Knee Sleeve Sizing - Tips and Things to Think About
To get the most out of your knee sleeves you want them to fit well. Working out what size you are can be challenging especially when you are buying on line and don't have an opportunity to try before you buy. I have put together some tips and considerations to try and help you work out what is the best size for you.
Knee sleeves are supposed to be tight - they are designed to give support and compression to your knees during squatting based movements. They need to be reasonably tight in order to provide these compressive properties. However, they should not feel so tight that they are cutting off circulation or feel like they are pinching anywhere.
What will you be using them for?
If you are a powerlifter you are likely to prefer a different fit to a CrossFitter.
Powerlifting usually operates in very heavy weight domains and Powerlifters typically prefer to wear sleeves extra tight as they want the extra support during heavy sessions.
However, if you train functional fitness and wear them during WODs as well as during strength sessions you probably don't want them super tight - a slightly looser fit will be more comfortable during workouts and will allow the range of motion for everything from running to squats.
How to Measure and Size
We recommend you measure the circumference of your knee with a slight bend in it and compare this to the sizing chart to find your recommended size.
If you happen to fall in the middle of two sizes then we would recommend sizing down as knee sleeves will usually stretch a little after a few wears.
As a bit of a sanity check it is also useful to check if the size recommendation makes sense to you. The sizing should come out fairly similar to what size you might guess you would be - it should be fairly true to size.
Sizing - A Real Life Example
I am 5'3" and weigh 145# (66kg). I can be a small or a medium in shorts/tights.
If I measure the circumference of my knee it is 37.5 cm (14.7"). I measure a medium on the knee sleeve chart but 37cm is right in the middle between a small and a medium. In reality I can wear either a medium or small. In the photo below the purple pineapple pair are a size small and the green camo skull pair are a medium. Both sleeves fit me. The medium pair are firm but not super tight, the smalls are quite tight, they even feel too tight initially but after a couple of wears they loosen a little and feel more comfortable.
In the photos above you can see the Medium pair is not as tight around the knee cap area. It also looks like the small pair are shorter - the sleeves are actually the same length. The small pair are having to stretch more around my knee and so appear shorter in length.
So what size do I wear?
If I am doing a heavy lifting session only then I will wear a small - I want the extra support when lifting heavy. If I am in a WOD that has a lot of different movements then the medium works well as it is a bit more comfortable for wearing for longer periods. Being a little looser it means the medium pair do move a little more and I will have to pull them up every now and again but for overall comfort in WODs I find the medium works.
What size would I recommend to others who may be in between two sizes?
If in doubt I would always recommend sizing down especially if the main purpose is for use in lifting sessions.
Putting on Knee Sleeves
Because they are tight, knee sleeves can be tricky to put on. To make it a bit easier we recommend putting them on inside out, pulling them up to just below your knee and then flipping them over your knee.
Sizing knee sleeves like clothing is imperfect. Every knee sleeve manufacturer has different cuts and sizes. We all do our best to provide good sizing advice. I know I am constantly monitoring customer feedback to see how to improve sizing charts and sizing advice but sometimes we get it wrong or the cut/style just doesn't work on a particular person.
I hope this post helps anyone who is unsure about how to size correctly. I am more than happy to answer specific questions about sizing so if you want some specific help you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message on FB or IG and I will do my best to help.