Recovering from a recent injury but itching to stretch your legs? Or perhaps you’ve always had weak knees and worry your weekend hikes will catch up with you one day? Sounds like you’re in need of a knee brace!
Knee braces come in all shapes and sizes, and the one you go for will ultimately come down to the nature of your injury and how strenuous your hikes are.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Knee Braces For Hiking
As there are so many options out there, it can be a little tricky finding the right one for you. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best knee braces for hiking around – because bad knees should never stand in the way of you and the great outdoors!
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Best For Support
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The POWERLIX Compression Sleeve offers a fantastic blend of comfort and support at a surprisingly low price.
The unique blend of breathable neoprene with super smooth spandex gives this brace a silky-soft feel, perfect if you’ll be out on the trail all day long. We also love that it features two anti-slip silicone strips to stop it from sliding out of place on your adventures – after all, the last thing that will help your knee is bending over to fix your brace all day!
On top of that, this sleeve is great at wicking (that is, absorbing moisture from the skin so you don’t stay soggy), so you won’t end up with a stinky leg after your exertions. As with most slip-on braces, you can’t adjust the width; however, there’s a range of sizes available so you can make sure you get the fit you need.
It is quite a long brace, so it might be slightly warmer than needed, but at least you can be sure you’re injury will be supported even if it’s slightly above or below the joint.
Supportive yet sleek, you can wear this under your pants with no problem. And you won’t be embarrassed wearing it with shorts either thanks to the stylish design and range of colors available.
The Cho-Pat Dual Action Strap is a fantastic brace that maximizes support with constricting movement.
The two-strap design primarily functions by applying pressure above the knee to reduce the impact of the quads on the kneecap tendon, but it also supports below and around the knee to hold everything in place.
We like that into only is it constructed from breathable neoprene but it also leaves a large patch of knee exposed for ventilation and temperature control – you can definitely keep this on all day long without it irritating your skin. This design also provides fantastic freedom of movement compared to some of the other braces we’ve come across.
The two Velcro straps are adjustable and the brace also comes in a range of sizes so you can be sure to get the perfect fit. The straps are a little thicker than some options we’ve seen, so if you wear tight trousers you might be able to spot the brace through them.
It’s also one of the more expensive braces we’ve come across but, having said that, it’s not going to bankrupt you and we think it’s worth it for the fantastic mix of support and freedom this brace offers.
If you’re looking to maximize your knee support, then look no further than the TechWare Pro Knee Brace.
This sturdy little brace offers greater compression than most competitors on the market to provide you with ultimate support. On top of that, its four spring stabilizers provide great stability, yet they’re flexible too so you can still move freely. Your movements will be a tad constricted though, so this is best for serious injuries or casual exercise (not a slight tweak and a squash match).
We absolutely love that this brace features bidirectional support (why haven’t more companies thought of this?) so you don’t end up with an uneven wraparound. They’re adjustable too and come in a range of sizes (although watch out because they run a little small), plus they won’t slip out of place either thanks to the non-slip silicone strips.
This brace only leaves a small area of the kneecap exposed, so it will be a little warmer than some other models, but at least the neoprene material used is breathable and fantastic at wicking so you won’t end up super sweaty.
Overall, this is a great brace if support is your top priority – just don’t expect to run any marathons in it.
If you’re looking for a bit of extra support but don’t want to shell out a fortune for it, then the Bracoo Support Brace is a great option.
We love its reinforced stabilizer ring that stops the knee-cap gap from moving out of place during exercise and supports key ligaments. This brace also features not one, not two, but three Velcro straps, and we like that they’re extra-wide so they won’t come undone on you.
They’re also thinner than some other options we’ve seen, so you can wear this brace underpants easily. Make sure you do the straps up tight though because they do slide around a little (and would benefit from some silicone strips).
Constructed of breathable neoprene, you won’t find yourself overheating in this brace. We wish it came in a few more size options, but at least the straps are adjustable, and, at this price, we really can’t complain.
If you’re after a casual brace that won’t break the bank, then we recommend the IPOW 2-Pack Brace.
Sure, the IPOW brace isn’t for serious activities with serious injuries, but if you have a little tweak in your knee why not don one of these breathable, minimalistic, and very affordable straps?
Hands down the best thing about the IPOW brace is its simplistic design. The narrow width means you have fantastic freedom of movement for more active sports such as running and, because less skin is covered, you’ll stay cooler and less skin will be irritated. It’s also super quick to strap on – you could whip one on halfway through a race and not lose much time!
The Velcro straps are also nice and slim, so you can easily wear them as underpants, and are fully adjustable too (although we wish there was more than one size available).
The compression isn’t the strongest we’ve seen, there’s just one strap to hold everything in place, and it’s lacking any extra features, but this strap remains a great no-frills approach and is great for minor injuries. Plus, this 2-pack offers fantastic value for money!
