Best Knee Sleeves for Basketball – Pads & Braces Reviews [NBA 2022]

Last Updated March 3, 2022 by Edward Pullen

Basketball sport puts a lot of stress on your knee joints while jumping, running, and quick stop-and-go moves. This continuous strain on your knees can result in serious injuries that can sideline you for months, or they can be career-ending. That’s why it’s important to wear the best knee sleeves for basketball in 2022 to protect your knees. Outdoorballpro is here to advise you on buying quality knee braces not only for safety but also to improve performance.

It is true that young basketball players mostly suffer from knee injuries because they are still growing and developing. A knee sleeve is equipped with neoprene that provides warmth, support, and compression of the joint to prevent swelling of muscles, joints, or tendons. The sleeves can be worn during sporting events to provide protection against any type of injuries on the field. Therefore, we recommend using protective gear such as knee sleeves and ankle braces whether you are a beginner or an experienced player.

As if that’s not enough, watch any basketball league such as NBA, FIBA or WNBA, you’ll hardly see a few naked knees. Almost every professional player wears sleeves, braces or knee pads to safeguard them. So, if you are looking for a compression brace for your knees, you should make sure it offers adequate coverage and is comfortable enough to wear throughout the game. We have enlisted best performing sleeves after testing the latest top rated knee sleeves.

Disclaimer: Knee sleeves are good for protection but not advised as a substitute for medical care. Always seek advice from professional doctors for severe medical conditions. 

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best knee sleeves for basketball

Best Knee Sleeves, Pads and Braces for Basketball in 2022

Here is a list of the best knee protection for basketball players including stretchy sleeves, braces and pads; These compression sleeves enhance performance and reduce the load on knee joints. In addition, they are effective for ACL and Meniscus pain relief.

No.Knee Compression SleeveQualityProtection LevelPrice
1McDavid 429X Hinged Knee BraceBest Knee Brace for BasketballLevel 3
2Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Knee SleeveBest Knee Sleeve for Professional AthletesLevel 2
3McDavid Hex Knee PadsBest Knee Pad for YouthLevel 3
4Shock Doctor Knee Compression SleeveBest for Compression and Pain ReliefLevel 2
5Bauerfeind NBA Compression Knee SleeveBest for Basketball PlayersLevel 2

 

Top Picks

McDavid 6446 Hex

mcdavid best knee pads

  • Hydravent hDC moisture management technology
  • 9mm Hex padding
  • Extra length non-slip sleeves

 

McDavid 429X

top rated basketball knee brace

  • latex-free neoprene
  • Steel hinges on both sides of the knee
  • 360ᵒ padded open patella
  • Perforated back

 

Shock Doctor

  • Elastic knitted neoprene
  • Enhances ventilation for comfortable compression
  • Muscle heating integrated gel

 

 

1. McDavid 429X Hinged Knee Brace

“Best Knee Brace for Basketball” – Support Level 3best knee brace for basketball

Basketball athletes require leg stability along with protection. McDavid 429X not only provides compression by the sleeve but also stabilizes the knee joints to prevent injuries from an excessive extension. The steel hinges on both sides of the knee offer a high level of support for protection and assist in recovery.

Weak knees often lead to uncontrolled lateral movement, resulting in damaging the ligaments such as ACL, LCL and MCL. And, no basketball player would like to rest at home for recovery. This intelligent protective gear (a combo of sleeves and hinges) is especially designed for athletes to provide protection and help improve performance without restricting their moves.

 

Key Features:

  • High performance latex-free neoprene for enhanced elasticity and thermal compression to keep the muscles warm
  • Steel hinges on both sides of the knee for maximum stability and protection
  • Perforated back to improve breathability to reduce the moist build-up for comfort
  • Customized fitting due to elastic crossing straps on top and bottom of the knee
  • 360ᵒ padded opening top support knee patella

 

Pros
  • Elastic crossing straps for rotational support
  • Comfortable back panel and edges
  • Snug fit for best knee support - level 3
  • Padded patella opening for comfort
  • High-performance - suitable for athletes
Cons
  • You may find it a bit bulky for the first time
  • The brace runs a bit narrow, we suggest ordering one size bigger

We recommend wearing best ankle support basketball shoes to protect your ankles from landing impacts.

 

2. Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Knee Sleeve

“Best Knee Sleeve for Professional Athletes” - Support Level 2best knee sleeve for professional athletes

Nike is a reputable sports brand that is known for designing the best compression gears for athletes. The Pro Combat Hyperstrong mainly focuses on comfort while keeping the muscles warm and protected. Its lightweight breathable material does not restrict agility moves. These stretchable sleeves are a bit longer to cover more area, and are indeed popular among professional athletes that we mostly see on TV.

We like its easy pull-on design and comfortable compression fit. Nike did a great job with the strategic padding placement to provide good heat and a cozy feel. Best of all, it is machine washable to conveniently keep it fresh.

