Knee sleeves are mainly used in powerlifting, to assist in squat-based movements. Based in Great Britain, SBD (Strength Belief Determination) is a prominent and trusted choice for knee sleeves, their product is compliant with most relevant powerlifting associations.
SBD’s knee sleeves are durable and domestically produced. While the company is lacking transparent sustainability initiatives, and could look into alternative production materials, the honest process leads it to be a solid option in the market.
All the information that’s listed on the product page is that it is “7mm high grade neoprene”. Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber, the same material as wetsuits are made out of. There are two distinct types of neoprene: oil-based and limestone-based. Both are derived from nonrenewable resources, however certain oil extraction techniques, such as fracking, cause much more environmental degradation than limestone mining; the limestone-based neoprene is also generally considered more durable. I would bet SBD uses oil-based neoprene, because they would proudly claim the more preferred limestone-based neoprene if they did use it. If you are looking for a sustainable alternative, Workt offers what they call a “ecoprene” knee sleeve, which they claim is more sustainable, but I’ll save a more in depth analysis of that for an another review. Patagonia offers a sustainable 100% plant based option for its Yulex wetsuits, and I look forward to seeing this implemented in knee sleeves, as there are no sustainable options.
SBD manufacturing is location in South Yorkshire and listed as having 30 employees. They are reportedly developing a £9 million factory that will create 237 new jobs. A £1.5 million subsidy from a local Business Investment Fund was provided as SBD faced loses due to the pandemic, but project growth and the new factory is expected to be a huge boost to the economy. We can all appreciate a company manufacturing their product domestically instead of outsourcing and taking advantage of a developing nation for cheaper labor.
The sleeves are listed as having “Reinforced seam construction to maximize longevity.” I really appreciate this emphasis on making a long lasting product, if there was examples of how competitors fail to live up to live up to SBD’s durability it would give me more trust in this claim. However, general parsing of customer testimonials does appear to back up the sleeves relative durability.
SBD has no detailed information regarding sourcing of materials or specifics in production. That would be a strong first step towards this companies sustainability initiative.
SBD appears to base their brand on trust, honesty and quality, the same qualities as some of the highest rated sustainable brands! While they have made no apparent efforts towards a sustainability initiative, I really appreciate the lack of greenwashing claims. With built-to-last products made domestically, I think this makes SBD a better alternative then any false ‘eco-friendly’ claiming company. This brand has the potential to be a leading sustainable brand in the future, so keep them on your radar.