12 Best Ankle Braces for Running Tested
Running is a demanding sport. Not only does it require serious cardiovascular stamina, it also requires well-conditioned muscles that can respond to your movements and carry your weight. There are so many different components that go into a successful run, that it’s easy to understand why injuries occur. Almost every runner experiences some sort of sport-related injury at some point in their athletic career. This usually results from high impact applied to connective tissue and overworked joints. Most of us are familiar with knee injuries, but ankle injuries are just as common. Your ankles are the next part of your body responsible for absorbing the shock that comes when your foot hits the pavement. They are also subject to accidental injuries if you step incorrectly or trip over something while running outdoors.
With all of the ligaments and tendons housed by your ankle, a small injury can put you off running for quite some time. This is why many regular athletes protect their ankles using supports in the form of braces. An ankle brace is there to prevent injury and help reinforce that area. A medical brace is usually used post injury to prevent its recurrence and to ensure proper healing. Medical braces are usually bulkier and more difficult to run with. There are plenty of ankle braces that are made for daily wear. This can be for people who are just getting in shape, or for those who want that added layer of protection.
We’ve looked at all of the Best ankle braces on the market and gathered them together in one place to make your shopping experience easier. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re experiencing any serious pain it’s always better to consult with a medical professional instead of simply trying to Band-Aid the problem.
- ASO Ankle Stabilizer
- Figure eight type design
- McDavid 195
- Spring steel supports
- Mueller 44547
- One size fits most
12 Best Ankle Braces for Running
This brace has a contoured tongue which provides a flawless fit, and is constructed from lightweight yet strong CoolFlex material. This material also acts as a lining on the interior of the boot around the heel area. Full marks for comfort, and the stability is well covered by a stabilizing strap and synthetic stays on each side.
Durability / Quality
No worries here in terms of quality or durability. The ASO is manufactured to rigorous standards in the United States of America by Medical Specialties, Inc.
Cost or value
The price you pay for the ASO ankle stabilizer will depend to some degree on the size you want. But any way that you slice it you’re getting a good value here. There are quite a few products that cost more than the ASO which we think less of than this brace.
- Made in the USA, US manufacturing has higher quality control standards than many places
- Stabilizing straps form an all encompassing figure eight type structure to support your ankle
- Ballistic grade nylon boot shell provides your good bit of resiliency and protection
- Elastic cuff closures makes sure to enhance support levels and keeps all laces and straps in their right place
- Designed to be bilateral, in other words each size will fit left or right foot
- Low profile, slides comfortably into almost any type of shoe
- A few reviews indicated confusion over ASO’s sizing chart, so take care to get this right otherwise you’ll likely end up with a brace that doesn’t fit
McDavid 195 Brace with Stabilizer Straps
The 195 features a lace up design and has two large straps that cover the upper ankle and lower ankle/foot. This kind of emulates a good tape job, and we’ve found it to be great in terms of stabilizing your ankle in a comfortable way.
Durability / Quality
A thorough review of user comments/feedback shows almost zero complaints in regard to durability. As for the quality, with a slightly higher price tag you can count on higher quality here. From steam stitching to the material itself, you won’t be disappointed in McDavid.
Cost or value
In terms of having a brace that can greatly expedite your return from injury or prevent further injury, we’d say the price associated with the 195 brace is more than fair.
- A study showed that athletes were 3 times less likely to get injured
- Lightweight support
- A wide range of sizes is available allowing for
- Some users reported finding the strap/lacing combination to feel a bit bulky in the end
Mueller Adjustable Stabilizer
This brace is lightweight, but provides excellent arch and lateral support with the criss-cross straps. This combo equates a relatively comfortable fit and high degree of stability.
Durability / Quality
There is a reason Mueller has been in business so long and that reason has nothing to do with manufacturing cheap products that wear down or break easily. We’ve had Mueller braces that with sporadic use are in great conditions up to 5 years after purchase.
Cost or value
The Mueller Ankle Stabilizer can often be found on sale and, its position in the medium range makes it an excellent choice for people who want good quality but don’t want to pay premium prices.
