Want to just cut to the chase? Rehband knee sleeves are the best knee sleeves for CrossFit!
If I lost my Rehband knee sleeves (like I did when I mistakenly left them in a hotel in Cancun back in 2018…no, I wasn’t drunk…that day) would I be depressed if I couldn’t replace them?
Just slightly; the other brands that made the list of best CrossFit knee sleeves all have their advantages and I’d roll any of them on in a pinch!
Ready to silence that cracking as you bounce out of a cluster or to use an accessory item that can really limit your knee pain? Then let’s jump right to the contenders!
Table of Contents
Top 10 Best Knee Sleeves For CrossFit
- Rehband Knee Sleeves (Best Overall)
- Murgs V2 Knee Sleeves
- Bear Komplex Knee Sleeves
- Iron Bull Knee Sleeves
- ProFitness Knee Sleeves
- Gymreapers Knee Sleeves
- Mava Sports Knee Sleeves
- Picsil Knee Sleeves
- Second Nature Knee Sleeves
- Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves
Rehband has a special place in my heart. The Rehband knee sleeves were my first knee sleeves!
I loved them so much that even after losing my first pair (I left them in a hotel in Mexico…some maid has been hitting squat PRs left and right!) I immediately ordered a replacement.
These sleeves provide everything you want in a knee sleeve. Compression, support, warmth, and a feeling of stability.
Almost all of my squat PRs have come while wearing these bad boys and they’ve helped me to gut through a number of CrossFit WODs as well.
CrossFit Open WOD 19.3 started with 200-feet of dumbbell overhead walking lunges. The Rehband knee sleeves softened EVERY STEP on the wooden floor. They also didn’t bother me during the step-ups and handstand push-ups that followed, feeling almost like a second skin.
These sleeves never feel like they’re going to slip out of place and with all things considered, they could be the ideal accessory.
However, that price you see…it’s for ONE SLEEVE!
How many unsuspecting people have gotten excited about the prospect of cheap, high-quality knee sleeves only to open their Amazon package…and one sleeve drops out?
If you’re going to go with the Rehband sleeves, make sure you order 2! It’s worth it, though; they really are the best knee sleeves for CrossFit.
Murgs is a UK-based brand. Relatively new to the fitness apparel and equipment scene, their customer-base is mainly comprised of athletes “across the pond”.
You are likely to be the ONLY person at your gym rocking the Murgs knee sleeves. If you’re interested in associating with a more “exotic” brand of athletes, Murgs might be the brand for you!
Murgs’ V2-7mm knee sleeves are the company’s bread-and-butter product in regards to overall knee compression.
They provide the flexibility to allow athletes maximum mobility and comfort during CrossFit and other high-intensity workouts. They also provide a tight enough, compressive fit to accommodate even the heaviest compound lifts and PR attempts.
The V2-7mm are stable on the leg. The neoprene material ensures that slippage doesn’t occur and that readjustment during a workout isn’t necessary.
The flatlock stitching and quad-panel provide the comfort of a legging, making the knee sleeves wearable for long periods of time. This stitching also adds to durability, ensuring that the knee sleeves are with you for the long haul.
Hopefully you like your knee sleeves in black…because…that’s the only color they got! Can the best knee sleeves for CrossFit really only come in black?
Most well known for their CrossFit grips and palm protectors, Bear Komplex has developed a pretty legit knee sleeve.
At 5 millimeters, Bear Komplex’s knee sleeves are not the thickest (although they do produce a 7 millimeter sleeve, as well), but are still a go-to item for powerlifters. The knee sleeves are approved for use in all USPA (United States Powerlifting Association) meets.
By giving up a few millimeters of thickness, the Bear Komplex knee sleeves provide increased mobility during tough CrossFit WODs.
The sleeves’ bamboo charcoal fiber construction creates a unique feel. Athletes appreciate the familiar support they expect in knee sleeves along with the added comfort this construction provides.
With a number of color options to choose from, it isn’t difficult to find a pair that will look the best on you. You might even opt for a few pairs to coordinate with the training day’s outfit.
Bear Komplex doesn’t have a thinner, 3 millimeter design in the works at this time. However, the 5 millimeter option should be adequate for all fitness ventures.
