As a high school basketball coach, I have seen too many players of all ages sustain unnecessary injuries. You don’t have to look far to see the same happen to professional NBA players. Whether Stephen Curry’s recent injury or Michael Jordan’s in 1993, ankle injuries are some of the most common for pros and amateurs.
And they’re also among the scariest as you’ll never know how long you could be sidelined for. As a coach, I find it frustrating that so many players still refuse to use ankle protection. Usually that only happens after a first injury when it could already be too late.
If you’re no stranger to sprained ankles or torn ligaments, or you just want to avoid this from happening to you, then the best solution is to invest in an ankle brace. For basketball players that means getting a product with maximum support and extreme durability. The explosive pressure that feet and ankles are constantly under means that your average running brace will not last too long.
To help you avoid a bad investment, we’ve put together this list of best basketball ankle braces. I’ve seen all of them in action and you won’t go far wrong with any of these. And if you need a bit more background information to the most important features, you can find more info on that below as well.
Our Top 10 Best Basketball Ankle Braces Recommendations
On this list, you will find professional grade products endorsed by NBA players, as well as affordable solutions for lower budgets. As with most things, the more you pay the better the product usually works. But we would not recommend holding off on ordering your brace because you need to save some money. Pick one that suits your budget and have the peace of mind that you’ve hugely reduced your risk of injury.
So, what is the best ankle brace for basketball players?
#1 - Zamst Ankle Brace Stabilizer
|| For Maximum Support Endorsed By Pros||5.0 stars out of 5|
#2 - ASO Ankle Stabilizer
|| The Most Popular Option||4.5 stars out of 5|
#3 - McDavid With Stabilizer Straps
|| Great Value For Money||4.0 stars out of 5|
Table of Contents
- 1 Our Top 10 Best Basketball Ankle Braces Recommendations
- 1.1 1. Zamst Ankle Brace Stabilizer: For Maximum Support Endorsed By Pros
- 1.2 2. ASO Ankle Stabilizer: The Most Popular Option
- 1.3 3. McDavid With Stabilizer Straps: Great Value For Money
- 1.4 4. Zenith Lace Up Adjustable Support: Excellent Durability
- 1.5 5. UncleHu Breathable Adjustable Ankle Stabilizer: The Cheapest Option
- 1.6 6. McDavid 199 Lace-up Ankle Brace: Extremely Light
- 1.7 7. OsFit Premium Compression Sleeve: For Light Support
- 1.8 8. DonJoy Performance POD: Most High Tech Solution
- 1.9 9. Venom Neoprene Ankle Brace: Lace Up Support With Custom Fit
- 1.10 10. adidas Adizero: Too Uncomfortable
- 2 What Features You Should Focus On
- 3 Ankle Injuries Explained
- 4 Conclusion
If you work your body hard on the court then you need to have confidence in the supports you use. There is no point in wearing an ankle brace if you cannot count on it preventing ankle rolls and twists.
To get the best possible support you will have to spend a bit of money. But the good news is that this Zamst one is used and fully endorsed by NBA star Stephen Curry. The external hard support really provides excellent protection, even if that does make it a bit bulky.
Yes, you might need to get a shoe that will fit better, but it will be worth the extra peace of mind. The strap design is excellently done and will allow you to fully personalize it to your feet. The X strap design does a great job at preventing roll, which helps you avoid some of the most painful injuries.
The material is very comfortable and features added grip. That way your foot won’t slip too easily, meaning less adjustments on court. Even after an hour of intense training or during a game you will find that it’s still perfectly in place and comfortable. A Steph Curry ankle brace should be good enough for any player around.
- External hard support provides exceptional support even under maximum stress
- X strap stabilizes the ankle in place to prevent roll
- Adjustable rear fasteners allow for a fully personalized set up
- Added grip technology prevents the foot and ankle from moving or slipping
- Endorsed by Stephen Curry who wears this product all the time
- Back fastener can cause pressure if not adjusted correctly
- Due to size it can be difficult to get into basketball shoes
This US made product is an excellent choice for basketball players with existing injuries or just to prevent them from happening. The figure 8 strap design might be a bit difficult to get used to. But the result is an exceptional protection from rolling over an ankle or twisting it.
The straps go over the lacing which keep it tight. And this design also makes sure you can have it fitting as tight as you feel is needed. And to keep all the lacing and straps securely in place there is an elastic closure strap around the top.
With that level of protection you think it might be very bulky. But the design is neat enough to make sure it’s easy to get into pretty much all shoes. And if you’re worried about it getting smelly, you’ll be happy to know that you can throw it in the wash along with your other gear.
