Any equipment that increases performance or prevents injuries is worth looking at for CrossFit athletes.

The best knee sleeves will do both of these things, helping to stabilize your joints and perform better during WODs and heavy lifts.

Like any piece of equipment, the promises only become real when you do your homework first.

You want a set of knee sleeves that will make you better at CrossFit. There are several factors that determine if knee sleeves will do that or not.

In a hurry? Here are the top picks:

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
am-table__imageBear KompleX
  • Available in 5mm or 7mm
  • Reduce pain
  • Increase blood flow
Check on Amazon
am-table__imageWorkt
  • Developed by CrossFit Legend Chris Spealler
  • Made with ecoprene technology
  • Great value
Check on Amazon
am-table__imageEXO
  • Designed for elite performance
  • Built for comfort
  • Tripled reinforced for durability
Check on Amazon
am-table__imageRehband
  • Patented technology
  • Optimal combo of support and comfort
Check on Amazon

But first, do you even need knee sleeves? Consider:

The answer is likely yes to both of these, meaning knee sleeves might be a good idea. Just remember that knee sleeves are not a substitute for a knee brace. Also consider:

  • Do you experience knee pain or discomfort during workouts?
  • Have you had- or do you currently have- tendonitis in your knees?
Josh Bridge Atlas stone

Josh Bridges

While knee sleeves may help, serious or chronic knee issues might warrant alternative solutions.

Now, let’s take a look at how (and which kind of) knee sleeves can up your CrossFit game in 2018.

What Are Knee Sleeves?

Think of knee sleeves as a hug for your knee joints.

They add compression to your knees as you exercise, helping your knees function the way they are meant to.

The right pair can provide compression, warmth and stability during heavy lifts and workouts.

CrossFit requires their athletes to have strong, functioning knees for most movements. You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a good WOD that doesn’t put stress on your knees.

Over time, all of those squats, dips, lunges, and steps can take a toll. One way to decrease the stress on your knees is to wear knee sleeves.

The wrong pair of knee sleeves can get destroyed in only a few workouts.

Worse, they can limit mobility and decrease performance when you use them.

If you are only concerned with finding out the best knee sleeves, skip to the bottom of this article for a review of some of the best.

Why Use Knee Sleeves?

Front squat with knee sleeves

@fitgirlchris

Because of the nature of CrossFit, knee sleeves could be useful to you in one or more settings at your local box.

You might use them during heavy lifts, for certain movements in WODs, or to simply keep your knees warm and fluid when you train.

CrossFit athletes will likely benefit the most from knee sleeves that are both supportive and versatile.

If you plan to use them for WODs, you’ll want a pair that is strong enough to stabilize during heavy squats, but flexible enough to not feel constricting when running or rowing.

But why use them in the first place? For example, consider how often a CrossFit athlete might squat in a week.

Take a given week of Monday’s heavy back squat session, Wednesday’s AMRAP with thrusters, and Saturday’s air squat assault.

In all, that week of programming contains somewhere between 300-500 squats. That’s a lot of work on your knees.

Knee sleeves will keep your knees warm and stable while you work out, limiting injuries and keeping you feeling healthy.

Two benefits of any good pair of knee sleeves include:

Stability

The compression that your knee sleeves offer will keep your knees stable when squatting or performing other CrossFit movements.

This will decrease your chance of injury and allow you to perform better when doing heavier, more explosive lifts.

Joint Warmth

Whether you are performing a 3RM squat or warming up with a PVC pipe, cold joints never feel good.

Good knee sleeves will increase blood flow to your knees and keep them warm throughout your workout, helping you to be more fluid and powerful with your movements.

Is knee warmth a priority for you? Here are a few knee sleeve recommendations that will ensure you’re taken care of:

Things To Consider When Buying Knee Sleeves

So now you know what knee sleeves are, and how they’ll help you. You know they should be supportive, but not constricting.

You’re ready to buy, right?

Hold on. There’s a few other factors to consider first to make sure you are buying the right pair of knee sleeves for you and your fitness goals.

Thickness

When you start shopping around, you’ll learn that you must choose the thickness of your knee sleeves.

Here is a brief description on the three measurements you are most likely to come across.

  • 3mm– Ideal for endurance workouts or endurance athletes.
  • 5mm– Ideal for mixed activities, like a WOD in CrossFit or any other type of cross training.
  • 7mm– Ideal for heavy lifting or any movement that requires heavy stabilization.

