Don’t be forced to give up your favorite sport or your good health as the result of an easily avoidable injury. Most runners stretch their legs, calves, and ankles before hitting the track, but the truth is, the area most susceptible to injury for runners is the knee.
Did you know that knee injuries account for almost half of all running injuries?
Sadly, many of these injuries might have been prevented with a simple knee protector such as a brace or a compression sleeve.
The trouble is, these incidents can happen without warning. So, how do you know if you need protection for your knees?
If you’re a runner and you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you need to consider investing in a knee brace or compression knee sleeve.
In this article, we’ll tell you exactly what you need to know about these two types of knee guards to keep your workout effective and safe. We’ll also recommend some top-rated braces and sleeves that have been tested by our experts.
The Best Knee Braces for Runners
Just one knee injury can affect the rest of a runner’s life. The knee braces on this list are affordable, effective, and guaranteed to support your knees for miles to come.
What is a Knee Brace?
A knee brace is a device that helps to stabilize the knee joint. The brace typically wraps around the leg over the knee and may or may not contain a hole for the patella (kneecap).
Let’s take a look at the different types of basic knee braces for running:
Top Knee Braces for Runners
As a runner’s feet hit the pavement or the path every day, most of the shock from this contact is absorbed by the knee joint. Over time (or with just one wrong step), damage can be done to the ligaments or to the joint itself.
The top-rated knee braces on our list are guaranteed to provide optimal support to keep you running whether your knees are still healthy or if you’ve previously suffered an injury.
1. Winzone Knee Brace Support Sleeve
The Winzone Knee Brace Support Sleeve is a 100% neoprene knee brace built for those with knee pain or for those who just want some extra support. Those who suffer from arthritis and ACL issues have praised this inexpensive knee brace for its effectiveness at relieving pain, and athletes have mentioned that it doesn’t restrict mobility.
The reason this brace works so well is that it’s braced on both sides (inside and out) to provide extra support. Most neoprene supports wouldn’t be recommended for those who have suffered from knee and ACL injuries, but the Winzone is up to the task.
This brace is recommended especially to those who suffer from inflammation. The neoprene pads keep the ligaments warm without feeling hot on the leg, and the brace even has a built-in ice pocket for post-run relief.
2. Neenca Knee Brace Support Protector
Runners who are suffering from the early stages of Runner’s Knee, or who are worried about developing the condition, should consider the EXOUS Knee Brace Support Protector.
Years of research were conducted with the help of physicians and athletes before this athletic knee brace was put on the market. The result is a brace that alleviates most knee problems.
It has a total of four knee straps to provide tight support and grip. Two of these work to stabilize the patella in order to prevent or relieve Runner’s Knee. It also features side stabilizers that mimic the bars in a hinge brace to bolster the sides of the joint.
Athletes have commented that this is one of the best knee braces for running due to the fact that is has a tight grip and doesn’t slip, even after miles on the path.
3. TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support
If you’re looking for an affordable neoprene knee brace, the TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support may be the best choice. This compression knee brace is made with a combination of neoprene, gel, and silicone to provide cool comfort that won’t quit.Ideal for those who suffer from arthritis or tendonitis, this lightweight brace utilizes three straps that wrap around the knee in two directions for unwavering stability.
This compression brace uses the force of its tightly wrapped straps to reinforce the knee joint and keep it from moving out of place. It also helps to absorb some shock.
Unlike many other knee braces, the TechWare Pro brace is available in four sizes. Customers often complain about having to adjust to other brands and their one-size-fits-all options. When you choose the Techware Pro brace, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit.
4. Shock Doctor Knee Brace
The Shock Doctor Knee Brace is a hinge brace for those who need extra support. This heavy-duty brace features dual hinges made of lightweight aluminum and custom-designed straps that wrap around the hinges, locking them in place. This unique design was developed by Shock Doctor, and it makes for a hinge brace that is more flexible and comfortable than others.
Those suffering from a torn ACL, hyperextension, or patella instability will find that this brace offers support and relief from pain that lighter braces and sleeves cannot. The metal hinges on each side of the knee control the joint’s movement and prevent it from slipping to the right or left.
For runners, the Shock Doctor Knee Brace is ideal due to its light weight and its breathable fabrics that wick moisture and remain odor-free even on hot days.
5. VIVE Hinged Knee Brace
Made almost entirely of flexible, comfortable neoprene, the VIVE brace features small pockets on its right and left sides where aluminum hinges can be inserted for extra stability (the hinges are included with purchase). Runners who have suffered an ACL injury or torn ligament can use the hinges as they recover and then take them out once they feel they have the strength.
