The 10 Best Ankle Braces for Sprains to Buy in 2021

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“Aaaaaah! Ooooooh! Aaaah! Oh no, I’m gonna cry.”

That’s an impression of you without a good ankle brace.

If you’ve sprained your ankle and you’re tired of limping around like an extra from a zombie movie, we’ve got you covered. We can help you look forward to a future of no more pain and no more discomfort.

With our list of the best ankle braces for sprains, we’ll keep you and your ankle safe and secure so you can keep living your life in (relative) comfort. All of the ankle braces on our list reduce pain, help the healing process and help to prevent further injuries.

We’ve assembled lots of useful information on ankle braces along with a brilliant variety of ankle braces for several purposes.

All of the ankle braces we’ve featured are great for sprains, but some offer extra perks and support, too – so whether you want a brace for sport support, daily use, plantar fasciitis, arthritis or something else, we’ve got something perfect for you, along with all the information you need to make the right choice.

What to Consider When You’re Looking for The Best Ankle Braces for Sprains

In this list, we’ve assembled our ten favorite ankle braces to buy in 2021. But before we get to that juicy content, here’s some information to help you buy the perfect one for you.

In short, an ankle brace for a sprain is generally designed to do four things:

  • Keep your ankle supported
  • Speed up recovery
  • Minimize the chance of further injury
  • Reduce pain

And they should all do it, assuming you buy a good one. But they’re not all made equal, so it’s important you know what you’re buying before you invest. When deciding on the best ankle brace for you, here are the main things you need to consider:

Support

Different ankle braces offer different levels of support. If you only have a mild sprain, you don’t need something mega chunky and mega sturdy. It’s important to buy an ankle brace that offers the amount of support you need – and which offers the support where you need it.

Comfort

Obviously, you don’t want an uncomfortable ankle brace. And while all the ones we’ve listed are comfortable, some do the job better than others. It’s also important to note that although they’re all comfortable, some are better designed for all-day comfort than others.

Purpose

Do you want a brace that can support you while you play sports? Or just a brace for everyday use? Or only for a little support while you sleep? Or maybe you have arthritis combined with a sprain. Different braces are suitable for different things.

We’ve broken down these points in more detail later in this buying guide.

Below, we’ve listed ten of the best ankle braces for sprains.

We’ve given you a quick breakdown of each one according to support, wrap type, and price range, along with a more detailed description of each ankle brace’s support, comfort, and purpose. We’ve also included a useful list of short pros and cons for each ankle brace.

Whatever type of ankle brace you’re looking for, we’ve got your back (and your ankle).

Here are the ten best ankle braces for sprains. If you’re looking for support in other areas, don’t miss out on our guides of the best knee braces for sports as well as the best braces for tennis elbow.

Top 10 Ankle Braces for Sprains 2021

1. Best Overall Pick: Treat My Feet Ankle Compression Brace

Why we like it: This ankle brace is a great all-rounder, it does all the simple things well, and it offers a good level of medium support, making it great for a wide range of people.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: Medium
  • Wrap Type: Pull-on
  • Price Range: Low to medium

Support and Comfort

This ankle brace provides great mid-range support, with interlocking mesh for excellent compression, silicone support around the ankle and support around the heel. Though this brace is lightweight, soft and comfortable, there’s an excellent flexible structure, and it holds all the important parts in place. For a pull-on sleeve-style ankle brace, this is as good as it gets. Overall, this is very comfortable and snug.

There’s copper in the build, which helps with recovery and avoids the build-up of stinky smells, while the sweat-wicking provides pretty good protection against sticky feet. There’s also mild support for plantar fasciitis.

Purpose

This is good for everyday use, for wearing overnight and for wearing while you play sports. If you’re looking for a solid all-rounder, this does it all, especially as it’s easy to wash and reuse. For a very versatile medium-strength support, this is brilliant.

Pros
  • Excellent medium-range support
  • There’s support all around the foot for a well-balanced feel
  • Very comfortable
  • Easy to pull on and off
  • Great compression
  • Excellent versatility
Cons
  • There’s not enough support here for people who have serious injuries
  • Some people might find this a little simple

2. Best Lace-Up Ankle Brace: Shock Doctor Ultra Gel Ankle Brace

Why we like it: With wonderful gel cushioning, an excellent lace-up build, and a great non-slip robust design, this stays in place fantastically – and provides huge levels of comfort and support.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: High
  • Wrap Type: Lace-up
  • Price Range: Medium

Support and Comfort

If you’re looking for ankle support that provides huge durability and resilience in the face of all potential injury hazards, this is it. It’s rugged, it’s sturdy, and it offers a maximum level 3 of ankle support.

The lace-up design provides a huge amount of compression, which you can increase yourself by tightening the laces, while there are gel pads around the heel and ankle to keep them both comfortable and supported.

