Best Ankle Support for Walking
Brooke Maneval, LAT, ATC
Certified Athletic Trainer
Written by Robert Gore
Last Updated: September, 2023
Ankle braces are typically used for preventative purposes, to guard against injury as well as help heal injuries that have already occurred. It's important to have the right one for your needs and to learn how to properly wear it. Most instructions will tell you that ankle braces should be worn around your ankles all the time, even while sleeping. There are certain cases where this is not recommended though.
A serious sprain or injury can occur if a brace is worn in an improper manner or too tightly. Be sure to consult a physician or therapist before making any decisions on how to wear your brace and if it is the right choice for you.
Ankle braces are often categorized by the material that they are made from. The main options available are neoprene, cloth, and metal. Each has its benefits and drawbacks depending on your needs and comfort level.
Neoprene – This is one of the most common materials used to make ankle braces today. It's normally around 2mm thick and is lightweight. It's flexible enough to be worn comfortably while also being able to withstand tough conditions. Neoprene braces are waterproof and can't be punctured, making them ideal for active individuals or sports enthusiasts.
Neoprene ankle braces can also come with Velcro straps. This allows you to adjust the brace tightly so that it doesn't move around. It's important to remember that neoprene loses its protective properties when it is stretched. For this reason, you should make sure that your brace fits snuggly so that it can do its job correctly without slipping or coming loose.
Neoprene ankle braces are durable, waterproof, and comfortable. They're best for active individuals and sports enthusiasts.
Cloth & Fabric – These types of braces are often low-tech compared to the rest. They're normally made out of either nylon or cotton fabrics that are very light and comfortable to wear. They're also very inexpensive and can be bought at most pharmacies or on the internet.
Cloth and fabric braces are generally used for mild sprains, strains, tendonitis, and other minor injuries that aren't severe enough to require surgery. It's normally recommended that you buy one while your ankle is still swollen or still in recovery mode. The whole idea of the brace is to provide support and minimize movement while your ankle heals.
When you're looking for a cloth or fabric brace, make sure that it's elastic enough to fit snugly around your leg while still being comfortable. It should also have foam padding so that it can absorb some of the impact if you were to roll your ankle.
Metalic – Metal braces are known for their high level of support and comfort. They're often used for more severe injuries like fractures or surgery. Some even come with Velcro straps so that you can tighten it around your leg or ankle, making it even more secure than other types.
They can come in a variety of styles including hinged, rigid, and fixed. It's up to you to decide on the type that will work best for your specific condition.
If you're choosing a metal brace, then it's important to remember that they aren't as flexible as other types and can be very bulky. They are also more expensive than cloth or neoprene ankle braces so they're normally only recommended for those who have sustained a fracture or other serious injury.
Source: Pérez-Soriano, P., García-Roig, Á., Sanchis-Sanchis, R., & Aparicio, I. (2019). Influence of compression sportswear on recovery and performance: A systematic review. Journal of Industrial Textiles, 48(9), 1505–1524. https://doi.org/10.1177/1528083718764912
Ankle braces are a cost effective way to ensure that you have proper ankle support and protection. They're especially great for those who are active or participate in sports. Just remember, finding the right one means weighing your options wisely and considering comfort level as well as durability.
The best ankle support for walking is adjustable and available in two sizes that fit most users. Both sizes coupled with the adjustability make it a perfect fit for most men and women.