On the downside, and compared to the above Zamst product, you might find that you have to occasionally adjust it. If you spend a lot of time on court, just make sure you check it’s still tightly fit.
- Straps designed in a figure 8 for maximum support
- Laces allow for very precise adjustment for best comfort and support
- Small enough design allows it to fit any shoe
- Elastic closure strap holds support and laces in place
- Machine washable for easier cleaning
- First time set up is a bit difficult
- Some adjustment during a game or training session might be needed
This product provides excellent value for money from one of the leading joint support makers. The figure 6 strap design gives excellent support to your ankle where it is most needed to prevent the dreaded roll.
And with the lace up design you can make it as tight as you need it to be. This also makes sure it reduces movement and slippage, even under extreme pressure. For those times when you feel like you need to make a quick adjustment, you should know that it’s easy to do without having to take off your shoe.
The very top strap acts to hold everything in place and provides compression. This is a great feature that will help anyone who is recovering from an ankle injury.
All the materials are soft and very comfortable. This means that you won’t have to worry too much about chaffing. And with highly ventilated materials you will not feel that it gets too hot or sweaty.
The main downside is that the figure 6 design can take a bit of getting used. It’s not the easiest to get right the first time, but is worth the effort in the end.
- Top strap provides compression and holds laces and ankle support in place
- Easily adjusted without taking off the shoe
- Comfortable lining reduces risk of pressure points
- Ventilated design provides more breathability
- Uses figure 6 design for natural feeling support
- Sizing is a bit small
- Takes some getting used to when putting on
One of the most durable options at a mid-range price is this Zenith product. The materials used were chosen carefully to make sure they stand up to all the pressure on the court. Basketball players will know how quickly shoes will start to wear, but you cannot afford to have joint supports failing too quickly.
That would be a cost and risk of injury not worth taking.
The lace up design helps you to get just the right level of comfort and protection. This will largely depend on your personal needs and how weak your ankle is. The straps can also be easily adjusted within just a few seconds. Sometimes you might need to play a bit before you know for sure if it’s right.
The Zenith product is also very compact to help you get into shoes more easily. And it will fit the majority of basketball shoes without needing to size up. Just in case you’re worried about making the right decision, the makers offer a 100% money back guarantee.
One downside to note is that for large foot sizes you will have to loosen the laces a lot. So much that you will need to feed it out of the holes and then back in. This is a bit inconvenient.
- Lace up design means you can get optimum level of comfort
- Extremely durable design and material will last for years
- Easily adjustable to the level of support you need
- Small enough to not cause problems with getting into shoes
- 100% money back guarantee
- Lace can be a bit short for larger feet and legs
- Initial adjustments are difficult to get used to
If you have a tight budget then you can’t get better than this UncleHu. The crossed over strap design provides excellent support even when you’re pushing hard on the court. But it doesn’t just provide support. It’s also designed to promote an ideal foot and ankle motion.
As a result, you will suffer less repetitive strain injury, which can go largely unnoticed.
With a compression ankle brace design built in, you will feel improved circulation. That helps with recovery after training and injuries. As soon as you put them on you’ll notice the effect.
The open heal area is not just for helping with ventilation. This also promotes a much larger natural range of motion. When you’re on the court, you don’t want it to hinder your performance or technique.
The materials are exceptionally soft which basically means there will be no chaffing or pressure points. But do note that it’s not a machine washable product. It’s also a little bit on the bulky side, and you might have trouble getting into some shoes.
- Crossed over straps provide excellent support and promote proper motion
- Compression support improves circulation and recovery
- Open heel means you get excellent range of motion
- Highly customizable adjustments to suit your personal needs
- Soft and comfortable materials reduce risk of friction and blisters
- Not machine washable
- Bulky design won’t fit all shoes
Another very affordable option is this McDavid 199. It’s a very simple and traditional design using very lightweight materials. It might not look like it provides a huge amount of protection, but that would be a mistake. It gives excellent roll and twist protection without the need for multiple straps.
The light design and material use give you an exceptional range of motion where you need it. At the same time, you will have the added safety you need to prevent injury.
The materials are very breathable which reduces the amount of sweating and ultimately rubbing against the skin. This can become very uncomfortable during game time. You also get very good arch support which helps to prevent soreness and stiffness as well.
The slim design means you don’t have to worry about getting it to fit your basketball and gym shoes. With the flexibility you can just get in and out of them quickly.
The main downside is that the laces mean you have to have the same tightness for ankle and foot. With straps that can be a lot more flexible. And you might find that you need to tighten the laces occasionally.
