5 Best Knee Braces for Running: Are They Worth The Hype?

Mihai Voinea
Medically reviewed by Mihai Voinea Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) — Research analysis by Adam Pius

Knee braces for running are getting more popular among athletes and manufacturing companies are joining the hype by creating more models of this equipment. Therefore, choosing the best knee brace for running is not as easy as before.

This gear is usually made of soft and elastic materials depending on its type. Choosing a knee brace for mild to moderate knee problems can be done without any consultation from the doctor but severe cases require a prescription from a health professional.

Currently, knee braces are to be used not only for pain relief but also for protection from injuries when running, weight lifting and doing other sports.


A Quick Look at The Best Knee Braces For Running

Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support

This Knee Compression Sleeve Support from Ultra Flex Athletics uses the latest 3D technology to produce a sleeve support that has a four-way stretch capability. Because of its all-around superior protection, this is ideal for athletes. This can be used during running, basketball, soccer, football, golf, cycling, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, and other sports.

CopperJoint Copper Knee Sleeve

This Knee Sleeve is a durable and lightweight knee brace that secures the knee while keeping it warm. Aside from being comfortable, this also relieves the pain, allowing you to move more easily. It has a cooling feature to avoid skin rash. It fits well so it does not roll or slip down. The elastic reshapes after usage. This is ideal for people who just had surgery.

Bracoo Knee Support

BracooKnee Support has an open patella design that reduces pressure, chronic pain, and stress on the knee-joint. This is convenient to use during heavy exercise or trainings. People who just had surgery will find this helpful since it is designed for post-surgery recovery. It also has a reinforced stabilizer ring to keep the knee cap in the right position and to prevent injuries through proper motion.

Ipow 2 Pack Knee PainRelief&Patella Stabilizer Knee Strap Brace Support

This Knee pain relief & patella stabilizer knee strap brace support is ideal for hiking, soccer, basketball, running, tennis, volleyball, and squatting. Its segmented fix design is used to make easy adjustments according to the person’s knee curves. Through this, the patella is protected. This is also good for people with jumper’s knee and tendonitis.

Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeves

Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeves is a pair of knee braces designed to reduce joint pain and arthritis. It also improves circulation compression which makes this ideal equipment for running, jogging, working out, walking, and hiking. It prevents itching while offering full mobility and comfort. This is also convenient to use during knee recovery. For people to get the right fit, a sizing chart is provided.

Reviews of the Best Knee Brace for Running

This knee brace reduces swelling and stiffness. It also has a heating effect to help people with runner knee, jumpers knee, arthritis, and tendonitis. Its optimal compression feature improves muscle endurance.

Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support

It has a double silicone anti-slip wave to avoid readjusting it during trainings or workouts. To provide greater comfort, this knee brace has an ultra-lightweight feature. This is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large.

Things We Liked

  • This knee support is designed to last for a long time.
  • There is a sizing guideline provided to help the customer find the right fit.
  • It relieves the pain, especially during extreme workouts or training.

Things We Didn't Like

  • It’s not easy to use because you have to put it on before dressing up and you have to remove your shoes and socks to take the knee brace off.
CopperJoint Copper Knee Sleeve

This knee brace is 100% latex free. It is a four-way compression sleeve that is designed for minimizing injuries while keeping the person who is using it comfortable.

It helps in muscle recovery. Its high-performance fabric keeps the right temperature for the knee. It is made of anti-itch wicking materials to prevent rashes and sweat during trainings or even during usual daily routines.

Things We Liked

  • This knee support uses true copper to provide greater comfort compared to other brands.
  • It is still comfortable to wear even after a long time.
  • It does not smell.

Things We Didn't Like

  • You must make sure that you get the right fit.
  • It is expensive compared to other knee brace models.

This knee support with breathable neoprene promotes proper blood circulation. It relieves the knee from arthritis, strains, sprains, and fatigue.

The fully-customizable Velcro straps prevent it from sliding down. It can be attached to any point to ensure a tailored fit even through intense workout. There are also perforated moisture vents to prevent sweating and ensure comfort.

BracooKnee Support

Things We Liked

  • This is a good knee brace for people who just had surgery.
  • The extra-thick neoprene does not only provide comfort but also protection.
  • It guides the knee’s motion to prevent injuries.

Things We Didn't Like

  • It comes in just one size.
Ipow 2 Pack Knee PainRelief&Patella Stabilizer Knee Strap Brace Support

The Ipow Knee Brace has a double knot design that makes it adjustable up to 18 inches. It has a built-in flexible slims insert to avoid injuries and reduce the pain when playing any sport. Its high-quality fabrics are soft and breathable to provide comfort.

Aside from its fashionable design, it also has an absorption feature that makes it easier to wash. It is recommended to wear this knee brace below the patella to properly dissipate the impact to the patella and tendon.

Things We Liked

  • It reduces any patella tendon irritation and inflammation.
  • The Velcro not only adjusts the knee brace, it also helps in putting the right pressure on the tendon.

Things We Didn't Like

  • This is not to be used by people with chondromalacia patella.
  • It can be too bulky for some people.

This knee brace uses Bamboo charcoal fiber which is good for people with sensitive skin. This material also makes the brace durable and easy to wear. Since it is anatomically shaped, it aids in painrelief and recovery by reducing inflammation, soreness, stiffness, and swelling.

