For people who don’t make it to the gym as often as they’d like to, it may feel like there’s little you can do to make the most out of what little time you do have to devote to exercising. Ankle weights are a great way to add a little more to any workout to maximize your efforts without the huge cost of a gym membership or a lot of fancy equipment. Ankle weights are affordable, portable, and easy to use. You can wear them while walking, swimming, or even while doing housework and get the added benefits of increasing your endurance and burning extra calories. There’s a lot more to finding the perfect pair of ankle weights than you might imagine, though.
Ankle Weight Buying Guide
Before buying a pair of ankle weights, there are some things you should know to make sure you get the best pair. You’ll need to consider your fitness level, activities, lifestyle, and budget in order to make sure you find the right ones for you.
Kinds of Ankle Weights
Although the kind you choose won’t change the way they perform or the positive effects you’ll get from using them, there are a few kinds of ankle weights that you’ll encounter when shopping around.
Sand filled weights are fixed, meaning you cannot adjust the weight to be heavier or lighter. Sand filled weights also cannot be used in water as they’ll absorb some, which will increase the total weight and could be dangerous.
Water filled ankle weights can be filled and emptied to adjust the weight you’re actually working out with or just to make traveling with them a little easier. Water filled weights can also be used in water.
Metal weighted ankle weights are also really common. They can be used in water and are probably the easiest kind of ankle weights to adjust because you can usually just slide the metal pieces in and out to make them as heavy or light as you want.
Top Ankle Weight Comparison Chart
Ankle weights can be made of a variety of different materials. Some are synthetic and waterproof while others are soft and padded. You’ll find weights that have special liners next to the skin to maximize comfort along with foam padding.
Depending on what you’ll be using your weights for, the biggest thing you’ll need to decide is whether or not you want them to be waterproof. Waterproof weights are great for using while swimming but they need to be made of materials that aren’t going to absorb too much water and bog down the swimmer. Read the manufacturer’s instructions before going swimming in any kind of ankle weights just to be on the safe side.
Ankle weights also come in fixed or adjustable weights. Fixed ankle weights range from ¼ to 25 pounds while adjustable ones let you add weighted bars as you work your way through your training.
Fixed weights are great for beginners because they’re usually less expensive and will let you try out a lightweight pair to see how you like them and if you want to invest in something a little more intense. If you’re ready for a long-term ankle weight commitment, getting an adjustable weight pair might seem a little expensive, but in the long run, they’ll be the last weights you’ll need to buy because you can make them as heavy as you want.
It’s important that the ankle weights you choose be as comfortable as possible so you’ll be able to tolerate them while you’re working out. Make sure the padding is good enough to keep pressure off your skin. They also have varying levels of padding and the materials used to make them will affect comfort, too.
Look for ones that have an adjustable strap so that you can tighten or loosen them as you see fit. Adjustable weights are also particularly nice to have if you’re planning on sharing your ankle weights with someone else. Some ankle weights are designed as a cuff, which will offer more limited sizing than ones that come with a longer, more adjustable strap.
Safety & Precautions
Ankle weights should not be too heavy, painful, or uncomfortable. They should offer just a little bit more resistance. You’ll know they’re right when you forget that you’re wearing them.
It’s not recommended that ankle weights be used for any high-intensity activities, like running, hiking, or cardio. There’s a greater chance of injury because the weights put more stress on muscles and joints that are already being pushed pretty hard. Plus, they’ll change your balance and the way you walk, which can lead to falls and other issues with coordination.
Also, as mentioned earlier, be careful when using ankle weights in water. Make sure to use a brand that is waterproof and follow all manufacturer’s directions before jumping into the pool.
Best Ankle Weight Reviews
The Healthy Model Life by Stronger ankle weights set was specifically designed for women. They’re a sand filled, simple cuff style with a velcro closure that are padded and notably very comfortable and stylish looking, so you won’t mind wearing them to the gym. They won’t chafe or rub your skin while you’re wearing them and they won’t flip or shift.
The velcro closure makes them easily adjustable so they’ll stay in place while you’re working out or just wearing them around the house. They come in a few different weights, including one, two, five, and ten pounds. While they say they’re designed for women, men can certainly use these as well. The design is gender-neutral and, besides, men like to be comfortable, too.
