Basketball is all fun and games until you land with full force on the wrong foot.
Because every basketball player knows how painful an ankle sprain can get. In fact, approximately 50% of all basketball-related injuries are a result of ankle sprains! But is there a way around this problem? Definitely is!
Hi, I am Chris Manack. And today, I’ll be reviewing some of the best ankle braces in the market that every basketball player will find of great use.
I remember starting my research on ankle braces when I was sidelined for an entire season due to torn ankle ligaments. Fortunately, I found a quality brace that fits perfectly with my basketball shoes and helped me get back in the game sooner.
But to make your search process easier, I have compiled this informative guide for you!
Top 7 ankle brace for basketball
1. Zamst A2-DX- Best Overall
- EXO GRID: Dual molded support structures are...
- I FIT: Adjustable fasteners provide individualized...
- a FIT: Anatomically correct support for right or...
- GRIP TECH: Strong anti migration technology...
- X STRAP: Three way anterior, lateral, and medial...
The number one spot on this list goes to Zamst A2-DX, which is the most popular and certainly the best ankle brace on the market right now. Yes, this is the same product that helped NBA star Stephen Curry gain confidence on the court.
And it’s also said to have helped him rise to his fame and glory, which is the biggest green signal for understanding why the sales have skyrocketed.
When you have a good budget, you deserve to find the top-notch option, and this is precisely what my aim was while ordering this ankle brace. The Zamst A2-DX has a 4.3 rating out of 5, along with a host of reviews on Youtube, which is pretty impressive.
And after using this ankle brace for the last few practice sessions, I knew exactly why this was famous among basketball players. First of all, it features an Exo-Tech Skeleton that provides excellent support from severe ankle sprains.
The trademark X-Strap provides all-direction coverage- full lateral, anterior, and medical support, which makes it live up to the expectations. And the structure on both sides of the ankle is designed to protect your ankle from either rolling inwards or outwards.
Moreover, it has i-Fit technology, which does allow the ankle to move at a quick pace. That is unlike many other large ankle braces which can restrict foot movement to a certain extent.
Plus, it supports a-Fit technology to ensure that the ankle brace is tailored to your feet with an anatomically correct layout. This is an advantage, considering that most other units require break-in for slowly molding to their shape. And if that wasn’t enough, this ankle brace also features excellent grip to help you take full control of your game.
Overall, I can say that the Zamst A2-DX is equipped with some of the best design features to deliver excellent support and comfort during the game.
- The a-Fit technology allows it to fit both ankles correctly
- Excellent migration technology prevents the ankle from rolling in or out
- Features dual-molded support structure for medical and lateral stability
- Adjustable fasteners make it suitable for all ankle sizes and shapes
- Works well on both moderate and severe ankle sprains
- More expensive than average ankle braces
2. ASO Ankle Brace- Best ankle brace for the money
- Stabilizing Straps form complete figure-eight to...
- Ballistic nylon boot provides superior durability...
- Elastic cuff closure enhances support and keeps...
- Bilateral design so each size will fit left or...
- Each ankle brace is sold separately; US...
When you narrow down the top contenders, it’s unfair not to include the ASO ankle brace in the top three categories. It offers excellent value for money, and it’s bilateral design provides comfort and a great fit. And so, it’s safe for me to say that the number of benefits that it delivers makes it a favorite amongst college as well as professional athletes.
Even while looking for a moderately priced ankle brace, I was focused on the comfort factor. And thankfully, I found the ASO ankle stabilizer that comes equipped with the best design functions. This allows you to play for long hours, even when it’s strapped around your feet.
The bilateral design makes it suitable for all foot sizes as the stabilizing straps help to support the ankle by forming a complete figure eight. This keeps the heel safely locked in, which greatly reduces the likelihood of an ankle sprain. And it does have a pretty lightweight profile, so for those of you who aren’t looking for the bulkier option, this would be a great pick.
As for security, this ankle brace comes with an elastic cuff closure that not only provides enhanced support but also keeps your straps in position. This highlights why this product is largely recommended for providing excellent lateral and medical support.
