Over my years as a true lover of the mountain, I have come to realize one thing that runs true no matter how long I spend out there in the snow: confidence is key!
Without my confidence, I tense up, lose my speed, control, and finesse and find myself eating the piste more than I would otherwise.
There aren’t too many reasons I would lose my confidence. New, unknown slopes and equipment may be a few, but by far the most common is an injury.
I have had my share in my time. My knee problems may never quite be all the way better and I’m pretty sure my concussions have knocked a fair amount of my vocabulary out.
All this being taken into consideration, you can see why I always make sure I am wrapped up in protection. A lot of my equipment is dependent on the day I plan to have.
I’ll wear a back brace for park and off-piste days, and avalanche packs for deep powder days. Some of the safety equipment I wear are things I would never hit the slopes without.
Number one is my snowboarding helmet. I can let a strain heal and broken bone mend, but I only have one brain and that doesn’t grow back.
That being said, I’ve had one big knee injury in my time and it only takes the one, which takes an age to heal, by the way, to ensure I always ride with a knee brace.
Shock Doctor Sleeve
- Size: Medium
- Style: Closed Patella Sleeve
DonJoy Playmaker II Knee Brace
- Size: Large
- Style: Neoprene Patella Donut
Best Medical Grade
Shock Doctor Hinged Knee Brace
- Size: 3X-Large
- Style: Ultra Hinges
McDavid Knee Brace
- Size: Small
- Style: Dual Disk Hinges
Bauerfiend Sports Knee Support
- Size: X-Small
- Style: Patellar Knee Pad
TechWare Pro Knee Support
- Size: Medium
- Style: Athletic
Best Knee Braces for Skiing – Top 6 Picks
I had seen people with ACL tears before, getting stretchered off the hill, and it isn’t something you forget. Thankfully, mine was an easily healed knee injury but it was enough for me to do some research into the best knee braces. ACL injuries are season-enders.
Here I’ll run through my research and findings to help you decide the best knee brace for skiing, and which one works for you.
Let’s take a rundown of some great choices for knee braces to prevent those dreaded knee injuries.
1. Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeves
Compression sleeves are always a great choice for the rider without a major injury, weakness, or preexisting issue with their joints.
They are a first step in preventing injuries and making sure little slips that may have been ride-enders just end up as perhaps a minor complaint.
I have used compression sleeves on my elbows after straining them in the gym and knee compression sleeves after heavy weekends stomping the slopes.
As a knee brace, they won’t prevent injuries but for knee support, they do the trick.
What Are They For?
A lot of people use a compression sleeve after a major knee injury. They are great to wear to bed, when not on the slopes, and relaxing.
They are designed to relieve knee pain, control knee movement, and provide extra support. If you are worried about weak knees or things like arthritis pain then these are fantastic extra protection.
These compression sleeves are designed to make a perfect fit around the joint allowing maximum movement.
This comes at the cost of full support that may come with actual knee braces. They will provide stability for weaker joints or for knees with older injuries.
Shock Doctor Knee Compression Sleeve
The price of “Shock Doctor Sleeve ” varies, so check the latest price at
2. DonJoy Playmaker II Knee Support Brace
If you have ever injured your anterior cruciate ligament, you understand just how debilitating and long the process can be. Wearing a knee brace can protect against this common but very painful injury.
Unlike the previous knee brace, this one is hinged and can provide support against more severe injury. If you are looking to have your knee fully supported and held in place against injuries.
The support provided by the hinged knee braces is a little more cumbersome than a compression sleeve but this is the payment for knowing that your legs are secure in a solid frame. This particular one will still go underneath your ski pants so isn’t in the way.
The DonJoy Playmaker II features an open patella design. This allows for a little more movement in the knee which is great for flexibility while getting in your turns.
A knee brace with a patella doughnut may restrict movement in the knee which can become inconvenient while on the mountain.
What Are They For?
The knee stabilizers on this knee brace provide some moderate support to both your knee joint and ACL ligaments inside. The low profile and adjustable compression allow for wearing these under your ski pants while providing significantly more support than a compression sleeve.
