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6 Best Knee Braces for Hiking

by Amanda Ghosh August 11, 2017 0 Comments

old couple taking a hikeHiking lowers your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, and type II diabetes. A good hike reinvigorates the soul and the body. It’s also an excellent way to spend quality time with friends and family. A high-quality knee brace for hiking is important, especially if your knees give you trouble on the trail. A knee brace supports, protects, and stabilizes the knee while reducing pain. Get ready to hike for days—here, we discuss the top six knee braces for hiking so you can start down the trail on the right foot!

Best Knee Braces for Hiking - Top 6

Model Brand Lowest Price
1. Knee Brace Cho-Pat
BEST PRICE »
2. Knee Support for Hiking Vive
BEST PRICE »
3. Knee Stabilizer Bracoo
BEST PRICE »
4. Breathable Knee Support IPOW
BEST PRICE »
5. Universal Knee Brace Vive
BEST PRICE »
6. Knee Straps Abco Tech
BEST PRICE »

1. Knee Brace by Cho-Pat Knee Brace by Cho-Pat

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This knee brace allows full mobility while providing the support you need. It stabilizes your kneecap so you can hike longer and farther. And this brace applies constant pressure above and below the knee to alleviate pain and support weak knees.

Pros:
  • Available in 8 sizes and 2 colors
  • Comfortable and effective for long and short walks
  • Easy to put on and take off
Cons:
  • Not well-suited for running

2. Knee Support for Hiking by Vive Knee Support for Hiking by Vive

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This knee support looks and feels sporty! Its minimal design adds the perfect amount of support and does not interfere with your hiking abilities. The breathable straps are perfect for the trail—adjust them as needed to achieve the perfect fit. This support delivers compression to keep your knees protected and safe, even on treacherous terrain. All in all, this excellent knee support for hiking will deliver the comfort and protection you need.

Pros:
  • Reduces knee pain while running
  • Great support and well-built
  • Comes as a pair
Cons:
  • Only comes in black

3. Knee Stabilizer by Bracoo Knee Stabilizer by Bracoo

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If you don’t like your kneecap to be covered, this brace is for you. The open-kneecap design reduces the amount of pressure and stress on your knee, while other aspects of the brace ensure your patella stays in the proper position. Plus, the thick material improves blood circulation—a feature that is ideal for hiking. Your legs need oxygen and good blood flow!

Pros:
  • Comfortable and supportive
  • Not too bulky
  • Alleviates knee pain
Cons:
  • Need to readjust straps to keep the brace in place

4. Breathable Knee Support by IPOW Breathable Knee Support by IPOW

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This is a great brace for a high-intensity hike. It can also be used for running, cross training, and mountain biking. It protects your knee from fatigue with springs that relieve pressure, and it keeps you dry with lightweight, breathable material that wicks away moisture. Once you adjust this brace to your knee, the strong Velcro will keep it in place for the duration of your hike.

Pros:
  • Fits very well and does not slip, even when you’re sweaty
  • No pinch points when you hike
  • Supports knee injuries
Cons:
  • Top Velcro strap may scratch the leg—use a lining under the brace

5. Universal Knee Brace by Vive Universal Knee Brace by Vive

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This brace has many of the same features as the other braces we’ve listed, but it’s cheaper. It’s an excellent companion on your favorite hike and will definitely keep your knee supported. Your kneecap will experience less pressure due to the brace’s open design. Adjustable compression reduces fatigue on the trail, while also enhancing your performance! The breathable material makes this brace ideal for daily hikes or exercise.

Pros:
  • Comfortable to wear for 4 hours a time—perfect for a long hike
  • Relieves pain while walking
  • Very supportive
Cons:
  • Fits most sizes, but not all

6. Knee Straps by Abco Tech Knee Straps by Abco Tech

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If you’re sick of braces that only come in black, this one is also offered in hot pink! Take to the trails in style this season while giving your knees some love. These straps are made from highly durable material and will last a long time—for many hiking seasons to come. Overall, these are stylish, well-built knee supports that alleviate pain while you’re on the trail.

Pros:
  • Strong support on the trail, in a variety of conditions
  • Fit well
  • Come with a lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Straps stretch a tiny bit with use

How to Use a Knee Brace for Hiking

Regardless of whether your hike takes you a half hour outside of town or to a remote corner of the state, safety should always come first. This means you need to know how to wear your brace and proper form to spare your knees.

Proper Knee Brace Fit

Your legs will be working hard on the trail, so it’s important that your knee brace does not restrict blood flow. Once you have put on your knee support and adjusted it, try to fit two fingers under the strap or brace.

