Knee Sleeves for Squats – Introduction
What are the best knee sleeves for squats on the market today in 2021?
Squats are the best lower body exercise, bar none.
Barbell back and front squats, Zercher squats, overhead squats, goblet squats, box squats – each of these exercises can be used to build muscle mass, strength, and athleticism.
The humble squat is not just an exercise; it’s also a common movement pattern that most people do many times a day.
Standing up and sitting down?
Getting out of your car?
Walking up a flight of stairs?
A series of one-legged squats!
It’s hard to get through a day without doing at least a handful of squats.
If Squats Have a Downside…
However, if squats have a downside, it is that they can be hard on your knee joints, and even cause knee pain.
That’s especially true if you squat hefty weights, train squats more than a couple of times a week, have knee joint wear-and-tear, or have any other knee issues.
The good news is that a pair of squat knee sleeves can help support your joints, keep them warm, increase blood flow, and provide pain relief while reducing joint wear and tear.
They can also help you recover faster between workouts.
If you squat hard and heavy, a pair of neoprene knee sleeves will definitely help.
Knee sleeves are not the same as knee braces.
Because knee sleeves are flexible and usually made of neoprene while knee braces are usually hinged and designed for injury repair and support.
Knee sleeves offer general compression, whereas knee braces are usually much more heavily engineered.
With so many models on the market, it can be hard to know which knee sleeves to choose.
So, to make your decision a little easier, here are seven of the best knee sleeves for squats, all tried and tested, just for you.
- 7mm thick level 3 neoprene to support max effort
- Provides "Sling Shot" effect at the bottom adding pounds to your squat
- Use during heavy sets for maximum support
Mark Bell, the owner of Sling Shot, is a famous powerlifter, lifting coach, and all-round expert in strength training.
His company makes a range of high-quality training aids, and Sling Shot Strong Knee Sleeves are a particularly great product.
If you want to lift heavy on leg day, these are the sleeves you want.
- 7mm thickness for optimal warmth, knee support, and compression
- Designed to increase drive out of the bottom of the squat
- Stiff enough to increases joint stability but flexible for unencumbered movement
- No seams at the back of the knee for increased comfort and flexibility
Powerlifters love these stiff, thick knee sleeves.
While they are easy to pull on, they feel snug and supportive and give your knees the protection you need for heavy squatting.
They are available in a range of sizes, from extra small to XXXXL.
- Strong and supportive
- Made to last
- Powerlifting federation legal
- Made by powerlifters for powerlifters
- Quite expensive
- May be too thick and stiff for lighter weights
Where some knee sleeves are ideal for light workouts, and even calisthenics, these are not.
Because they are thick, it takes a heavy weight to get them to flex.
If you are lifting light weights, these are not the sleeves for you.
But, if you are starting to squat heavy, you’ll love the support and bounce Sling Shot Strong Knee Sleeves provide.
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Rehband has been making neoprene joint supports for over 60 years.
Their sleeves have been worn by Olympians and world champions all over the world.
Rehband knee sleeves are especially popular with lifters with knee injuries, and many physical therapists insist on them.
- 7mm thick
- Available in 7 sizes and 13 colors/patterns
- Stitched and taped seams for added durability
- Contoured fit for added comfort
- Lateral reinforcements for added stability
Rehband is one of the most well-known squat knee sleeves around.
They provide firm but flexible support, and their contoured shape makes them very comfortable to wear – even for long periods.
With so many colors and patterns to choose from, you’ll also be able to match them to your workout outfit.
- Handcrafted since 1955
- Excellent fit
- Very hardwearing
- Tried-and-tested design
- Not sold as a pair
- Buying two may be too expensive for some users
If Rehband knee sleeves have a disadvantage, it is that they are sold singularly, and not in pairs.
Most people who wear knee sleeves for squat performance and support tend to wear two.
Because this is a premium product, that means a pair of Rehband knee sleeves could prove expensive.
However, you really do get a premium product for your money.
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Knee sleeves are often 7mm thick.
That’s good for warmth and support but can also limit mobility.
Bear KompleX knee sleeves are also available in 5mm, which means they are especially useful for beginners and those looking for a lighter, more flexible knee sleeve.
- Available in 5mm and 7mm thickness
- Available in 11 designs
- Taped and double-stitched seams added support
- Made in five sizes – from small to XXL
Flexible and durable, these knee sleeves are tailor-made for beginners.
If you are light and have yet to progress to squatting big weights, the 5mm sleeves should be ideal.
Bigger, strength athletes, and those looking for more support should go for the 7mm sleeves.
- Versatile design
- Comfortable to wear
- Great colors and patterns
- CrossFit Games-approved
- Some users report that these knees sleeves aren’t very durable and could wear out in less than six months
Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves are a favorite in CrossFit boxes all around the world.
They’re flexible and supportive – which is just what you need for pain-free squats.
