The Best Ankle Support Shoes, Approved by a Running Coach

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 uses GuideRails to limit unwanted ankle movements

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Ankle Support Shoes

Verywell Fit / Chloe Jeong

If you have weak ankles or you’ve suffered from ankle injuries in the past, you don’t have to give up your favorite activities. Whether you’re running, getting in your 10,000 steps, or playing hoops, wearing shoes with the right support can help you feel comfortable and confident.

Tested & Approved

Using the brand's signature GuideRails, Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 21 Running Shoes keep your ankles supported and prevent unwanted movement. We also like Saucony Men's Cohesion 14 for a roomier fit and as a budget-friendly option.

Shoes that offer ankle support should be stable and supportive while still allowing your feet to move in a natural way. To help you find the best shoes for you, we researched and tested several options, evaluating for fit, comfortability, price, traction, shock absorption, and cushion. Each of the ankle support shoes chosen in this article was determined to be the best of these factors.

Here are the best ankle support shoes on the market.

Best Men's Overall: Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 21 Running Shoes

4.9
Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 21

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Ankle Stability and Protection
    5/5
  • Upper Comfort
    5/5
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Overall Value
    5/5
Pros
  • GuideRails keep your ankles in place

  • Durable

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Expensive

We chose the Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoe as our top pick because it has exceptional cushioning, stability, and support, making it ideal for those with weak or injury-prone ankles. The Adrenaline features GuideRails, which limit unwanted movement in your ankles while supporting and aligning your foot. For runners who need ankle support, the high heel-to-toe drop (12 millimeters) helps take pressure off your heels and calves. Despite a previous ankle injury, our tester found that the shoe’s exceptional stability kept him pain-free.

The shoe’s soft, plush cushioning is more lightweight than previous versions but remains just as durable and comfortable. Breathable and stretchy, the upper offers a snug but comfortable fit to keep your foot securely in place. This model comes in various colors and in men's sizes 7 through 15.

Weight: 11 ounces | Materials: Engineered mesh upper; rubber outsole, forefoot | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA and DNA Loft midsole cushioning Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"Although these shoes are a great all-around pick, they're so stable and durable that they feel a little stiff out of the box. The first run or two felt a little awkward, but after that, they felt great." —Brad Luff, Verywell product tester

Best Women's Overall: Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 Running Shoes

4.9
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 Running Shoes

Nike

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    5/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4.5/5
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Breathable

  • Durable

  • Excellent support and stability

Cons
  • May be too narrow for some runners

The Nike React Infinity Run 2 running shoe is designed to control motion, so you can focus on your running and not worry about injury. With a wide base and foot-hugging Nike Flyknit material, the shoe offers great stability and keeps your foot locked in place.

The Nike React cushioning system offers a lightweight feel and cloud-like comfort while still remaining responsive and durable enough for long runs or walks. The breathable upper provides ventilation right where it’s needed most. Plus, Nike’s Flywire technology offers extra support and stability through the midfoot.

If you’re looking for a comfortable yet stable shoe with good arch and ankle support, the React Infinity Run is an excellent choice. It’s available in a range of stylish color combinations and women’s sizes 5 to 12.

Weight: 8.6 ounces | Materials: Flyknit upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Nike React | Closure: Lace-up

Best Men's Budget: Saucony Men's Cohesion 14

4.6
Saucony Men's Cohesion 14

Zappos

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    4/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
Pros
  • Springy cushion

  • Roomy fit

  • Comfortable and supportive

Cons
  • No narrow sizes

  • Not very stylish

The Saucony Cohesion 14 shoe is a high-performance, affordable option that delivers outstanding stability and springy cushioning. It offers significant stability through the medial arch, yet the VERSARUN cushioning has a responsive feel. The result is that your ankles are well-supported, but you still experience good energy return with each step.

Our tester found them to be very comfortable as well as extremely supportive, which can be a rare combination in a running shoe, especially a budget-friendly one. 

