The 15 Best Basketball Knee Braces, Pads & Sleeves for 2023

Basketball players might be the coolest-looking athletes. Think about all the customizable gear they can rock on the court, relative to players in other sports with stricter rules about what can be worn.

While it may be fun to don a headband or a certain style of hair to emulate your favorite player, not every piece of equipment is designed to make a fashion statement. There are a lot of items players wear around the extremities that are designed to keep them healthy.

How many days do we wake up and feel less than 100%, where one body part feels a little weak or sore?

The choice between playing or not playing for a basketball lover is often no decision at all, and certain products help keep players in the game.

We’ll take a closer look at the best knee sleeves, knee pads, and knee braces on the market that help protect you from common basketball injuries.

 

Differences Between Knee Braces, Pads, and Sleeves

To get any sort of burst to sprint back on defense, leap for a rebound, or get some air on your jumpers, you’ll need to put some kind of weight on your knees. One of the fastest ways to short-circuit a hoops-playing career is to suffer knee injuries, so it’s important to know what type of protective gear to wear.

Knee braces, pads, and sleeves might sound like a six-one-way, half-dozen the other kind of solution, but they have some important distinctions.

  • Knee braces come into play more often for players recovering from or dealing with more serious knee injuries, like an ACL injury, MCL injury or meniscus tear. Stability for damaged ligaments is paramount in these scenarios, and a knee brace provides the most knee support.
  • Knee sleeves are perhaps the most commonly seen item, and they have a lot of benefits. While they aren’t quite as sturdy as a knee brace might be, they’re recommended to help reduce knee pain and limit the amount of discomfort in muscles around the knee after a workout.
  • Knee pads have undergone a bit of a renaissance in the last couple of decades. They certainly would protect your kneecap from impact with other players or the floor but would feel a little clunky.

Currently, though, knee pads, as well as sleeves and braces, are all a little more svelte, which allows you to play without thinking about their presence too much.

 

Best Knee Braces For Basketball

1. IPOW Stabilizer

IPOW Stabilizer Knee Strap

Segmented fix design can make adjustment according personal knees’ curves to supply better protection of patella, and do make a difference for your knee.

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When people think about putting a brace on their knee, they mostly picture something that has a ton of coverage above and below their kneecap. The IPOW stabilizer is the complete opposite of that.

It still falls into the brace category but is instead more of a band that absorbs shock and looks like an armband for your knee. It wraps around just below your kneecap and is well-regarded for its shock absorption features.

Another great thing is that because it’s so thin, it doesn’t chafe or trap sweat, allowing you to remain cool in the heat of crunch time.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.3
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.2

 

2. PowerLix Knee Compression

POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve

Tight and breathable compression fabric maintains joint stability regardless of activity while avoiding the itchiness common to neoprene supports. It’s quick at absorbing sweat and keeps your leg dry and odor free.

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This product from PowerLix passes the eye test, as it’s longer than some of the other brace options you’ll find. Even though it’s sturdy enough to hold everything in place, it also prides itself on not hindering your athletic darts to the rim.

Despite its length, the knee compression solution has moisture-wicking technology that allows for ample ventilation when you’re out on the floor. In tandem with this perk, it also doesn’t absorb malodorous smells, which is nice to know when you leave it in your room or gym bag.

PowerLix also offers a money-back guarantee for up to six months, which is attractive for players who are newer to this space and just want to try things out.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.4
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.5

 

3. Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support

Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support Brace

Designed with a 3D AirKnit material that is contoured to the shape of your knee and must be sized properly for a correct & effective fit. Targeted compression and gentle massage provide support to the joint and helps prevent excessive strain.

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It’s always neat to tell amateur athletes that they can wear what NBA players wear, and the Bauerfeind knee brace is officially licensed by the NBA. It can also be yours for an affordable price and has a lot of things working in its favor.

Even though you may look like your favorite player with the Bauerfeind product, the knee brace is specifically calibrated to support the shape of your knee. It boasts 3D AirKnit technology, which is said to enhance the level of fit around your knee.

It also comes with a patella gel pad, which is designed to keep the brace in place. This is important, seeing as though you’re not going to have to time make adjustments to it on a fast break.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.6
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.6

 

4. Bauerfeind GenuTrain S

Bauerfeind GenuTrain S Knee Support

Delivers medical-grade compression to promote circulation and reduce pain, swelling and muscle fatigue using a combination of joint side bars and an adjustable strap system to stabilize the knee without limiting mobility.

