Knee sleeves can be a valuable piece of equipment that support the joints, provide warmth, and contribute to stability.
Picking the right model can make squats and other lower-body exercises much more comfortable and accessible, even if you’ve previously dealt with knee issues.
To that end, I’ve compiled a list of the 8 best knee sleeves for squats and other leg movements.
The 8 Best Knee Sleeves For Squats, CrossFit, Everyday, and More
- Best Overall: Gymreapers 7mm Knee Sleeves, Rogue Fitness Knee Sleeves
- Best Budget: Element 26 6mm Knee Sleeves
- Best for Mobility: Exo Sleeve 5mm Knee Sleeves
- Best for CrossFit: Rehband RX Knee Sleeves
- Best for Squats: 1KILO 2-Ply Knee Sleeves
- Best for Powerlifting: SBD 7MM Knee Sleeves
- Best for Everyday: Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeves
Specs (Gymreapers 7mm):
Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Specs (Rogue Fitness):
Thickness: 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm
Material: neoprene blend
Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
Pros (Gymreapers 7 mm):
- Reinforced stitching
- Cool design
- Affordable price
Pros (Rogue Fitness):
- Three thickness options: 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm
- Durable material blend made to last
- Excellent knee support
Cons (Gymreapers 7 mm):
- It can trap some moisture
Cons (Rogue Fitness):
More expensive––$85 for a pair
It can be challenging to put on
Two knee sleeves are fighting for the spot as best overall: the 7mm option by Gymreapers and the Rogue Fitness Knee Sleeves.
I’ve included both options because they are identical, and you wouldn’t go wrong with either choice. The knee sleeves by Gymreapers are an excellent option for people who’ve never used knee support. They are relatively inexpensive, so it wouldn’t be a significant loss, even if you decide you don’t want to use them.
On the other hand, the knee sleeves by Rogue might be better suited for trainees who know what they are looking for. The excellent knee support makes them ideal for heavy weight training.
Speaking of that, here’s how to pick the right thickness for the rogue knee sleeves:
- 3 mm - good for agility and endurance training
- 5 mm - good for functional training (e.g., WOD-type training)
- 7 mm - good for olympic and heavy lifting
2. Best Budget: Element 26 6mm Knee Sleeves
- Thickness: 6mm
- Material: neoprene
- Size: S, M, L, XL
- Good knee support and mobility
- You can wear them for long periods without feeling knee discomfort
- Budget-friendly option
Can be a bit challenging to put on
Stitching might not be that durable
The Element 26 6mm knee sleeves are a good budget option, especially for people unsure if they’d enjoy the extra knee support.
Unlike traditional 7mm knee sleeves, these are slightly thinner, which allows them to provide adequate knee support without feeling too tight or rigid.
According to most reviews, these knee sleeves run a bit small and fit tighter than the same-size items from other brands. But, despite that, the compression doesn’t feel unbearable, and the knee sleeves stay on, even during vigorous activities.
Another benefit of these slightly thinner knee sleeves is that you don’t have to take them off after every set.
3. Best for Mobility: Exo Sleeve 5mm Knee Sleeves
- Thickness: 5mm
- Material: anti-microbial neoprene
- Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
- Special material blend that prevents allergic reactions for people with sensitive skin
- Many color and design options
- Warmth and good knee mobility
- Might not provide as much support for heavy compound lifting
The Exo 5mm knee sleeves are a fantastic option for people seeking to maintain knee mobility while reaping benefits such as joint support and warmth.
Thanks to the 5mm thickness, these knee sleeves are also more comfortable because the fabric doesn’t collect behind the knee when it’s bent. You can do deep squats, plyometrics, and Olympic lifts more comfortably.
Another advantage is that you can wear these knee sleeves for the duration of your workouts without needing to take them off and give your legs time to breathe.
4. Best for CrossFit: Rehband RX Knee Sleeves
- Thickness: 3mm
- Material: Styrene-butadiene rubber and neoprene
- Size: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL
- Balance between support and mobility
- Ideal for extended use without the need to take them off
- Wide selection of sizes––XS to 2XL
- They are sold in singles
- Only available color is black
Picking the right knee sleeves for CrossFit can be a challenge due to the unique nature of your workouts. In one moment, you’re picking a heavy barbell off the floor, and in the next––you’re doing some endurance-based activity like running.
