Best stabilizing knee brace

Hinged braces are great for stabilization.
Hinged braces are great for stabilization.

Best stabilizing knee brace

Both an injured and an overloaded knee can benefit from additional stabilization. Stabilizing knee braces come in a wide variety of forms, each of them specialized for a task.

  • Thick neoprene sleeves are great for stabilizing your knees for weight lifting and squatting. These will hold your knees together and give you additional support for these high-load slow-movement sports.
  • Sleeves made of thinner materials are great for faster movements, such as running, jogging, basketball and football. The compression they provide can help with a wide variety of knee issues, and the extra stabilization take the load off your knees. This means less knee-fatigue and lower chance of injury. These sleeves are usually good for jogging, running, hiking, and simply just running your daily errands.
  • Hinged sleeves are good for LCL and MCL injuries, and sports which require quick turns, such as basketball or football. These sleeves provide strong lateral stabilization, they do not let your knees move or twist to the side. Our next section is about these braces.

Bracoo Knee Support, Open-Patella Brace, Breathable Neoprene

Overview and sizing

The Braco knee support brace is a one-size-fits-all brace, it fits knees between 12.5" .. 18" so it's really flexible. Make sure you measure your knee around your patella to know if your product will fit you.

The brace comes as a single so you'll have to buy two for both knee. Unfortunately the warranty for this product is a bit of a mystery.

Health and sporting with the sleeve

The sleeve is good for skiing if you have bursitis or meniscus, and helps with ski injuries too. Besides this this brace tends to help with runner's knee and jumpers' knee, lateral meniscus tear. It stabilizes the knee, for maximum stabilization a hinged brace will be better though.

As for other sports, the brace is suitable for wrestling, basketball, weight lifting, zumba, running, cycling. It will give you support for doing your everyday chores such as walking up stairs too. It bunches up only rarely and rarely slips.

As for ligament problems, the brace helps with ACL, MCL and PCL problems. This brace prevents your knee from twisting so it's a good option if you are waiting for total knee replacement too.

The support and compression it provides is good for arthritis.

The brace adequatly supports your patella too, and it does not keep it in place too rigidly. However it's not a brace specialized for patella tracking problems.

The brace helps if you need to bend your knees often, however it's a bit bulky, so bending might be just a tiny bit harder. The brace is great for squats too, and even for sports which require quick movements such as running or tennis.

The brace is a bit hot so it'll probably get sweaty if you use it for intense movements is warm weather. However it's easy to wash - just hand wash it or use a light cycle in the washing machine.

The brace also survives in the pool, just make sure you wash it in running water to get rid of the chlorine.

Material

This brace contains no metal so no problems at the airport security. It contains neoprene, so it has some smell initially.

It does not contain latex, still, take care if you have an allergy. The velcro is of good quality, still you may need to wash it sometimes to untangle it and extend it's lifetime.

You can wear this brace under your jeans, it will only show if you wear tight clothes as it has a bit of thickness.

Crucial knee compression brace (pair)

Overview

The Crucial knee compression brace comes as a pair. It offers a great variety of sizes (measure 3" above your kneecap):

codesize above kneecap
XS13"-16"
S16"-18"
M 18"-20"
L20"-23"
XL 23"-26"
XXL 26"-29"
XXXL29"-32"

The sleeve is ideal for variety of knee-health issues, as the compression and stabilization helps most problems. It stabilizes the patella to some extent (though the open-patella designs are better for this), helps with runners knee, jumpers knee, and most ligament problems including ACL,MCL and LCL. It also tends to work well for arthritic knees and helps those who are waiting for knee replacement.

Unfortunately there's no information on the warranty for this sleeve.

Sporting with the sleeve

The sleeve provides good compression for skiing, tennis, running, hiking, wrestling, basketball, zumba, cycling, swimming, so it survives even in the pool - so it's good for most of the sports where a bit of compression and stabilization can help your knee.

It's also good for sports which require lot of bending, for example squatting and weight lifting. As it's not a full-on neoprene squatting brace it will provide only moderate support. As it has no side hinges it only provides minimal lateral support.

Material

The sleeve contains no metal thus no issues at metal detectors. It contains no neoprene and only a bit of latex. It smells a bit initially but later the smell goes away. It has anti-slip dots which prevent slipping. This sleeve has no velcro in it.