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If you’ve got a little extra funding to play around with this month, it might not be a bad idea to take a closer look at the GenuTrain S to satisfy your knee brace needs. It takes an interesting approach to support and recovery.

The GenuTrain S is said to actively massage your knee while you’re in the game, which sounds a little too good to be true. However, it’s equipped with unique gel technology that continues to work your muscles as you work over the competition on the floor.

Sizing is the biggest hurdle when it comes to this product, as some have noted that the fit can be less than perfect. If you’re able to get past the need to provide accurate specifications, it should be a welcome addition to your on-court attire.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.4
Amazon Comfort Rating: 3.9

 

5. TechWare Pro

TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support

Open Patella Design For Support and Compression Around the Kneecap and Tendon Areas to Heal Knee Injuries. Also 4 Flexible Spring Stabilizers Provide Better Knee Cap Protection and Stability.

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Back in the land of thriftiness and simplicity, we find ourselves taking a hard look at the Techware Pro knee brace. It’s not going to wow you with some features that other braces bring to the table, but it’s reliable and easy to play with right away.

Made of neoprene and inclusive of three straps, the Techware Pro snugly wraps around your knee. It also helps to even out the pressure that can bog down your knee, rather than concentrating it in one painful spot.

Users of the brace have noted that it can feel a little tight at first, which can be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for. Give it a chance to see if it isn’t too restrictive so that you’ll retain a solid level of support throughout the game.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.3
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.3

 

Best Knee Pads For Basketball

1.  McDavid 6440 HEX

McDavid 6440 Hexpad

Hex Technology's closed cell foam padding offers protection, durability and confidence.

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If you’re old enough to remember the knee pads New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing wore in his heyday, you may not recognize the McDavid 6440’s Hex’s as being in the same family. As the name suggests, this product features hexagon designs that cover up your knee.

Within those hexagons are foam padding, which will help absorb the blow your knee takes if you hit the ground awkwardly. Unlike some of the knee pads from yesteryear, the McDavid 6440 Hex doesn’t take up half of your leg and snugly fits in the desired area.

Another great benefit is that these are washable, so you can throw them into the washer and dryer after leading your team to victory. While the product isn’t known to shrink, you may be best-served purchasing pads that are a size larger.

Amazon Support Rating: 3.9
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.0

 

2. JMOKA Non-Slip Soft

JMOKA Non-Slip Knee Pads

Equipped with a thickened anti-collision sponge pad in the front. Comfortable, soft, breathable and flexible, they can wick away the moisture quickly and ensure a wearing of all day comfort.

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Another great direction to go in your search for top-quality knee pads is the JMOKA Non-Slip Soft option. They look a little bit more like what traditional knee pads resemble but have the flexibility and comfort that you’d look for in a knee protection product.

The sponge material is at the front of the padding, which has been effective in taking the brunt of contact headed for your knees. They’re also really soft, which makes for an enjoyable experience while you’re wearing them.

This product is the cheapest from a price point perspective, but still gets good reviews for its durability. It’s also a preferred option for youth players as well.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.3
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.3

 

3. Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Support

Shock Doctor 875 Ultra Knee Support

Compression supports soft tissue, joint alignment and relief, and boosts therapeutic heat for improved blood flow which aids in healing tendon and muscle. Airflow vented tech to reduce odor and moisture.

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If you’ve been reading our product recommendation pieces the last few months (and we know you have), you’re pretty familiar with the level of credibility Shock Doctor products have in the basketball world. Once again, the company has a solution out there that will keep hoopers on the court.

The Shock Doctor 875 is undoubtedly on the pricey side but has healing qualities that guard against patellar tendonitis and meniscus problems, amongst other things.

This offering also promises not to hinder lateral mobility in the slightest, all the while promoting blood flow to your knees. If you’re in a position to splurge, the Shock Doctor 875 is the item to do it on.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.2
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.2

 

4. COOLOMG Protective

COOLOMG Protective Knee Pads

Flexible fabric produces firm support and compression without restricting movement, promotes blood circulation and keeps knees warm. Highly-soft material with ergonomic design reduces chafing and rubbing on the skin.

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Next on the list is a knee pad made for kids to young adults. You might think this product was named by a teenager looking to promote a brand, but the COOLOMG Protective knee pad is much more than a potentially neat hashtag. It’s got a unique blend of materials that complement each other nicely.

The spandex element of this knee pad allows a player to feel confident that it won’t slip off during the game. It also features silicone to further lock it into place.

