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Essential Knee Support for Hikers: An Ultimate Guide

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Hello hiking enthusiasts! As you know hiking is a great activity that allows us to connect with nature and stay active. Sadly, the uneven terrain and repetitive motions involved in hiking can put a lot of strain on our knees. That’s why having proper knee support for hikers is so important.

As lifetime hikers we have both had to deal with our share of knee pain. It’s only gotten worse since moving to New Mexico where we spend a lot more time hiking in the mountains. Two of the things we have found that reduce knee pain are proper knee support and trekking poles.

In this article, we will explore the best knee support options for hikers. We based our recommendations on scientific papers, expert reviews, our personal experience, and user reviews. We’ll discuss the importance of knee support for hikers, the different types of knee supports, and highlight our recommended products. Let’s dive in and discover how you can protect and support your knees on your next hiking adventure!


If you just want to see our recommendations for the best knee support for hikers here they are. The first is the Pro-Tec Athletics Gel-Force Knee Support which in our opinion offers the best all-around knee support. The second is the Pro-Tec Athletics X-Trac Knee Support which we believe is the best lightweight knee brace. Both are excellent choices.

Key Takeaways:

Best Knee Supports

Best Overall Knee Support for Hikers

When it comes to knee support for hikers, the Pro-Tec Athletics Gel-Force Knee Support stands out as the best overall option. This top-rated knee brace offers a perfect combination of compression, breathability, and soft material, making it ideal for hiking, mountaineering, and other outdoor activities. We highly recommend this knee brace for its exceptional support and ability to alleviate knee pain, providing hikers with the reliable knee support they need on the trails.

product image from Amazon

Pro-Tec Gel-Force Knee Support. Medial and lateral sprial stays provide knee joint stability. Medial (inside) and lateral (outside) spiral stays offer overall knee joint stability. Breathable, soft fabric offers multi-directional stretch applying even, comfortable compression throughout brace.

Best Lightweight Knee Brace for Hikers

We consider the Pro-Tec Athletics X-Trac Knee Support the best lightweight knee brace for hikers. It stabilizes the patella and provides support above and below the knee. This knee brace is lightweight and comfortable, making it the perfect choice for hikers who need support without sacrificing mobility. Featuring a sleek and minimal design it offers targeted compression to alleviate discomfort and stabilize the knee joint during hiking expeditions. Its lightweight construction allows for unrestricted movement, ensuring hikers can navigate challenging terrains with ease.

product image from Amazon

Pro-Tec Athletics X-Trac Knee Support - Dual Strap The X-Trac is designed to be worn while you are walking or running to alleviate pain while being active. The X-Trac Knee Support provides compression directly on the patellar and quadriceps tendon. EVA Compression pads helps stabilize patella (knee cap), by improving tracking.

Best Knee Sleeve For Hiking

When it comes to finding the best knee sleeve for hiking, look no further than the CEP Max Support Knee Sleeve. With its medically-inspired anatomical design, this knee sleeve offers a comfortable and versatile fit for all your outdoor activities. Designed with hikers in mind, it’s made from high-quality materials that deliver a perfect blend of durability and comfort. It’s built to withstand the demands of the trail while keeping your knee well-supported throughout your hiking adventures.

product image from Amazon

CEP Max Support Knee Sleeve, Black/White, Unisex, M. CEP’s Max Support Compression Knee Sleeve is designed to support and stabilize the knee joint for optimal relief and protection. Great for running, hiking, skiing, soccer, and other activities. Our lateral reinforcements on inner and outer ligaments give the knee joint maximum support and relief while our ergonimically shaped silicone pads and medi compression increase stability and thus safety.

Additional Options

There are a lot of options for knee support and sometimes what works best for us, wont be best for you. So here are a few more recommendations that you should look into. They are all very good, and one of them might be perfect for you.

BrandTypeFeaturesLevel of Support
IPOW Knee Strap Brace SupportStrapAdjustable strap, patellar supportModerate
Physix Gear Sport Knee Support BraceStrapAdjustable strap, non-slip designHigh
Run Forever Sports Patella Strap Knee Brace SupportStrapAdjustable strap, silicone paddingLow
TechWare Pro Knee Brace SupportSleeveDual side stabilizers, moisture-wicking fabricHigh
CAMBIVO Knee Compression SleeveSleeveCompression fabric, breathable designModerate

The Importance of Knee Support for Hikers

Hiking puts a lot of strain on the knees due to the repetitive motions and the uneven terrain. Without proper knee support, hikers are at risk of developing knee injuries and experiencing knee pain.

Knee support helps to stabilize the knee joint, provide compression for pain relief, and reduce the risk of further damage(1). It’s important for hikers to prioritize knee support to ensure a safe and comfortable hiking experience.

