Best Basketball Knee Pads

Top Knee Protector Pads for Basketball

When you take a closer look at lower bodies of professional athletes in the NBA, you’ll realize that not a single player takes part in the game without adding protective gear to the legs.

Pads, sleeves, and braces have become critical accessories, especially for a player who is participating in a world-class league with over eighty forty-eight minute long games in less than six months. That much time in the court must be tough.

Fortunately, protective basketball gear is made available to not only professional players but also any other athlete who is determined to finish a game or practice session without suffering an injury.

For different rationale, athletes choose to wear protecting gear during the game, particularly around the knee areas.

First, a lot of pressure is weighed down on the knees, the entire game. The burden results in a painful experience that only the knee pads can help relieve.

Basketball games sometimes get rough. If you lose your balance and fall on the floor, you will likely suffer a bruise. Protecting gear around the knees will provide a safe landing.

Besides, you must provide extra support to the knees when recovering from an injury to prevent further damage and give you the balance you need for optimum performance.

We compiled this list to provide detailed coverage of the best protective knee pads, sleeves, and braces for you, not only in terms of quality and durability but also affordability, depending on your most comfortable budget plan.

Nike Pro Combat - TOP PICK5 out of 5 stars
Shock Doctor4.8 out of 5 stars
McDavid 64404.7 out of 5 stars
McDavid 64464.6 out of 5 stars
McDavid 429X4.5 out of 5 stars

1. Nike Pro Combat

Any athlete who has tried out a Nike sports gear will tell you how durable and high-quality the product is.

Nike is a reputable brand, as it’s established quite a statement. The Combat knee sleeves from the brand are designed to keep knee muscles warm, by compressing them firmly to get you up and running in anticipation of the game.

Besides, these sleeves are designed to minimize the discomfort that usually stems from ingrained pain and unbearable stress that’s weighed on the knee areas during the game.

In terms of design, the sleeves have a pretty cool design.

Ariaprene is the primary material used to make this knee sleeve. It is made of mesh structures that make it breathable and comfortable.

If you intend to purchase these sleeves and are unable to test the designs before the acquisition, consider picking a smaller size. The Nike Pro Combat sleeves are often large; smaller models will hold up correctly.


  • These sleeves provide relief from pain. Besides, they offer great support.
  • Meshes have perforations for ventilation and comfort.
  • Ariaprene is a quality material that gives the sleeve more durability.


  • Larger sizes are uncomfortable and barely supportive. They tend to fall off easily.

2. Shock Doctor

If there is a brand that’s widely known for the production of high-quality sports gear, it’s Shock Doctor. The brand offers not only a varied collection of affordable pads, braces, and sleeves but also a wide range of primary and highly advanced gear.

The Shock Doctor 865 is designed from Neoprene, a durable, high-density material.

Comfort is guaranteed with the small patella that provides an opening for ventilation and adjustability to fit different knee sizes. Besides, space gives the knee more room for movement.

Shock Doctor is the perfect protecting equipment for players who experience mild pain from tendinitis or arthritis.


  • Shock Doctor provides support to athletes suffering from moderate and light pain around the knee muscles.
  • The sleeves hardly restrict mobility. They are designed with small openings that provide ventilation and free room for movement.
  • Comfort is guaranteed. Shock Doctor protective sleeves fit perfectly.


  • These sleeves hardly provide pain reprieve for athletes experiencing severe ache on the knees.


3. McDavid 6440

The McDavid 6440 HEX knee pads are designed to offer more support to the knee area by compressing the joints. Aside from fulfilling its sleeve duties, the McDavid sports gear has enough padding to protect the wearer from bruises.

This sleeve that works alternatively as a knee pad is lightweight, making mobility around the court easier. It also provides better support and protection from collisions that often leave players badly bruised.

Despite the thin layering, McDavid HEX pads are designed with ample cushioning to provide a comfortable landing surface in the event of a fall.


  • The McDavid 6440 is usually shipped in doubles, thus a great acquisition at a reasonable price.
  • Adequate cushioning is done on the pads to provide better protection for aggressive players who are more prone to injury.
  • The strong compressing ability of the sleeve gives players more support and consequently improved balance throughout the game.
  • Pads are delivered in pairs. The item comes at an affordable price hence a worthwhile investment.


  • Some players find the sleeve materials barely durable.

4. McDavid 6446

McDavid is taking the entire gear market by storm. Unlike 6440, which has shorter sleeves, the McDavid 6446 is more elastic and longer.

Pads are structured around the knee area, whereas the sleeves run longer in both lower and upper parts of the knees.

The long sleeve comes with two upsides. First, the extra covering provides firmer compression that guarantees support, especially considering the immense stress weighed on knee areas during the game.

Besides, these designs fit because they have better coverage around the knees compared to other sleeves and pads, which tend to slip more.

In terms of functionality, the 6440 and 6446 work indifferently. Padding provides more cushioning to protect the knees from bruising, particularly for fearless players with ambition to drive into defenses.


  • The McDavid 6446 knee pads are affordable, thus the best selections for a player with a fixed budget.
  • This knee pad is longer. It provides not only better protection but also firmer compression that warrants stability.
  • These pads fit accurately. They hardly slip when worn.
  • Pads on the knee areas are thickly cushioned to prevent bruises during collisions.


