The Best CrossFit Knee Sleeve & Brace Buying Guide For Maximum Support & Comfort

What's the Achilles heel of even the most seasoned athletes?

Injuries.

When it comes to working out, playing sports, or even daily life, your precious knees can take a pounding... 

Luckily, a set of the best knee sleeves for CrossFit will not only stabilize this vulnerable joint but also can help boost your performance on big lifts from the extra support.

Win-win.

So let's explore what to look for to protect yourself from unnecessary injuries and keep you from getting sidelined. 

Knee Sleeve Info & Buyer's Guide

What Is A Knee Sleeve?

A knee sleeve is worn around the knee and provides protection from injuries during complex movements. 

The knee sleeve can increase blood flow in the knee helping an athlete like you have maximum performance without incurring an injury. 

Still, don’t know how to get yourself a good knee sleeve?

Well, this article is meant to guide you through the entire process of choosing a perfect knee sleeve for you.

When to Use Knee Sleeves

Don’t know whether you need to wear knee sleeves in the first place?

Well, knee sleeves are basically used to prevent injuries when you engage in high intensity sports such as basketball, weightlifting, and athletics.

Overextending your knee will most definitely lead to an injury and thus you need a sleeve or brace to prevent this.

When you start increasing the amount of mass you lift, the more force goes to your knees, which is why sleeves are important. They can help protect against long-term knee injuries and save you from having to deal with more severe means of treatment like surgery.

For weightlifting, you don’t always need to use knee sleeves. If you're performing exercises that do not utilize the knee, they are not required. But I'd recommend that you use the right type of gloves for better grip, the best pair of lifting shoes - as well as a good set of lifting straps.

However, if you're performing squats, snatch, or any other knee-intensive movements, we recommend investing in a pair of knee sleeves and a pair of crossfit shoes to go with it.

Knee sleeves can also be worn by people with arthritis to prevent pain and inflammation in the knee joint. They prevent swelling and significantly reduce pain for arthritis patients.

Knee sleeves are also worn by people whose knees are recovering from a recent injury as they regulate the movement of the knee, hence preventing further injury. They quicken recovery time by restricting the range of motion and hence a person’s knee can heal faster.

knee sleeves

Types of Knee Sleeves

If you are new to using knee sleeves, you might be having a lot of confusion over what type of knee sleeve to review and buy. The correct one will provide maximum protection and also prevent any injuries.

It will further improve blood flow in your knees during that next basketball game or workout where you are pushing your limits.

Depending on your need for a knee sleeve, there is a certain type which is perfect for you.

Whether you need a knee sleeve for athletics, weightlifting, simple workout, basketball, there is a specific knee sleeve that will match your needs. 

Pay Attention To The Thickness

There are basically three types of knee sleeves, which come in three measurements: 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm.

They are often made of neoprene or some other stretchable, padded material.

Each thickness has a different use case: 

  • 3mm – Lightest option and is more suited to endurance sports, as it provides that extra bit of support towards the end of your workout during lightweight activities like jogging and running.
  • 5mm – Gives you the support you need while remaining agile enough to perform a variety of movements during a WOD, sports, or other cross training. 
  • 7mm – Ideal for short and heavy activity and provides optimal support and stabilization for weightlifting. Proprioception is increased, giving you better awareness and allowing you to focus on form without fear of an unstable knee during heavy lifts. Also recommended when recovering from an injury.

For CrossFit, stick with products that are either 5mm or 7mm thick. 

Both thicknesses are capable of getting the job done and it will just come down to personal preference, as you might feel that 5mm is too light or 7mm is a bit too bulky.

Your best bet is to try them both! More tips on picking the right thickness here.

How Much Do Knee Sleeves Cost?

Before you make any purchase, check to see if it’s sold as a single sleeve or as a pair, as this can obviously impact the price point.

Expect to spend anywhere from $20 upwards to $80 per set depending on the brand, but many fall in the $40-50 range.

Read on to find the review of our favorite knee sleeves on the market.

The 7 Best CrossFit Knee Sleeves Reviewed

There are numerous knee sleeves available and making a choice without an ultimate guide is not advisable.

That is why I have compiled a list of the best knee sleeves that you can buy in the market right now.

I have considered knee sleeves that are well-priced and still offer the best protection. Each product is the winner of a category so you can buy the perfect set for your needs. 

1. Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeve

Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeve

Our Verdict: Best Overall for Lifting & CrossFit

Nordic Lifting is a forerunner known for producing high-quality equipment with weightlifters in mind, and these knee sleeves are no exception.

Comprised of 100% neoprene, these offer the right amount of compression to encourage optimal performance and a therapeutic setting for a knee in recovery.

These are perfect for any heavy lifting workouts, including CrossFit and powerlifting.

How does this sleeve manage to be so good? Well, it’s all in the design of the Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeve. 

At 7mm thick, the neoprene provides comfort and plenty of stability. The sleeves come in a wide variety of sizes so you’ll be sure to get the perfect fit.

Plus, I noticed that this knee sleeve has great stitching so chances of it wearing out in the near future are very minimal – meaning your knees will be protected for years to come.

You can rest easy knowing your knees will be fully supported, allowing you a safer, more effective heavy lifting workout. The sleeves will also encourage heat retention, which helps reduce risk for injury and stiffness.

This knee sleeve is designed to provide the best comfort for other purposes such as martial arts, CrossFit, and outdoor sports.

The Nordic knee sleeve is simply the best knee sleeve for weightlifting and CrossFit that you can find right now.


2. Bear KompleX Knee Sleeves

Bear KompleX Knee Sleeves

Our Verdict: Best For Multiple Activities

Another good knee sleeve for ultimate protection during a range of activities is the Bear KompleX

This knee sleeve is available in both 5mm thick and 7mm thick measurements. It is a multipurpose sleeve meaning that you can use it for a wide range of sporting activities but it will still be excellent. 