Those who suffer from more serious knee problems may need a heavier hinge brace, but for many, the VIVE brace will offer the best of both worlds.
6. Dr. Brace Knee Brace
The cheapest knee brace on this list, the Dr. Brace Knee Brace is perfect for runners who want to prevent the dreaded Runner’s Knee. This brace is made from 80% neoprene and provides extra patella stability to keep the knee joint tracking properly.
Lightweight and breathable fabrics along with ultra-tight straps make this a quality knee brace for runners.
It even features strategically placed holes for sweat that keep the brace aerated and dry. As well as being the least expensive knee brace, this brace also has the most size options to choose from. As it is available in six sizes, any runner should be able to find a model the fits snuggly and doesn’t slip.
Top Knee Compression Sleeves
Don’t let knee pain slow you down or keep you from doing the exercise that you love. Knee compression sleeves are some of the best tools to help relieve knee pain while running.
What is a Knee Compression Sleeve?
A knee compression sleeve is an elastic band that slides over the knee and compresses the joint, tendons, and patella. These sleevesare primarily used to relieve knee pain.
Here are some of the benefits of a knee compression sleeve:
Knee compression sleeves are different from knee braces in their function and design. Knee compression sleeves are lighter, more comfortable, and easier to put on than knee braces. However, they offer very little support. Also, knee braces typically wrap around the knee and secure with straps, while knee compression sleeves slide on and off.
If you’re unsure whether you need a knee brace or a compression sleeve, you should contact your doctor.
Best Knee Compression Sleeves for Runners
Our experts have worked hard to bring you this list of the top compression sleeves for runners. After consulting customers, reading reviews, and doing out own tests, we’ve found the top picks for your health and your wallet.
1. NatraCure Knee Brace Support Compression Sleeves
NatraCure believes in the quality of their compression knee sleeves so much that they’ve attached a lifetime warranty to them. As if that wasn’t enough to inspire confidence in this product, these sleeves are also FDA registered.
This 2-pack of sleeves offers pain relief and support for both knees. The spiral elastic weaving makes for a sleeve that fits tightly and doesn’t sag over time, and breathable materials leave it feeling like a second skin.
A unique aspect of the Sable Knee Brace Support Compression Sleeves is that they are longer than other sleeves. This wider coverage means that compression occurs farther above and below the knee than other brands. This allows pressure and shock to be distributed more evenly, putting less tension on the knee joint.
2. Blitzu Flex Plus Compression Knee Brace
The Blitzu Flex Plus Compression Knee Brace sleeves are some of the highest rated knee sleeves on the market. Ultra-durable fabric and a reinforced patella stabilizer make this one of the most effective knee compression sleeves for runners.
Those who worry about Runner’s Knee but don’t want to deal with a brace will find a great compromise in the Blitzu knee compression sleeve.
Blitzu promises that its sleeves will improve joint stability and flexibility, and customers have confirmed this to be true. Professional-grade fabrics provide warmth to reduce inflammation and promote healthy blood flow but don’t sacrifice the airflow that runners need to stay cool. These sleeves also come recommended by those recovering from knee injuries.
The Blitzu sleeves come in a pack of two and include a lifetime warranty. They are not only for running but can be worn during all daily activities. They are easily washable, breathable, and moisture-wicking, making them ideal for any active lifestyle.
3. Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeves
Mava has aimed to make their sleeves the most comfortable knee compression sleeves for runners. The Super hi-tech bamboo charcoal fibers woven into these sleeves provide a breathable comfort that is highly durable. This premium fabric also makes these some of the best sleeves for sensitive skin.
The sleek design and comfort of the Mava Sports Knee Compression Sleeves render them ideal for daily use. Whether you’re on the track or at work, they’ll provide the support and pain relief you expect from the best knee compression sleeves.
Developers at Mava designed their sleeves to have a perfect anatomical fit, which increases injury prevention. They are also available in six sizes, so you’re pair will feel like it was tailor-made just for you. Each order comes with two sleeves.
4. UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve
One of the biggest problems for runners with knee pain is finding a knee compression sleeve that doesn’t slip. Nothing is worse than having to stop your run every few minutes to adjust your sleeve. The UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve remedies this problem with its unique double-silicone anti-slip weave. This custom design element keeps the sleeve firmly in place so you never have to worry about sagging or bunching.
The UFlex sleeve is highly compressed to improve endurance and support the knee joint during sport activities. It has been shown to reduce pain and to help those recovering from knee injuries.
The UFlex sleeve is only available in quantities of one, but that’s because this product is the result of hi-tech design and is made from premium materials. In fact, the UFlex sleeve is the highest rated sleeve on this list, making it well worth the cost.