Note: Use cold water to wash them. Do not put them in a tumble dryer – elastic will fray.

 

Key Features:

  • Designed with elastic materials for stretch and snug fit – 11% Spandex, 10% Silicone
  • Lightweight thick front that keeps the muscles warm while providing adequate support to the joints
  • Perforated thin back enhances breathability to reduce sweat build up
  • Minimal design with sufficient cushioning for increased comfort and easy movability
  • Elastic binding on both ends of the sleeve for proper locked in fitting

 

Pros
  • Nice feeling Ariaprene material
  • Breathable back – good for longtime use
  • Minimal setup with adequate cushioning
  • A good amount of support
  • Washable – keep them fresh
Cons
  • Not suitable for slim legs – runs a bit bigger
  • Does not protect from hard bangs

 

3. McDavid Hex Knee Pads

“Best Knee Pad for Youth” - Support Level 3best knee pad for youth

Are you an aggressive player who likes to dive for the basketball without considering the bruises on your body? McDavid Hex knee pads are especially designed for young and energetic athletes to provide them with good compression sleeves along with padded cushioning. This supportive gear provides ultimate protection from bruises and banging impacts.

We liked the fact that these USA-made knee pads are technologically designed to wipe out the moisture from your skin. As a result, the skin remains dry and pleasant to enjoy the game without any irritation. I felt the sleeve was quite flexible without restricting lateral or rotational moves.

 

Key Features:

  • Sleeves are designed with Hydravent hDC moisture management technology to keep the skin dry and cool
  • Super durable foam padded cells around the knee using 9mm Hex technology provides high impact protection
  • Extra length non-slip sleeves stay in place to protect legs from scratches and cuts
  • Breathable material to ensure dryness and comfort

 

Pros
  • Protects from body contact injuries
  • Comfortable due to moisture wicking technology
  • Machine washable
  • Good compression sleeves
  • Highly durable and comfortable
Cons
  • Runs a bit narrow and fit too tight - we recommend ordering 1 size up

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4. Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve

“Best for Compression and Pain Relief” - Support Level 2best for compression and pain relief

Shock Doctor is known for making pain-relieving protective sleeves. Whether you are an athlete or a heavy-duty worker - this brand covers your joints. These compression sleeves are designed to offer boosted support. It’s good for injury protection from arthritis, patella alignment injuries, tendonitis, meniscus tears and more

The integrated gel inlays lift knee pain while providing targeted compression.

In my own experience, I found Shock Doctor knee sleeves very supportive and comfortable. Its breathable compression supplies heat to the muscles to keep them active. In addition, these sleeves also boost the recovery process to regain vitality. Hence, I suggest you try them out if you have injured knee ligaments before.

 

Key Features:

  • Elastic knitted neoprene sleeve for a custom fit – it forms the shape of knee for superior support
  • The knit design enhances ventilation for comfortable compression
  • Muscle heating integrated gel to reactivate tired muscles and aids healing process
  • Its counter compression keeps the leg dry while repelling sweat and oil

 

Pros
  • Lightweight knee compression sleeve
  • Suitable for pain relief from ACL and meniscus
  • Flexible for a perfect snug fit
  • Patella gel inlays for targeted compression
  • Perforated weave for increased comfort
Cons
  • It does not provide protection from hard collisions
  • It feels a bit tight when new because of elasticity

 

5. Bauerfeind NBA Compression Knee Sleeve

“Best for Basketball Players” - Support Level 2best for basketball players

Bauerfeind is famous for making compression sleeves for elite athletes. These sleeves are officially licensed knee support for NBA and designed to offer restriction free support to achieve breakthrough performance. Players actually feel comfortable and confident on and off the court.

We liked its easy fitting and seamless compression system that works well without bulking. These are lightweight and breathable to keep skin comfortably dry and cool. We rate them as the best thin knee bands due to the superior grip and targeted support even during agility moves.

 

Key Features:

  • Low profile breathable knitting with moisture-wicking technology that wicks away the moist and keeps the skin dry
  • It forms the shape of your knee to provide targeted compression for ultimate performance
  • Two silicon dotted bands with gripping zones on the sensitive provide support and stability during quick stop and go
  • These are washable to ensure freshness for comfortable wearing
  • Designed with high quality standards to ensure durability

 

Pros
  • Lightweight thin knee compression sleeve
  • Suitable for fast basketball players
  • Snug fit and targeted support
  • Durable and washable
  • Flexible and stylish
Cons
  • Does not protect from hard hitting impacts

 

How to Choose the Best Knee Sleeves for Basketball

We often end up buying a good looking knee sleeve to appear eye-catchy in the court. Here, we recommend considering the following factors before purchasing the best knee sleeve for basketball;

how to buy best knee sleeve for basketball

Material

Always look for material because different materials serve differently. Knee sleeves are commonly made of cotton, neoprene and silicon? Cotton provides more warmth to the knee muscles while neoprene provides compression which helps in recovery time after an injury. Silicon sleeves offer maximum stretch for free moves.