The KompleX is made out of neoprene and offers extra strength, warmth, and support to your knees during that workout, weightlifting, and CrossFit WOD.

The KompleX Knee Sleeve is an all-rounder with no specific market target but rather a general approach towards its design.

This knee sleeve can be used by a lot of groups in the sports world ranging from weightlifters to wrestlers. You won’t have to worry about overdoing it in the ring or when lifting weights in the gym.

I would however not recommend the Bear KompleX to anyone who is involved in intense activities as it is not specifically tailored for such purposes. It is an all-rounder which means it has limitations in several aspects. It is still a good choice for people who engage in a variety of sporting activities.


3. PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve

PowerLix Compression Knee Sleeve

Our Verdict: Best for Rehabilitation

The PowerLix is one of the best compression knee sleeves on the market. It is preferred by many athletes and weightlifters whose knees are going under rehabilitation. It offers the best compression you can find from a knee sleeve.

What makes PowerLix so unique is its ability to support the knee in both sport and rehabilitation.

With PowerLix, you can confidently engage your injured knee in light sports without having to worry about a recurrence of your injury. Its 3D-knitted design enables it to prevent the knee from swelling and also increases blood flow in the knee which is very crucial for a rehabilitating knee.

How does PowerLix manage to do all this? Well, the secret is in the design of the knee sleeve. PowerLix is made from high-quality neoprene which hardly tears.

It is also specially stitched in a way to provide maximum compression to the knee during rehab. The four-way compression design is one of the reasons why this knee sleeve is so excellent.

When in use, you will not feel like you are wearing anything so you will wear it for longer periods of time without sweating and feeling constriction on the knees.

You should, however, note that the PowerLix is a compression knee sleeve and it is therefore not suitable for people who are engaging in a maximum contact sport.


4. Mava Sports Knee Support

Mava Sports Knee Support

Our Verdict: Best Budget Option

Mava knows how to please all types of sporting athletes and that is why they designed the Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeve.

This is a high-quality product that does not disappoint. The Mava Sports Knee support was created for an all rounded sportsperson. It is lightweight which means it does not cause any discomfort or feel bulky while you are wearing it. 

This knee sleeve can be used for all types of light purposes ranging from simple workouts to athletics.

What’s more appealing is that this knee sleeve is a lot cheaper compared to the other selections in this list so it would cost you less while providing you with comfort and protection at the same time.

If you are looking for a good knee sleeve with all the best qualities but you have a tight budget, the Mava sports knee support should be your first option.


5. Rehband RX Knee Support Sleeve

Rehband RX Knee Support Sleeve

Our Verdict: Best Premium Pick

Rehband is a trusted product when it comes to knee sleeves. This reputation is not a vague one as Rehband makes a great product.

Their products come at a price but their quality equally matches their valuation. This is the same case with the Rehband RX Knee Support Sleeve

The design of this knee sleeve compliments its usefulness. It is designed to specifically be comfortable for the wearer while still offering maximum protection.

It is also designed for people of all ages so you can buy two pairs for your elder relative without worrying whether it will fit them.

Furthermore, the Rehband RX is designed to offer excellent reinforcement around the knees without necessarily putting too much pressure on the knee. This ensures that your knee has room for recovery without having to acquire a new injury.


6. Nike Closed Patella Knee Sleeve

Nike Closed Patella Knee Sleeve

Our Verdict: Most Stylish

If you love sleekness and style, the Nike Patella Knee Sleeve is what you need to get.

This is the best-looking knee sleeve you can find anywhere with an incredible design and amazing technology which is geared for optimum performance.

The design isn’t the only good thing about this sleeve.

The Nike Patella has a ventilated construction to allow the knee to breathe during a workout. This means you can put it on for a longer period of time compared to other knee sleeves I have selected. Furthermore, the sleeve is lightweight and will allow you to do your sports and other activities without feeling any excess pressure on the knees.

The airflow when using this knee sleeve is also amazing. It gives enough room for air to circulate the knees but still compresses any swelling you may develop during movement and also offers enhanced protection.

It is also equipped with a quick-drying feature which prevents sweat from accumulating in your knee during a workout. This means you won’t have to deal with a wet knee sleeve now and again when you work out.

If you love style and performance all in one product, the Nike Closed Patella is the right sleeve for you.


7. AIvada Compression Knee Sleeve

AIvada Compression Knee Sleeve

Our Verdict: Best Lightweight Pick For Running

The AIvada Compression Knee ​​Bracelet is another good choice if you want a trusty compression knee wrap. Its qualities match its price and you get value for every cent you will spend on this compression sleeve.

Although it’s less costly than most of the products in this review, its qualities are just as good. It performs well at compression and improves mobility of your knees. 

This makes it perfect for people whose knees are recovering from a recent injury. It is lightweight and causes little discomfort when standing and cross training, even if you have flat feet.

This knee sleeve can also be used by people who want protection when doing lightweight activities such as running, jogging, skipping and light lifting.

If you need a good compression knee sleeve but your budget is still limited, the Alvada Compression Knee Bracelet is the right sleeve for you.


Conclusion

The knee is one of the weakest points on the body, so it’s important to give them the care and support they need, especially if you’re starting to feel the effects of heavy lifting and cross training.

As you have seen throughout this article, there are many types of knee sleeves and each of the listed sleeves performs well in some aspects. You should, therefore, understand your needs before making a purchase and I am very certain that your experience with the use of knee sleeves will be a very good one. 

The best overall choice is the Nordic Lifting Sleeve, and if you are on a budget the Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeve is your new best friend!

Once you start using them, you’ll immediately notice the positive effects.

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