Basketball 6 Best Ankle Braces For Basketball Reviewed

6 Best Ankle Braces For Basketball Reviewed

You grab hold of your teammate’s pass and rush down the court. Nimbly changing direction as you outwit a defender, you make a flying leap for the hoop, slot the ball home, and land back on the court in triumph.

Sounds fun, right? And basketball sure is. But each of those activities relies on having healthy ankles – and with all that running, pivoting, jumping and landing, basketball puts a lot of strain on one of our most important joints.

If you’ve ever hurt one of your ankles playing basketball then you need to ensure you give your foot plenty of support whenever you play to prevent re-injury – and the best way to do that is with a good quality ankle brace. But which to choose? Read on to find our review of the best ankle braces on the market!

Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer – The Overall Best Ankle Brace

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Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer, Black, Small
10,087 Reviews
Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer, Black, Small
  • 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...

The first product on our list is an excellent all-rounder ankle brace – Med Spec’s Ankle Stabilizing Orthosis (or just ‘ASO’ – and in case you’re wondering, orthosis is just another word for ‘brace’). It comes in sizes from XX Small to XXX Large. You can work out your size by measuring your ankle’s circumference (check the internet for Med Spec’s size chart).

This is a lace-up ankle brace, which means it offers a good level of support and adjustability as the laces can be pulled into a fit that’s snug to your foot. You first tie up the cotton laces, before wrapping the straps under the foot and then up around the ankle, and velcroing them in place. The product’s ballistic nylon material is strong but light, and provides good durability. 

This ankle brace is fairly lightweight, and comes in black or white. It’s also the foot support of choice for the US Naval Academy and US Coast Guard’s sports teams, as well as Yale and Princeton Universities – and you have to bet that those guys know what they’re doing!

Pros

  • Excellent support
  • Comes in a good range of sizes
  • Lightweight
  • Ankle brace used by many well-respected institutions

Cons

  • Fairly plain design – may suit some, but not others

Mcdavid Ankle Brace – Best Ankle Brace For Multiple Sports

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McDavid 195R-BK-M Ankle Brace Support/w Stabilizer Straps,...
5,056 Reviews
McDavid 195R-BK-M Ankle Brace Support/w Stabilizer Straps,...
  • 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. Not...
  • BREATHABLE ventilated tongue

This ankle brace has a similar design to the Med Spec ASO. It’s a lace-up product, with the lacing bolstered by straps that you weave around your foot in a manner similar to taping, before velcroing them above the ankle. The manufacturers, McDavid, claims that the product is suitable for moderate to major instabilities, offering Level 3 support.

In truth, there is not much to choose between this model and the Med Spec ASO. Both ankle braces are made of strong, lightweight ballistic nylon, both feature laces that make a comfy fit easy to achieve, and both offer the potential for quick mid-game adjustability without the ankle brace being removed or unlaced. If choosing between a McDavid or a Med Spec, you might simply want to see which one is available at a better price at the time of your purchase.

However, where McDavid really shines as a brand is in the number of different types of ankle braces in their range. For example, the 199 is a very similar model to this 195, but does not have the figure-6 strap design – rather, it is just laced up all the way to the top. This gives this ankle brace it a different look – more of a ‘sneakers’ vibe – and a slightly altered feel.

Pros

  • Good level of support
  • Made from durable and light ballistic nylon
  • Several variations offered

Cons

  • These ankle braces are only available in black

Liomor Ankle Support – Best Ankle Brace For Breathability

Liomor Ankle Support Breathable Ankle Brace for Running...
1,173 Reviews
Liomor Ankle Support Breathable Ankle Brace for Running...
  • ULTRA-STRONG SUPPORT - Our ankle support fitted...
  • IDEAL FOR ANKLE HEALTH - Designed to minimize the...
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL - Made of high-elastic and...
  • REASONABLE DESIGN - Open heel design allows wide...
  • L/XL Size - Fits both left and right feet and up...

This is a light product which will easily stay hidden under your shoes. This ankle brace has no laces, but rather is simply made from an elastic material which must be wrapped around your feet then velcroed down. The effect is roughly the same as wearing a bandage around your foot.