Designed with a wide base, the Cohesion offers a generous fit, with plenty of room for insoles or custom orthotics. The breathable upper offers a snug fit and stretches to your foot shape for a custom-like fit. The shoes come in men’s sizes 7 to 14.

Weight: 9 ounces | Materials: Textile and synthetic upper; synthetic outsole | Cushioning: VERSARUN | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"They offer significant stability through the medial arch, yet the cushioning still has a responsive feel. Your ankles are well-supported, but you still experience good energy return with each step." —Brad Luff, Verywell product tester

Best Women's Budget: Asics GEL-Venture 8 Running Shoes

4.5
Asics Women's Gel-Venture 8 Running Shoes

Dick's Sporting Goods

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Stability
    4/5
  • Upper Comfort
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Great shock absorption

  • Great traction

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Not warm enough for very cold weather

  • Runs small

Want a budget-friendly running shoe that provides good ankle support? That’s what you get with the durable and versatile Asics GEL-Venture 8. These shoes are rugged enough to handle moderate trails but are also compatible with road running.

Asics’ GEL cushioning provides excellent shock absorption from impact and provides overall comfort, regardless of your mileage or surface. The reverse-traction lugs on the outsole offer some additional protection as well as great traction when running or walking on uneven surfaces or in wet weather.

The pair comes with a sock liner that’s designed to shape to your foot for a snug and comfortable fit. It can be removed if you want to wear orthotics, making it ideal for those with a history of foot pain. Plus, the mesh uppers are reinforced with abrasion-resistant overlays, adding to the shoe’s overall durability.

The Venture comes in women’s sizes 5 to 12, regular or wide-width options, and many color combinations.

Weight: 8.9 ounces | Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: GEL cushioning | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"When putting on these shoes, I could tell right away that the traction looked suitable for both trail and road running. I often run on local roads to get to a nearby trail, and this shoe is perfect for alternating between the different surfaces. The cushioning was comfortable and responsive, regardless of what surface I was running on." —Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Road Running: New Balance Women's 840 v4 Running Shoes

4.9
New Balance 840v4 women's running shoes

New Balance

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4.5/5
  • Lateral Stability
    5/5
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Roomy toe box

Cons
  • May not be enough arch support for some

New Balance is known for its supportive and comfortable shoes, and their 840 v4 is an ideal choice for those who need good stability for road running. With a roomy toe box and supportive heel, the 840’s design is the perfect blend of firmness and cushion, so your feet and ankles will feel comfortable from the start to the finish of your run. The shoe’s full-length Abzorb midsole foam helps disperse impact, providing outstanding bounce back and shock absorption.

With no break-in period needed, they’re ready to go right out of the box and also have plenty of room for insoles or custom orthotics. The lightweight, breathable mesh upper also helps keep your feet cool and dry.

They’re available in women’s sizes 5 to 13 and several different width options.

Weight: 10 ounces | Materials: Mesh and synthetic upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: Abzorb cushioning foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Distance Running: Asics GT-2000 10 Running Shoes

4.6
Asics GT-2000 10 Running Shoes

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Ankle Stability and Protection
    5/5
  • Upper Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Built with added ankle support

  • Durable

Cons
  • A little stiff at first

  • Heavy feel

The Asics GT-2000 10 running shoe gives runners the support and comfort they need, all at an affordable price. It's designed with responsive cushioning in the heel, which allows for a smooth, stable ride.

During several long runs on pavement, our tester was impressed with the plush landing and excellent shock absorption—from start to finish. The shoe also provided good stability, making it a nice choice for those with weak ankles or overpronation.

The engineered knit upper allows for good airflow and has no uncomfortable seams, keeping your feet dry and blister-free on lengthy runs. Although it's a bit stiff at first, the GT-2000 is a solid choice for distance runners looking for a dependable training shoe. It's available in men’s sizes 7 to 15.

