Finding the best knee sleeves for CrossFit can help to protect your knees from tendonitis due to repetitive lifting over time.
Our team has compared dozens of knee sleeves. Over 20 hours have been spent on research and digging through customer reviews. We have also tried numerous knee sleeves out ourselves to find the best ones.
I’ll show you what to look for when buying a knee sleeve later.
But if you’re in a hurry we found the Rogue Knee Sleeves to be the overall best value for CrossFit. The 5mm thickness provides support but also allows the flexibility required for repetitive lifts. And for the price, it’s hard to beat the comfort and durability of these sleeves.
9 Best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit
Here are our top picks for knee sleeves for CrossFit…
|Rogue Knee Sleeves||CrossFit- our pick||$$$||3, 5 or 7mm|
|Bear KompleX Knee Sleeves Original||Runner up||$$$||5 or 7mm|
|HookGrip 2.0 Knee Sleeves||Budget||$||3mm|
|Exo Knee Sleeves||Warmth||$$$||5mm|
|RockTape Knee lse Sportz SleevesSleeves||Tall people||$$||5 or 7mm|
|Impu||Women||$$||5 or 7mm|
|Gymreapers Knee Sleeves||Military design||$$||7mm|
|Bear KompleX Compression Lite Knee Sleeves||Cheap option||$||4mm|
|Rehband RX Knee Sleeves||Money no object||$$$$$||5mm|
So let’s dig into why these 9 made the cut…
Best Knee Sleeve for CrossFit – Our Pick: Rogue Knee Sleeves
At 5mm, they are absolutely perfect for CrossFit as they offer enough support but aren’t too thick to make high reps uncomfortable. There are also 3mm or 7mm options available with different sizes available depending on how big your calves are…
There are five color designs to choose from so you can look stylish in any of your gym attire.
The blend of SBR and neoprene makes them very comfortable and durable. One of the most common user reviews is about how well they last over time without stretching or tearing.
Contoured seams and flexible compression means they won’t slip down during your Workout of the Day (WOD).
They’re certified legal according to the IPF and IWF for both Raw and Open competition. If you want the best bang for your buck, these are the sleeves for you.
- Made in the USA– a preference for some people.
- IPF and IWF legal- raw and open competitions.
- Natural contoured fit– comfortable and doesn’t chafe.
- Variety of options- perfect to match your color scheme and fit properly.
- Sizing- a few people claim they are too small. We recommend to carefully use the guide above to avoid this and checking out how to put on knee sleeves.
Best Knee Sleeve for CrossFit – Runner up: Bear KompleX Knee Sleeves Original
Looking for bright, bold sleeves? Check out these sets from Bear KompleX: these are your best bet for a stylish and comfortable workout.
That’s not all they have to offer though!
Available in sizes from small to XXL, each sleeve is made from a 5 or 7mm high-quality bamboo charcoal fiber and neoprene. This makes these knee sleeves extra comfortable compared to anything else.
They are even reversible for double the color options.
However, compared to the Rogue sleeves the durability isn’t there. These sleeves only use single stitching at the seams and if you don’t look after them, they will eventually stretch away from the neoprene.
- 10+ styles- some are reversible and they look great.
- Soft, quality bamboo charcoal fiber and neoprene- very comfortable to use.
- Official sponsor– of the CrossFit games.
- 5mm or 7mm thickness- 5mm are perfect for CrossFit as they offer support but aren’t too restrictive.
- Single stitching- not as durable as the Rogue Sleeves.
Best Budget Knee Sleeve for CrossFit: HookGrip Knee Sleeves
If you’re looking to save a bit of money but you still want high-quality knee sleeves, these are for you.
These sleeves are thinner than any other on the list. But if your knees are not already feeling old and achy and you’re being preventative these may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Some people simply prefer thinner 3mm sleeves as they “breathe” more than 5mm or 7mm sleeves.
When using them for CrossFit, this is super important.
Doing high reps for 60 minutes is not ideal if you struggle to bend your knees and they are dripping with sweat.