Now let’s talk about the construction that makes it more durable than most other ankle braces which cost less than 25 dollars. It’s made of ballistic nylon that provides superior strength and comfort. And the best part is that the ankle brace comes real handy during minor sprains as the material offers therapeutic heat.
Apart from all the comfort and support that it delivers, the ballistic nylon material does require a bit of break-in. But after wearing this ankle brace for a few days, you’ll hardly be able to feel that there is anything strapped around your foot.
- Features figure-8 stabilizing straps@
- Fits comfortably on the right and left foot
- Made of durable ballistic nylon material
- Ballistic cuff closure
- Not recommended for Achilles injuries
- Requires break-in to fit comfortably
3. McDavid 195 Ankle Brace- Budget option
- PREVENTS and/or helps RECOVER from common ankle...
- SUPPORTIVE Design simulates athletic tape with...
- COMPRESSION and COMFORT top strap for custom fit
- ADJUSTABLE without unlacing or removing shoe
- BREATHABLE ventilated tongue
Now I have another popular option for you, and this is a keeper mainly for its excellent lightweight design that makes it uber-efficient. In fact, this is one of the best ankle braces that you can lay your hands on for preventing injury. The McDavid 195 comes for less than 20 dollars, which is a steal for the quality that it delivers.
If the ASO ankle stabilizer was slightly higher than your budget, then you can go for this McDavid that doesn’t fail to make an impression. This is one of the most sought after ankle braces, especially when it comes to preventing any form of ankle injuries.
The ankle brace is designed to be lightweight so that it doesn’t fail to provide optimal comfort to your feet. And I was happy to notice that it’s made of single-layer polyester fabric, with a ventilated tongue and a padded lining. However, you might find the brace to be a bit stiff initially; but after about a week, it should be more comfortable.
On an interesting note, there are no inlays that have been used for making this product; thus, it emulates the function of a basketball tape. Best of all, the lace-up closure design will surprise you further with its customized fit and comfortable level of compression.
Moving on, this model comes with nine sets of eyelets, which makes it slightly more bulkier than the ASO ankle brace (6 sets of eyelets). You also might take longer to tie up the laces; but, for all the hard work, it offers slightly more stability in comparison.
However, many users claim that it can be uncomfortable for all-day wear, mainly during summers when your foot tends to sweat. In the end, this makes an ideal option for shielding your ankle from most injuries that keep you away from playing basketball.
- Made of 100% lightweight polyester
- Ambidextrous, can comfortably fit either the right or left ankle
- Features an adjustable figure-6 strap
- Good for injury prevention
- Uncomfortable for all-day use
4. McDavid 199 Ankle Brace- Great for ankle sprains
- PREVENTS and helps RECOVER from common ankle...
- SUPPORTIVE "U" shape FLEXIBLE steel side stays...
- BREATHABLE two-layer polyester/vinyl mesh and...
- VENTILATED tongue breathes with you
- Fits left or right
This list would be incomplete if I didn’t include an ankle brace that is specifically designed for serious protection from ankle injuries. To be precise, the McDavid 199 is an excellent option if you’re looking for an ankle brace to recover from a moderate or severe foot injury. Best of all, it protects your ankles, and at the same time let’s you practice lightly to get back in form.
After having played this sport for over a decade, one of the common injuries that I had to deal with is an ankle sprain. So, I did try out a blend of options during recovery, and the one that stuck by is the McDavid 199. This ankle brace does have a pretty unique design as it features a relatively simple lace-up design, without any straps or velcro.
It provides maximum level of support to the ankle by using flexible steel inserts that are fixed on both sides of the brace. Truth be told, the brace does restrict mobility, which is required for healing the ankle sprain, but it’s not the best option for physical activity.
Moreover, unlike McDavid 195, which is made of thin polyester, this unit has a thicker, more rigid, vinyl, and nylon construction. Therefore, the thick material is stiff, which lets it hold your foot in place without cutting off airflow or causing excessive tightness. It also doesn’t fail to provide compression and even features vent holes in the tongue.