For more details, check out this guide for picking the right knee sleeve thickness.

Material

It’s important to consider the material of your knee sleeves, because each material will provide a different feel and different benefits.

For example, if you only need them for heavy squats, you’ll want a pair that offers less flexibility and more stability.

Here is a brief description of the materials you will find:

  • Cloth offers light support and joint warmth. Cloth will likely wear down quicker than others with high volume exercise, but will endure basic lifting.
  • Neoprene – versatile, supportive, medium level of thickness. Generally speaking, neoprene material is probably your best bet for CrossFit workouts.
  • Knee Wrapsadjustable, supportive, but not always stable during workouts with variety. Good for warming up joints prior to a workout or heavy lifts.

Consider what you’ll need your knee sleeves for. While neoprene sleeves will likely work best, they are usually the most expensive.

If you only need your knee sleeves for lifting, you might not need them!

Gym Pro Tip: Know that neoprene sleeves tend to acquire an almost legendary odor after a few months of use. For your nose, and the noses of other gym-goers, be sure to wash your knee sleeves every few weeks.

Mobility

Mobility comes down to personal preference. Some people enjoy the mildly constricting feeling of a thick knee sleeve, ensuring their joints are supported.

Others prefer the joint warming benefits of a light sleeve and don’t like the sensation of limited mobility.

The best way to find your preference is to experiment.

Practice different movements and see what feels good. See what might decrease performance or feel like a pestilence.

Recommendations For Knee Sleeves In 2018

Best Knee Sleeve For CrossFit

Rehband Rx Knee Support 5mm

If you spend a lot of time in CrossFit gyms, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen the Rehband Rx knee sleeves.

These are perhaps the most popular pair of knee sleeves for CrossFit athletes out there.

Users boast about the stability, joint warmth, and versatility of the Rehband sleeves.

They may take some time to wear in (limiting flexibility initially), but they are durable and will hold up during longer CrossFit workouts.

A bonus is that they are designed to slide up and down the knee easily, so athletes can take them off in the middle of a WOD if needed.

Sale
Rehband Rx Knee Support 5mm - Large - Navy - Expand Your Movement + Cross Training Potential - Knee Sleeve for Fitness - Feel Stronger + More Secure - Relieve Strain - 1 Sleeve
12 Reviews
Rehband Rx Knee Support 5mm - Large - Navy - Expand Your Movement + Cross Training Potential - Knee Sleeve for Fitness - Feel Stronger + More Secure - Relieve Strain - 1 Sleeve
  • ENABLE YOUR POTENTIAL - MOVE BETTER - GET STRONGER - TRAIN HARDER - Feel more confident and secure in any activity, from weekend warrior pursuits to powerlifting or elite competitive sports.  The classic Rehband 5mm model provides knee support with comfortable, flexible, knee joint compression. Our 5mm neoprene knee compression sleeve acts as a mobile knee support that offers warmth, relieves pressure, and improves coordination for any activity
  • PATENTED TECHNOLOGY - The Rehband knee support pattern construction is built on an anatomical fit so unique that it has been patented!  Our 3-D contoured design is based on the actual contour of the leg, so it's not just an angled tube. Rehband's knee sleeves are created by a dedicated R&D team working with textile engineers to offer an optimal combination of support and comfort, while designed to truly fit your body.
  • FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH FOR YOUR KNEES - ANY ACTIVITY, ANY AGE, ANY SKILL LEVEL - The Rehband knee sleeve provides reinforcement all the way around the knee, and allows for a safe, optimal range of motion in any leg-driven activity - whether you're an elite athlete or just casually active, and no matter how old you are. It's perfect to help prevent strain or injury, while also ideal to use for faster recovery and rehabilitation from knee strains or other wear and tear.
  • 60+ YEARS OF ELITE EXPERTISE IN DESIGN AND ANATOMY - Rehband has been a top-flight, dependable creator of knee supports and other joint support technology for decades, making only the highest quality handcrafted products since 1955. Designed in Sweden and produced in Europe, we build our products in close collaboration with athletes.  We keep one foot in medical science and one foot on the sports field  to address every point of potential need for our customers!
  • CHOOSE THE BEST FOR YOURSELF - DON'T SETTLE!  If you're like us, you want to make the best possible choices in your life, and for your health. Choose Rehband and find out why so many of the world's most elite athletes select our knee sleeves over any others. Opt for the uncompromising, premium quality and superior design of Rehband knee support to stay healthy, get stronger, and reach your full potential!

