CrossFit training is not like your regular training. CrossFit workouts can be very intense and can cause injury to joints. I dare say that injuries are an inevitable part of any Cross Fitter’s life.
The knees are an easy target for injury. High pressure from lifts, squats, running reps and the like all place a huge amount of pressure on the knee.
This is why braces are generally recommended for CrossFit workouts. You could use a knee brace to prevent injury, to protect a knee which suffered injury in the past or protect your knee after a recent injury.
In this article we highlight 7 best knee braces for CrossFit, keeping in mind that different types are best for different situations.
We recommend the Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace. It is a heavy duty brace with bilateral hinges. Hyperextension stops and impact absorbing pads are some of its strengths.
Benefits of a Knee Brace
You could find yourself in need of a knee brace for several reasons. These the main benefits users are looking for.
A knee brace may be necessary to prevent injuries in the course of workouts. Parts of the knee joint can be injured by forcibly twisting or sharp bends. These cause tearing of the ligaments which hold the knee together.
The brace works by preventing overextension by compressing surrounding tissue.
A brace could be used during the rehabilitation phase following an injury. A similar phase could be experienced after surgery.
Knees typically take longer than other joints to recover fully. The brace works to protect the sore area from further damage as well as control movement before the full range of motion can be achieved. It also works to provide support so that the injured joint doesn’t have to support all the weight placed on it.
It is not unusual to experience pain in the knee especially if you work out regularly. In other instances it is as a result of aging. A knee brace could be used purely to relieve pain often by providing compression.
It may not be obvious at first but knee pain, especially when it is prolonged, can impact your posture. Such posture changes have a negative effect on the back which could be a source of other problems.
A knee brace can be used to correct posture which was affected by knee pain even if the pain is long gone. How can you tell if posture is changing? Your head should be perfectly centered over your shoulders and your shoulders centered over the abdomen and pelvis.
7 Best Knee Braces for CrossFit comparison table
7 Best Knee Braces for CrossFit comparison overview
This is the brand’s most advanced knee support. It has heavy duty, bilateral, dual hinges which provide support while allowing for comfortable movement. The hinges have hyperextension stops and impact absorbing base pads. Tempered aluminum anchored with Hypalon sleeves add stability and finger tabs make it easy to pull on.
It is rated as a performance level 3 brace for moderate to major patella instability, knee dislocation, ligament sprains and meniscus tears.
In terms of finishing, this brace boasts of premium stitching. It has Lycra binding, patella support finishing and spandex binding. All these give you confidence to take on rigorous workouts without worrying about past injuries or compromised comfort
The Lycra mesh can be stretched 4 ways and has a pre-curved anatomical design to make the brace comfortable for both left and tight knees.
N-Tex air flow vented neoprene ensures adequate flow of air and antimicrobial technology deals with bacteria, moisture and resultant odors.
It is latex free therefore making it safe for users with latex allergies.
- Heavy duty bilateral dual hinges
- Antimicrobial technology and air flow vents
- Finger tabs for easy grip
- Anatomical pre -curved design
- Challenging sizing
- PREVENTS AND PROTECTS - Helps prevent and heal medial and lateral instability, minor patella instability, meniscus injuries, minor ligament sprains, hypertension,...
- MOISTURE AND ODOR PREVENTION - Airflow vented tech to reduce odor and moisture, so you can stay comfortable through the toughest days and workouts
- BOOST MOVEMENT AND COMFORT - Heavy duty bilateral dual hinges provide support while allowing you to move comfortably with four-way stretch Lycra mesh and pre-curved...
- PREMIUM MATERIALS - Latex-free, premium stitching, and integrated flexible side stabilizers, stays in place and includes easy grip tabs for accurate fitting
This is a level 2 knee brace which means it provides more than basic support. It is designed specifically to stabilize the knee joint and prevent the knee cap from becoming misaligned. It works by preventing knee cap movement and features a strap which keeps the knee cap from drifting outwards by pulling it inwards.
