The 10 Best Ankle Braces for Basketball of 2020

Support weak or injured areas with these top picks

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Our Top Picks
"The nylon boot that makes up the brace promises durability and strength, without sacrificing much in the way of flexibility."
"Its breathable neoprene material promises to minimize irritation and to feel lightweight during wear."
Best Professional:
Zamst A2-DX at Amazon
"The brace’s straps offer anterior, lateral, and medial support, protecting every part of the ankle."
"Running from the midsole to the low ankle, it offers some of the best mobility among braces."
Best Lightweight:
McDavid Ankle Brace at Amazon
"The low-profile ankle brace is crafted from a high-elastic fabric designed to offer plenty of flexibility."
"A lace-up design allows wearers of the brace to get a fit that’s snug and protective without being uncomfortable."
"Comes with a built-in adjustable strap that allows the wearer to get a fit that’s exactly as tight as they want it to be."
"Offers maximum support and protection without being as stiff as other similar protective braces."
"The fabric is designed to remain comfortable and flexible, even while helping to support the ankle."
"Memory foam padding surrounds the ankle joint, cushioning it and offering a fit that feels snug and somewhat customized."

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries a basketball player can experience. Some studies have found that basketball players are five times more likely to sustain an ankle injury when they’ve experienced one before. Given this, many basketball players—both recreational and professional—seek out protection in the form of an ankle brace.

“If [a patient] has already experienced an ankle sprain, wearing a brace is definitely going to be part of the conversation,” says Dr. Ryan Balmes, DPT, a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedics and sports physical therapy. Dr. Balmes notes that ankle braces can be used to reduce the likelihood that an ankle sprain will happen.“Think about the number of hours you’re playing—you’re going to be at risk always for injuring [your ankle],” Dr. Balmes says. “If you want to decrease that risk, wear an ankle brace.”

Dr. Balmes also recommends speaking with a physical therapist to develop a program that will strengthen and further protect your ankle and to ensure you’re wearing your ankle brace properly.

Here are the best ankle braces for basketball on the market.

Best Overall: Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

The Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer offers considerable protection, without becoming clunky or expensive. The nylon boot that makes up the brace promises durability and strength, without sacrificing much in the way of flexibility.

The brace is equipped with stabilizing straps which form a figure-eight shape around the ankle, offering it support and protection. And the brace’s elastic cuff closure holds it firmly in place while also keeping its laces and straps secure. This means wearers won’t have to pause mid-game to continually adjust their brace.

Though the Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer promises to protect and support the ankle, it boasts a sleek, low-profile design that makes it easy to pair with different shoes. It’s also designed to be bilateral, so it can be worn on the right or left ankle interchangeably. The brace is conveniently machine washable—though it should be air-dried—and is available in sizes extra-extra-small through extra-extra-extra-large.

Best Budget: Liomor Ankle Support Breathable Ankle Brace

The Bodyprox Ankle Support Brace is an excellent choice for those prioritizing comfort, flexibility, and price above all else. The semi-rigid ankle brace is equipped with protective features that promise to keep the ankle stable. But its primary strength is the range of motion it allows. The brace’s open-heel design allows the wearer to move around easily, and the discreet sleeve design offers further comfort and flexibility.

In addition to boasting a flexible silhouette, the Bodyprox Ankle Support Brace is crafted from a comfortable textile. Its breathable neoprene material promises to minimize irritation and to feel lightweight during wear. And the brace’s velcro wrap design allows the wearer to customize the fit to their foot. They can tighten or loosen the brace’s straps to get a fit that’s as cozy as they want it to be.

