The 13 Best Ankle Braces for Basketball of 2021

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 minimizes irritation and feels 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:
Liomor 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 the low-profile support of a compression sleeve and the high flexibility of a wrap.
Designed to support the achilles tendon, its crafted from two simple pieces, including an ankle cuff and a heel strap.
Equipped with several gel packs that you can put in the freezer for cold therapy or pop in the microwave for hot therapy.

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 orthopedics and sports physical therapy. He notes that ankle braces can reduce the likelihood of an ankle sprain, and with the number of hours played, you're always going to run the risk of injury. “If you want to decrease that risk, wear an ankle brace,” he adds.

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

Here are the best ankle braces for basketball.

Best Overall: Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer
Pros
  • Stable but flexible

  • Adjustable

  • Bilateral (can be worn on either foot)

  • Low-profile

Cons
  • Unreliable sizing chart

  • Bad return policy

The affordable Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer offers considerable protection, without feeling clunky. Promising durability and strength, the nylon boot provides support and flexibility at the same time.

The brace is equipped with stabilizing straps, which form a figure-eight shape around the ankle for ultimate protection. Additionally, the elastic cuff closure holds it firmly in place while keeping its laces and straps secure—meaning wearers won’t have to pause mid-game to continually adjust their brace.

The Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer boasts a sleek, low-profile design that pairs well with a variety of shoes, and it's bilateral, so it can be worn on the right or left ankle interchangeably. The brace is machine-washable—though it should be air-dried—and it's available in sizes XXS-3XL.

Sizes: XXS-3XL | Material: Nylon | Features: Laces, stabilizing straps, boot, ankle cuff

Best Budget: Bodyprox Ankle Support Breathable Ankle Brace

Bodyprox Ankle Support Breathable Ankle Brace
Pros
  • Flexible

  • Adjustable

  • Breathable open heel

  • Low-profile

Cons
  • May be too bulky

  • Limited support

The Bodyprox Ankle Support Brace is an excellent choice in terms of comfort, flexibility, and affordability. The semi-rigid ankle brace is equipped with protective features that 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 the flexible silhouette, the Bodyprox Ankle Support Brace is crafted from a comfortable textile. The neoprene composition minimizes irritation and the lightweight material offers breathability. Wearers can tighten or loosen the brace’s straps to get a fit that’s as cozy as they want it to be.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Material: Neoprene, nylon, polyester | Features: Open heel, adjustable straps

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

Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace
Pros
  • Heavy-duty

  • Adjustable

  • Whole-ankle support

  • Used by professionals

Cons
  • May be hard to put on

  • Bulky

The Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace is a heavy-duty ankle brace, fit for those looking for professional-grade protection. Engineered with "dual-molded Exo-Grid technology," the brace enhances stability and keeps the foot from rolling inward or outward. It also has straps that offer anterior, lateral, and medial support, protecting every part of the ankle.

The part of the brace that wraps around the sole is designed to keep the foot from shifting forward, ensuring the ankle brace stays secure during games. Boasting adjustable fasteners for a comfortable fit, the brace doesn't shift during wear. It comes in a range of sizes, from S-XL.

Sizes: S-XL | Material: Not listed | Features: Molded support, stabilizing straps, ankle cuff

Best Neoprene: SENTEQ Ankle Brace Asain Slim Fit

SENTEQ Ankle Brace Asain Slim Fit
Pros
  • Flexible

  • Breathable open heel

  • Low-profile

  • Easy to put on

Cons
  • Not adjustable

  • Limited support

The Senteq Breathable Neoprene Ankle Sleeve is comfortable, lightweight, and flexible, making it a useful pick for those who favor discretion. The low-profile sleeve offers steady and non-restrictive compression that supports the ankle, 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. 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 M-3XL), allowing shoppers to find a fit that fits snuggly.

Sizes: M-3XL | Material: Neoprene | Features: Open heel

Best Lightweight: Liomor Ankle Brace

Liomor Ankle Support Brace
Pros
  • Flexible

  • Adjustable

  • Breathable open heel

  • Low-profile

Cons
  • Open heel may be too small

  • May be too bulky for some shoes

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. Made with high-elastic fabric, it offers flexibility in addition to moisture-wicking properties.

The ankle brace comes with a series of built-in criss-cross straps for a 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 are designed for durability. Find it in sizes S/M and L/XL.