The aim is to allow for proper healing without loss of mobility. The corrective strap can be individually adjusted for better kneecap control.
Another feature is a massaging gel pad to relieve pain and discomfort. This pad extends above the knee and treats thigh muscles to the same in order to further alleviate pressure.
No one wants much extra weight on an injured knee and that is one of the reasons this brace is preferred. It is light and elastic which also makes it easy to carry around.
The Genutrain P3 knee brace is ideal for severe kneecap instability, kneecap dislocation or misalignment or patella tendonitis.
It is very easy to put on. You only need to slide it on and then adjust the silicone insert.
- Easy to set up
- Silicone insert for compression
- Can over stretch after repeated use
- ENSURE CORRECT FIT AND SIZING: With your knee slightly bent, use the center of the kneecap as your starting point and measure 6 3/4" up your thigh. Measure around...
- IMPROVED KNEECAP CONTROL: designed to help relieve pain for misalignment of the kneecap. Using a corrective strap, the integrated ring-shaped pad holds the kneecap...
- COMFORTABLE & EFFECTIVE KNEE PAIN RELIEF: Incorporated viscoelastic Omega pad surrounds the kneecap (patella) to relieve pain and provide massaging pressure. If you...
- USED TO HELP TREAT & HELP PREVENT: knee pain, kneecap tracking problems (lateral tracking problems), kneecap dislocation (or subluxation), runner's knee, tight IT...
Crucial Compression knee braces are a favorite for Cross Fitters because they do a good job at what their name is about… compression. Compression provided is consistently stable which helps the joint regain strength faster.
On top of that, the brace is infused with copper fabric. How does copper help knee injuries? Copper content prevents bacteria growth therefore allowing for faster healing.
You start to feel the effects of support and stability immediately. Relief from swelling and soreness can be felt and seen almost instantly thanks to improved blood circulation. Muscles are heated to get more oxygen and reduce lactic acid build up.
It can be irritating when you have to stop to pull the brace back into place because it keeps slipping. This brace makes sure that doesn’t happen through a feature called ‘no-slip double grip’. Double silicone ensures a tight but comfortable grip which keeps it in place even with intense physical activity.
Top quality double stitching and construction make it a durable support which will outlast any injury.
If you have thick legs, you may need to try one before you buy. The brace is designed for slim and average sized legs so it may be too tight for some users.
It is best for arthritis, meniscus and general joint pain.
- Lightweight and breathable
- Copper infused fabric
- Doesn’t slip off knee
- Immediate relief
- Slim fit
- Instant Support and Stability - You will feel the difference immediately. Get fast pain relief with less swelling, soreness, and stiffness. Our Power Support...
- Lightweight and Breathable - Some compression sleeves are too hot, too restrictive, or too bulky. Why settle for anything less than the best? Our Premium ComfortFlex...
- "No-Slip" Double Grip - Stopping to pull your knee sleeves back up is frustrating to say the least. With our unique Double Silicone Grip your sleeves stay in place...
- Incredible Performance - With unmatched support and durability, you will love our knee compression sleeves - we guarantee it. Top quality double stitching and long...
This Berter knee brace is different from other models because it has an open patella. Apart from compression on the knee to prevent further injury, the open patella allows for full mobility which makes it easier to get through those tough workouts. Thick, shock absorbing silicone protects the patella, meniscus, and ligament and knee cartilage.
Steel supports embedded into the brace ensure better stabilization.
Sweat is an inevitable part of any workout and it can make a brace uncomfortable as you take on your wods. This brace takes care of this by using a breathable, moisture-wicking neoprene fabric. Neoprene’s elasticity also gives it a snug but comfortable fit. There is a good amount of latex used. If you are allergic to it, this brace may not be best for you.
An anti-slip silicone strip included at the top and bottom keeps the brace from sliding down during intense physical activity. It comes in black and a unisex design makes it appropriate for both men and women.