Last update on 2019-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bear KompleX Knee Sleeves

Sold at 5mm and 7mm, the Bear KompleX knee sleeves will provide a lot of stabilization. These sleeves are probably best for various types of strength training or heavy lifting instead of metcons.

Most users say that while these knee sleeves last a long time, it can take 1-2 months of regular use to break them in properly.

 

Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves, Fitness & Support for Workouts & Running. Sold in Pairs-Crossfit Training, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Squats & Gym Use. 5mm&7mm Thick, Multicolor Options for Both
1,098 Reviews
Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves, Fitness & Support for Workouts & Running. Sold in Pairs-Crossfit Training, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Squats & Gym Use. 5mm&7mm Thick, Multicolor Options for Both
  • 😎 CONFIDENCE IN YOUR LIFT: This listing is for a pair of Bear KompleX Knee Sleeves that not only provide great physical compression & protection but give you the mindset needed to perform your best. Dominate a variety of exercises including squats, power cleans, snatches, box jumps, lunges, running, double unders, and more.
  • 🏋️‍ KNEE SLEEVES ARE 7mm & 5mm FOR OPTIMAL SUPPORT AND COMFORT. Don't miss your next workout due to pain and discomfort from your last heavy leg day. We're here to do the hard work for you. The sleeves fit snug for added support and compression in your workouts. Feel that added mental edge when wearing our knee sleeves that will take your training to the next level.
  • 📈 INCREASE BLOOD FLOW AND REDUCE PAIN with our sleeves. Keep your knees warm while performing a variety of exercise movements and eliminate injury. We are so confident you will love our Bear KompleX products, that if your expectations are not met for any reason, we will refund you within 60-days of purchase.
  • 🦵SHOW OFF YOUR STYLE: You're not boring and your workout gear shouldn't be either. Our 10+ styles, reversible colorways, and patterns for both men & women are designed to meet your unique style and needs. When you look good, you feel good, and that's what we had in mind when designing our knee sleeves. Be sure to check our size chart in our images.
  • 🤯WEAR IT LIKE THE PROS: As an Official Sponsor of the CrossFit Games, Bear KompleX products are top-notch and trusted by the best athletes. When you use Bear KompleX you are using the same gear as the pros.

Last update on 2019-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Best Knee Sleeves For Squats

Workt Knee Compression Support Sleeve

You probably won’t find a less expensive pair of knee sleeves that have the positive reviews and benefits that Workt knee sleeves have.

CrossFit athletes find the durability and flexibility perfect for these sleeves to be great for CrossFit WODs, but possibly lacking for heavy lifting.

You may consider a heavier, more stable pair if you plan to use your knee sleeves mostly for heavy lifting.

One reviewer mentioned that excessive washing of these sleeves resulted in them wearing down after about 8 months.

 

Workt Knee Compression Support Sleeve for CrossFit, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Exercise & Sports – Made in the USA with Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Ecoprene Neoprene – 7MM – 1 Sleeve (Gray Camo, XS)
14 Reviews
Workt Knee Compression Support Sleeve for CrossFit, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Exercise & Sports – Made in the USA with Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Ecoprene Neoprene – 7MM – 1 Sleeve (Gray Camo, XS)
  • DEVELOPED AND ENDORSED by Elite Crossfit Pro Chris Spealler. Rigorously tested in the gym and lab for optimal effectiveness for athletes and anyone desiring superior, comfortable knee support. Made with Ecoprene, this sleeve is the most durable and comfortable sleeve on the market!
  • PREMIUM QUALITY DESIGN: Made with Ecoprene Technology with strong, heavy-duty stitching for repeated, long-lasting use. Durable 4-way stretch Ecoprene ensures maximum compression and stability to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. Anti-slip sleeves stay in place during your toughest workouts.
  • PROTECT & PRESERVE YOUR KNEES: Helps prevent injury and provides warmth, support and comfort for existing pain, injuries, or post-surgery. Great to use during any physical activity or simply to provide warmth and support to achy knees.
  • AVAILABLE IN 5mm & 7mm: Extra-small, Small, Medium, Large & Extra-Large sizes in a variety of colors. See Product Description below for sizing information and difference between 5mm and 7mm.
  • FREE SHIPPING (USPS First Class) within the continental U.S. Proudly made in the USA. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Last update on 2019-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Best Knee Sleeves For Weightlifting

A post shared by danihoran (@_danihoran) on

EXO Compression Knee Sleeves

These neoprene sleeves offer various levels of thickness, which provides options for the consumer to determine the best fit.

