Categorized | Accessories, Sports & Leisure

Ankle Brace Buying Guide

ankle brace

Ankle injuries can come out of nowhere. Whether you’re playing a game of pickup and you roll your ankle, or you step off a street corner curb and cannot brace your foot properly, an ankle injury, while not necessarily serious, can prove painful.

These often come with lingering effects. You rely on your ankle to uphold your entire body while walking, so there is considerable pressure placed on your ankle. You don’t need to stop partaking in your daily activities; you need to find the right ankle brace for your particular needs.

If you try to rotate it and the ligaments are not fully healed, you increase the chance of not only experiencing a sharp sting of pain, but the potential for injuring your ankle further. That is exactly why you need to do what you can to protect your ankle.

ANKLE BRACES Comparison Table


Whether you go to the corner drugstore or you’re shopping at a larger sports or grocery store, you’ll find several brace options. What’s right for you may not be what’s right for the next person. You may also want to swap out different ankle braces depending on the activity you’re partaking in. You might want a different ankle brace on while you walk to work than when you’re running or taking part in an athletic activity. So keep all of this in mind when considering the different braces available.

Ankle Brace Compression Sleeve for Men & Women (1 Pair) - BEST Ankle Support Foot Braces for Pain Relief, Injury Recovery, Swelling, Sprain, Achilles Tendon Support, Heel Spur, Plantar Fasciitis Socks
  • INSTANT SUPPORT AND RELIEF - You will feel the difference immediately with the Crucial Compression Ankle Brace. Get fast pain relief with less swelling, soreness, and discomfort. Our Power Support ankle stabilizer and protector compression technology improves circulation and provides secure support in all the right places. Stop suffering through injury, arthritis, sprains, swelling, achilles tendonitis, or any other ankle pain and get back to doing what you love!
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND BREATHABLE - Some foot and ankle braces are too hot, too bulky, or impossible to get on. Why settle for anything less than the best? Our Premium ComfortFlex design provides a comfortable, snug, ergonomic fit without cutting off circulation. Thin enough to wear under shoes and socks with moisture wicking fabric to keep your feet dry all day long. Slip your foot in for soft, form-fitting compression support you need - without restricting your mobility.
  • WALK, WORK, RUN OR PLAY - With unmatched support and durability, our ankle compression sleeves will take you wherever you need to go - we guarantee it. Top quality double stitching and long lasting construction that won't lose compression over time. Wear daily or whenever you need a little extra confidence on your feet. Feel confident with comfortable support while playing sports like volleyball, basketball, on your feet at work, or just getting through your day - without the nagging pain.
  • INCREDIBLE RESULTS - Designed and proven to benefit men and women who need effective ankle, foot, and arch support for lasting pain relief. Break through and reach your goals with vascular support to reduce fatigue, swelling, and injuries. Grab a few pairs to wear daily or through the night, or whenever you need it for a performance boost while walking, running, jogging, hiking, cycling or for gymnastics, Crossfit, fitness, training, soccer, football, tennis, or any other athletic sport.
  • 100% "PERFECT FIT" GUARANTEE - Your comfort is our passion! Use our size chart to choose the best fit. If you are not completely satisfied with your compression sleeves, return them for a full refund or replacement. No questions asked. We stand behind the quality of our products and excellent customer care and are confident you will LOVE your ankle support brace.

The brace sleeve is basically a tight piece of fabric. Constructed of a neoprene, which is a knitted fabric, it works more like a compression sleeve than anything else.

If you’ve seen professional athletes wear compression elbow bands or knee bands, this is along the same lines (although there may be slightly more structure in the ankle brace than in the elbow compression sleeve).

This kind of a brace is used to reduce the amount of swelling you might experience while up on your feet.

It can also help reduce inflammation and other lingering pains you might suffer from a minor ankle injury, or even from arthritis and tenonitis.

McDavid 432 Ankle Support With Strap (Black, Small)
  • Our products will provid in protecting and helping reduct the incidence of injury
  • Supports your return to activity and enhance performance
  • Made using the highest quality and most innovative technology and materials
  • 1/8" thick neoprene provides therapeutic heat retention and compression

This is the next step up from an ankle sleeve. It uses the same neoprene knitted compression fabric, but besides this it has an added strap over the sleeve. This offers you tighter containment around your ankle while offering improved protection thanks to the strap.

There are two different ankle supports with straps. One comes with a figure 6 design while others come with a figure 8 design. The figure 6 design is to help provide protection when you perform lateral movements. This is best if you are at a greater risk for rolling an ankle. If you move quickly from side to side, such as during an athletic activity, you will want the added protection from rolling your ankle, which makes the figure 6 design desirable.

The figure 8 design is all around improved compression and protection as it increases the tightness and hold of the brace around your ankle.

