Strength, stability, and mobility of an ankle can be loss from injury or simple overuse in any sport. This does not stop athletes whose passion and desire requires them to continue day in and day out. When pain is significant and stability is lost, extra measures must be taken to keep the athlete healthy. While off time includes extra rest, ice buckets, and elevated ankles the athlete is still required to play every day, so where do they turn? The Ankle Brace.
Top Basketball Ankle Brace Comparison Chart
You can find Ankle Braces in every sport. Literally every sport. Soccer, Football, Gymnastics, and Basketball. Basketball is a sport that is hard on the hips and ankles due to constant jumping, twisting, sidestepping, and practically every motion besides being inverted. During a game of basketball, most athletes will be less concerned with their feet than the ball on the court. This allows for favoring one side, constant gait changes, and the eventual ankle roll on a misstep.
Ankle support braces have been used both for good and bad among athletes. We can understand from our anatomy that we need the ankles and hips to be pliable and flexible in order to move properly. When you limit your ankle mobility and have tight hips you end up with knee pain. That is the result of having limited mobility in a primary movement chain. Ankle braces must promote longevity of athletes and athletes must be understanding in what they choose to support their bodies with.
Basketball Ankle Brace Buying Guide
There are a few things that determine whether an ankle brace or wrap is used properly. Ankle Braces must provide compression and completely surround the ankle to maintain proprioception (range of motion) as well as support. The more support you provide the less proprioception. The less support the more range of motion is provided. When analyzing an ankle brace you must gather with what you need most and try to limit the consequences. A good ankle brace will have a mixture of both.
Based on findings we will adhere our search to three main criteria:
Is the brace possible to use in a basketball shoe? Is it sleek and lightweight? Is it wearable on both feet.? Other relevant design features are addressed here.
Does the brace promote proper foot and ankle movement. Does it allow the wearer the ability to continue to play the sport they love without being burdened by rubbing, scratching, pinching, or lack of movement.
Does the brace provide stability for users. Is the stability useful and designed for longevity of the athlete. Is the support for serious injury, high compact sports, or everyday use.
Best Basketball Ankle Brace Reviews
Aesthetics: The ASO ankle brace is simple as it is sleek. The brace fits into any shoe, and comes in many sizes that are presented when you search “ASO sizes” on google search engine. The material is highly regarded in the market due to the combination of comfort, stability, and durability.
Proprioception: Proprioception during physical activities is not inhibited during running, pushing, and quick movements while wearing this brace. The ASO ankle brace promotes good proprioception for braces of this type.
Support: The use of both laces and Velcro provide support from multiple angles. This is an important feature of security for basketball as many athletes do not want to worry about their braces coming undone mid play.
Purchasing a higher size than your own foot could create foldings and provide less stability. When you are trying to decide between sizes, it’s usually best to choose the smaller sized option.
Previous consumers suggest that the brace will fit snug during the initial swelling portions of an injury, but as swelling dissipates a second brace may be required due to size differences.
Aesthetics: The Ultra Zoom ankle brace resembles a minor boot for ankle and foot injuries. The double velcro at the high ankle and mid foot are the only means of tightening. The plastic components appear to be focused on purely stabilization of side to side movements. With small bolts and plastic pieces, this product would most likely be difficult to place inside a standard basketball shoe. Another factor is that it does not cover the anterior (front) portion of the ankle. A player must also wear high socks to prevent rubbing with the brace.
Proprioception: This contraption may seem good in the ways of support but limits proprioception. Just like the Zamst, when you provide full support, you lose mobility. This product does not allow the ankle to give in any way and could result in knee pain if the hip is not pliable and flexible enough.
Support: Full support is given to all but the anterior ankle portion. This is a problem as we stated in the beginning that full ankle pressure is needed for faster ankle recovery and support. The Ultra seems to be focused on after-injury protection and has likely seen success in the matter of support. I am concerned to the velcro for support, as velcro is easily worn and does not provide the stability a lace brace does.
Results: This brace is rated highly by pasted users, but should be considered as far from perfect as it does not match all the criteria required to properly stabilize and promote recovery. The additional baggage of plastic and velcro could be problematic for durability of this brace. I would not recommend this brace over competitors.
