Hiking is easily one of the healthiest, most entertaining hobbies; though it is meant to alleviate mental stress we’ve built up over time, it does tend to accumulate physical stress, especially in our knees and feet.
Today we are going to talk about one of the most important pieces of protective gear any hiker absolutely needs – hiking knee braces. We’ve taken the liberty of selecting 10 of the best knee brace for hiking models for your convenience.
We have also made a comprehensive buying guide which will give you a clear picture of the criteria we used to evaluate the performance of each model. Without any further ado, let’s get straight to it.
Best Knee Brace for Hiking Reviews
Vive Hinged Knee Brace
Let’s start off with Vive’s Hinged Knee Brace. It’s an unloader type bracer with open patella support which is made from ultra-breathable neoprene material. Vive’s hinged knee brace is perfect for casual hiking mainly because it’s very light and comfortable to use. The open patella design further boosts its breathability.
One of the main reasons why Vive’s hinged knee brace stands out in comparison to similarly priced models can be seen in the material from which it is made. This particular variation of neoprene is very plushy, and it provides a bit of extra insulation, making it perfect for hiking during the colder seasons.
FunCee Hinged Knee Brace
Next up is FunCee’s hinged knee brace. It’s made from a sweat-absorbent breathable fabric material, it’s very elastic, and it features adjustable metal hinges. What makes this model different from the rest is the fact that you’ll benefit from the opportunity to adjust the stabilizers (hinges) as you see fit.
The hinges are slightly less convenient to use in comparison to Velcro straps, but they offer a more secure, snug fit.
TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support
The TechWare Pro knee brace is a protective neoprene knee brace made specifically for those who are physically active. This knee brace offers superior knee protection and allows the wearer plenty of comfort and breathability.
TechWare’s Pro brace also sports the open-patella design for additional breathability; however, it does offer slightly less protection from direct impact because of this.
This model is made from moisture-wicking neoprene material and should be worn throughout the day if you have an injured knee. It’s not just great for hiking; sportsmen of all kinds could greatly benefit by wearing it.
Powerlix Knee Compression Sleeve
The Powerlix Knee Compression sleeve is the first of its kind in our best knee bracers for hiking reviews; obviously, it offers very little physical protection and won’t help too much if you’ve sustained a serious injury (or surgery) before, but it works like a charm in terms of injury prevention.
It’s made from very elastic and breathable fabric and it was meant to ensure optimal joint stability; the Powerlix knee compression sleeve also boasts moisture-wicking properties, as well as some of the anti-allergens qualities – you won’t feel any itchiness or redness after wearing it for longer periods of time.
Sparthos Knee Compression Sleeves
Here we have another knee sleeve, the Sparthos Knee compression sleeves. Unlike our previous pick, this particular model is actually a set of two smaller sleeves.
These compression sleeves aim to relieve stress from thighs and knees while providing a decent amount of comfort. They are absolutely phenomenal for long hikes as they are practically weightless.
The Sparthos knee sleeves are made from super-elastic fabric and boast anti-slip properties. They won’t roll off from your knees or thighs, which also means that they ensure a proper, snug fit.
Berter Knee Brace
Berter’s knee brace might just be the best knee brace for hiking in the ‘Prophylactic braces’ category. Some of the most notable benefits it offers are advanced protection, moisture-wicking properties, and plenty of comfort.
Even though it’s as sturdy as can be, it’s actually incredibly light and is intended for all-day use. It’s pretty safe to say that you won’t even feel it as it offers a comfortable, adjustable fit.
Furthermore, it is completely ergonomic and will mold to your knee rather than keeping it in a fixed position and making you adjust to it.
UFlex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve Support
The UFlex Athletics knee compression sleeve covers the entire thigh, boasts kneecap reinforcement, and puts a sturdy bulwark over the wearer’s shin. It’s made from anti-slip silicone with moisture-wicking properties, making it perfect for longer hiking runs.
The design of this sleeve also greatly helps in terms of insulation, so if you’re planning to hike during the winter season, you can rest assured that your knee will remain warm.
Given the fact that it’s a large-sized compression sleeve, it’s pretty versatile and suitable for other hobbies as well, such as yoga, fitness, and all kinds of gym exercises.
Cambivo 2 Pack Knee Brace
Here we are looking at another compression sleeve – the Cambivo’s 2-pack knee brace model. The main difference between this sleeve set and similarly priced models is that it offers unparalleled comfort due to its anti-slip silicone build.
These sleeves are designed in such a way that they grip onto your thighs, kneecaps, and shins, and will remain firmly attached to them, even if you begin to sweat profusely. Even though they don’t boast any sort of insular or physical protection, they will keep your kneecaps warm.
The Cambivo compression sleeves also excel in the field of aesthetics and are available in a variety of colors, including black, blue, gray, green, orange, and several others.
Run Forever Sports Patella Strap Knee Brace Support
The Run Forever Sports Patella straps are among the simplest, most straightforward knee braces for hiking on the market. Basically, this brace is petite in size, and it’s incredibly easy to use and adjust.