Wearing it

The sleeve rarely bunches up behind your knee, and it's not too tight at your calves either.

You can wear the sleeve under your clothes - it will not be visible unless you wear tight leggings. If you wear it over your clothes it may slip more often. This sleeve is longer than the average.

Just as other simple sleeves, you can only hand wash this one and then let it dry by itself.

The SB SOX Knee Brace

The SB SOX Compression Knee Brace is a great all-rounder brace, it is effective at reducing knee pain as it reduces the knee's loading. You can safely expect it to reduce pain from tearing, arthritis, injuries or surgeries. The brace is thin, can be worn under the clothing, and can help with almost any sport. However it's not really suited for the pool, as the chlorinated water may damage it. If you are looking for a thick sleeve for crossfit or lifting, check out the Bear CompleX sleeve.

Pro Con
suitable for most sportsnot usable in a pool
thin, fits under pantsnot padded, no protection from falling
no metal in itmay contain latex
effective against knee-painmay not help in a few cases
great customer supportmust select proper size
Sizing the brace

The SB SOX Compression Brace is available in four sizes. To find out your size, you'll have to measure the circumference of your thigh, 4 inches above the top of your kneecap.

Thigh sizeSize code
14.5 ... 17 inchesS
17 ... 19.5 inchesM
19.5 ... 22 inchesL
22 ... 24.5 inchesXL

Selecting a size too small will result in a too tight fit, while a too large one will probably slide off. Measuring 4 inches from the top of your knee-cap is important, as your thigh gets thicker the higher you measure. Would you measure 4 inches from the middle of your knee cap, you would probably buy a knee sleeve that's a bit too tight.

The manufacturer's sizing chart is also available on the knee brace's product page.

The length of the knee brace top to bottom is 10.6 inches for the S,M and L sizes, and 11.0 inches for the XL size. The rear side of the brace is a bit shorter than the front size.

If you have large calves, consider getting a brace with velcro straps, such as the Bracoo knee support sleeve. These are a lot more easier to get on than a simple sleeve.

SB SOX has great support and they will help you out would you order the wrong size.

Sporting with the brace

The SB SOX Compression Brace is great for all kind of sports including biking, hiking, dancing (zumba), squatting, weight lifting, gym workouts, football and basketball too. The material is soft so bending your knees will be easy, it will not bunch up in the back. The brace is effective at reducing the knee pain you may experience during sporting or walking as it takes over some load from your knees.

The SB SOX brace is light and breaths very well, so you it will not make you sweat.

Using the brace in water for swimming, water aerobics or simply for getting out of the pool is not advised. The chlorinated pool water could reduce the brace's lifetime. Be sure to wash it with mild soap after the pool, and hang it to dry (do not twist).

Helping your health

The SB SOX Knee Brace is effective at reducing many kinds of knee pain. If you experience pain after overloading your knee the brace will surely make you feel better as it keeps the joints tight.

The brace is good for arthritis induced pain, pain from ACL or meniscus tear. It's also good if you have pain after walking on hard surfaces. If you had a motorcycle or car accident, or a surgery which impacted your knee the SB SOX brace can help with these too.

Overloading your knee can cause painful tendinitis. Wearing the brace will reduce the load on your tendons, and the pain too.

For some the best time to wear this brace is during sleep, so their pain is gone when they get up.

The brace is available in three colors.
The brace is available in three colors.
Wearing the SB SOX brace

The SB SOX Compression Brace is fairly thin, so you can easily wear it under your pants or workout gear. It works well with tighter pants too.

The brace lets the air through so you can keep it on all day long without sweating. The brace usually holds up well, hardly ever slips or folds. The material is soft and comfortable, so you can keep it on for long time without itching.

Washing the brace

The brace holds up well in the washing machine, still, for best results only hand wash it in cold water, and let it try out by itself. Twisting is not recommended as this could damage the brace.

Material and quality

The SB SOX compression brace is made of nylon and spandex material, and contains a thin silicone strip at the top and the bottom to prevent slipping.

The brace may contain latex, take care if you have latex allergy. The brace does not contain metal, so it will not cause you problems at the airport security.

