The best knee brace I have found for my particular…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $36.99
The best knee brace I have found for my particular aches and injuries. It feels good worn all day, doesn’t get too hot, and provides ample support for hiking and backpacking, as well as therapeutic fabric to aid blood flow and healing. My only real negative is it takes a while to dry, likely due to some minor cotton content.
- Excellent support
- Therapeutic fabric
- Very comfortable
- Not overly hot
- Accelerates healing
- Takes a while to dry
- May not fit everyone
- "I" logo makes it look like it has an app
Waiver – since this is a medical device, albeit over the counter, I would like to clearly state that you should consult with a doctor regarding any injuries, the use of braces, etc prior to purchasing and using one.
So here’s the story behind this purchase…due to bad timing but a good deal, we moved into a new home a little over two weeks before my two-week walk across Scotland. And sure enough, I hurt my bad knee carrying boxes up stairs. The last two weekends were spent lying on the couch wondering if I should use my insurance and cancel the trip I had been planning for years. A stop by my locally owned pharmacy, and the advice of the excellent owner, resulted in me trying an Incrediwear Knee Brace. It immediately made a difference and helped me decide to go ahead with the trip.
190 miles later at the end of a trip of a lifetime, I have the Incrediwear Knee Brace to thank as much as anything.
The Incrediwear Knee Brace is made from a blend of polyester (49%), nylon (25%), cotton (21%), and spandex (5%). The company’s information states that the fabric is embedded with semiconductor elements to provide comfort and durability. Specifically carbon-infused polyester and germanium-infused nylon. I am not sure what that means but am willing to take it at face value if it works. I would prefer to have less cotton in the weave, as I think that causes it to stay damp for a little longer after rinsing it out on my longer trips.
Quality seems high—after using this brace for trips over the summer, including constant wear for two weeks across Scotland, there is no evidence of wear and tear and it supports as well as day one.
Comfort & Mobility
Based on good advice from my local pharmacist, I went with the large as my thigh measurement (2-inches above the knee) fell right between their large and extra-large specs.
While it looks a little tight, it felt fine from the start and didn’t restrict my mobility, cut off circulation, or feel uncomfortable. Like any brace, it was a slight relief to take it off at the end of the day.
To maximize comfort and support, you need to make sure the "target"
lines up right over the knee.
Side note—several times I have looked down at the "I" logo and thought that they should develop an app for this. I mean it's already infused with semiconductor elements so a microchip to monitor my knee can't be that much of a stretch can it?
I haven’t worn the brace in temperatures over 80 degrees (F) yet, but have found the brace to be very breathable and wicks moisture away from my skin so it doesn’t stay clammy. The manufacturer claims the “3D weave design” provides “effortless comfort 24/7”. Well, I am not sure what a 3D weave is, but I can say that this is a comfortable brace for my size and shape of leg.
I wore it all day long and most days didn’t even take it off at rest stops or lunch. If it was above 70 I tended to slide it down to my calf at lunch just for a change. Airing it out once a day at night was all that was needed to keep odor manageable and a weekly washing helped (although it did take a few hours to dry).
Support & Health
In order to address the effectiveness of a knee brace, I think it would help to have a quick summary of the knee it's supposed to work on...
After 20 years of soccer (and several seasons on crutches) and a car wreck that drove the ignition and key under my kneecap (despite wearing a seat belt), my knobby right knee is constantly being tweaked or aching. Not bad enough to warrant going under a knife, but enough that it has inspired multiple braces. Uphills ache a bit, but downhills absolutely kill me until I discovered the magic of trekking poles instead of a hiking stick.
Incrediwear claims that their brace design “increases blood flow”, “accelerates recovery”, “relieves pain”, and “optimizes natural healing processes”. They even provide some rather scientific looking scans on the blood flow.
I don’t know if “semiconductor elements” are assisting in this, but I do know that this brace immediately made my knee feel better and gave me the confidence that it was worth trying to go on my relatively long walk.
The two stays on either side provide great support and my knee pain went away relatively quickly considering I was backpacking around 15 miles a day across the Highlands. I am guessing the stays are carbon fiber as they feel like that and didn’t set off the airport metal detectors, but they may be a flexible plastic. The company website doesn't clarify this. Wearing the brace for a week before my trip allowed for some healing to take place without going to complete immobility, which was not practical with my job.
The stays provide excellent flexibility and prevent (I think) bunching and pinching by keeping the top and bottom of the brace from shifting. They also seemed to add to lateral stability obviously. I was able to scramble and climb through heather and over fences without worries.
While wearing the brace, I never had a moment (that I can recall) where I tweaked my knee—a common problem for me usually. In fact, I strained the other one a bit on some off trail scrambles, and switched the brace to that side for an afternoon. By next morning it felt good and the brace went back on the right knee.
It did potentially cause my gait to change slightly so a blister formed on the opposite foot in the wet and warm first few days of crossing Scotland. Once I was paying attention to it, I think I switched back to my normal gait, but either way this was a temporary issue.
This knee brace saved my trip—enough said. But if you want more, the Incrediwear Knee Brace is a good balance of support, comfort, and healing with few negatives. I highly recommend giving this brace a shot if your knees are shot! If it fits your particular issues and leg, then there probably isn’t a better off-the-shelf brace around (and I have tried a lot).