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Best Knee Sleeves for Crossfit [2020 Review]

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Your knees are pretty easily prone to injury when working out, especially when it comes to crossfit. To help protect this joint, consider grabbing a pair of knee sleeves that can also help increase stability while working out. We have selected four of what we consider the best knee sleeves for Crossfit that are available for you to purchase, identified by a few different categories. 

Reviews of the Best Knee Sleeves for Crossfit

When it comes to selecting a good pair of knee sleeves, make your selection based on your needs, budget, and overall impressions. When deciding on what size to purchase, be sure to check the sizing chart for each individual product – different manufacturers may have very different size choices.

Brand
Best Overall
Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves
Best for the Money
Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve
Best Cheap Pick
Knee Compression Sleeves from Crucial Compression
Product
Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves, Fitness &...
Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve - Model 7051 Original Blue
Knee Brace Compression Sleeve (1 Pair) - Best Knee...
Size
5mm & 7mm
7mm
15.5-18.0"
Material
Neoprene
Neoprene
Nylon, Rubber, Spandex with Silicone Grip
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves
Product
Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves, Fitness &...
Size
5mm & 7mm
Material
Neoprene
Rating
Best for the Money
Brand
Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve
Product
Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve - Model 7051 Original Blue
Size
7mm
Material
Neoprene
Rating
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Knee Compression Sleeves from Crucial Compression
Product
Knee Brace Compression Sleeve (1 Pair) - Best Knee...
Size
15.5-18.0"
Material
Nylon, Rubber, Spandex with Silicone Grip
Rating

Best Overall Knee Sleeves for Crossfit: Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves

Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves, Fitness &...

To say that we are impressed with the Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves would be an understatement. The build quality of these knee sleeves is excellent and they last for a very long time before breaking down, helping you take your training to the next level.

Available in sizes ranging from small to XXL, you are also able to select between two thickness options, 5mm and 7mm.

Although a difference of two millimeters does not sound like much, it can come into play depending on the size of your legs, the amount of strength your legs have, and the amount of mobility you require. 

In general, we recommend that when buying larger sizes you look at the 7mm knee sleeves in order to get enough stability out of them. On the other hand, if you need a higher amount of mobility, 5mm may be the way to go even if you are ordering a larger size. Whichever thickness you decide on, the Bear KompleX sleeves provide excellent compression and support.

The neoprene used in this knee sleeve is infused with bamboo charcoal fiber that provides a softer and more comfortable feeling than full rubber neoprene. This softness gives a feeling of additional flexibility while providing excellent compression.

This pair of knee sleeves is available in a large assortment of colors where you can match any workout ensemble or de-emphasize that you are wearing protective equipment. Some of the color options are also reversible, giving you choices that help reflect your day-to-day mood and style.

Developed for athletes by athletes, Bear KompleX is the official hand grip sponsor of the CrossFit Games.

Highlights

  • Size Range: S – XL
  • Material: Neoprene
  • True to Size: Yes
  • Returnable: Not stated
  • Warranty: Not stated
  • Sold in Pairs or Singles: Pairs
  • Multiple Colors Available: Yes
Sale
Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves, Fitness &...
  • 😎 CRUSH YOUR AT-HOME WORKOUTS: Don’t miss your next home workout due to pain and discomfort...
  • 🏋️‍♀️ KNEE SLEEVES ARE 7mm & 5mm FOR OPTIMAL SUPPORT AND COMFORT. Don’t miss your next...
  • 📈 INCREASE BLOOD FLOW AND REDUCE PAIN with our sleeves. Keep your knees warm while performing a...

Best Knee Sleeve for Crossfit for the Money: Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve

Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve - Model 7051 Original Blue

The Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve - Model 7051 is one of the classic knee sleeves in use by everyone from weightlifters to gymnasts. This European company has been around since the 1950s, providing knee and other joint support products in close collaboration with athletes.

They bridge the gap between medical science and sports in order to provide the best products for sporting professionals and amateurs alike.

The highlight of Rehband’s knee sleeve is the unique, patented knee support pattern construction. The three panel design has a seam starting from the bottom of the knee in the front wraps that around the back, helping with specific support and flexibility anchored around the natural motion of the human knee.

It can also help increase muscle control, focusing heat and compression in exactly the right places.

Model 7051 is made out of 7mm 100% neoprene with a pique top layer. This is an excellent thickness when looking for support, but might be a little stiff for younger athletes and those who need a higher level of flexibility. Athletes competing in sports like weightlifting, where a higher level of support and compression is needed, will appreciate how well this thickness works.

