Basic Elastic Knee Braces
Knee Support Guide

Elastic knee braces and supports are really simple to use, cheap and provide some support and warmth to the knee.

They are perfect for providing low levels of support and are ideal for:
1) Short term use after minor injuries/strains
2) Longer term use with ongoing knee conditions causing mild to moderate pain.

They are great to have in the cupboard for those inevitable knocks! Here, as well as looking at how they work and what conditions they are most suitable for, we will compare the different basic elastic knee braces on the market looking at reviews to find the best one for you.  We will look at how they differ from each other and how to choose the right size for you.

How Do They Work?

Elastic knee braces work in a couple of different ways:

1) Support: They fit snugly providing some compression to the knee which helps support the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments)

2) Warmth: They retain heat which increases the circulation to the knee and helps promote healing

What Are They Suitable For?

Basic elastic knee braces provide mild support and protection and are perfect for mild knee pain, sprains, arthritis, weakness, patellar tendonitis, cartilage irritation, bursitis, Runners Knee, Chondromalacia Patella, Osgood Schlatters and knee swelling. They are not suitable for moderate to severe instability and pain – in these cases you need advanced or elite protection.

Best Basic Braces on the Market

Neo G Open Patella Support

Neo G Open Patella Support

Overview: This Neo G brace improves stability by eliminating unwanted gliding and twisting at the knee. The brace ensures that the weight through the joint is evenly distributed, which helps ease pain. It features an opening at the front with a stitched buttress giving reinforced support to the patella and anterior knee. This brace is a Class 1 medical device registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

My verdict: A good, simple yet effective elastic knee brace. I am a big fan of Neo G braces. They receive excellent reviews and have recently become available worldwide, originating from the UK. I personally prefer open patella braces like this as they give better support to the kneecap without putting pressure through it. They also allow the leg to breathe better so get less sweaty.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $23/£18)

McDavid Elastic Knee Support

McDavid Elastic Knee Support

Overview: A popular pull on sleeve providing basic support. It is sized and shaped to ensure it fits well, which is something you don’t always get with cheaper brands. It is also seamless behind the knee for extra comfort. Provides compression and retains warmth to promote healing and reduce pain. Fits left or right leg and comes in five sizes.

My verdict: This popular elastic knee brace is excellent value for money and is my favourite closed knee sleeve. It is easy to apply, stays in place and is made of heavy duty material so is long lasting. McDavid is a trusted brand worldwide so you can’t go far wrong.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $10/£7)

The Best of the Rest

Neo G Closed Knee Support

Neo G Closed Knee Support

Overview: This Neo G elastic knee brace provides compression, support and warmth to the knee without restricting movement. It is only 2.5mm thick so can easily be worn under your clothes, providing support whilst still allowing full movement.

My verdict: This brace provides good basic level support and actually stays in place, unlike many other knee braces. Reviews are extremely positive however if you have problems with your kneecap, the Neo G open sleeve above may suit you better.

Read: User Reviews     Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $24/£18)

McDavid Open Patella Support

McDavid Open Patella Support

Overview: A popular pull on knee sleeve providing compression and soft tissue support. This model features a hole and buttress at the front to reduce pressure on the patella, improving comfort and flexion. Made of neoprene, it retains heat to reduce pain and promote healing. It has an inner rubber surface reduces slippage and is seamless behind the knee for extra comfort. NB Latex free

My verdict: People report that is very comfy even when worn all day. It comes in a reversible black/red for the fashionistas amongst you!

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $15/£15)

Mueller Knee Support

Mueller Knee Support

Overview: This popular lightweight pull-on elastic knee brace offers firm support for stiff, weak or sore knees without inhibiting movement. Its contoured design helps prevent bunching and slippage to ensure a proper fit. It provides compression and retains warmth to promote healing and reduce pain.

My verdict: A good basic knee sleeve offering some support and protection, but not right if you have a serious injury. Mueller has been making braces since the 1960s so it is a make that you can trust.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $13/£9)

ACE Knee Brace (Mild Support)

ACE Knee Brace

Overview: This breathable, woven ACE brace reduces pain by delivering firm, even pressure and providing optimal support whilst allowing full range of movement. It is designed for use with arthritis, general knee soreness and swelling. It is contoured to the natural bend of the knee to minimise bunching and slipping and the seamless design ensures firm, even compression and increased comfort. NB contains natural rubber latex which may cause allergic reactions

My verdict: A very flexible supportive elastic knee brace. A good budget option.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $9/£6)

Pros and Cons

As you will see, there are three types of basic elastic knee brace: full closed sleeves, open sleeves and wrap around knee supports. Let's look at the pros and cons of each style.

1) Full Sleeve Knee Support

Why Choose this Type? A full sleeve provides support all around the joint and retains heat well. They are very simple to use – just pull them on and you’re ready to go and they are perfect for people who get niggles when doing activities. These are generally the cheapest types of knee support on the market.

2) Open Sleeve Knee Support

Why Choose this Type? This style of elastic knee brace has a hole and support buttress at the front. This reduces the pressure on the patella which can be helpful when there is pain at the front of the knee e.g. from Runners Knee or Chondromalacia Patella. Again, they are extremely easy to use – no Velcro straps to worry about.

3) Wrap Around Knee Support

Why Choose this Type? Wrap around elastic knee braces have adjustable straps so you can fit them to your own unique shape.  This makes them particularly useful with the changing sizes of swollen knees. Some are open at the front for the patella (putting less pressure through it and allowing the knee to breathe) while others are closed all the way round. They are really easy to get on and off – you don’t have to pull them up your leg and they often tend to stay in place better than pull up sleeves. They are one size fits all so you don’t need to worry about choosing the right size.


A lot of it comes down to personal preference when choosing a knee support. I personally prefer wrap around elastic knee braces with an opening at the front as I find they tend to stay in place slightly better and don’t put pressure through the kneecap, which is a common cause of pain. But other people prefer having a sleeve to pull up so they don’t have to contend with Velcro!

Other Brace Options?

Choosing a knee brace can be difficult, especially as there are so many different ones on the market. If you are experiencing moderate knee pain or are looking for a bit more support than these basic elastic knee braces and supports can provide, you would likely benefit from an advanced brace. If you have had a serious injury and need maximum support, you will need an elite level brace to provide you with adequate support and prevent further injury.

To find the best brace for you, visit the brace guide to find out about the different styles of brace available and what conditions they are suitable for. We also provide recommendations on star buys based on the opinions of people just like you.

Elastic Knee Brace Size Guides

Where elastic knee braces come in more than one size, it is important to get the right one otherwise they won’t work effectively and may be very uncomfortable. Measure around the widest part of the knee and choose from the options below. If your knee size falls between two sizes, it is usually best to go for the larger size for a better fit.

Ace Knee Brace sizing guide
McDavid Knee Brace Sizing Guide
Mueller Knee Brace Sizing Guide
Donjoy Knee Brace Sizing Guide

*Prices correct as of September 2016.  All prices are subject to change.  Please note we do not stock products directly and therefore have no control over price changes.  See advertising policy for more information

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See Also

Find the Right Brace with our Brace Guide

Treatment options - Where to Start?

How can I strengthen my leg?

Common Causes of Knee Pain

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