Iron Bull has been a preferred manufacturer of knee sleeves for quite some time. With thousands of reviews from happy customers, it comes as no surprise that they rank as one of the “big boys” in the knee sleeve realm.
Slipping on a pair of their knee sleeves, it doesn’t take long to realize their reputation is rightly earned!
The double silicone gel wave, carefully stitched into every sleeve, feels somewhat strange on first wear. But the feeling that the sleeves aren’t going to slip or fall off more than makes up for this strangeness.
The longer-than-usual (11.5 inches) total length ensures that the entire kneecap and patella region receive coverage.
Approved for use in too many different weightlifting and powerlifting federations to count, you can be confident that these will fly in any competition or meet.
The sleeves are pliable enough to accommodate running and the intense requirements of CrossFit WODs.
Ideally, you like your knee sleeves black or some other variant of black because the Iron Bull knee sleeve color palette is…somewhat lacking!
Let’s get right to the “elephant in the room” with the ProFitness knee sleeves. The company provides a “tip” that states that “7mm (millimeter) Knee (sic) Sleeves (sic) are shown to increase your squats by 30%”
That is quite the claim and I’m sure those big dudes squatting 405 would love to put a couple of extra plates and quarters on the bar.
I have personally not experienced this increase with the ProFitness knee sleeves, but if you’re willing to gamble ~$40 on a good pair of sleeves, have at it!
The ergonomically designed ProFitness knee sleeves employ “gripping technology” that addressed the all too common “riding up” sensation. The sleeves stay in place and won’t bunch up behind your knee.
Adequately suited for both CrossFit metcons and heavy lifting sessions, ProFitness knee sleeves are the only pair you’ll need.
(Total)ProFitness is a well-respected and established fitness accessory brand. Their customer service is unmatched and they will be quick to address any potential problems you might have with your knee sleeves.
Oh, man is that logo awesome! Gymreapers is one of those companies that seemed to come out of nowhere, but you now see EVERYWHERE!
And with good reason. Their stuff, particularly their knee sleeves, are legit.
To me, the most striking aspect of the company is the composition of its employees, particularly its equipment designers.
ALL of these guys lift; they’re not just a bunch of nerds trying to make a quick buck selling generic gear.
The Gymreapers knee sleeves have been put through the ringer by company testers and designers. The final product is for athletes, designed by athletes.
For those suffering from chronic knee and related pain, the emphasis on orthopaedic support in these sleeves is a game-changer. While not rehabilitation tools in themselves, the Gymreapers sleeves pride themselves on “reducing knee pain and swelling for improved rehab and recovery.”
Into powerlifting? If so, the Gymreaper knee sleeves will be your best buddies in USPA and IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) meets. Can’t blame a missed squat on non-sanctioned knee sleeves!
Mava knee sleeves are not designed to provide round-the-clock support for weary or aching knees.
Mava knee sleeves are designed to help you lift seriously heavy weight and to dominate intense WODs and metcons.
If you’re interested in any of the latter activities, Mava is the brand for you!
The adjustable strap on the back of each sleeve ensures that the sleeve doesn’t just fit properly.
The sleeve fits YOU properly. You can adjust the compression effect accordingly so it is perfect for YOUR knee, not just a random “small” knee or a “large” knee.
The double-stitched durability of the Mava knee sleeve ensures that they will be with you for the long haul. Their orthopaedic support aids recovery during “comeback” lifting sessions, quickening your return to full strength.
Have any powerlifting aspirations? If so, give these a shot; they are USPA approved for meets and competitions!
If you’ve spent any time in gyms on the Iberian Peninsula, you’ve had your fair share of Picsil knee sleeves.
With a stable of athletes like that, you can’t really go wrong with Picsil knee sleeves!
Although sporting a rather limited number of visual design options, Picsil knee sleeves provide a double-protective layer. This added layer provides additional compression while shielding bone and muscle from collisions (I needed these for box jumps…long ago!)
Picsil knee sleeves are accommodating enough to allow complete flexibility and movement for all types of exercises. Dancers and soccer players feel as comfortable in them as CrossFitters and Olympic weightlifters.
In the last couple of years, Picsil has extended its operations to the United States so you’ll probably start seeing them around A LOT. You may as well be the first at your gym to get a pair of their knee sleeves.