When hiking, the knees act as shock absorbers, absorbing the impact and stress of each step. Over time, this continuous impact can lead to knee injuries such as sprains, strains, and even ligament tears. Additionally, hiking on uneven terrain can cause the knees to twist or turn, further increasing the risk of injuries.

Wearing knee support while hiking provides many benefits. Not only does it stabilize the knee joint, but it also helps distribute the forces evenly, reducing the strain on the knees. Knee support also provides compression, which helps reduce pain and swelling. Choosing the right knee support can make a significant difference in preventing knee pain and maintaining a pain-free hiking experience.

StabilityKnee support helps stabilize the knee joint, reducing the risk of injuries and promoting proper alignment.
Pain ReliefKnee support provides compression, alleviating knee pain and reducing swelling.
Reduced Risk of Further DamageBy providing support and reducing the strain on the knees, knee support helps minimize the risk of further damage.

Next, we’ll explore the different types of knee braces available for hikers and discuss their benefits and features.

Types of Knee Braces for Hiking

When it comes to knee support for hiking, there are several types of knee braces available to choose from. Each type offers unique benefits and levels of support based on your particular needs. Knowing the different options can help you find the right knee brace for you. Speaking with your doctor, physical therapist, or medical professional is highly recommended.

Choosing The Best Knee Brace For You | A Physical Therapist’s Guide - El Paso Manual Physical Therapy


Knee sleeves are a popular choice among hikers. They are lightweight, comfortable, and allow for a wide range of motion, making them suitable for both short hikes and long treks. Sleeves are especially useful for osteoarthritic knees or if your knee has been recently injured(2). We have found that they work great for us, but for longer or more difficult hikes they aren’t always enough.

Wraparound Braces

Wraparound braces, as the name suggests, wrap around the knee for adjustable compression and support. They often have straps or Velcro closures, allowing you to customize the fit according to your comfort level. These braces are versatile and are used for various knee conditions or injuries.

Patellar Straps

These straps target the patellar tendon. This provides focused support for hikers with conditions like patellar tendonitis. They are worn below the kneecap and help to reduce pain by adjusting patellar alignment. They are small, lightweight, and effective for reducing stress on the tendon during hikes.

Hinged Braces

Hinged braces offer a higher level of support and stability at the cost of mobility and weight(3). They have metal or plastic hinges on the sides of the knee. This restricts excessive side-to-side movement and protects against hyperextension. Hinged braces are recommended for hikers with chronic knee issues or are recovering from recent knee injuries. Work with a medical professional to make sure you get the correct brace for you.

Type of Knee BraceLevel of SupportBenefits
SleevesMild to moderateLightweight and comfortable, Allows a wide range of motion, Provides stability to the knee joint
Wraparound BracesAdjustableCustomizable fit, Versatile for various knee conditions, Offers adjustable compression and support
Patellar StrapsTargetedFocuses on patellar tendon support, Alleviates pain and adjusts patellar alignment- Reduces stress on the tendon
Hinged BracesHighProvides maximum support and stability, Restricts excessive side-to-side movement, Protects against hyperextension

Before You Go …

Now that you have a good idea of which knee support is best for you while hiking I would like to suggest checking out our post on picking the best hiking poles. If you are having knee pain than you should always use these. They can reduce the strain on your knees and legs by 20%-30%. Once you try them we are sure you won’t ever go without them.

Thanks for reading, we hope that you found what you were looking for. If you have any comments or suggestions please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you found this post helpful please share it with your friends. We are new and it really helps us grow. Stay safe and we will see you on the trails!

Reference List

  1. Moyer, R. F., et al. “Biomechanical effects of valgus knee bracing: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Osteoarthritis Cartilage, vol. 23, no. 2, 1 Feb. 2015, pp. 178-88, doi:10.1016/j.joca.2014.11.018.
  2. Mohd Sharif, Nahdatul Aishah, et al. “Biomechanical and functional efficacy of knee sleeves: A literature review.” Physical Therapy in Sport, vol. 28, 1 Nov. 2017, pp. 44-52, doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2017.05.001.
  3. Brooks, Kelly S. “Osteoarthritic Knee Braces on the Market: A Literature Review.” JPO: Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics, vol. 26, no. 1, Jan. 2014, p. 2, doi:10.1097/JPO.0000000000000013.

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By Summer and Bill

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Summer and Bill are the dynamic duo behind, a blog dedicated to inspiring others to explore the great outdoors. With a combined lifetime of experience traveling and adventuring across America, they have a wealth of knowledge to share. From hiking to camping, kayaking to travel, Summer and Bill are passionate about helping others discover the beauty of the natural world.

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