  • Your brace is too tight if you cannot fit two fingers under it.
  • Your brace is too loose if you can fit three fingers under it.

As you hike, your legs may swell. That means you may need to stop every so often to readjust your brace and check the fit. Don’t become frustrated or dismayed—it’s a good excuse to take a break, eat a scrumptious granola bar, and appreciate the view.

Tip:
After the hike, take off your brace. Wearing a brace for prolonged periods of time can damage the skin.

Hiking Technique

Now that you have a good brace, it’s time to learn proper hiking technique to maximize its benefits and help you enjoy your hike.

Gait

If you’re on a long hike, you will use your leg muscles, tendons, and knee joints the same way stride after stride. Protect your legs and knees by mixing up your gait. Try a combination of long and short strides, and sometimes focus on walking heel to toe.

Hiking Uphill

To shift the bulk of the force to your thighs, keep your shin vertical as you step forward. This will alleviate pressure on the knee so you’re still spry for a quick descent.

Hiking Downhill

This is where knee pain starts to add up if you’re not using a smart downhill hiking technique. To reduce the joint impact that comes with barreling downhill, maintain slightly bent knees. This forces your muscles to take the impact and spares your joints.

Trekking poles or a good walking stick are fantastic for taking pressure off your knees. Click here to see the best poles and walking sticks for hiking.

How to Care for Your Knee Brace After Hiking

When to Wash

After a hike, your brace is a bit sweaty. While it may be tempting to avoid cleaning your brace after a long hike, don’t wait too long. A dirty brace invites staph infections, ringworm, and folliculitis.

Tip:
Follow sweaty activities with a thorough brace cleaning each and every time. If you’re only wearing your brace around the house, clean it once a week.

How to Wash Your Knee Brace

Follow the care instructions that came with your brace. When in doubt, handwash and always air dry. Here are some additional tips to assist you in caring for your hiking knee brace.

  • Read the care instructions first.
  • Use lukewarm water (never hot water) and mild soap.
  • Remove metal splints from your brace.
  • Secure Velcro to the brace as if you were wearing it to prevent damage to the straps.

Be extra careful if you have a hinged knee brace. Hinged knee braces provide extra support for weak knees— click here to see the best ones.

Brace Cleaning Hacks

For an awesome all-natural soap, use baking soda and vinegar. It will keep the brace clean and reduce odors. You can also spray your brace with disinfectant.

8 Knee Conditions That Benefit from a Knee Brace for Hiking

To wear or not to wear a brace, isn’t that the question? An important joint like the knee should always be supported and protected on the trail, especially if you have any of the following conditions.

  1. Weak knees
  2. Arthritis or diseases affecting the knee joint (Click here to see the best knee braces for arthritis.)
  3. Tendonitis
  4. Bursitis
  5. Knee pain
  6. Tears ( ACL, MCL, or LCL tears)
  7. Sprains
  8. Runner's knee (Click here to see the best braces for running.)

Of course, we recommend speaking to your doctor before making a purchase to ensure you’re choosing the right brace for your unique situation.

Hit The Trail with a Knee Brace for Hiking

Hiking is one of life’s simple pleasures. Enjoying glory of the outdoors and reconnecting with nature is thrilling, rejuvenating, and refreshing. Hiking keeps you fit and reduces your risk of disease. It is important to protect weak, injured, and painful knees with a quality knee brace for hiking so you can continue to rejoice in the beauty of nature for years to come. Any of these braces will work just fine, so do a bit of research and then get that brace!

Sources:

https://www.verywell.com/how-to-properly-fit-a-knee-brace-2696281

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/06/clean-medical-sports-brace-matters/

http://www.goodhiker.com/2011/05/25/health-benefits-hiking/

https://www.thehikinglife.com/skills/hiking-techniques/

https://nutritiousmovement.com/save-your-knees-hiking-tutorial/

Amanda Ghosh
Amanda Ghosh

Amanda has a Masters of Science in Nutrition from Syracuse University which equipped her with courses applied to licensure as a dietitian. She also worked as a Program Director for the Wellness and Fitness Department for the YMCA. She is well versed in physical fitness, with a certificate from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in physical fitness training. She has taught numerous fitness classes, including college courses in the Athletic Department, as an adjunct instructor, at the SUNY University at Buffalo. She currently resides with her husband in the NYC area, and loves to put her knowledge of anatomy and physiology to use by being active. Both her and her husband are self-declared "foodies."



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