Weight: 9 ounces | Materials: Engineered knit upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Forefoot and rearfoot GEL; Flytefoam | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"Overall, I love the Asics GT-2000, but I wish the shoe was not so stiff during the first two uses. I would recommend wearing them as walking shoes for a few days to break them in before running." —Brad Luff, Verywell product tester

Best for Flat Feet: Brooks Women's Addiction GTS 15 Running Shoe

Brooks Women's Addiction GTS 15 Running Shoe

Zappos

Pros
  • Good arch support

  • Breathable

  • Excellent cushioning

Cons
  • Run small

  • Heavy feel

If you have flat feet, your ankles rolling in as you run can cause a lot of stress on the joint. Wearing a running shoe that limits excessive pronation can help you prevent discomfort and injury.

A tried-and-true standout for motion control shoes, the Brooks Addiction features an extended progressive diagonal rollbar to help control pronation and prevent ankle rolling; it also promotes smoother transitions.

The breathable upper adjusts to your foot’s unique shape for a custom-like fit. The shoe features Brooks’ DNA cushioning system, which provides shock absorption and cushioning with each step. There’s a variety of width sizes, so it’s easy to find the right fit for you.

Weight: 12 ounces | Materials: Textile and synthetic upper; synthetic outsole | Cushioning: DNA cushioning | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Walking: New Balance Women's 1540v3 Running Shoes

4.7
New Balance Women's 1540v3 Running Shoes

Nordstrom

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Lateral Stability
    5/5
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Breathable

  • Good arch support

  • Excellent cushioning

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Heavy feel

An excellent pick for walking or running (or a mix of both), the New Balance 1540 is constructed with two layers of sturdy, comfortable foam that provide a structured feel. However, the cushioning is also responsive, so your feet don’t feel weighed down as you’re walking.

For even more support, the shoes also feature a Rollbar stability post system that’s designed to control rear-foot movement, making them a good choice for overpronators. They also have breathable mesh to keep your feet from overheating, helping them to stay dry and blister-free.

Available in regular and wide widths and women’s sizes 5 to 13, the 1540 can accommodate wide feet as well as insoles or custom-made orthotics.

Weight: 13 ounces | Materials: Synthetic and mesh upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: ENCAP cushioning | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Trail Running: Salomon Men's Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe

4.4
Salomon Men's Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe

REI

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4/5
  • Ankle Stability and Protection
    4.5/5
  • Upper Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Easy to adjust

  • Waterproof

  • Great traction

Cons
  • Not for walking or casual wear

  • Very thin laces

Supportive and sturdy, Salomon’s Speedcross 5 trail running shoes provide the protection you need for all types of surfaces and conditions. From technical trails and slopes to mud and rainy weather, they’ll keep you prepared for anything. The shoe’s deep heel cup cradles your heels, ensuring stability through your stride, while the tough lug pattern on the rubber outsole provides dependable grip on uneven surfaces.

Rubber toe caps, mudguard, and an anti-debris mesh upper shield you from rocks, roots, and other obstacles, while the waterproof material keeps out moisture. In our testing, the shoes kept feet dry, even when running in wet and muddy conditions. Additionally, these versatile shoes feature lightweight cushioning that keeps you comfortable on the trails without weighing you down.

With a Quicklace closure system, the Speedcross 5 shoes offer a snug and secure fit. These shoes come in a variety of colors and men’s sizes 7 to 14.

Weight: 11.6 ounces | Materials: Mesh upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: EVA foam | Closure: Quicklace system

What Our Testers Say

"For trail running and especially technical trail running, this shoe is great. Many trail running shoes are glorified road shoes with a slightly deeper sole, but Salomon’s stability and traction means they're actually built for trail running." —Brad Luff, Verywell product tester

Best for Hiking: Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots

4.5
Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4/5
  • Ankle Stability and Protection
    5/5
  • Upper Comfort
    5/5
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Overall Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Waterproof

  • Roomy toebox

  • Comfortable fit

Cons
  • Runs small

  • Heavy feel

For a durable hiker that provides good support and all-day comfort, you can’t go wrong with the Keen Targhee II boots. The mid-cut height helps support the ankles, while the external support shank provides torsional stability to keep you balanced and stable on uneven surfaces.