Good to know

The SB SOX compression brace comes as a single package, you have to order two if you want it on both knees. A few promotions are available if you'd like to order more.

The SB SOX brace is not FDA certified, still you can expect it to reduce your knee pain. The support is great and will help you if you are not satisfied.

The brace is light weight so it will not drag you down. It's not padded, so it will not protect your knee from falling.

The Physix gear knee brace

Overview

The Physix gear knee brace is available both as a pair and as single. It has straightforward sizing, just measure 4" above your knee:

Size codeThigh circumference
S14.5" - 17"
M17" - 19.5
L19.5"- 22"

This sleeve provides basic compression and stabilization, which helps most knee problems in itself. As such it will give you relief if you suffer from lateral meniscus tear, patella instability, runner's knee. It also helps to some extent with jumper's knee, ACL, MCL, PCL and LCL sprains, and arthiritis benefits from the compression it provides too.

The stabilization you can get from this sleeve comes handy if you wait for total knee replacement too.

Sporting with the sleeve

This sleeve is good for most sports which require fast movements, including skiing, running, jogging, running, hiking, tennis, basketball, zumba, cycling or just doing your daily routine.

It also supports your knee if you bend it a lot, for example when kneeling, squatting, lifting.

On the downside it's not a heavy-duty neoprene sleeve for squatting, so it will not provide that much support. It has no stabilizing hinges so it will not give you much lateral stabilization.

It's also useful for swimming, just make sure you wash it to get rid of the chlorinated pool water.

Material

The sleeve contains latex so it's not suitable for you if you have latex allergy. It contains no neoprene and has no chemical smell either. It has no velcro which makes it a easier to use.

This is a simple sleeve with no metal in it, the downside is the weaker support you get from it, the upside is that you'll have no issues with metal detectors.

Wearing the sleeve

The sleeve rarely bunches up behind the knee, it also has an anti-slip strip which helps keeping it in place. You can wear it under your clothes, it's fairly thin so it will show only if you wear tight leggings. It may be more prone to slipping if you wear it over your clothes.

You can hand wash the sleeve, or use the delicate cycle of your washing machine. Let it dry by itself!

Unfortunately there's no warranty information for this sleeve.

Best knee brace for lateral support

Knee braces with strong lateral support are great for LCL and MCL injuries, as they take off the lateral load from your ligaments on the side of your knees. The best knee braces for lateral support will have dual side hinges, as hinges are the best solution for stabilization. On the downside hinges make movement harder too, so depending on your need for stabilization single-hinged or sleeves without hinges could be the best solution.

Besides LCL and MCL injuries, lateral support knee braces are great match for sports which require quick turns, as these sudden changes in load can easily damage your knees. Knee braces can be helpful against injuries if you play football, basketball, or during skiing too.

For more information on knee braces and football, you may want to check this article

Shock Doctor Ultra Knee Supporter with Bilateral Hinges (Black, Large)- Single

Overview

This sleeve is great for skiing, helps if you have acl, mcl, pcl or meniscus tear, and helps with runner's knee too. As the brace limits lateral movement and offloads your knee, it helps with arthritis too.

Unfortunately it has no warranty information. It comes as a single, so you'll have to buy two if you need support for both knees.

The sleeve limits how much your knee can bend, however it also protects against lateral bending so it's great at stabilizing your knee.

Sporting with the sleeve

As it stablizes well it also helps with squats. Deep squats can be a bit of a problem as the back side can pinch a bit, however it does not bunch up, which is a great plus.

While you can jog in this brace it's not really suitable to high speed running as it limits the speed you can move with.

As for other sports, this brace is good when you do not need sustained, fast knee movements such as wrestling, weight lifting, zumba, skateboarding, or just doing the housework.

However it's not really good for basketball, tennis or football or cycling.

For swimming you may have to remove the hinges to let your leg move more freely.

Helping your health

As for patella support, this brace is adequate, however do not expect it to hold your patella rigidly in place - it was designed for lateral support.

Material

The material is thick neoprene, so it can get sweaty on the inside, particularly if the weather is hot. Due to the neoprene it can smell a bit. On the upside it's latex free so you will not get latex allergy. The velcro is adequate, but not particularly strong, so do not overtighten it as that could make it wear out early.