- Side inserts help provide firm lateral support and protection for the most sensitive part of your ankles
- Made from a soft neoprene blend that retains body heat to help ease pain and promote blood circulation
- Lightweight design is ideal for prolonged use, won’t screw up your shoe fit
- Figure 8 strapping system offers custom support and controlled compression
- Contains natural rubber latex, so if you’re allergic this is something to consider
In terms of stability and comfort this brace has a number of things going for it his, these include: a construction made from breathable nylon to provide better airflow, breathable wear, and also a double elastic strap which allows you to control the level of compression around each side of the ankle.
Durability / Quality
The quality of the manufacturing of the Senteq Sleeves is quite good, however because they rely on a compressive element you will not get the same lifespan out of them as you would another form of ankle brace.
Cost or value
The cost is definitely more toward the economical end of the spectrum, but we believe these to be fairly priced, and represent an excellent value.
- Has breathable mesh throughout to promote ventilation and release trapped heat
- Does a lot to alleviate pain and can take the edge off of plantar fasciitis.
- Fits well under running socks. Not bulky won’t affect the fit of your shoes/socks
- Medical Grade and cerfitied by the FDA
- Doesn’t provide quite as much support as structural braces
This brace helps to stabilize and reinforce your ankle and as a result you can enjoy many sports, not only running. This not only stabilizes but also help to cure muscle fatigue, swelling, sprains and many other ankle injuries. There are stabilizers on the sides that helps to relieve the pain. They are also helpful when it comes to reducing the pressure on the ankle. There are special straps that are fully adjustable so no problems with adjusting the tightness. The double strap support gives you more confidence while running and arch contoured design really provide the comfort. It usually fits with most of the shoes.
It is made from neoprene. That’s why the brace is so breathable and it wicks the moisture very well. Many buyers said that it’s well-made product.
Cost or value
Venom is less known brand and their products aren’t very expensive. This is high quality brace with great price.
Provide comfortable wearing
PDF guide with additional exercises
It was too bulky for some buyers and some of them couldn’t wear it with shoes.
Bracco ankle support
As it was said before, it’s made from neoprene material which can retain heat as it increases blood circulation. Strapping attaches are long so you can tighten them. It fits both feet.
Durability / Quality
Nothing happens to it after washing. The durability needs to be improved as some very active runners may use it up.
Cost or value
It’s not expensive, very affordable, perfect for everyone who looks for good brace without spending too much money on it.
- Very supportive-effectively reduces the risk of running injuries
- Stretchy- it may be kept loosely or you can tighten it
- Fits under most shoes- the brace is lightweight
- Protects sensitive tendons
- Easy to put on and fits either left foot or right foot
- Prevents feet from sweating
- FDA Certified
- Choosing a good size is quite uneasy
- A bit bulky
Kunto Fitness Ankle Brace
You can enjoy wonderful running performance as you don’t feel you’re wearing it.
This tool is very comfortable, it’s easy to put on and take off. Many buyers said it fits like a glove. The compression is fine but it provides enough stability. Your foot stays dry as this material prevents from moisture.
Durability / Quality
This brace is really well made. Breathable compression allows you to run for hours. When it comes to durability, this one may stay with you for years.
Cost or value
At first you may think that price is a bit high but it’s worth it. You pay for very nice material- made of spandex and Lycra. It feels like you’re wearing a thick sock, not a brace.
- You can easily adjust the amount of support you want
- No problems with irritation of the skin
- Stylish look-it’s not whole dark
- Available in many sizes
- It’s low profile gives extra flexibility
- Easy to wash
- The material prevents skin allergies
- Some buyers said it had stretched out after a few months
- May provide not enough support
McDavid 199 Lace-up Ankle Brace
As it was said before, this one is very comfortable-it has special ventilated tongue. Made from two-layer polyester/vinyl mesh keeps skin dry and cool. It’s running without restriction.
Durability / Quality
To be clear, it’s one of the most durable products on our list and it can last for years. It’s a high quality product.
Cost or value
Some people may find the price a little bit to high but this product is totally worth it. Let’s be honest – it’s a small price for having excellent support.