What Experts Say

 “Ankle bracing is just one piece of an overall physical therapy program. You’ll want to combine it with a PT program—or at the very least, a conversation with a physical therapist. Having a conversation with a physical therapist will give [the patient] a lot of understanding about what to look for in an ankle brace and how to use that ankle brace best. We’re here to help guide [patients] through those decisions, so they don’t have to make that decision alone.”—Dr. Ryan Balmes, DPT, a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedics and sports physical therapy

Best Professional: Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace

The Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace is a heavy-duty ankle brace, fit for those looking for professional-grade protection—NBA player Stephen Curry wears this brace during practice and games, according to the manufacturer. The brace is engineered with “dual-molded Exo-Grid support technology” that promises to enhance ankle stability and keep the foot from rolling inward or outward. The brace’s straps offer anterior, lateral, and medial support, protecting every part of the ankle.

The part of the brace that wraps around the sole was designed to keep the foot from shifting forward, ensuring the ankle brace stays secure during games. The Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace boasts adjustable fasteners that allow the wearer to get a fit that’s comfortable and snug. And the brace itself is designed to be compressive so that it doesn’t shift out of place during wear. It comes in a range of sizes, from small to extra-extra-large.

Best Neoprene: SENTEQ Ankle Brace Asain Slim Fit

The Senteq Breathable Neoprene Ankle Sleeve is comfortable, lightweight, and flexible, making it a useful pick for those who favor discretion. The decidedly low-profile sleeve offers firm and steady compression that supports the ankle without restricting movement. And the low-cut, open-heel design further offers flexibility. 

Because the Senteq Breathable Neoprene Ankle Sleeve has no laces or straps, it’s easy to slip into socks and shoes. The brace’s material offers further comfort. Crafted from a moisture-wicking, mesh-vented neoprene, the Senteq Breathable Neoprene Ankle Sleeve promises to remain dry, comfortable, and lightweight during wear. The sleeve is available in a range of sizes (from small to XXX-large), allowing shoppers to find a fit that’s adequately snug for them.

Best Lightweight: McDavid Ankle Brace

The Liomor Ankle Support Breathable Ankle Brace is both lightweight and supportive, making it a great choice for those who want comfort, flexibility, and some amount of protection. The low-profile ankle brace is crafted from a high-elastic fabric designed to offer plenty of flexibility. The brace’s textile also promises to wick moisture, keeping it cool, dry, and comfortable during wear.

The ankle brace comes with a series of built-in criss-cross straps, which allow the wearer to get a secure and somewhat personalized fit. The straps also reinforce the brace, rendering it more stable and supportive than some of the even lower-profile (strap-free) options on the market. Though some velcro straps may become frayed or loose with use, the straps on this brace promise to remain durable, wear after wear.

The brace comes in sizes small/medium and large/extra-large and isn't drier friendly.

Best Lace-Up: SS SLEEVE STARS Ankle Support Brace

The McDavid Lace-Up Ankle Brace offers a thoughtful blend of support and flexibility, promising stability without sacrificing comfort. The brace’s lace-up design allows wearers to get a fit that’s snug and protective. The brace is crafted from single-layer polyester for a supportive but lightweight feel. The brace’s ventilated tongue offers further breathability.

Because it offers more support than others, it may be too bulky to comfortably fit into some shoes. It is currently available in sizes extra-small through extra-large. Note that the brace is not machine washable or dryer friendly.

Best Sleeve: Cramer Active Ankle T1 Rigid Ankle Brace

Like many ankle sleeves, the Sleeve Stars Ankle Brace prioritizes flexibility and comfort over protection. This makes it an excellent choice for those who prefer a less bulky ankle brace that offers a greater range of motion. The Sleeve Stars Ankle Brace promises to provide a moderate amount of compression, which is designed to offer relief and support during wear.

The compression should also keep the sleeve firmly in place throughout use, allowing the wearer to comfortably move around without having to continually readjust it.

In addition to being snug and compressive, the Sleeve Stars Ankle Brace comes with a built-in adjustable strap that allows the wearer to get a fit that’s exactly as tight as they want it to be. And the sleeve promises to be comfortable too. Crafted from a thin, moisture-wicking, and supportive material, the Sleeve Stars Ankle Brace is designed to remain dry and flexible during wear. The sleeve is also reinforced with a soft-to-the-touch inner lining, which renders it even cozier.

