What are Knee Sleeves?
They’re usually a compressive neoprene sleeve that slide over your knees to provide protection.
Lifters who have previous knee injuries or who are concerned about their knees when squatting find them particularly useful. I personally don’t wear them, but given their scientifically proven benefits, if my knees needed help I’d get them a pair.
What do Knee Sleeves do?
They provide valuable compression which increases the flow of blood and reduces the risk of injury in the long-term. Essentially they’re brilliant for recovery and improving day-to-day performance.
By limiting patella movement and providing lateral stability, they also give the lifter a greater sense of confidence and awareness.
This proprioception (posh word, I know) can lend itself to increased performance. You feel more confident in your body’s ability to squat for reps without injury.
Sleeves can be expensive, but good quality ones do provide greater stability and reduce the risk of injury. (Specifically ACL injuries.) But they don’t automatically improve performance or technique. You still need to work on your mobility and refine your squat.
The 5 Best Powerlifting Knee Sleeves for Squats
These are the 5 best knee sleeves on the market. And at a range of prices. If you don’t want to spend more than £30 we’ve got you covered. But the premium options are by far and away a better product.
|Knee Sleeve||Cost||Support||Comfort||Average Rating||Shop|
|Beast Gear Beast Sleeves||££|
|Iron Bull Strength Knee Sleeves||££|
|Beast Gear Pro Sleeves||££££|
|Urban Lifters Double Ply Sleeves||£££|
|Strength Shop Double Ply Sleeves||£££|
A high quality name in the fitness apparel industry, Beast makes quality products year in, year out. And the Beast Gear Beast Sleeves are no exception to the rule.
Aesthetically they look great. About as tough as knee sleeves can be. The 5mm thickness is about perfect for support and comfort in my opinion and like any good quality pair of sleeves, they don’t absorb too much sweat.
The fitting and contouring is fantastic. I would recommend ordering a size you know will be tight. Half a size down is perfect. I’m a Beast Gear fan, so any of their products will be a safe bet.
The Iron Bull Strength Knee Sleeves are exceptionally comfortable. Definitely the best budget option online, the support and compression is perfectly complemented by the breathable material.
A lot of the time I find that knee sleeves quickly overheat and become, for want of a better word, moist. These don’t.
The silicon gel strips prevent them slipping up or down like lower quality sleeves will. They’d be more than adequate for any powerlifting, weightlifting or even crossfit workout.
Beast Gear Pro Sleeves Editor’s Choice
The best on the market and the editor’s choice. No questions asked.
They are on the more expensive side, but you get what you pay for. If you’re serious about lifting and have knee concerns or a history of knee injuries and want to proceed with caution, you should buy the Beast Gear Pro Sleeves.
The 7mm thickness provides exceptional support and they’re so comfortable. It’s like squatting in pudding. Firm, voluptuous and a little risque.
They undoubtedly last longer than any of their competitors and when you buy them you’ll see what I mean about the overall quality. The stitching just feels tighter. Whilst knee sleeves don’t actually increase your squat, the mental boost it gives provides a placebo affect.
Stability = Progress
My second favourite on the list and unlucky to miss out, these Urban Lifter Sleeves are almost as good as the above Beast gear. And a little more budget friendly to boot!
The comfort and sense of stability these double ply sleeves provide is nothing short of exceptional. The high grade cotton mesh probably makes these sleevs the most comfortable option on the list.
The tightness and comfort definitely improves overall confidence when lifting with increasing frequency or intensity. The support alone is worth its weight in gold.
And let’s be honest, they look pretty cool too.
A really comfortable, supportive pair of reasonably priced knee sleeves. Occasionally they’ve been known to slip off the knees, but they’re a cracking pair of knee sleeves for the price.
Make sure you get the sizing correct. You want them to be tight, but not too tight and they come in a little smaller than other makes. So please measure your knees as returns are particularly boring.
Do Knee Sleeves increase my Squat?
No, not directly.
If you’re looking for something that directly improves your squats, then you need knee wraps, not knee sleeves.
The elastic properties of knee wraps allow you to build up greater concentric force and a reduction in horizontal barbell displacement (by 39%!).
Whilst knee wraps do alter your lifting mechanics and allow you to squat more, they should be used cautiously. This adaptation to your squat will alter your technique and create new stressors. Ones which your knees may struggle to cope with.
When Should I wear a Knee Sleeve?
Don’t be one of those over-zealous, sad little gym rats who wear them all day.
Just wear them when you workout. That’s when you’ll get the full benefit. Anything else is an unnecessary extra. Remember, they’re not lifesavers. They just provide a little extra support and improve blood flow.
It’s a neoprene sleeve. Completely unacceptable to wear anywhere but the gym or in bed. But I hope your significant other would have something to say about it.