Skiing is one of the most majestic and exhilarating sports out there. If you’ve ever done it, you’ll know exactly how tricky it can be to learn and how much fun it is when you get it right.
Sadly, as with any action sport, injuries are part of the package that comes with riding too close to the edge. Skiing, in particular, puts a lot of strain on your knees. This means any kind of serious knee injury could keep you off the slopes for weeks, or even months!
Thankfully, a good quality knee brace is exactly what you’ll need to help you on the road to recovery.
It works by restricting the range of motion in your knee to allow it to heal quicker. It also helps to take some of the weight off of your injured knee to reduce the amount of pain you’re in.
We’ve taken a look at some of the best knee braces money can buy and whittled it down to our top 6. When you find the right one for you, it’ll get you back to the top of the mountain in no time!
- 1 Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support
- 2 Shock Doctor 870
- 3 DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop
- 4 POWERLIX NB-95
- 5 McDavid 429X
- 6 CAMBIVO NS10
- 7 Buyer’s Guide
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
The Bauerfeind Sports knee brace is designed with comfort in mind. It uses a 3D air-knit fabric which allows the brace to stretch and adapt to the shape of your knee and ensure a snug fit.
This material is also washable and moisture-wicking, making it convenient to use multiple times- even while exercising.
While the design seems a bit simplistic compared to other, more extravagant braces, this one has special padding built into certain parts to provide targeted pain relief. There is a circular pad that surrounds the kneecap and disperses the pressure around the injured area. This is perfect for if you’re struggling with a particularly painful injury.
A lot of braces will help you recover from a generic knee injury but the Bauerfeind is made with sportspeople in mind. As you recover from an injury and want to start skiing again, this knee brace is a very comfortable way to ease yourself back into things.
- 3D air-knit fabric – Provides a great level of comfort and an appropriate fit
- Anatomically contoured pads – Specially designed to ease the pain of a knee injury
- Comes in 3 different colors – You can choose between black, pink or a cool blue rivera
- Abrasive material – The air-knit fabric might fit really well, but if you’re sweating there could be a danger of some uncomfortable rubbing against your skin
- Provides light support – Don’t expect this brace to work miracles if you have a more serious injury
This knee brace is sturdy and will provide you with a great level of support for any type of knee injury. It comes with two straps (one above the kneecap and one below) which allow you to adjust the level of compression on different parts of your knee.
The manufacturer says it’s best for moderate support during active recovery so it’s the perfect way to help you get back to the slopes after a long time out.
The fabric for this brace is a mix of spandex and neoprene. Spandex is great for adapting to the shape of your knee and making the brace fit properly.
Neoprene is one of the best materials for any kind of brace, as it doesn’t rub against your skin uncomfortably- even if you’re sweating.
Just like the previous brace, this one also has a special padded area around the kneecap that disperses pressure and will make your injury feel less painful.
The way the padding is designed, it will also help to improve blood-flow through the knee by compressing on the right parts of your joints. Having good blood-flow through an injured muscle is essential for making a speedy recovery.
Considering all these factors and the relative budget-friendliness of this knee brace, you can’t really go wrong with the Shock Doctor!
- Adjustable straps – Alter the way the brace fits to suit your needs
- Spandex/neoprene fabric – A great combination for a comfortable fit
- Padded patella buttress – Perfect for easing the pain of an knee injury
- Very sturdy – Helps limit the movement in your knee joint to increase recovery speed
- Average range of sizes – Choose anything from small to XXL, but some customers still complained about a bad fit
- One color available – If you don’t want it in black, you’re out of luck
As the name suggests, this knee brace has the whole bionic aesthetic going for it. If you want to rock up to the slopes looking like the Terminator, you won’t be far off with this brace!
The reason the DonJoy brace looks so much more extravagant than some others on the market is because of the technology that’s gone into it.
It uses hinge technology and a four-point leverage system to prevent the knee from moving into a dangerous position and stops you from overextending your joints.
The brace comes with adjustable straps so you can control the level of pressure at each point and they even have an extra reflective surface. Great for when the sun starts setting behind the mountain on an evening ski.
It’s designed with a variety of knee injuries in mind and, with the level of adjustability in the straps, you’ll have no problem finding a way to wear it that suits you best.
Though it is on the more expensive side of the market, you’ll certainly get what you pay for.
- Hinge technology – Keeps you from making your injury worse
- Perforated neoprene/spandex material – This is a winning combination of materials for a knee brace and the perforations make the fabric even more breathable
- Great durability – Some customers have reported using this brace for more than 2 years without any issues!
- High level of pressure – Applying pressure to an injury will support any weight you put on it, making life a bit less painful
- Trusted manufacturer – DonJoy makes some of the best supportive braces out there
- Price – This brace is definitely one of the more expensive available
At the other end of the spectrum is the POWERLIX NB-95, a simple knee compression sleeve designed to ease pain during active recovery.
This brace is made with a very thin neoprene material which is flexible and designed to fit a variety of shapes and sizes. We’ve already established how great neoprene is for knee braces, so you won’t have to worry about skin irritation with this one!
It doesn’t have as much padding as some competitors which reduces the weight and level of restriction you’ll experience while wearing it.
This can be a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it means you’ll be able to move more freely, but on the other hand, it increases the risk of making your injury worse.
As we said, this knee brace is simple and will help you recover from an injury if you’re trying to get back into skiing. However, it lacks some of the more complex features you’ll find on other braces so it might not be as helpful with more serious injuries and pain.
- Neoprene material – A nice, breathable fabric that won’t rub against your skin
- Lightweight – Easy to wear for long periods without it being a burden
- 5 colors to choose from – Something for everyone!