Best Heavy-Duty: McDavid 511 Compression Ankle Support

The Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace offers maximum support and protection, but it promises not to be as stiff as other similarly protective braces. The brace is crafted from softshell plastic, which offers stable protection designed to withstand seasons of wear. Still, its hinged-cuff design allows for some amount of flexibility, encouraging a freer range of motion that still supports and protects the ankle.

The Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace’s velcro strap design allows wearers to get a snug, comfortable fit—one that promises to stay in place during wear. Wearers can expect to move around somewhat comfortably in this brace and to not have to constantly readjust it mid-game.

Because the brace is a heavier-duty, performance option, it may not fit comfortably into all socks or shoes. That said, it’s available in two versatile colors—black and white—allowing wearers some amount of discretion.

Best Discreet: Run Forever Sports Foot Compression Sleeve

The Run Forever Sports Foot Compression Sleeve boasts a low-profile silhouette and versatile color palette, making it a particularly great pick for those looking for a discreet option. The sleek compression sleeve looks more like a sock than a brace, and it’s available in three easy-to-wear shades—black, white, and beige. Wearers could pass the compression sleeves off as a pair of socks with no difficulty.

This compression sleeve is crafted from a four-way stretch compression weave textile. The moderate compression of the sleeve promises to provide support and relief without sacrificing mobility—the fabric is designed to remain comfortable and flexible, even while helping to support the ankle. The fabric is also lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking, promising to remain dry and comfortable throughout wear. 

Best for Stability: McDavid Bio-Logix Ankle Brace

Those looking for protection rather than discretion may appreciate the McDavid Bio-Logix Ankle Brace, a heavy-duty, performance-grade ankle brace. Inside and out, the brace is crafted from molded plastic, which offers stability while giving the foot some amount of comfort.

The brace’s flex-link hinge design further offers protection while expanding the ankle’s range of motion. And memory foam padding surrounds the ankle joint, cushioning it and offering a fit that feels snug and somewhat customized.

The brace boasts an array of anchor straps that wearers can adjust to get the snug fit they desire. And wearers can rest assured that it will stay secure during use. The anchor straps will keep the brace tight, the internal stirrup wraps will provide support above and below the foot, and the anti-slip silicone sole will keep it from shifting forward or back. Combined, these elements provide a secure fit that won’t demand constant readjustments mid-game.

Whereas many ankle braces are bilateral (capable of being worn on the left and right ankles, interchangeably), this brace is specifically designed to accommodate the anatomy of the right ankle or the left ankle—shoppers will have to select which option they want when ordering. This allows for a kind of precise support and stability wearers may not find in a more variable ankle brace.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for professional-grade ankle protection, the Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace (used by NBA player Stephen Curry) is your best bet. If you’re looking for something that’s protective, but a bit more discreet (and considerably less expensive), the Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer may be a better option.

What to Look for in an Ankle Brace

Stability

Dr. Balmes says that ankle sprains experienced by basketball players tend to be lateral ankle sprains. This means the lateral ligaments (the ligaments on the outside of the foot) are the ones getting hurt. Given this, ankle braces that offer enough rigidity to prevent the foot from rolling inward can be particularly useful for preventing basketball-based ankle injuries.

Comfort

The downside of rigidity, though, is that it may limit a player’s comfort or range of motion, Dr. Balmes notes. Because more protective ankle braces prevent ankle movement, a player may not be able to move around as nimbly as they’d like to. For this reason, Dr. Balmes recommends that players select ankle braces based on the level of protection they feel comfortable with, given their style of play.

Discretion

Dr. Balmes says that some players avoid ankle braces because they dislike the way they look. So discretion may be another factor worth considering while shopping for ankle braces.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. McKay GD, Goldie PA, Payne WR, Oakes BW. Ankle injuries in basketball: injury rate and risk factors. Br J Sports Med. 2001;35(2):103-8. doi:10.1136/bjsm.35.2.103