Knee braces like these are intended to prevent injury in the first place. Rather than providing light support for previous damage, these can stop you from having one originally.
If you have suffered an ACL tear previously, and suffer the medial and lateral instability that comes with it, these types of knee braces will help you get your confidence back with some much-needed knee support.
This fitted knee brace is designed to give moderate medial and lateral support to the knee whilst remaining low profile. It may not prevent the most heinous of injuries but it will stabilize your knee.
If you have had sports injuries in the past and are still recovering from them, this will ensure you can ride with the confidence you need to really enjoy your day out on the mountain.
Knee braces like this are essential for recovery from knee trauma both on and off the mountain.
DonJoy Playmaker Brace
The price of “DonJoy Playmaker Brace” varies, so check the latest price at
3. Shock Doctor Hinged Knee Brace
The Shock doctor is one of the best knee braces for skiing if you have damaged your knee skiing the slopes. The dual-hinged design will hold your leg in place preventing unwanted sideways movement in the knee joint.
This design provides lateral support through compression, adjustable straps, and a brace on either side of the knee.
The compression element provided by this knee brace is designed to improve blood flow and warm muscles while providing knee support and stability. This isn’t only a compression sleeve but also a brace.
The Shock Doctor is on the larger side of the range of knee braces for skiing that we have looked at but it won’t get in the way of your ski boots or ski pants. This knee brace also features a closed patella area for breathability and better movement.
With two adjustable straps, this knee brace will be made to be a perfect fit relieving any pressure points you may experience. If you have ever spent a long day out on the mountain you know how important it is that your gear works alongside you.
What Are They For?
The Shock Doctor is designed for the skier who may have suffered a more serious injury and has been advised by a medical professional to wear a good knee brace when taking part in sports that can cause increased strain.
The robust and tight-fitting nature of this knee brace will definitely go a long way to prevent new knee trauma. If you are looking for something that will give you the confidence to maybe hit that new jump or some deep powder, this will be the one.
At the cost of being significantly larger than the previously reviewed knee braces, this provides a lot more knee support. It may not be as comfortable, but this does have much more rigidity than other braces.
Not only will it provide protection against new injuries, but it can also prevent further damage by providing support where it is most needed.
Shock Doctor Knee Brace
The price of “Shock Doctor Knee Brace” varies, so check the latest price at
4. McDavid Knee Brace
The McDavid knee brace is a compression sleeve with built-in braces for extra knee support. These kinds of knee sleeves are designed to prevent injuries such as the dreaded meniscus tear or damage to the patella tendon.
Knee injuries are a quick way to ruin a holiday, and with the time it takes for the damage to heal, a good few months after too.
The compression material holds your knee joint nice and tight providing increased blood flow and warm muscles.
These knee conditions can help with previous knee issues many skiers suffer from overworking cold muscles. Increased blood flow and muscle warmth help with flexibility and help even with arthritis.
The open patella design of these knee braces acts as leg vents to prevent your joints from getting too warm and sweaty. The compression of the sleeve pushes up the kneecap to keep it in place.
Unlike the previous knee braces for skiing we have looked at, these feature steel, sprung stays on both side stabilizers. This is a much higher level of protection against unwanted trauma and twists to the delicate tendons and muscles located in the knee.
What Are They For?
These are much more on the heavy-duty side of the spectrum when it comes to knee braces. If you have suffered some serious knee trauma in the past it may be advisable to opt for something much more like this.
The steel sprung side stabilizers are a great addition to really prevent twists and turns in the wrong direction when skiing. The finger tabs ensure a really tight fit around the knee brace ensuring there is no slip or lack of proper support.
The issue with the size and bulkiness of these knee braces is how they will feel under your ski pants. The added weight of the steel supports and thick compression sleeve material will not go unnoticed.
They will feel warm, and despite their advertised moisture-wicking, they won’t feel as natural as a lighter option.
These will both provide high levels of support for someone looking to assist their joint after perhaps a bad ACL tear, or looking for extra support while riding the mountain hard.