But, if you want a knee sleeve that can increase squat performance, these sleeves are probably not quite stiff enough.
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Mava Sports compression knee sleeves are a basic but well-made product that will provide your knees with warmth and support for squats, weightlifting, and CrossFit training.
Anatomically shaped for comfort, these knee sleeves are especially well-suited for beginners.
- 7mm thickness
- Available in six colors
- Available in five sizes – S to XL
- USPA approved
- Very competitively priced
At less than half the price of some of the premium knee sleeves on review, this product is ideal for beginners who aren’t sure if they want or need knee sleeves.
But, despite the low price, these knee sleeves for squats are just as functional and supportive as the more expensive models.
- Perfect for beginners
- Budget-friendly option
- Good color options
- Not a big range of sizes
Because they are only available in five sizes, you may find that you can’t get the exact size you need.
If you are between sizes, go down a size because, when it comes to getting enough support, tighter is generally better than looser.
Titan makes serious powerlifting equipment, from squat suits to lifting belts to knee wraps.
Their Titan Yellow Jacket knee sleeves are IPF-approved for both equipped and raw powerlifting competitions.
Stiff and supportive, these neoprene sleeves will protect your joints and give you a boost in squat performance.
These are arguably the best knee sleeves for powerlifting.
- 7mm thickness
- X-shaped reinforced stitching for extra bounce out of the bottom of your squat
- 30 cm length
- Consistent thickness throughout for optimal performance
- Available in seven sizes, from XS to XXXL
If you want a knee sleeve that does more than just keep your knees warm, these could be the ones for you.
The X-shaped stitching passes over your kneecaps to act a bit like a spring, allowing you to lift more weight.
If you want a serious squat boost, try buying a size smaller than usual to provide added compression.
- Competition legal
- Warm and supportive
- Designed specifically for powerlifting
- Available in a wide range of sizes
- Maybe too stiff and thick for some beginners
If you want to see how much you can squat (safely, of course!), these knee sleeves from Titan can help.
But, if you are a beginner and aren’t ready to squat big weights just yet, you may prefer a thinner, more flexible knee sleeve for now.
SBD is a name synonymous with powerlifting, strongman, and Olympic weightlifting.
Made in the USA, these sleeves are very high quality and designed for warmth, support, and performance.
Hard-wearing, these 7mm SBD knee sleeves should provide many years of faithful service.
- 7mm thick
- Competition-legal thickness and length
- Reinforced seams for increased longevity
- Patented performance-boosting design
Unlike a lot of knee sleeves, each SBD knee sleeve is designated as a left or a right.
They are made to prevent your knees from dropping in while you squat, which is a useful feature for beginners and can help build confidence.
These high-quality knee sleeves aren’t cheap, but they are amongst the best heavy lifting knee sleeves on the market.
- Very comfortable fit
- Easy to put on and take off
- Very warm
- Extremely hardwearing
- Available in 11 sizes – from 3XS to 5XL
- Quite expensive
- Maybe too warm for some users
You can see SBD knee sleeves in action on shows like the World’s Strongest Man – they’re that popular and well known.
The black with red writing design is iconic.
But these knee sleeves don’t just look good – they work really well too.
That’s why they’re so popular!
Eleiko Knee Sleeves are not made specifically for squatting, but that’s precisely what makes them so good for beginners.
They are very flexible, provide plenty of support, but won’t give you too much bounce out of the bottom of your squat.
They shouldn’t restrict your range of motion either.
That means you’ll need to do more of the work yourself, and that’s not a bad thing when you are just starting out.
- 7mm thick
- Very flexible neoprene
- Available in two colors – jet black and solar pink
- Available in seven sizes – from XS to XXXL
- Suitable for all lower body strength training exercises
Eleiko makes high-quality strength training equipment, including some of the best weightlifting bars and bumper plates in the world.
Their equipment is used in many world-class competitions, including the Olympics.
Eleiko Knee Sleeves maintain this reputation and are of excellent quality at a reasonable price.
- High-quality product
- Firm yet flexible support
- Very comfortable
- Made to last
- Very strong lifters may prefer a stiffer knee sleeve with a bit more bounce
Eleiko knee sleeves are the perfect choice for beginners and for more advanced lifters who don’t need a whole lot of added thrust during squats.
Warming and supportive, these compression sleeves won’t artificially increase your squat performance but should keep your knees healthy and comfortable during your workouts.
Best Knee Sleeves for Squats – Final Thoughts
If you squat hard and heavy, knee sleeves can provide you with the compression and support you need to prevent injury and may even boost your squat performance.
Don’t think that wearing knee sleeves makes you injury-proof – you still need to squat with proper technique, and only after a full warm-up.
However, the feeling of security you get from a pair of well-fitting knee sleeves is hard to beat.
And, once you wear knee sleeves, you won’t want to squat without them.
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