It sports a very sturdy build and a convenient Velcro strap which is pretty much the only feature you’ll need to use.
The RFS knee brace boasts the ‘universal size’ fit, which essentially means that it is meant to fit everyone, regardless of their knee size. It’s made from premium-quality fabric and was most certainly built to endure years of rough play and abuse.
Omeril Knee Brace
Let’s wrap it up with Omeril’s set of two knee brace sleeves. These knee sleeves feature the double grip technology; basically, they boast two layers of wavy silicone which offers more elasticity and comfort without impairing the wearer’s movements and range of motion in the slightest.
Furthermore, the knitted fabric is incredibly breathable and affords a bit more comfort in comparison to similarly priced models. Even though these sleeves were primarily designed to be used in sports situations, they are absolutely great for hiking due to the fact that they are lightweight and ultra-comfortable. Last, but not least, they also provide superb insulation.
Best Knee Brace for Hiking Buying Guide
Essentially, any kind of knee brace is better than having none when you are hiking; however, if you really wish to protect your knees and make your hiking experience better altogether, you should consider the following:
There are different types of knee braces, including functional braces, rehabilitative braces, unloader braces, prophylactic braces, and knee sleeves. Each of these types serves a different purpose:
a) Functional braces support injured knees and control the range of motion
b) Rehabilitative braces are similar to functional braces, but rather than controlling the motion of the knee they set stricter limitations to it, almost fixing it in place
c) Unloader braces are used by people who suffer from arthritis. These braces balance the weight from the knees onto stronger areas
d) Prophylactic braces are, technically, pieces of armor. They are supposed to provide protection from injuries
e) Knee sleeves aren’t considered to be knee braces by some, but they most certainly are. They provide minimal protection and stabilization while not restricting movement or comfort
Open kneecap versus closed kneecap design
All knee braces have either open or closed kneecap design; each of these types offers different advantages and brings a different set of downsides to the table.
The braces with an open kneecap design have slightly better ventilation; this means that blood will have no trouble circulating in and around your knees. These braces are generally as comfortable as open-kneecap models. Now, the biggest drawback of this knee brace design is that it offers less protection to the kneecap itself (as it’s completely bared).
Closed kneecap design, on another hand, offers full protection to a wide area around the knee. The problem with inferior blood circulation can be easily handled by not wrapping the brace too tightly.
Alternatively, there are plenty of ‘self-strapping’ models that adjust the level of tension on their own as soon as you start wearing them.
Protective versus supportive
There are subtle, but very impactful differences between taking a walk, a stroll, hiking, trekking, and trailing. The amount of distance you intend to travel should influence your decision on which type of brace you’ll use for hiking.
On top of that, take you should also take the type of terrain you are going to be on – do you prefer timid trails over rocky roads, or do you like to sprinkle your route up with a speck of both?
A good rule of thumb is to prioritize protection over comfort at all times. However, if you’re a casual hiker who simply enjoys this hobby every once in a while you might want to try supportive hiking sleeves. They are lighter and put a lot less pressure on the joints;
Different brands use different kinds of material to manufacture braces for hiking. Even so, certain materials have proven to be more effective than others and are currently considered as an industrial standard. Such is neoprene, for instance.
A good way to recognize high-quality braces for hiking is to check out how durable they are. Braces outfitted with sturdy metal hinges and Velcro straps are generally considered as the most resilient types.
Size and weight
The size and weight of your hiking brace are equally important as the material from which it was built. Typically, heavier braces are made from sturdier materials and are presumed to offer a bit more protection. However, they fatigue the wearer more by a long shot, which, obviously, affects the amount of comfort they are able to provide.
Big braces cover a larger area and provide protection from bruises and lacerations to both thighs and shins; smaller braces are much simpler and significantly more comfortable for all-day wearing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will using a knee-brace improve my hiking experience?
Wearing knee braces will prevent you from injuring yourself as you hike. In case you’ve been injured before, knee braces will prevent further injury and allow you to hike as if you were never hurt.
What is the difference between knee straps and sleeves?
‘Knee strap’ is a synonym for the prophylactic brace, which is, technically, a piece of protective gear designed to keep the knee safe from physical injuries.
Sleeves, on another hand, weren’t meant to protect the wearer directly; once worn, knee sleeves relieve a bit of stress from the wearer’s knees and provide minimal protection from scratches, cuts, and lacerations.
Should I use a knee brace before or after I start feeling knee pain?
The simplest answer would be – ‘always’. Whenever you are engaging in any sort of physically demanding activity, you should wear a knee brace.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to protect yourself. There’s no such thing as the ‘best knee brace for hiking’ as you and you alone plan your hiking routes and methods.
Knowing this, it’s up to you to pass on the final judgment as to which model will be able to tend to your needs, and which ones won’t. We wish you all the luck in finding a brace that works best for you.