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How to choose the best knee brace?

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My old battered EVS Web braces have done a fair job of protecting my dicky knees, I did a pile of research before upgrading and hope this might help others if you are upgrading or getting knee braces for the first time. Keen to hear what others think and I can add relevant tips into this post. Video series about knee injuries and protection here

IS IT REALLY A KNEE BRACE?
First, make sure your knee brace is really a knee brace and watch out for manufacturers trying to sell their basic knee guards as knee braces. EVS are the most blatant example of this at the moment. Most manufacturers won't do this, but beware of retailers slipping knee brace into the text of ads to try and deceive you. 

THE FIT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
Similar to helmets, how well your knee braces fit is usually more important than the actual brand. Look around the forums and you will find guys saying Pod knee braces are shit but Leatt are brilliant. Then someone else will say Pods are fantastic and shit all over Leatt braces. This is usually because they never bothered making sure they fitted properly and just bought online, then found they were very uncomfortable and/or didn't protect them properly.

Any decent knee brace will prevent hyerextension of the leg extremely well, even if the fit isn't very good. BUT knee braces have a limited effectiveness with reducing twisting motions, and impacts through the lower leg that can damage the meniscus. And to be effective at all, a knee brace must have a good snug fit of your leg and knee to give you some protection at all. A poor fitting knee brace will only do half the job of protecting you. See the video above for how to check the braces fit correctly. 

HOW MUCH TO SPEND?
The cheapest knee protection that is actually a knee brace seems to be the Mobius X8. Anything less is just a glorified knee guard. I reckon it is just an entry level brace and if you can afford it try to get into the mid-level braces and as mentioned focus more on the fit than the advertising hype they will throw at you. If you are Bill Gates, have freak legs or seriously shitty knees then look at the custom jobbies. 

MORTGAGE YOUR SOUL FOR CUSTOM KNEE BRACES?
Custom knee braces? Bloody expensive option, but if you've got the money then you will get the best possible protection against twisting or compression of the knee joint. If you've got existing knee injuries then it makes sense to get the best braces you can too. Ditto for guys with weird legs that simply don't work with off-the-shelf braces. But most riders will have to draw a line somewhere and try to get the best fitting off-the-shelf knee braces possible. 

Remember if you have a knee injury sometimes you can claim an orthopedic brace like the CTi Customs against your medical insurance. And depending on the work you do they can be a tax deduction too.

OTHER THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Make sure the velcro straps don't catch you pants when taking them on or off. Leatt and EVS Web knee braces feature crumple zones because some believe  braces can cause femur fractures - I believe the current research (as of 2016) says this is unlikely, at least for everyday dirt riders - see our video here. When you try the braces, take your boots along and see if they'll fit. If you have wide calve muscles there's a good chance your straps might not be long enough to take the braces too. 

Don't wear two layers under the knee braces they will move against each other and allow the brace to move. Some braces like the EVS Web can be quite bulky and might need bigger pants to fit. 

So look after those knees guys, and may the force be with you. See our full video series on knee injuries and protection here

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