- It's highly customizable
- Fits both left and right
- Adds much stability to the joint
- Available in 5 sizes
- It has spring steel stays to improve the support
- McDavid’s Protection Level 3- it gives maximum of protection
- Some customers had problem with choosing the best size
- A little bulky for a daily wear
The big surprise is that there aren’t any laces. It’s like you’d been wearing socks. It was specially designed as low profile brace so you can easily wear it with most of the shoes. It’s also very thin and doesn’t look bulky on your foot. If your tendons or joints are injured, this brace will definitely help to relieve the pain and prevent the other injuries. Thanks to the anti-odor material, there’s no bacteria growth and your feet don’t smell badly. This one provides also a lot of support to the arch. The straps are fully adjustable. People with plantar fasciitis said it worked great for them.
The material is hypoallergenic, it doesn’t make any chaffing and doesn’t irritate your skin. It retains the original shape even after many washes.
Cost or value
Well, this product is one of the most expensive on our list. This is because it has some more advanced features and it’s much more protective and supportive than other. It’s worth this money.
Users praised the brace for being very sportive. This is because of the crisscross reinforcement straps that provide very strong and supportive wear. It helps to minimize the risk of injury when you do more demanding activities like running. The material used for making the brace is very elastic. It wicks the moisture very well and as a result, there’s no unpleasant odor. Users didn’t complain about the breathability of the brace. The Velcro strap is durable and doesn’t get too loose even after many usages.
Users said that the brace is high-quality product, they didn’t have any problems with itching skin. It’s made of nylon and elastic lycra.
Cost or value
Well, we were a little bit shocked when we’ve discovered that this costs around 10 dollars. This is a great price for this quality. The cost also depends on the size- the bigger size is, the more money you need to spend on the ankle brace from Liomor.
The open heel design provides right amount of motion
Special perforations boost the breathability
Some users had problem with sizing chart
This brace provide great protection for your ankle but at the same time, it doesn’t slow you down. The brace is semi-rigid TPU shell and it has very soft EVA lining so it doesn’t need irritate your skin. It adapts really to the shape of your foot and that’s what boosts the comfort. The design isn’t bulky and this is low profile cuff. It will be great if you want roll control and injury prevention but you want to have still range of movement at the same time. Many reviewers really liked the white version of the brace. Adjustable Velcro closures, you can customize it to fit your foot perfectly.
In our opinion, the quality is great. This last will do the job for a long time after purchase. Many reviewers also said that this is very high quality and durable product.
Cost or value
The cost of this brace isn’t the lowest. However, it’s totally worth it and you can always try to buy it on sale.
Easy to put on
Many runners liked that it’s lightweight
It’s described as heavy-duty ankle brace. It will provide very firm support for the tendons and joints in the ankle area. It minimizes the pain and helps you to perform better. The right amount of compression provides relief to the pain. It can be worn with or without socks. The open heel design and contoured design. It stabilizes the ankle so it can be also perfect for healing after surgery. You don’t need to tape it over and over as it has adjustable straps. Reviewers said that the material seems to be lightweight although some users with smaller ankles weren’t satisfied with this product.
This is a neoprene blend, users reported that they didn’t have problem with any excessive sweating. The material is breathable, thanks to the open heel, there’s big level of air provided to your feet. Runners said that this product was ideal for running, nothing happened to it and it looked like new one.
Cos or value
The pricing is very fair. Considering the fact that the brace is durable, this is a good investment.
It’s not too bulky for the shoes
The Velcro straps are well made
May not be best for people with very small ankles
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of The Best Ankle Braces
A lot of thought needs to go into the type of ankle brace that you purchase. If you’re a distance runner or a sprinter, you may need a different level of flexibility than someone who just jogs casually. You also may need a different level of support. Purchasing any type of brace shouldn’t be done without careful consideration and research into how it can impact your health.
Every runner is different, and your personal preferences will play a huge part in the type of brace that you buy. Think about exactly what you need out of all of your running gear and come up with a set of criteria to apply to your ankle brace. We’ve compiled some of the best braces on the market and weighed them according to a number of different factors.