Mava Sports Knee Support Sleeves

This is also convenient for cross training, weight lifting, gym workouts, and other exercises. It is designed to be worn above the patella.

Things We Liked

  • This can be used on almost any sports that require intense workouts and training.
  • Helps prevent injuries.
  • Mitigates stress on the knees and supports the knee joints.
  • A sizing chart is provided.

Things We Didn't Like

  • The fabric rolls down when used over the knee, making them uncomfortable to wear at times.

Since the joints are easily exposed to strains, inflammation, and other forces during training, knee braces are developed to help the knee function properly.​

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Knee Brace for Running

Know the Types of Knee Braces:

Prophylactic Braces

Prophylactic Braces are composed of bars, hinges, and adhesive straps. These are mostly used to prevent knee damage during sports like football and basketball. It is designed to protect the medial collateral ligament from any knee injury or re-injury. It relieves the knee from sprain and stiffness while supporting the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, and the lateral collateral ligament.

However, studies conducted on the effectiveness of prophylactic braces do not give consistent results. One study showed a significant relationship between using prophylactic braces and the decrease of medial collateral ligament injuries while two other studies reported the opposite result.

A systematic review on prophylactic braces concluded that researchers cannot encourage nor discourage the people to use this type due to the inconsistency of data gathered.​

Functional Braces

Functional Braces are used by people who already have an injured knee. This is ideal for those who just had surgery. Using this during rehabilitation is commonly practiced. It supports the knee after an injury to help it recover immediately.

There are different types of functional braces for various kinds of knee injury (e.g. injury on the medial collateral ligament and other cruciate ligaments). Each type applies a different amount of force needed on the joints to support the injured ligament.

Choosing the right functional brace would be up to the doctor. On certain cases, a person cannot just buy whatever type of functional brace that he prefers without the prescription of a health professional. Functional braces with stretchy neoprene material are usually used for mild or moderate injuries. However, there are people who find this type of material to be irritating to the skin. A functional brace with a stiff frame and hinges are used for severely damaged ligaments. Proper measurements should be taken to ensure comfort. People who are into activities that involve jumping and twisting can use this brace to decrease instability on the knee.​

Rehabilitative Braces

Rehabilitative Braces is used during the recovery of knee injuries. They limit the movement of the knee to protect the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament, and the lateral collateral ligament. This is only used for two to eight weeks with the help of crutches. It can be removed to examine the knee and space is provided for the swelling part.

This brace has foam liners and rigid bars with hinges to surround the thigh and calf. It is adjustable and there are six to eight straps to keep it from slipping. This is ideal for controlling the movement of the knee.​

Unloader Braces

Unloader Braces are commonly used by people with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis, knee pain, and rheumatoid arthritis. This is also used by people who are about to have a knee replacement surgery. It puts pressure on the thigh bone instead of putting pressure on the injured joint. It is made of molded plastic, foam, and steel. Any movement is limited only on the sides.

A study conducted by Dan K. Ramsey and Mary E. Russell reported that unloader braces significantly relieve pain in the knee. However, bracing should be done before any joint realignment or replacement.​

Set a Budget

Knee braces can reach up to a hundred dollars per pair. The price greatly depends on the type of knee brace that you want. Standard knee braces are usually less expensive compared to customized braces. Make sure that the budget you prepared is enough for the type that you want to buy. Do not go for the cheaper one just because you do not have enough money.

Review the Ratings

Online stores are great sources of reviews of different products. There are times when people’s experiences vary despite using the same product. The fit may not be right. Some people might be allergic to some materials used, such as latex. There are even times when the product does not perform the way that its manufacturing company claims.

Knee Brace and Running

Knee braces were initially made to relieve pain on the knee joints. This is used as a support after an injury. But this does not mean that it can be used for all types of knee problems.

Being exposed to intense activities can lead to injuries. That is why knee braces are now used by athletes to protect their joints from such damage, especially that running is an endurance sport. It also promotes stability and comfort when running.​

Knee Brace and Resistance Training

Exercises for resistance trainings like squats can injure a person’s knees. In spite of the benefits of squatting, it can still do damage. Knee injuries in sports are not commonly caused by squatting. But when it comes to weightlifting or resistance trainings, that’s a whole different story.

Squatting is also done in weightlifting. But too much of it can give more problems than solutions. Because of this, knee braces are considered a standard squatting gear to keep the knees healthy. Also make sure you consume more anti inflammatory foods such as tumeric, which can help reduce inflammation on joints when does heavy lifts.

knee injury


The different brands of knee braces have, more or less, the same features. Most of them provide relief from pain and, at the same time, support an injured knee. But the Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support stands out from the list since it can be used in a lot of intense sports and trainings.

It can be a functional knee brace or a rehabilitative one. It is also not as expensive as the other brands so the price wouldn’t be much of a problem. It has an excellent rating and customer reviews are mostly positive. This is, so far, the best knee brace for running and resistance trainings.

Image credits: Amazon.com

Adam Pius (Research Analysis)

My Trainer Bob was founded by Adam to supply a great resource on fitness and health and to become a trusted resource where people can come and learn how to stay fit.

Mihai Voinea (Editor)

Mihai is a medical doctor and entrepreneur with a burning obsession for performance and health. Mihai is also an IronMan, ultramarathon runner, and co-founder of Marsilian, which owns two e-learning platforms for future medical students and doctors.