Sizes: S/M-L/XL | Material: Rubber, nylon, lycra | Features: Straps, open heel

Best Lace-Up: McDavid Ankle Support Brace

McDavid Ankle Support Brace
Pros
  • Stable but flexible

  • Adjustable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Bulkier than some options

  • Inaccurate sizing chart

The McDavid Lace-Up Ankle Brace offers a thoughtful blend of support and flexibility, promising stability without sacrificing comfort. Thanks to the lace-up design and single-layer polyester composition, the brace has a supportive and lightweight feel. A ventilated tongue offers further breathability.

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

Sizes: XS-XL | Material: Polyester | Features: Laces, stabilizing straps, ankle cuff

Best Sleeve: Sleeve Stars Active Ankle T1 Rigid Ankle Brace

Sleeve Stars Active Ankle T1 Rigid Ankle Brace
Pros
  • Flexible

  • Adjustable

  • Low-profile

Cons
  • Limited support

  • May be tough to slide on

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 brace with a moderate amount of compression paired with a greater range of motion. The compression should also keep the sleeve firmly in place throughout use—keeping it in place without the need for adjustment.

Snug and compressive, the Sleeve Stars Ankle Brace comes with an adjustable strap for a personalized fit. 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.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Material: Nylon | Features: Compression sleeve, straps

Best Wrap: ComfiLife Ankle Brace

ComfiLife Ankle Brace
Pros
  • Flexible

  • Adjustable

  • Low-profile

  • Fit is customizable

Cons
  • May be tough to put on

  • Irritating for sensitive skin

If you want more control over how your ankle brace fits, consider choosing a fully customizable option—like ComfiLife’s Ankle Brace. With the low profile of a compression sleeve, it offers support in addition to the flexibility of a wrap. Keep the brace tight where you need more support and lose where you need more space thanks to the velcro closure.

The wrap is crafted from a stretchy material, and thanks to its low-profile design, it should be pretty easy to slip inside your favorite pair of athletic shoes. Strap the wrap on any time you need a little extra support, but know that it probably won’t offer the same stability as a heavier-duty brace.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Material: Not listed (contains latex) | Features: Adjustable straps

Best Strap: Pro-Tec Achilles Tendon Support

Pro-Tec Achilles Tendon Support
Pros
  • Flexible

  • Low-profile

  • Achilles tendon support

Cons
  • Not great for ankle injuries

  • May run small

Most ankle braces are designed to support and stabilize the ankle, but Pro-Tec’s Achilles Tendon Support is designed to support the Achilles tendon, instead. The low-profile brace is crafted from two simple pieces—an ankle cuff and a heel strap. Combined, these features offer Achilles support, relieve heel pain, and cut down on discomfort.

The strap is crafted from a stretchy fabric, and its low-profile design promises to keep your range of motion full and flexible. Another beneficial component is that the strap comes lined with EVA foam padding, which cushions your foot without adding bulk to your shoes.

Sizes: M-XL | Material: Not listed | Features: Stabilizing straps

Best Ice Pack Wrap: Vive Ankle Ice Pack Wrap

Vive Ankle Ice Pack Wrap
Pros
  • Great for temperature therapy

  • Adjustable

  • Bilateral (can be worn on either foot)

  • Machine-washable

Cons
  • Limited support

  • Not suitable for game wear

While Vive's Ankle Ice Pack Wrap shouldn't be worn during a basketball game, it's great for post-game wear. It looks like a bulky ankle brace that extends from your lower calf down to your toes, and it comes with several gel packs that you can freeze for cold therapy, or pop in the microwave for hot therapy.

The wrap itself is crafted from breathable neoprene, and since it’s machine-washable, you can easily wash it after a sweaty workout. The wrap is adjustable, so you can make it as snug or as loose as you’d like it to be, and the bilateral design makes it easy to wear on either ankle.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Material: Neoprene | Features: Adjustable straps, temperature therapy gel packs

Best Discreet: Run Forever Sports Foot Compression Sleeve

Run Forever Sports Foot Compression Sleeve
Pros
  • Flexible

  • Low-profile

  • Easy to put on

Cons
  • Limited support

  • Unreliable sizing chart

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.

This compression sleeve is crafted from a four-way stretch compression weave textile that remains comfortable and flexible. It's also breathable, moisture-wicking, and lightweight. The moderate stability of the sleeve provides support and relief without sacrificing mobility, meaning you can wear it for a variety of activities.