Sizing the sleeve

The sizing can be tricky, as you have to get the correct size, and let it break in by itself. You can expect this brace to be a bit tight in the beginning. Just make sure you do not pull on the measuring tape when sizing your thigh - this way it will not become overly tight.

This brace will feel tight on your calves when you put it on first, but this is normal, and will fix itself as the sleeve brakes in.

When in doubt use this sizing chart:

Size code
XS11.5" - 12.5"
S12.25" - 13.25"
M13" - 14"
L13.75" - 14.75"
XL14.5" - 16"
XXL15.75" - 17.25"
XXXL17" - 18.5"

For sizing measure the circumference of your knee 2" bellow your knee cap. Do not pull tight on the measuring tape.

Wearing it

The brace is thick and needs good fit, so you can't wear it above your trousers or pants. It will hide under your clothes as expected, unless you wear tight leggings.

Good to know

As for washing, you can wash it in warm water or in the washing machine with "hand wash" program. Make sure you remove the metal hinges before washing.

The brace has quite an amount of metal in it, it will cause alert at the airport metal detector.

The EXOUS knee brace

Overview

The EXOUS knee brace comes with a very-optimistic lifetime warranty, which is unique in it's class. It comes as a single, so you'll have to buy two for both knees.

Sizing the brace

Sizing this brace is easy, as one size fits all: measure your thigh circumference 3" above your knee. If it's less than 20" the sleeve will fit your thighs. You should also measure your knee circumference, which should be bigger than 13", and your calf circumference where your calf is the largest - this should be less than 16"-18".

Sporting with the sleeve

As for sports, the Exous knee brace is suitable for skiing, skating, running, hiking, basketball, zumba, cycling, tennis, and even skateboarding sports which require bending your knees such as squats, weight lifting. Sometimes the brace bunches up during deep squats, but it's fairly rare. Wearing this brace in the pool for swimming works well too.

Health

On the health side it's good for PCL, LCL, ACL, MCL, PCL issues, runner's knee, jumper's knee, and before total knee replacement - mainly because these all benefit from the compression and stability provided by this brace.

It also provides good lateral support and supports the patella too. This is important because it will help prevent your patella from sliding to the sides.

The material

As for the material the velcro is sensitive for washing, so hand-wash only. Do not put it in the washing machine, not even for a light cycle. The brace contains metal, which is an issue if you want to fly with this on - it will trigger the metal detectors. The brace rarely smells, even though it's made of neoprene. There's no information if it contains latex - take care if you have latex allergy.

Wearing it

This brace rarely slips out of place, and it's suitable even if you have large calf muscles.

You can wear this brace under your clothes, due to it's size it will be visible if you wear skinny jeans or other tight clothing. If you wear it over your clothing you'll lose some of it's ability to stabilize your knee.

EzyFit knee brace with side stabilizers

Overview and sizing information

The EzyFit knee brace has the the standard 30 day return warranty. It comes in multiple sizes, and tends to fit large thighs really well.

Measure the circumference of your knee mid-patella:

Size codeKnee circumference
M9" - 14"
L14"- 17"
XL16" - 24"

The EzyFit brace comes as a single, so you'll have to order to if you need it for both knees.

Sporting with the sleeve

As for sports this brace is good for squats and weight lifting, however bending your knee becomes a bit hard in it.

Running with this brace on can be a bit hard as sometimes it slips during intense movements. This depends on the size of your calves and thighs though. Still, most people use this brace successfully for basketball, zumba, cycling, tennis

Helping your health

The braces is good for ACL, MCL and LCL problems, and limits lateral movement effectively. As it has a hole for your patella, it improves patella tracking and runner's knee too.

It's also good if you have athritis in your knee. However putting this brace on with arthritic hands can be a challenge.

Material and wearing the sleeve

The velcro is strong, unfortunately it can bunch up and rub the back of your knee a bit which is an issue if your skin gets easily irritated.

The material is neoprene (no smell with this one!), and it contains no latex so it should not irritate your skin. Even though it's said to contain no metal it still triggers the airport metal detectors, so take care.

The brace fits well under your clothes, but you can wear it over them too. For best results only hand-wash this sleeve and let it dry by itself.

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