- Open patella
- Steel support
- Breathable, moisture wicking fabric
- Anti-slip silicone strip
- Latex could cause allergies
- 🏃 Open Patella Stabilizer Design: Thickened and shock absorbing silicone to stabilize and protect your patella, ligament, meniscus, knee cartilage from injury
- 🏃 Dual Side Spring Strings: Flexible spring strips on both sides, strong support and feel free to bend your knee without restriction of motion
- 🏃 Breathable Neoprene Fabric: Moisture wicking material snug fit your knee more comfortable. Unisex knee support for men & women. Great gift idea for your friend,...
- 🏃 Top & Bottom Wavy Anti-slip Silicone Strip: Anti-slip silicone to keep this knee brace from sliding down during physical activity, premier than other brands or...
DonJoy Deluxe Knee Brace ( Hinged)
This brace has bilateral hinges designed for mild to moderate control of the medial and lateral parts of the knee. This makes it ideal for use during recovery from injuries related to ligament instabilities, sprains and meniscus injuries. It can also be used as a precautionary measure during regular CrossFit training.
In terms of construction material, the DonJoy Deluxe is available in both neoprene and drytex materials. Both are light and breathable.
If you want to use your knee brace for swimming and other water sports, you can. It is suitable for water use. It should be rinsed out thoroughly after exposure to salt or chlorinated water then allowed to air dry.
The DonJoy Deluxe is available in 2 different styles. There is a pull-on sleeve option and a wraparound support. The wraparound version is recommended if you have already suffered an injury to the knee. With this version you can easily put it on without causing damage or discomfort to the joint.
The pull-on version is best if you are close to full recovery from an injury or using it as a precaution.
One aspect we would change in this product is the size and prominence of the hinges. If you prefer low- profile knee braces, this one may not be ideal.
- Hinged for strong support
- Available in pull-on or wraparound options
- Light and breathable fabric
- Can be used in water
- Velcro wears out fast
- Hinges could be smaller
- Designed for moderate stability and support for knee ligament meniscus injuries, sprains and osteoarthritis
- The bilateral hinges to help provide additional knee support
- Drytex fabric provides compression and support, yet allows for breathability with improved airflow
- The open popliteal (open behind the knee) design prevents discomfort from friction burn. Ideal for those who have allergies or irritations to neoprene or live in...
The Exous knee brace from Exous body gear is like other knee braces designed to provide support to a recovering knee or prevent injury during workouts. A quick look at its features tells you its designers put a lot of thought into challenges users face with other braces and tried to solve them in the Exous product.
A pair of flexible metal springs on both medial and lateral sides of the brace provide directed stabilization to the lateral ligaments and the entire knee.
It features 4 fully adjustable anchor points for multi-directional knee support. There are not 2 but 4 straps which maintain compression and prevent slipping no matter how vigorous your workout gets. 2 large dedicated straps work in conjunction with 2 smaller crossover straps.
It is clear that the straps of this brace are the most crucial part of this brace. This is why Exous Body Gear included robust Velcro. It ensures durability of the brace by ensuring the straps remains tightly wrapped around the knee and doesn’t lose grip after a few months of use.
There is a comfort gap (a 1 cm gap) behind the knee. This is a clever design inclusion which allows air to escape for better breathability and prevents fabric bunching behind the knee. Bunching would ordinarily make movement somewhat strained so the gap improves on overall flexibility especially when doing workouts involving lots of squats.
- Flexible metal springs
- Comfort gap
- Robust velcro
- Occasionally pinches at the back
- All Round 360 Degree Stabilizing Support - Our unique 4-way patented strap design gives you the most adjustable knee brace 4 independant compression anchor points...
- Full Range Of Motion Do What You Love - A knee brace for men and women for left and right knees. If you play lots of sports such as soccer, running, hiking skiing...
- So Comfortable It Stays In Place - Most generic 2 and 3 strap Open patella neoprene knee braces all have the same issue they slide down on walking cause itching and...
- Fits Under Clothes And Feels Lightweight - Only 6oz and with a slimline profile enjoy the non bulky non restrictive stabilzer for your orthopedic tendonitis mcl, lcl...