There is a hole where your heel is placed, which is intended to increase flexibility in that part of the foot as your heel’s movements are not limited. The product affords good padding on the underside of your foot including in the area down towards your toes, which many ankle braces for basketball do not – however, the padding is a little uneven, which might be off-putting when you’re running.

As a lightweight product that’s easily put on, it can be purchased for day-to-day usage, rather than only for sports. This might lead it to suit anyone with tendinitis, arthritis or simply a still-sensitive ankle from a recent injury. In fact, given that it provides a little less support than one of the lace-up models, it’s probably a better ankle brace for everyday wear or jogging, rather than the fast-paced crucible of the basketball court.

Pros

  • Inexpensive ankle brace
  • Can be used day-to-day, not just in sports
  • Best for people who want a light support

Cons

  • Uneven padding could interfere with balance

Zamst A2-DX – Strongest Ankle Brace

Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace, Black, Small - Left
1,246 Reviews
Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace, Black, Small - Left
  • ANATOMICALLY CORRECT SUPPORT: Our advanced ankle...
  • ADJUSTABLE FIT: Our Ankle Braces offer adjustable...
  • ANTI-ROLL AND ANTI-SPRAIN: Our Zamst Ankle Brace...
  • ANTI-MIGRATION: Our Grip Tech ensures strong...
  • THREE WAY SUPPORT: The X STRAP design stabilizer...

If you look into the Zamst A2-DX online, you’ll quickly discover that one fact about it is repeated more than any other: this is the brand of ankle brace that supports the Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry. And the endorsement of the three-time NBA champion is a pretty valuable commendation. So how does the Zamst measure up to its billing?

Well, the product is certainly designed for serious support. It features hard supports down the side, ‘weave-up’ straps and a very large Velcro strap along the top (which is also large enough to prominently display the ‘Zamst’ branding – something the company must be very happy about given Stephen Curry’s backing). The cost of the strong support is that this ankle brace is on the bulkier side. However, for those particularly at risk of ankle injury this is likely to be a price worth paying.

Talking of prices worth paying – it’s worth noting that the Zamst A2-DX ankle brace is the most expensive product on our list by a fair margin.

Pros

  • Built for professionals
  • Strong material
  • Incredible support

Cons

  • Quite bulky

SENTEQ Compression Ankle Brace

Ankle Brace Men and Women Compression Support for Sprained Ankles...
374 Reviews
Ankle Brace Men and Women Compression Support for Sprained Ankles...
  • PICK YOUR SIZE FROM THE SIZE CHART - Easy to wear,...
  • BREATHABLE AND ODOR RESISTANT - Powerful...
  • MEDICAL GRADE - Registered as class one medical...
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL WITH HANDMADE CRAFTSMANSHIP...
  • 𝗦𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗦𝗙𝗔𝗖𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡...

The SENTEQ comes from the family of ankle braces that are more like cut-off socks. It is essentially a loop of rubber which you slip over your foot. This is not fancy technology – but it achieves its goal of providing some compression on your ankle to help stabilize it.

Most of your foot, including your heel, is free and uncovered with the SENTEQ. This makes it comfortable and hardly noticeable while wearing. There is plenty of airflow, and the fact that your sole is largely bare means that there is little impact on your grip. The neoprene material is moisture-wicking, which means it helps stave off unpleasant sweaty odors which are a natural hazard with any footwear product.

Of course, given the lack of laces or other straps, it is not possible for a small slip-on product such as this one to provide you with as much support as some of the larger models on the market. Given its small size, however, it’s impressive how much compression it does allow. If you’re looking for peak protection for your ankle then this is not the place to come – but if you need something small and subtle that still provides some assistance then the SENTEQ could be the option for you.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Retains your feet’s natural grip
  • Offers good compression for what it is

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer as much protection as a larger model

Sleeve Stars Ankle Support

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Sleeve Stars Ankle Brace for Plantar Fasciitis and Ankle Support...
4,865 Reviews
Sleeve Stars Ankle Brace for Plantar Fasciitis and Ankle Support...
  • ✅ Speed up recovery: Provides great compression...
  • ✅ Free support strap: For extra support, we...
  • ✅ Wherever you need it: Whether you have a long...
  • ✅ Super premium quality: Our ankle brace for...
  • ✅ Buy it now and feel the difference instantly:...

