Mava Knee Sleeves Reviews: 5 Things I love, 1 Thing I Don’t

Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means I earn from qualifying purchases.

Mava produces plenty of knee sleeves

If you’ve never bumped into any of Mava’s products before, you’re not alone! They’ve been on the market since 2015, but I only heard about them recently. And man, do I regret that! Although they started with nothing but a workout glove, they now produce almost all accessories you’d need to improve the quality of your workouts.

Mava produces plenty of knee sleeves, but only three models would interest powerlifters:

1. 7mm sleeves provide enough support for moderately heavy squats and deadlifts, thanks to its neoprene build.


2. The Mava Basic Compression Sleeves are primarily geared toward injured athletes or those just looking for ‘light support’ for most lifts.


3. The Mava Sports Compression Sleeves provide not a lot of support, but will keep the knee joint warm through various activities in the gym, including cardio.


Before going into a detailed review of the Mava knee sleeves, let’s see the general pros and cons of all Mava’s products.

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Acceptable durability
  • Variable thicknesses for variable uses
  • Fashionable designs
  • Some models can be used for recovery

Cons

  • Might feel too thin for some people (i.e. if you’re a competitive powerlifter)

Things to Consider Before Buying Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves are a staple in the powerlifting world. They provide you with warm, well-supported joints, which will enable you to lift more weight and feel more comfortable.

In addition, knee sleeves will decrease the likelihood of injuries by preventing the ligaments from stretching beyond their limits. 

Best of all, there is some research to suggest that knee sleeves can accelerate your recovery by providing additional blood flow to the muscles.

Mava Knee Sleeves: Detailed Review

I’ll review each pair of sleeves independently. For each model, I’ll explain the build quality before I delve into my personal experience.

Mava 7mm Knee Sleeves  – Best For Heavy Lifting

With a thickness of 7mm, these knee sleeves are meant primarily for professional powerlifters who want better support during heavy squats.

Design and Build Quality

Mava builds these sleeves from 1-ply neoprene that balances well between support and flexibility.

Unlike the following sleeves, these ones feature 3D seams that follow your knee contours. This way, they can provide sufficient stability without limiting your range of motion.

If you like to showcase your fashion sense inside the gym, these sleeves should be perfect. Mava produces them in black, blue, red, grey, camo, and pink camo.

Performance

The Mava 7mm knee sleeves felt premium right out of the box. The neoprene seemed quite firm, which is what you’d expect from professional knee sleeves.

With the thicker 7mm material, these knee sleeves are truly for people who intend to lift a lot more weight in the gym than the average person. 

If you’re not a powerliter, these knee sleeves might feel a bit uncomfortable because of the thickness of the sleeve.  But for powerlifters, they like the added thickness for the extra security and compression that is allows over the knee joint. 

Approval for Competition

Mava explicitly states that their sleeves are approved for USPA competitions, which couldn’t be further from the truth — neither USPA nor IPF accredit this brand. Using their sleeves to compete for these federations may expose you to the risk of disqualification.

Perhaps the knee sleeve was approved at one point, but the “approved lists” are always changing, and as of right now, they’re not fit for competition.

If you think about it, this fact actually makes sense. People participating in professional competitions should only use high-quality products that deliver the thickest support possible, which isn’t the case here.

Overall Thoughts

This knee sleeve is a great budget option for lifters who want a thick, 7mm knee sleeve for heavy lifting.  While there are better designed knee sleeves on the market (outlined later), you just cannot beat the price.  That’s why I recommend this product for those who are budget conscious.  However, if you are a competitive powerlifter, you’ll need to opt for a knee sleeve that is approved for competition.


Mava Basic Compression Knee Sleeves

As the name implies, the Basic Compression sleeves are intended for general workouts that don’t involve heavy loads.

Design and Build Quality

These sleeves are 30% latex, 30% spandex, 30% bamboo charcoal. As you might already know, latex and spandex are added to provide compression, but you can find those materials in almost all of the commercially famous knee sleeves,

The unique material here is the “bamboo charcoal”. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, bamboo gets rid of the typical irritation that manifests after long workouts.

Unlike the previous sleeves, these ones come in only three colors: grey, black, and grey/black blend. 

Performance

Like I said earlier, these sleeves aren’t cut out for hefty loads. I tried them for 100lb squats; they hardly provided any support. Does this mean they’re worthless? Not really.

I was extremely happy with these sleeves when I tried them for my general training. Because they fit tightly around your knees, they warm up your joints faster, which doubles the benefits of any workout.