Second Nature produces one thing and one thing only.
I can appreciate a company with a focused level of specialization!
The Second Nature knee sleeves are designed for general knee support and muscle and ligament compression. This is common among knee sleeve manufacturers.
However, Second Nature’s sleeves also promote post-workout recovery, ensuring you are ready to crush your next workout!
Although I haven’t experienced any strange “powers” while wearing them, my boy “Ethan” has had some positive interactions while wearing the sleeves:
Good for him!
Like some of the other brands discussed, Second Nature does not have an extensive color or design selection. What you see above is what they have! Also, some have complained about the sizing (they tend to run small) and stiffness.
However, if you keep the possible size variance in mind when ordering and if you prefer a stiffer, less pliable feeling from your knee sleeves, these may be just the ones for you!
Nordic Lifting is another one of those “jack of all trades” companies in the realm of gym gear and accessories.
Their knee sleeves make a good addition to your gym bag and I always rock their grips when I’m shrugging or am worried about grip failure. If you are in the market for knee sleeves AND straps, you can pick up both from Nordic Lifting. They’ll even throw in some wrist wraps!
The heat retention of the Nordic Lifting knee sleeves ensures that your muscles won’t get cold during a lifting session. Their compression can relieve existing joint pain or prevent it from occurring during tough workouts.
Take a good, long look at that logo and color. If you like them, (or if visual design isn’t an issue for you) great! If not…well…hate to break it to you, but this is the ONLY knee sleeve Nordic Lifting has available.
Thankfully, the Nordic Lifting sleeves are functional enough for use in powerlifting, weightlifting, CrossFit, and other intense physical activity.
Best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit Buyer’s Guide
Looking at all of the rad designs while dreaming of squat PRs is the most fun part of shopping for knee sleeves.
But “7 millimeter”…”knee circumference”…”Neoprene”…?
What does it all mean?!
Let’s take a look at some of the key terminology and specs to help you decide which company makes the best knee sleeves for CrossFit for your needs (and knees!)
In this rundown of the best knee sleeves for CrossFit, most of the knee sleeves were 7 millimeters while a select few were 5 millimeters. Knee sleeves can go as thin as the 3-millimeter, but most will fall in this 5-7-millimeter range.
Generally, the thicker the knee sleeve, the more intense the compression is.
Depending on what you’re doing this can be perceived to be beneficial or detrimental.
When shifting HEAVY weights for low-rep sets or PR attempts, thicker sleeves are oftentimes preferred. The large amount of compression thicker knee sleeves provide adds to the stability felt throughout the lift.
This stability isn’t simply perception, though. Many of the thicker sleeves are designed to keep the patella regions of the knee in place and to promote consistent movement patterns.
The downside to this support is the impact on mobility that thicker knee sleeves often create. The added compression can make the muscles and joints feel as though they are “locked” into a specific range of motion.
Thinner knee sleeves are preferable when you desire support for your knees, but not at the expense of mobility. These sleeves do not provide as much compression, but better allow for dynamic movements, such as those required in CrossFit.
Thankfully, knee sleeve engineering has advanced to the point where even 7-millimeter knee sleeves are pliable enough for plyometrics. So many of them made our list of the best knee sleeves for CrossFit because they are perfectly suited for plyo exercises!
Speaking of engineering, while many of the knee sleeves reviewed had unique panelling or were double stitched, all were made of Neoprene.
So what exactly IS Neoprene and WHY is it so popular with all of the best knee sleeves for CrossFit?
According to the oracle of the Internet (just kidding, this is from Wikipedia), “Neoprene resists degradation more than natural or synthetic rubber. This relative inertness makes neoprene well suited for demanding applications.”
Also, “Neoprene exhibits good chemical stability and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range. “(It is a) very pliable rubber-like material with insulating properties similar to rubber or other solid plastics.” Unfortunately, some people are allergic to it.
With qualities like that, Neoprene is definitely up for the task of securing your knees. When the time comes, I think I’ll opt for a Neoprene space suit!
Sizing can be a little tricky with knee sleeves. As you probably noticed looking at the size charts for each of the brands reviewed, there is a bit of variance in sizing. When in doubt, it is generally advised to order a size LOWER.
(Be sure to check the reviews one more time; we specifically mention each brand where sizes run smaller!)
