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Best Knee Braces for Running- The Top 6

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In many ways, running is the ultimate sport. Anybody can do it, there is no barrier to entry for calling yourself a “runner,” it's great exercise and it gives you a feeling of freedom that few other things do.

The only drawback? It can be absolutely brutal on your knees. From soreness, patellar tendonitis, runners' knee, instability, and meniscus tears- your knees can take an absolute beating.

However, thanks to modern technology, there is a massive number of braces, support, and sleeves on the market today to help alleviate these symptoms.

This article will look at the top 6 products that will help alleviate your knee pain and get you back on the road/trail/treadmill quickly and with confidence.

6) McDavid Knee Support Strap- Best for patellar tendonitis

The McDavid Knee support strap is an unstoppable force when listing the best supports for running- it’s the ultimate ‘facts don’t care about feelings’ brace- No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, this strap for runners' knee/patellar tendonitis is a godsend, and one of the best products I have ever used.

The soft but firm pad that presses directly into your patella tendon is comfortable yet effective, and the support is comfortable, extremely lightweight, moisture-wicking, and easily adjustable in a matter of seconds using the Velcro. This thing is also durable- I’ve had mine for years. Don’t hesitate to grab this- it’s remained a staple for a reason. If you’re still not sold, check out my full review here.

5) Zamst JK2- Best for patellar tendonitis (more severe) and general instability

Best knee braces for running
Zamst JK-2

In my full review of the Zamst JK-2 knee brace (which you can view here) I actually spoke of my uncertainty of whether this would be a good product for running over any great distance.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to test it more thoroughly since then and wore it on my right knee, which has suffered from runner’s knee and patellar tendonitis for over a decade.

The Zamst JK-2 is, in some ways, a very beefed up version of the traditional patella strap like the product from McDavid I spoke about above. However, it also does more. While its primary function is to support and relieve pain stemming from the patellar tendon, which is commonly sore in runners, I have also found that it provides really great ‘general support’ thanks to the full knee covering with the quad strap.

This issue of general instability and soreness is a staple of runners' knee and are issues that I have found were greatly alleviated while wearing the Zamst JK-2.

4) Bracelayer KX1- Do it all knee support for instability and pain

best knee braces for running

The KX1 is an awesome Bracelayer product that I haven’t reviewed yet on the site- while I’ve looked at the KXV and KX2, the KX1 has yet to be reviewed.

For a full explanation of what Bracelayer does, check out a full review here.

For the brief version, these are spandex base layer pants with vented neoprene knee sleeves that also go up the IT bands, hips, and lower back that are built right into them. This provides tremendous support and stability while reducing swelling and pain.

The best part though is that you don’t need to worry about the sleeves and support moving or sliding down. When running, this is truly the worst part about knee sleeves- they bunch up, roll down, and end up pointless and uncomfortable because they don’t stay in place.

Bracelayer is truly incredible- they are comfortable, breathable, and have helped me more than I can say. For running, these are truly top notch.

These also keep knee braces up- just put a traditional brace over top like you would if you were wearing normal compression pants and it will stay in place much better.

Bonus- Use code RRB15 for 15% off!

3) VKTRY Silver insoles- For injury prevention and improved performance

Best knee braces for running

Sorry- these are technically not a knee brace. But stay with me!

These are truly a revelation for running, and I’ve been wearing them for the past several months with great results.

When it comes to injury prevention and keeping your knees (and ankles, and hips…) healthy, it should really start from the ground up. Because of the amazing support, your lower half is aligned properly. As a runner with flat feet, these have been a godsend.

These insoles are made of carbon fiber and are much stiffer- creating a rebound. While average insoles make you lose energy because of this, VKTRY insoles have been scientifically proven to provide greater energy return and improve your athletic performance.

Bonus- Use code RAPIDRABBIT for an additional discount!

2) Bauerfeind Genutrain P3 knee brace- Anterior knee pain (front of knee), patellar tracking issues, general instability, IT band pain

The Bauerfeind Genutrain P3 knee brace is a really cool product that does a lot. It is extremely well constructed with a compression fit, but also includes a strap for additional support and stability- this thing is not moving off your knee.

This brace does a lot for your kneecap, an area that is commonly injured for runners. It helps with kneecap pain, dislocation, patellar tendonitis, and IT band syndrome thanks to the the ability to tighten it.

For all knee braces, the P3 provides the very best support possible for your kneecap and helps a wide array of issues stemming from it. Because of this, it’s a beautiful product for runners.

1) Zamst RK-1 Plus- Best for IT band syndrome and outer knee pain

best knee braces for running

The Zamst RK-1 Plus is a great little brace that, like patellar tendon straps, is a really great product for one-dimensional issues.

While it does provide some general support, the main highlight with this product is its ‘spiral’ elastic support that wraps around the knee to reduce strain on the outside of the knee and IT band.

This product is very light, thin, and breathable. While I don’t wear it a lot anymore, I did suffer from IT band issues a few years ago from running and wore it during my recovery.

It worked so well, I knew I needed to include it on the list of knee braces for running. If the outside of your knee or IT band is ailing you on your runs, don’t hesitate to pick it up.

Until next time!

(All images used with permission)


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