Take the Load Off Your Joints With These 15 Best Knee Braces (2024)

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Take the Load Off Your Joints With These 15 Best Knee Braces (1)

Whether you are looking to improve your athletic performance, alleviate mild pain, or recover from a major surgery, a proper knee brace can be an incredibly useful, if not vital tool for promoting longevity. For people who are plagued by pain and don’t want to undergo serious surgery, a knee brace can be invaluable.

According to Karena Wu, PT, a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, knee braces work by providing compression and unloading the joint, while keeping it warm. This can result in lowering your perception of pain while increasing mobility and function.

However, not all knee braces are made the same. Charles Hummer, MD, FAAOS, FACS, of Premier Orthopaedics says cheaper models may not provide proper cushioning and can lead to hard plastics impinging on your skin. With this in mind, he tells us comfort is important because patients are more likely to wear the brace if it isn’t a chore.

When choosing the proper knee brace for you, it’s important to pay attention to the obvious details like what kind of pain you are looking to alleviate, but you should also focus on smaller details like the materials and adjustability level. We accounted for these factors when choosing our top picks and also included options all along the price spectrum.

Our Top Picks

In This Article

  • Our Picks

  • How We Selected the Best Knee Braces

  • What to Look for in a Knee Brace

  • FAQ

  • Why Trust Verywell Health

Best Overall

Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve

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  • Affordably priced

  • Open and closed patella models available

  • Finger tabs make it easier to put on


  • Not suited for more serious injuries

  • May bunch up during workouts

With a combination of a reasonable price point, extreme breathability, and top-tier compression, this knee brace from Shock Doctor is our clear pick for the best overall. The four-way stretch spandex works in the back of the knee to promote a comfortable flex. As a result, the knee brace is not only a good choice for issues like arthritis and bursitis but also for people who want to use it for working out. A non-slip silicone gripper lining also works to keep it in place. But be aware that some people experience mild bunching after a set of leg exercises.

While this option is also available in an open patella model, we like the closed patella model for added overall compression. It also features moisture-wicking neoprene and airflow venting technology for added breathability. It’s available in sizes small through extra extra large. And its padded patella buttress helps to offer knee stability. Finger tabs also make the brace easy to pull on.

One thing to be aware of with this knee brace is that it won’t be ideal for people facing more serious injuries or for those who need longer-term assistance. However, for discomfort and minor ailments, this is pound-for-pound our best pick.

Key Specs:
Compression | Sizes: S–XXL | Knee: Both | Materials: Neoprene, nylon, polyester, rubber

Best Budget

Equate Adjustable Knee Brace

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  • Adjustable straps

  • Patella support

  • Works on either knee


  • May not stay in place

  • Features latex

Finding solid knee support shouldn’t break the bank. Like our best overall pick, this brace also features a reinforced buttress for patella support, but it also comes at an extremely reasonable price. Plus, it offers three straps that enable you to adjust the compression and support level of the brace. This option is a one-size-fits-most, with the straps aiding in adjustability to ensure a proper fit.

Do note that while the three-strap system is a nice benefit for adjustability purposes, it does lend itself to a few minor issues. Primarily, you might find it can be too tight. Additionally, this option features latex, which some people may be allergic to.

Key Specs:
Straps | Sizes: One size | Knee: Both | Materials: Latex


  • Hinge keeps you from hyperextending

  • Doctor recommended brand

  • Features reflectivity


  • Pricier than other options

  • Runs small

Dr. Wu notes that DonJoy is a brand commonly recommended by doctors, and looking at the brand’s Performance Bionic Fullstop ACL Knee Brace, it’s easy to see why. Research demonstrates that braces with hinges offer force and torque absorption during athletic movements.