Rehband has partnered with the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) through 2023. This particular model is IPF & IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) Legal for Raw and Open Competition. 

This product has a medical classification, and as such is sold as a single knee sleeve. Be sure to consider this when making your purchase.

Highlights

  • Size Range: XS – L
  • Material: Neoprene
  • True to Size: Yes
  • Returnable: Not stated
  • Warranty: Not stated
  • Sold in Pairs or Singles: Singles
  • Multiple Colors Available: No
Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeve - Model 7051 Original Blue
  • ENABLE YOUR POTENTIAL - MOVE BETTER - GET STRONGER - TRAIN HARDER - Feel more confident and secure...
  • PATENTED TECHNOLOGY - The Rehband knee support pattern construction is built on an anatomical fit so...
  • ANY ACTIVITY, ANY AGE, ANY SKILL LEVEL - The Rehband knee sleeve provides reinforcement all the way...

Best Cheap Knee Sleeves for Crossfit: Knee Compression Sleeves from Crucial Compression

Knee Brace Compression Sleeve (1 Pair) - Best Knee...

Sometimes a light amount of compression or warmth, or even just a bit of protection from the ground or weights, is all that is needed from a knee sleeve. In those cases, in order maintain the knee’s natural flexibility, go for sleeves like these Knee Compression Sleeves from Crucial Compression.

Instead of thick neoprene that you will often find in higher priced models, Crucial Compression Knee Sleeves provide comfortable support with a mixture of premium quality nylon, rubber, and Spandex with silicone grip added.

These materials have the added benefit of making the sleeves breathable, whereas your knee will normally be a sweaty mess after taking off neoprene knee sleeves.

Because of the lighter materials, these sleeves are excellent for more aerobic Crossfit exercises like endurance training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and some specific WoDs. They still provide a good amount of compression, but not as much support as thicker neoprene models.

The construction of these knee sleeves is very good, with double stitching and materials that won’t break down very quickly. The ergonomic shape makes them extremely comfortable by preventing material from bunching up behind the knee.

Unique double silicone grip on the insides of the sleeves helps keep them from sliding or rolling down even when in the toughest workouts.

There is a very good sizing chart located in the images of the product, be sure to measure your thigh circumference in order to judge the most appropriate size knee sleeve for you.

Highlights

  • Size Range: XS – XXXL
  • Material: Nylon, Rubber, Spandex with Silicone Grip
  • True to Size: Yes
  • Returnable: Yes
  • Warranty: 100% money back guarantee
  • Sold in Pairs or Singles: Pairs
  • Multiple Colors Available: Yes
Knee Brace Compression Sleeve (1 Pair) - Best Knee...
  • INSTANT SUPPORT AND STABILITY - You will feel the difference immediately. Get fast pain relief with...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND BREATHABLE - Some compression sleeves are too hot, too restrictive, or too bulky....
  • "NO-SLIP" DOUBLE GRIP - Stopping to pull your knee sleeves back up is frustrating to say the least....

Best Knee Sleeves for Crossfit: Pain Relief and Sports Injury Recovery

TechWare Pro Knee Compression Sleeve - Knee Brace...

Coming back from a knee injury is difficult, and in those cases, you will probably need additional lateral support that a completely fabric-based knee sleeve will not be able to give you. In Crossfit, the exercises and motions that we go through are often not possible with hinged metal knee braces. 

TechWare Pro’s Knee Compression Sleeve combines extra support through the sides and front of the sleeve without adding too much bulk that could get in the way.

Along the side of the knee sleeve, sewn into the fabric, are flexible spring stabilizer bars. These add a touch of lateral stability without adding too much weight, while also allowing for the knee to move naturally.

Heavy hinges will only allow for front to back movements. When recovering from an injury, always consult a medical professional when deciding on how much stabilization your knee requires.

In the front of the Techware Pro, they have added a patella pad made out of gel to offer patella compression. This can help tremendously with problems like patellar tendonitis, a repetitive injury that is very common with Crossfit athletes.

The standard brace type device that is used to help with this condition is a patella strap, but using both a strap and a knee brace at the same time is problematic.

The overall design of this compression sleeve is very well thought out. There are breathable panels, anti-slip silicone strips on the inside to prevent the knee sleeve from moving around on your leg, and it is made from a 4-way stretch fabric.