But the thicker fabric and metal side stays are the main reasons as to why you might face trouble while fitting it comfortably into some shoes. All in all, it appears like a bit of a trade-off, with less compatibility but excellent stability. So, if you’re looking for a brace that will help you treat injuries with a shorter recovery time, then this product scores fairly high.
- Feature an easy, secure lace closure
- Comes with an added inner arch insert and elastic heel
- Super protective structure
- Breathable vinyl and nylon construction
- Not comfortable in all basketball shoes
5. McDavid 511 Sleeve- Good for light support
- PREVENTS and helps RECOVER from common ankle...
- SUPPORTIVE "U" shape FLEXIBLE steel side stays...
- BREATHABLE two-layer polyester/vinyl mesh and...
- VENTILATED tongue breathes with you
- Fits left or right
Another top-notch product by McDavid is the 511 model that might easily go unnoticed because of its simple design. But don’t let that distract you because when it comes to effectiveness, this surely makes a few headlines. And unlike most of the other ankle braces on this list, it easily fits most shoes.
If you value comfort and convenience over everything else, then you can consider this unit by McDavid. Not only is it relatively easy to wear and take off but also protects your ankles without being too bulky. I found it pretty useful for athletes who have been lacking confidence after an injury but are not looking to opt for the bulkier options.
It has a compression sleeve design that allows a full range of movement, which is an essential while playing a game. Although this ankle sleeve is considered to be a basic model, there is no compromise when it comes to construction. The sleeve is made of non-neoprene knitted elastic that does stretch a little, but you can be assured that it will fit well.
The ankle sleeve needs to be gently pulled up over your feet. But this can be slightly painful to wear, especially if you’re suffering from severe injuries and swelling. Fortunately, once it fits your leg correctly, you will be comfortable during your game.
And after putting it on for a few hours, I do believe that it’s very comfortable for daily wear. You can comfortably slip it on under or over your socks without having to deal with any irritations.
All in all, this ankle sleeve is excellent for a moderate amount of support that helps prevent sports injuries and works more like a preventative measure than a solution.
- Extended height and elastane side stays provide firm lateral support
- Non-neoprene knitted construction helps retain body heat for faster healing from injuries
- Provides firm compression and soft tissue support
- Designed to provide relief from pain
- Doesn’t prevent ankle rolls
- Can be hard to wear on and take off
6. Venom Ankle Brace
- EXCEPTIONAL SUPPORT: Side stabilizers help to...
- PAIN RELIEF: Reinforced side stabilizers and...
- FULLY ADJUSTABLE: Double strap support and laces...
- LIGHTWEIGHT COMPOSITION: Highest quality blend of...
- SIZING OPTIONS: Available in sizes S, M, L, XL for...
If you’re looking for an ankle brace that provides exceptional stability and supports your ankles from basketball-related injuries, then check out this unit by Venom. This is one of the best options when it comes to getting full ankle support without having the ankle brace limit your movement. And it also offers a great deal during the sale season, so do keep an eye out for it!
The first thing that I appreciated about this ankle brace is that it comes with straps and side stabilizers to reinforce your ankle. And it provides the right amount of flexibility during the game, with a good range of motion.
The contoured arch design of this neoprene ankle brace also contributes a great deal in your recovery process. It‘s designed to apply optimal pressure on your injured ankle, which further prevents any swellings. With that in mind, the stabilization and compression of this brace are mainly targeted on protecting the tendons.
When it comes to putting it on, the product features laces and a fully adjustable strap. The presence of both these design features provides a customized fitting. So, not only does it offer you optimal support, but it also guarantees you with a comfortable and secure fit.
As for construction, this brace is made of high-quality neoprene material that is flexible, breathable, and highly adaptive to temperature changes. This helps to prevent moisture build-up generally brought by perspiration.
But many users find it to be a little bulky, and this again depends on the type of shoes that you’re using. Especially during the first few days, the braces need to break in before you start getting comfortable wearing it daily.