The footbed has a silicone gripper design, so you won’t slide around when you’re wearing this. If only you’d been wearing it when you injured yourself in the first place.
Though it’s a tight fit – and a little complex – there are finger tabs on the brace which provide easy pulling, so you can easily pull this on nice and tight.

Purpose

Again, this is very versatile – and while it looks pretty chunky, you can indeed use it when you’re playing sports. It doesn’t offer a huge amount of mobility, which can impact performance, and the fit can become uncomfortable after long periods. So although it’s suitable for wearing in all contexts, it’s not the best option for wearing long-term – or for wearing for intense sports.

Pros
  • Excellent gel pads for support and cushioning around the ankle and heel
  • Brilliant traction to prevent slipping
  • The compression is great and very tight, thanks to the lace-up system
Cons
  • It gets uncomfortable after long periods
  • Suitable for use while playing sports, but not if you require a huge amount of mobility

3. Best Budget Pick: Bodyprox Neoprene Sleeve Ankle Brace

Why we like it: If you want light support at a budget price, this is an incredible choice and defies all expectations about what a minimalist ankle brace can be.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: Low
  • Wrap Type: Wrap-around
  • Price Range: Low to medium

Support and Comfort

For lightweight support for only gentle sprains, this is excellent. It’s a pretty minimal ankle brace, with a soft neoprene build which is tightened around the ankle with Velcro.

The only support here comes in the form of compression, so this is only suitable for mild sprains. It comes up just above the ankle bone, so it’s a short ankle brace suitable only for lower ankle pain.

The build offers arch support and a little heel support, so though it’s lightweight, it’s pretty effective. It’s not the most comfortable option on this list because of the way it wraps around the ankle – but that’s always the case with wrap-around ankle braces.

Purpose

This can be worn anywhere, anytime, such is its lightweight build. It’s a one-size-fits-all option.

The open heel design, while it sacrifices support, offers lots of excellent movement and mobility, so this is particularly fantastic if you’re looking for something you can wear while you’re playing sports. The excellent breathability is also fantastic for playing sports. That said, if your shoes are already tight, you might struggle to fit your foot into your shoe while you’re wearing this bad boy.

Pros
  • Fantastic if you want something you can wear while you play
  • Brilliant lightweight build
  • Excellent price point
  • Great breathability
  • This is the best lightweight brace – and the best wrap-around brace – on the market
Cons
  • There’s nowhere near enough support here for anyone who wants anything robust
  • The only support comes in the form of compression

4. Best Premium Pick: Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace

Why we like it: If you want something very rugged with a huge amount of support for a severe sprain, this is the best we’ve got. With a molded exoskeleton on the outside of the brace, this is mega-tough.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: Huge
  • Wrap Type: Velcro wrap-around
  • Price Range: High

Support and Comfort

If you want huge levels of support, this is our top pick. What better than an outer exoskeleton to assist your very own skeleton?

There are three levels of support and stability on offer here – the brace is built specifically to prevent ankles from rolling both outward and inward, while there’s also lots of compression for general support. If you often roll inwards or outwards – or you want specific help avoiding either of those things from happening – this brace is perfect.

The support goes pretty high up the leg, with high ankle straps to prevent strains on the upper part of the ankle.

In short, for sturdy support throughout the length of the ankle, it doesn’t get any better than this. This isn’t just a gentle wrap-around or a little compression; it’s a hardcore ankle brace for people who want hardcore ankle support.

If you want this much support, this is excellent. But if you don’t, you might find this brace slightly restrictive.

Purpose

Even though this is hugely robust, the intelligent design allows you to play sports while you wear this. Yes, it limits your movement a little, but there’s no sport that this brace won’t provide support for.

It’s a little difficult to put this on properly (due to all of the separate elements), but with a little bit of patience, you’ll be golden.

Pros
  • A huge amount of support for bad sprains
  • Excellent outer exoskeleton for ultimate support
  • Great grip on the underside of the brace
  • Stop ankles from rolling outwards and inwards while also offering excellent compression
Cons
  • High price point
  • Some people aren’t going to want this much support
  • A little difficult to put on – but it’s great once you’ve mastered it

5. Best for Playing Sports: Aircast AirSport Ankle Brace

Why we like it: If you want a brace built for playing sports, this is our top pick. It provides great foam support along with a design that stops ankles from rolling both inward and outward. But there’s also lots of great flexibility.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: Low to medium
  • Wrap Type: Hybrid of wrap-around and pull-on
  • Price Range: Medium to high

Support and Comfort

With a lightweight but rigid shell, several wrap-around sections, foam-filled cushioning cells and a build which prevents the ankle from rolling in and out, there’s lots of brilliant support and protection here. But aside from all this, there’s excellent mobility and freedom. If you want to stay supported while you play sports, you won’t find better than this.

This is suitable for anyone with mild to moderate sprains. The back of the heel isn’t covered, and the breathability is pretty good, which makes for good performance if you’re playing sports.