During our testing, the boot’s waterproof membrane kept feet dry and comfortable but still was breathable enough to avoid overheating. Our tester also found that the lacing system added to the boots’ overall stability and comfortable fit, as they didn’t loosen up while hiking. Additionally, the rubber outsole provided exceptional traction in all types of conditions.

Good stability and support do add some weight to the boots, so they might be too heavy for hot weather or extremely long hikes. Overall, they are a great option for hikers who need some extra ankle support and can serve double-duty as casual shoes. The boots come in men’s sizes 7 to 17.

Weight: 1 pound, 4 ounces | Materials: Leather, webbing, mesh upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: Dual-density EVA foam | Closure: Secure-Fit lace capture system

What Our Testers Say

"These hiking boots are great for ankle support and all-day comfort. They also have the features you want in a reliable hiker—such as good traction, waterproofing, and some cushioning." —Brad Luff, Verywell product tester

Best for Basketball: Nike Kyrie 7 Basketball Shoes

Nike Kyrie 7 Basketball Shoes

Amazon

Pros
  • Great traction

  • Padded collar

  • Comfortable fit

Cons
  • Runs small

  • May need a break-in period

Basketball requires a lot of lateral movement on the court, so it’s crucial that players wear shoes with good ankle support and traction. With plenty of support, cushioning, and grip, Nike Kyrie 7 Basketball Shoes are a high-quality option that gets the job done.

A plush padded collar locks your ankle in, providing comfortable support that lets you confidently move around the court. The shoe’s 360-degree, computer-generated traction pattern on the sole and rubber along the inner foot help you stay in control. For even more stability, the shoe has molded fins that pull down over your forefoot when you lace up. Plus, a large and flexible Nike Air Zoom Turbo cushion in the forefoot provides energy return as well as all-around comfort.

If you’ve suffered from ankle injuries in the past, the Kyrie 7 is a reliable shoe that will give you peace of mind on the court. It comes in men’s sizes 7 to 14.

Weight: Not listed | Materials: Mesh, rubber | Cushioning: Air Zoom Turbo cushion | Closure: Lace-up

Final Verdict

Finding the best shoes for ankle support may depend on what activity you’re wearing them for, since some shoes are better suited for certain sports. However, both the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 (view at Nike) and Brooks Adrenaline GTS (view at Amazon) running shoes offer the right mix of stability and cushioning that make for a quality, well-rounded shoe for ankle support.

How We Rated Ankle Support Shoes

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best ankle support shoes we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These ankle support shoes are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great ankle support shoes, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These ankle support shoes are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend ankle support shoes with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Tested

We chose the best ankle support shoes by researching reviews and details about more than 60 shoes from 12 trusted brands. We also consulted athletes, coaches, and foot and ankle specialists for running shoe recommendations. To narrow down our choices, we considered support, performance, comfort, design, price, and durability.

From our final list, we put five pairs of shoes through our testing regimen. The four running shoes were tested for at least three outdoor runs, including a short, easy-paced run, a tempo run, and a distance run. The hiking shoes were put through a similar program, including two short hikes of three miles each and one longer hike of eight miles.

We spent a total of 25 hours wearing the shoes and running in all types of weather conditions, including cold and rain. Each product was scored on a scale of one to five in the categories of cushioning, responsiveness, upper comfort, fit, lateral stability and support, blister protection, ankle stability and protection, and overall value.

What to Look for in Ankle Support Shoes

Type (High-Cut vs. Low-Cut)

Whether you choose a high-cut or low-cut shoe depends on the type of activities you’re participating in and the level of support you need. While high-tops may provide additional support around the ankle for sports such as basketball and football, they may limit range of motion and are not suitable for activities like distance running.

“The athlete should take time to test out the shoe and ensure that it provides sufficient support while allowing the mechanics needed to compete or train successfully,” says Jonathan Kaplan, MD, foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon with the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in southern California.

