Neoprene Knee Brace Guide

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

Neoprene Knee Brace Guide: Find out why knee braces made of neoprene are better at relieving pain and swelling in the knee

Neoprene knee braces are one of the most popular types of knee brace on the market.

Like all braces they provide good support to the knee joint reducing pain and instability.

The added advantage of the neoprene material is that it retains heat, which helps promote healing and reduces swelling and pain.

Neoprene is the best material out there at retaining heat and insulating. Neoprene is made from synthetic rubber and is commonly used in wetsuits. It works by preventing heat from escaping, thus trapping the heat next to your body, even during periods of inactivity. This increases the blood flow to the knee which promotes healing. 

The downside of neoprene knee braces is that they can cause a build-up of sweat as the heat and moisture stay next to the body rather than evaporating away and cooling you down.

Different Styles of Neoprene Brace

There are a whole range of different neoprene knee braces out there offering different levels of support. The best place to start is to work out what level of support and protection you need from a knee brace and then choose a style of brace.

Neoprene knee braces are a great way to reduce knee pain and instability. Find the best brace for you
  • Basic Level: for minor injuries, instability and pain. Low cost, very easy to put on, provides some support to the knee

  • Advanced Level: for mild to moderate injuries, instability and pain. Includes knee straps. Provide moderate support and most are adjustable, providing a better fit

  • Elite Level: for moderate to severe injuries, instability and pain. Provide maximum stability to prevent giving way. Some braces can be locked to restrict movement if require.

Here we will look at the best neoprene knee braces on the market, compare models, look at the pros and cons of the different styles available and how to choose the right size for you.

Basic Neoprene Knee Braces

These neoprene knee braces provide basic protection for ongoing knee conditions and/or minor injuries and instabilities that require a low level of support and are perfect for mild knee pain, sprains, weakness, arthritis, cartilage irritation and knee swelling.

They are not suitable for moderate to severe instability and pain – in these cases you need advanced or elite protection. For more options visit the basic knee supports section.

STAR BUY: Neo G Open Knee Support

Neo-G Knee Braces: Open Knee Support

Overview: The Neo G Open Knee Support brace improves stability by eliminating unwanted gliding and twisting at the knee. This neoprene knee brace ensures that pressure during weight-bearing movement is evenly distributed over the joint, which helps ease arthritic and meniscus pain.

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

My verdict: The Neo G Open Knee Support good, simple yet effective neoprene knee brace. I personally prefer open patella knee braces like this as they give better 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.

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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 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. Average user rating 4.4/5.

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Advanced Neoprene Knee Braces

Advanced braces have inbuilt supports to provide targeted support where needed and reduce the forces going through the kneecap by improve patellar tracking (how the kneecap moves).

They provide moderate levels of support and reduce the forces through the knee for mild-moderate knee injuries, instability and pain. For more options visit the advanced knee brace section. 

STAR BUY: McDavid Patella Knee Support

McDavid Knee Braces: Patella Knee Support

Overview: The McDavid Patella Knee Support is one of the most popular neoprene knee braces for ligament & cartilage injuries and also helps relieve the symptoms of chondromalacia, patellar subluxation and patellar tendonitis.

This neoprene knee braceshas special supportive steel springs that strengthen the brace on either side of the knee joint to improve stability and support knee ligaments. The Neoprene material provides soothing heat and compression which relieves knee pain and swelling and promotes healing.

Our Verdict: The McDavid Patella Knee Brace is one our favourite neoprene knee braces - it's a classic design and is rated highly by users. It is fully adjustable so you don't have to worry about buying the right size. If you are looking to get a bit more support than a classic pull up design, it is well worth the money. Average user rating 4.5/5.

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Neo G Stabilized Open Knee Support

Neo-G Knee Braces: Stabilized Open Knee Support

Overview: The Neo G Stabilized Open Knee Support provides great support and compression, and has four metal spiral support stays to stabilise the knee whilst allowing controlled movement. It is particularly good for sports and skiing.

The open patella area helps reduce pain associated with patella tracking problems, and offers relief from bursitis, injuries and inflammation. This neoprene knee brace has three adjustable straps which allow variable compression and ensure a custom fit around the entire knee complex.

Our Verdict: The Neo G Stabilized Knee Support is one of the best neoprene knee braces on the market offering intermediate support and protection. It is very reasonably priced and gives great support without being cumbersome. Average user rating 4.2/5.