Protection is one of the most important components when choosing an ankle brace. This is largely the purpose of the brace, and it should be able to prevents overextension that can lead to injuries. If you have a weak ankle and it fails midstride, you could end up rolling it to one side and spraining or tearing something inside. That extra brace can give you the added strength you need to stop those types of incidents from happening. It also increases your joint elasticity and compresses the area to improve circulation. Protecting your tendons is key, and the brace you choose should do this as well.
Another factor to consider is exactly where you’ll be running. If you’re going to be exposed to the elements, you want to brace that’s able to stand up to that type of punishment. It also needs to be sturdy enough to adjust to your cadence and the necessary level of mobility. It needs to be tight enough to provide support without cutting off circulation or interfering with your movement.
Is the brace breathable enough?
A good ankle brace shouldn’t leave your shoe pooling with sweat. It needs to be made of a breathable material that allows adequate airflow to the area. This can also help to prevent bacterial growth and infection. Additional moisture can weaken your skin and lead to blisters or eventual cracking. An ankle brace that can help keep you dry is a great addition to your running arsenal.
When choosing the right material for your ankle brace, you want something that won’t be abrasive and that won’t irritate the skin. Many braces are made from hypoallergenic materials that are both breathable and bacteria resistant. Cushioning is another factor to consider. You want it to be thick enough to absorb some of the impact without it becoming bulky or uncomfortable. Some runners actually use hard plastic braces, but this is entirely based on your needs.
Does it provide flexibility?
Very crucial feature- we don’t want to be limited during running. Having big range of foot motion is very decisive when it comes to our running performance. The brace shouldn’t be too tight as it may cause bad circulation of a blood. On the other side, if you have it too loosely it may not give you the real support and it may lead to injury.
Simplicity of application
Let’s be clear- you don’t want to spend an hour on wrapping up your brace. However, braces with a lot of laces aren’t worse than the ones with no laces. This is because you don’t need usually unwrap whole device, all you need to do is loosen first laces and that’s all. There are many companies that create videos in which they show how to put on a brace.
Next important factor especially for very active runners. Let’s be clear- you want something that won’t fall apart after 4 times of usage. While searching for best ones, it is highly recommended to make sure that they are great in every weather condition. Runners who love running in the rain should for example remember that some materials may color. It’s a big advantage if product has a guarantee so if something wrong happens you can give it away and get your money back.
Is it comfortable enough?
It needs to fit wonderfully and it can’t shift when you exercise. To be honest, you can’t expect to feel like you’re not wearing a brace because it’s rather impossible. But what you have to do is make sure that you have the size which is the best for you. If it’s too big, it may not work. Make sure that the design appeals to you. The color is also a thing that people care about but to be honest, there aren’t many colors when it comes to this market.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best
You could have thought that’s the end of our list. We’ve got still something to talk about. Some factors may not be the most important but some of them are those who are first considered by a consumer.
On the market, there are all prices you can imagine. From dirt cheap braces to very high-priced ones.
We try to search for products which are affordable for people with every budget but you must remember that sometimes you need to spend some money as it’s an investment for future.
We know that there are sites where they offer you very cheap products but usually the price reflects the quality of the product. While searching for the best one, try not to look at the price first. It will be better if you evaluate other factors and then you will check if you can afford it.
Laundering shouldn’t be complicated. Many products can be washed only in hands, the others must be washed in a washing machine. You may think that’s not a major think when it comes to buying a brace but remember that there is always a risk of overstretching and as a result it may not be able to use.
Buyers sometimes complain about the weight of the product. Some ankle braces seems to be too bulky. It may has a bad impact on your running performance but there is one more big problem-
don’t you think that brace should fit in your shoe and you should be able to wear it with sport running shoes?
What about the style?
It’s obvious that we don’t want to wear anything that doesn’t appear pretty for us. On the market, this product is usually in black or white version but it’s intentional. Black and white are colors which are easy to wash ( especially black), there is smaller chance that the product will color.
Q: Is it true that an ankle brace may have a negative influence on your performance?
