I get asked all the time what gear to use and how to use it. So I figured I start a blog. Since this is my first time, I thought I start with the one of the most popular pieces of gear around: the knee sleeve.
Knees sleeves are supportive equipment that provide warmth, stability, and joint protection. They are a valuable tool used by many strength athletes. Made from high strength neoprene, knee sleeves vary in thickness from 3 mm, 5 mm, or 7 mm. Below are some popular brands of knee sleeves which I have tested over the past several weeks/months.
SBD comes in 7 mm thickness and they provide the most joint protection and stability than any other brand on the market. The SBD sleeve is designed to support and assist the knee joint at the bottom of the squat and no one does it better then British brand. Unfortunately they lack versatility (forget about trying to run or WOD with them on) and there is little room for error when it comes to sizing. Priced at $90.00 a pair, it’s hard to justify purchasing unless you plan on competing in a powerlifting completion. This brand is recommended for competition use.
Rehband comes in 3 mm, 5 mm, and 7 mm thickness. With various models and colors, buyers have lots of options. Sizes range from XS – XXL.
I found that Rehband is the most versatile knee sleeve of the brands tested.
- 3 mm provides warmth and is a great choice for spring and summer WODs.
- 5 mm provides warmth, more joint stability, and protection than 3 mm. 5 mm is a good all around sleeve for lifts such as squats, cleans, and snatches yet forgiving enough to be worn during a WOD.
- 7 mm provides warmth and protection; however, they are designed to provide maximum stability with the olympic and power lifts. They can be worn during a WOD but they are not as forgiving as a 3 or 5 mm when running.
Rehband has built itself a solid reputation with its well made, high quality knee sleeves.
Just like the SBD, Rehbands are pricey, ranging from $35.00 to $49.00…and that is just for one sleeve. If you are looking for stability and protection and price is not a factor than you can’t go wrong with Rehband’s 5 mm series.
Just do yourself a favor and order two sleeves; your other knee will thank you for it.
Known for revolutionizing the world of kinesiotape and the approach to instrument assisted tissue massage, RockTape has decided to enter their hat into the race of offering knee protection. RockTape Assassins are built to deliver just that.
Choose from 5 mm thickness for moderate support or 7 mm thickness for maximum support. Assassins are moderately priced at $50.00 per pair and offer 3 different design choices.
Personally, the Skull Assassins are my favorite; one sleeve has a spine and rib cage while the other has an open mouth skull.
Created by former USA bobsled team member, Mickey Dollens, Tree Trunx Leg Day Apparel knee sleeves have been gaining popularity since its conception in 2014.
Dollens designed them for squats, deadlifts, cleans, ands snatches.
They are only available only in 7 mm thickness; however, they are more forgiving than the SBD sleeve.
Priced at $25.00 per pair (this is not a typo) and free shipping included, they are the most affordable knee sleeve on the market! Moreover, with each purchase Tree Trunx plants a tree as a symbol of their commitment to you and the preservation of our environment. How cool is that?
Which brand is best? All four offer well designed high quality knee sleeves. What distinguishes one from the other is intent and price. My top choice is the Rehband 5 mm. They offer warmth, support, and protection as well as durability. Lift, run, jump, WOD, Rehband 5 mm has got you covered for years to come.
If budget is a factor theTree Trunx sleeves are an excellent choice. I really like these sleeves especially priced at $25 per pair and promoting environmental awareness. It was a difficult to place them 2nd; If they offered a choice of 5 mm they would have been the decisive winner.
- Best Sleeve for Squats: SBD. There is no comparison
- Best Sleeve for Olympic Lifting and Related Lifts (eg. overhead squats, snatch balance etc.) Rehband 7 mm
- Best Sleeve for Hot Weather Months: Rehband 3 mm
This is my take on knee sleeves. I hope that you have found this blog useful for your future purchase and gains. Remember, Strength waits for no one. Until next time.
By Eric Townsley, PTA, CF level 1 Coach, USAW SPCC, USAPL CC