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  • Writer's pictureCompression Athlete

The Best Cold Compression Sleeves & Braces for Athletes 2024

Boost muscle recovery and pain relief with easy to wear options.

Athlete wearing cold compression brace for muscle recovery.

Put some ice on it.

It’s probably the first thought that pops into your head for treating pain.

Using an ice pack on a specific part of the body to reduce swelling, inflammation, or muscle pain is the most common application of cold therapy in both athletics and everyday matters.

In the past few years, cold therapy has evolved into a dynamic means of muscle recovery among athletes with the adoption of new methods, devices, and equipment.

One of the easiest to use and noticeably effective cold therapy methods is use of a cold compression sleeve or brace to deliver targeted relief to your muscles.

Athletes that incorporate cold therapy into their recovery routines noticeably reduce muscle pain and feel fresher from one workout or competition to the next.

Here, we’ve put together a list of the best cold compression sleeves and braces for athletes in 2024.

Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by Compression Athlete. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.

1. Hyperice X Knee

The Hyperice X Knee features advanced contrast therapy treatment that can automatically switch between hot and cold temperatures nearly instantly and without wires. This cold therapy device provides consistent temperature (cold or hot) for as long as you require.

Athlete using the Hyperice X Knee Contrast Therapy.

Shop at Hyperice: Hyperice X Knee

Available on Amazon: Hyperice X Knee 

Hyperice’s X Knee provides an adaptive fit that allows you to move freely while receiving treatment and doesn’t require any ice, preparation, or plug-in cords.

2. Hyperice X Shoulder

The Hyperice X Shoulder features advanced contrast therapy treatment that can automatically switch between hot and cold temperatures nearly instantly and without wires. This cold therapy device provides consistent temperature (cold or hot) for as long as you require.

Athlete wearing the Hyperice X Shoulder.

Shop at Hyperice: Hyperice X Shoulder

Hyperice’s X Shoulder provides an adjustable 2-strap system for a comfortable stay-put hold that works on either shoulder. This cold therapy device doesn’t require any ice, preparation, or plug-in cords and sports 1.5 hours of battery life.

3. Hyperice Ice Compression Wrap

The Hyperice Ice Compression Wrap features convenient hands-free and on-the-go cold therapy in a knee wrap design. This ice wrap has a patented air-release valve to keep the ice directly in place for optimal cold surface contact.

Athlete using the Hyperice Ice Compression wrap.

Hyperice’s Ice Compression Wrap sports a premium machine-washable neoprene material with a comfortable plush feel. This ice wrap utilizes an ultra-thin antimicrobial ice cell with a watertight seal that can be swapped in and out with supplemental duplicate cells.

4. Therabody RecoveryTherm Cube

The Therabody RecoveryTherm Cube features instant cold, heat, and contrast therapy in a single compact, portable, and wearable device. This cold therapy device features proprietary Cryothermal Technology for scientifically optimized relief and recovery.

Athlete using the Therabody RecoveryTherm Cube.

Shop at Therabody: Therabody RecoveryTherm Cube

Available on Amazon: Therabody RecoveryTherm Cube 

Therabody's RecoveryTherm Cube offers 3 preset modes with multiple precise temperature settings. This cold therapy device comes with adjustable straps for convenient on-the-go relief and recovery anywhere on your body.

5. Therabody RecoveryTherm Knee

The Therabody RecoveryTherm Knee features proprietary Cryothermal Technology that seamlessly delivers cold, heat, and vibration therapy in a single wearable device for your knee.

Athlete using the Therabody RecoveryTherm Knee.

Shop at Therabody: Therabody RecoveryTherm Knee

Available on Amazon: Therabody RecoveryTherm Knee 

Therabody’s RecoveryTherm Knee offers a convenient one size fits all design with thermal alloy for quick on-the-go cooling, heating, and contrast therapy and comes with a 1-year warranty.

6. KT Health Ice Sleeve

The KT Health Ice Sleeve features a direct 360-degree cooling design in a comfortable and flexible compression sleeve. This cold compression sleeve is available in 2 sizes and molds comfortably for use on knees, elbows, and other joints.

Athlete using the KT Health Ice Sleeve.

Shop at KT Tape: KT Health Ice Sleeve

KT’s Health Ice Sleeve comes with an insulated travel pouch to keep the sleeve cold while on-the-go or after workouts. This cold compression sleeve provides up to 20 minutes of cold therapy while providing light compression benefits, as well.

7. McDavid Flex Ice Therapy Compression Sleeves

The McDavid Flex Ice Therapy Compression Sleeves features a flexible gel sleeve design that delivers 360-degrees of compression and either cold or hot treatment. These cold compression sleeves are 100% leak proof and available in knee, elbow, and ankle designs.

Athlete using the McDavid Flex Ice Therapy Sleeve.

McDavid’s Flex Ice Therapy Compression Sleeves utilize an easy pull-on design that stays-in-place while on-the-go. These cold compression sleeves freeze in 2 hours for cold therapy and heat in the microwave in 30 seconds.

