The 5 Best Ankle Braces for Basketball in 2020

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Someone is about to score, and everyone is on the edge of their seats. Then, suddenly, a player is on the ground clutching their twisted ankle. Players can avoid getting foot injury by wearing ankle braces for basketball. However, not everyone is aware of what things to look for in wearing ankle braces. Read on to learn which ankle braces are a fit for you.

Are Ankle Braces Effective?

On the other hand, some studies have proven the effectiveness of using an ankle brace in high school football and basketball. One of the evidence showed that up to 60% of sprains in high school football were prevented.

However, take caution because only lace-up and figure-of-eight ankle braces were used in the studies. We need further, more conclusive studies that show

  • ankle braces can reduce the risk of sprain twofold and
  • there are no adverse effects caused by the bracing.

I recommend wearing an ankle bracing for basketball or any other sport instead of playing without a brace.

Which Brands Offer the Best Ankle Braces for Basketball?

The body’s natural “ankle brace” is the swelling that immobilizes the joint. However, an ankle brace reduces this swelling and restricts movement. 

1. Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace

ankle braces for basketball
ankle braces for basketball

The Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace is highly recommended for those who need high-end ankle support for their severe and recurrent ankle sprains. Stephen Curry has struggled through ankle injuries before becoming the two-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA Champion. He shared that Zamst A2-DX removed his fear of re-injuring his ankles, which helped him play with full confidence.  

It features one anchor strap and four fasteners around the heel to prevent ankle sprains. This structure holds together the two lower leg bones where the ankles meet for anterior, lateral, and medial support. This ankle brace utilizes various technologies to ensure durability and flexibility.

Ankle braces with high-level protection features usually have a bulky frame, but this ankle brace is different. It is comfortable to wear and an easy fit for any basketball shoe.

Pros
The support structure is dual and molded.
The anti-migration grip prevents ankle rolling.
The A-fit technology of the brace allows it to adapt to both ankles.
Its I-fit technology adjustable fasteners allow the ankle to move around without much restriction.
The stabilizers underneath the brace prevents accidental foot shifts.
Cons
It is expensive compared to other ankle braces for basketball.

2. McDavid Elite Bio-Logix Ankle Brace

ankle braces for basketball
ankle braces for basketball

The features of the McDavid Elite Bio-Logix Ankle Brace are not that different from Zamst’s. One of the few differences between them is their effectiveness throughout the recovery from an ankle injury. McDavid Elite Bio-Logix Ankle Brace is recommended for people with ongoing ankle injuries, while Zamst is for those who have already recovered. 

This ankle brace ensures that you come out stronger from any ankle injury. This design is streamlined to offer maximum support while using lightweight and flexible materials.

It incorporates molded plastic to make it ergonomic and easy to wear and take off. That would have helped me cope in the past when I had to train daily even if my ankles were already swollen.

Pros
It is equipped with a Flex-link Hinge with a Heel-Lock Strap for the ankle’s easy movement and stability.
It is equipped with the figure-8 strap system for maximum support.
The 3D contoured ankle alignment pocket surrounds and protects your ankle joint.
It has a TPU molded exoskeleton that provides maximum lateral stability.
The memory foam padding protects the skin and gives added comfort.
It has an anti-slip footbed design and a comfortable rear opening with forefoot sleeve and quick-wrap closure.
Cons
It is expensive compared to other ankle braces for basketball.

3. McDavid 199 Ankle Brace

ankle braces for basketball
ankle braces for basketball

The McDavid 199 Ankle Brace is also known as the McDavid Ankle Brace/Lace-Up w/Stays. This ankle brace offers less quality support features than Zamst and McDavid’s Bio-Logix variant. Nevertheless, it is a cheaper and reliable alternative for ankle recovery support and injury prevention.

It has a simple design with a lace-up system, and it can adequately serve its intended purpose. This is a go-to for those new to ankle braces because this is a best-seller in the market.

This ankle brace takes its protective purpose seriously because it restricts ankle movement that may cause any further injury. If you are already eager to move around the court, you need to be more patient in wearing this brace. Still, the wait is going to be worth it because you can expect a shorter recovery time.

