Best Knee Sleeves for Crossfit 

best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit

June 15, 2019

Knee injuries are an incredibly common issue in the world of sports and fitness that can often result in life-altering consequences.

Think torn cartilages, blown ACLs, meniscus tears and dashed dreams – ouch!

What if we told you that this is avoidable and there is a way to reduce the possibility of you sustaining a debilitating knee injury? Just like weightlifting belts protect your back, knee sleeves are designed to protect your knees.

Why are Knee Sleeves Used in CrossFit?

RockTape Assassins 5mm Knee Sleeves (2 Sleeves), Large (Fits 14.5-15.5 Inches), Crossfit Games Official Red

In case you aren’t aware, a knee sleeve is a compressive band that slides over the knee and protects the joint from injury or damage and is commonly found in the majority of gym bags across the globe.

Knee sleeves in general are a fantastic tool that any fitness enthusiast should possess. But when it comes to CrossFit we need to be a little more specific on which products we decide to use.

Because of the sheer quantity of high intensity and varied movements featured in a single CrossFit workout, a different type of knee sleeve is required compared to the sleeves used in sports-like weightlifting, powerlifting and long-distance running.

A knee sleeve for CrossFit needs to accommodate the motions often used in your routine squats, running, jumping, cardio and CrossFit-specific movements like wall balls.

The Benefits of Using Knee Sleeves for CrossFit:

Due to the preventative nature of knee sleeves, they are often regarded as a ‘one job’ kind of product, however, they actually boast a multitude of benefits.

  • Protects knees from future injury or damage.
  • Increases blood flow and decreases joint pain and swelling during and post performance.
  • Counters compressive force.
  • Provides warmth to your joint.
  • Improves stability.
  • Enhances performance.

Now that you know about all of the insane benefits of using a knee sleeve for CrossFit, I’m sure you are keen to buy one and experience these benefits for yourself.

We have put together a basic guide for you to use before purchasing the perfect knee sleeve for you and your CrossFit needs. 

How to Choose The Right Knee Sleeves for CrossFit:

Because a knee sleeve is such a vital piece of CrossFit gear it is important to pick the right one, and this decision, as simple as it sounds, isn’t always an easy one.

There are various factors to consider before purchasing and with the amount of different options available this can be overwhelming and confusing whether you are a serious athlete or a beginner.

To make this choice a little easier for you, here are the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to selecting the right knee sleeve.


The most commonly found material used in knee sleeves is neoprene due to its durability and different degrees of rigidity, enabling the sleeves to be both elastic and stable at the same time.

Today we are seeing an increase in the amount of copper-infused knee sleeves, but as of yet the only real benefit of using these is that the bacteria builds up more slowly and therefore odor is more controlled.

You can also find nylon and spandex knee sleeves, both of which are great for running, but these materials do not offer as much support as the neoprene does—hence being the material of choice.


Getting the right sized knee sleeve is imperative and if you use an incorrectly sized knee sleeve, the results can be dangerous (not to mention annoying).

Most manufacturers have their own sizing guides so make sure you check these out before selecting the size you want to buy.

It’s always best to go with a brand or manufacturer that offers a variety of sizes because their sizing seems to be more accurate. 

Knee Sleeves 7mm (1 Pair) - High Performance Knee Sleeve Support For Weight Lifting, Cross Training & Powerlifting - Best Knee Wraps & Straps Compression - For Men and Women (Black/Green, Large)


Thickness is one of the most important factors to consider when making your decision and this choice often comes down to the type of activity you will be engaging in as well as personal preference.

When it comes to neoprene knee sleeves for CrossFit you mainly find an option of either 5mm or 7mm, both of which are supportive, but each is more suited toward specific activities.

Essentially 5mm knee sleeves are lighter and are therefore more flexible, while 7mm knee sleeves are stiffer and provide more support.

Should You Choose a 5mm or a 7mm Knee Sleeve?

The 5mm option is perfect for agility exercises and can be used for many activities that are geared toward short runs, box jumps, lunges and light lifting. 5mm are versatile and are suitable for other sports.

The 7mm is a sleeve more suited toward heavier use and is great for activities like squats, dead-lifts and cleans. The 7mm sleeves are also a favorite among weightlifters due to their sturdiness.


Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves, Fitness & Support for Workouts & Running. Sold in Pairs-Crossfit Training, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Squats & Gym Use. 5mm&7mm Thick, Multicolor Options for Both

While design isn’t usually included in buying guides, in today’s day and age it is as important for a product to look good as it is to perform properly.

Thankfully, there’s a vast amount of awesome designs out there. Some manufacturers put a lot of effort into the aesthetics of their products and it shows. These products range from classic designs to graffiti, camouflage, and even newspaper themed designs. 

Our Top Picks

As mentioned earlier, a knee sleeve is an essential piece of CrossFit gear and is something you shouldn’t be without during a longer workout.

We understand that in a market that is becoming saturated, choosing the perfect knee sleeve can be a challenge which is why we have gathered a collection of some of the best knee sleeves available and reviewed them, so that you don’t have to.

In this section we will be looking at the brand, thickness, materials used, available sizes, design and color options.