Overall, from its impressive pain relief features to flexible support and lightweight build, this Venom ankle brace has it all.
- Relatively lightweight and easy to use
- Made of highly flexible and well-ventilated neoprene material
- Suitable for rehabilitative and preventative use
- Provides exceptional grip and support
- Laces and adjustable straps provide a secure and versatile fit
- Might feel bulky if worn with heavy or tight shoes
- Takes some time to get comfortable around the feet
7. Nordic Ankle sleeve
- ANKLE COMPRESSION - Sleeves help support & brace...
- COMFORTABLE - Designed with comfort in mind with...
- VERSATILE - The best support for Men & Women -...
- PROVEN RESULTS - Compression is proven to promote...
- INCLUDED - 1 pair of Ankle Compression Sleeves,...
This list of recommendations would be missing an essential element without the Nordic ankle sleeve. The design and construction have been thoughtfully implemented to ensure that it improves your performance on the ground. And that’s a pretty rare scenario because most of the average ankle sleeves only offer excellent rehabilitation from injuries.
I have been wearing the Nordic ankle sleeve to recover from a minor ankle sprain, and this, in my opinion, is surely among the most comfortable products. It offers relief from swollen or sprained ankles, and many of my team players have also been using it for general ankle pain and plantar fasciitis. This not only helps in healing the ankle injury but also improves performance in the long run.
As for build quality, the sleeve is made of top-grade nylon yarn that has a warming effect. Plus, the retained body heat helps reduce stiffness around the ankle muscles. And it does not limit your range of motion, which is an advantage during practice sessions.
The ergonomic design of this compression sleeve makes it widely applicable for your practice sessions as well as final tournaments. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced basketball player, this is a must-have item that protects your ankles from the heavy strain. They also provide a decent amount of support to your ankle to ensure that it is kept well-balanced.
You’ll not be facing any trouble while slipping it over your feet, until and unless you’ve landed a severe injury or ordered the wrong size. Furthermore, the Nordic sleeve comes in a pair of two that helps you avoid unnecessary ankle pain and injury.
All in all, once you’re comfortable wearing this ankle sleeve, you’ll be able to focus on your game better and limit the possibility of sustaining injuries.
- Provides excellent compression for both recovery and injury prevention
- Easy to use and ensures a comfortable fit
- Helps improve performance
- Provides good support
- Reinforces the body’s weaker joints
- Finding the right size can be an issue
Now that you have read through all the seven recommendations, you must be trying to finalize which unit will suit your needs the best. And I must say that it always gets easier to find an ankle brace when you have a clear picture of what you need to look for.
So, for better clarity, I have broken down this section into two parts – the first one explains the different factors to consider in an ankle brace, and the second is the FAQs.
What To Look For In An Ankle Brace?
Since ankles are one of the most fragile parts of our body, you’ll find different reasons which support the use of ankle brace while playing basketball. Some of your coaches might also recommend you to wear ankle braces, even without any history of ankle injuries.
But in cases of serious injury, you might have to look for the bulkier option, as it helps reduce the chances of having to deal with an ankle injury when the body recovers. For instance, there are ankle braces specifically for covering high ankle sprains, so you should consider the pain spot before purchasing a model.
And for those of you who have a severe ankle injury and find it a bit confusing to select the best product, you should consult a doctor. In extreme cases, medical professionals will provide the right suggestion.
Level of Compression and Support
As you might be already familiar that when your ankle brace has the right level of compression, it offers ample benefits. This not only supports the muscles and joints but also provides the proper compression for increasing blood circulation and oxygen flow.
Bearing this in mind, every athlete has a different requirement depending on their game position. Some of you might require a rigid brace for maximum protection, while others prefer more flexibility and a moderate level of support.
Plus, you might be familiar with ankle braces that come with straps for providing increased compression and advanced protection. Straps generally come in figure 6 or figure 8 configuration.