Pros
It is designed to reduce ankle fatigue.
The design is unisex.
It fits either the left or the right ankle.
It has medical spring steel stays on both sides of the brace for stability.
The HyperVent technology and breathable vinyl mesh allows for maximum comfort.
It uses a rigid support material, yet there is no excessive tightness.
Cons
It can be challenging to fit into some shoes due to the rigid material and steel stays.
It can be difficult to wear and to take off.
The brace restricts movement, which can be uncomfortable due to the steel stays.
It takes time to get used to lacing it up.

4. McDavid 195 Ankle Brace

ankle braces for basketball
ankle braces for basketball

The McDavid 195 Ankle Brace is made of thinner material than the McDavid 199 Ankle Brace. The 195 model has been the subject of a few university studies, where the participating athletes had three times fewer injuries. 

I commend it for its lightweight design as it can effectively prevent different types of ankle injuries. This ankle brace offers durability and comfort that are beyond its price.

Its construction did not include any inlays to imitate an athletic tape wrap. I appreciate their tape wrap method because I can easily adjust the straps without removing the shoes.

Pros
It has a unisex design.
It fits either the left or the right ankle.
The single-layer polyester fabric material makes it lightweight.
It is designed to imitate an athletic tape with a figure-6 strapping pattern for maximum support.
You can adjust the brace without completely unlacing it.
It has a compression-comfort top strap, which helps it fit in narrow shoes.
It has a ventilated tongue, which makes it breathable.
The padded inline and reinforced closures provide the brace with durability.
Cons
It takes time to get used to the stiff material and the lacing process.
It is uncomfortable for all-day use, especially on a hot day.

5. Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

ankle braces for basketball
ankle braces for basketball

The McDavid 195 Ankle Brace has nine eyelets. If you prefer something less bulky, Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer might be for you because it has only six sets of eyelets. However, it costs more and only has a simple design compared to the McDavid 195, which is more eye-catching.

It provides lateral and medial support, perfect for people who need low to moderate ankle protection. This ankle brace can easily be adjusted to target areas where pressure or flexibility is needed. Similar to McDavid 195, its lightweight feature, durability, and comfort are beyond its price.

A few advice about this product: buy a smaller size because they have a history of running it large. And when you already have your own, wear it over your sock because it gets slippery after hours of use.

Pros
It fits either the left or the right ankle.
It has a low design profile, which makes it fit any shoe.
The figure-8 straps ensure full support.
It has an elastic cuff that keeps the straps in position when moving up and down.
It is made of ballistic nylon, which makes it lightweight and provides durability.
The material gives off therapeutic heat.
It is manufactured in the United States for higher quality control standards.
Cons
It takes time to get used to the material.
It is not recommended for severe ankle injuries.
The size chart is not reliable based on some customer complaints.

When Should You Wear Ankle Braces? 

In deciding when you should wear an ankle brace, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Have you experienced ankle sprain before?
  • Do you have residual ankle instability?
  • Do you participate in a high-risk sport or position?

If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, then that’s when you should consider wearing an ankle brace.

Do Ankle Braces Weaken the Ankles?

Ankle braces do weaken ankles, in a biological sense. Research shows they are not suitable for your body since the wrap and tape make your ankle weak. They immobilize the ankle joint, like a splint, for protection, but only when the ankle joint is meant to be immobile.  

What would help instead is if you protected your sprained ankle while doing gentle exercises and stretches without needing an ankle brace. Ankle braces for basketball are a quick fix if you want to keep playing while waiting for it to heal.

Can You Play Basketball with an Ankle Brace?

Sprained ankles are common when playing basketball, but you can prevent them by using ankle braces. Research conducted among 1,400 student-athletes found that ankle braces helped them stay on the court. More athletes sprained their ankle without ankle braces than playing with one.

Our Verdict: The Best Ankle Braces for Basketball

The ankle braces for basketball reviewed here were judged based on their fit, comfort, compression, support, durability, and price. And the brand that has topped all these categories and I highly recommended is the Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace. While it is expensive, its quality is worth the investment.

In addition to being endorsed by Stephen Curry, it uses various technologies to ensure a comfortable and injury-free play. It is also strapped in numerous ways to secure the ankle. If you are going for a quick-fix, I believe this ankle brace is the safest way to go.

Sagi Shiffer

Sagi Shiffer

He lives an active lifestyle and wearing gloves are part of his daily routine. This drive his passion for sports gear and accessories to share his ideas through this blog.

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