One downside to these being designed “for a woman” is that they’re a little small. Anyone with larger or more muscular ankles and calves might have a hard time getting these to sit in the right place.
- Soft padding
- Come in a variety of weights
- Run small
- Weight not adjustable
The Nayoya three pound adjustable ankle weight set is made of a soft, padded, cloth material that will absorb sweat and keep you dry. This lowers the risk of chafing and just generally makes you feel more comfortable.
These are designed with a small weight in the front, one on the back, and a velcro strap that threads through each and encompasses the ankle. The strip is long so this set should have no problem fitting any size ankle. Each weight is on and a half pounds, for a total of three.
These weights are so adjustable, you can even use them on your wrists if you wanted to. They come with a convenient storage bag so you can keep them together when you’re not using them. They’re easy to put on and adjust.
They’re only available in one color combination – a bright yellow and green – but if that doesn’t matter to you, these are a great pair of ankle weights to try out.
- Long strap to fit any ankle
- Can also use as wrist weights
- Only come in bright green and yellow color combination
If you’re looking for a pair of weight adjustable ankle weights, try the All Pro Weight Adjustable ankle weight set. Each weight can be adjusted up to five pounds in quarter pound increments, which gives you a lot of control. All you do is add or remove the solid iron weights from the pockets.
These weights are cushioned with contour foam padding against the ankle and heel while still allowing a full complete range of motion. The velcro strap makes it easy to adjust to any ankle. The material is water resistant and easily cleaned, but might get a little uncomfortable when sweating and rubbing against your skin.
Because the weights are only held in place with one band of velcro, the more weight you add, the less secure they will feel. Be aware that once you work up to wearing five pounds on each ankle, they might need somewhat frequent readjusting.
- Adjustable weight
- Cushioned strap
- Easy to adjust
- Velcro not as effective when used with heavier weights
Nordic Lifting’s ankle weights are designed to be both comfortable and durable. They have neoprene padding with reinforced stitching so you’ll be able to use them for a long time.
They’re so adjustable, you can also use them as wrist weights if you prefer. The large velcro pad is long enough to fit almost any ankle and is easy to use. Plus, the ergonomic design will help keep away any aches and pains.
If you plan to use these to walk or do anything outside after dark, they have a reflective trim so you can be sure you’re seen. They also come with a storage bag, so you can easily keep and store them when not in use.
These are weighted with sand/beads so as time goes on and they experience more wear and tear, they may leak a little bit. Also, if you have particularly small ankles, these might be a little too big for you, even when tightened.
- Can also be used as wrist weights
- Soft and comfortable
- Ergonomic design
- Seams can leak sand/beads once wear and tear begins
- Might not fit people with really small ankles
The sportneer ankle weights offer a few little extras that are nice to have without having to spend more. For example, it includes 5 removable sand pockets for each ankle weight. Each weight can be adjusted from half a pound to three and a half pounds. Lengths can be adjusted from 11.8″ to 12.6″. Then, the Sportneer gives us a glimpse of the details which include anti-fray edges on all fabric pieces. There won’t be any tearing, fraying or ripping because of the material and how it’s sewn.
The fabric is breathable and it promises to let your skin breathe without experiencing excessive moisture build-up. Sportneer promises the metal D-ring used to secure the strap will not fail under any usage circumstances.
Finally, if that wasn’t enough, over 300 users have rated this set a 4.6 out of 5 stars and Amazon has elevated it to their “recommended” status. That’s not bad for a lowly ankle weight!
- Can also be used as wrist weights
- Soft and comfortable
- Extra wide velcro strap gives stability
- Breathable fabric
- Sand filling can shift (which is still not a big deal!)
Theraband Comfort Fit Walking Weights are thin with a soft terrycloth liner that adds an extra layer of protection between your skin and the weight and wicks away moisture, making them really comfortable. They’re small enough to wear under regular or work clothes so you can work out when you get a chance to during the day.
They come in color-coded sets. Red bands are each one pound, green are each one and a half pounds, and blue are each two and a half pounds. They fit a variety of ankles. The strap and hook and loop closure let each band adjust to almost any size, including small enough to go around your wrist if you want to use them for more than ankle weights.