Motion Control

Shoes that offer motion control or stability will offer more support and decrease the amount of excessive movement through the foot and ankle, making them a good choice for those with weak ankles. Look for shoes that are designed to control overpronation.

Support

You’ll want good support throughout the entire shoe, not just around your ankle. Look for soles that are stiff but not too thick—aim for thin to medium thickness. Try to choose a shoe with a well-cushioned footbed for additional support and help with shock absorption. 

“Patients with a history of ankle injuries or ankle instability should look for a shoe that has sufficient arch support to accommodate their foot while ensuring that the shape of the shoe and arch matches their own unique arch and alignment,” says Dr. Kaplan.

Fit

Make sure you have at least a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe to avoid toe problems such as black toenails. A deep heel cup will keep your heel in place, helping to maintain proper foot alignment and stop you from slipping and sliding in your shoes.

“Overall, the most important consideration when purchasing a shoe is that it is comfortable, has appropriate padding and cushioning, and fits properly in length, without rubbing on the toes,” says Steven Neufeld, MD, foot and ankle surgeon at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Northern Virginia.  “As a general rule, there should be a thumb width from the longest toe to the end of the shoe.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is ankle support important?

    “Wearing a supportive shoe while running or walking can not only reduce the likelihood of injury should a misstep occur, but also aid in the mechanics of these activities,” says Jonathan Kaplan, MD, a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon.

    Ankle support helps protect you from painful foot injuries that can require months of recovery. Severe ankle and foot injuries may involve physical therapy and surgery, and these type of injuries are often costly.

  • What is the best way to tie shoes for ankle support?

    Some athletic shoes offer an additional hole at the side of the shoe, next to the last hole you use to finish tying your shoes. You should use this hole to continue lacing your shoes and then tie your shoe for additional ankle support.

    If your shoe does not have this hole, you can lace the shoes up to the second-to-last hole. Then go straight into the last hole without crossing the laces to the opposite side. This creates a loop; thread the shoelace through the loop on the other side and then tie the shoe normally.

    “When choosing shoes, pay close attention to the lacing and tongue of the shoe as they should allow for the user to be able to adjust or alternate the lacing pattern to provide support around the ankle region,” says Dr. Kaplan.

  • Can the lack of ankle support lead to injuries?

    A lack of ankle support can lead to injuries. Approximately 10% to 28% of all sports injuries are related to the ankle, and this type of injury can mean a longer absence from physical activity than other types of injuries.

    In one study, researchers found that the most significant way to reduce ankle sprains is through some type of ankle brace—and no ankle support was found as more superior than the other.

    In a different study, published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, researchers found that wearing high-top shoes that provide ankle support led to later onset time of muscle activity and decreased activation of the ankle muscles. This might lead to fewer ankle injuries.

  • How do I protect my ankles when running?

    The best way to protect your ankles when running is to wear a supportive shoe and also to strengthen the muscles surrounding the ankle. Walking, running, and biking, and engaging in specific exercises to improve your stability can all help strengthen your ankles. Standing or seated calf raises and resistance band exercises for the lower leg help create flexibility in the ankles.

    Try balancing on one foot for 30 to 60 seconds, alternating feet for five minutes. You can do this exercise anywhere, anytime to build up ankle strength.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a running coach, personal trainer, and avid runner, Christine Luff has personally experienced ankle pain and coached athletes who need good ankle support. She recommends replacing shoes regularly since even the most supportive shoes are not effective once they’ve lost their firmness and cushioning.

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.
  1. Dizon JMR, Reyes JJB. A systematic review on the effectiveness of external ankle supports in the prevention of inversion ankle sprains among elite and recreational playersJ Sci Med Sport. 2010;13(3):309-317. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2009.05.002

  2. Fu W, Fang Y, Liu Y, Hou J. The effect of high-top and low-top shoes on ankle inversion kinematics and muscle activation in landing on a tilted surfaceJ Foot Ankle Res. 2014;7:14. doi:10.1186/1757-1146-7-14