The McDavid Reversible Neoprene Knee Support provides thermal therapy and firm compression.
In this post we will take a closer look into the McDavid Reversible Neoprene Knee Support. I go into what’s good about them, as well as what’s bad about them to give you a clear perspective of the sleeve from every angle.
I have compiled both good and bad feedback from the users, identified what’s consistent and what’s not so you can decide if this pair knee sleeves is worth your money.
These sleeves only come in the color black. Obviously not meant for the garish crossfit scene! But in all reality, it’s not like this matters a great deal, it’s more the functionality that counts.
The sizes available are (Knee Circumference size in inches):
- Small (12-14″)
- Medium (14-15″)
- Large (15-17″)
- X-Large (17-20″)
- and XX- Large (20-22″)
Remember to always go one size smaller than your actual measurements.
Read our full guide on Knee Sleeve sizing here.
5mm Neoprene Warmth
The knee sleeves are warm and retain a lot of heat. This is normal and is pretty much exactly what knee sleeves are meant to do. Your knees will begin to feel sweaty and smell may build up after a couple of uses. So make sure you wash your knee sleeves regularly (once a week) to avoid discomfort and a smelly gym bag!
- It’s easy to wear and remove, unlike a lot of other support knee braces.
- Non irritant and can be worn for prolonged periods. You can wear it for prolonged periods without worrying about rashes or redness.
- Has an exclusive five needle stitch which makes the seam stronger and more flat for a better fit. Unlike some knee sleeves that I encountered the way MCDavid’s stitching feels durable and doesn’t seem like it’s going to break open.
- Contoured and Ambidextrous fit. Meaning you can wear it on either leg.
- Provides additional support and relief from arthritis, bursitis and tendonitis.
- 100% Neoprene material providing thermal and compression therapy.
Amazon ranks it #12 under Knee Braces, which is a pretty big deal in the grand scheme of things. This really surprised me since before reviewing this sleeve, I had not heard much about them at all. Might just be that I am a Crossfitter and this sleeve is not really marketed to them.
At $11.00 – $32.00 for one sleeve, it is a fairly average price. Comparing this price to other sleeves like the Zensah support sleeve, this is a little bit cheaper and do pretty much the exact same job.
Remember this is one sleeve per package! So if you want two of them, you need to order two.
Benefits And Disadvantages
General Compression and Support
It is important to take note that the McDavid knee sleeves are good for general knee compression, running and recovery and is not intended for heavy lifting. What I have found is that it feels great to wear, stays up pretty well and gives a nice rebound.
Fairly Priced Entry Level Knee Sleeves
One of the things that caught my attention is that it’s a fairly priced entry level knee sleeve that’s good enough to get positive reviews but affordable enough to not break the bank.
Comparison to Rehbands
Both positive and negative comments have it being compared to the Rehband brand of knee sleeves. It is “good enough” to be a cheaper alternative to the Rehband but in my personal opinion it is definitely inferior to the Rehband. Having said that, this sleeve is superior to most of the cheaper knee sleeves.
The Not so Positives
One thing to note is that the sleeve stretches out quickly. After 30 minutes to 2 hours of use, you can expect to find an obvious stretching of the sleeve.
From what I have found, these sleeves are going to last you at least a good six months. It all depends on how much you use them and whether or not you train in them. I’d say if you only use them once or twice per week they will last more like a year and a half.
It is unfortunate that there is an uncomfortable seam that crosses the back of the knee. When you squat down, it tends to bunch up and kind of pinch the back of your knee. It doesn’t happen all of the time, and apparently McDavid have made improvements on this just recently.
Must Read: Complete Rehband 7051 knee sleeve review
Is This Product For you?
Since this sleeve is so versatile, you are able to use it in a lot of different sports. Here is a list of instances or sports where you can find a use for this sleeve:
- Crossfit (air squats, deadlifts and box jumps)
- If you’re recovering from torn ACL or arthritic knee.
- Bike riding (to keep your legs warm on long cold bike rides)
- Light weight lift (for light to moderate knee support, nothing too heavy)
- Runners on short runs. (1-2 hours max)
- Tennis and Racquetball players.
Pros and Cons
- Fair price entry level knee support. It’s not as expensive as more well known brands, but works way better than other cheaper brands.
- Comparable to the more expensive Rehband at one third the price.
- General knee compression and support.
- Feels great and fits well.
- Keeps knees warm retains a lot of heat.
- Stays up pretty well
- Gives a nice rebound
- Easy to wash just throw it in the washer.
- McDavid as a company have okay customer service.
- Stretches out quickly after 30 minutes (some claim good for 2-3 hours)
- Lasts 6 months to a year at three times a week usage before replacement (1.5 year if used less)
- Some find it uncomfortable due to stitching from the rear seam rubbing against the back of knee
- Some find it constraining after 2 hours
- Not intended for heavy weight lifting.
- Needs to be washed regularly since smell tends to build up because the neoprene is warm, you will sweat a lot.
Read Also: 5 Best Ways to Wash your Knee Sleeves
The general consensus regarding the Level 1 McDavids, sway more towards the positive. 375 people have given a review on Amazon (at the time of writing) giving them an average score of 4.4 out of 5. Not to be sniffed at!
I have scored these sleeves a 4.2 out of 5, which is less than the 4.2 I scored it at. Here are a couple of reviews Taken from the Amazon product page:
The Good (5 Stars)
I bought these McDavid 401R knee sleeves to aid my squat training, although I mainly only use with heavy sets or C&J and snatch days.
What stands out is the high quality and durable design with a comfortable “seamless” behind the knee area, reinforced stitching, thick neoprene, and various sizing.
They compare to popular weightlifting knee sleeves made by Rehband which are much more expensive (you can buy 3 pairs of these for a single Rehband knee sleeve).
So far, these have held up great with many uses and many machine washes as well.
The Bad (2 stars)
I have the blue Rehbands and Anderson SBDs for squat days and wanted a knee support to keep my old man knees warm in the gym on non-leg days and for light cardio. However, I wore the McDavid knee support for a light cardio day on the stairmasters and it just didn’t work for me. I had this feeling that my knees were being compressed in a misaligned way. Once I had that feeling, I should have taken them off immediately but I kept them on, which was a mistake because my knees were experiencing a slight pain as a result for the next several days.
The McDavid knee supports are not as tight as my Rehbands and SBDs so the problem was not that the McDavids were too tight. I do not want them super tight like the Rehbands and SBDs. I don’t dare to try the McDavids again since it caused a slight pain in my knees for several days. I have the McDavid neoprene elbow sleeves which I love and wear on every upper body weightlifting session and that is why I decided to go with McDavid’s knee supports since I have a positive experience with its elbow sleeves. Too bad the McDavid knee supports just did not work for me individually. I’m sure they work great for others.
I could only find one video that reviewed these sleeves, which you can check out below. He rambles on a little bit, but at least you can see the sleeves out of the box.
Most positive and negative reviews are influenced by how well the sleeves fit. It’s a good idea to take measurements and be extra careful about the size you’re getting. The general rule is one size down of your measurements.
If you intend to use it for Crossfit, this would help with box jumps, running, squats, general bodyweight and light weight exercises. If you’re at a point where your goal is lifting heavy and you’re trying to consistently beat your PR on your barbell work then I would suggest paying extra for the higher tier knee support sleeves.
At this point if you’re considering spending money for a Knee Sleeve it’s your experience that’s more valuable and not the opinion of others. I recommend taking a few minutes to read this size guide before picking a size to buy.