- Simple design – Lacks some of the technology that provides greater support
- Size inconsistency – Some users complained that they tried multiple sizes and still couldn’t find the right fit
This is another knee brace that will provide a high level of support for a particularly painful injury. It’s heavy duty design is perfect for preventing your knee from twisting and turning into uncomfortable and dangerous positions.
It features a series of different adjustable straps that ensure a personalized fit and enhance the level of support provided all the way around the knee.
Like some other braces we’ve looked at, there is a circular padded area around the kneecap that supports the patella (the technical name for the kneecap bone) and disperses pressure.
Of course, the fact that this brace uses a neoprene fabric scores it high marks as this makes it so much easier to wear for long periods without irritation.
The geared hinge technology on the sides of the brace allows for greater ease of movement without allowing your knee to twist awkwardly or make your injury worse.
The only real downside to this knee brace is the fact that it has such a heavy duty design. It’s a little heavier than the average product we’ve looked at and it has so many straps that you might find it difficult to wear it comfortably under some ski pants or salopettes.
- Heavy duty design – Provides a great level of support and compression to aid recovery
- Great level of adjustability – With all the adjustable straps, you’ll be able to wear this brace a number of different ways to suit your needs
- Neoprene material – Breathable and easy to wear for long periods without irritation
- Open padded buttress – Disperses pressure and provides an extra outlet for airflow
- Heavy and clunky – This brace might get in the way of your activity if you’re skiing for a long time
- Size inconsistency – There are five sizes available but a few customers claimed they weren’t entirely accurate
Whilst this knee brace is one of the more simplistic in its design, it still offers a lot of the neat features you want to see.
The design is optimized to find the perfect balance between compression and comfort. It applies pressure in the right areas to improve circulation and blood-flow, while still dispersing the pressure evenly across the knee.
What’s cool about this product is the anti-slip silicone gel waves around the top of the interior of the brace. This is particularly helpful for people who struggle with braces sliding down their leg while exercising.
It’s pretty tough to adjust a knee brace while you’re in the middle of skiing down a mountain!
Unfortunately, the material doesn’t feature any neoprene and instead uses a mix of nylon, latex and spandex. This blend is pretty good for allowing flexibility and fitting to a variety of differently shaped knees.
However, there will be a danger of this brace causing skin irritation and chafing- particularly with the silicone gel waves.
- Value for money – This brace offers a lot of great features for a reasonable price
- Optimized design – Provides a good level of compression whilst still being comfortable
- Anti-slip silicone gel waves – Prevents the brace sliding down your leg during activity
- Poor material – The blend of materials used leaves you at risk of discomfort
- Low level of support – The lack of straps and padding mean there isn’t much to prevent your knee from moving in the wrong way and making your injury worse
If you’re still not convinced by any of the knee braces on this list and you want to do your own research, there are a few criteria you should consider.
These are some of the things we think you should look out for if you’re searching for your own knee brace for skiing.
As you may have guessed, the best material to have for a knee brace is neoprene. It’s designed to be skin-friendly and, as a result, you’ll be able to wear neoprene fabrics for a long time without having to worry about skin irritation, even if you’re sweating.
Even if you’re wearing a neoprene knee brace under ski pants or salopettes, you shouldn’t be bothered by any rubbing between the fabrics or stretching out the brace.
Neoprene is flexible enough that you can move fairly freely with it on, but tight enough that it will still provide a good level of support and compression to an injury.
As we’ve seen, some braces will offer a blend of neoprene with other materials, which can be a good thing as long as the other materials are breathable and flexible so you can wear them for long periods.
Straps are common in many of the high-end knee braces and they’re great for customizing the way it fits around your knee.
Ideally, you’ll want a brace that has its straps above and below the kneecap and a good distance away from the actual joints in your knee. Straps aren’t particularly flexible so you want to keep them away from the parts of your body that move a lot.
The right amount of padding is difficult to find in a knee brace. Too much and it won’t be comfortable for you to move around with. Not enough and you can risk making your injury worse by moving too much, or it won’t provide enough support to relieve pain.
A lot of the top products have a circular buttress of padding around the kneecap. This is perfect for most people, as it’s designed to spread the pressure applied to the knee evenly throughout rather than focusing it on one point.
You might also see braces with padding around the sides of the knee, but this is mostly unnecessary. It will just restrict your movement too much and make you uncomfortable.
Finding the right size is another tricky aspect of buying a knee brace. With so many different shapes and sizes of human knees, it’s difficult for manufacturers to cater for everyone.
You should be cautious of any product that’s advertised as ‘one size fits all’. The common complaint about these products is that.. Well… one size doesn’t actually fit all!
Straps are a good way to ensure an appropriate fit, so they’re definitely worth looking for if that’s what you’re worried about. Otherwise, most companies will post a size guide and give instructions on how to measure your knee correctly, so follow these carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do knee braces prevent skiing injuries?
Knee braces can’t completely prevent you from injuring your knee while skiing. Their main function is to reduce pain and aid the recovery process for existing knee injuries.
Braces are useful for restricting the range of movement within the knee joint and this can reduce the risk of causing another injury.
However, you shouldn’t rely on a knee brace to stop you from injuring yourself altogether. The best way to avoid skiing injuries is to be careful!
Can you ski with bad knees?
You can ski with bad knees and knee braces will help you to do that more comfortably. Braces are designed to reduce the amount of stress that goes through your knees while skiing, so they’re ideal for people with bad knees who can’t resist some skiing action!
Does a knee brace fit under skiing salopettes?
Ski pants or salopettes are generally pretty baggy and are designed to have plenty of room for your legs to move around. For this reason, you’ll be able to wear pretty much any knee brace under your salopettes.
The only thing you might need to be careful about is any loose straps that can get in the way or even come undone under your pants.