TOP 15 Best Knee Sleeves For CrossFit – Buyers Guide & Reviews For 2019

What one thing stops the most dedicated athlete in their tracks?

Injury.

One injury can keep you away from the box for days, weeks, even months while the injury heals.

Meanwhile, you may be losing precious muscle, gaining unwanted fat, and going backward on your fitness goals.

That’s why I recommend all CrossFit athletes and lifters wear knee sleeves when they lift.

I gathered this list of the 15 best knee sleeves for CrossFit, wrote this buyer’s guide, and answer your knee sleeve questions in the FAQs. So let’s go!

TOP 15 Best CrossFit Knee Sleeves 2019

Rogue Knee Sleeves

Rogue 5MM Knee Sleeve

rogue large button

Review: Rogue knee sleeves will give you the extra support you need for heavy lifts and help prevent knee injury or support your knees if you already have problems.

They are comfortable, and unlike many knee sleeves out there, these last. You can wear them training 5 days a week without worrying they will split, lose their compression or come unraveled.

Pros

  • Comfortable, will not roll.
  • Last a long time.
  • Very supportive.

Cons

  • Run a little snug.

Takeaway

Best knee sleeves for CrossFit in 2019 in terms of durability and support.

Aeolos Knee Sleeves

Review: These Aeolos knee sleeves are a great choice for a budget-priced pair of supportive knee sleeves. They stay in place, are not too long, and are available in cutting edge patterns that will have your friends asking where you got them.

Pros

  • 7mm thick – supportive.
  • Several fun, dynamic designs available.
  • Stay in place, don’t roll up.

Cons

  • Runs a bit large for some.

Takeaway

Best knee brace for CrossFit at a great price.

Hookgrip Knee Sleeves 2.0

Hookgrip Knee Sleeves 2.0

rogue large button

Review: Hookgrip knee sleeves are made for warm-up and recovery. They will keep your knees warmed up before a lift and offer circulation promoting compression after a tough workout to aid with recovery.

Pros

  • Thin, breathable knee sleeves keep your knees warmed up.
  • Allows complete range of motion.
  • Compression fit helps with recovery after your workout.

Cons

  • They have no “spring back” and little support.

Takeaway

Best recovery knee sleeves for CrossFit.

Stoic Knee Sleeves

Review: These are the sleeves you want if you lift heavy or squat heavy. They are strong and supportive, with high compression.

They are longer than most knee sleeves, but they are still reasonably easy to get on and off. They may be a bit more expensive, but they last longer than most other brands too.

Pros

  • Extra-long length, full coverage.
  • Designed to outlast most other sleeves.
  • Stiff, thick, highly supportive material.

Cons

  • The seam behind the knee can be irritating.

Takeaway

Best lifting knee sleeves for CrossFit, lifting and squats.

ProFitness Knee Sleeves

Review: Top-notch pair of lifting and CrossFit knee sleeves in the budget price range. They have noticeable support, decent rebound and will give you the punch of confidence you need to lift “just a little more”.

They are plenty tight, lots of compression and do not stretch out like others in this price range. They are ideal for lifting, but you may want to remove them when you are doing other exercises.

Pros

  • Strong compression – lots of support.
  • Stiff and tight – great for squats.
  • Really affordable.

Cons

  • Really tight at the top edge.

Takeaway

Best CrossFit knee sleeves for lifting in this price range.

Workt Knee Sleeve

Workt 5mm Knee Sleeve

rogue large button

Review: The Workt knee sleeves are designed for both support and recovery, offer good compression, keep your knees warmed up and circulation in the knee area flowing.

They are long-lasting and will not fall apart in a few months like cheaper ones, which is a huge bonus in my book.

Pros

  • Designed for support and recovery.
  • Made in the USA.
  • 5mm sport specific neoprene – washable and long lasting.

Cons

  • Sold individually, not as pairs.

Takeaway

Great CrossFit knee sleeves for recovery, rehab and keeping your knees warmed up.

Bear KompleX Compression Lite Knee Sleeves

Review: These Compression LITE knee sleeves by Bear Komplex are recovery and rehab knee sleeves for CrossFit.

They are a little thinner than the original Bear Komplex sleeves, with softer breathable material. They will keep your knees warm, allow a complete range of motion and still provide support and compression for squats and lifts, while not being as stiff as the originals.

Pros

  • Bamboo and charcoal eliminate odor and wick away sweat.
  • Allow a full range of motion.
  • Soft and comfortable fabric.

Cons

  • Tag in the back is irritating.

Takeaway

Supportive and comfortable knee sleeves for recovery and support while lifting.

Rehband Knee Sleeve

Review: Rehbands are some of the most popular knee sleeves available. They are often sold as a single sleeve instead of a pair, and they are average length for a knee sleeve. They are stiff and supportive with good rebound.

Pros

  • 7mm thick neoprene.
  • Stiff sleeve, good for moderate weight lifting.
  • Comfortable, shorter length.
  • High-quality durable stitching.
  • Flexible enough to wear during the whole workout.

Cons

  • Tend to run large.

