knee Sleeve

This knee compression sleeve features the standard compression of 15-20 mmHg, which is adequate for minor knee injuries, pain from arthritis, and aching due to overuse.

The light compression stimulates blood flow to help reduce swelling, alleviate pain, and speed up recovery.

It’s designed to have an anatomical fit that adapts easily to your movement. A high-friction silicone band at the top stops it from slipping down when you’re active.

The synthetic fiber is tough and durable, as well as moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. It can withstand more than 150 washes before showing signs of wear and tear.

PROS:

  • 3D anatomical design
  • Light to moderate compression
  • Full range of motion
  • Silicone top band

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the sleeve wrinkles behind the knee and causes chafing

Best For Arthritis

3. Shock Doctor Compression Knit Knee Sleeve with Gel Support

Arthritis is a common cause of knee pain. Although there’s no cure for arthritis, using a knee sleeve with compression features can help to reduce the pain caused by arthritis.

This knee sleeve features gel support around the patella. Gel inlays provide targeted support and moderate compression while still allowing for a full range of motion. This keeps the patella in place and protects it against movement that could cause damage.

The elastic knit fabric contours to the leg and doesn’t bunch up when bending the knee. It’s also breathable and moisture-wicking and airflow through the sleeve should prevent overheating.

Although it’s made to be sturdy and not move around much, it might not stay in place when performing vigorous activity.

PROS:

  • Contoured compression fit
  • Full patella gel inlay
  • Elastic knit
  • Moisture-wicking

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the sleeve doesn’t stay in place when they take part in vigorous activity

Top With Gel Support

4. Zensah Elite Gel Compression Knee Sleeve

The Zensah Elite Gel Compression Knee Sleeve is designed to provide strong support to the knee as well as the IT band.

An anatomical gel pad is positioned around the patella, to protect it from movement, relieve pain with compression and still allow for a full range of motion.

For even more stability, dual spiral stays on either side of the knee keeps the gel pad in place and offers protection against lateral movement. Unique ribbing provides targeted support across the knee. The gel pad also helps to reduce shock and jarring of joints by absorbing shock.

Silicone grips on the top and bottom hems help to keep the sleeve in place. Some may find that the knee sleeve is quite warm due to its nylon and Spandex construction.

PROS:

  • Anatomical gel pad
  • Silicone strips in the front and back
  • Dual spiral stays
  • Allows for full range of motion

CONS:

  • Some may find this knee sleeve to be a bit warm

Most Comfortable

5. OS1st KS7 Performance Knee Sleeve

This knee sleeve comes in sizes from small to 4XL, so there’s a size to suit every person. It’s made from nylon and Spandex, offering a soft and slightly stretchy construction.

The knee sleeve is sweat-wicking and has been treated with silver ions, which inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria.

Seamless construction means there’s far less chance of chafing and it’s light and thin enough to be worn underneath pants for prolonged use.

Using medical-grade Compression Zone Technology, this sleeve supports the patella but also offers stability to the surrounding muscles. It’s a patented medical device for conditions such as patellar tendonitis, as well as other conditions causing knee pain and swelling.

It can run small, so make sure to check the sizing chart carefully and perhaps order a size larger.

PROS:

  • Compression Zone Technology
  • Medical-grade support
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Material is treated with silver ions

CONS:

  • This sleeve can run small

Best Support

6. Pro-Tec Athletics Gel Force Knee Support

This knee sleeve offers excellent support as well as compression. It’s thicker than the average knee sleeve, and features Gel Force Knee Support in the patella area. Spiral stays on the sides of the knee keep the joint as stable as possible.

It’s designed to be worn while active, so it offers a full range of movement. The fabric has a multi-directional stretch and is soft against the skin and breathable.

Some may feel that this knee sleeve is a bit thick and tight. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable for the first few days, but this sleeve is meant to feel tight as it offers more support than most others.

