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Reviews > Health & Safety > Accessories > Zamst Knee Brace ZK 7 > Test Report by Richard Lyon

Test Report by Richard Lyon

Initial Report April 11, 2014

Long Term Report expected August 2014


Male, 67 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (89 kg)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies.  I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Recently I've been actively reducing my pack weight, though I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences.  I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Three-season trips often focus on flyfishing opportunities.

Additional information pertinent to this test: Three years ago I sprained my left knee and, despite the fact that medical science pronounced it healed, on long days, particularly those involving steep descents, the knee has become painful. The Brace's impact on this knee will be the focus of my testing this product.

INITIAL REPORT - April 11, 2014


Zamst-frontThe Zamst Knee Brace ZK-7 is made entirely of fabric - no metal. The manufacturer calls the material "Flyweight Tech," and in a brochure that accompanied the Brace identifies its components as nylon, polyurethane, chloroprene rubber, polyester, and acrylic rubber. All fabric is stretchy, the mesh back panel particularly so. Two 2-inch (5 cm) strips of stouter material are sewn at the sides and stretch across the back to add to stability. Going around the Brace reveals four-piece construction - front panel with kneecap hole and adjusters (see next paragraph), rear mesh panel, and a one-inch (2.5 cm) panel on each side. The front piece has five individual panels of various sizes and shapes.

The Brace has four hook-and-loop fasteners that allow micro-adjustment to the user's knee and leg. Two sit immediately below the doughnut hole for the kneecap and two crisscross at a 45-degree angle atop the first pair.

All fabric is black on the outside and all save the mesh and the second (from the top) front panel are bright blue on the inside. The product brochure warns that the dyes may bleed.

Manufacturer: Nippon Sigmax Co. LTD
Size: Large [Available in sizes Small through 4XLarge.
According to a chart on Zamst's website, the user determines size by measuring the circumference of his or her thigh 6.5 in (16.5 cm) above the center of the kneecap.]
Height, measured: 11.5 in/29 cm overall; from the center of the kneecap hole, 6.0 in (15 cm) to the top and 5.5 in (14 cm) to the bottom.
Weight, measured: 6.0 oz/170 g
MSRP: $79.99 US
Warranty: "We stand behind our products. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Customer Service." A toll-free (US) number is provided.

This product appears to be Zamst's most fully-featured knee brace. Listed features include the adjusters (called i-Fit, short for individual fit), the Flyweight Tech fabric, V-Tech (for ventilation), a Kneecap Stabilizer, Exo-Tech QUAD (four-way ligament support for ACL, MCL, LCL, and PCL), and ROM-Tech pre-curved design (for range of motion).


Zamst - backThe Brace's maiden voyage took place last Sunday when I skied at Bridger Bowl, our local ski hill, for about six hours. Temperatures hovered near freezing under overcast skies with an occasional snow shower. Altitude was between 5800 and 7000 ft (1800-2100 m). At Bridger some climbing or traversing is needed to access certain runs, so the uphill wasn't always assisted by a lift.

I wore the Brace over a pair of lightweight merino long bottoms and under my Norrøna trollveggen Bibs [subject of a recent Owner Review on this site]. As it's a single piece I affixed the Brace at home, before putting on my ski boots. Adjusting the Brace's straps below the knee hole was easy. I fiddled with these while standing up straight and with my knee bent, settling on an intermediate fit slightly closer to the former.  My knee pad (standard safety equipment when on telemark skis) fit easily over the brace.

After about thirty minutes of skiing I no longer noticed I was wearing the Brace. It stayed in place throughout the day, and I had no ache in the knee after almost a full day of aggressive skiing. (I skied with some younger friends, all of them on alpine skis. None had respect for anyone on tele skis. I had a tough time keeping up.) In the parking lot I removed the Brace when I changed out of my ski boots. I noticed no discoloration or imprint marks on my leg at the kneecap or where the top or bottom of the Brace had been. The Brace was slightly sweaty on the inside.
When I returned home I found no staining on my base layer.

Back at home I tried wearing the brace wearing shorts and mid-ankle hiking boots, primarily to see if I could pull the Brace on without removing the boot. That task was easily accomplished.


No metal
Easy fine tuning
No discomfort




My Initial Report ends here. Check back in August for results from the field, in my Long Term Report.
My thanks to Zamst and for this testing opportunity. I'm glad someone's looking after aging outdoor athletes.

Read more reviews of Nippon Sigmax Co. LTD gear
Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Health & Safety > Accessories > Zamst Knee Brace ZK 7 > Test Report by Richard Lyon

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