The mix of nylon, rubber and spandex makes them super comfortable. Although they do not provide as much support as most other knee sleeves on this list.
Top tip- many of the complaints are due to the sleeves being too big for them. If you’re in between sizes get the smaller ones.
- Cheap – great quality for the price you pay.
- 5 sizes available- possible to buy a pair that fits you perfectly.
- Flexible – very comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
- 3mm thick – not designed to deliver as much protective support.
- Nylon and spandex material – make these sleeves extra flexible & comfortable but not as supportive as neoprene, like every other option here.
Best Knee Sleeve for Warmth: Exo Knee Sleeves
Those who suffer from arthritis, tendonitis or other kinds of joint pain can really benefit from some added warmth when it comes to knee sleeves.
If that’s you, then check out these bad boys from EXO!
These 5mm thick Neoprene sleeves are triple-reinforced which is the reason they help to keep your knees warm.
They are able to withstand the most intense of workouts and offer odor protection and sweat-wicking ability (collect sweat from the skin and evaporate it).
Designed and developed by experienced former competitors and seasoned athletes. These CrossFit sleeves in four neutral yet attractive designs are a great choice.
- Anatomical design – offers more support all around the knee.
- Triple-reinforced – provides extra warmth compared to other sleeves on this list.
- Antimicrobial neoprene- means it’s more stretchy and makes them more comfortable.
- Sizing – the most common complaints are that the sizing is not consistent. Some people find they are too small; others too big. Contact EXO Sleeve here if you have this issue.
Best Knee Sleeve for Tall People: RockTape Knee Sleeves
Are you taller than the average athlete?
Just can’t seem to get sleeves that fit?
Time to try the Knee Assassins from RockTape! They are longer than most knee sleeves, which also helps to prevent the sleeves from slipping.
It’s also fully customizable to suit your workout needs.
Select between 5mm and 7mm thickness for the level of support that is right for you. 5mm is perfect for Workout of the Day (WODs) and general CrossFit, 7mm works better for those who either exclusively weight lift or are seeking additional support for knee pain. There’s also 5 patterns and sizes to choose between.
Top tip- If you’re on the top end of a size, get the next size up as these can be tight.
- Versatile- 5 or 7mm; 5 designs; 5 sizes.
- Double-Mauser stitching – they’re durable and flexible at the same time.
- Hard-wearing Neoprene construction – they don’t overstretch after a few uses.
- Front panel and 4-way stretch side panels – provides a good range of motion, which is ideal for WODs.
- Bunching at the back- one of the few complaints we’ve heard about these although most people do not find this to be an issue.
Best Knee Sleeve for Women: Impulse Sportz
Whilst the majority of sleeves can be considered unisex, sometimes you just want sportswear that’s been specifically designed with ladies in mind.
If that’s your preference, then check out these beauties from Impulse Sportz!
As these are more of a niche product, the range of sizes is fewer, though you can still select between small, medium, large and extra-large. For correct sizing, the manufacturer’s advice is to stretch your leg out and then measure your knee.
Boasting a brand new and improved design, there’s an additional layer of comfort, with even more flexible yet rigorous Neoprene. Achieve total range of motion without exceeding your natural ability or experiencing strain.
- Newly updated design – provides more support than the previous version.
- Lifetime warranty – no questions asked!
- Good customer service – Primal Elite responds quickly to emails.
- Black and pink design – stylish and functional!
- Smaller range of sizes- harder to find the perfect fit.
Best Military Design Knee Sleeve: Gymreapers Knee Sleeves
Looking for an authentic, military-style set of knee sleeves that will stand up to the tests of time?
You’ve found it in this impressive pair from Gymreapers.
Reinforced stitching supports every inch of the 7mm Neoprene material so they will last for a long time.
Offering compression that provides increased blood circulation, warmth and security. These are great for anyone who experiences knee pain, is recovering from an injury or is looking to avoid future joint issues. Reduce your soreness to push through and see more gains!
