Best Basketball Knee Sleeves and Knee Pads

best knee sleeves for basketballIt doesn’t take a genius to know how important knees are when running.

Having bad knees could end a career!

And NBA players know it.

Have a look at most NBA basketball games, and you’ll notice that most players have some sort of protection on their knees.

This can be made up of either a knee sleeve, knee pad, or just compression pants.

Thankfully, these protective equipment are not restricted to professional players, nor whether you play streetball or college basketball.

In this article, we’ll go through the best knee sleeves for basketball, as well as revealing what we think the best basketball knee pads are.

Whilst these different pieces of equipment are different in what they offer to the player, we highlight the QUALITY, PRICE and PERFORMANCE of the respective pieces to ensure that you’ll be satisfied with what you buy.

Best Knee Sleeves for Basketball 

Ultra Flex Athletics

5 out of 5 stars
  • Editor's Choice - Versatile with all sports with optimal compression
  • Light, comfortable, flexible and deals with sweat excellently
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Pure Support Compression

4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Another great option that provides great compression
  • Light, comfortable and flexible. Only downside are some reports of durability issues
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McDavid 6446

5 out of 5 stars
  • Editor's Choice - great compression and HEX pattern pad
  • Really long sleeve, and deals with sweat well due to it's patented technology
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Reach's Basketball

4 out of 5 stars
  • Really breathable and anti-slip. Flexible and adaptable to all types of physical activities
  • Un-flat pad surface may take time to get used to
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Bucwild Sports Basketball

4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Different stitching means the sleeve is extremely comfortable. Also anti-slip, and deals with sweat well.
  • Only comes in a camo-design, with reports of durability concerns with outdoor play
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In Depth

Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Sleeve

If you’re looking for a knee sleeve for basketball, and able to be used for any other sport that involves heavy knee work, then it’s hard to go past the Ultra Flex Athletics Knee Compression Sleeve.

We’ll first mention that these compression knee sleeves are not solely made for basketball. They’re designed to focus on the knee, regardless of physical activity.

It’s because of this that these knee sleeves will be absolutely suitable for basketball. Thin, breathable and comfortable.

In particular, Ultra Flex have created arguably one of the most flexible compression sleeves on the market with their nylon and lycra blended material.

This means that you’ll get fantastic support, without sacrificing your overall mobility.

This particular compression sleeve also claims to have optimal compression grade, which will aid recovery, improve endurance, whilst minimising injury in the rough and tough of the game.

In terms of slip, the Ultra Flex is made with double silicon anti-slip wave which ensures that you don’t nee to continually readjust the sleeve during practice or game day.

One of Amazon’s best selling compression knee sleeve, this is a great product that might be perfect for exactly what you’re after.

Fitting instructions are on their Amazon page. Make sure you get the right fit. Also note that they are sold individually.


  • Optimal compression for muscular endurance and recovery
  • Suitable for all kinds of physical activity
  • Doesn’t slide down easily
  • Also works well for ACL/MCL injury recoveries


  • Sold individually
  • Only available in the one colour
  • Due to popularity, is often out of stock for particular sizes

Pure Support Compression Knee Sleeve

Another fantastic compression knee sleeve, the Pure Support Compression Knee Sleeve is a breathable sleeve that offers graduated compression.

This is an extremely light, yet stable knee sleeve which targets compression in the knee area.

Again, like most compression knee sleeves, they’re not designed solely for use when playing basketball.

Nonetheless, Pure Support’s product can be used without any hesitation whilst practicing or playing basketball.

In particular, this product is designed to stay dry during your physical activity. At the end of a session, there is nothing worse than taking of a sleeve which is drenched in sweat, and having your knee absolutely soaked.

Dryness is achieved here through its sweat releasing fabric.

Cheap, non-slip and comfortable, this is another great option when looking for the best knee sleeve for basketball.


  • Targeted compression in the right areas
  • Will provide minor aid to all kinds of knee injuries
  • Anti slip, and very affordable


  • Sold individually
  • Some people have reported durability issues

Best Basketball Knee Pads

McDavid 6446 Padded Knee Pad

One of Amazon’s best selling knee pad, compatible with all different kinds of sport, the McDavid 6446 Knee Pad has amazing performance for basketball.

In general, this knee pad aims to reduce injury and add slight support to your game. This won’t offer much for players with severe knee pains.

As you can see from the image, alongside the compression that the sleeve offers, it also has a HEX-designed pad. This is measured at 9mm thickness.

The overall length of the sleeve is 16 inches. This is a pretty large size and will cover most of your knee area.

The sleeves themselves are made with a synthetic material – being 80% nylon and 20% spandex. Some people have mentioned that sweat may build up, however, this is usually dealt with quite well by the sleeve itself.

This is due to the patented hDc Moisture Management Technology which does its best to keep moisture away from the skin.

Machine-washable and machine-dryable – it’s super easy to clean.

All in all, a fantastic product if you’re looking for the best knee pad for basketball, however, make sure you get the best possible fit.


  • Huge size means that it protects from thigh to shin
  • Comes at a very affordable price
  • Whole heap of colours


  • People have said that sweat can sometimes build up and feel uncomfortable
  • Can be really tight if the wrong size is bought

Reach’s Basketball Knee Pad

The Reachs Basketball Knee Pad is another high quality knee pad set that works amazingly for basketball.