The COOLOMG Protective comes in five different sizes. Its padding also sticks out a little more, which some might feel helps increase the level of protection.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.4
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.4

 

5. McDavid 410 with Thick Gel Insert

McDavid 410 Knee Pad

Extremely breathable and low profile snug fit. Made of Neoprene for therapeutic warmth and healing. Gel Sorbothane insert for superb impact absorption.

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We round our list of best injury-prevention knee pads just like we started it. McDavid finishes things off with its 410 product, which contains gel that absorbs a ton of shock.

It’s not quite as visually distinctive as the HEX offering, but the uniqueness of the polymer material in place to protect you is notable. It maintains a sleek design while still being able to provide ample cushioning.

It may also seem a little counterintuitive but be warned that this product only comes with one in a pack, and not 2. If you think you’ll like the McDavid 410, buy two packs.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.4
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.4

 

Best Knee Sleeves For Basketball

1. McDavid Hex Knee Compression Sleeve

McDavid Hex Knee Compression Leg Sleeve

Closed cell foam padding protects your knees from high impact activities and sports. Extended length of sleeve protects leg from scrapes and cuts, non-slip material stays in place and doesn't chafe.

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Once more McDavid makes the cut, and this time, they lead off our premier knee compression sleeves section. The McDavid Hex Knee Compression sleeve is a well-rounded product that excels in a few different areas.

It’s extremely pliable, which will allow you to maneuver your leg while you hang in the air for that extra second. While flexible, it also provides supreme stabilization for your knee and comes with foam pads that soak up the impact on your behalf.

The only potential downside to this product is its durability. You’ll likely enjoy playing with this sleeve, but it may not last as long as you’d like it to.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.4
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.1

 

2. UFlex Athletics Knee Sleeve

UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve

Helps reduce inflammation and swelling, promoting blood flow in the body to aid muscle recovery. Double silicone anti-slip design will ensure that the knee support brace stays in place, while the breathable nylon-mesh/spandex material offers a smooth and comfortable fit.

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Think about all of the moves you utilize on the basketball court which accentuate the pressure on your knee. Maybe it’s a jump stop, change of direction, or shot block attempt where you need just a little more air.

The strain that can cause on your joints over time adds up, and the UFlex Athletics Knee Sleeve helps keep them in proper working order. It insulates them from full-on impact and also strengthens them as well.

As one might imagine, professional basketball players look to extend their careers as long as possible. Some of them look to this product to help them achieve that goal.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.4
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.5

 

3.  ActiveGear Heavy Duty Compression

ActiveGear Knee Compression Sleeve

Max compression for good knee support. Suitable for either knee.

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The ActiveGear Heavy Duty Compression sleeve is a strong option for basketball players. It’s well-liked by those in the medical community for its effectiveness in supporting knees.

We’ve talked a lot about wearing sleeves and other products to prevent injury, but ActiveGear is also recommended for players who are coming back from knee ailments as well.

As is the case with some other products here, make sure you order true to size in order to maximize the value of this product.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.4
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.2

 

4. Crucial Compression Knee Sleeve

Crucial Compression Knee Sleeve

Power Support technology improves blood circulation and heats your muscles, getting more oxygen and less lactic acid build up so you can perform better, recover faster, and prevent injury. 

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Crucial Compression releases strong products in this space for many sports, inclusive of basketball. This product is well known for its ability to relieve pain after games, in addition to providing protection during it.

It also receives high marks with regard to its breathability, as well as its initial fit.

Players have noted one issue with the Crucial Compression sleeve with regard to its ability to stay in place, which is important for potential buyers to keep in mind.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.3
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.3

 

5. PISIQI Knee Sleeve

PISIQI Knee Compression Leg Sleeve

Special hexagonal honeycomb pad shock absorption effectively resists impact. Extended Leg Sleeve length for a better fit as well as added protection against cuts and scratches, reduced chafing, abrasion & skin irritation.

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The PISIQI knee sleeve is one of the more extensive products out there. While it does cover your knee, it’s also long enough to cover your thighs and your shins.

Some players like having that type of insulation over most of their legs, and some don’t. Think about how this could increase your confidence to make an athletic move, or whether this might hinder how you operate on the court.

Even though it covers a good portion of the leg, the amount of padding this product provides may fall short in comparison with other sleeves.

Amazon Support Rating: 4.2
Amazon Comfort Rating: 4.3

 

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Andrew Pistone

Andrew has gravitated towards basketball ever since he was a child. Whether it was spending hours in his parents' backyard practicing shots from various angles, participating in spirited CYO games, or playing pickup at the park, he has always had an affinity for the sport. That passion for the game persisted as he got older, playing at the high school level, and coaching via instructional programs that promoted fundamental skill development.