How to Measure Yourself
Don’t know what your knee sleeve size is? Don’t worry…nobody does! Let’s do a quick and easy measurement. Grab a tape measure or something similar!
First, measure about 4 inches below the bottom of your kneecap. Mark or remember that point.
Now, straighten your leg out completely (essentially a 0-degree angle)
Next, bring it to where it would be in a parallel squat (essentially a 90-degree angle).
Now, straighten it back out about 2/3 of the way towards being completely straight again (essentially a 30-degree angle).
Got that position? It doesn’t need to be exact (Pythagoras won’t care. I promise!) With your leg still at that 30-degree angle, measure around the spot below your kneecap you marked earlier. Write that number down.
And there you have it! Now you can confidently order knee sleeves AND list your knee sleeve measurements on your online dating profiles!
Knee Sleeves All the Time?
So you’re all set to grab a pair (or, possibly a single if you order from Rehaband!) of the best knee sleeves for CrossFit. They can add some weight to your squat PR, protect your joints, and even help rehab lingering knee injuries.
Remind me again why we’re NOT using these all the time…?
I get the desire for knee sleeves. Knee pain sucks and feels like it affects everything we do.
The worst part about it is, I have to admit to every older man in my life that they were right!
“Tom, just wait until you get to be my age. Everything (including your knees) starts to ache!”
“I remember being able to run around like that. My knees won’t let me now.”
“*CRACK* Yeah…your knees start to do that when you get old *CRACK*”
I can pinpoint when I first started experiencing knee pain at the gym.
It was my 30th birthday (no, I didn’t drink THAT much that day or the night before)…and…I had the most painful sets of overhead squats in my life!
I could see all of the faces of those older men smiling and laughing at me.
They knew it was my turn to join the knee sleeves/knee brace crew!
And I willingly joined their crew.
To this cliché trope, I would like to push back a little bit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love rolling my knee sleeves up during a heavy squat session or when I have a lot of lunges programmed for the day.
But I have DRASTICALLY cut my knee sleeve use.
Before, I wouldn’t imagine going 2 consecutive training sessions without them. Now I go days without giving them a second thought.
The main reason for this?
I started to rehab my knees.
I know rehab sounds painful, costly, and time consuming and if you opt for a more traditional rehab program, it probably will be.
Thankfully, I bit the bullet and acted on the hundreds of reviews of the Knees Over Toe Guy/Athletic Truth Group programming I had read so much about.
The Knees Over Toe or “KOT” programming seems pretty simple since you do movements like backwards walking (A LOT of it) and wall call raises (A LOT of them). It was so simple that I found it hard to believe that I would actually make any real knee pain progress with it.
Boy was I wrong!
After 6 months of casually following the programming and doing KOT exercises twice a week, my knee pain has largely dissipated. I have only used my knee sleeves for a one max front squat attempt (I made it!) and for a number of CrossFit workouts that involved overhead walking lunges.
And you know what? My knees felt GREAT! The additional boost from the sleeves was SO much more apparent and intense than it was when I was wearing my sleeves every day!
I would always recommend picking up a pair of the best CrossFit knee sleeves. Nothing can replicate that feel of tightness or “bounce” when you haven’t rolled them on for a while.
However, if you can strengthen your knee tendons, you can “save” your knee sleeves until you really need them (making them more effective in the process).
You’ll also feel better with your day-to-day workout and in everyday activities.
Prefer to wear knee sleeves during every session? Be my guest; it worked pretty well for me for years!
However, a reasonably simple knee, self-rehab (or maintenance) program combined with a pair of the best knee sleeves for CrossFit and your legs will be bulletproof!
Get You A Pair of the Best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit!
I’ve given a few different brands of knee sleeves a try, but still love my Rehbands. That being said, I’d feel comfortable getting low in any of the sleeves covered today.
My advice: measure yourself a few times, pick a pair from our list of the best knee sleeves for CrossFit, and hit a front squat PR.
Alternatively, if you happen to be the wife of a CrossFitter, buy your hubby a pair for his birthday. I can assure you they make a GREAT gift!
Already have a pair (or 10) of the best CrossFit knee sleeves? Maybe it’s time to up your CrossFit grip game? Check out our list of the top grips for CrossFit next!