Aesthetics: The Venom Neoprine Ankle brace resembles the ASO ankle Brace. It has full surrounding double straps and uses laces to increase support. The method of compression method also resembles the aofsa.org method for taping an ankle with the pressure point starting above the ankle and initially wrapping below the heel to provide side stabilization. The Venom provides a contoured arch support for pain elimination. The brace should fit most basketball shoes and measurements are provided online.
Proprioception: Movement is not inhibited by this brace while keeping support. The Venom Neoprine Ankle Brace passes this test.
Support: This model provides great support. However, many previous customers indicate that the brace runs small for foot sizes. This is most likely due to the full support the brace can give as the compression over the whole foot should be tight without cutting off blood circulation.
Results: The Venom Neoprine Ankle Brace passes all test and should be highly considered when purchasing your brace for basketball and many other sports.
Aesthetics: The Zamst Ankle Brace consist of various different parts. The side stabilization is plastic with a high ankle wrap. It does provide the double cross over straps but does not include extra support from laces. The brace is designed for one side of the foot only, meaning you must select right or left foot when purchasing. From the general view the Zamst Ankle Brace may seem bulky and inflexible, but that is only to fully prevent pronation of the ankle to reduce the chance of rolling your ankle.
Proprioception: The Zamst ankle brace receives high marks for the lack of ankle rolls, but without movement of the ankle the force of the pressure is put to the knees and/or hips. The goal for proprioception to be optimal and not eliminated. The brace does provide some flexibility as professional basketball players have selected this brand over many others. The concern of full support though leaves less movement in the ankle.
Support: The Zamst ankle brace provides full support. The plastic roll guards and double strap do not leave the ankle open or allow for rolls. The Zamst is the complete package in support and should be highly recommended if that is your concern.
Results: For someone who is having issues or had a serious injury of the ankle, the Zamst brace will be able to provide stability during sports, normal life, and recovery. However, this brace should not be used after support has been recovered as proprioception of the ankle is limited. This brace could lead to further knee problems if hip pliability and flexibility are not present.
Aesthetics: Lightweight and breathable material is used on the foot portion, and this contributes to the less bulky, overall feeling. The brace provides both laces and side straps that cover the ankle completely. The brace should fit most basketball shoes and measurements are provided online.
Proprioception: This brace is widely acknowledged as perfect among users and has the standards to allow for foot and ankle proprioception. The brace can be left tight or reduced to increase the strength of movements as recovery continues. It features a minimalistic construction on the bottom of the brace to reduce the bulky, thick feeling some braces have.
Support: Like others, the Sneino features an X-shape (crossover) design that does well in preventing side-to-side roll and forward roll. Support seems as good, if not better, than a well-done wrap from an athletic trainer. The side stabilization is key to providing great support.
Results: This brace should be highly considered when continue to play a sport following a serious injury. This brace does not have the additions of arch support or extra padding, but it is basic and highly revered among users as the #1 Laced Ankle support as the name entails.
Aesthetics: The COMPRESSX ankle brace is a full ankle brace that is constructed from the methods of actually taping an ankle. The side stabilizers actually perform in unison with the cross band. The laces provide extra support and compression to the ankle. There is no portion of the ankle exposed. This is the representation of a “Do it yourself” ankle wrap in a brace form. Snug fit allows for this particular brace to fit into a shoe with ease.
Proprioception: This Brace provides exceptional foot and ankle proprioception for athletes who require the extra support. The sizes also fit exactly what they should. The Compress X passes the proprioception aspect of our requirements.
Support: With full ankle compression and side stability the support from this resembles the Venom and ASO ankle braces. All previous users remark the great comfort and usefulness of this brace. The amount of support will not prevent an athlete from perform and reduce the likelihood of ankle related problems.
Results: This is the ideal Ankle support brace that promotes compression, proprioception, and recovery. I highly recommend this brace for buyers.
Aesthetics: The sleek and simple design from McDavid is perfect for those who no longer require the side stabilization, but do not feel comfortable enough to engage in high compact sports without extra support. The black and red is logo based. The straps are the only essential constricting feature to pull the brace into support. The brace does completely surround the ankle and compresses based on the tightness of the laces. The brace should fit most basketball shoes and measurements are provided online.