While this option is great for people who want to promote stability and ensure they don’t run themselves into dangerous end ranges of motion, it also has a handful of other features that we appreciate. Four-way adjustable straps mean you can create a more tailored fit while also getting joint support and ACL protection. As a sleeve, it also offers a good deal of compression, using neoprene and breathable mesh for temperature regulation. Lastly, a simple but nice feature that we appreciate is that the brace includes reflectivity, which helps to keep you safe in low-visibility areas.

Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are a few minor details that hinder this brace. For starters, it is much more expensive than most of the other options on our list, but as a highly recommended brand by doctors, it’s a worthwhile investment. Some people may also find the sizing to run small, and it doesn’t include an XXL option.

Key Specs:
Hinged/sleeve | Sizes: S–XL | Knee: Both | Materials: Neoprene, spandex, mesh

Best for Arthritis

PowerLix Knee Compression Sleeve

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  • Four-way compression for full range of movement

  • Gel strips to keep in place

  • Multiple color options


  • Too tight for some

  • Washing can affect elasticity

Though research is mixed, there is some research that indicates that an elastic knee sleeve may improve pain and the functional capacity of people with knee osteoarthritis. With this data in mind, we like the Powerlix Knee Compression Sleeve for a handful of reasons, and it also earns Dr. Wu’s approval as a choice for general compression.

For starters, we like that this compression sleeve works to provide stable pressure across the entire knee joint, but the four-way compression is still designed to be able to provide a full range of motion. Additionally, this option features two silicone gel strips to help keep everything in place should you decide to wear it for a workout. Plus, we appreciate that these sleeves are available in six different colors. It’s not the most important part of alleviating arthritis, but owning something you actually like the look of will make you more likely to wear it.

This sleeve is made from nylon and spandex, which makes it moisture-wicking and breathable in addition to offering a bit of stretch. We appreciate that Powerlix provides a six-month, 100% money-back guarantee. Do be aware, though, that the brace will reach about 5 inches up your thigh, and people with larger thighs may find it to be too tight. Washing it frequently can also affect the elasticity.

Key Specs:
Compression | Sizes: S–XXL | Knee: Both | Materials: Nylon, spandex

Best for Pain

CARESOLE Circa Knee Sleeve

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  • Lower profile lets you wear it under clothing

  • Can help with tendonitis

  • Features adjustable straps


  • Runs small

  • May shrink in wash

Dr. Wu recommends Caresole’s Circa Knee Sleeve for its lower profile and straps that offer a snug fit while also compressing the quadriceps tendon and patellar ligament area. She notes that this can help to unload the tissues if someone has tendonitis in that area, which is why this option made our list as the best option for pain.

Because of the fit and material, the sleeve is a good choice for someone who needs it for everyday relief, but it can also be worn to exercise since it allows for a full range of motion. The lower profile Dr. Wu mentions is a benefit should you wear the brace while out and about, since it can be worn under pants without being bulky and bulging through. The compression encourages blood flow, which can enhance lubrication and reduce pain, and it provides support to the kneecap to help keep the brace in place.

Do be aware that the brace runs a bit small, and be sure to follow washing instructions so it doesn’t shrink in the wash.

Key Specs:
Sleeve | Sizes: S–XL | Knee: Both | Materials: Neoprene

Best For Injuries

Bauerfeind Knee Support

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  • Adjustable straps

  • Medical-grade compression

  • Wide range of sizes


  • More expensive than other options

  • Doesn’t work on both knees

While you need to consult with a medical professional if you are facing an injury, knee braces can help with a wide variety of ailments. In particular, we like Bauerfeind’s GenuTrain S Knee Brace, which is designed to be able to help with arthritis, advanced meniscus tears, and knee sprains, as well as other injuries.

Adjustable straps allow you to create an optimal fit for whatever issue you’re facing so you can get the right support. Additionally, joint side bars work to promote stability, and viscoelastic pads provide a massaging effect during usage. All of this occurs while medical-grade compression aids in pain reduction and improved circulation. Additionally, this brace has seven different sizes and can accommodate a wide range of people.