I tested them on box jumps, lunges, burpees, running, and similar knee-intensive exercises. The moderate spandex composition gives enough compression for the sleeves to stay in place. But at the same time, that compression doesn’t restrict your movement at all. 

Based on general customer reviews, these sleeves will also work for people who recently suffered a knee injury, especially ligament tears (ACL, MCL, PCL). Because these sleeves contain bamboo charcoal, you can wear them throughout the day to recuperate faster without worrying about irritation.

Overall Thoughts

This is a great knee sleeve for someone who does more ‘dynamic’ movements in the gym, from running, jumping, and some weightlifting activities.  However, it’s not meant to be a ‘supportive’ knee sleeve, but rather something to simply provide some joint warmth.  So don’t expect this knee sleeve to add weight to your lifts.  It’s a great, basic sleeve that feels comfortable.   


Mava Sports Compression Knee Sleeves

If you think the 7mm sleeves would be too thick and the Basic Compression would be too thin, the Sports Compression knee sleeves should be the ideal intermediate pick.

Design and Build Quality

Featuring 40% latex, 50% nylon, and 10% spandex, these sleeves feel a lot more supportive than the basic pair. You can use them for squats, deadlifts, snatches, plus cleans and jerks. At the same time, they should be pliable enough for general training and everyday wear.

I like how Mava designed these sleeves with what seems like a Spiderman pattern. But don’t worry, it’s not childish by any means. If you prefer minimalistic designs, you can find a solid black version on the official website.

Performance

If you’ve ever tried 7mm sleeves for deadlifts, you must be familiar with how they snag the bar, especially in sumo deadlifts.

Since these sleeves have a thickness of 2 mm, they didn’t cause that annoying problem. However, as you might’ve already deduced, 40% of latex isn’t enough to support deadlifts heavier than 200+ lbs.

As for general training, these sleeves worked like a charm. Because they contain 50% nylon, their moisture-wicking performance was pretty great. And thanks to the thick rubber bands on top and bottom, you can practice any intense workouts without worrying about frequent slippage.

Just like the previous sleeves, the Sports Compression should be suitable for athletes recovering from ligament tears and muscle sprains. They might be a bit too tight for non-athletes, though.

Overall Thoughts

This is a great training knee sleeve for Olympic weightlifters who perform snatches and clean and jerks, or Crossfitters who bounce between different exercises.  It provides enough joint stability on the knee to feel supportive, but it’s not restrictive like the 7mm knee sleeve.  This means that you can do more exercises with this knee sleeve, but it’s probably not the best option if you want to use it for heavy squats, as you’ll want something thicker. 


Are There Any Alternatives?

Lucky for us, the market has never fallen short of quality knee sleeves. I wrote a separate post reviewing the 5 best knee sleeves, but here’s a brief rundown of my top picks.

Most of these knee sleeves below are more expensive than the Mava products, but for good reason.  They’re more durable products, which will last longer, and they provide more support around the knee joint. 

1. Titan Yellow Jacket Knee Sleeves

If you want the maximum support to max out your lifting potential, the Yellow Jackets will be your best bet. The unique X-seam build doubles the support without straying outside IPF’s technical rules.

How do they differ from Mava knee sleeves?

  • More expensive
  • Heavier support
  • Better durability
  • Not suitable for injuries

2. Sling Shot Mark Bell Strong Knee Sleeves

Because they’re built from level-3 neoprene, the “Strong” knee sleeves do live up to their name. You can use them to reach your heaviest squat while keeping injuries at bay.

How do they differ from Mava knee sleeves?

  • More expensive
  • Thicker build
  • Worn by professional powerlifters

3. Rehband Rx Knee Sleeve 7mm

Even though the Rx sleeves feature a 7mm neoprene build, they’re flexible enough to allow for dynamic CrossFit workouts. Best of all, they manage to stay within the affordable extreme, although they’re a bit more expensive than Mava’s sleeves.

How do they differ from Mava knee sleeves?

  • A bit expensive
  • Moderate firmness
  • Equally versatile

The Final Word

Whatever your training goals, Mava will always have suitable knee sleeves. If you want something that supports hefty weight, go for the 7mm Knee Sleeves. If you want something with enough flexibility for CrossFit workouts, consider the Mava Sports Compression Sleeves. Lastly, people recovering from injuries should love the minimal compression of the Mava Basic Compression Sleeves.