Running. A basic human activity turned sport that every track and field athlete must hone if medals and glory on the field are to be earned. It is also an excellent way to stay in shape, improve cardiovascular endurance and mental health, and strengthen body muscles. However, for all its positive effects, running can be tough on your knees, especially if you have a history of knee injuries. This is where knee braces come in. In simple terms, they are designed to protect your knees from pain and damage during physical activities. Knee braces are simple running gear, so it's no surprise that there are many types out there. In this buying guide, we'll be narrowing down the horde of options to some of the best knee braces for running in 2021, with tips on what to look out for when buying one.
An anti-slip system featuring two silicone gel strips that keeps it in position
The POWERLIX Knee Brace is sweat-absorbent
Its base material is 80% Nylon and 20% spandex – an ideal combination for an elite knee brace
A tight and breathable compression design that keeps the joints in position during rigorous physical activity
There aren’t many compression sleeves as versatile and practical as the POWERLIX Knee Brace. This unique running gear provides exceptional knee support for knee-stressing activities like running, hiking, basketball, and weightlifting. It is also perfect for casual, everyday use.
It is uniquely designed to hold the knee in place without limiting mobility, and unlike some knee braces, this one doesn’t cause any itching or discomfort. In addition, it comes in multiple colors and designs for an aesthetic touch.
A material combination of spandex, nylon, and latex fiber, which is as good as it gets
The Modvel 2-pack Knee Brace is produced in multiple sizes to fit a wide range of athletes and users
It comes as a 2-pack for versatile functionality
An ergonomic build that makes it effective when in use
The Modvel 2-pack Knee Brace embodies what any ideal knee support gear should look and function like. It can be worn casually and for sporting activities like baseball, basketball, golf, and tennis. It’s also great for hiking! No matter the activity, this knee brace is sure to keep pain and knee stress at bay.
It is made of soft and breathable material, making it a comfy choice for all users. In addition, this knee brace provides knee support without impeding mobility – something not all models can pull off.
Spring knee support technology featuring contoured patella gel pads and double-sided metal spring stabilizers for unmatched knee comfort and support
An anti-slip system featuring non-slip silicone strips and super elastic fabric
A high-precision 3D cutting technology that makes it a perfect fit for the 360° kneecap curves
The NEENCA Professional Knee Brace stands out from the rest by featuring custom technology that makes it an ergonomic and pain-liberating choice for all athletes. It’s also designed to absorb sweat instantly and stay in position no matter the activity.
It is a medical-grade knee support sleeve suitable for managing ACL and meniscus tear, joint pain, and arthritis, making it great for injury recovery. It is extra thick for added knee reinforcement and wraps around the knee for a joint lubricating effect that eases pain.
A non-slip silicone material that ensures it stays in place
Elite 3D knitting technology for optimal knee compression and support
Base material is 65% nylon, 20% latex, and 15% spandex, a combination that makes it super comfy and durable
It comes as a 2-pack package for extra knee support options
The CAMBIVO 2-pack Knee Brace is a superb option for men and women hoping to exercise or simply go about their day-to-day activities free of knee pain. It provides unmatched knee comfort and support and causes no discomfort when worn.
This knee brace is versatile, making it suitable for all kinds of sporting activities such as cycling, weightlifting, basketball, and football. It offers optimal knee compression and, by design, doesn’t slip away from the intended region. In addition to the knees, this gear also supports and protects the elbows and calves of users.
A combination of 80% nylon and 20% spandex material for comfort and durability
A double silicone anti-slip fabric and stitch design so it doesn’t fall off or slip away
An ergonomic design that makes it easy to put on, exercise with, and take off
It comes in two shades: blue and gray to add an aesthetic touch to its knee reinforcement prowess
Knee braces don’t get better than the Powerlix Compression Knee Sleeve. It offers solid knee support and protection and is also ideal for injury recovery. Unlike some designs, this knee brace doesn’t restrict mobility when worn, and neither does it cause any discomfort or itching.
Although sweat-absorbent, it reduces the chances of sweating in the first place, courtesy of its breathable design. This knee brace is designed not to slip off even during vigorous physical activity, and it is so comfy that it can be worn all day long with zero discomforts.
Buyer's Guide to Finding an Optimal Knee Brace for Running
Many athletes have seen their track and field careers end prematurely because of lingering knee pain or injury that won’t heal. But you and other athletes need not share the same fate, courtesy of running gear known as knee braces. These running gear are designed to protect knee joints, soothe sore knees, and aid/speed up injury recovery. Knee braces are also used by professional runners to prevent injuries that could originate from constantly running on hard surfaces.