Do be aware that this option is a bit more expensive than other choices on our list. It’s also side-specific and only works on one knee, so you will have to purchase two if both of your knees are injured.

Key Specs:
Brace | Sizes: 1–7 | Knee: Left/right | Materials: Polyamid, glasfaser, TPS, elastodiene, polyurethane, elasthan, viscose, polyester, polyoxymethylene, cotton, TPU

Best For Running

Wonder Steps Knee Compression Sleeve

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  • Side bolsters promote movement

  • Breathable and sweat absorbing

  • Free shipping


The Wonder Knee Brace Knee Compression Sleeve comes recommended by Dr. Wu for its acupressure pads surrounding the knee to help alleviate pain. She also likes it for the side bolsters that she notes can unload the joint without inhibiting movement dramatically, making it ideal for running

Other features we love include the ergonomic fit that keeps the brace in place so it won’t slide off during usage, as well as the ergolastic pad that provides cushioning around the kneecap. The brace is made with breathable, sweat-absorbing, machine-washable materials, which is vital to deal with the sweat volume produced by running. It also doesn’t hurt that the FDA approved this product as a natural alternative to surgery, shots, and medications. and we like that it also comes with a one-year warranty.

Keep in mind that some people may experience mild bunching behind the knee due to the design. Additionally, there’s no XXL size option.

Key Specs:
Sleeve | Sizes: S-XL | Knee: Both | Materials: Neoprene

Best for Sports

Cambivo Knee Brace Compression Sleeve 2 Pack

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  • Comes in a two-pack

  • Breathable and absorbent

  • Silicone grip keeps it in place


  • Not as supportive as other models

  • May run a bit small

When choosing a knee brace or knee sleeve for sports, factors like support and compression will be important, but other factors such as flexibility and breathability become even more imperative when you are using it while in motion and breaking a sweat. With these factors in mind, Cambivo’s Knee Brace stood out to us as a great option for anyone looking for support during sports.

Double-lined, anti-slip silicone grip rings at the top of these sleeves help them stay in place, even during sports with quicker movements such as basketball or skiing. Additionally, the brace is made of nylon, spandex, and latex to promote breathability and moisture absorption, so you can use it no matter the season. And of course, it offers excellent compression to improve circulation and keep your knees warm, which is great for working out or going for a hike. Plus, we like that it comes in a two-pack to keep both your knees protected.

Do be aware that while the brace provides compression and is great for exercise and sports, it doesn’t offer as much support as other models. It also runs on the smaller side.

Key Specs:
Sleeve | Sizes: S–XXXL | Knee: Both | Materials: Nylon, spandex, latex

Best for Stability

Fit Geno Hinged Knee Brace

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  • Features both hinges and side stabilizers

  • Lifetime warranty

  • Hinges are removable


  • May shift if you sweat

  • Velcro wears

Stability is key to avoiding further injury to an already damaged knee, and we like Fit Geno’s Hinged Knee Brace to help with this. It features hinges and side stabilizers that work to improve medial and lateral stability. If you find you don’t need as much stability, you can remove the dual aluminum hinges and rely on the side stabilizers.

This option also includes a patella gel pad to help prevent injury, as well as two medical-grade silicone strips and four adjustable straps to ensure that everything stays put during exercise. We also appreciate that it comes with a lifetime warranty. Keep in mind,that it might not do a great job of staying in place if you start to sweat, and the velcro could come undone with lots of activity.

Key Specs:
Brace with hinges | Sizes: Medium, large | Knee: Both | Materials: Aluminum, other materials not listed

Best for Recovery

Doufurt Knee Brace Stabilizer

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  • Features two spiral springs

  • Adjustability through velcro

  • Absorbent inner fabric


  • Can impede mobility for some

  • Too heavy for some

If you are already injured and need a brace to help you during your recovery, we suggest Doufort’s Knee Brace with Side Stabilizers. With two spiral springs on both sides of the knee, it offers joint support and can aid in relieving knee pressure. Additionally, it also has a medical-grade patella gel pad that is shockproof to help with patella injuries. Lastly, an adjustable velcro design enables you to find your own preferred tightness, depending on the injury and its severity. The neoprene helps promote circulation, which can be important for healing, and the inner fabric works to absorb sweat.

