Running with a knee brace (2021 Updated) | The 7 Best Knee Braces for Running Reviewed

One of the simplest solutions to relieve your knee pain is to find the best knee brace for running. We have researched and found 7 of the best knee braces. Which one you choose will depend on your specific knee injury.

While we’re able to help you find the best knee brace for running on our list below, make sure you speak with your doctor or physical therapist before you choose one. If you already know which type of brace you need, then it’s time to compare and contrast! If not first read through our research before choosing. Keep reading after our top picks for more information on Runner’s Knee.

Related Article: Best ankle brace for running

Top 7 Best Knee Braces for Running

BraceMain FeaturesOur Score 
Top pickuflexUFLEX Knee Compression Sleeve for Men & Women 
  • Breathable
  • Excellent Compression
  • Comfortable
4.4
4.4/5 StarsMore..
winzone braceComfyMed Premium Adjustable Compression Support
  • Lightweight
  • Great Price
  • Super Comfortable
4.3
4.3/5 StarsMore..
neenca braceNEENCA Knee Compression Sleeve
  • Breathable
  • High Quality Compression
4.3
4.3/5 StarsMore..
dynamtic gear braceDynamic Gear Open Patella Knee Brace
  • Durable
  • Adjustable
4.3
4.3/5 StarsMore..
ice brace Vive Knee Ice Pack Wrap
  • Soothing
  • Flexible Fit
4.7
4.7/5 StarsMore..
ipow 2 knee bandIPOW 2 Pack Patella Knee Strap
  • Strong Patella Support
  • Stays in Place
4.4
4.4/5 StarsMore..
shock doctorShock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace
  • Very Supportive
  • Comfortable
4.3
4.3/5 StarsMore..
   
   

In-Depth Reviews of the Best Running Brace for Knee Pain

Great for runners who have started to notice a few small aches and pains after a run. The inside of the sleeve at the top is lined with two rows of silicone in order to prevent it from slipping down the leg as you run. As a knee sleeve should, this will help compress and increase the blood flow around your knee joint as you run. The sleeve material is a mixture of Spandex, nylon, and latex that is woven together with a particular 3D knitting technology, allowing it the 4-way stretch. The material is comfortable, breathable, and easy to wash. If you’re in need of a compression sleeve, this one is our top pick.

The straps make it easy to fit around pretty much any knee. You adjust the tightness to your preferred comfort level and it won’t constrict your movement as some braces do. We like how it balances support and flexibility, both important features when you plan to run with it. The majority of wearers find it to be perfect for their needs, however, others feel that the brace doesn’t reach far enough up on the leg. This is our top pick for a light support open patella brace.

The straps make up the brace’s four-way compression system, which, combined with the double lateral stabilizers, provide you with the medial and lateral support you need. The back has a gap, too, which makes it more comfortable to bend and move as you run. The final feature that we liked is skin-friendly neoprene, which makes it comfortable to wear for runs and helps prevent skin irritation. This hinged knee brace comes in 3 sizes small regular and large. An excellent find at a great price!

It includes three non-toxic gel packs, two in the front and one in the back to ice you’re full knee. This is a neoprene brace the fabric is breathable and will keep your skin dry.

The knee sleeve is constructed from an air-knit fabric, which is very comfortable. The fabric is designed to wick away moisture making it perfect when you work up a sweat running. It is currently available in sizes small to XXX large. 

You use the Velcro straps to fasten just below your kneecap. You can easily adjust it looser or tighter to get the level of compression right for you. This knee band will stay in place when running. The strap is breathable and absorbs sweat, keeping your knee dry and free from irritation. This knee strap is used to treat jumper’s knee inflammation of your patella tendon. The strap is one size fits all and comes in four colors. This is our top pick knee band.

According to Shock Doctor, this brace helps prevent and heal medial and lateral instability, minor patella instability, meniscus injuries, minor ligament sprains, hypertension, and arthritis. It comes in six sizes, small to 3XL, there is a convenient size chart but you will need to measure to find the perfect fit. This is our to pick for the best high support hinged brace.

leading a healthy lifestyle

What is Runner’s Knee?

According to Web MD Runner’s Knee is a broad term referred to as knee pain and the medical term is patellofemoral pain syndrome. Runner’s knee usually causes anterior knee pain. Runner’s knee can be caused by overuse, improper running form, misalignment of your ligaments, bad fall resulting in knee injury, flat feet, knee arthritis Chondromalacia patella, or weak Quadracepts. If you are experiencing a knee problem or have suffered an injury you should also consult a doctor, physiotherapist, or athletic therapist.

How Is Runner’s Knee Treated?

