McDavid 401 Compression Knee Support Brace

Last updated date: November 5, 2020

DWYM Score

8.6

McDavid 401 Compression Knee Support Brace

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We looked at the top Knee Braces and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Knee Brace you should buy.

Editor's Note November 5, 2020:
Checkout The Best Knee Brace for a detailed review of all the top knee braces.

Overall Take

Strong seams give this knee brace its extra strong support, and an affordable price makes it attractive to buyers on a budget. This brace also comes in an XXL size. To clean the McDavid 401 Knee Support Brace, you'll need to hand wash it in cold water and allow it to air dry.


In our analysis of 59 expert reviews, the McDavid McDavid 401 Compression Knee Support Brace placed 4th when we looked at the top 12 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

McDavid compression sleeves provide support that last through your day and your workout. Made from high-quality neoprene material that repels water, sweat, and oil, you’ll get a comfortable fit all workout long. Our 5-needle stitch provided a flatter, cleaner, and strong seam that doesn’t itch or irritate skin. The four-way stretch material ensures optimal comfort while running, exericizing, daily wear, and more. Compression brings heat to your tired muscles, and helps them regain vitality. Compression not only aids recovery, but also boosts muscle growth.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

9.2
4 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.6
529 user reviews

What experts liked

Like most of the neoprene sleeves we looked it, it had zero slippage during the movement tests, yet it fit me most smoothly, without either gaping in spots or feeling overly constrictive, or binding at the top or bottom—all problems seen with others tested.
- New York Times Wirecutter
December 8, 2017 | Full review
Offering smooth and strong seams created with a 5-needle stitch, the McDavid 401 can take on minor ligament instabilities and pain.
- Wiki EZ Vid
The McDavid sleeve gives exceptional knee support. It provides the right amount of compression for a comfortable fit.
- The Gear Hunt
The construction is latex free neoprene/nylon mix and gives an overall flatter, more comfortable, stronger unit for the wearer.
- Train For A 5K

What experts didn't like

The McDavid bunches up noticeably behind the knee, which may be uncomfortable, especially for all-day wear; if you want neoprene’s thermal properties but have very sensitive knee pits, the also great pick from Shock Doctor may be your better bet.
- New York Times Wirecutter
December 8, 2017 | Full review
Itchy material. Thin and flimsy weight.
- The Gear Hunt
It may slide down the knees a bit if the wearer sweats heavily.
- Train For A 5K

An Overview On Knee Braces

You don’t have time for knee pain. But if you’re active, your hard work is inevitably going to catch up with you in the form of an injury. When your knee is sore, a knee brace can be just what the doctor ordered to give you support so you can get back out there again.

But what features are important in a knee brace? A knee brace’s effectiveness actually starts with its material. Thicker neoprene can improve blood circulation and help keep everything in place. Some braces also use straps or strategically-placed openings to support the knee and keep the brace in the same position.

Slippage is actually a common complaint with knee braces. If it doesn’t stay in place while you’re moving around, it won’t be of much help. Some materials also tend to bunch behind the knee, making the brace less than comfortable. Neoprene tends to slip less than other fabrics, making it a popular material for knee braces.

In addition to staying in place, it’s also important to find a brace made from material with plenty of breathability. Whether you’re playing sports or just having fun with friends and family, you won’t want sweat to pool beneath the brace. Breathable fabric keeps moisture out so that you can enjoy many hours of wear.

Care instructions are also important since chances are you’ll be cleaning your knee brace after each wear. You’ll usually need to hand wash your brace, then set it out to dry. There are some braces you can buy that are machine washable in cold water on the gentle cycle, but they’ll still need to air dry. For that reason, if you plan to wear your knee brace on a daily basis, you may want to consider buying two. That way, you won’t have to wait for your brace to dry before wearing again.

The Knee Brace Buying Guide

  • If you’re suffering from pain, some braces are better than others at keeping that under control. The McDavid 401 Knee Support Brace uses strong seams built with a 5-needle stitch. This also helps with keeping your knee in place, which minimizes pain and helps prevent further injury. The Bracoo Knee Support has an open patella design that reduces the pressure placed on the kneecap while also keeping it in position.
  • Blood circulation is also essential to both healing promotion and pain reduction. The Bracoo Knee Support is built with extra-thick neoprene that boosts circulation.
  • Inflammation can exacerbate knee pain. Some knee braces can help keep inflammation under control while also reducing strain on the knee.
  • A knee brace is only helpful if it’s covering the right space on your leg. Unfortunately, knee braces are prone to slipping. This seems to be a problem with some models as they lack the grip tape and specialized design that other knee braces have, causing them to roll down more than others. The Bracoo Knee Support uses three Velcro belts to hold the brace in place, no matter what you’re doing.
  • If you’re looking for a comfortable knee brace to wear all day long, look for a brace that is made from a mix of latex-free neoprene and nylon for a stretchy type of comfort. However, it is important to note that the material can be itchy at times.
  • Breathability is also important since moisture buildup can make even the most comfortable knee brace unbearable. The Bracoo Knee Support has perforated vents built in, as well as material that promotes moisture dissipation.
  • Your knee brace will likely need to be washed fairly often. With the Bracoo Knee Support, you’ll have to hand wash in cold water only, then lay it flat or hang it to dry.  Since it takes a while to dry the type of material found in various knee braces, it might be wise to purchase two so that you’ll have one to wear while the other is drying.
  • Fit can be a challenge with a knee brace since some follow the “one size fits most” manufacturing method. The McDavid 401 Knee Support Brace comes in sizes from XS to XXL. With the Bracoo Knee Support, there’s only one size, and it fits knees from 12.5 to 18 inches in circumference. However, the Velcro straps let you tighten it up to find the perfect fit.
  • Knee braces vary widely in price, but you’re sure to find one that fits within your budget.