The pads themselves include two strips of anti-slip silicone, with a shock-resistant honeycomb pattern.

This is incorporated with a polyester fabric that is as breathable as it is flexible, whilst offering the best possible compression to avoid it from slipping down.

Thick padding combines with a comfortable finish, and reinforcement of bone and muscle are of primary focus.

Whilst impossible to claim it is purely down to the pads, they are multi-faceted being able to best avoid injury, provide joint support, reduce substantial impact, and limit swelling.

Like most other pads, Reachs’ pads are extremely adaptable to a wide variety of sports. Obviously they are primarily effective in basketball, but additional activities like volleyball, rugby, lacrosse and more can reap the rewards of their application.

A drawback of this set of knee pads is that the surface of support is not as flat as some competing brands.

Like with most products that include elastic, the Reachs can stretch over time rendering them useless. Obviously this only applies to those who play constantly, but something to think about all the same.

A fantastic option, coming in a myriad of color choices, including: black, yellow, purple, red, blue and white.


  • Heaps of available sizes for all statures
  • Works well in best aiding injury prevention
  • Flexible, light and highly adaptable to all sports


  • Un-flat surface may the feel uneven and uncomfortable initially
  • General wear and tear is exaggerated due to loss of elasticity

Bucwild Sports Basketball Knee Pad

The final option on our list of best basketball knee pads is the Bucwild Sports Basketball Knee Pad.

The first thing you’ll notice about these McDavid knee pads is that they look very different from other choices on the market. Their appearance embrace a camouflage motif, which so clearly stands out on the court.

In terms of performance, because basketball requires so much motion, Bucwild pads do a great job at conforming to each knee with ease.

A huge selling point.

The dual-layer wicking is an interesting addition, as it staves off sweat while keeping heat on the muscles; important to not adversely alter previous injuries.

With the seam stitch barely being felt, mobility is at a maximum while irritation of the skin is at a minimum.

The top of the knee pads have a strip of soft silicone to guarantee that no slippage takes place over the knee.

In terms of durability, a mild concern arises due to the Bucwild basketball knee pads being more susceptible to tear than some other alternatives.

However, the reason why this is not a major issue is holes spring up in these pads typically after coming in contact with something sharp; an action that won’t be too prevalent on the court.

Looks great, and priced very reasonably, the Bucwild pad are a serious contender for best basketball knee pad – and a product you should definitely consider.


  • Great compression to positively aid blood flow
  • Stand out design
  • Anti-slip and staves off sweat
  • Really affordable


  • Durability isn’t the best when used for other applications
  • Design is limited

What Are The Differences?

When looking to buying a knee sleeve or a knee pad, it’s important to know exactly what you’re in for.

Whilst there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two, you should know what you’re after so you can consider what the best product is to suit your needs.

Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves are pretty much just compression sleeves targeted in your knee area.

Sleeves are tight, usually made from a synthetic or neoprene material, and works to provide the following:

  • Blood Flow – having what is seemingly a tight band around your knee is specifically used to increase blood flow to the area. This aids recovery during and after a basketball game, and could reduce overall pain in the area.
  • Pain Reduction – like we just said, having increased blood flow, especially during moments of stress on your knee, will minimise pain in your joint area.
  • Future Injury – most importantly though, knee sleeves are designed to protect from future injury. It won’t provide much support at all if you’re coming off a knee injury.

Knee Pads

Knee pads, whilst help with protection, are usually very similar to knee sleeves.

The main purpose of a knee pad is to soften any landing or falling that you may encounter during the rough and tumble of a basketball game.

This provides an added sense of security to know that you’re knees aren’t going to be subject to extreme forces during a heavy fall.

In an added benefit, most knee pads that exist out there on the market are incorporated in a knee sleeve. That means you get all the benefits of a knee sleeve as well!

Note, people who really don’t need a knee pad when playing might find the flat surface of the pad extremely annoying and hindering to their game.

Choose wisely!

What Do I Buy?

If you constantly end up on the hardwood/or outdoor surface – you’re going to need knee pads to avoid grazes and bruises on your knees.

Want to speed up recovery, and best prevent the potential for future knee injuries? Then buying a knee sleeve would be your best option.

If you’re coming off a significant knee injury, such as an ACL, MCL or tendon issue – the above will not be suitable. You’ll need to speak to a professional to ensure that you can find the right knee brace to suit your needs.

Final Words and Recommendation

When looking to finding the best knee sleeve for basketball, or finding the best basketball knee pad that most suits your needs, you need to evaluate what you require.

In terms of the products above, they’re all industry leaders and some of the highest selling products on Amazon in their respective markets.

You can’t really go wrong with any of them.

For us, if you’re looking for a knee sleeve, we can’t go past the Ultra Flex Knee Sleeve.

It’s thin, breathable, comfortable, deals with sweat really well, and won’t let you down when balling.

However, if you want greater protection, then McDavid 6446 Knee Pad is hard to beat.

The quality is so awesome that we feel there’s no need to go straight to the popular, and more expensive Nike Combat Knee Pads.

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