Hiking is a perfect way to relax, spend more time with friends and family, and reap the advantages of health benefits while being in nature.
It is a social activity, and something individuals do on the weekends. For others, hiking is a very serious activity and takes up quite a lot of their time.
There is one unique problem that can happen to any hiker, irrespective of experience. You may be a new hiker, or you’re a veteran, yet we can all experience the same at some time.
Knee pain can happen at any time, and may often hit some hikers as they descend a steep section. (Read Hiking Essentials for Beginners)
To prevent knee injuries, you can use a knee brace for hiking as soon as you begin to feel the need. However, there many types of knee braces, and knowing which is the right hiking knee brace for you can be a challenge.
In our hiking gear reviews, we have the best and some of the easiest knee brace for hiking options you can find. So, by the end, you’ll be able to avoid pain or injury as toss a pair of these in your gear when backpacking.
Why You Need a Good Knee Brace for Hiking?
You’ll find three factors contributing to painful knees when hiking, backpacking or any activity where there is leg action.
- Incorrect footwear
- Too heavy a backpack
- Hiking downhill
The wrong footwear causes more than knee problems, but a pain in the feet and leg pains. When hiking, backpacking or camping, you need high-quality footwear designed for the purpose.
Sneakers don’t offer hikers support, and when you have you backpacking gear weighing you down, you will feel a knee problem from strain, particularly as you ascend or descend parts of the trail.
Hiking downhill is the area that causes more knee injury than any other sections. Reasons for this being the forces on your knee joint are as much as 3x to 6x heavier than your body weight, not including your backpack. (Find the Best Backpacks for Hiking)
When you wear a knee brace, you can offer your knees that much needed support without losing flexibility. Best of all, you know you’ll be able to avoid kneecap pain.
Top Knee Braces for Hiking Reviews
1. POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve – Best Knee Brace for Knee Pain for Men & Women – Knee Support for Running, Basketball, Weightlifting, Gym, Workout, Sports – Please Check Sizing Chart
The PowerLix is lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. The knee compression sleeve can be used for a wide range of activities and offering knee pain when hiking.
It is made from a blend of moisture-wicking nylon and spandex, so you don’t feel itch or odor from extended use.
The four-way compression knee brace applies pressure across your knee, offering support, and comfortable to wear without restricting your range of motion.
To avoid slipping, it has anti-slip silicone grips on the inside to ensure it stays in place regardless of motion or activity. It is also far easier to fit than the UFlex athletics knee compression sleeve.
- Fully adjustable compression fabric
- Can be worn for extended periods
- Suitable for a wide range of activities
- 100% Money-back guarantee
- Sizes run large
- Doesn’t come in pairs
With a guide price of just under $17, you get a lot of support from the athletics knee compression sleeve. It offers many other benefits such as increasing blood flow and offers high-quality support around your knee.
As you can use it for so many activities, it has to be the best knee support for the money.
2. Bracoo Adjustable Compression Knee Support Brace for Men Women – Arthritis Pain, Injury Recovery, Running, Workout
The Bracoo offers all-round knee support without adding hinges or fancy designs. It delivers the correct level of compression above and below your knee without restriction and limiting circulation.
Using the adjustable straps, it fits a range of sizes and keeps the kneecap secure, yet you may have to adjust these, time to time over extended periods.
The stabilizer ring aids tracking in all directions and is particularly suitable for anyone suffering bone rubbing related knee pain.
The wide Velcro straps make adjustments easy, although the most significant issue is if you need to crouch, they can bunch behind the knee.
- Reinforced stabilizer to help keep the kneecap in position
- Offers great support above and below the knee
- Adjustable and offers a full range of motion
- Breathable and offers moisture wicking
- Straps may pull loose
- Only one in the pack
With a guide price of $11.99, the open patella design knee support aids with chronic knee pain associated from sprains, strains, arthritis, or hiking over rough terrain or long distances.
3. IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief & Patella Stabilizer Knee Strap Brace Support for Hiking, Soccer, Basketball, Running, Jumpers Knee, Tennis, Tendonitis, Volleyball & Squats
While looking similar to the Cho Pat dual action knee strap. The IPow2 knee strap offers support below the kneecap where you need it. If you have weak patella tendons, this can be ideal as it doesn’t offer the bulk of some hiking knee brace.
Besides this, the IPow2 is great to throw in your backpack as the pair of them take up far less space than a pair of knee sleeves. Another feature is you can obtain relief without taking off your hiking boots.
- Fully adjustable
- Knee brace support is breathable and soft
- Delivers relief for “hiker’s knee”
- Allows full range of motion
- May slip on smaller legs
- Only suitable for hiking and low movement exercises
With a guide price of just below $14, these double knot nonslip designs are a great solution to offer the right amounts of patella knee support.
