When engaging in any form of physical activity, it is always a good idea to give your body as much support as possible. This is especially the case for high impact activities, such as running, where the potential for injury due to repeated impacts increases. The best ankle braces are used by many people for this reason, as they offer extra support for the ankle by restricting movements that could result in injury.
Ankle braces are not only used to protect the ankle during physical activity, but also allow for immobilization in cases where the ankle has been injured and excessive movement of the joint could lead to further injury. They also provide heat and compression to the bones, thus ensuring a faster recovery from whatever injury you have suffered.
At first glance, it may appear that restricting the movement in one of your limbs could affect your athletic performance, which is a particular concern for people who engage in competitive sports. However, there is a large body of research that suggests braces do not affect athletic performance, instead allowing you to maintain your jumping ability and overall agility, thus ensuring that you perform to the standards that you expect of yourself.
Ankle Brace or Tape?
The common alternative to an ankle brace is simple taping up the ankle in order to create the same effect. However, while taping is done in a way that makes it customized to the user’s body, it can also be fairly difficult to execute correctly, often requiring a professional who is able to tape properly. As such, many amateurs prefer the ankle brace due to its ease of use and the quality of support that it offers.
When selecting an ankle brace you will want to select something that is both comfortable and capable of offering a high level of support. We have looked at the following braces to help you make your decision.
Best Ankle Brace Reviews for 2017
1. ASO Ankle Stabilizing Orthosis
Touted as being amongst the most popular ankle braces with trainers and physical therapists, the ASO brace is made to a very high standard, thus ensuring that it is capable of offering all of the support that your ankle needs during high impact activities.
It has been specially designed to offer an excellent fit, thus emulating taping as far as possible in that respect. Furthermore, it is extremely low profile, meaning that it is capable of fitting any shoe. This allows you to wear it for work or around the home without anybody questioning the brace or why you’re wearing it.
- Straps for a figure-eight that ensures the brace offers proper stabilization of the ankle.
- The bilateral design means that you can wear the brace on either foot.
- Comes with a cuff closure design that protects the laces in addition to enhancing support.
- Low profile design allows it to fit practically any form of footwear.
- Used by top universities and many NCAA tournament participants.
What’s To Like About The ASO Ankle Stabilizing Orthosis
A lot of reviews have commented on how easy it is to use this ankle brace, noting that it is light while also offering an exceptional level of support. Quite a lot of reviews indicated that many users had tried multiple braces before settling on this one, as it provided everything that they needed in terms of support and sprain recovery.
What’s Not To Like
Negative feedback regarding the quality of the brace itself has been minimal, however, a small number of users experienced issues when trying to communicate with customer services. In the cases where defects have been found, some people have found it very difficult to return the item and receive a refund.
The ASO Ankle Stabilizing Orthosis is used by so many athletes for a reason. It offers an excellent level of support that ensures you have all of the protection that you need when engaging in any form of physical activity. It currently enjoys a 4.5 out of 5 rating from more than 1,000 reviews, with most negative commented being reserved for the manufacturer, rather than the product itself.
2. McDavid 195 Deluxe Ankle Brace
McDavid currently makes more than 400 products that are intended to provide athletes with extra protection, so it is no surprise that this product is a real contender for the best ankle brace. The brace itself comes in a wide range of sizes, so you should be able to find one that suits your needs, plus it is designed to simulate all of the benefits of athletic tape.
Furthermore, it is touted as being able to offer the highest level of protection that an ankle brace can provide, with the company claiming that it can be used by people experiencing moderate and high levels of pain and instability.
- Features figure-six straps to offer a similar level of protection to taping.
- Extremely durable, meaning it should be able to withstand large amounts of wear and tear.
- The ventilated tongue helps to keep your foot cool.
- Can be worn on either foot without issue.
- Is designed to offer the maximum level of support.
What’s To Like About The McDavid Deluxe Ankle Brace
One user provided a handy review that compared the McDavid to the ASO brace, noting that the ASO offers more flexibility, but the McDavid offers a superior level of support. This is a plus point that was also noted by many others, with the brace offering an exceptional level of support that seems to back up its claims that it can be used for moderate and major pain.