While it is true that there's a knee brace for everyone, you can't just waltz into any fitness store and pick up the first one you see. Therefore, it is essential to know what type of brace is most appropriate for your needs before buying one and this buying guide will help you do just that, as well as provide answers to frequently asked questions about this versatile running gear.
What Are the Factors to Consider When Buying a Knee Brace for Running?
If you are experiencing knee pain and want to find relief from it, there are many different braces available in the market that can help you out. However, you must know that certain elements determine a knee brace's quality, performance, and compatibility. We'll be highlighting some of them below to aid you in your quest to find the perfect knee brace.
You wouldn't get a pair of sneakers larger or smaller than your feet, right? Well, the same logic applies here. Knee braces come in different sizes, and while sizing differs based on brand, it's typically designated small, medium, and large. Alternatively, you could go for a one-size-fits-all model that would fit you no matter your size.
Consult your physiotherapist or doctor to determine the right size for you.
There are two significant styles of knee braces: open and closed patella. The major difference between both styles is that the former is cut open at the front of the knee. Open patellas will keep your knee in tight shape by restricting movement during physical activity and, by design, are ideal for long periods of exercise. Closed patellas, on the other hand, are covered by fabric all through - a design that allows free movement of the knees while still providing solid support.
You may want to lean towards closed patellas because they offer slightly more support than the alternative and aid in proper blood circulation.
The best knee braces for running are always lightweight. Heavy knee braces may impede your recovery and distort the pain-relieving functions of a typical knee sleeve; plus, they'll also hinder your movement. Of course, you can always try on the knee brace to ensure that it doesn't carry any unnecessary weight before paying for it.
The best materials for knee braces are neoprene, polyester, and nylon. There's no doubt that all these materials are excellent; however, they feel and function differently. If you're looking for something rigid and thick for extra knee support, a neoprene knee brace is your best bet. However, note that it won't offer much in terms of breathability, meaning sweat will not evaporate and dry quickly and this can lead to the buildup of foul odors if worn for too long.
Nylon and polyester are similar in feel and function, and although softer than neoprene, they still offer excellent knee support. Plus, they're highly breathable, so you can wear them all day long without fear of stench.
If you want to enjoy the best of all these materials, simply go for designs that combine them. Yes, some knee braces incorporate nylon, polyester, and neoprene in different proportions, and they're usually the best.
Any good compression sleeve should be easy to put on, take off, and adjust. It is a common feature in the best knee braces and one you should look out for. In this regard, select only slip-on or velcro braces. Knee braces with velcro straps may be the better option here because they allow you to adjust tightness or looseness.
It is no news that physical activities like running, volleyball, weightlifting, and whatnot will lead to sweating at the knees, even if your brace is breathable. What you need to get rid of sweat quickly is a sweat-absorbent material, and not all knee braces come with one. All you have to do is check the description of the knee brace and confirm that it is sweat-absorbent before paying.
An anti-slip design is a staple feature in the best knee braces for running. Anything otherwise would require constant adjustment during physical activity, which can be quite tiring. A graver consequence of a shifting knee brace is that it won't protect the knees or ease pain optimally.
The best anti-slip features to look out for are silicon straps and elastic fabric. They keep the knee brace in place even during vigorous activities.
Level of knee support
Knee braces generally support the knees, but at what level? There are four basic knee braces based on level knee support: basic, advanced, and elite knee braces.
Basic knee braces are relatively cheap, super ergonomic especially with velcro straps, and are suitable for managing slight injury and knees with little support requirements.
Things scale up with advanced knee braces. These braces are more robust than basic braces, more expensive, and are typically wrapped around the knee. If your knee requires an average level of support, then advanced knee braces are your go-to.
Elite knee braces are custom-made for post-surgical recovery. They often feature hinges that confer lateral knee stability, which is great if you're dealing with ACL repair, ligament injuries, or cartilage tears.
Usually, your doctor or physiotherapist will determine the level of knee support you require, but it's good to understand the concept.
People Also Asked
Is it safe to run with knee braces?
Definitely. You can run, exercise, and engage in sports with knee braces without any fear of harm. In fact, knee braces exist to prevent knee injuries, provide knee support, and aid injury recovery.
Can you wear a knee brace over pants?
Yes. All you have to do is ensure that the pants fit without compressing your muscles, and you're good to go!
How much do knee braces for running cost?
Knee braces are some of the cheapest running gear out there. They generally cost between $6 to $70; however, some high-end and post-surgical models may cost up to $150 or more.
Olivia has seen every up and down that a runner can, and knows how important the right training and the right equipment can be. She loves to share the outdoors with her golden retriever, Rocky, traveling through trails both on and off the beaten path. Olivia will often be providing her reviews from where ever she is at the time: the track, the road, or the woods.