Sizes: S-L | Material: Nylon, spandex | Features: Compression sleeve

Best Heavy-Duty: Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace

Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace
Pros
  • Heavy-duty

  • Adjustable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Bulky

  • May be squeaky

The Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace offers maximum support and protection, but it's not as stiff as other similarly protective braces. Crafted with softshell plastic, the brace is stable and designed to withstand seasons of wear. Still, the hinged-cuff design allows for some amount of flexibility, encouraging a freer range of motion and comfort.

The Ultra Zoom Ankle Brace’s velcro strap design is helpful for a personalized fit. Because it's 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.

Sizes: S/M-L/XL | Material: Thermoplastic resin | Features: Molded support, stabilizing straps

Best for Stability: McDavid Bio-Logix Ankle Brace

McDavid Bio-Logix Ankle Brace
Pros
  • Heavy-duty

  • Adjustable

  • Whole-ankle support

Cons
  • Bulky

  • May be uncomfortable

Those looking for protection rather than discretion may appreciate the McDavid Bio-Logix Ankle Brace, a heavy-duty, performance-grade ankle brace. Crafted from molded plastic, it offers stability without sacrificing comfort. The flex-link hinge design offers further protection, and a memory foam padding cushions the ankle joint for comfortable wear.

Made with an array of adjustable anchor straps, wearers can ensure the brace will stay secure during use. Additionally, internal stirrup wraps provide support above and below the foot, which keeps it from shifting forward or back.

While 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. This allows for precise support and stability that wearers may not find in a more variable ankle brace.

Sizes: XS/S-L/XL | Material: Neoprene, thermoplastic polyurethane, nylon, polyester, microfiber, spandex | Features: Molded support, stabilizing straps, memory foam padding, ankle cuff

Final Verdict

Searching for an ankle brace that’s protective but discreet? The Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer (view at Amazon) is a solid option. The brace is stable and flexible, and thanks to its sleek silhouette, it’s easy to pair with athletic shoes.

If you’re looking for professional-grade ankle protection, the Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace (view at Amazon), which is used by NBA player Stephen Curry, is your best bet. It comes with stabilizing straps and a molded support system for whole-ankle support.

What to Look for in an Ankle Brace for Basketball

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.

FAQs

Should I wear an ankle brace for basketball?

Ankle braces aren’t necessary for all basketball players, but they can be a great option if you’ve had an ankle injury before. “Wearing a semi-rigid ankle brace during basketball can be beneficial for people who are not currently injured, but who have had a prior ankle injury,” Dr. Kasia Gondek, D.P.T., certified strength and conditioning specialist at Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy, says. 

Dr. Gondek notes that she would only recommend an ankle brace to someone who’s had a prior ankle injury and whose ankle is not presently in tip-top shape. “If a player has had an ankle injury but has excellent jumping, landing, and cutting body control, I would say that the ankle brace would not benefit them during competition,” she says. This is because rigid ankle braces can limit your range of motion.

How do you protect your ankles in basketball?

Wearing an ankle brace can be a great way to protect your ankle if you’ve sustained an ankle injury before. But if you’re looking for ways to prevent an ankle injury, you need to focus on training thoughtfully.

“It’s important to remember that no amount of bracing or taping can replace the protection and stability provided by your own muscle strength, flexibility, body control, balance, and agility,” Dr. Gondek says. “[I’d] focus on improving functional strength, balance, and movement control.” For basketball players, this could mean proper warm-ups, strength training, and a balance and agility program, she says.

What ankle braces do NBA players wear?

Different NBA players wear different ankle braces. Stephen Curry, for example, wears the Zamst A2-DX Strong Ankle Brace (view at Amazon)—a heavy-duty, professional-grade ankle brace we recommended above.

Can I play basketball with a sprained ankle?

You should not play basketball with a sprained ankle or with another severe ankle injury. In fact, you should wait to return to the sport until a medical professional has told you that you can. 

“It takes at least three to six weeks to heal from a moderate ankle sprain, and up to three to six months for more serious ankle injuries—depending upon what was injured and how severely it was injured,” Dr. Gondek says. Returning to sports too soon could cause your injury to heal even more slowly.

Can I run with my ankle brace?

Ankle braces are designed to offer support in different ways. So if you’re interested in wearing an ankle brace while running, be sure to talk to a medical expert or a physical therapist to ensure the ankle brace you have is suitable for running.

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2 Sources
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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