8. Shock Doctor Ice Therapy Compression Wraps

The Shock Doctor Ice Therapy Compression Wraps feature an anatomical design with adjustable straps and multiple gel packs for deep 360-degree ice coverage. These cold compression wraps have gentle compression and are available in shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle designs.

Athlete using the Shock Doctor Ice Therapy Wrap.

Shock Doctor Ice Therapy Compression Wraps sport a premium N-Tex neoprene material with comfortable and durable four-way stretch. These cold compression wraps are available in 2 sizes and can be used for both cold and hot treatment.

9. Rapid Reboot Cold Compression Sleeve

The Rapid Reboot Cold Compression Sleeve features a flexible and 100% leak-proof soft-gel design for quick and targeted cold or hot therapy. This cold compression sleeve comes with freezable packaging and can be used for up to 15 minutes of treatment.

Athlete using the Rapid Reboot Cold Compression Sleeve.

Rapid Reboot’s Cold Compression Sleeve is available in 3 sizes for a custom fit and can be applied to wrists, forearms, elbows, upper arms, ankles, calves, knees, and thighs.

10. Freeze Sleeve

The Freeze Sleeve features 360-degrees of cold compression therapy with an easy slip-on design that’s fully flexible and doesn’t require wraps or straps. This cold compression sleeve utilizes a Hydra-Gel that stays soft when frozen to allow for comfort over bending joints.

Athletes using Freeze Sleeves.

Available on Amazon: Freeze Sleeve

The Freeze Sleeve can provide both cold and heat therapy and help relieve pain in the legs, knees, ankles, forearms, elbows and wrists. This cold sleeve is available in several colors and multiple sizes to accommodate various areas of the arms and legs.

11. ComfiTECH Cold Compression Sleeve

The ComfiTECH Cold Compression Sleeve is an innovative soft solid gel sleeve with 360-degrees of cold and compression therapy. This cold compression sleeve has an easy slip-on design and comfortably contours to the shape of your arm and elbow.

Athlete using the ComfiTECH Cold Compression Sleeve.

Available on Amazon: ComfiTECH Cold Compression Sleeve

ComfiTECH’s Cold Compression Sleeve utilizes strong tear-resistant stitching and sealed seams for 100% leak-free usage. This cold compression sleeve is available in two sizes for a snug fit and lasts longer than traditional liquid ice packs.

How Does Cold Therapy Work for Athletes?

After physical activity, whether training or competition, expose the designated area of your body to cold temperatures by means of an ice pack that’s localized to a specific spot or by immersing your body in cold water and ice.

Once the cold is applied to your body, you’ll notice immediate relief to any soreness, aching, or pain in your muscles.

Of course, you’ll also notice a very cold sensation, which in certain cases may seem unbearable.

So, if you’re applying an ice pack, you may need to wrap the ice in a layer of cloth to create a barrier between the cold and your skin while only applying for up to 20 minutes at a time.

Athlete applying ice for cold therapy.

A great alternative to ice packs are cold compression sleeves, which deliver cold therapy in a convenient, easy-to-wear compression sleeve that’s flexible and stays-put for on-the-go treatment.

Once finished, the vasoconstriction (narrowing) of your blood vessels will be noticeable.

Your limbs and muscles will feel a bit more constricted and less mobile (i.e. not loose and limber like if heat were applied).

This is fine, though, as the vasoconstriction will quickly wear off and make way for the vasodilation (widening) of your blood vessels, allowing nutrient-rich blood to flow into your tissue and flush out muscle soreness.

In other words, that dreaded muscle pain and stiffness that sets in a day or two after pushing your body won’t be as bad and won’t stick around for as long.

Not only does cold therapy help alleviate the muscle soreness from your workout but it better prepares you for your next one faster and will allow you to perform at a higher level.

What Are the Benefits of Cold Therapy for Athletes?

Simple to use and easy to customize, cold therapy is a great muscle recovery tool that any athlete can incorporate into their routine.

One aspect that’s so great about cold therapy is that users can feel immediate relief while enjoying longer-term benefits, as well.

Not only does the exposure to cold temperature help to reduce inflammation and swelling but it reduces the nerve transmission of pain sent to your brain, numbing your perception of pain.

The key aspect from which all cold therapy benefits derive is the way in which your blood vessels narrow (vasoconstrict) when exposed to cold temperatures.

When this occurs, the blood in your body moves toward your core and vital organs, replenishing with oxygen and nutrients.

Athlete utilizing cold therapy for muscle recovery.

Meanwhile, your body works hard to maintain its core temperature (especially when undergoing a cold water plunge or ice bath), stimulating the body to increase its circulation.

So, when you emerge from the cold exposure, your body heats back up and your blood vessels expand (vasodilate).

And the now nutrient-rich blood flows back into your muscle tissue, helping to flush out lactic acid and metabolic waste.

Not only does this help your muscles recover faster and reduce muscle soreness and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but over time this process can improve the efficiency of your body’s circulatory system.

Reducing inflammation and other pain symptoms help athletes enjoy faster muscle recovery times from one workout or competition to the next, allowing for greater consistency and development.

Learn everything you need to know about cold therapy in our complete guide.

And if you want to kick your cold therapy up a notch, check out the best ice baths and cold plunges for athletes.


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