Protect Your Ankles, Relieve the Pain – Find the Best Ankle Braces on the Market

Many people cannot imagine running, playing any sport or merely walking without an ankle brace.

Why is that so?

If you ever had a foot injury or suffered from plantar fasciitis, arthritis, Achilles tendonitis, or any other foot problem, you know that the pain can be excruciating.

You know I’m a passionate runner, and since I’ve dealt with various foot problems over the years, ankle braces became my best friends.

I’ve tried different types and brands until I’ve found the right one for me. You should do the same.

Don’t worry if you have no idea where to start. You are not alone in this.

I will be your guide.

I will explain the most common ankle brace types and present you the best models on the market.

Finally, I will tell you which model is my personal favorite, but don’t feel obligated to agree with my choice. Explore different options and see what works for you.

Let’s begin!

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Which Type of Ankle Brace is the Right One for You?

man athletic sneakers wearing orthosis

Once you start looking into ankle braces, you will see there are three different types that are most common on the market, which you can get over-the-counter.

Sleeves, straps, lace-ups and different combinations of these types are waiting for you, all you have to do is choose the one that suits your needs.

Of course, choosing the right one is not an easy task. You have to take a closer look at the pros and cons of each type and evaluate their key characteristics.

Unfortunately, your podiatrist will tell you that you can’t have it all – you have to choose between comfort and stability. If the ankle brace is tremendously stable, it will be uncomfortable and vice versa.

Luckily, in most cases, you won't need the maximum stability unless you are a professional volleyball or basketball player.

Let's take a look at these three types together, and I will point out the most important characteristics you should pay attention to.

Foot Sleeves

If you don’t need too much stability and comfort is your priority, foot sleeves are perfect for you.

You can purchase them in almost any well-equipped sporting goods store or drugstore. They will serve you as a good compression device, but leave you grossly unstable at the same time.

You have to be cautious because first-time users often purchase sleeves that are too tight which can only aggravate the foot injury or condition they are dealing with.

Some people like combining sleeves with some of the medical-grade ankle braces, to increase their comfortability.

In general, this type is excellent as a first-line treatment and prevention you can buy on your own, if you feel more secure wearing a compression device.

Straps

Strap-style braces feature cloth straps. All you have to do is wrap these straps around your ankle, create the perfect heel-lock figure eights, and voila – your ankle will be stable.

The straps can vary in both thickness and flexibility. The quality of the material directly affects their performance and comfort.

These ankle braces are most popular among professional and collegiate athletes. Luckily for me, you, and all of the other people who need ankle braces, the models of this type are cheap and just like sleeves, provide an excellent first-line solution.

However, these strap style braces can be a nightmare to put on. The Velcro can damage the fabric of the brace. Also, there are so many straps that you need quite some time to figure out how to put it on.

Before purchasing strap ankle braces, remember that over-tightening can lead to numbness or cause a strap to cut into your skin. Tighter doesn't always mean better.

Lace-ups

Lace-up ankle braces are usually made of rigid materials, and they offer the best stability.

However, as I said, this often means they are very uncomfortable.

Fortunately, manufacturers had recognized this problem, and they are doing their best to change the materials and the design to reach better comfort and retain the superior functional capabilities.

At last, you can find many hybrid models on the market. They combine laces, straps and the stretchiness of the sleeve to provide you with the best over-the-counter help for your ankle.

Once you decide which type is the right for you, choosing the brand and the model you like the best will be a breeze!

Top 5 Ankle Braces on the Market – My 2020 Reviews

1. PowerLix Ankle Brace Compression Support Sleeve (PAIR) for Injury Recovery, Joint Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

PowerLix Ankle Brace Compression Support Sleeve (PAIR) for Injury Recovery, Joint Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

Source: Amazon.com

Finding a comfortable yet efficient ankle brace is not an easy task. PowerLix offers you their model which applies even pressure across your ankle joint, relieving the pain in arthritis, different sprains, muscle fatigue, plantar fasciitis, swelling or tendonitis. 


The material is form-fitting, tight and breathable. This ankle brace features the special knitted technical design, which suits different joints.

What I loved about this ankle brace is the fact that it doesn't have a cut-out heel. This increases the comfort significantly, especially if you are wearing it for a long time.


Pressure and breathability are adequate, and the whole product seems well-made and durable. It allows full motion, with no restraints.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to wear it inside all of your shoes, just highly stretchy sneakers.


Be careful while choosing the right size for yourself, because the sizing charts seem to be a bit off, and the brace often ends up being too tight.

Pros

  • It doesn’t have a cut-out heel
  • It provides excellent pressure and breathability
  • The product is highly durable
  • It is discrete and allows full motion
  • It reduces pain in plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and different foot injuries.

Cons

  • You won’t be able to wear it in your shoes
  • It might be too tight, which can hurt the injured leg
  • The top might stretch out over time
  • It doesn’t provide too much support.

2. Copper Compression Recovery Foot Sleeves / Plantar Fasciitis Support Socks

 Copper Compression Recovery Foot Sleeves / Plantar Fasciitis Support Socks

Source: Amazon.com

First of all, don’t worry, if you don’t like Copper Compression foot sleeves, the manufacturer will give you a full refund, no questions asked.


The combination of copper and compression will keep your joints warm, allow full range of motion and provide you with sufficient support that will reduce the pain. 


High-quality fabric will withstand washing and stay in perfect shape for a long time, even with everyday use.

If you are looking for something more than just an ordinary ankle brace, I recommend you to try this model.


These foot sleeves are comfortable; you can wear them while you sleep, wash them and air dry them. To top all of that, they are affordable and well made at the same time.

However, I don't think they are as durable as advertised. These ankle braces tend to lose elasticity with each wash. It's a slight change, but after a few washes, you will definitely notice it.