The Abco Tech Knee Strap is another great minimalistic strap for knee injuries.
Its neoprene and nylon construction resulting in an ultra-lightweight, breathable strap. This, combined with the fact it covers less skin than other braces, means you could easily forget you’re wearing a strap at all.
It certainly isn’t the one for any serious injuries, but it’s more than enough support for any minor tweaks. Although only available in one size, the strap is fully adjustable (make sure you do it right so it doesn’t slip – there’s only one!), and we love that you can choose to go for a pink, white, or black strap.
Overall, it’s super affordable, simple to assemble, and allows a good range of motion – what’s not to love?
The SB SOX Compression Brace provides great comfort and tonnes of thoughtful touches at a very reasonable price.
Constructed from breathable materials designed to wick away sweat before odors can begin to develop, and slim enough to wear under anything, this is one comfortable sleeve that you can happily wear all day long.
It also features silicone strips at the upper and lower cuffs to stop it from sliding out of place when you’re hiking around, so you don’t have to waste time rearranging. The stretchy material provides the right level of support needed, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that this sleeve is available in a range of sizes (often the budget sleeve take a one-size fits all approach).
As with all sleeves, it will entirely cover the kneecap, so if this is a particularly sensitive area for you (e.g., if it’s bruised or cut post-injury) then this might not be the best option for you.
It won’t provide as much compression as some of the higher-end options either, but it will support far above and below the knee and, for minor injuries, it’s a fantastic sleeve that offers premium comfort without a premium price tag.
Last but by no means least on our list of the best knee brace for hiking is the EXOUS Non-Slip Knee Brace.
As the name suggests, this is one stable brace that will stay put even on the most strenuous of hikes thanks to its 4-way strap system. The additional straps also increase the support offered, making this one of the best braces we’ve come across in terms of pain relief.
We also love the lycra inner lining that stops any of those straps from irritating your skin which, combined with breathable neoprene constructions, results in one very comfortable brace overall.
All those straps do make this one of the longer strap-on braces we’ve seen, and it is a little n the expensive side, but if you’re looking for something that will support you during the most strenuous of hikes, then this really is a great option.
As you’ve seen, there’s a huge range of knee braces out there. But how do you know which one is right for you? Well, here are some things to consider:
No, we don’t mean the color scheme (although there are some cool designs out there)… Slip-on braces (aka sleeves) generally provide less support than their strap-filled counterparts, but they’re often way more comfortable and less bulky. Single-strapped-braces offer a minimal amount of support, but they’re easily adjustable and quick to slip on when you’re out in the wilderness.
Rigid, multi-strap braces offer the most support, but they can be bulky under clothes and will restrict your movement more than the other types.
Overall, which one you go for will come down first and foremost to the severity of your injury and, secondly, to how serious your hiking will be.
Fir is very important when it comes to braces – you want something tight enough to be supportive, yet not so tight that you can barely move or feel uncomfortable. Adjustable straps are a massive plus, as are braces that come in different sizes. Make sure you avoid non-adjustable one-size only braces when shopping online unless you’ve tried one on before or are willing to return it.
Style and fit both contribute to overall comfort levels, but so do the fabrics used. Neoprene is a great choice thanks to its breathability and ability to absorb sweat, and we also love braces with silicone for grip – after all, you won’t be comfortable if your brace keeps slipping.
Other fabrics are often used to increase softness and prevent skin irritation – these are fine, just make sure that the overall composition remains breathable, the last thing you want is a hot sweaty knee.
Still not made up your mind which brace is right for you? Here are our top three to help you decide:
Our top hiking brace in terms of support has to be the EXOUS Non-Slip Knee Brace thanks to its four fully adjustable straps.
Not only do the straps provide fantastic all-round compression, but they also make sure the brace stays in place and provides support where you need it most. On top of that, they’re lined with lycra and made from breathable neoprene so you’ll be able to wear this brace out on the trail all day long.
Our best allround hiking brace has to be the Cho-Pat Dual Action Strap thanks to its ability to provide support while retaining freedom of movement.
The two-strap design provides ample support, yet the overall brace is short and a large area of the knee is left exposed so you’ll still be able to tackle those hikes on rougher terrain.
This also means you get great airflow, and we love that this brace comes in tonnes of sizes so you can find the perfect fit – what a winner.
But what’s our absolute favorite hiking brace? It’s the POWERLIX Compression Sleeve!
Super comfortable thanks to the blend of breathable neoprene and soft spandex and featuring non-slip silicone strips, this sleeve really is a dream to wear.
It provides extended support above and below the knee and is slim enough to wear underneath your pants.
Breathable, sweat-absorbing, and with a very stylish design… do we need to say any more?