Consumers comment on the high quality of this brace and say that it provides good compression. It also stands out for being easy to put on. We love the option to use heat or cold to help ease discomfort.
A few feel this design is heavy. The included ice packs tend not to stay cold for long periods.
This brace stands out for being well-made, providing good stability, and being a good value for the cost. Users find it to be comfortable to wear and helpful in relieving pain.
Tends to have an initial synthetic smell. Some customers say it is difficult to adjust.
Customers love that this is comfortable and adjustable and that it can be worn all day without discomfort. It gets top marks for being sturdy yet soft and breathable.
Some felt the support was too light for their needs while others felt the overall design could be improved. Only comes in one size.
Users like the snug fit and comfort of this model and appreciate the hot or cold feature as well as that it is easy to put on and take off. Top marks for being well-designed and having long-lasting cold packs.
Some users complained of the fabric not holding up well or tearing.
Users remark on the comfortable and adjustable fit of this brace, and most feel it gives efficient stabilization and support. It also stands out for its quality material and can be worn for extended periods. Comes in 3 size options.
A few felt that the overall design could be improved, some had difficulty with the sizing.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Your shoulder joints are in constant motion. Think about how many times you reach for something or stretch out your arms in a single day. It’s no surprise that with so much use a shoulder joint can sustain strain or injury, and an injured shoulder can greatly impact your daily life. Fortunately, with the support and rehabilitation provided by a shoulder brace, you can get back to your normal activities in no time.
Shoulder braces are intended to provide optimal support while allowing for a reasonable range of motion. The materials and features are designed for proper anatomical position and function. Recent surgery patients, athletes, and individuals with chronic shoulder issues can benefit from wearing a shoulder brace so they can continue doing their favorite activities, even if it requires some degree of modification.
We examined some of the most popular shoulder braces to determine which ones provide the best combination of fit, stability, and comfort, and we’re providing that information here. Try one of our favorites on for size and you’ll soon get back to enjoying your favorite activities in comfort.
Choosing the right shoulder brace depends on why you need one. It also depends on the nature of your injury or condition and how far along you are in the healing process. Speak with your doctor about your activity level to determine what type of shoulder brace you require. You might need more than one if you engage in activities of varying intensity, such as walking and running.
Consider how active you expect to be while wearing your shoulder brace.
Sedentary: If you’re going to be sedentary for the most part, a brace that immobilizes your shoulder could work for you. On the other hand, if you have an desk job, such a brace could be too restrictive for comfortable typing or clerical duties.
Moderate: For low-impact activity, either at the gym or routine daily life, a shoulder brace with medium support and a decent range of motion can be effective and comfortable.
Active: If you expect to engage in intense activity like sports, there are braces that are uniquely designed for high-impact support that provide as much range of motion as possible.
Once you decide on your needs, you can focus on selecting the best-fitting brace. Some shoulder braces are somewhat bulky — especially those with gel pack inserts — and can get in the way if you want to be more active. Other brace designs are more streamlined and less restrictive, so one can be worn over or under clothing with minimal distraction. It should be noted that some more streamlined braces have limited adjustability, so the fit might be slightly looser and less tailored.
Compression: At the most basic level, the materials and fit of all braces provide some compression of the shoulder area. Some braces also include a hand-operated or electric pump to inflate the brace for even more compression. These are used to relieve pain and increase circulation to promote healing in the shoulder area.
Temperature: Some shoulder braces are equipped with removable gel inserts that can be heated in a microwave or frozen to treat the shoulder with heat or cold. Basic models with this feature have a single gel insert, while premium braces have more. Some shoulder braces even combine hot and cold therapy with compression to aid healing.
The methods and ease of adjustability are where shoulder braces vary the most. Some braces you simply strap in place with hook-and-loop fasteners using your opposite hand. Other braces are more adjustable, combining securing mechanisms so that the fit is as tailored as possible. These require some time to adjust, and with some you’ll need the assistance of another person to correctly fit the brace.
Shoulder braces are constructed of a combination of durable materials designed to hold up to daily wear and tear. The materials are typically synthetic and specifically engineered to fit comfortably and provide adequate support. Some of the materials include the following:
Neoprene: This is the smooth, stretchy material that’s used to make wetsuits and some fitness accessories. It has an ideal balance of give and support, and braces made of this material are considered some of the more comfortable.
Webbing: Some of the materials, such as those used for the straps, have little to no flexibility or give. These are incorporated into the design of the brace to promote stability in certain areas, while softer, more flexible materials promote range of motion in other areas.
Hook-and loop fasteners: These are among the most reliable methods for securing the brace. Not only do they stay put but it’s also easy to make quick adjustments. More sophisticated braces position these closures strategically to enhance fit and support.
Mesh: Mesh is a breathable material that’s used in some areas of the brace, such as beneath the armpit or across the chest. The mesh increases air circulation to help minimize sweating, which isn’t uncommon when wearing a tight-fitting brace.
The shoulder braces we examined, priced between $15 and $60, fit within nearly every budget.
Inexpensive: For braces that cost up to $25, you can expect a simple silhouette. These tend to have only one layer of material and a simple hook-and-loop fastening system.
Mid-range: Braces that cost up to $40 focus on fit with advanced adjustability features. Some of these also have multiple sites to fit gel packs.
Expensive: The braces that cost over $40 have more specialized features to serve specific purposes, such as compression, immobilization, or active sports.
We also considered a couple other shoulder braces with unique features. The Strong AID Shoulder Brace comes in three colors, as well as sizes for both men and women. It includes a fitted neoprene bicep sleeve with a horizontal Velcro closure for improved fit and a large panel that sits high on the chest for superior support. Wearers report it’s very comfortable. The brace can be worn over or under clothing, and it’s easy to put on with one hand, too. If you’re looking for pain-relieving support, the Arctic Flex Shoulder Brace has gel inserts for both cool and hot therapy options. This brace includes latex-free neoprene and features nonslip material to maintain proper placement on your shoulder. The ultra-low profile is discreet when worn under clothing, and its silver color is less noticeable than black when worn under light-colored clothing.
Q. I have a shoulder brace that used to fit well, but I’ve noticed it’s looser now. What happened?
A. Some shoulder braces are made of stretchy materials to provide a comfortable fit. As a result, the frequent use of these braces could result in the material stretching out over time. If the brace begins to feel too loose, replace it immediately so you don’t compromise fit or safety.
Q. Should I wear the same shoulder brace for all my activities?
A. It depends on how much your activity varies or how specialized certain activities are. Some shoulder braces are suited for high levels of activity and provide a balance of decent range of motion and support. Other braces are intended to immobilize the shoulder and intended to be used while you’re more sedentary.
Q. My shoulder brace has a tear. Can I just repair it instead of buying a new one?
A. Patching a shoulder brace together isn’t recommended. If the brace’s integrity is already compromised, attempting to repair it could affect its fit or efficacy and potentially lead to injury. Shoulder braces are generally affordable, and it’s worth spending the money to prevent long-term injury.
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