Takeaway

Nice natural, comfortable fit with material that does not bunch at the back of the knee, while giving plenty of support. One of the best knee sleeves for CrossFit.

Exo Knee Sleeves

Review: 7mm knee sleeves built for functional athletes and CrossFit. These sleeves are great for repetitive movements and offer some support without restricting movement.

Pros

  • Flexible, good for agility.
  • Tapered design so they are easy to remove.
  • Comfortable tapered fit.
  • Longer than the average knee sleeve.

Cons

  • Less rigid than other 7mm sleeves.

Takeaway

These knee sleeves are ideal for everyday wear and are comfortable and flexible enough to wear for the entire duration the workout, but may not be stiff enough for serious lifting.

Bear KompleX Knee Sleeves Original

Review: These 4 panel neoprene knee sleeves come in both 5mm and 7 mm thickness. This sleeve is thick, and very supportive, while still allowing the knee to move.

Pros

  • Stiff sleeve, good for squats, snatches clean jerks etc.
  • Two thicknesses to choose from.

Cons

  • Challenging to get off, rigid and tight.

Takeaway

Great for power and strength movements, one of the stiffest and longest knee sleeves designed for CrossFit.

Iron Bull Knee Sleeves

Review: These Iron Bull knee sleeves are a shorter sleeve, 4 panel, 7mm neoprene sleeve with decent stiffness.

Pros

  • Rigid, stiff knee sleeve, tight and supportive.
  • Double silicone strip to keep sleeve in place.
  • 11.5” long.
  • Double-stitched seams.

Cons

  • Tend to run small.

Takeaway

These sleeves have a moderate length, not too long nor short, and they are pretty stiff and tight, and won’t get lax, loose and lazy with use. We appreciate that!

Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves

Review: These sleeves are comparable to the popular Rehband knee sleeve, while being significantly less expensive. Several users have said they are very similar in how they feel while worn.

Pros

  • 7mm neoprene.
  • 10” total length.
  • Comparable to more expensive brands.
  • Flexible enough for squats and high reps.

Cons

  • Tend to run small, although they should be tight.

Takeaway

While the Nordic Lifting knee sleeves are some of the shorter knee sleeves available, some athletes prefer the shorter length, and they are also one of the best quality sleeves for the price.

RockTape Knee Sleeves

Review: Go stronger and longer with this thick, stiff rocktape knee sleeve with 4 panel construction, double stitching which has been improved from the 3rd gen onward.

Pros

  • Choose between 5mm and 7mm thickness.
  • Longer than the average knee sleeve.
  • Very stiff and supportive.
  • SBR neoprene.

Cons

  • Some people found them to be bulky.

Takeaway

When you need support, these RockTape sleeves are there for you and your knees with extended length for just a little bit extra. Some of the best knee support for CrossFit available.

Sling Shot Mark Bell Strong Knee Sleeves

Review: These STrong Knee sleeves are stiff and supportive. They are rigid enough for serious lifting, and athletes like how long they are.

Pros

  • Seams are on the side, not the front and back, so they are more comfortable.
  • Stiff, rigid and supportive.
  • 7mm level 3 neoprene.
  • Sleeves do not stretch or warp.

Cons

  • Tend to run large, if you are between sizes, try the smaller size.

Takeaway

Get yourself some “Good Good” and get these STRONG knee sleeves by Mark Bell.

Exous Bodygear Knee Sleeves

Review: These Exous 7mm neoprene sleeves are longer than most knee sleeves available. They are also very supportive and don’t roll up like shorter knee sleeve tend to.

Pros

  • Dense high quality neoprene.
  • High-quality stitching.
  • Tag on the outside so it won’t irritate the skin.
  • Great all around sleeves can be worn thru the entire workout.

Cons

  • Not contoured so material bunches up at the back of the knee.

Takeaway

These neoprene sleeves are excellent quality at an accessible price. Plus, they are so comfortable; you will forget you are wearing them.

Knee Sleeve Buying Guide 2019

two men lying on CrossFit gym floor beside Olympic barbell

Why Use a Knee Sleeve?

Why use a knee sleeve? Here are several reasons!

Stability

They keep your knees warmed up in between reps and different exercises, which make squats and lifts feel more fluid.

Let’s Bounce!

The best knee sleeve for CrossFit will give a small amount of bounce or rebound at the end of a squat which may help you lift more weight.

The benefit of the bounce is the added confidence the sleeves give to go deep on a squat and reap the maximum benefit while building your gluteus maximus.

It’s All about Form

Knee sleeves help keep your knees pointed out and improve your form. The importance of correct form while lifting, squatting or virtually any exercise cannot be understated.

Injury and Wear Prevention

Look!

Knee sleeves are a form of “prehab” because you wear them before wearing or damage occurs and prevent the pain in the first place.

You may believe that you are OK with your current routine, but as many athletes will tell you, the injury can show up later or occur over time.

Many advocates of the knee sleeve say they did not realize how much wearing a knee sleeve during their workout would reduce post-workout aches and pains.

Speaking of “prehab” stretching is an important way to prevent injury. Check out our list of recommended stretch mats before you hit the gym.

Lift More Weight!