A: We need to make clear one thing. Wearing a brace ankle has its aim- prevent from injuries. Of course , it may affect your performance but think about it. It’s all about getting the necessary support. It’s obvious that you can perform without it but what if you have an injury? It may stop you from running for a long time, so it’s better to wear a brace.
Q: I have a problem with circulation, can I wear it?
A: Yes you can but you must look for a brace with laces. Thanks to this, you may adjust the tightness and you can loosen the laces when it’s too tight.
Q: Is there something other important while looking for the best one?
A: There are two important things that people usually forget about. Firstly, a lot of customers don’t read the whole info and they are getting angry that they’ve received only one brace on one foot. It’s usually written that it’s not a pair and it’s only one product. Secondly, some companies offer different models for right and left food so make sure that you buy for the good one.
Q: I don’t understand the difference between the lace-up brace and a rigid one?
A: Rigid one offers a higher level of protection and it gives more mobility, however, the price is usually higher. Lace-up ones are more affordable.
Q: While wearing a brace, I’m 100 % safe?
A: No, you’re not. Brace is just a tool to reduce the risk of injury and it helps your joint and tendons to recover. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have any injury. However, if you happen to have one, the recovery time is much shorter than when you don’t wear a brace. What we all need to realize is that nothing will give you full protection. You can’t buy a brace and expect that you will never have a problem with it.
Q: Should I buy one brace for one ankle or for both?
A: It really depends on for what are you going to use it. If you just want it for a recovery after an injury for your one foot , buy one. If you wear in order to protect this part of body while running , it will be better to buy two.
Q: I’m really worried as my ankles may weaken after wearing a brace. Is it true that wearing it may have a bad impact?
A: This is true but if you do special exercises to strengthen them and don’t wear it all the time, they muscles shouldn’t weaken. The tool is the only kind of support and it doesn’t make your ankle totally not working. If you wear it only when running, you shouldn’t worry about as long as you don’t wear it all the time.
Q: Is there any difference between searching for a brace when you had bud injury and searching it for keeping the foot stable during running?
A: There is a difference as when you search for running, the most important thing you should be able to do is to moderate the levels of support. You don’t have any injuries, you want to prevent so you need to adjust the tightness. You won’t be also looking for big, bulky braces because they are dedicated for people with several injuries.
Q: Is it true that ankle brace helps to cure flat feet?
A: Yes, but it’s quite complicated. There are many types of flat feet and many types of braces. You can’t just wear one and think that it will help you with your flat feet. Every case is different so you should go and see food specialist.
Q: Is there only one type of brace?
A: Basically, there are five types:
Lace-ups – extremely stable but not very comfortable, new models have very often Velcro straps which aim to make wearing more convenient
Straps-these ones are very popular among athletes, their price isn’t very high. The big disadvantage of them is that it may be really hard for some people to put the brace on cause there are so many straps.
Sleeves – they are very accessible and comfortable. Their big weakness is that they are the least stable.
They may be used by beginners, who have already started their adventure with running.
Stirrups-it is less complicated that straps, but this kind of brace is rather not suitable for sports
Hybrid- expensive but comfortable and stable.
Q: Can I wear my brace all the time or only for running?
A: If you feel like you need to wear it more as your ankle is very sensitive, you can do it. However, wearing it all the time can cause weakening of your muscles as they are used very rarely. It’s also a bad idea to sleep in it.
Q: How to make it easier to fit your brace and how to put it on?
A: What you should do is search for products with sizes. Many products have this one size which unfortunately doesn’t fit all. Check also of it’s suitable for both men and women. Many companies have instructions on how to put on a brace, some even have special videos.
Q: If I have my ankle brace for running, can I use it for the other sports.
A: Of course. You can wear it when you play basketball, tennis, football, badminton, volleyball, hockey, running, hiking and a lot of different sports. It’s not only dedicated to running and what’s more, basketball or volleyball are more risky sports when it comes to injuries.
Q: I have a daughter who plays football and I’m afraid I won’t find her size
A: There are many companies who offer a wide range of sizes. What you need to do is measure the foot. If there isn’t size for your daughter, try to find a company who specializes in ankle braces for children.
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
- medical resources, ,
- medical devices, ,