The Tommie Copper knee sleeves are the first copper-infused and intended for recovery. I’ll be presenting my experience along with feedback that I have gathered from reviews and videos by other users. Together, we will inspect both the good and the bad so you can decide for yourself if these knee sleeves are worth your money.
The price of the Tommie Copper knee sleeve ranges from $15 to $40 depending on where you decide to buy from and whether it is on sale or not. Please note that this for one sleeve only and does not come in a pair. Which puts them at around the medium range price point for most sleeves
There are a lot of different versions of this same sleeve all claiming different quantities of material. The one I am reviewing today is:
- 57% copper nylon
- 29% nylon
- 14% spandex
They are so confident in the benefits and material, they have a 100%, 60 day money back guarantee.
The thin Tommie Copper knee sleeve are piped with a silicone band on both ends to ensure that the sleeve clings to the leg naturally. The fit measures longer than the usual knee sleeves and covers more than the knee cap.
It’s so thin, you can wear it under your pants without it bulging or restricting movement. It feels more like a tight stocking than some of the more thicker knee sleeves.
The sizes range from Small to 6XL, with approximately 2-inch range for each size. On the amazon listing page, you only get to choose up to as high as 2XL, so if you need a larger size, you will have to pay more for them over on their actual website. You should get the size that you measure and not downsize to a smaller sleeve like you usually would with thicker lifting sleeves.
It is also worth noting that the sleeve may stretch a little bit after extended use, so if it feels super tight when you first get it, that is normal, you just simply have to wear it in.
Also Read: How to Measure Your Knee for Knee Sleeves
They come in five color variants:
- Cobalt blue
- Slate grey
Giving you plenty to choose from. See the Gallery below for how they actually look on the leg (Click to enlarge).
Tommie Copper was the first brand to come up with the idea to put copper nylon into a knee sleeve to help speed up recovery. Since then, lot’s of other brands have popped up with the same idea with differing levels of success. These brands include (you can click on them for more information about each one):
- Copper Compression – Only sold on Amazon and appears to be a really good alternative to the Tommie Copper brand. In fact I very nearly reviewed this sleeve instead!
- Copper Fit
- Copper Joint
- Copper Wear
Each of these brands have different amounts of copper in them, some are thinner and some are thicker. Be very wary of some of these imitations though, some of them have been reported to not even have any copper in the sleeve, logo fading quickly or already fallen off when they arrive and even been delivered in different sizes (See images below)!
NOTE: It is possible that this user ordered two different types of sleeve. Tommie Copper offers many different types of sleeves, one of which is called the Refresh sleeve and is a little bit longer than the one I am reviewing here.
Complaints about staying in place and durability
There’s a significant amount of complains about the sleeves, rolling off, not staying in place, sliding down, riding up, loosening up after a few hours despite getting a perfect fit or sizing down. You can’t use these for lifting or metcons because there’s very little to no support or compression, even if you size down. In fact, sizing down to achieve support will result in uncomfortable or painful experience. There are also durability complains and is said to break within two weeks to two months of heavy use.
You can use the Mc David Knee Sleeves instead.
Intended for Recovery
What’s interesting about these copper knee sleeves is that there’s a large number of negative and positive feedback. After going through each one carefully, it became clear to me that these sleeves are intended for recovery instead of supporting athletes through their workouts and physical activities.
I noticed that the many of the people who gave positive reviews were recovering from an injury or operation and had difficulty moving. The knee sleeves are intended to improve circulation and recovery, so it only makes sense that you’re not supposed to move that much in them.
It’s not extremely tight so it allows the wearer to keep it on longer because you’re supposed to be resting and avoiding all forms of strenuous activity. If it slips off, you need to remember that you’re supposed to use it at home and not run in them.
Just so we’re clear, don’t use them for CrossFit, lifting or workouts. The sleeves are good for bed rest and minimal activity only.