It’s important to note that this product can impede mobility a bit should you want to move around a lot. It’s also a bit heavier than other braces on our list.

Key Specs:
Brace | Sizes: S–XL | Knee: Both | Materials: Neoprene

Best Compression

Rehband Knee-Sleeve for Weightlifting

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  • Holds position well, even when exercising

  • Washes well

  • Durable and built to last


  • Only comes in pack of one

  • Only available in blue

If compression is your goal, why not look to a company that outfits elite weightlifters with the goal of keeping their joints warm and safe? Rehband’s Original V Knee Sleeve is a popular and classic compression sleeve commonly seen at gyms and with good reason. The 7-millimeter thick neoprene provides excellent compression and warmth, but what makes the brace so great is that it’s designed with exercise in mind and won’t compromise during any sort of movement.

The sleeve stays in position even when brought through different ranges of motion, including explosive movements like squatting. It’s durably made and will hold up well over time, even after machine washing (although you should avoid machine drying it).

Do be aware that the brace is only available in blue, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately, it’s available in XS through XXL and runs true to size. The brace is only sold individually, which isn’t uncommon on our list. However, if you plan to use it for exercise, we suggest purchasing two.

Key Specs:
Sleeve | Sizes: XS–XXL | Knee: Both | Materials: Polyamide, SBR, neoprene


  • Can adjust both fit and compression level

  • Lateral supports

  • HSA/FSA eligible


  • Limited sizing

Being able to adjust your knee brace, sleeve, or wrap is a great way to ensure it can accommodate a variety of different ailments. McDavid’s VOW Versatile Wrap Knee Wrap With Stays allows you to adjust both compression level and fit with its Overwrap system. The top wrap is in control of fit, muscle support, and compression, while the bottom wrap works to isolate and stabilize the patella.

We like that this option also supports lateral support, with spring steels on both sides and a strap-free back that enhances range of motion and comfort. An added bonus is that this option is HSA/FSA eligible. The brace is limited in sizing compared to other choices, only ranging from S to XL.

Key Specs:
Wrap | Sizes: S-XL | Knee: Both | Materials: Nylon, polyester, spandex

Best Support

McDavid Knee Brace Support

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  • Steel springs for support

  • Elastic cross straps for added compression

  • Padded buttress for patella support


  • Runs small for some

  • Velcro doesn’t hold well over time

If added support is what you need from your knee brace, then features like reinforced steel springs are important. McDavid’s Knee Brace Support uses these springs to be able to make you feel confident with moving, especially if you’re already injured. Additionally, elastic cross straps enhance the compression of the neoprene sleeves, while providing rotational ligament support.

An added feature that we appreciate for support, particularly for people with patella issues, is the open patella with a padded buttress to help keep it in place. Do note, the brace runs a bit small, and the velcro may wear out over time.

Key Specs:
Brace with straps | Sizes: S–XXL | Knee: Both | Materials: Neoprene

Best for Movement

Neenca Professional Knee Brace

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  • Multiple color options

  • Wide range of sizes

  • Non-slip gel grips


  • Side braces aren’t very durable

  • Tends to run small

A good knee brace can alleviate pain and make movement that was previously undoable a more realistic reality, restoring a level of higher quality to your life in the process. We particularly like Neenca’s Knee Brace for movement due to a few unique features. The brace’s even compression provides effective pain relief, allowing you to return to movements that previously caused pain. Other features that make this a good choice for people looking to move include elastic webbing on the inside and non-slip gel grips, which keep the brace in place through end ranges of motion.

The brace features a patella gel pad and side spring stabilizers to disperse pressure and aid in keeping your knee warm. One important feature for people who move a lot is this brace’s breathability and lightweight air knit fabric that fights excessive heat and sweat.