This product is marketed as being particularly suited to those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of a band of tissue across the sole of your foot that causes a stabbing pain in the heel. However, it’s also useful for other foot-related aches and pains, including sprained ankles, tendonitis and heel spurs.

While this product is a sleeve (like a sock without the end), it comes with a bonus supporting strap that can be used to make it tighter, making it an ideal halfway pick between a straightforward sleeve and a lace-up model.

If you want one for each foot, you can currently buy two on Amazon and enter the code ‘GETAPAIR’ to get a 10% discount.

Pros

  • Designed for those with painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis
  • Inexpensive
  • Bonus strap can be added

Cons

  • Some users have found the product not to fit the shape of their foot

Other Useful Basketball Articles

The Ultimate Buying Guide

The ankle is an extremely mobile joint. It’s designed to be that way to give you a full range of movement – spinning, leaping, cushioning a landing, and all the other miraculous motions that the human body can so effortlessly accomplish. However, its very mobility makes the ankle liable to injury, as it can become twisted or sprained. Indeed, Roos et al report in the 2017 American Journal of Sports Medicine that ankle sprains are the most common injury reported by US student athletes. 

The goal of an ankle brace is essentially to slightly immobilize the ankle, keeping it steady so that it cannot be twisted again in an unhealthy manner. In the ankle braces reviewed, we’ve seen the main designs out there for accomplishing this. The Med Spec and McDavid ankle braces allow you to pull a sleeve tight around the ankle and tie it up with laces and straps. The Zamst A2-DX model also follows a similar procedure.

The Liomor, SENTEQ and Sleeve Stars versions provide compression, too. But without laces to pull tight, they inevitably have less capacity to put pressure on the ankle. The most adjustable is probably the Sleeve Stars if the bonus strap is fitted. The Liomor ankle brace can be pulled tight too, but the SENTEQ is effectively little more than a tight sock. But not all ankle and foot injuries are the same, and you don’t necessarily want your ankle to be bound up like an Ancient Egyptian mummy. You need to pick an ankle brace that applies the level of pressure that’s right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

In what circumstances should I wear an ankle brace?

A 2001 article by Roald Bahr in the British Medical Journal points to evidence that ankle braces for basketball can be an effective tool for preventing injury among those who have already suffered ankle injuries. However, Bahr writes that this effect does not apply to those whose ankle has never been injured. 
 
Remember that an ankle brace is not a magic cure-all for an injury. In the immediate aftermath of hurting your ankle, follow the ‘RICE’ procedure (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). You should also allow your ankle proper time to heal before getting back to activities that involve putting weight on it.

Is ankle tape as good as an ankle brace?

Bahr’s 2001 article, mentioned above, states that an ankle braces are more effective than taping. Bahr refers to evidence from Verhagen et al in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine from 2000 and Thacker et al in the American Journal of Sports Medicine of 1999 in support of this.

Are ankle braces bad for the knees?

The claim is sometimes heard that ankle braces are bad for knees. The thinking behind this is that by reducing the mobility of the ankle, the work of stabilizing the body as you run and jump is instead transferred to the knees, which are not as naturally well suited to the task.

However, while it’s true that studies show that ankle braces may change the forces acting upon the knees in various ways, current research does not suggest any increased risk of knee injury as a result of wearing ankle braces for basketball.

The 4th Quarter

Ankle injuries are a constant threat for any basketball player, but in general they need not inhibit your performance – or your fun. Take good care of your ankles, but if they do get hurt make sure you treat them properly, including by wearing the proper ankle braces when you return to the courts. If you do, you’ll be surging down the court to slam the ball in the net again in no time!

Justin D. Johnson
Justin D. Johnson
Justin is a PhD student at Stanford University and has been a basketball youth coach for over ten years. He is passionate about sports, cinema, astronomy, and sharing knowledge.

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