Reviews

4 Best Knee Sleeves for Women

Whether you want the extra support at the bottom of your squat, or want to build up your confidence ahead of a powerlifting meet, knee sleeves are an excellent way to shore up your stability in your lifting routine. To get the strongest, most stable performance, take a look at our top picks for the 6 best knee sleeves for women. 

We’ve tried and tested some of the best apparel on the market, to assess which products are the most reliable, and will give you the best support in your squat.

Whether it’s part of a CrossFit WOD, or you’re prepping for your powerlifting competition, you need something strong, durable and supportive that won’t slip under the pressure. And, depending on your sport, you’ll have different requirements for your knee sleeves. 

As such, we’ve searched the industry for the best knee sleeves for lifting in a range of sports, including Squats, CrossFit, Powerlifting and Weightlifting. 

Take a look at our favorite picks for the best knee sleeves for women. 

Best Knee Sleeves for Women

Please note: Here at GymGirlFit, we use our own criteria to judge and assess these knee sleeves and, while we’ve picked our favorite for each discipline, you may find that another product would suit you better. Despite that, we hope you find this article informative and helpful in finding the knee sleeves that are right for you. 

Disclaimer: The content here at GymGirlFit is meant to be used in an informative nature and does not substitute medical advice, diagnosis, prevention or treatment of health problems. Please get in touch with a doctor if you need any of the above. 

Best Knee Sleeves for Squats

The very best knee sleeves for squats have to offer a good level of support that will help you through heavy sessions. If you’re into your squats and do them regularly, then the EXO Sleeve 5mm has the durability and comfort that will allow you to work through both high reps and high weights. We found them to be some of the best 5mm knee sleeves around. 

The choice of neoprene offers a strong compression fit that provides some really impressive support. While there is a light and 7mm option available too, we opted for 5mm for our top pick for best knee sleeves for squats, as it has the range to support any set, without limiting mobility. 

We’re confident the EXO Sleeve 5mm has the range of support you need to perform heavy squats, across a range of set rep patterns. Whether it’s training in the gym, or in a competition, it can help build your confidence in heavy sets. 

EXO Best Knee Sleeves for Squats

EXO Sleeve 5mm

Strong compression neoprene offers fantastic support, without compromising on comfort or mobility.

Find out more

Pros of EXO Sleeve 5mm

  • Provides good knee support for heavier training sessions, without compromising on mobility
  • Durable neoprene compression material that will last through many workouts
  • 5mm Anti-microbial neoprene with reinforced stitching
  • These sleeves are compliant with IPF, USPA, USAPL regulations. Always double check the regulations before purchasing something for competition.
  • Comes in a range of patterns and colors for the fashion conscious lifter!!

Cons of EXO Sleeve 5mm

  • At the higher end of the price range

Find out more at the EXO Sleeve Website

Best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit

The best knee sleeves for CrossFit are going to be completely different to other sleeves on this list. Within the sport, you need to lift heavy, you need to lift fast and you could go from squats to sprints in a matter of seconds. As such, you need something durable and comfortable that won’t slip through many reps, and something that gives you a full range of movement. 

Not a lot to ask, right?

For us, our top pick for best knee sleeves for CrossFit is the Rogue 5mm. With 5mm of SBR/Neoprene blend offers strong compression that shouldn’t slip, and maintain great support, without restricting mobility during those long, grueling WODs! 

What’s more, the contoured seam allows for a comfortable fit, reducing the likelihood of pinching around the back of the knee. This is great no matter what movement you’re focussing on, no wonder it’s our best knee sleeves for CrossFit. 

Rogue best knee sleeves for crossfit

Rogue 5mm Knee Sleeve

A great all rounder that’s comfortable and durable for your daily WOD or competition. 

Find out more

[Related Article: 5 Best CrossFit Grips in 2022]

Pros of the Rogue 5mm Knee Sleeve

  • 5mm SBR/Neoprene blend that will provide a strong, stable fit, whilst also ensuring full range of motion as you move between squats and other movements
  • Reinforced seams that contour to your body
  • A range of sizes available, making them suitable to men and women
  • A range of material thicknesses available to suit your needs
  • A selection of colors for the lifter looking to make a statement
  • Made in the U.S.A

Cons of Rogue 5mm Knee Sleeve

  • As a top quality product and the overall CrossFit equipment sponsor, the Rogue Knee Sleeves are at the upper end of the price spectrum.