We also appreciate that this brace is available in 11 color options and runs from extra S to XXXL. However, be aware that it tends to run small, and the side braces wear down easily with frequent use.

Key Specs:
Sleeve | Sizes: XS–XXXL | Knee: Both | Materials: Nylon, polyester, spandex

Best With Patella Gel Pads

Bodyprox Knee Brace with Side Stabilizers

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  • Pads and straps help with patellar tracking

  • Stabilizer springs for movement

  • Affordably priced


  • Can be difficult to put on for some

  • Velcro wears over time

If you struggle with patella pain, investing in a knee brace or sleeve with a patella gel pad can work wonders. This option from Bodyprox features not only patella gel pads but also adjustable straps that work in tandem for patellar tracking, which can help alleviate pain. The silicone gel pad works with the knee’s contours to offer stability, but the open patella design works to reduce pressure.

The adjustable straps are bi-directional and cross above and below the knee to offer added kneecap stability and keep the patella more stationary during movement. Plus, if you are looking to be active while wearing this brace, stabilizer springs are built into both the left and right sides to work with the natural movement patterns of the joint so that mobility isn’t inhibited.

Keep in mind that the extra padding can make this option a bit tricky to put on the first few times, and the velcro may wear out and be less effective over time.

Key Specs:
Brace | Sizes: One size, and XL | Knee: Both | Materials: Neoprene

How We Selected the Best Knee Braces

To find the best knee braces available, we spoke with medical experts and diligently searched the internet for the best options. When conducting our search, we focused on a handful of features, including purpose, materials, type, and adjustability levels of the knee braces. We also paid attention to other details like price, size options, and whether the brace was compatible with both knees.

We spoke with these experts during our research:

  • Karena Wu, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, CSCS, CKTP, CPI, FAAOMPT, board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy
  • Charles Hummer III, MD, FAAOS, FACS, chief medical officer at Premier Orthopaedics, Philadelphia Union

Using expert insight to guide us, we compiled our list with the intention of covering a wide range of ailments. In the end, the products that we chose cover a wide spectrum of needs, from dealing with ailments to looking for more support during exercise.

What to Look for in a Knee Brace


Not all knee braces are made the same. That’s a good thing because not all knee issues are the same. Below are some of the most common types:

  • Compression: According to Dr. Wu, compressive and pliable knee braces are a good option for ailments like arthritis as they offer support to the joint and lower the sensation of pain. She also tells us these types of braces tend to be best suited for sports, as they offer support without restricting mobility.
  • Rigid Braces: Dr. Wu says rigid braces use strong structural supports that aid in keeping the tibia from moving too far ahead of the femur. She notes that the rigidity aids in absorbing force during high-impact exercise.
  • Unloader braces: Typically featuring metal rods in the sides of the braces for medial and lateral stability, Dr. Wu tells us unloader braces are a common option for unloading the joint after fractures in the joint or when dealing with arthritis. They work by creating space between the bones, which aids in pain reduction.
  • Recovery/post-surgical knee braces: As the name implies, these braces are designed to aid in recovery. Dr. Wu says they are much more rigid, which limits motion for both straightening and bending the knee. While they will vary based on the condition, Dr. Wu notes that recovery braces generally work to reduce pressure in the joint and protect the knee from moving too much. Dr. Hummer also notes that rehab braces may inhibit range of motion and prevent further damage.

Many knee braces also feature a hole in the front, which Dr. Hummer says is useful for patellar femoral pain. The hole aids in tracking the kneecap, though he says this is just a temporary solution until the knee strengthens itself.


Knee braces come in a variety of materials. Neoprene is commonly used due to its moisture-wicking and insulating properties. However, as Dr. Hummer tells us, some people will have adverse reactions to neoprene and latex, so if you are allergic to either of these materials, make sure you read labels before purchasing. Other common materials that are seen on our list include nylon and spandex. This combination can be beneficial because nylon is breathable, while spandex is moisture-wicking.

