Knee sleeves are generally used by athletes who have knee issues, but have been increasingly worn by those who are just looking for support, keeping their joints warm and stability during training.
When it comes to knee sleeves, there are a ton of options out there. From numerous brands to varying thicknesses, it can be hard to navigate when pair you should buy.
Over the past month, I have tested out the WORKT 5mm 2.0 Knee Sleeves. Their website recommends these for “high mobility workouts” – think CrossFit metcons involving squats, wall balls, pistols, etc.
Check out the specs, what I liked and didn’t like and my final thoughts below.
The pair of knee sleeves I tested out were the Black 5mm Knee Sleeve, but they come in additional accent colors like pink, blue red and a gray camo. The 5mm sleeves were designed by Chris Spealler and feature his name and signature on the bottom of each knee sleeve.
WORKT knee sleeves are made of an exclusive patented Ecoprene technology that is supposed to provide better warmth, increased stretch and is almost waterproof (98% impermeable).
What I Liked
There were three things I really liked with the Workt 5mm knee sleeves – comfort, fit and less stink.
Comfort. These knee sleeves are just plain comfortable. Some knee sleeves can bunch up in the back of your knee and make squatting uncomfortable. I did not have any issues with them bunching up in the back once I figured out the best way to pull them over my knee (see my discussion on ‘fit’ below). The stitching on the seams did not cause any irritation and felt great session after session.
Fit. At first the knee sleeves slid down a bit after several squats. However, what I quickly realized was I wasn’t pulling them over my knee properly. What I figured out was that when I pulled them over my knee I needed to stretch the material from just below my kneecap all the way to the top of the knee sleeve.
This simple change reduced the amount of stretch in the fabric from the outset and helped keep the knee sleeve in place.
I also liked the fact that the sizing guide (see below) was very accurate. If you are in between sizes or are unsure, I would recommend going with the smaller size to give you that increased compression and reduce slippage.
With your leg straight measure 2cm (3/4) inch below your kneecap around the circumference of your leg.
X-Small: 31-33cm (12-13 inches)
Small: 33-35cm (13-14 inches)
Medium: 35-37cm (14-15 inches)
Large: 37-40cm (15-16 inches)
X-Large: 40-43cm (16-17 inches)
Stink. Knee sleeves are notorious for becoming very stinky very quickly. These things are worn day in and day out and are just left to air dry until the next training session. The Ecoprene is supposed to reduce the odor compared to other knee sleeves on the market.
After a month, you wouldn’t even know that I had been wearing them. I followed the care instructions and let them dry in a ventilated area while turned inside out. Of course, if you just throw these in your gym bag every day, you might get different results so I recommend letting them air out properly and you should be good to go.
What I Didn’t Like
There were not any big things that I did not like with these knee sleeves. If I had to pick something, however, it would be that it took a little bit of testing to find the right position to wear them.
There were not any directions on how high to pull them over your knee or where to align them in relation to your kneecap. This took a little bit of experimentation, but like I mentioned earlier once I figured it out they fit great and I experienced no problems.
If you are in the market for a pair of new knee sleeves or if you have never worn knee sleeves, but would like additional stability in your squats, I highly recommend picking up a pair of the WORKT 5mm knee sleeves – especially if you are planning on using them for CrossFit.
If you are exclusively doing Olympic Weightlifting or powerlifting, you may want to consider the 7mm version. I’m putting the 7mm to the test right now and will be sharing that review later this month.