- Light weight design for higher degree of movability
- Highly breathable material for less sweating
- Great arch support for added comfort
- Despite slim design it provides level III protection
- Very secure lacing allows personalized tightening
- Strapless design means you can’t have different levels of support around foot and ankle
- Can get a bit loose after intensive use
If you need some very light support for minor injuries, then you can easily be turned off by bulky products. Yes, this OsFit will not provide maximum protection, but for easy training sessions that might be more than enough.
It also works as a great compression sleeve to help you increase circulation to an injured foot. That added circulation will drastically improve the healing process. It will really be like wearing a tight fitting sock, and will feel completely natural.
Off the court and outside of training, this can be an ideal solution to wear most of the day. If you’ve suffered a foot or ankle injury, then wearing this will help a lot to get you into action again.
To prevent odors it is made from anti-bacterial material that is fully machine washable.
Obviously, the main downside is that it won’t give you a huge amount of support, so you would need another one for heavy duty training and game play. And the tight fitting compression design can take some getting used to when wearing in everyday use.
- Excellent compression for better circulation and recovery
- Designed for maximum comfort
- Ideal for minor injuries
- Can be used outside of training to help recovery
- Anti-bacterial material prevents odors
- Doesn’t provide maximum support
- Tight fitting takes getting used to
Even just looking at this DonJoy product makes you think you’re looking at something from the space age. The great advantage is that the design provides excellent support when you need it. And it does that by keeping the size of the product to an absolute minimum.
The result is one of the best products for range of motion that feels completely natural.
The brace is also designed to mold to your foot and ankle shape. That’s as close as you’ll get to a fully custom made product which can cost hundreds of Dollars.
With a very rigid exterior material, you might be worried about how it will feel to the skin. Will there be pressure points? The simple answer is no, thanks to the very soft lining material being used.
Given the amount of support it provides it is truly amazing that it’s also one of the lightest braces on this list. If weight is any bit of a concern to you, then jump on this option.
The main downside is that it makes a noticeable squeaking noise when first worn. But this goes away after you’ve done a bit of training.
- Excellent on demand protection gives great range of motion
- Molds to your shape of foot for extra comfort
- Lining provides exceptionally soft contact with the skin
- One of the lightest products on this list with maximum support
- Suitable for all types of shoes
- Some squeaking noise when first in use
- Some initial pressure can be felt
This is not just a cool sounding product. It combines lace up support, ankle straps and compression all in one product. The laces mean that it can be tightened to the exact comfort level you require. And that means it will not slip or move under stress.
The ankle support straps can be fully adjusted as well. It might take a bit of experimenting to get right. But once you find that sweet spot, the support will be amazing. This is the case whether you are recovering from or preventing injury.
Add to that the compression effect and you get an all-round great product. Compression is a great way to improve circulation, which helps your body repair injuries and improves overall performance.
The two downsides are that the combination of lacing and straps can take a while to get fully set up and adjusted. And the exceptional support comes at the price of being quite bulky. That means it might not fit all basketball shoes. It could be a price worth paying though.
- Straps are fully adjustable to give you a personalized fit
- Provides great compression to help with recovery from injuries
- Lightweight materials won’t hinder your performance
- Lacing means you have full control over tightness
- Excellent support to prevent injury even under pressure
- Lacing up can take a while
- Bulky sizes makes it difficult to fit into shoes with smaller feet
Usually Adidas is one of those trusted brands where you just can’t go wrong. Unfortunately, this Adizero brace is less than ideal for a few reasons. It is quite a big seller, but we’d recommend all of the above over this one. Let’s start with the positive first.
The design and materials used are extremely light. That means you’ll barely notice wearing it. That’s a price worth paying for as it will not hinder your natural movement while running or jumping.
It’s also very cool looking with typical Adidas stripes in black and white. And you can throw it in the washing machine with all your other gear to make sure it stays clean and free from smells.
But there are some concerns that many players have raised. Firstly, it becomes quite uncomfortable to wear after a short while. There are some pressure points around the top foot and ankle, which are at the very least distracting.
The arch part also doesn’t line up very well if you have a larger than average foot size. And that’ll be very common for most basketball players. Finally, because of the small design size it will not give you the best ankle support. It can still quite easily happen that you roll over your ankle, especially if it’s already weakened.
- Extremely light means you’ll barely notice wearing it
- Machine washable and anti-microbial material avoids odors
- Nicely designed
- Quite uncomfortable to wear after a short time
- Doesn’t line up with arch very well for larger feet
- Doesn’t provide maximum support due to small design
What Features You Should Focus On
Finding the best basketball ankle braces for your personal needs can be quite a confusing task. Every single company claims they’re the best and then there is all the different advertising language used to describe the same thing. To help you through that maze, we have put together this section which focuses on a few features.