Highlights

  • Size Range: S – XXL
  • Material: Nylon, spandex and latex
  • True to Size: Yes
  • Returnable: Yes
  • Warranty: Yes
  • Sold in Pairs or Singles: Singles
  • Multiple Colors Available: No
TechWare Pro Knee Compression Sleeve - Knee Brace...
  • MORE FEATURES THAN JUST A COMPRESSION SLEEVE Stabilizer Bars & Patella GEL PAD Adds EXTRA SUPPORT...
  • CHOOSE FIVE SIZES FOR BEST FIT Measure BOTH THIGH and CALF Circumference at 5.5” From the CENTER...
  • BREATHABLE KNITTED SOFT FABRIC WITH NON SLIP SILICONE STRIPS For Cycling, Tennis, Crossfit,...

Reasons to Use Knee Sleeves for Crossfit

As the joints that are inflicted with the most pressure and use in our body, our knees can often break down due to overuse. When we keep the knee warm and compressed, the likelihood of an injury is lowered.

Woman wearing knee sleeves while on break from her crossfit workout

Heat

Knees perform better when they are warmed up. Heat helps the joints self-lubricate, allowing for a fuller range of motion. The insulating properties of neoprene and other materials that are using to manufacture knee sleeves help keep the knees warm before, during, and/or after exercise. Post-workout heat also aids in the recovery process.

Heat also helps improve circulation throughout the surrounding muscles, keeping them primed for the pushing and pulling actions that keep the knees moving during Crossfit workouts.

Compression

Compression improves blood flow and can help reduce pain in muscles and joints. It also reduces swelling, which reduced flexibility and can cause the knee to stiffen up. Less swelling and better blood flow will help your joints and muscles recover faster after a workout.

Another benefit of compression in the Crossfit world is that when you are lifting weights, this causes the knee to slightly bulge outward. Good compression knee sleeves can help reduce that radiating pressure, stabilizing the joint to help prevent injury.

Support

The overall concept of a knee sleeve is to provide a tight, warm surrounding for your knee that helps heat the joint, improve circulation, and often can reduce pain. The added benefit of the slight amount of support is a bonus, but do not rely on knee sleeves to completely support unstable knees.

Two men lying on the floor wearing knee sleeves while resting from a fitness routine

In cases where your knee is healing from a major injury, or if your have chronic unstable knee problems, your doctor may recommend a knee brace instead. It is very important that you do not confuse the two since they provide different primary methods of knee protection.

A brace protects the ligaments from overexertion and tearing, while the support from a sleeve does not.

What to Look For in Knee Sleeves for Crossfit

Because of the inter-disciplinary nature of Crossfit, you need to look for knee sleeves that have excellent flexibility while still providing support and compression. Knee sleeves meant for running are normally thin and very light, primarily intended as just a warming device. Weightlifting sleeves on the other hand are thick and limit your movement tremendously.

What we are looking for is a knee sleeve that balances these two extremes.

Material

The most common material for knee sleeves is neoprene. This man-made material is derived from rubber or other products, producing a slick surface that nylon is normally bonded to in order to make it more comfortable to wear.

The properties of neoprene make it a good all-around choice for knee sleeves. It is durable, flexible, holds its shape, retains heat, comes in different thicknesses, and can be easily bonded with other pieces in manufacturing. It is also fairly inexpensive.

Thinner materials like nylon and spandex can be used in knee sleeves, but often the sleeves made from these materials do not provide much support, just compression and warmth. A combination of materials can make an excellent knee sleeve.

Different panels made out of breathable fabric along with added support features make these types of compression sleeves great for most athletes who are looking for more ergonomic and comfortable options.

Durability

For Crossfit athletes who are in the gym all the time, durability should be an important factor when looking at knee sleeves.

Person sitting down on the floor while holding their ankle

A well made compression sleeve for Crossfit should last at least a year or more under heavy use.

If you find that you are replacing your equipment more often than that, it will probably save you money over the long term if you buy a more expensive set of knee sleeves that will last longer.

Competition Approval

For professional or amateur Crossfit competitors, another thing to keep in mind is whether or not your particular set of knee sleeves is allowed to be worn in competition. The official 2020 Crossfit Games Rulebook states that “Subject to CrossFit, Inc.’s prior approval, weight belts, non-tacky gloves, hand tape, neoprene joint sleeves, and common fitness wear may be allowed during competition.” 

Other competitions may have a different set of rules, so be sure to check them beforehand.

Conclusion

Knee sleeves can be an important part of a Crossfit athlete’s daily workout routine, so it is important to find the best one that meets your needs. Figure out how much compression and support you need before shopping, and always be sure to size the knee sleeves correctly.

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