Proven effective amongst even the most serious of squatters. Gymreapers are used by world-record-holding powerlifters, IFBB professional athletes and the best trainers across the globe.
- Firm, ergonomic fit – comfortable and supportive.
- Made by athletes, for athletes – they understand what you’re looking for.
- Neoprene & compression – ideal for those with tendonitis, or recovering from an ACL tear
- One year warranty for free replacement – 100% guaranteed.
- Only available in 7mm thickness – if you’re doing long CrossFit workouts you may prefer thinner 5mm.
Best Cheap Knee Sleeve for CrossFit: Bear KompleX Compression Lite Knee Sleeves
Very similar to their above counterparts, just a lot more affordable.
These Bear KompleX Lite sleeves are absolutely perfect for athletes on a budget.
Especially if you are a CrossFit beginner!
Made from the same high-quality bamboo charcoal fibers, which helps to keep your knee warm to provide a better blood circulation. This provides a greater range of motion and helps to prevent injury or pain.
Even though they are much cheaper than other options they’re just as durable as some of our other contenders. The supportive fit of these sleeves offers structure, cradling your knee and protecting the ligaments.
Micro-weave construction offers plenty of breathability. So if you sweat a lot, these sleeves may be ideal for you.
However, they are only 4mm thick. If your knees are OK then these are great as they offer a lot more freedom for the high reps of CrossFit. However, they won’t offer as much support as 5mm or 7mm knee sleeves.
- Breathable micro-weave construction- doesn’t trap the sweat.
- Soft bamboo charcoal fiber and neoprene- very comfortable.
- 60-day money-back guarantee– great if you just want to try them out.
- 4mm thickness – not as much support as 5mm or 7mm.
Our “if money was no object pick”: Rehband Rx
Last but certainly not least, we have these professional-quality sleeves from Rehband.
For overall quality, durability and support look no further.
Sure, they’re on the pricier side of budget-friendly, but can you really put a cost on pain prevention?
Their clear-cut, thorough sizing guide allows you to select the ideal fit for you, choosing from 5 sizes.
Designed not just to add comfort, the 5mm thick neoprene dramatically reduces existing aches and pains. The new Rx sleeves are specifically designed for weightlifting and circuit training making them ideal for CrossFit. There really are very few complaints about the quality of these knee sleeves compared to any other on the market.
Top tip- If you are looking for knee sleeves for a competition it may be wise to choose a slightly smaller size than the recommendation.
- Made for weightlifting and circuits – ideal for CrossFit.
- Promotes blood flow – helps to prevent injury and improve your control.
- 70% SBR, 30% Neoprene – highest possible grade of materials on the market
- Sleeves fit left or right leg – unlike some knee sleeves sold in pairs.
- Price – these are expensive!
There are four aspects you’ll need to consider before buying a knee sleeve for CrossFit…
- The exercises will you perform with the knee sleeve
- Quality of the material and stitching
- Thickness of the knee sleeves
- Your budget
So let’s dig into this a bit more…
For CrossFit, a 5mm sleeve is ideal, which will normally be made from neoprene. If some SBR is in the mix then it’s likely to be more durable and last longer.
The most common material for knee sleeves is neoprene. It’s a naturally stretchy material that supports you whilst bending your knees for squats or deadlift-type movements.
Thinner (3mm) sleeves may instead opt for nylon or spandex, and usually even a combination of the two. This offers additional breathability and dries quicker, making it more suited for runners or a CrossFitter that wants more comfort e.g. HookGrip sleeves.
In recent years, copper-infused sleeves have risen in popularity, for their supposed hygienic and anti-bacterial properties. There is minimal evidence to suggest this is any more effective than regular washing, so don’t feel the need to splurge on these.
The majority of sleeves on the market will fall into three different thickness measurements: 3, 5 and 7 millimeters.
Medium thickness 5mm sleeve are an ideal midpoint between being lightweight or heavy-duty. They are excellent for CrossFit due to the high reps and style of the workouts. Thinner sleeves are not great for weight lifting, but thicker sleeves can be more rigid and become uncomfortable after doing 50 thrusters… mixed with situps and muscle ups!
