So you want to pick up a new knee compression sleeve to support your knees on hiking trips. Sounds fairly simple right? Well, actually there is a lot more to it than you might initially think. Your knee is a very complex joint, and compressing it the wrong way can result in more knee problems than you already have.
In fact, the knee has to sustain anywhere between 3 to 6 times your total body weight when you take a step (3x while standing on 2 legs, 6x per leg). If you weigh 150 pounds, and are standing on both legs, then the pressure on each one of your knee joints is 450 pounds. If you are moving (walking, climbing, descending, running, etc.) then you will notice that only one of your legs stays on the ground at any given time. This puts 900 pounds of pressure on each knee when it has to bear the whole weight of your body.
While the knee joint is probably the most complex and toughest joint in the entire body, you have to take proper care of it or else your hiking and trekking aspirations will be cut short by a sore or fractured knee, and you will find yourself trekking to the doctor instead. Here are our top 4 picks for the best knee compression sleeves. Take a look and choose the right size for your knees, as well as the material that you think would suit you the best.
Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Brace & Support
With its smooth anti-slip dual layer silicone interiors and rubberized external finish, this is our top pick when it comes to compression knee sleeves. It has been designed for hikers, trekkers, campers, MMA fighters, and pretty much anyone else who needs some good stable knee support while working out or doing physically intensive activities.
The fabric used in this sleeve is very durable, as well as breathable so that your knees stay well ventilated as you hike or walk. The fabric can sustain a fair bit of stretching, and the ergonomic shape of this sleeve stimulates blood flow and reduces swelling in the knees. This knee sleeve is “one size fits most” with up to 22″ knee circumference. It uses velcro fasteners for a snug fit and a simple fix.
STAR BUDGET PICK
Blitzu Power+ Compression Knee Sleeves
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Okay, let’s start off with why you SHOULD buy this particular ultra-cheap knee compression sleeve. This knee sleeve is made from a special type of synthetic fabric blend that Blitzu calls POWER+ fabric. This material is highly durable and flexible, as well as extremely breathable in order to deliver excellent ventilation for all parts of your knee – the front, back, and sides. This fabric is machine-washable, and comes with a special antibacterial coating that prevents it from smelling when it gets sweaty.
It will get sweaty, since the moisture-wicking design will absorb all the sweat from your legs and knees and suck them into the fabric. This moisture will not stay for long inside the fabric though, since the large amount of airflow through the breathable sleeve is sufficient to evaporate all of that sweat. Is there any reason why you would NOT want to buy this? Well there is no dedicated anti-slip coating on the inside. That is definitely not a deal breaker, as even without a dedicated anti-slip layer, this sleeve doesn’t slide around a lot owing to the design of the POWER+ fabric.
Kunto Fitness Knee Brace Compression Support Sleeve
Well, the Kunto knee compression sleeve has colored patterns on it that look a lot like the lines from the woolen sweater that your grandpa used to wear when he was young. But hey, don’t mistake this simple looking knee sleeve for any other piece of cloth. It is one of the most well-built knee compression sleeves out there, and the fabric on this one is extremely breathable so you never even feel it on your legs (except for the compression part).
The sleeve will provide moderate relief from an array of ailments such as arthritis, swollen knees, post-surgery pains, etc. Compression around your patella will keep your blood circulating in the knees, and the compression above and behind the kneecap will keep your knee joint steady and well-aligned, greatly reducing the risk of ligament or joint damage.
Endurance Shield 360 Compression Knee Sleeve
Made from a special blend of nylon and Lycra, these sleeves are meant to provide complete and all-round support for your knees. They extend 4” above and below your kneecaps, and also cover the rear side of your knees. Compression is dynamic, meaning that different sections of the sleeve provide different levels of compressive force. The force peaks out around the patella, and is otherwise well distributed throughout the length of the knee so as to maintain optimal blood flow and prevent swelling.
By wearing this sleeve, you will gain substantial relief from knee aches, swelling/inflammation, arthritis, etc. If you are a hiker, tennis player, basketball player, or runner, then you should definitely give these sleeves a try, as you will immediately notice a significant change in the way your knees felt before and after wearing this strap. The change will become even more apparent after a session of basketball or a tour of the gym. For hiking, the rear knee support really comes in handy when you are going downhill.
Choosing the Best Knee Compression Sleeve for Hiking
So, how do you choose a knee brace? Well, there are basically 4 types of knee braces out there – knee sleeves, knee supports, knee stabilizers, and hinged knee braces. The one we are going to cover in this article is the knee sleeve. More specifically speaking, we will be covering the closed patella compression knee sleeve. These are the best type of knee sleeves for hikers, as they provide sufficient support for your knee socket, both below and above the kneecap. They also stimulate blood flow in the knee joint, and prevent swelling around the knee. The right compression sleeve for knees must always be chosen by keeping the following points in mind:
Compression knee sleeves are available in different sizes, since they cannot be adjusted like Velcro-based knee supports. These are slipped over the knee, and it is up to you to ensure that the knee sleeve which you are buying is not too tight or loose for your knee.
This is an obvious factor. If you just purchased a new knee sleeve, make sure that you wear it on your knee for at least 5-6 hours before you decide whether it is right or not. Give it some time to expand and reach its optimal compression state. Also, make sure that the inner surface of the knee strap is designed with a non-slip layer.
If the knee strap feels like it is constantly scratching or rubbing against your skin, it is pretty useless. Get a compression sleeve that is made from lightweight, breathable materials so that your knee joint doesn’t get too hot or sweaty while wearing the sleeve for several hours. Your skin needs to breathe, and the sleeve must support a decent amount of airflow.