Find out more at the official Rogue site

[Related Article: Julie Foucher – Girls Who Lift]

Best Knee Sleeves for Powerlifting

This sport is all about maxing out with the highest possible weight. So with that in mind, you’ll need a very strong knee sleeve for powerlifting, that offers maximum compression and thickness at the bottom of your squat. 

What’s more, if you’re looking to head to competition, you’ll also need something that’s approved by the IPF, USAPL and USPA. 

With that in mind, our top pick for the best knee sleeves for powerlifting is the Strength Shop 7mm Inferno Knee Sleeves. They comply with IPF, USAPL and USPA regulations and are IPF approved too, so that’s one less thing to worry about. 

The 30cm length and the thicker 7mm Neoprene material provide extra knee support in the heaviest lifts, giving you peace of mind and a strong hold at the bottom of your squat. 

Strength Shop best knee sleeves for powerlifting

Strength Shop 7mm Knee Sleeves – IPF Approved

In line with powerlifting competition regulations and provides high quality, extra thick neoprene to handle your biggest lifts. 

Find out more

 

Pros of Strength Shop 7mm Knee Sleeves

  • IPF approved, so you can use them for the gym and for competition
  • A selection of colors available
  • Extra thick 7mm neoprene material used for compression support
  • Keeps the knees warm between sets

Cons of Strength Shop 7mm Knee Sleeves

  • At the higher end of the price spectrum, but cheaper than SBD and great value for money

Find out more at the Strength Shop website

Best Knee Sleeves for Weightlifting

Whether it’s squats, deadlift or clean and jerk, the best knee sleeve for weightlifting will provide additional support to help ensure a stable physique and a stronger performance. As olympic weightlifting is pretty varied, but still requires the support around some very heavy lifts, we’ve gone for a familiar face on this list, with the EXO Sleeve 7mm Knee Sleeve.

It combines all the comfort, durability and compression of the 5mm, but with the added thickness, you’ll feel confident it can support you through the heaviest squats. What’s more, the fabric and adapted stitching means it’s likely to be a more comfortable fit through those long training sessions.

Best knee Sleeve for Weightlifting

EXO Sleeve 7mm Knee Sleeves 

Comfort, flexibility and strength to support heavy squat in your weightlifting workouts.

Find out more

 

Pros of EXO Sleeve 7mm Knee Sleeves:

  • Extra thick 7mm neoprene makes for a comfortable, yet supportive knee sleeve
  • The material is durable and comfortable for long weightlifting workouts
  • Will help to keep your knees warm between sets
  • A range of colors available

Cons of EXO Sleeve 7mm Knee Sleeves

  • They’re the thickest options available so it’s worth trying a 7mm to see if you like the feel. Although they will offer the most support
  • These are at the upper end of the price spectrum, but still not the most expensive options out there

Find out more at the EXO Sleeve Website

 

How we chose our top picks for best knee sleeves for Women

There  are a whole host of things that contribute towards an excellent quality knee sleeve. We reviewed these key criteria when testing and reviewing the knee sleeves on this list: 

  • Material and thickness
  • Range of mobility
  • Comfort
  • Durability

By looking at these key elements, we can understand whether a knee sleeve is worthy of making into our list of the best knee sleeves for women, and what sport it might suit best. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these criteria so you know what to look for in women’s weightlifting knee sleeves. 

Material and thickness

The material used to develop a knee sleeve can tell you a lot about how much stability and support it can realistically offer. 

Currently, the most popular material used on knee sleeves is neoprene, which is made up of synthetic rubbers which give it a touch, yet flexible feel. Neoprene is particularly well known for it’s compression abilities, which is key in supporting the knee joint. 