What’s Not To Like
A small number of people have noted that the brace can feel very tight, particularly if you are not used to wearing them. However, it appears that some of this feedback was from people who received a brace in the wrong size, thus explaining why they noted such tightness.
With a 4.5 out of 5 rating the McDavid offers everything that it claims to in terms of support for the ankle. While you may find that it is a little more restrictive than other braces, it is ideal for those who have suffered an injury and need to limit movement in the ankle as far as possible.
3. Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support
Unlike the ASO and McDavid products, Bracoo have focused on creating an ankle brace that appeals to those who are shopping on a budget or simply want to give braces a try without having to pay big money to buy one.
Made using neoprene, this brace offers good support while also being breathable, which means that your ankle and foot will stay cool when you are engaging in really intense workouts. The Velcro strap design makes it exceptionally user-friendly, ensuring that you don’t need to worry about sizes or lacing the strap up correctly for maximum effect.
- The open design allows for plenty of flexibility while still offering support to tendons.
- Made using breathable neoprene to keep skin cool at all times.
- Minimizes the risk of experiencing an injury when you are exercising.
- One size fits all thanks to the Velcro straps.
- The contour designs allows for further adjustment of the strap.
What’s To Like About The Bracoo Neoprene Ankle Support
A number of people have noted that this is an excellent choice for people who are looking for everyday support, offering a great level of performance considering the low price of the product. The fact that it is one size fits all was also praised, particularly by people who have had issues getting the braces in the right size in the past.
What’s Not To Like
A minority of users experienced comfort issues when wearing the brace, claiming that the material cut into the skin too much when it was worn. However, given that the tightness can be customized, this may simply be a case of incorrect application of the brace, rather than a fault with the product itself.
This is the best ankle brace for people who are shopping on a budget or those who simply want some support in their everyday life. While it may not be ideal for extended workouts, it still offers an excellent level of performance, hence its 4.0 out of 5 rating from hundreds of reviews.
4. Shock Doctor Ultra Wrap Lace
With a name like Shock Doctor, you would expect this ankle brace to offer exceptional levels of support. Happily, it more than lives up to its own billing, making it the perfect choice for people who suffer recurring issues with their ankles.
The product makes use of a multi-strap design that closely simulates taping, ensuring that support is offered to the tendons around the ankle in addition to the bone itself. As such, it has come highly recommended for moderate and major ankle injuries, sprains and tendon issues.
- The no-slip footbed ensures the brace does not cause issues when worn.
- Uses antimicrobial technology in order to reduce smells and be more hygienic.
- The multi-directional straps offer excellent support.
- The lacing loop system is low profile and mostly hidden by the straps.
- Rated as Performance Level 3, making it ideal for heavy sprains and other ankle injuries.
What’s To Like About The Shock Doctor Ultra Wrap Ankle Brace
A lot of people have commented on how the Shock Doctor ankle brace makes an excellent substitute for taping, offering very similar levels of support while also being much quicker to put on. Others have complimented it on the lightweight design, particularly given the level of support it is capable of offering.
What’s Not To Like
Outside of sizing issues that appear not to be the fault of the product itself, a minority of users have experienced issues with the brace itself falling apart after limited use. This appears to be a manufacturing defect, as it is not an issue that is commonly brought up.
With a 4.1 out of 5 rating, the Shock Doctor brace appears to offer almost everything that it claims. While some people have raised issues with the sizing, the praise for its quality in terms of support and ease of use is almost unanimous, making this an excellent choice for people who have suffered an ankle injury and need as much support as it is possible for a brace to provide.
5. McDavid Classic Lightweight Ankle Brace
McDavid are back again with another ankle brace, this one sporting a classic design that allows you to see the laces, instead of covering them up with straps. The brace has been designed with the classic market in mind, featuring the old McDavid logo in addition to looking more like braces from a few decades ago.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking it doesn’t offer modern levels of performance though, as McDavid are one of the best ankle brace manufacturers in the world. They have combined their modern improvements with a classic aesthetic to create a really appealing brace.
- Sports a retro design that makes the brace pleasing to the eye.
- Touted as being one of the company’s bestselling ankle braces.
- Can fit either ankle thanks to its bilateral design.