If you are trying to increase your squat weight, knee sleeves are a must. The added weight on a knee that has not lifted a higher weight is just begging for an injury.

Knee sleeves will give you the confidence to take your weight to the next level.

Sleeves provide the bounce needed to actually lift heavier, and they protect your knee from injury on heavy lifts. Click here for more info on the best knee sleeves for squats.

athlete lifting barbell in gym

How are CrossFit Knee Sleeves Different From Knee Sleeves for Lifting?

CrossFit Sleeves are built to support and stabilize, just like sleeves for lifting.

The difference is that lifting sleeves are often much tighter and stiffer, made specifically for support while lifting.

Weight lifting sleeves are very hard to get on. If a sleeve is too easy to get on, it will not have the support needed for serious lifting. If the sleeve is not too stiff, it is probably designed for functional fitness or CrossFit.

In fact, many weight lifters use knee wraps instead of sleeves, because they can get the wraps tighter than a sleeve.

CrossFit knee sleeves are not as intense, they are designed to support and stabilize, but they better range of movement and can be worn for agility movements plus you can wear them for the entire workout if you want.

CrossFit knee sleeves are great for high repetition lifting.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit

woman doing weight lifting exercise with Olympic barbell

Stiffness/Stability

The stiffer or more ridged the sleeve the more likely they will be useful for heavy lifting. In our experience there are three classes of knee sleeve:

  • Very stiff, SBD neoprene. The type that is hard to get on and offer maximum support. They feel tight and do not bend easily. These are the type of sleeve powerlifters wear.
  • Sleeves that offer a mix of support and flexibility. They are OK for lifting and agility movements. These are the most common type worn for CrossFit. They can be worn during the entire workout.
  • Light and flexible sleeves. These can be worn all day, every day for virtually any activity. They are sometimes worn just to cover the knees and protect it from the bar. They offer minimal support, but do keep the knee joint warmed up. They have compression, and are good for recovery too.

Length

This is a preference issue. Some find that longer sleeves offer more support while others find the long sleeves have too much fabric and feel bulky.

Longer sleeves are less likely to roll and bunch up, but they may be harder to get on.

MM 5 or 7mm

These are measures of thickness and apply to neoprene sleeves.

7mm thickness is stiffer and more supportive.

5mm thickness is more flexible and can be used for jogging, agility exercises or recovery and warm-up.

Stitching

One common failure point in knee sleeves is the stitching, which is why it is important to check the stitching.

The seams should be smooth, evenly sewed, straight and neat. Look for sleeves that are double stitched and check reviews for those that tend to fall apart or develop holes.

Knee Sleeve FAQs

female athlete performing weight lifting exercise at gym

Should I Wear Knee Sleeves for CrossFit? Do Knee Sleeves Help CrossFit?

While they are not an absolute requirement for CrossFit, knee sleeves do have many benefits. They keep your knees warmed up and loose, so you can squat deep.

The stiffer knee sleeves can add a few lbs to your PR by the spring back they offer. Many CrossFit athletes like sleeves simply because they add confidence when lifting, and improve the mental aspect of lifting heavy.

Also, one big reason many CrossFit athletes wear knee sleeves is to protect a previous knee injury or heal faster from a current one.

Why do My Knees Hurt After CrossFit?

There are many reasons your knees may hurt from CrossFit, and it’s hard to say why your knees might hurt.

Squatting too heavy, or too often is one possible cause. Bad lifting form or poor mobility are other causes.

Knee pain can even come from issues with your feet and ankles, like pronated feet.

Have your coach check your form while you lift to look for advice.

A good knee sleeve can offer support and keep your knees warmed up, lessening pain, but if knee pain is constant, see a Sports Medicine Doctor.

How Tight Should Compression Knee Sleeves be?

It depends.

There are two types of knee sleeves with compression. Knee sleeves that have recovery compression and knee sleeves that are designed for lifting heavy weight.

If you are using the knee sleeves for recover or just keeping your knees warmed up, the compression should be tight enough that they are a challenge to get on, but not so tight that they restrict movement or cut off circulation. Recovery knee sleeves should be comfortable enough to wear the entire workout.

Lifting knee sleeves are another story. Lifting knee sleeves are really tight, so tight some athletes ONLY wear them during the lift. You may see lifters who roll the sleeves down or take them off between sets. Lifting sleeves are not normally worn during the entire CrossFit WOD.

Speaking of compression…

Compression gear has been shown to help you recover faster.

Check out my list of the best compression tights and the best compression elbow sleeves and start gaining the recovery benefits of compression gear.

Should I get 5mm or 7mm Knee Sleeves?

It depends on the level of support you want. The thicker the neoprene, the more supportive, stiff and tight the sleeves will be.

5 mm sleeves are ideal for metcons and agility work, or recover and keeping knees warm.

7mm sleeves are better suited for heavy lifting WODs.

Summary

I hope you were able to find the best knee sleeves for CrossFit for you.

Choosing the best knee sleeves for CrossFit may not be an easy task.

But one thing is for sure:

You need them to protect your knees now and in the future. So pick up a pair and we will see YOU at the box!

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