These knee braces are designed for maximum protection when it comes to ski gear. The tight-fitting design, steel brace, and stability put them ahead of other braces on the market.
These are a great way to ensure you prevent injury and get the added stability you may need.
McDavid Knee Brace
The price of “McDavid Knee Brace” varies, so check the latest price at
5. Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support
This knee brace is considerably lighter weight than the previously reviewed style but this absolutely has its benefits. Unlike all the previous knee braces, this Bauerfiend knee support features a closed patella over the knee cap.
Light support is provided over a number of pressure points across the knee and up toward the thigh.
The clever design is made to work with the movement of the knee, gently massaging the tendons around the joint and dispersing unnecessary pressure away from the patella.
The mild support provided alleviates the strain of existing injuries and helps keep your leg comfortable and looked after. The compression element encourages positive blood flow and keeps muscles warm and flexible.
The Airknit design is both lightweight and great for moisture-wicking. Unlike the much more bulky options we reviewed earlier, this is barely going to be noticeable. Breathability and convenience are key with this knee brace.
What Are They For?
If you are looking for a knee brace that will provide support, warmth, comfort, and knee pain prevention then this will do very well. Although it won’t provide high levels of stability it will give you the confidence you need for a full day of riding.
If you ride a lot over a season or perhaps ride in quite tricky conditions, these will stop you from feeling the burn as much. A long day tracking through deep snow to hit a powder run a few miles long can be incredibly taxing on the knee.
With a simple compression brace like this, your knees will be thanking you at the bottom of the hill.
As I previously mentioned, confidence is key, and sometimes all it takes is a comfortable, lightweight, wrap like this to make you feel like you can push yourself just that little bit further.
This knee brace won’t provide the military protection that previous knee braces might but as a support to wear for the everyday rider, this will go a long way.
This is designed less for the rider with previous injuries or looking to prevent heavy damage and more for fatigue relief.
The protection provided by the Bauerfiend Sports support will keep your knees feeling a lot more comfortable after a long day of riding. Their strain dispersal will stop your knees from taking all the strain and relieve the stress on the delicate tendons.
Bauerfiend Sports Knee
The price of “Bauerfiend Sports Knee ” varies, so check the latest price at
6. TechWare Pro Knee Support
Here we have a knee brace that is small, breathable, and easy to take off and put back on. The lightweight design incorporates two lateral wings and an anti-slip silicone design designed to wrap around the knee providing even support where it is needed.
This knee brace features another open patella design for breathability and extra movement while skiing. This knee brace is probably the most flexible of the group we have looked at.
It features a design that can be strapped as tight or loose as you like with varying levels of support both above and below the knee.
For support for older injuries or weaker joints this simple and quick-to-strap support will provide a minimum but necessary level of protection to your knees.
If you are planning a nice leisurely day on the hill without pushing your legs too hard these braces will leave you feeling much more relaxed.
The light relief from the TechWare Pro Knee Support is the kind of everyday support you can rely on to keep your joints feeling healthy even after a long week of riding.
They are perfect to wear on your daily rides and give you the confidence you want to relax on the slopes.
What Are They For?
The all-day wearing, all-purpose, light support of these knee braces for skiing is great to prevent knee issues. They will help to prevent your knees experience pain over a day or even multiple days of riding.
These are not designed for heavy use or for support of serious previous injuries. If you have had serious knee problems before then a much more heavy-duty brace will be more appropriate.
But for someone with healthy knees who is just looking for the confidence and comfort of a compression knee brace, this is perfect.
For lightweight, breathable support these will do the trick. Don’t expect the full support of the previous models but for the cheap price and quick application of a small leg brace, you can have the confidence and comfort of all-day riding.
Quick, easy, support for knees that will feel fresh and ready for a new day of hitting the slopes after a big day out.
TechWare Pro Knee Support
The price of “TechWare Pro Knee Support ” varies, so check the latest price at
Some Things to Consider When Buying
When shopping around for the right brace for you and your personal health preferences it is important to take a few aspects into consideration.
