Basic Elastic Knee Brace Supports

Written By: Chloe Wilson, BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board

Find the best elastic knee brace for you

Elastic knee braces and supports can be a really helpful tool if you are suffering from knee pain.

They are really simple to use, cheap and provide some support and warmth to the knee.

Whether you have suffered a minor knee injury or sprain, or have ongoing knee problems, an elastic knee support can help to reduce pain and instability. They are also great to have in the cupboard for those inevitable knocks!

Here, we start by looking at how they work and what conditions they are most suitable for, then we compare the different basic elastic knee braces on the market and help you find the best one for you.  We will look at how they differ from each other and you can use the size guide to help you get the perfect fit for you.

How Do Elastic Knee Braces Help?

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

Basic elastic knee braces provide mild support and protection and are perfect for mild knee pain and instability from:

An elastic knee brace can help reduce knee pain and swelling following an injury

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

So let's have a look at some of the best elastic knee braces currently on the market. We will compare different makes and look at the pros and cons of each as well as how to choose the right size for you.

STAR BUY: Ultra Flex Knee Sleeve

Ultraflex athletics knee sleeve - the most popular pull-up elastic knee brace

Overview: The Ultraflex Athletics elastic knee brace uses specially engineered high level 3D knit technology. It's 4-way stretch capability ensures it perfectly fits the curve of your knee and offers superior protection. It is ultra lightweight combining comfort, flexibility and support.

The Uflex elastic knee brace is made of breathable anti-slip silicone to ensure it stays in place and is designed for optimal compression to improve muscle endurance, protect the knee and enhance recovery. Available in three sizes S, M, L and three different colours.

Our Verdict: The Uflex knee sleeve is the top selling knee sleeve on Amazon and it receives amazing reviews (over 25k of them!). It's design means it stays firmly in place unlike many cheaper knee sleeves. Average user rating 4.5/5.  

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $12/£6/€10)

Available in these countries

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STAR BUY: Magnet RX Knee Brace Support

Magnet RX Magnetic Knee Brace - Our star buy

Overview: The MagnetRX Knee Support has 17 powerful neodymium magnets strategically positions in acupressure points all around the knee for maximum results.

It works like a regular knee sleeve but with the added benefit of inbuilt magnets which is thought to help to boost circulation and aid healing.

This magnetic elastic knee brace is made using 3d knit technology to provide superior support and comfort without compromising knee mobility. Made of soft elastic and breathable fabric it has anti-slip silicone strips to keep the sleeve in place.

They are sold in packs of 2 and are available in 4 different sizes, and they come with a full 60-day money back guarantee.

Our Verdict: The Magnet RX Knee Support receives excellent user reviews with people reporting immediate benefits. We like how the magnets are evenly spaced around the front and back of the knee so they work, whichever part of your knee is painful. Average user rating 4.4/5

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $35/£34/€38)

Magnetic knee brace available in these countries

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STAR BUY: Neo G Open Knee Support

Neo-G Knee Braces: Open Knee Support

Overview: The Neo G Open Knee Support wraps around the knee rather than just pulling up which helps ensure an even better fit and improving stability by eliminating unwanted gliding and twisting at the knee. This elastic knee brace ensures that weight bearing pressure during movement is more evenly distributed over the joint, which helps ease arthritic and meniscus pain.

As the name suggests, this Neo-G knee brace has a hole at the front with a stitched buttress giving reinforced support to the patella and anterior knee. 

Our Verdict: The Neo G Open Knee Support good, simple yet effective knee brace. I really like open patella knee braces like this as they give great support to the kneecap without putting pressure through it. They also allow the knee to breathe better so get less sweaty. Average user review 4.3/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $25/£18/€32)

Available in these countries

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Mava Compression Sleeves

Mava Compression Elastic Knee Sleeves

Overview: The Mava Knee Compression Sleeve is anatomically shaped to provide support and compression, increasing circulation to the knee and relieving pain, particularly with squats and lunges. It is made from breathable, moisture-wicking, anti-microbial material, making it suitable for everyday wear.

Mava elastic knee braces are only 7 mm thick, and are double stitched for improved durability. They are sold in pairs and available in range of colours with five different sizes to choose from.

Our Verdict: Mava elastic knee braces are extremely popular and come with a 30-day money back guarantee. They are great value as you get two sleeves in the box, perfect if you need one for each knee, or so that you have a spare for when washing etc. Average user rating 4.4/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $25/£28/€30)

Available in these countries

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McDavid Elastic Knee Support

McDavid Knee Brace: Compression Sleeve

Overview: The McDavid Knee Compression Sleeve is a popular basic pull on sleeve support. It is specially shaped to ensure it fits well, which is something you don’t always get with cheaper brands.

It is also seamless behind the knee which reduces friction for extra comfort. It's also 100% latex-free. McDavid is a very popular and well trusted brand. It fits the left or right leg and comes in 5 sizes.

Our Verdict: The McDavid Knee Sleeve is perfect for mild knee pain either following an injury or with ongoing knee problems. It's a great simple elastic knee brace to have in the first-aid kit. Average user rating 4.4/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $17/£24/€27)

Available in these countries

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Neo G Closed Knee Brace

NeoG Closed Knee Brace

Overview: The Neo G Elastic Knee Brace provides compression, support and warming relief to the entire knee complex without restricting movement.

At only 2.5mm thick, it can easily be worn under your clothes, providing dynamic support whilst still allowing full, smooth range of motion in all directions.

My verdict: The Neo G Closed Knee Brace provides good basic level support and stays in place really well. Reviews are extremely positive however if you have problems with your kneecap, the open sleeve may suit you better. Average user rating 4.1/5.

Read: User Reviews     Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $21/£14/€44)

Available in these countries

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McDavid Open Patella Support

McDavid Knee Braces: Open Patella Knee Support

Overview: The McDavid Open Patella Knee Support is a very popular pull on elastic sleeve providing compression and soft tissue support. There is a hole and buttress at the front to reduce pressure on the kneecap, improving comfort and flexion.

Made of neoprene, it retains heat to reduce pain and promote healing. It has an inner rubber surface reducing slippage and is seamless behind the knee for extra comfort. NB Latex free

Our Verdict: The McDavid Open Patella Support is very comfy even when worn all day and is highly effective. McDavid are a well-trusted brand. Average user rating 4.3/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $20/£24/€27)

Available in these countries

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Elastic Knee Brace 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 Sleeve sizing guide
Mava Knee Brace Size Guide
McDavid Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide
Mueller Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide
Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Brace Size Guide

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Page Last Updated: 22/05/24
Next Review Due: 22/05/26

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*Prices correct as of May 2024.  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.