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Neoprene Knee Straps

Knee straps are simple but extremely effective, and people often can’t believe how such a small strap makes such a difference to their knee pain. They are particularly good for conditions such as ITBS and patellar tendonitis. For other options visit the knee straps section.

STAR BUY: McDavid Knee Strap

McDavid Knee Brace Strap

Overview: This McDavid Knee Strap reduces forces going through the patella tendon due to a unique tubular buttress which applies constant, mild compression on the patellar tendon. 

This neoprene knee brace strap is perfect for people who do lots of running and/or jumping and is particularly good for patellar tendonitis (jumpers knee), osgood schlatters, chondromalacia patella and Runners Knee. Fully adjustable Velcro for perfect fit – one size fits all.

Our Verdict: The McDavid Knee Strap is a great neoprene knee brace strap. The foam cushion helps it stay in place therefore providing consistent support. It’s a bit more expensive than other makes but generally receives slightly better reviews from patients. Average user rating 4.3/5.

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Mueller Max Knee Strap

Mueller Knee Braces: Max Knee Strap

Overview: The Mueller Max Knee Strap offers lightweight, comfortable support, providing targeted compression without reducing mobility. It is perfect for knee tendon problems and Iliotibial band friction syndrome.

The Mueller Max Strap has three compression tubes:
Lower targets the patellar tendon
Upper targets quadriceps misalignment
Two side tubes help improve patellar position, movement and tracking.

These all decrease the forces going through the knee cap and friction on the Iliotibial band (ITB) and patella tendons. The breathable mesh neoprene fabric prevents excessive sweating, a common problem with knee braces.

Our Verdict: The Mueller Max Knee Strap offers great support all around the knee and is perfect for knee tendon problems. It's not quite as effective as the Cho-Pat version, but it is cheaper. Average user rating 4.1/5.

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Elite Neoprene Knee Brace

Elite knee braces are the ultimate in protection. They are designed to provide the maximum level of support for moderate to severe knee pain and instability. They use a combination of splints and hinges to help provide support and prevent further injury.

Elite braces are perfect for knees that repeatedly gives way due to moderate to severe injuries and pain e.g. ACL tears or following knee surgery. For other braces in the category visit the elite knee brace section.

STAR BUY: McDavid Pro Stabiliser

McDavid Knee Braces: Pro Stabiliser

Overview: The McDavid Pro Stabiliser neoprene knee brace is designed for moderate to severe knee instability and pain after knee injuries e.g. ligament and cartilage tears. It is also suitable for knee arthritis. It has two side hinges that prevent hyperextension (knee bending too far back), and rigid uprights providing additional sideways support whilst allowing freedom of movement.

This neoprene knee brace is made of lightweight materials including aircraft grade aluminium gears that accommodate the natural gliding action of the knee. The neoprene sleeve provides therapeutic warmth and has a seamless, breathable back panel for improved comfort. Patellar support buttress helps improve patellar tracking. Fully adjustable Velcro straps ensure a perfect fit for your knee.

My Verdict: The McDavid Pro Stabiliser knee brace offers great protection at a reasonable price. Users consistently give it top ratings because it is easy to apply, comfortable and effective. Average user rating 4.3/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $75/£80/€92)

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Pros and Cons of Different Styles

As you will see, there are three options to choose from with neoprene knee braces and there are pros and cons for each:

  1. Pull Up Sleeves: Easy to use and apply, these will provide some support and warmth to your knee. Perfect for people who get niggles when doing activities. These are generally the cheapest types of knee support. Great to have in the cupboard for those inevitable knocks! They come in a variety of sizes.

  2. Wrap Around Braces: You can adjust these to fit your knee perfectly so they tend to stay in place better than pull up ones. They work well to accommodate any fluctuations in knee size with swelling. One size fits most.

  3. Open or Closed Style: Some have a hole at the front for the knee cap (putting less pressure through it and allowing the knee to breathe) while others are closed supporting the entire knee (allowing more heat retention).

Other Options

Choosing a knee brace can be difficult, especially as there are so many different braces on the market. Neoprene knee braces are just one of the options out there.

To find the best knee brace for you, visit the Knee Brace Guide to find out about the different styles of brace available, what conditions they are suitable, and which ones get the best reviews from users.

Safety Advice: Some neoprene braces contain latex.

Neoprene Brace Size Guides

Where 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
McDavid Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide
Mueller Knee Sleeve Sizing Guide

Page Last Updated: 11/01/24
Next Review Due: 11/01/24

*Prices correct as of June 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.