Other common features include hard structures like plastic and polyethylene, but Dr. Hummer warns that you don’t want these materials impinging on the skin. He notes that most good braces will feature padding to prevent this problem, with many good options featuring a liner or sleeve to prevent injury.


Choosing the proper knee brace for you will be determined by your needs as different problems require different solutions. Some common conditions to consider when selecting a knee brace include:

  • Arthritis: When dealing with arthritis, Dr. Wu notes that options with compression or unloader braces that work to reduce joint reaction forces during weight bearing are a good choice.
  • Injuries: This will be determined largely by the injury that you are facing, but Dr. Wu notes that unloader braces are a good option for fractures in the joint. Dr. Hummer says that if you are recovering from an injury like an ACL tear, then you will want to purchase a custom brace, particularly one that can be remolded throughout rehab based on changes in your knee. For knee cap pain, Dr. Hummer recommends something with a hole over the knee to promote tracking in the kneecap.
  • Sports: For general support during sports, Dr. Wu says a compression model knee brace is a great choice because it offers support as well as flexibility required for movement in sports.
  • Recovery: Dr. Wu tells us recovery knee braces are designed to limit motion for bending or straightening the knee through rigidity. This motion limitation can aid in pressure reduction. Dr. Hummer also adds that there are options on the market that feature rehab modalities and can aid in muscle recover, such as muscle stimulation units.


Adjustability is in important feature, though some circ*mstances make it more relevant than others. Dr. Wu says it’s a bit of a balancing act. A brace that is too loose won’t accomplish what it needs to. Conversely, one that is too tight can create irritation and cause its own set of problems.

While Dr. Hummer says adjustability is relative, he explains that it’s particularly important for people recovering from injury or surgery because muscle tone and girth in the knee can change in these circ*mstances. A brace that can handle size changes will be particularly useful, he says, adding that this can sometimes be accomplished with a moldable brace. Lastly, he notes that sometimes adjustability is used to change the force that is being applied to the knee, as with an unloader brace.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What knee brace do doctors recommend?

    When it comes to doctor-recommended brands, Dr. Wu notes that many doctors recommend DonJoy knee braces. However, she adds that by the time someone is seeing a doctor, they may be facing a more serious injury such as an ACL or MCL tear. As a result, they will need more assistance with unloading the joint or restricting motion, and most likely will require a medical-grade brace, which can’t be purchased over the counter.

  • Do knee braces really work?

    The short answer is yes. According to Dr. Wu, knee braces can help the joint feel supported, decrease compression, and maintain warmth, which can lower the sensation of pain while also increasing mobility.

  • What are the disadvantages of wearing a knee brace?

    Dr. Wu says overreliance on a knee brace can bring about its own set of issues, noting that overuse can weaken the musculature surrounding the knee joint. Furthermore, the skin underneath can be irritated if the brace is too tight or if proper hygiene isn’t accounted for. Lastly, she tells us that if the brace is too tight, it can irritate your nerves.

    Dr. Hummer also cautions against poorly made knee braces, which he says can put harder materials like plastic directly against your knee, causing impingement on the skin.

  • How much do knee braces cost?

    Knee braces are available across a wide spectrum of prices, with lower options on our list going for $13, while other options cost over $200. Dr. Wu says to keep in mind that insurance will often cover the cost of a brace if it is medically subscribed and classified as DME (durable medical equipment).

Why Trust Verywell Health

Jack Byram is a freelance writer who covers all things fitness and wellness related. As an avid exerciser who is concerned with longevity and being able to keep doing what he loves, he is a proponent of products like knee sleeves that promote compression to keep the knee joints safe and healthy. Jack holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Fordham University and enjoys offering expert insight from medical professionals.

Take the Load Off Your Joints With These 15 Best Knee Braces (2024)


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