If there is a modern player that can be credited the most for making knee sleeves popular, it’s got to be the Answer. Alan Iverson was one of the most exciting players in the league that had Kobe, Duncan, and Jordan at their primes. This was way before the players started wearing all out compressive active underwear. Knee pads, on the other hand, were present in the NBA for more than 40 years by the time Jordan came back for the second time.
Now, let’s talk about amateur basketball, because let’s face it, that is what we are more interested in and if you haven’t made it as a pro by now, you probably never will. Knee pad and knee sleeves are more than just an accessory to the game and they can actually help you perform better, stay protected and look cool in the process. Most of the models come in a couple of standardized sizes and it is very important to pick the right size. Since the knee sleeves, and definitely knee pads, offer structural support to your leg, you have to take into consideration a couple of factors when buying one (the look good factor should actually come last). You should feel enough pressure to stiffen your knee just a bit, but then not so much that you lose mobility or stop the natural blood blow. The material also plays an important role since this is the type of sports apparel that goes directly on your skin while you are sweating. We picked out 8 products that we found to have the best value on the market and listed them here.
Best Basketball Knee Sleeve Picks
Nike Pro Combat
Nike Pro Combat models have been the industry standard for more than a decade now and a lot of players, both professional and recreational ones became devoted fans of their equipment. This is because all of the important factors we listed as considerations before getting one are satisfied to a great extent.
The material used for this model is a lightweight version of Ariparene that keeps your muscles warm and supports your joints. Strategically placed mesh allows the airflow and protects the skin. The design features a nice front and back pattern that comes in a couple of color choices and the knee sleeve itself is slightly contoured so as to allow your knee to move optimally.
The level of padding is minimal and it will protect your knees from scratches, in case you land on a hardwood floor, but that’s about it. We chose this model to start the list with because it is extremely popular and the over 4-star user rating kinda sets it as a comparing point for all the other products. Overall, considering the quality, usability, the design and the price, this is a smart buy.
This is a model that has been growing in popularity and we have to admit, we weren’t the ones who recognized its value at first. In fact, it was only after we read a lot of excellent reviews that we actually got curious enough to test it out. And it did not disappoint. Let’s start by stating that this knee sleeve is not for the basketball use only. This is basically an athletic support apparel that can be used while playing soccer, tennis, for jogging, or simply to combat the effects of injuries and conditions like arthritis.
The compression this sleeve provides is constant, regardless of the knee position, and the sleeve itself is made from durable, washable, breathable, antibacterial material that feels good against your skin. What we found really impressive is the fact that there is no chafing at either side of it and it managed to stay in the right place regardless of the activity. Finally, since we did mention the overall public infatuation with this model, we find the design of it quite good. It looks good, it feels good, it provides plenty of support and it is not expensive. Thousands of people share our opinion on it.
UFlex Athletics Sleeve
This is another model that we were previously unfamiliar with. The first thing that brought our attention to it was a unique design. Unlike the competition, UFlex went with a functional design that offers plenty of ventilation and an interesting color choice, all the while performing admirably. This knee sleeve is more for recovery and protection purposes than for a striking “look cool” factor. With benefits including pain relief, inflammation and swelling reduction, muscle heating and support, etc., you can understand how this model came to be so highly regarded. Add to it the extremely high quality of the material that is being for that model, and at an under 20$ price tag, you will get the full picture on the value of this model.
More than 10k reviews can confirm ass well that this is a 4.5-star purchase. We especially liked the anti-slip silicone that was implemented in the upper and the lower lid that keeps this model from slipping without creating any chafing. Basketball is not a primary, or better said, the sole activity where this knee sleeve can come in handy, and the versatility is what makes it one of the best choices on the market.
Mava Sports Compression Sleeves
We had the chance to test Mava Sports products before and let’s start off by putting it like this: based on our previous experiences, the expectations were high. Their knee sleeve is recommended for walking, biking, jogging, running, basketball, fitness workout, cross training, running, cycling, gym, tennis and other exercises. Basically, any activity that requires you to use your knees. It is anatomically shaped, to prevent any unwanted movements and provides good support to the joints.