According to Web Mb the main treatments for patellofemoral pain syndrome is:

  • Rest 
  • Ice 
  • Knee Brace
  • Elevate your leg 
  • Take an anti-inflammatory drug,
  • Stretch and strengthen your quadriceps muscles.
  • Arch supports or orthotics for your shoes. 

Proper Running Form Video

How to Choose the Right Style of Knee Brace

There are different types of braces for different injuries. If you are experiencing anterior knee pain when running. Finding the best knee brace for runners can relieve your pain and keep you running longer. It will however not fix your problem completely but can aid recovery.

  • KNEE STRAP is an adjustable band the wraps around below your knee cap to relieve pressure off the patellar tendon. This band is primarily used for jumper’s knee which is inflammation of your patellar tendon.
  • KNEE SLEEVE is a thin stretchy fabric that slips over the leg to provide compression to the knee. This helps increase blood flow to reduce pain and swelling during and after a run. A sleeve provides you with additional light support as you run. A sleeve is good for injury prevention or for those experiencing slight pain.
  • WRAPAROUND BRACE Is a design that allows for easy on and off for the runner. The wraparound brace will offer a runner medium support for their knee while running. Some braces have added small hinges for extra support. This is the most recommended brace for runners’ knee.
  • HINGED KNEE BRACE Is designed for high support as it limits the movement of your knee. It has hinges on the sides of the knee and is ridged. Some braces are made especially for athletes however a lot are designed for serious knee injury like a torn ACL or meniscus tear, not your typical runner’s knee. There are four different types of hinged braces.
  • ICE WRAP KNEE BRACES this is a special ice pack designed specifically for someone with knee pain and can be used in conjunction with another knee brace. An ice wrap is not recommended for running in but is excellent for recovery after a run.

Medical Knee Braces

There are different styles and types of Medical knee braces:

  • Prophylactic knee brace – This brace is designed for athletes to protect their MCL (medial collateral ligament) against valgus knee stresses. After having suffered an MCL injury
  • Functional Knee Brace – These knee braces are for knee injuries such as an ACL or meniscus tear. Patients may be prescribed a brace instead of surgery.
  • Rehabilitative Knee Braces –  A brace used after surgery or injury to aid in rehabilitation. This brace will limit the movement of the knee for the patient.
  • Offloader Unloader Brace  – These knee braces are for people suffering from knee osteoarthritis, which is arthritis located in the inner portion of the knee. They are usually custom made and help patients delay knee replacement surgery.

We will not be recommending medical braces if you need one please speak with your health care provider, physiotherapist, or athletic therapist for a recommendation. Also, check your health insurance coverage

What is the Best Running Brace Material?

The material matters when it comes to choosing the best running brace for runner’s knee. If you don’t wear leggings or tights, then look for braces or sleeves with a no-slip lining on the inside. Also, flat seams will help prevent chafing and rubbing. 100% neoprene is best for hinged braces since it’s easy to clean and breathable. You’ll also find sleeves that are infused with copper, which may help reduce inflammation on your knee; however, there is no hard, scientific evidence that this is true. Spandex and latex are other materials used. If you have any allergies to certain materials, be sure you know what the brace is made of before selecting.

Should I Choose an Open or Closed Patella Knee Brace for Runners Knee?

Choosing a knee brace with either a closed or open patella hole depends if you want pressure on your kneecap or not. The knee support will either cover the kneecap offering compression and support or, the open patella design will support the knee cap without compression. The open design will also allow for some breathability. It is up to personal preference.

What is the Difference Between a Knee Brace and a Knee Sleeve?

A Knee brace will stabilize your knee and limit movement while walking or running whereas a knee sleeve will help provide compression but will not limit movement. Both will help reduce swelling and minimize pain. A knee Brace will be used after a serious injury and help protect from future injuries while your knee is healing.  Knee Braces usually have added hinges on the sides and are more rigid than knee sleeves.

How Do You Wear Knee Support?

Knee support goes over and around your knee. Some models simply pull on and might have straps that you tighten afterward or non-slip grips. Other models have straps that you pull around and velcro on. Some Knee supports can be worn over pants and others you must put directly on your skin. Each brace will come with instructions and some even have video tutorials to make sure you are getting the perfect fit.

The Benefit of Wearing a Knee Support

The knee support will offer relief from the pain felt with the runners’ knee. A Running brace for runner’s knee can allow you to continue to run and train and hopefully avoid more serious knee injuries and knee surgery. Check out some tips to prevent knee injuries from happening in this article from doctor arthritis.

Our Top Knee Support

An experienced runner and an active mom, Kelly is the research expert behind runninggearlab.com When you don't find Kelly training for her next 10k or 5k race you'll find her reading reviews and testing the latest running watch.

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