I have tested a number of knee sleeves now, but this is the first time I have ever tested an upgraded version of a pair of sleeves I already own. I personally bought some Rocktape knee sleeves about two years ago. So I am lucky enough to get the unique perspective of seeing the difference between them. Needless to say, we are going to dig in deep and uncover everything you need to know about these sleeves before you commit to buy.
Before I go any further, quick disclaimer that Rocktape sent me both of these knee sleeves for free in exchange for a review to be posted on the site. This has in no way affected my opinion of these sleeves. You will still receive the raw truth about how good (or not) the actually are.
Old Rocktape Knee Sleeves VS the New Rocktape Assassins
I reviewed the old rocktape knee sleeves last year after having worn them for almost 2 years. This gives me a really nice vantage point, being able to compare them both side by side.
Check out these comparison images of them side by side (click to enlarge):
When I first looked at the Assassins, the first difference I saw was the incredibly cool skeleton print. I actually requested this specifically just because of how cool it looked. Aside from this, some of the other main differences I found were:
- The new sleeves are slightly longer than the older version, which will help with additional VMO support.
- The distribution of the material is also quite different. The front panel of the old sleeves are quite smooth in comparison to the new ones.
- The shape of the sleeve is also slightly different. The bottom of the new sleeves are now a lot more even, and the tops slightly longer.
- The material is also a LOT nicer and smoother somehow. This makes it way easier to slide the sleeve up and down your leg if you made a mistake putting them on.
Read also: How to Correctly Put On Tight Knee Sleeves
The Rocktape Assassin Knee sleeves are built with double-mauser stitching, making the overall durability pretty much the best in the market at the moment. They back this up by being one of the only brands that offer a 12 month warranty on all sleeves. This is very rare because this also includes people who use their sleeves!
The main material of the sleeve is made of SBR Neoprene. The side panels are made from 4 way stretch lycra.You can really tell that they have put a lot of thought into selecting the materials used for this sleeve. The sleeves doesn’t feel like it’s just slapped together like how some cheaper brands have been known to do.
Support and Design
Like most knee sleeves, they provide a lot of support through the knee, but these ones are designed for slightly more VMO support. The vastus medialis oblique is basically the lower inside part of your quads, just above the knee. This is mainly due to their higher design and longer length of the sleeve. Most sleeves in the market are quite a bit shorter, like the slingshot sleeves by Mark Bell.
I think a lot of people skip over the graphics that Rocktape have gone to the trouble of creating. They have always been fantastic at this and I personally love the designs. From the wording on the manifesto design, to the bad ass looking skulls, they are totally on point with this. I personally think that they are way better than any other brand out there, without a doubt.
The front panel of this sleeve has a surprising amount of flexibility, especially when it has a tough look and feel to it.
Picking the Right Size
The sizing is pretty much the exact same as the old rocktape knee sleeves and very similar to a lot of other popular knee sleeve brands. The sizes they come in are:
- Extra Small: 24cm – 28cm
- Small: 29cm – 32cm
- Medium: 33cm – 36cm
- Large: 37cm – 40cm
- Extra Large: 41cm – 46cm
The measurement indicated above is the circumference of the center of your knee, right around the top of the patella (knee cap). If you are unsure, about which size to get, it is always better to go too small than too big. The exact measurement of my knee around the patella is 37cm, however, the medium fits me absolutely perfectly.
Find out more: How to measure your knee for knee sleeves
How much do they cost?
As of today (September 2017), you can pick up a pair of these sleeves for only $50.00 USD. This is a lot cheaper than many top notch knee sleeve brands out there on the market. It is not uncommon of to pay this amount for only one sleeve with very similar performance which makes this a fantastic deal. They are sold as a pair as well, so you do not need to buy two.
The price does vary quite a bit if you buy on Amazon and depending on what size you choose, so make sure you shop around and pick the one with the best price.
Putting them to the test
I have had these sleeves for about three months now and have put them through the ringer. I have done about five heavy squatting sessions in the 7mm sleeves and about 3 Metcons in the 5mms. So far, I am very impressed with them.
I have only needed to wash them two to three times so far because despite being drenched in sweat after every workout they still smell like new, seriously! I was very impressed with this because my old sleeves smell really bad after just one to two sessions, these are lasting three to four sessions before they start to need a wash. I do however, make sure to air them out before putting them back in my gym bag. I am aware it could also be that my other sleeves are older, and have inbuilt grime that is more difficult to remove.
Which should you choose – 7mms or 5mms?
This all depends on what you would like to use these sleeves for. In short, the easy answer is, 7mms for lifting and 5mms for metcons.
The 7mm sleeves are designed for heavy loads. So you would use these for things like front squats, back squats, deadlifts, cleans and other olympic lifting movements where your intention is to exceed your current 1 rep max. If you are wearing your lifters (shoes), then you would wear these knee sleeves then as well.
The 5mm sleeves are for your metcon type workouts. They can be used for short runs, rowing, box jumps, lunges, light lifting and heaps more. The 5mms are a lot more versatile, being able to be used in all kinds of other sports, like basketball, soccer and rugby. They do a great job of supporting your knee for any kind of repetitive movements.
I personally like having the option of both. It is always nice to have both in the tool kit to give you that slight edge, especially in competitions where performance is the priority.
Neither of these sleeves should be worn for longer than an hour at a time. no matter what you do in them, you will sweat a lot under these sleeves. This is normal and part of the function of wearing knee sleeves.
I have used a fair amount of different knee sleeves before, and these are among the top that I have used, right up there as one of the most comfortable I have owned. However, I was a bit disappointed to find there was still quite a bit of bunching at the back of the knee when you are deep in a squat.
I have above average mobility with my knees and hips and I can literally sit on my heels without any pain or discomfort, so if you don’t intend on getting so deep, the bunching won’t be an much of an issue for you. Having said that, it is only a small factor, and almost all sleeves in the market are the same except the REALLY good ones.
The Rocktape Assassin Knee Sleeves do have a pleasant, snug fit and are also nice and easy to get on and off.
The reviews found on Amazon are a great way to get unbiased feedback as well as social proof about the product and it’s quality. Interestingly, the average score for all customer reviews is 4.5 out of 5, which is the same as the score I independently gave the Rocktape Assassin Knee Sleeves.
The good reviews:
5 out of 5 stars – Game changer!
By: JBry23 on July 30, 2017
Color: Assassins – Manifesto | Size: 7mm Large | Verified Purchase
These knee sleeves have been a game changer for me! I don’t normally have problems with my knees, but when we do many lunges with heavy weights, I feel it! I measured my knees and actually ordered a size down from where I measured as I was close to the highest and lowest number. They are definitely snug, but don’t have to be adjusted within my workouts and have provided so much support so far with a few wears. Coming out of a squat even feels like a little boost, they are great!
The not so good reviews:
I actually found it hard to find any that were specifically about the new assassin sleeves, most of the useful low star reviews were about the old rocktape knee caps. These only came out this year, so make sure you get the right ones!
This first one is the promotional video Rocktape used in their launch of these sleeves
This next video comes from Barbend.com CEO and founder Mike Dewar. He has been pretty thorough with his own review, which you can check out here.
So What’s the Verdict?
If you are looking for a durable, reliable and versatile pair of knee sleeves, all at a very reasonable price, you really can’t go past these Rocktape Assassins. These sleeves are fantastic and considerably better than the older Rocktape sleeves I used in the past. I have to say they suit me and my style perfectly and would be happy to recommend them to any beginner or intermediate level athlete.
Matts PRs can be found on the about page http://www.rxdsleeves.com/about/
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