 

Flexibility and Stability

Basketball is a sport that requires a combination of strength and flexibility in the body. Knee injuries can occur from overuse, repetitive movement and even from certain styles of training. Therefore, a flexible knee sleeve that provides good stability to the knee joints will reduce the chances of injuries. We recommend purchasing a sleeve that has good stretchy material for maximum support.

 

Comfort

The best knee guards for basketball should be comfortable and snug, preventing any bunching or slipping, while also staying tight to the knees. If your knee sleeves are too loose, it will not provide the support that you need for torn ACLs. However, if the knee sleeves are too tight, you can experience pain and discomfort in your knees. Choosing the right knee sleeves means finding a balance between support and comfort.

 

Size and Fit

Choosing the right size and fit of knee sleeves is vital to getting the most out of your sleeves. If they are too big you have a high risk of them slipping down. On the other hand, if they are too small you could risk an odd fit or even damaging your knee further on the court. Therefore, make sure that it has enough material to cover your entire knee and is not too tight or loose.

Right fitting will deliver the required amount of compression and support, otherwise, you’ll end up fixing the knee sleeve throughout the game.

 

How to Improve Knee Health?

Your knees are prone to enduring lots of stress out of all the joints in your body. If you are experiencing knee pain that is aggravating enough, you might feel the need to avoid exercise. But weight-bearing exercises such as running can actually improve the quality and strength of the cartilage in your joints, and resistance training such as squats and lunges can strengthen the muscles around your knee joint to help prevent pain and injury.

If you are just getting started with your workout routine, performing squats might aggravate pain and stiffness in your knee. Building up your repetitions slowly can help, but you might need some extra support and pain relief as you build strength in your knees.

A pair of knee sleeves can help you squat with proper form and alleviate pain and swelling. We recommend athletes to use knee compression sleeves whether they are a runner, basketball player, weight lifter, into powerlifting or simply want some knee support during their workout.

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How Long Should I Wear Knee Braces

Knee braces have undergone a major transformation in the last few years. Unlike the knee braces of the past, which were bulky and heavy, modern knee braces are sleek, lightweight and comfortable. In fact, they are so comfortable that people are now wearing them all the time. But are they safe for everyday wear?

Basketball players often suffer from knee injuries and they need to use knee braces as pain relievers. If you have put on knee protection and wondering for how long should you wear knee braces, we advise wearing them for at least a week (or as your doctor advises). You can pull up pants if you don’t want people to see your injury.

Note: we recommend consulting a doctor if you still feel pain after wearing the knee brace for a week.

Knee braces are designed to serve a variety of functions, depending on the type of injury. For example;

A hinged knee brace protects the joint ligaments from hard contacts while playing basketball.

Some padded braces are designed to reduce pain by offloading the pressure from the knees.

A compression knee sleeve is good for general pains - it keeps the muscles warm and provides good support to the weak joints.

Some knee braces are engineered with an open patella that aligns your patella while putting pressure on the knees to reduce pain!

 

 

Final Verdict

We have aforementioned notable features of the best knee sleeves for basketball after testing top rated compression sleeves by professionals. These sleeves are designed to support the knee joints and minimize the chances of injuries.

If you are recovering from a knee injury and thinking of using a knee brace, we suggest consulting a doctor before doing anything. Meanwhile, we recommend using McDavid 429X Hinged Knee Brace that will stabilize the knee joints and protect against further injuries.

And if you want to use the knee sleeve during basketball games only, we recommend McDavid 6446 Hex Knee Pads. These compression knee pads are a combination of flexible sleeves with additional padding for aggressive players.

Shock Doctor Compression sleeves are best for pain relief. These sleeves have the muscle heating integrated gel that aids reactivate tired muscles enhance the healing process.

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Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)

What knee sleeves do NBA players wear?

Most NBA players wear Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Knee Sleeve to protect their knees. These sleeves provide great compression and support. Their extended flexibility allows players to perform quick drills without restricting their moves.

 

Do knee sleeves work for basketball?

Yes, absolutely! Knee sleeves work for basketball and play a vital role in the performance of a player. They support and stabilize the knee joints. As a result, athletes perform better without the fear of damaging knee ligaments. Also, these knee sleeves help absorb the landing impacts while keeping the knee joints firm.

 

Why do people wear knee sleeves in basketball?

Basketball sport requires jumps and quick moves such as ankle break, stop-and-go, and crossover. These moves put a lot of stress on the knee joints, that’s why basketball players prefer to wear knee sleeves to keep the muscles warm and active throughout the game.

 

Do NBA players wear knee pads?

NBA players wear either of three knee protective gears, knee sleeves, knee pads or knee braces. They not only protect the knees from injuries but also provide great compression to improve performance.

 

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