- Weight is kept to a minimum, thus allowing for improved flexibility.
- Used by athletes and trainers throughout the world in order to prevent injury.
What’s To Like About The McDavid Lightweight Ankle Brace
Outside of the design, which many users have praised, a lot of people have talked about how this brace offers an excellent level of support, while still allowing the user to maintain a large amount of flexibility. As such, it won’t affect athletic performance when worn, allowing you to continue competing at a high level.
What’s Not To Like
A minority of users have found the brace uncomfortable, claiming that it cuts into the skin and is simply too stiff for them to use. While this may be a sizing issue with some users, it is worth remembering that this brace was created with the treatment of major ankle sprains and tendon damage in mind.
With a 4.2 out of 5 rating from hundreds of reviews, this ankle brace certainly seems capable of providing everything you could need when it comes to high quality support. The gorgeous design is a major plus point for some, though the level of performance offered here should not be forgotten.
6. Active Ankle T2 Rigid Ankle Brace
Active Ankle’s brace is designed with ease of use in mind, forgoing the complex strap design favored by many professional braces, preferring a simple design that makes it exceptionally easy to slip on to either ankle with the minimum of fuss.
This makes it the perfect choice for people who have never tried a brace before and want something that is cost-effective while also offering an excellent level of support. It is also very lightweight, making it excellent for everyday use in addition to being great for intense physical activities.
- Quick fitting strap that is easy to take on and off.
- Ideal for people who want ankle support or have suffered a sprain and want to aid their recovery.
- Available in a wide range of different sizes.
- The EVA padding is lightweight and capable of fitting around every contour of the ankle.
- Offers a superior level of support to neoprene.
What’s To Like About The Active Ankle Rigid Ankle Brace
A lot of people have complimented the fit of the brace, with one user going so far as to claim that it feels like a second skin, thanks to its lightweight and excellent design. Its ease of use has also been praised, particularly by people who have had issues with more complex braces in the past.
What’s Not To Like
People with a high arch may need to consider another brace, as it appears that the Active Ankle can cause a little discomfort in these cases. A few people have also experienced manufacturing issues, though these are often fairly easily remedied with a call to customer support.
This may be the best ankle brace for people who simply want something that is easy to use, while still offering a high level of support. It currently boasts a 4.2 out of 5 rating, though users might need to be wary of the occasional manufacturing defect.
7. Shock Doctor Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support
Our final product is another brace from Shock Doctor, with the major difference being the use of gel to offer a better fit and superior levels of support. This also makes the brace much more comfortable for people who like a tight fit but are wary of the brace cutting into their skin if they tighten up the laces.
The lightweight design also means that it is capable of fitting in most kinds of shoes fairly easily, making it excellent for everyday use, while still being capable of offering the level of support that athlete’s need to really push through ankle pain.
- The compression wrap laces allow you to choose how tight you want to wear the brace.
- The gel padding offers a superior fit.
- Available in a wide range of sizes.
- Uses antimicrobial technology in order to reduce odors.
- Features handy finger tabs that allow you to grip the brace properly when fitting it.
What’s To Like About The Shock Doctor Ultra Gel Ankle Brace
A number of reviews have commented on how the integrated gel support feels like it offers an exceptional level of support, ensuring that the ankle remains stable while still offering enough flexibility to allow for greater comfort. Others have noted that the design allows you to wear practically any kind of shoe, including traditionally tight footwear like soccer boots.
What’s Not To Like
While many have complimented the gel, a small number of users have found that it doesn’t offer the level of support that they were expecting, particularly if they have used high-end braces before. A minority have also experienced manufacturing issues though these can be remedied by customer support.
Sporting a 3.9 out of 5 rating, it appears that opinions on this unique ankle brace vary based on whether or not the user likes the integrated gel support system. While this may make those with high levels of ankle pain wary, those who are simply looking for added support will be delighted with this brace and the level of comfort it offers.
Choosing from The Best Ankle Brace Reviews
When looking for the best ankle brace you need look no further than the two big players in the market. Both the ASO Ankle Stabilizing Orthosis and McDavid 195 Deluxe Ankle Brace with Strap are designed with professional use in mind and offer an excellent level of support. Choosing between them is quite difficult, though we lean towards the ASO brace due to the fact that it is used by so many top university and NCAA athletes.