These bands will not slow you down. As you progress, you can get the next size up so you can keep working but not have to change your technique.
For anyone especially petite, these weights might not be small enough to fit comfortably on your ankles. Some users also commented that they loosened up and rubbed a little bit after some wear.
- Terrycloth lining for comfort and moisture-wicking
- Soft and comfortable
- Adjustable size
- Might not fit small ankles
- Loosen up a bit after use
Zensufu’s ankle weights are made of a soft, durable material that will feel great against your skin and last for a long time. The adjustable velcro straps help them adjust to any ankle and these can also be used on the wrists, too.
Each set comes with a pair of weights. The weight you choose will determine the color – purple is one pound each, light green is one and a half, aqua is two, navy blue is 3, and dark green is five pounds. The amount of weight itself is not adjustable, so if you want to increase it after awhile, you’ll have to buy a new set in a different size.
These are stuffed with sand and so can leak if the seams start to fray. They’re also not ideal for use in water as they’ll absorb a lot and will take awhile to dry. Some users have said that they run on the small side and for people with larger bone structure, it might be tough to get them to fit correctly.
- Soft and durable
- Available in a wide range of color-coordinated weights
- Adjustable sizing
- Sand could leak after heavy wear
- Run small
Valeo has been producing high-quality fitness products for about thirty years so it’s no surprise that their ankle weights made our roundup of the best around. They have a soft inner padding to make sure you stay comfortable while having an adjustable velcro strap that can adjust to most sized ankles or wrists.
These have removable weight packs that can be adjusted from one to five pounds for each ankle. It’s quick and easy to change the weight by just sliding the different weights into various pockets.
The weights don’t always sit right against the skin and may need to be adjusted throughout your workout.
- Adjustable between one and five pounds per weight
- Trusted brand
- Soft inner padding for comfort
- Need readjusting during activity
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
For a stylish, comfortable, more feminine option, try the Health Model/Stronger Ankle Weight set. They’re simple, cuff style weights that look good enough to wear out of the house. The design on these is unisex and could easily be worn by men, too, but the sizing tends to run small so keep that in mind.
The Nayoya Three Pound Adjustable Ankle Weight Set has a moisture-wicking material that will help keep you dry, which reduces the chances of chafing and just generally keeps you more comfortable. The strap design makes them adjustable enough to fit almost any ankle.
If you want to be able to adjust the weight, try the All-Pro Weight Adjustable Ankle Weights. You can get up to five pounds in each weight in quarter pound increments, allowing for true customization on a weight that will last a long time. They have foam padding for comfort and are made with a water-resistant material.
If you’re looking for something to use at night time, try the Nordic Lifting Ankle Weights, which have a reflective trim for safety. These might not work for anyone who is particularly petite but are generally durable, comfortable, and easy to use.
For a thin, soft, moisture-wicking set of ankle weights that can fit underneath your work pants or jeans, try the Ivation Premium Ankle Weights Set. They’re easy to clean and have a wide velcro strap to help keep everything in place.
Theraband Comfort Fit Walking Weights are another option that will seamlessly fit underneath your normal pants so you can wear them to work or while you’re out and about without drawing too much attention. They come in a variety of weights from one to two and a half pounds, so whatever fitness level you are, there’s a pair of these for you.
The Zensufu Ankle Weights are soft, durable, and adjustable. They’re a streamlined, simple choice that comes in weights ranging from one to five pounds. They do run on the small size, so keep that in mind before you buy.
For an adjustable product from a trusted brand, try the Valeo Adjustable Ankle/Wrist Weights. Each weight is adjustable from one to five pounds and the soft inner padding will help you stay comfortable while you’re wearing them.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to ankle weights than meets the eye. You need to consider the amount of weight you want and whether you want it fixed or if you want to be able to adjust it.
You’ll also need to decide if you want to use them in water and plan accordingly. Avoid materials that promise to be absorbent or moisture-wicking if you want to use them in the water. You need something waterproof or else the weights will soak up water and become even heavier.
When it comes to ankle weights, it’s all about what is comfortable and best for your needs. No matter what kind you choose, you’re well on you way to getting a little more out of your workouts.