McDavid Classic White Lightweight Laced Ankle Brace , Black, medium
  • PREVENTS and helps RECOVER from common ankle sprains
  • SUPPORTIVE "U" shape FLEXIBLE steel side stays provides stability
  • BREATHABLE two-layer polyester/vinyl mesh and liner
  • VENTILATED tongue breathes with you
  • Fits left or right

When it comes to the highest level of protection for your ankle, without going to the ankle book or plastic covering, which is a built in shoe design and will keep you out of doing anything more than just walking around, you want a lace up ankle brace. The lace up design uses a similar construction as a shoe with the shoelace design. This offers your ankle the highest level of support. It also helps provide the highest level of tightness.

This way, if you are dealing with higher levels of inflammation or if you want added protection while playing football, baseball, tennis, or any other athletic activity where you must put pressure on your ankles, the lace up ankle brace may be the best option for you to consider.


ankle injury check up

image source: Pixabay

In reality, you’ll have to test a few different braces to find what works best for you. You’ll also probably find you’ll want to wear different braces depending on what you are doing. There are times where you’ll want the highest level of protection, in which case you’ll wear the lace up ankle brace. Other times, you might need the bulkier brace and will want something you can wear that doesn’t look like anything more than a sock. For this you’ll need the basic ankle sleeve, which is fine for when you’re walking in to work.

What a Doctor Says

It’s important to listen to your doctor, if you went in to your doctor about your ankle. There are times where the doctor cannot do much for an ankle sprain. Outside of a tear or a full separation of a ligament or tendon in your ankle, the only thing you can down is to ice your ankle and keep pressure and weight off of it.

You’ll also want to avoid sudden movements and adding extra strain to the injury. So if you saw your doctor, listen to the doctor’s recommendations regarding ankle braces. Outside of this, though, you’ll be on your own testing out the different ankle brace options.

Tightness Is Important

When trying on ankle braces you want one that is comfortable; yet you also want it to be tight. After all, it is a compression device, designed to secure your ankle and reduce inflammation, so it will be tight. However, it shouldn’t pinch. If you feel it pinching, then you need to go with different ankle braces.

Braces are usually sold based on your foot size. Note, however, that these will not be an exact fit. After all, different shoe manufacturers use slightly different shoe sizes. You might be a 9 for one company but a 10 or 8.5 with another. It’s the same with braces.

Feeling Secure

The purpose of ankle braces is not just to put on some added piece of equipment. It is not supposed to be heavy-duty design that prevents other feet from kicking or stepping on your ankle. It is about keeping your ankle upright and preventing it from rolling.

Only you can decide which of the ankle braces feels right. But after slipping the brace on while standing up (with your shoe on) and walking around, it should feel tight without pinching. Try to move around as you might with your athletic activity. As long as you don’t feel a substantial prevention in your range of motion, the brace should be good.


After an ankle injury, you’ll want to protect your ankle. It is a good idea to stay off your feet for as long as possible. Once you can walk without pain, you’ll then need to wear the ankle brace just during athletic activities. In terms of length of time, there’s no saying just how long you might need to wear ankle braces. Realistically you may want to continue wearing the brace indefinitely.

At first it will feel like an inconvenience, but you’ll adjust, and you shouldn’t feel any kind of reduction in the quality of your performance. Many professional athletes wear ankle braces and spat their cleats and ankles with trainer tape to help secure their ankle and prevent rolling the muscles and the tendons. That’s exactly why you need to keep the brace on. Once you injure the ankle once, it becomes that much easier to damage and injure it again.

While you should continue wearing the brace throughout your athletic activities, it will be up to you whether you should wear the braces outside of these activities. At first, you should wear it everywhere. All it takes is an awkward step off of a staircase or a trip over a curb to re-injure yourself. For everyday wear, you should be able to use the ankle sleeve. You can fit the sleeve against your skin and pull socks over the sleeves, so it’s difficult to see the protective covering, especially if you have longer socks or pants on.

Whatever you do, always do it based on the health of your ankle. It’s your job to protect your ankle, and ankle braces are there to help.


man in white sleeveless top

Image Source: Unsplash

There’s no limit to the ways you can injure your ankle. Whether you injured your ankle taking part in an athletic activity or you rolled your ankle walking down the street, these kinds of injuries happen and are some of the most common injuries any of us will experience in our lives. Should such an injury take place, it’s up to you to do what you can to protect yourself and your ankle from further injury.

With braces, you’ll avoid getting any further injuries while helping your current ankle injury to recover. You need to pick out the right brace (or braces) that work specifically for your personal needs. Should the pain linger for several days after the initial injury, make sure to see your doctor to have it checked out as it may be something more serious than a basic sprain.

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