The figure 6 wraps provide better protection from lateral movement, and I would recommend this if you’re more vulnerable to sprain by rolling your ankles. Whereas, figure 8 braces provide a complete wraparound compression that helps maximize the compression level.
Fit and Material
Make sure you opt for the correct size and material while you’re picking an ankle brace because having the right amount of breathability is critical.
The majority of ankle braces for basketball are made from either fabric or neoprene. Of the two, fabric is a better option for all-day wear, because it’s breathable and keeps the feet cool. And even though neoprene ankle sleeves do not breathe well, it’s a heavy-duty material that provides therapeutic heat.
In the end, no matter how supportive your ankle brace is, it will be a waste of money if you don’t find it comfortable. Because when the brace is too tight, it might cut down the blood circulation around your toes. On the other hand, if the wrap is too loose, it won’t prevent your foot from shifting or sliding during activity.
According to most basketball players, the adjustable braces are the best options because you can conveniently customize them to your ankle size. It’s always best to take your time while adjusting the ankle brace to ensure that you get a perfect fit.
Durability and Price
Perhaps one of the essential factors that you need to consider when purchasing an ankle brace is its durability. You must be aware by now that the materials and construction play a critical role in ensuring that it’s a value-added product.
Furthermore, ankle braces with inserts have the best durability, while ankle sleeves are not that durable in comparison. In short, when more material is used for making the ankle brace, it tends to last the longest.
Ankle braces also have a wide range of prices both online and in stores. If you focus on some of the best companies, you might have to spend a significant amount, but you’ll be receiving quality products which work well. Overall, you should ensure that you’re getting what you’ve paid for, and reading the product specifications carefully is always advisable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long should you be wearing an ankle brace after an injury?
Well! The duration for which you need to wear on the ankle brace solely depends on your injury. So, don’t hesitate to visit a medical professional for achieving the best results as they would be able to guide you correctly. In most cases, ankle braces are worn from somewhere between 10 days and six weeks after your injury.
Moreover, you should continue wearing the brace even if you have been experiencing any mild form of ankle swelling, instability, or discomfort. This helps to heal the strained muscles and ensures that you’re able to perform upto your expectations.
What are the different foot injuries that an ankle brace can be used for?
Basketball is one of the most high-impact and fast-paced games that involves a ton of repetitive jumping and running. Thus, it’s not surprising that this game usually takes a toll on the ankles.
And some of the most common ankle and foot injuries that you might sustain while playing basketball includes – tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, stress fracture, Achilles heel, sprains, and strains.
What is the difference between the rigid and lace-up braces?
Both these ankle braces have been designed to protect you from getting injured during the game. These braces are bulkier than lightweight models, and therefore it can provide you with a comparatively higher level of support.
Most rigid braces contain plastic panels, which help to protect your feet even when other players step on your foot. But this type of ankle brace can also restrict your motion, so you need to be careful while picking the right kind of product for your foot.
The rigid (stirrup) braces are the ones, which provide the maximum protection; they comfortably allow your feet to move in the standard motion- up and down. And it also prevents your foot from rolling inwards or even in some cases, outwards.
Can sleep and ankle braces go hand in hand?
If you’re generally comfortable wearing the ankle brace all the time, then you won’t face any challenge sleeping with them too. But when it comes to safety, you cannot wear the heavyweight ones like the Zamst A2-DX for the entire night. Plus, doctors don’t usually recommend anyone to sleep while wearing these ankle braces.
You might find a few exceptions to this rule, but for that, you should look for ankle braces that are specifically designed to be worn at night. This means that if you want to wear an ankle brace for healing a swelling or injury, then it’s recommended to consult a doctor.
Truth be told, for all high-intensity sports, you need to stock up on your protective gear. Especially when it comes to basketball, you cannot take the injuries lightly.
I tried to include a wide range of ankle braces in this guide so that you can find the right combination of flexibility and support. And I hope you were able to finalize the right product from these seven recommendations, depending on your game requirements and injury history.
At the end of the day, you need to ensure that the ankle brace helps you make the most out of your next basketball game.
Till next time!