All of the knee sleeves we are reviewing come as a pair, with the exception of the Rehband Rx which are sold individually.

1. Rehband Rx Knee Support 5mm

Rehband has been around since 1955 and is a highly respected brand that is well known for its high performance, superior quality products in the sports and fitness industry; and their knee sleeves are no exception.

Offering products of both 5mm and 7mm thickness, with 12 colors available and being suitable for all ages and skill levels it is no surprise that many athletes turn to Rehband for their varied options.

  • Thickness: 5mm or 7mm
  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Design: Patented anatomical design
  • Size: ranges from XS to XXL
  • Color: 12 color options to choose from

The only downside worth mentioning is that these sleeves are sold individually and not as a pair. 

2. Bear KompleX Compression Knee Sleeves

Bear KompleX, founded by two everyday athletes such as yourself, entered the scene in early 2015 and is fast making a name for itself by becoming a trusted supplier to CrossFit enthusiasts around the globe.

Praised for their high quality by pros and amateurs alike, their awesome designs and durable build mean these guys are fast climbing the ranks and are gaining a serious rep in the industry.

Their design options are also accommodating to women, which we think is great.

  • Thickness: 5mm or 7mm
  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Design: 11 different designs ranging from ‘stars and stripes’ to ‘aztec’
  • Size: 4 different sizes
  • Color: 12 color options to choose from

3. Nordic 7mm Neoprene Knee Sleeves

Nordic Lifting was created in 2013 by a Swedish designer called Hendrik who felt there was a huge void in the market for affordable, quality products. He decided to fill this void with his inexpensive and innovative products.

Suited toward both men and women, Nordic Lifting Knee Sleeves are considered by users as one of the best quality, most affordable non-competition training knee sleeves available today.

The company is becoming well known and loved for their exceptional customer service due to their friendly agents. They also boast a 1-year warranty, hassle-free return process and an average response time of under 3 hours.

Steadily gaining in popularity, these 7mm knee sleeves are perfect for heavy-duty training and are known to withstand high forces and friction.

  • Thickness: 7mm
  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Design: Ergonomic design
  • Size: ranges from XS to XXL
  • Color: 3 different color options to choose from

4. Iron Bull Strength 7mm Knee Sleeves

The Canadian-based Iron Bull Strength designs, manufactures and distributes products worldwide to help users increase performance by producing high quality products at the lowest price possible.

Because of their low price in comparison to some of the other brands on this list, the quality of the knee sleeves is often called into question, but so far there has been a major positive response.

Two silicone gel strips help secure the sleeve on the knee and that makes this product stand out. But a slight downside to these knee sleeves is that they are only available in the 7mm, which is fine if this is your thickness of choice.

  • Thickness: 7mm
  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Design: A simple black design with their logo and color detail
  • Size: S to XXL
  • Color: Black with 6 accent color options to choose from

5. RockTape Assassins Knee Sleeves

Established in 2009, RockTape is a trusted brand; and their recently launched Assassins Knee Sleeves are becoming increasingly popular with CrossFit fanatics worldwide.

RockTape Assassins are engineered to support the knee, with a specific focus on protecting the VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique) area just above the knee. It also sports an extra tall design to do so.

Truly awesome graphic designs featured on their sleeves coupled with a 1 year warranty (which is highly unusual in the industry) it is no wonder that more athletes are choosing RockTape.

  • Thickness: 5mm or 7mm
  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Design: Extra tall design
  • Size: XS to XL
  • Color: 6 color options to choose from

General Tips for Knee Sleeves:

  • Remember, knee sleeves are designed to promote and increase blood circulation. If you ever feel like your circulation is being cut off, you’re probably wearing the wrong size and need to make a switch. Each manufacturer has their own sizing guide so make sure you check it out before purchasing. 
  • Knee sleeves are known to get really smelly, really fast! Regularly wash (by machine, hand or the vinegar method) your sleeves and air dry after washing to keep the smell at bay.
  • Your sleeves are going to be put under a lot of physical strain so make sure you select a material and thickness suitable to the type of activity you’ll be performing.
  • Keep in mind that a knee sleeve is not the same as a brace and serves an entirely different purpose. Make sure you know when you require a sleeve or brace before purchasing, as both can be costly and you don’t want to waste your money buying the wrong product.
  • Research the manufacturer before you purchase your knee sleeves and enquire about the warranty, guarantee and return process (just in case!)

Final Thoughts:

With the CrossFit community growing by the day, more and more companies are popping up and adding their poorly-designed products to the market, which is why it is important to make an informed decision.

Whilst each product boasts their own unique features, our recommendation is to go with the well-established and trusted Rehbrand Rx, with the Bear KompleX coming in at a close second.

Overall, a knee sleeve is a must have and our advice is to invest in a high-quality and superiorly designed product because the cost of a well-crafted knee sleeve is definitely less than that of a knee replacement.

You only have one pair of knees, take care of them.

Invest in knee sleeves today.

About the author 

Kevin Lee

Health and fitness have always been a passion for me; whether its being in the weight room, going for a run before work or even participating in a half iron man triathlon. ShapeJunkie was created to share to knowledge and love of fitness with others.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}