As we’ve discussed in the reviews above, the thickness of the neoprene used can also impact the amount of stability it can give the knee. The majority of knee sleeves in neoprene range from 3-5-7mm. The higher levels (5-7mm) are most popular in strength athletes as it provides additional support on heavier weights. 

Range of Mobility

Depending on your sport, you’re going to need different levels of mobility. If you’re a powerlifter, you need to make it through your lift and any thickness of neoprene will allow you to do that. 

However, if you’re a CrossFit athlete and you need to head to sprints or jumps right after you’ve finished lifting, then you need to consider your mobility options with your knee sleeves a little more carefully. 

There are two things we take into consideration in this instance. The obvious one is the material thickness in women’s weightlifting knee sleeves. The thicker the material, the less mobility you’re likely to have. But, if you’re also lifting heavy you want to balance the two, so 5mm usually seems to do the job. 

On top of that, we need to consider the design of the sleeve too. The sleeve should adapt with your movement and mold to the body at the bottom of a lift. As such, we analyzed the position of seams throughout lifts to ensure it wasn’t limiting mobility with too much stiffness or pinching in certain areas. 

Comfort

Talking about pinching and stiffness, comfort is a key consideration in our review of the best knee sleeves for lifting. 

For many of us, training session can last in the realm of hours and if we’re spending money on a pair of knee sleeves you want them to be comfortable at all times, not just in your lift. 

As such, we’ve tried and tested these knee sleeves to ensure the material is comfortable and doesn’t rub, the seams are in the right place so they don’t irritate the skin, and no uncomfortable pinching areas were identified. 

Durability

Again, if we’re spending money on a pair of women’s weightlifting knee sleeves, you also want your investment to last. A lot of this comes down to the material and, as we mentioned above, neoprene is a great option as it’s pretty sturdy and flexible, so should be better at retaining its shape through many uses. 

On top of that, we need to ensure the stitching is strong too. As soon as a stitch drops, the integrity of the knee sleeve is pretty much gone. So we’ve looked for extra sturdy reinforced stitching wherever possible, with hooked or quadruple stitching preferably. 

What’s more, the placement of the stitching is important too. We don’t want the stitches to be in consistent contact with a bar throughout your workout, as you’ll see fraying prettying quickly. So we kept that in mind too. 

And, if you’re paying for a nice design, we want that to last too. So we kept an eye on how well the designs held up under regular gym use. 

[Related Article: 7 Best Hip Thrust Pads]

Do you need a knee sleeve for Women? 

Before you decide to invest it’s probably best to make sure you definitely need some knee sleeves. Below, we’ve outlined the key reasons athletes use knee sleeves so you can decide whether you need some too. 

  1. Stability in squats. A rigid sleeve with a good thickness will help to take the strain from your knee joint, give your body the support it needs for a more stable squat. This is most commonly seen in powerlifting where the weights are very high. 
  2. Confidence. A knee sleeve can also help build confidence in those heavier weights and as the compression stabilizes the knee and allows you to lift with more support. 
  3. Warmth. During competitions there can be a lot of waiting around for the next lift, so knee sleeves that are approved by key federations can be used during lifts, but also in between to keep the joints warm and ready for the next lift.

So, if you find you’re struggling with stability from the waist down in your squat, you’re looking for a confidence boost to work towards your next PB, or your joints need the warmth between sets, then a knee sleeve might be a great option for you. 

Knee Sleeve FAQs

What makes a great knee sleeve?

A whole host of elements go in to making great women’s weightlifting knee sleeves. Ideally, you want neoprene material for flexibility and support, thoughtful construction for comfort and reinforced stitching for increased durability. And, a range of material thicknesses is always great, so you can choose the one to suit you. 

Are knee sleeves worth it?

This answer to this completely depends on your goals. If you’ve been lifting a while and are planning to lift  big, then it might be a good idea to invest and boost your confidence! However, if you’re new to lifting, get the experience in first, because you may not have any goals in mind.

What are the benefits of using knee sleeves?

The main benefit of a knee sleeve is providing increased support around the knee joint during heavy lifts. On top of that, you also have improved confidence with bigger weights on the bar and a warmer knee, which can help during long workouts or competitions. 

gymgirlfit

gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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