For those looking for a budget option, or those who simply value ease of use, the Active Ankle T2 Rigid Ankle Brace also offers an excellent alternative, particularly if you are not going to be use the brace for heavy physical activity.
5 Benefits of an Ankle Brace
Most of us take our ankles for granted, never even really thinking about or the critical role that they play in our day to day life unless they really start to hurt more if we suffer a catastrophic ankle injury.
Once that happens, however, we won’t ever take our ankles for granted again – and a lot of people even get nervous about whether or not they were ankles are going to fail in the future, and most folks take a step back from participating in some of their favorite sports or activities because of that kind of fear.
Thankfully though, a lot of that nervousness is unfounded – especially when you choose to take advantage of all the big benefits that an ankle brace brings to the table. Ankle braces (just like me braces) provide a lot of extra strength and support to a part of the human body that just doesn’t love excess forcing pressure placed upon it.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and investing in a quality ankle brace that you wear on a daily basis (or even just when you’re getting ready to play your favorite sports or partake in your favorite hobbies), here are some of the big benefits that you will be able to enjoy almost immediately!
1. Ankle braces provide a lot of extra support to otherwise weak ankle joints
Our ankles are incredibly complex, made up of numerous ligaments and tendons (no small amount of blood vessels, nerves, arteries, and muscles), but also happen to be tremendously weak when they have too much force pressure placed upon them in the wrong direction.
The key component of our lower body that allows us to manipulate our feet so that we can walk, run, jump, dance, and do pretty much everything else when we aren’t sitting or laying down, our ankles just cannot be exposed to unnecessary force and pressure in a direction that they don’t want to move in.
On top of that, some folks are unfortunately saddled with weaker ankles that seem to be looking for any reason whatsoever to fail – preventing them from enjoying sports like skiing, snowboarding, surfing, or even rollerskating/rollerblading.
With the right ankle brace, however, you’re able to add plenty of strength and stability back to your ankles. You can fully support your ankles to the point where you can participate in all your favorite sports and hobbies again without having to worry about your ankles failing.
2. Quality ankle braces reduce pain and swelling significantly
Unlike a lot of knee braces or arm races, ankle braces aren’t designed to take advantage of all kinds of metal or plastic components that really rigidly lock your ankle into place but instead take advantage of superstrong and compression like fabrics that lock everything in all the same.
When you have a quality ankle brace specifically fitted for your front you will be able to reduce pain and swelling significantly. This is all possible thanks to the compressive properties of ankle braces, something that we are going to dig a little bit deeper into in just a moment!
3. Custom fit ankle braces can help prevent against future injuries
From time to time, however, more severe ankle issues are going to need to be addressed with “heavy-duty” ankle braces that have been custom fit and designed for an individual.
These kinds of medical apparatuses can be used pre-and post-operation, providing you with a lot of extra strength and stability to help prevent against future or further injury that may have occurred otherwise. These kinds of systems are usually a little bit more expensive, but because they have been custom fit they provide a much better layer of protection and security compared to ankle braces purchased over-the-counter.
4. Ankle braces are going to make your rehabilitation program go a lot smoother (and faster)
Many ankle braces have been designed to provide just the right amount of strength and stability to your ankle without completely taking over the job of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
These kinds of ankle braces are chosen by those in the rehabilitation profession to help all of their patients slowly rebuild and regenerate the kind of strength they need to lead a happy, healthy, and completely normal lifestyles.
Different kinds of ankle braces may be used throughout the rehabilitation program depending upon your progress, and eventually you may not have to wear an ankle brace at all thanks to the benefits that they offer!
5. Ankle braces can help to improve circulation in lower extremities
As highlighted above, ankle braces are going to provide a lot of compressive features that help to contain inflammation and swelling – with those same compressive features are also going to improve your circulation in your lower extremities.
This circulation is going to boost flexibility in your feet, help you to regain and regenerate more sensitive feeling in your lower extremities, but also help you heal in your lower body a lot faster by forcing healthy blood to shuttle down to your lower extremities at a more rapid pace.