If you understand these and then just look at what it’s important, you will make a much better decision.
Some of the cheap options on the above list are pretty basic. There is one model that is more of a compression sleeve that has some support. And there is an option which just laces up. The downside to these is that they don’t give the absolute best support while giving you a free range of motion.
Straps on the other hand will follow the shape of the ankle to give it the support where it is needed. Some of the most common designs are figure 8, figure 6 and criss cross. You can’t really say which one is best, as it comes down to more of a personal preference. Either one of these designs will give you excellent protection.
Materials And Durability
When it comes to materials you want to make sure that it is strong enough to withstand the stresses that your feet are under. Have you ever looked at your basketball shoes after a few intense games? While you can quickly switch your sneakers, you don’t want to worry about a brace not working properly.
Strong synthetic materials with anti-bacterial features are the best. They reduce the risk of odors building up. But you also want to try and get something that is machine washable. It just saves a lot of hassle to keep the braces clean.
Oh, and just avoid white material. It’s a nightmare to keep clean.
One problem with some basketball ankle braces is that they can become quite bulky. Even in high top basketball shoes that can make it difficult to fit in. The highest amount of support will usually come in quite a bulky form. So, if that’s what you need, just make sure you budget for possibly getting a new pair of shoes.
This can be a tradeoff worth paying to avoid severe foot injuries.
Whether you need a brace for an active youth or kids, or as a pro player, the weight is always going to be a concern. If you’ve ever trained with weights on your legs, then you know how big an impact this has.
Maximum support and protection usually means that some weight will be added. But if you invest in some higher-end model then you will find that there is not much noticeable weight added. The first time you wear one, it will feel a bit strange. But it’s something you will get used to quickly.
Ankle Injuries Explained
There have been quite a few professional NBA careers cut short by a simple slip on a wet spot. Or even just landing on another player’s foot can cause an unnatural strain on ligaments or roll over the joint.
The result can be a torn ligament or broken bone. Both of which can take anything from a few months to years to recover from. For both professional and amateur basketball players, foot and ankle injuries are by far the most common. The next most common is damage to knees, but even that is tiny in comparison.
Let’s face it, what basketball player has not at least suffered a light sprain of the ankle?
So, let’s take a closer look at some facts.
Why Are Basketball Players So At Risk?
In many ways, basketball players are the ultimate athletes. They have to show bursts of speed like a sprinter, while at the same time having the stamina of a long-distance runner. Jumping high is a must, while coordinating hand and arm movements. There is practically no part of the body that is not in constant use.
But no area is under as much pressure as your feet.
The sudden acceleration when going from a defense to counter offense really does compare to a sprinter. You don’t have a luxury of a large field or pitch. If you’re slow you lose. Add to that the fact that many positions have to be able to make lightning fast changes in direction to get around other players.
And every single player will be doing a lot of jumping. No matter how big or small you are, constantly landing from a height puts serious amounts of pressure on your foot joint. All these athletic moves happen hundreds of time in each game or training session. So, the risk of a trip to the doctor and subsequent physio therapy is remarkably high.
Are Specific Positions More At Risk?
Point and shooting guards have a very high tendency to foot injuries because of the fast moves and changes in direction. They are also closely guarded at all times which adds to the pressure. But they aren’t the only players at risk.
Centers and forwards will often find themselves jumping to challenge for a rebound and loose ball. When this happens in a crowded area then landing on another players’ foot can be a huge risk. It’s probably something that has happened to most players at some stage.
Why Is The Ankle Such A Problem?
The ankle is a very intricate joint. When you think of it, it’s very like the wrist in that it can naturally move in multiple directions. That means there is a certain amount of flexibility to each side. But once you go too far, two things can happen. Either a tendon or ligament can snap, or worse, the bone can break.
Because it supports a huge amount of weight, this is something that can quickly happen. Essentially, the vast majority of your body weight is pushing down on your ankle. And in a sport like basketball, there is the constantly added G-force from jumping. There are very few other sports where that level of constant stress is present.
And once damage is done, you can’t just get up and start some light training again. The amount of weight would only do more damage.
At this stage, we have presented you with the best basketball ankle braces available. Everything from the Stephen Curry used and endorsed Zamst to very affordable options. If your budget can stretch to a professional model, then definitely go for it. You’ll get great deals at Amazon even on high-end ones.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter whether you have an injury weakened ankle or not, using a brace will help you prevent some serious injury.