CrossFit trainers do not favor 3mm sleeves are not because they are thin and don’t offer as much compression. However, they are typically much more comfortable, which can be ideal if you do particularly long CrossFit workouts e.g. HookGrip sleeves.
7mm sleeves are mainly used by powerlifters or anyone solely lifting weights. They are ideal for heavy squats due to the extra support, but they are not as comfy to wear for a long time. If you do any heavy-weight CrossFit workouts, the Gymreapers would be ideal for you.
There are different designs of knee sleeves. Some are made from multiple pieces of material (four-panel). Others are made from one piece of material that is wrapped around and only has one stitching point.
The most common design is a tapered design (with the ends curling in slightly so they do not slide) e.g. Rehband sleeves.
Some are “triple-reinforced” which just means there are more layers. Exo knee sleeves are an example of this which provide more warmth. This helps to prevent injury and prepare the joints for exercise.
The benefit of a design with multiple pieces of material, like the Bear Complex sleeves, is they are more flexible and often more comfortable. The downside is that they are more likely to stretch over time as there are more stitching areas to pull or catch on the barbells knurling when performing movements like a deadlift.
Also, it’s important to note than knee sleeves are completely different from knee wraps. Some powerlifters prefer knee wraps as they can provide “elastic energy” to assist with heavy lifts.
Stitching and Durability
This one is a bit more straightforward…
You’re going to want a sleeve that’s been made well. The better the quality the longer it will last. One of the most common complaints about knee sleeves is how quickly they stretch or start to tear.
Look for those with double or reinforced stitching if you want your sleeves to last a long time.
Customer reviews are a great place to double-check if a sleeve falls apart quickly (a few negative reviews is normal but a lot saying the same thing is a warning sign)…
Of course, the manufacturer will tell you their sleeves are “heavy-duty”, but the only way to know for sure is to try them out. Find out what your fellow CrossFitters think (lucky for you we’ve taken the time to check this out for you!)
Are Knee Sleeves Worth It?
Here’s what knee sleeves can help you with when you go to CrossFit…
Minimize Existing Pain
By creating compression around the knee, in all of the various surrounding muscles, you keep it nice and warm during motion. A warm pair like the Exo sleeves are ideal if you find you get some pain when you workout.
As a result, existing joint stiffness will be less noticeable and cause less discomfort than it would without a sleeve.
This is especially beneficial for those with knee injuries (short or long term), recovering from surgery or who have already been diagnosed with arthritis or a similar degenerative condition.
Most injuries occur as a result of poor positioning and movement during CrossFit.
When using a compression sleeve, you can stimulate certain nerves in the muscles, joints and skin [study]. This helps to make your body more aware of its positioning and improve your balance aka proprioception. Although research does not find significant data that knee sleeves improve proprioception, it also suggests they are sometimes beneficial and certainly doesn’t negatively affect it [study].
Knee positioning is incredibly important in CrossFit.
So improving your brain’s existing awareness of where it is, especially when you’re mid-exercise and experiencing fatigue, is incredibly beneficial to reduce injury.
Research has been conducted and it appears that wearing knee sleeves doesn’t provide a “significant” advantage over squats without knee sleeves among resistance-trained adults.
That being said, there were only fifteen participants in this study, so it is clear that more research on the subject is still required.
Plenty of real people have suggested they are able to lift more with knee sleeves… especially if they have had an injury or experienced pain when lifting.
Frequently Asked Questions About Knee Sleeves
The bottom line for knee sleeves
When it comes to knee sleeves for CrossFit, you likely want that sweet spot of 5mm thickness. Ideally, find a durable sleeve that won’t stretch or tear over time.
All of the knee sleeves on this list are durable and comfortable.
However, there is a sleeve in there for any ability or budget.
Are you more of a squatter than a CrossFitter? Why not check out our review of the best knee sleeves specifically for squats – serious weightlifters could benefit from added protection and slightly different specs, after all.