  • The sleeve tears after some time, probably owing to the poor choice of material.

5. McDavid 429X

The 429X Hinged braces from McDavid is a different kind of protecting gear in terms of structure and functionality.

Unlike sleeves and pads that are made from thinner and softer fabric, braces are much firmer, thicker, tighter, and more reliable to give players increased stability.

These designs are often recommended for athletes recovering from a critical knee injuries.

Hinges of steel are firmly attached on either side of the brace to prevent the knee from excessively moving sideways.

Besides, the hinges prevent further damage to pre-existing injuries on muscles surrounding the knee. The stopper on the straps will also avoid hyper-extension of the knees during recovery.

It’s pretty easy to put on this brace. The process takes less than two minutes. Start by slipping the pair past the ankle, then pull the gear until it’s closed halfway on either side of the knee.

Muscle straps will provide better hold on the knee area, just flex them tightly on the upper and lower part, and you are good to get into the game.


  • McDavid braces are more durable. They are made of more robust and thicker materials to provide better protection from injury.
  • The firm structure of these braces warrants better protection from lateral knee movements that often cause re-injuries.


  • These braces are expensive.
  • They are bulky and too firm hence hinder mobility for fast-paced players.

How to pick reliable knee pads, braces, and sleeves

Choosing the best gear will offer you better protection during the game.

Outdoor and indoor basketball courts have different surfaces that can cause severe damage to your knees or elbows in the event of a collision or fall. Therefore, ensure you are well geared up in every game.

There are so many gear options and protecting equipment for the knee. However, finding the right designs is a time-consuming process that is more confusing and, in most circumstances, less rewarding.

We came up with this comprehensive guide that highlights the features of different types of gear and how to pick designs that match your style, needs, protection, and requirements for better gameplay.


Sleeves are designed from sturdy materials that provide not only a tight grip around the knee but also extra compression to support the knees.

A knee sleeve has the following advantages:

  1. The flow of blood around the leg is increased. The increased rate aids recuperation after workouts or games.
  2. A lot of stress weighs down the knees. Sleeves significantly reduce the pain that results from pressure.
  3. The right sleeves improve Proprioception. The brain gains active and better cognizance of the knees and joints and their functionality.

If you frequently experience persistent pain around the knees, you should consider acquiring knee sleeves.

Besides, sleeves are recommended for players who need to prevent further injury or harm to the knee. However, sleeves barely provide support and protection for athletes recuperating from critical injuries such as ACL tears.


Braces provide better protection to the knee compared to basic sleeve designs. The construction of a sleeve puts a lot of emphasis on the need for compression.

With braces, however, stability is not achieved directly from compression but the firmness that improves the knees’ stability. Besides, braces create additional support for the patella and front kneecap.

Hinges are usually attached to the outer part of the brace to prevent hyperextension of the knee that’s painfully dangerous.

Braces are recommended for players who are recovering from injuries. Also, they work better at preventing re-injury.

Before purchasing a brace for your recovering knee, consult a doctor who will recommend the right knee brace depending on the nature of your injury.


Pads have different functionality from braces and sleeves. A knee pad is designed to minimize the resulting impact whenever a player is in rough contact with the opponent or in direct collision with the court surface.

Many players have acquired knee pads in recent seasons, owing to the rising need to attack aggressively and with confidence.

Aside from softening the impact on hard ground, knee pads prevent the occurrence of painful burns when sliding on the floor.

These are the coolest acquisitions you should get. They not only warrant increased protection during the game but also inspire confidence that’s required of an entertaining game.


You must find the perfect gear size regardless of whether you need a brace, sleeve, or pad.

If the design you like doesn’t fit you in the right way, then it will barely provide the safety you’ll need for a game or practice.

Luckily, manufacturers provide size charts that show purchasers how to determine the most befitting designs.

Proper sizing goes hand in hand with comfort. A smaller pad or sleeve will be extremely tight and a great hindrance to mobility.

Likewise, larger designs slip more often, thus hamper movement around the court.


Knee pads, braces and sleeves help protect equipment. When going for a game, make sure you have one of these.

Protection from impact is guaranteed with the right gear. Durable pads last for long. However, designs made of cheaper or inferior quality material either get torn easily or wear out after a few brushes on the floor.

There are different gear options you can pick in markets today. Nonetheless, making your choice of gear should be based not only on your playing condition but also on your requirements for improved performance.

The Shock Doctor 865 Knee Sleeve is the best pick for a player who understands the relevance of quality in performance. The manufacturing company, the Shock Doctor, is renowned for the distribution of quality sports gear all over the world.

Neoprene is a premium material used to design the sleeve. It’s sturdy and built to endure prolonged use.

It is a unique knee sleeve owing to the patella opening that warrants comfort as well as free room for knee movement.

Besides, if you frequently experience mild pain around the knee, then Shock Doctor is the right sleeve to help ease the pain during or after the game.

I wouldn’t want you to miss this affordable and durable acquisition, so hurry and grab yourself the Shock Doctor and experience a drastic improvement in not only support but also performance.

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