Because of that, most knee sleeves won’t work. They might be okay on specific activities, but you will almost always have to take them off at some point.
The Rehband 3mm knee sleeves provide an excellent balance between joint support and mobility, allowing you to mix various activities without needing to take the sleeves off every 10 or 20 minutes.
5. Best for Squats: 1KILO 2-Ply Knee Sleeves
- Thickness: double-ply (exact thickness isn’t specified)
- Material: elastic and spandex blend
- Size: M, L, XL
- Incredibly supportive during heavy sets
- Stay in place during training
- Reasonable price ($54.99 for a pair, excluding shipping)
- Limited color options
- Sizing options might not work great for everyone
If you’re looking for the best knee sleeves for squats, deadlifts, and other compound movements, the 1KILO 2-ply ones are for you. Made of high-quality material, these knee sleeves provide excellent knee support and promote great stability for those heavy and exhausting sets.
These knee sleeves consist of two layers of material and are designed by world champion weightlifter Wil Fleming.
6. Best for Powerlifting: SBD 7MM Knee Sleeves
- Thickness: 7mm
- Material: neoprene
- Size: 3XS, 2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5 XL
- Excellent sizing range to accommodate powerlifters in all weight classes
- Fantastic support for heavy weight training
- Decent mobility, so you don’t feel the need to take them off after each set
- Putting them on can be challenging
- You will have to take them off occasionally
If you’re an aspiring powerlifter, SBD 7mm knee sleeves are the best option on the market.
First, you can pick between numerous sizes to find what fits you best. Whether you’re a 47-kilogram female or a 120+ kg male, there is an option that will fit you perfectly.
Second, these knee sleeves offer excellent support and can improve comfort with heavy weights, leading to better strength progression.
Third, these knee sleeves are made to last thanks to the high-quality materials and double-stitching throughout.
The only downside is that your knees might get sweaty, especially in the summer, and you might have to remove them every two to three sets.
7. Best for Everyday: Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeves
- Thickness: not specified
- Material: neoprene
- Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL
- Stay in place no matter what you’re doing
- Breathable material allowing you to wear them for long periods
- 100 percent, no-questions-asked, 6-month money-back guarantee
- More useful for everyday life than physical activity
- Sold as singles
If you’re dealing with knee issues and are looking for extra support to keep your joints warm, stable, and ache-free, the Powerlix knee sleeves are an excellent option.
These knee sleeves are thin and breathable, ideally suited for extended use during everyday activities: walking, running errands, jogging in the park, etc.
According to some reviews, these are great even on hot summer days.
Are Knee Sleeves Better Than Knee Wraps?
There is a bit of a debate on whether knee sleeves are better than knee wraps, so let’s talk about it.
Knee wraps are long pieces of fabric you wrap around your knees before heavy weight training. Unlike knee sleeves, wraps allow you to determine how much or little compression you want.
For example, if you’re doing a lighter set of squats, you can keep the wraps loose. Then, as you go into heavier sets, tighten the wraps for extra knee support.
Neither is necessarily better than the other. It mostly comes down to personal preference, but I prefer knee sleeves simply because they are easier to put on and take off.
Benefits of Using Knee Sleeves
1. Joint Support
The most notable benefit of knee sleeves is joint support. Wearing them is a fantastic way to feel more stable and get more comfortable lifting heavier weights.
A thick piece of fabric around your knees traps more heat and can promote blood flow. As a result, it’s easier to warm up for heavy sets, and your knees loosen up more quickly.
This is particularly beneficial during the colder months of the year.
Knee sleeves can be an excellent tool for prehab purposes––approaches for minimizing the injury risk.
First, good stability reduces the risk of undue stress that accumulates into acute and overuse injuries. Second, warming up your knees more quickly can reduce unnecessary friction within the knee capsule, leading to a lower risk of knee aches and injuries.
Best Knee Sleeves for Squats: Conclusion
There you have it: the 8 best knee sleeves for squats, CrossFit, everyday activities, and much more.
Knee sleeves aren’t essential for healthy training, but they have their place and certainly don’t hurt, especially for people seeking extra joint support.