Also, they are difficult to put on, and the material in the front often rolls back as you walk, which can be inconvenient.

Pros

  • They are comfortable and well-made
  • These ankle braces are affordable
  • You can wear them while you sleep
  • You can wash, and air dries them
  • The combination of compression and copper will relieve your pain.

Cons

  • The sizing chart might be a bit off
  • The material in the front might roll back causing discomfort
  • They lose little elasticity with each wash
  • They are a bit difficult to put on.

3. Venom Ankle Brace Neoprene Lace Up Compression Sleeve

Venom Ankle Brace Neoprene Lace Up Compression Sleeve

Source: Amazon.com

Venom ankle brace with neoprene lace-up features side stabilizers that will help you reinforce your ankle and regain flexibility.


This model is lightweight, fully adjustable and it comes with a double strap to offer a comfortable fit.


Whether you are dealing with arthritis, Achilles tendonitis, foot injuries or just swelling, this ankle brace will bring you pain relief. It is made of sweat resistant, moisture wicking fabric.

I love how this ankle brace doesn't go too high up your calf, which makes it much more comfortable for wearing.


It offers excellent support both for your heel and your foot. You can wear it comfortably for several hours, even in your shoes.

However, you might not be able to fit some of the narrower shoes over this ankle brace.


Also, the laces can make putting the brace on and getting it off, both time-consuming and difficult. Don't expect to get any instructions with this product; you'll have to figure it out on your own.

Pros

  • It doesn’t go too high up your calf
  • It fits great around the heel and the foot
  • It will stabilize injured joint and reduce the pain
  • You can wear it comfortably for a long time
  • You can wear it with a shoe.

Cons

  • It might not fit into shoes that are not stretchy
  • The laces make getting it off and putting it on a bit tricky
  • The product doesn’t come with any instructions
  • The laces are short and need to be centered perfectly.

4. McDavid Ankle Brace for Ankle Sprains, Volleyball, Basketball for Men & Women

McDavid Ankle Brace for Ankle Sprains, Volleyball, Basketball for Men & Women

Source: Amazon.com

McDavid ankle brace is designed specifically for athletes, to prevent potential foot injury. It is made of a single-layer polyester fabric, which provides full support and minimal weight.


The design of this model simulates figure six strapping pattern athletic tape. It is fully adjustable, offers optimal breathability and has a padded lining which ensures better support. 


You can fit it on both right and left ankle.

What's impressive about this ankle brace is the fact that you can adjust its tightness according to your needs. You wouldn't be able to roll your ankle even if you wanted to.


The brace is comfortable, offers mobility, and you can wear it inside of your shoes. Also putting it on is quick and straightforward.

Unfortunately, laces often stick to the Velcro part which leads to ripping. So, you could say this is not the most durable model on the market.


Be careful with the sizing, because this ankle brace runs a bit small. If you ask me, the price is higher than it should be.

Pros

  • It offers excellent mobility
  • You can adjust the tightness as you like
  • With this brace, rolling your ankle is practically impossible
  • It is comfortable, and it will fit in your shoe
  • You can put it on quickly enough.

Cons

  • Laces tend to stick to Velcro and rip over time
  • It runs a bit small
  • The ankle brace is overpriced
  • It can be challenging to take off after exercise.

5. Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

Source: Amazon.com

Med Spec ankle stabilizer is made of ballistic nylon, which provides superior support and durability. Elastic cuff closure is responsible for keeping your foot in place. Laces and stabilizing straps only further enhance that feature. This ankle brace can fit both your left and right foot, while the low-profile design ensures it fits in any shoe. You can wash this product in the machine.

The fact that you can customize the fit of this ankle brace is fantastic! You can wear it even inside of the narrowest shoes you own. It reduces pain tremendously while providing optimal support and stability. If you are just a tad lazy, like me, you will appreciate the fact that you can wash this ankle brace in the washing machine.

The biggest downside of this model is that you cannot wear it for more than a few hours, because it might hurt your shin. Lacing and fitting can be tedious. Another annoying thing – this ankle brace can be noisy as you walk.

Pros

  • You can wear it inside shoes
  • It reduces pain significantly, by providing support and stabilizing the ankle
  • You can use it on both feet
  • It is washable and easy to put on
  • You can customize tightness and fit.

Cons

  • It might hurt your shin if you wear it for several hours
  • Lacing and fitting can be time-consuming
  • Sizing is a bit confusing
  • They make some noise as you walk.

Conclusion

Orthopedist patient with foot problems

Let’s sum it up.

We've talked about different kinds of ankle braces, their pros, cons and the reasons you should go with one or another. Also, we’ve covered five of the best models you can find on the market, and I gave you my opinion on each one of them.

However, now is the time for the final verdict.

My favorite ankle brace in this group is - PowerLix Ankle Brace Compression Support Sleeve for Injury Recovery, Joint Pain and Plantar Fasciitis.

Obviously, it is the sleeve type ankle brace; it is highly comfortable and durable. Breathability of this product is fantastic, it is discrete, and you can wear it anytime and anywhere.

If you think ankle braces are not helpful enough in your case, and you need to strengthen your leg muscles, you can take a look at the article I wrote about running with ankle weights.

What do you think about PowerLix Ankle Brace? Do you agree with my choice?

Do you think there are some better candidates for the best ankle braces on the market than the ones I’ve proposed? Do you have any experience with ankle braces?

Feel free to leave me a comment; I would love to hear your opinion. If you think there's someone you know who could benefit from this article, don't forget to share!

Sharing is caring!

Matt C.
 

Hi, I’m Matt, the man behind Empower Your Run. There's nothing quite like crossing your first finish line, and I hope one day you'll get the chance to experience that for yourself. Remember – “if you can walk, you can run” – and I'll be here guiding you every step of the way!