PROS:

  • 4-way stretch material
  • Medial and lateral spiral stays
  • Knit compression
  • Gel Oval design

CONS:

  • Some people may find this knee sleeve to be a bit thick

Best With Ice Pack

7. O2 Cold Therapy Knee Wrap with Ice Pack

If cold therapy works for your knee pain and swelling, you should consider this knee sleeve.

It uses a combination of air compression and cold therapy to treat your pain and stiffness.

A removable oval-shaped gel pack fits into the back of the wrap. The gel is wrapped in a waterproof fabric. Once it’s frozen, it’s attached to the wrap using small fasteners. Place the gel pack in the freezer to get it stiff and cold and then place it on the wrap.

You can leave it at this and you’ll get the benefit of cold therapy. Or you can utilize the air compression along with it, for customized compression. Using the attached pump, pump the airbag until it’s providing the desired amount of compression.

This dual cold-and-compression system makes the wrap slightly bulky. It won’t be easy to wear this sleeve while taking part in any type of activity.

PROS:

  • Uses air compression
  • Removable gel liner
  • Water-resistant cloth material
  • Re-freezable cold packs

CONS:

  • Some people may find it to be a bit too bulky

Top Strap Sleeve

8. TechWare Pro Bidirectional 3-Strap Knee Brace

If you don’t like the type of strap that slides up over your leg, a strap sleeve might work better for you.

This sleeve comes in four sizes—medium, large, extra-large, and extra-extra-large—and uses alternating closures on either side to provide a tight fit and stabilize the knee.

A reinforced circle around the patella provides good support and stability. The wrap also features 4 flexible spring stabilizers for better security. Its design allows for good mobility while wearing it.

The neoprene material is lightweight, sweat-wicking, and breathable. It uses small silicone strips to hold the strap in place and prevent it from slipping.

Individuals with very unstable knees may feel that this sleeve has too little side support.

PROS:

  • Alternating closures
  • Flexible spring stabilizers
  • Additional padding around the knee
  • Open patella design

CONS:

  • Not enough side support for unstable knees

Best For Tendonitis

9. McDavid Knee Sleeve/4-Way Elastic with Gel Buttress

This knee sleeve is comfortable, made from a nylon-spandex blend with a 4-way stretch.

The elastic material also offers some compression which can help alleviate symptoms of patellar tendonitis.

The gel buttress isn’t bulky but it provides targeted support to the soft tissues around the patellar for superior stability. It not only supports the surrounding muscles, but it keeps the patella safely in place and prevents excess movement with its side support.

This design is ideal to help alleviate the pain of patellar tendonitis as it provides support right at the patellar tendon.

PROS:

  • Made from knitted nylon spandex fabric
  • Gel buttress
  • 4-way stretch elastic material
  • Reinforced with spring steel stays

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the top rolls down when they’re wearing this sleeve

FAQs

What Is a Knee Compression Sleeve For?

Knee compressions sleeves are designed to stabilize and protect the knee from more damage. They have compression features that help to improve circulation, reducing swelling and alleviating pain.

The compression also helps to stabilize the knee slightly, although a knee sleeve won’t necessarily protect the knee joint from moving out of place during high-impact exercise or lateral movement.

They are most often used for mild knee pain and arthritis in the knee joint. Extremely unstable knee joints and knees with severe damage would benefit more from a knee brace, which is designed to be much more stable than a sleeve.

What Are the Features of Knee Sleeves and How Do They Work?

A knee sleeve is a light, stretchy sleeve that slips over the leg and fits tightly around the knee joint. It’s made from thin fabric with built-in compression.

They come in a number of different sizes and some have different compression gradient options. Usually, they can fit easily underneath clothing and are flexible enough to walk around while wearing one.

Knee sleeves work by providing light compression to the knee area. This helps to stimulate blood flow, which brings more oxygen to the affected muscles and joints, helping them to heal faster.

Further Benefits

Compression not only helps to reduce swelling and relieve pain, but it can also reduce your chance of developing blood clots in the leg and improve varicose veins.

Wearing a knee sleeve may help with proprioception—the awareness of your own limb—and as a result, improve balance and mind-muscle connection.