The Hg 80 knee brace is used for weak or injured knees as well as protection against injury. Its two strongest selling points are a tri-axial hinge construction and anti-microbial treatment which is greatl for sensitive skin.
Tri-axial hinges align the bones with the ligaments and joints, closely simulating the natural tracking of the knee joint. It also helps with dislocated patellas and helps to relieve discomfort caused by an irritated kneecap. The overall effect is stabilized motion.
It is made using HydraCinn fabric, a highly flexible, synthetic rubber. It achieves high levels of compression while remaining comfortable. HydraCinn is a notably durable material so you can use it for years without much deterioration.
Heat can slow down recovery from a knee injury by exacerbating fungal infection. This brace’s fabric is preserved using an anti-microbial treatment. This keeps away fungus and other micro-organisms which may slow down recovery. It also prevents rashes and skin irritations.
After several uses, the brace will be due for cleaning. To do this you need to remove the 2 hinges then hand wash the rest of it in cold water with mild detergent.
If your knee is recovering well, you could choose to use it without the hinges. This gives you a lower level support which is sometimes necessary to wean yourself off high level support.
One weakness to keep in mind before settling for this brace is that it may not be strong enough to support the weight of heavy users. If you are of average or less-than –average weight you shouldn’t have any issues.
- Tri-axial hinges
- Appropriate for sensitive skin
- High compression
- Insufficient support for big users
- Upper strapping system locks brace in position
- Triaxial hinges provide maximum protection with near-normal knee motion
- Anti-slip inner grip slips help prevent brace migration.Care Instructions: Hand wash cold with mild detergent, do not bleach, line dry, do not iron, do not dry clean
- Measure around center of Knee – Size Large 16" - 18" (40 - 45 cm)
Factors to Consider When Buying a Knee Brace For CrossFit
The size of knee brace you need for a proper fit depends on the specific one. Some require you to measure around the knee, others require the measurement 3 inches above or below the knee and others require thigh measurements.
Most brands provide a sizing chart to guide you.
There are 4 main types of knee braces. There are knee sleeves, hinged braces, wrap-around braces, and knee straps.
All serve the primary purpose of support but are most appropriate in different circumstances.
Knee sleeves: These can be slipped over the knee through the foot. They are best for mild injuries which require compression to control pain and swelling.
Wraparound braces: As the name suggests these are wrapped around the knee. They are popular with athletes with mild to moderate pain and provide more support than sleeves.
Hinged knee braces: These are used for high levels of support and protection. They are often used post-surgery and by athletes involved in intense activities.
Closed and Open patella
You might be wondering why some knee braces have a hole in the center. These are open patella braces. Closed patella ones don’t have this hole.
Open patella braces allow for more movement and offer extra knee cap support. Closed patella braces have compression at the knee cap with equal pressure all round.
Material used to make the brace, to a large extent, determines comfort, durability and care. How breathable is it and does it handle moisture well? How should it be cleaned and roughly how long will it last? These are all question which are answered based on construction material.
Level of support and protection
Knee braces are categorized into 3 levels that is level 1, 2 and 3 or 3+.
A level 1 brace offers the least support. It is flexible and allows for close-to-normal movement. Knee sleeves are a good example.
Level 2 braces are not as flexible as level 1’s but still allow for some movement. They are often used for ligament injuries. Wraparound braces are a good example.
Level 3 braces are offer the most support and limit movement. Hinged braces are a good example. They are generally heavier and cannot be worn under clothing… at least not discreetly.
If you are a regular Cross Fitter, it is important to arm yourself with information on knee braces available and more importantly, how to pick the right one for your specific need. Without this, you will likely end up purchasing one which doesn’t provide the exact kind of support you need.
That said, it is important to keep in mind that not all knee braces are intended for permanent use. Those offering high level support should be used for a period of time after which you should be able to wean yourself off braces completely or transition to one which offers much less support.
Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API