Get the Best Knee Sleeves for Squats & Powerlifting
Getting your next pair of best knee sleeves shouldn't be here. Here are the top three options to choose from.
- 7MM & IPF-Approved Sleeves
- Premium Built for Performance
- 30-CM in Length. Very Durable.
- Designed for MAX Squatting
- IPF-Approved & Premium Built
- 7MM & 30-CM Max Length
- Established & Recognized Brand
- Preferred by Weight Lifters
- Best Used for Olympic Lifts
Choosing the Best Knee Sleeves for Squats
SBD Knee Sleeves
SDB Knee Sleeves are the go-to choice for world-class competitors and record-breakers.
Why We Like SBD Knee Sleeves
The best overall knee sleeves are the SBD sleeves. This should go without saying.
Even if you’re not necessarily looking to spend a ton of money, there aren’t any sleeves in the market that can provide you with the quality of product and performance of the SBD sleeves.
They’re used by world-class competitors in both weightlifting and powerlifting, as a testament to their quality. They are not cheap, as far as knee sleeves, go — but all things considered, they’re simply the best.
For those who want to maximize compression, SBD Knee Sleeves offer a tighter fit and extra support compared to competitors. This may give you additional “bounce” at the bottom of your squats in the moment, but it means they are a pain to take on and off.
This hasn’t deterred professional powerlifters though, as SBD remains the go-to brand for world champions. They offer a solid option for serious lifters.
Best Runner Up
STrong Knee Sleeves
These sleeves were designed to have some level of elasticity and “slingshot” effect.
Should You Buy STrong Knee Sleeves?
American strongman and social media star Mark Bell designed STrong Knee Sleeves to give serious powerlifters extra support through every squat. Though a centimeter shorter than most other options, the sleeves claim to offer more support for heavier lifting.
The simplistic vertical stitching makes the sleeves easy to put on and may lead to less irritation if you have sensitive skin. Just keep in mind you might not be getting much more value for their relatively higher price point.
Rehband Knee Sleeves
Popular since 1955, Rebhand Knee Sleeves offer a looser, more versatile fit. Ideal for weight lifting.
Why We Recommend Rehband Knee Sleeves
Rehband Knee Sleeves are a time-tested favorite for thousands of weightlifters. It’s one of the few brands that lets you pay per sleeve, rather than purchasing them as a set. This makes the brand one of the most cost-effective available if you only want support for one knee.
However, a looser fit might mean you get less support, and Rehband sleeves are notorious for starting to look worn after a few washes. You might find yourself replacing them more frequently than other brands, which doesn’t lend itself to cost savings in the long run.
Deciding on the best knee sleeve for your squat-focused workouts comes down to personal preferences. For instance, only you can determine if you want the extra support that comes with a tighter fit, or whether interior stitching on some models is likely to bother you enough to be a deal-breaker.
In any case, keep in mind that these products are designed to support your knees and keep the joint warmed up, but they aren’t a foolproof way to avoid hurting yourself. If you’re coming off an injury or feel like you need support beyond the capabilities of compression, consider a lifting knee brace instead.
Q1: Are These IPF-Approved?
Yes, all of the knee sleeves reviewed in this post are in the current IPF Approved List.
Q2: How Do Knee Sleeves Work?
Knee sleeves principally add compression to your knees allowing for greater blood flow to the area.
Q3: What Are Knee Sleeves Used For?
Knee sleeves are used as a training aid for most powerlifters, weightlifters, and crossfitters.
They’re almost universally present in any one of these disciplines.
I would say they are used for primarily two reasons — one as a placebo effect, and two as a stylistic element.
When people wear knee sleeves, due to the fact that they’ve been told that they improve your lifts and are “healthier”, it can result in a placebo effect.
Meaning: because you believe that you can lift more weight with knee sleeves, you tend to lift a little more than you could. I would attribute this as a positive net effect of wearing knee sleeves — even if it’s only placebo.
There’s a paucity of data that might suggest an actual increase in weight lifted due to the physical interactions from the knee sleeves. They’re simply not as effective as knee wraps in any way imaginable.
Although, anecdotally, some people say that if you get mega-super-tight knee sleeves, you might actually be able to see even a small effect comparable to wraps.
The downside being the effort required to put them on.
Knee sleeves are also used as a stylistic element. It gives you an athletic look, and depending on your mindset, it can get you ready for “Squat Day” or just lifting in general.
I tend to wear knee sleeves when I go for PR’s. Not because I believe they add to the max weight I can lift, but because it’s just something that I do regularly. It’s a bit of mental conditioning. In other words, the second I put my knee sleeves on, my body knows it’s time to hit a max set.
Q4: What Should You Look For in Knee Sleeves?
All of these knee sleeves are made with neoprene. Usually, that’s what you’ll find.
Asides from that, the length of the sleeve will be something of preference — whether you want longer or shorter sleeves.
The tightness of the sleeve will also play a role. The SBD sleeves are much tighter than the Rehband sleeves, for example. There’s some people that say that the tighter sleeves give them an added bounce at the bottom of the Squat.
Whether that’s true is entirely anecdotal. Tightness might also impact how easy it is to get the sleeve on and off.
Most knee sleeves used in competition are 7mm in thickness and 30cm in length. There are also 3mm and 5mm ones. In general, whether you go with 7mm or the other options will again depend on preference and feel.
Regardless of what other people will tell you: they will not meaningfully affect performance. In fact, you’ll find that your numbers with or without sleeves will not change. Let alone – 3mm, 5mm, or 7mm sleeves.
Q5: Will Knee Sleeves Improve My Squat
There’s discussion about whether knee sleeves improve or affect your Squat, at all.
On a physical level, it doesn’t seem like knee sleeves provide any significant level of boost or improvement in performance.
With that said, there’s the potential for knee sleeves to promote a kind of positive feedback loop in that you believe that knee sleeves improve your performance and in doing so, there might actually be an improvement in performance.
Even if entirely placebo.
And as I mentioned before, putting on your knee sleeves before a Squat session can put you in the right mindset to begin a heavy training set.