Proprioception: The McDavid ankle brace resembles a tight-fitting sock. This does not limit foot proprioception any more than an athlete who wears multiple tight-fitting socks. Very basic, but well designed to not inhibit movement.
Support: Of the list, the McDavid provides one of the lowest supports. Most other braces have constantly added more features to keep up whereas the McDavid has not. This simple support structure was highly used back in the beginning of basketball and should not be overlooked by those looking for only slight support on the court.
Results: Follow a severe injury this sleeve may not be the most suitable to help and compress the ankle. I would most likely turn to the #1 laced brace because of price and quality of product. The McDavid does appear to provide all the standards of a good brace from what we have stated above.
Aesthetics: The Adizero Ankle Brace provides a single upper strap to secure the foot into a predetermined setting. The required choice for left or right foot indicates less adjust-ability for an athlete. The stitched holes allow for the foot to be open in sections and may provide less pressure than another brand. The brace should fit most basketball shoes and measurements are provided online.
Proprioception: This particular ankle brace does not impair much movement during sports and high movement activities. Some normal rubbing and restriction can be felt, but performance is unnoticed when wearing this brace.
Support: While this brace looks great, it doesn’t offer the stability and support of other options on this list.
Results: The Adidas Adizero seems insufficient as a proper ankle brace as it barely meets the standards set forth for ankle support. A buyer should look toward other products for a higher quality result.
Aesthetics: This best selling brace is one connective unit that is supported by two velcro straps. The slick material is easy for going barefoot and placing the brace inside a shoe. The material does not cover the anterior portion of the ankle. The thickness is low in comparison to the other braces on this list. The brace should fit most shoes and measurements are provided online.
Proprioception: This is a very low amount of support, which provides little or no restriction to movement. This particular brace gets ranked high in allowing foot movement.
Support: The Bracoo ankle brace is not for high compact sports. This is a particular brace for everyday use during work, low compact recreation, and other typical daily activities. The amount of overall support is low and that is the point. This particular brace is supposed to offer low support to promote strengthening and mobility of the ankle
Results: This particular style of brace is a good everyday brace, but not a good brace for basketball as the amount of support is significantly low. Keep this one for your walks and daily activities if you do struggle from instability of the ankle.
Follow-Up and Recommendations
ASO, Venom, CompressX, and the #1 laced Ankle Brace all passed the Aesthetic, Proprioception, and Support requirements to be considered highly useful to athletes in basketball as well as many other sports.
There are hundreds of braces available online today and many options to choose from. Remember that the goal of the ankle brace is recovery. Unless unrecoverable trauma/injury to the ankle the goal should be to recover and become independent of the brace.
There is a surprisingly insignificant price and ranking difference between both good and poorly designed brands. This makes it confusing to most buyers and could result in the purchase of a “sub-par” product. This also allows buyers to purchase higher quality products at affordable prices.
When considering an ankle brace remember the 3 aspects
1) Should I continue to rest and recovery?
2) Does the aesthetic fit my shoe, my foot, and what I want?
3) Does the brace provide the correct amount of proprioception for my sports?
4) Does the brace provide the support I need to prevent further injury?
Do not perform high compact activities such as basketball, soccer, and football if pain or injury not been properly recovered or assessed by a medical professional.
Further injury recovery
For initial injury recovery methods use the R.I.C.E. method. Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. The compress aspect is important and a brace can be used. This will reduce swelling, decrease pain, and promote the body’s healing processes.
After you are back on your feet, it is okay to begin with using a brace when needed. Work on foot/ankle stability, strength, and mobility exercises to recovery beyond were you were at before. Many ankle injuries happen because one or all of these were not 100%. Perform exercises until walking and perform athletic feats are stable and without pain.
Caution: When recoveries avoid overuse of the other leg. A common theme is for an athlete to rest one leg, overcompensate with the other, and mess with proper gait rhythm. Focus equally on both halves of the body when performing rehab/prehab workouts.
If you’ve never heard of the Armor1 Ankle Roll Guard, I’d highly recommend you take just a few minutes of your time to research this new product. Many athletes swear by it and I’m more than confident it’s the right choice for more than one of you weekend warriors or competitive athletes. Check out the video below to get started with your research!