A related review: The Runners Knee Sleeve – Zensah Review
A common comment for copper knee sleeves (not just these ones) is that users (myself included) can’t really tell if they benefit from the recovery. Wearing it feels warm but not too warm. Some people say there is no pain relief and some claim relief after a few hours.
In my experience it did relieve the post workout muscle soreness around my knees after a few hours but so does cradling my swollen limbs. The light compression gives a similar feeling. Copper has antibacterial and anti-odour components and it gets associated to faster healing and supposedly improved athletic performance.
The claim sounds like a stretch as correlation does not equal causation. Please read this guide on how to spot bad science. The compression helping the blood flow makes sense but the copper affecting healing and athletic performance has no scientific proof.
In the journal PLOS ONE, a study was conducted on people with rheumatoid arthritis who were made to wear a copper wrist wrap. No improvements were recorded. Orly Avitzur, M.D., medical director of Consumer Reports commented, “It’s extremely unlikely that these fabrics would provide any therapeutic benefit beyond compression for arthritis or pain.”
The jury is still out on this one…
The antimicrobial claim holds true because the sleeves doesn’t emit any post-workout stench and smells good after delicate washing. The usual knee sleeves are made of neoprene and .neoprene is notorious for rapidly absorbing moisture and odour and smells funky after being left inside the gym bag.
The following reviews are taken directly from the Amazon Product listing page.
Verified Purchase 5.0 out of 5 stars – Great Buy By: geina creviston on March 31, 2014 Size: Large
Okay, first this item is pricey, to me. But my husband keeps saying if it works it is well worth it. It does work. I triped over a huge dog chewy bone and tore up my knee big time. I had surgery to repair it and did all the right post op stuff. I wore the braces, knee supports, exercises, got the exspensive injections, took the pain pills, etc. Still, I had this nagging aching and sometimes with certain moves a lot of pain. I saw this on t.v. and thought yeah sure yet another miracle item. But I went on the web site and read ALL the reviews. WOW! I was blown away. Still I waited a few more weeks Then I moved the wrong way and the knee paid me back. I ordered the knee sleeve that day. It came fairly quickly. I put it on immediately and wore it all evening. I actually forgot I had it on. It is very light weight and the nude color works for me. It is so thin that it is easy to wear even under my skinny jeans! It is not a miracle, of course, but it does work great for me. It stays in place, no slippage, unlike my other ones that cost a lot more. I do not have a clue why it works so well but it does!
Verified Purchase 1.0 out of 5 stars – Tommy Copper – It’s all in a catchy name, period By: Bear on July 21, 2014 Size: Large
Not anymore effective than a wrap for a sprain. Might ward off the cold in our Maine winters, but other than that, way too much money for the item, even on Amazon. Just another “gadget” with a catchy name from the boys down on Madison Ave.
Fakespot is a web app that analyzes Amazon Product reviews and and identifies fraudulent reviewers and shady reviews. According to the Fakespot analysis of Amazon Reviews:
You can trust the reviews of this product. Grade: A (over 90% high quality reviews)
This is about the best result a listing on Amazon can get.
This is the only video I could find that gave the sleeves a completely unbiased review. The video is made by Sugar Rush who made a comments about:
- how the sleeves are well made,
- opinion on the benefit claims,
- high price point and little support.
Then of course there is the infomercial many of you have most likely already seen. Please be aware that they have a vested interest in selling you this sleeve and will only highlight the positive and glowing results.
Conclusion: Not Intended for Workouts
These sleeves are intended for recovery and are not recommended for lifting, CrossFit, or any other workouts because there is little to no support. If you’re just staying at home or in bed, recovering from injury or surgery you can use these knee sleeves for recovery. You can wear them for a long time and the copper makes sure it doesn’t smell funky.
Most of the complaints come from using the Tommie Copper knee sleeves for working out so if that’s your main goal and you intend to spend $29 get yourself McDavid Knee sleeves instead for light workouts and MetCon’s. The Zensah knee sleeves would also be a good alternative if you are looking for a good sleeve to run in.