The 7mm sleeves (their most popular product), offers great stabilizing support for powerlifting, Olympic lifts while still being durable enough to work for your typical WOD.

They are designed with a tapered and cut fit, appearing smaller and less bulky than some of the other options. If style matters, this might be the pair for you.

 

EXO Sleeve Compression Knee Sleeves Designed with Triple-Reinforcement and Anti-Microbial Neoprene, Sold as 1 Pair
67 Reviews
EXO Sleeve Compression Knee Sleeves Designed with Triple-Reinforcement and Anti-Microbial Neoprene, Sold as 1 Pair
  • SPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR ELITE PERFORMANCE: Whether you're into heavy lifting, competitive CrossFit or any other strenuous leg activity, EXO sleeves provide superior stability, warmth and compression to improve blood flow and reduce strain and swelling
  • TRIPLE REINFORCED TO BE INDESTRUCTIBLE: EXO sleeves are constructed with triple reinforcement to withstand even the most vigorous workouts and resist odors in the process
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY BUILT FOR YOUR COMFORT AND STRENGTH: Stretchable high-performance 5mm elastic neoprene fabric is antimicrobial and easy adjustable according to different compression needs
  • BEST KNEE SLEEVES FOR SQUATS: Their anatomical pre-curved shape and closed patella design offer full knee coverage, which means complete 360º protection and a snugger, more natural fit
  • DEVELOPED BY SEASONED CROSSFIT ATHLETES: Whether you are completing a back squat super set, attempting a Clean & Jerk PR, doing thrusters in your workout, or testing out 100 burpees for time, Exo will be there to ensure your comfort, style and safety is not comprised.

Last update on 2019-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Best Knee Sleeves For Powerlifting

Iron Bull Knee Sleeves

Another pair with 7mm of thickness, you’re getting more stable knees for a much lower price with the Iron Bull knee sleeves.

That said, reviews are mixed on this pair. It’s bulky feel and more rigid feel might be okay for performing heavy lifts, but could hinder performance in a CrossFit workout.

It is a well-designed pair of sleeves that will last, so it might be a good second pair for the back of your gym bag.

 

Knee Sleeves 7mm (1 Pair) - High Performance Knee Sleeve Support For Weight Lifting, Cross Training & Powerlifting - Best Knee Wraps & Straps Compression - For Men and Women (Black/Red, Small)
488 Reviews
Knee Sleeves 7mm (1 Pair) - High Performance Knee Sleeve Support For Weight Lifting, Cross Training & Powerlifting - Best Knee Wraps & Straps Compression - For Men and Women (Black/Red, Small)
  • PREMIUM 7MM KNEE SLEEVES (1 Pair): Featuring 7mm Neoprene Flex-Material designed for maximum support, compression and stability for CrossFit, weight lifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding and more!
  • KNEE COMPRESSION & SUPPORT: Our 3-D design provides a contoured fit for perfect joint compression and warmth with optimal breathability and comfort.
  • ANTI-SLIP TECHNOLOGY: The knee sleeve upper limit features double silicone gel strips to lock it in place during intense activities. Never re-position your sleeves again during a WOD or intense workout!
  • PREVENT INJURY: Knee sleeves reduce pressure and swelling during activity proven to promote muscle recovery and prevent injury. Increase performance and confidence instantly on all your lifts!
  • SIZING CHART: Please use sizing chart in listing images to order the correct size. You need to measure your true knee size with a flexible tape.

Last update on 2019-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

The “Bee’s Knees” for CrossFit Athletes

CrossFit athletes will increase their performance and reduce the risk of injury with the right pair of knee sleeves.

Look for a pair that offers versatility, support, and the durability to hold up during longer workouts.

Consider thickness, material, and mobility of the sleeve. Practice knee-dominant movements while wearing different pairs if possible, to see what might work best for you.

And when it’s all said and done, you can probably get the right pair of knee sleeves for under $60.

Maybe even spring for two pairs, if you aren’t the type to wash your gym gear often. Your lifting partners will thank you.

Good knee sleeves will offer stability and knee joint warmth as you work through barbell movements and WODs. A bad pair will constrict movement or feel bulky, limiting performance in the process, so do your homework.

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