Not all braces are created equal and not everyone’s knees are the same. Here are a few little things to think about when you start your own research.
This isn’t the most important element when it comes to your knee brace but it is one that you will notice the most. If your knee brace doesn’t feel good after a long day of riding, you’re going to notice quickly.
Comfort comes through a few elements. First is the material it is made of, you want something with wicking, that is breathable and soft against your skin. Rubbing will cause rash and discomfort and bad materials will contribute to this.
Rubbing can also be caused by a bad fit, so ensure you have the size appropriate for you and are able to strap in on really tight. Many come with adjustable straps, and they all provide different levels of support.
The levels of support you need from your knee brace are entirely dependent on both the health of your knees and what you’re expecting to be doing with your day on the mountain. Support ranged from almost military all the way to light and breezy.
Depending on the health of your knees, you may need support with all the extra protection you can find.
If you have had things like meniscus injuries in the past you will need a lot of strength in the sides of your knees, any lateral instability will cause pain and further damage.
If your knees are in good health, but you just want to keep them that way, then simple compression braces will be all you need to keep you happy and riding.
Both hinged and unhinged are available to buy. Each provides different levels of support. We have seen some with steel sprung hinges, reinforced plastics, and some without any at all.
Steel Sprung & Reinforced Plastic
These by far provide the highest levels of support against unwanted knee movement. The solid, joint design will prevent damage to the ligaments by reinforcing the whole knee.
The major issue with this is the bulkiness and discomfort that can come along with the size and weight.
These are designed to securely wrap around the joint without hinges. They provide a lot less protection against unwanted movement and aren’t really suitable after a major injury.
The compression of a brace helps with blood flow, keeps the knee brace warm, and stops you from pulling your ligaments. All of the reviewed products feature a compression element to varying degrees.
Compression is important for dispersing the pressures of riding away from perhaps more delicate elements of the knee and spreading the strain of riding across a wider area. Knee pain can be easily avoided with some well-placed compression.
Protection Against Knee Injuries
If you are looking to tear up a snowpark all day, you’ll be looking for a lot more protection than someone who is just planning on doing some casual cross-country skiing.
Knowing what you want is an important factor to consider when buying any kind of ski gear.
Heavy Duty Riding
For long days in the park or serious treks to deep untracked powder, you’ll be wanting something with a bit more protection than your usual compression wrap.
Of course, taking into consideration the effect on movement from a bulky piece of equipment is important, but so are your knees.
Light Days Out
For the easy, breezy days on the slope, a simple lightweight brace will do the job. You don’t want to be lugging around a huge, steel brace when you are only going to be doing some light turns and simple maneuvers.
Mobility is key when it comes to skiing. If you don’t have the movement you need in your knees, you simply won’t be able to perform the way you want to. It is worth taking into consideration how much mobility you want to sacrifice for the protection you need.
Of course, if you are riding after a major injury, you will want to make sure you are strapped up tight. It isn’t worth sacrificing your health for a little extra movement. You can also be too cautious, don’t go unnecessarily overboard and end up spoiling your movement.
Sporting equipment needs to be hard-wearing. It is put under constant duress and needs to keep up with how hard you ride.
Keeping your eyes out for high-quality materials and solid, reliable builds means your money will be well spent, and you can get a lot of rides out of your equipment.
Do Knee Braces Help with All Knee Problems?
If you have weak knees, it is always recommended you give them all the support you can. A knee brace can go a long way to reinforcing weak points and aiding in repair.
How Can I Keep My Knee Brace Warm Whilst Skiing?
If you struggle with cold knees, it is sometimes possible to put heat packs into your compression wrap. You can also get knee pouches to slip them into for extra warmth.
Protecting knees while skiing or snowboarding is very crucial for anyone who has joint problems or has had injuries in the past.
It should also be kept in mind that purchasing a good knee brace can be an investment, but it is totally worth it!
There are a variety of different types available in the market. The best knee brace can be used to support and protect you from the risks involved in snow sports.
We hope you’ve found the list provided above helpful in making a decision.