Coming in a pair, it makes them highly affordable, and easy to wear together so you can offer each knee the right amount of support.
4. Winzone Knee Brace by ComfyMed Premium Adjustable Compression Support Sleeve CM-KB19 for Sport or Pain Relief
The Winzone knee brace can aid hikers over long distance who are prone to knee pain. It is better to wear these as prevention when hiking as it features little to relieve pain, and are better suited to prevent it.
The non-slip knee brace by Comfy Med comes in one size yet fully adjustable. The opening in the open patella design allows movement and increased blood flow in the knee joint region.
The material is light, breathable, yet some wearers find them bulky because they cover from the top to the bottom of the knees.
- Offers amazing comfort from the knee brace for hiking
- Knee brace features a breathable material
- Suitable for machine washing
- Durable and with 12 months warranty
- No pain relief
- Can slip in active activities such as a runner
With a guide price of just under $30, these are more costly options for support on the knees. While they come with a 12-month guarantee, they only come as one in the pack. If wearing for hiking, you could find excess pressure placed on your other knee by just wearing one.
5. IPOW 2 Pack Thickened Pad & Wide Patella Knee Strap, Pain Relief Patellar Tendon Support, Adjustable Brace Band for Basketball, Running, Jumpers Knee, Volleyball, Tendonitis, Arthritis
The IPow2 thickened pad comes with 2 items in the pack, which makes them ideal for wearing in pairs and offering plenty of support to both knees at once.
Being fully adjustable, the wide ergonomic shape remains in position as it contours the kneecap. It delivers the right levels of compression, and the stay fix design means you can use it in a wide range of activities.
- Knee brace comes with easy adjustment straps
- High levels of grip while still comfortable
- Helps relieve pain
- One size fit’s all
- May come loose on smaller legs
- Doesn’t cover all affected area like a knee sleeve
With a guide price of just below $15, these are an affordable option to keep handy for when you may feel discomfort, or you wish to wear them as a precaution more than a solution
Best Knee Braces for Hiking Buying guide
When searching for the best knee brace for hiking, you need to consider there aren’t too many things. Here are the primary things to look for.
What support do you need?
Knee braces provide degrees of support to various knee types. The amount of support will depend on whether you’re recovering, or you experience mild discomfort.
- Light support: Straps or sleeves are used for mild conditions such as tendonitis, patellofemoral stress, etc.
- Moderate support: Braces with lots of strapping or a hinged knee brace. Designs may comprise patella or motion control motion to avoid hyperextension.
- Total support: Immobilizer braces are used after surgery; you can’t move your knee.
Style & Design
Most knee braces are slip-on or wraparound style. Slip-on knee braces slide over your foot to fit snugly. If you want low profile designs without straps, these are the best solution. You can’t adjust these as they are compression fit.
Wraparound is bulkier and can be fitted without removing shoes. With this style, they are adjustable, so there’s less worry about getting sizes right as much.
Open Patella vs Closed Patella
Knee braces are closed patella or open patella designs. Here, they either cover the entire knee cap or have holes over the center.
Here is down to the preference of your knee brace. Some people feel that an open patella design has their kneecap feeling a little less compressed.
Being open also allows for better breathability in warm conditions. In cold conditions, you may want to opt for a closed patella design to keep warmer.
How to Choose Size and Fit
A poorly fitting knee brace can harm rather than good. You need it to fit around your knee without being too tight.
A rule of thumb is how many fingers you can slip between the brace and your leg. Three fingers mean it’s too loose. If two fingers can’t be fitted, then it’s too tight.
Adjustability: If your legs swelling during extended hikes, you’re better off with an adjustable knee brace, or one that can flex with your body.
Comfort is also vital so consider hot and cold temperatures and sweat, possible chafing and any other variable.
You can find many knee sleeves in the same design and many strap designs. However, in testing it was the POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve – Best Knee Brace for Knee Pain for Men & Women – Knee Support for Running, Basketball, Weightlifting, Gym, Workout, Sports that comes out on top. The most significant drawbacks are you need to remove your shoes if fitting during a hike.
Besides this, once you have the sizing right, these offer fantastic support from the thigh muscle to below the knee. They wick moisture away and wear them under your hiking pants, and you’ll never notice.
They are anti-slip, so get them in position once and they’ll they there until you’re done. Without a doubt, you will find the Powerlix compression knee sleeve the best knee brace of any type no matter what design.
Get two, and they can offer years of pain relief, no matter how rugged your hiking trail.