The fabric it’s made out of is of the highest quality and it warms your muscles while allowing your skin to breed and prevents excessive sweat build up. Apart from supporting your knees during various activities, and offering pain relief from arthritis and post-surgery and other conditions, this knee sleeve looks good as well. The intricate pattern is eye pleasing and the color choices are not abundant, but sufficient. Overall, this product met our expectations and as always, Mava Sports proved that they know how to make a high-quality product. Thousands of people with 4.5-star feedback certainly agree with us on this one. You get an excellent product at a really reasonable price and this is definitely a good buy.
Knee Sleeves With Pads
Nike Pro Combat Closed Patella Sleeve 2.0
We are switching to knee sleeves with padding now and coming back to the Nike’s Pro Combat series for the same reason we started with it the last time.
Nike really struck a good balance with their Pro Combat series and that fact is visible in this model as well. Made from the ultra-durable high-grade material, this knee sleeve offers all the support and protection you need. It keeps the muscles warm, protects the joints and the padding on the front side will prevent many falling injuries, especially while playing basketball or volleyball.
Nike did a great job with the simplistic design and instead of going with the patterns, they opted for a clean black color with a pearl white logo on the front. Reading user reviews, we did find that some of the users found it a bit too simplistic, but we really like it just because of it. When you consider the quality over price factor, the fact that it can be used for all sorts of recovery and injury rehab situations, and the fact that it is effective and long-lasting, this definitely is a knee sleeve with padding model to which all others should be compared. And a pretty smart buy at that.
Bucwild Sports Padded Compression Pro
If you ever wanted to see what a top seller in the segment looks like, this is it. And it’s not just our personal and professional opinion that makes it so. It is the fact that people love this knee sleeve and a 5-star rating over hundreds of reviews we’ve read only goes to prove that there is an undeniable value to be found here.
First of all, this knee sleeve comes in 5 different color choices and 5 different size choices. Second of all, it looks really cool with the nice hexagonal design on the front side of the padding. And most importantly, it performs admirably. This model is made from a high-quality durable material that will keep your muscles warm and your joints in place. And the front side padding will protect you from injuries during falls.
Bucwild Sports really outdone themselves with this model and with a price tag of around 20$, we say this is a tremendous value and definitely one of the smartest buys from the segment overall. And from the looks of it, the people seem to agree with us. Excellent product at an excellent price.
McDavid 6446 Hex Padded
The previous entry was interesting in terms of choice. Well, this one is going to blow your mind away. McDavid offers their padded knee sleeve in 7 different sizes and 8 amazing color choices.
The design itself is very similar to the previous entry but just a bit longer on the bottom side. The 9mm HEX Technology padding serves a dual purpose of protecting you from getting injured and looking really cool. The extended length on the bottom side keeps your calves warm and offers plenty of support while not inhibiting knee movement.
This model is made from a washable and highly-durable material that ensures longevity and minimizes the wear and tear of the knee sleeve. As far as the value for money goes, this one is close to the top of the list, if not at the top.
The variety of choice, the level of sophistication including an hDc moisture management technology implemented, and the overall quality of the product surely make it a good choice, especially at these prices. And even a couple of thousands of reviews is in agreement with us on this one.
Reachs Honeycomb Hexpad
This model features a lot of the same specs as the previous we visited in our list and how could it not? When there is a winning formula, there is no need for experimentation. Reachs made this one from a good, breathable, that protects the leg and knee from pulling during in and outdoor activities such as running, basketball, football, cycling, golf, volleyball, etc. The 6 color choices should satisfy even the pickiest of buyers and an extended honeycomb padded area design looks amazing and does a good job of protecting you from injuries.
The level of compression is good and the lids are able to keep it in place without causing any chafing or discomfort. The 4 sizes available will cover all types of legs. What we especially like about this particular model, and why it made it to our list is the tremendous value for money ratio that overshadows most of the competition. The people recognized it and the overall 4.5-star user rating certainly is well-deserved. And just to top it all, these padded knee sleeves come in a pair, so you get two of them at the price of one.
We hope this list made it a bit easier for you to decide on a knee sleeve. Basically, you’ve got a lot of choice at your disposal and there isn’t a lot of separation between the best of the models we’ve listed and “the worst” of them. In fact, most of these differences are preferential and it comes down to the personal taste, as in style, and the amount of money you are willing to spend. But one thing is for sure: whichever entry you opt for, your money will be well spent.