But the best feature here is the hybrid design – it combines the step-in benefits of a pull-on ankle brace with the excellent compression of a wrap-around brace, leaving you with a huge amount of compression and a brace that is easy to get on and off quickly.

Purpose

This is completely suitable for everyday use, but it’s best for people who want moderate support while they’re playing sports. If you want your ankle to stop rolling outward and inward while you play sports, this will keep you on your feet for much more time to come.

The durability sadly isn’t the best, but that’s to be expected if you’re using this while you play sports.

Pros
  • Excellent hybrid between pull-on and wrap-around styles, which gives a massive amount of flexible compression
  • Great for wearing while you play sport
  • Very breathable
  • Fantastic for stopping your ankle from rolling in and out
Cons
  • Doesn’t have the best durability
  • Relatively expensive

6. Best Hybrid Ankle Brace: Zenith Ankle Brace

Why we like it: Can’t decide between a wrap-around ankle brace and a lace-up ankle brace? You don’t have to – this offers high-quality servings of both.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: High
  • Wrap Type: Hybrid of wrap-around and lace-up
  • Price Range: Medium to high

Support and Comfort

There’s a huge amount of support on offer here, with brilliant compression. The lace-up section reaches down almost to the toes, while the whole brace reaches above the ankle bone, so there’s a long stretch of rugged support here. The upper cuff of the brace stays very tight for excellent compression on the upper part of the ankle. There are also brilliant side straps that stop the ankle from rolling.

Crafted from nylon and neoprene, this ankle brace is very comfortable and breathable, while the lace-up section allows for great adjustment. Want lots of compression for lots of support? Tighten those laces. Want to loosen it a little to allow for mid-sport swelling? You can do that too.

It’s sadly a little bulky, but it’s otherwise pretty comfortable.

Purpose

This is very versatile and is good for both daily use and sports. But it performs best when you wear it for playing sports, as it’s designed specifically for tight compression during even the most intense sport sessions.

Because this is pretty bulky, it’s not great for wearing for long periods of time, but it’s otherwise pretty versatile.

Pros
  • Excellent hybrid between lace-up and wrap-around styles
  • Very breathable
  • Excellent support from just above the toes to way above the ankle bone
  • Lots of compression
  • Great for playing sports
Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • A little bulky
  • Not great for wearing over long periods of time

7. Best Basic Ankle Brace: PowerLix Ankle Brace

Why we like it: Some ankle braces are all-rounders. And if you want a very basic one, this is the chief of them all. Yes, it’s great for mild sprains – but it’s also good for arthritis, plantar fasciitis and general pain. If you want general support along with sprain support, this is unbeatable.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: Low to medium
  • Wrap Type: Pull-on
  • Price Range: Medium

Support and Comfort

With 4-way compression around the foot and the lower part of the leg, there’s a lot of compression on offer for the ankle here. But this compression also battles other common leg and ankle injuries and pain, so if you have arthritis or plantar fasciitis in combination with a mild ankle sprain, you’ll love this so much you’ll cry.

The knitted design stays close to the skin without rubbing, while the silicone build stops the ankle brace from slipping around (which can often be a problem with pull-on ankle braces).

Purpose

This is massively versatile, with excellent comfort and a simple but effective build, which is perfect for wearing daily, overnight and while playing sports. It’s designed to combat bad smells, so it’s specifically useful for wearing for long periods.

Pros
  • Looking for simple all-round ankle support? This is fantastic
  • Battles arthritis, plantar fasciitis and general pain in addition to helping with sprains
  • Combats bad smells
  • Great for wearing for long periods of time
Cons
  • Maybe too simple and unsupportive for some
  • There’s no support but compression here

8. Best Ankle Brace for People Who Like Athletic Tape: McDavid Ankle Brace

Why we like it: Like how athletic tape feels? This feels exactly the same, but sturdier, stronger and more supportive.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: Heavy
  • Wrap Type: Pull-on, lace-up and wrap-around
  • Price Range: Medium

Support and Comfort

With a brilliant figure-6 strapping pattern, this is designed specifically to mimic the feel and performance of athletic tape. The only difference is this – it’s much more rugged and strong than athletic tape. There’s a pull-on design that is enhanced by a lace-up build and a Velcro wrap-around build. Basically, if you can’t decide what type of support you want (or if you need athletic tape), go for this instead.

The polyester build keeps this relatively lightweight, but it’s still more chunky and bulky than most other entries on this list. It’s not the most comfortable brace in the world, but it’s okay.

Purpose

It’s suitable both for using generally and while playing sports, but it’s not comfortable to use for long periods of time.

Pros
  • Replicates the feeling of athletic tape perfectly
  • It offers an excellent combination of all-over support
  • Very robust
Cons
  • Isn’t the comfiest ankle brace in the world
  • Isn’t great for wearing for long periods of time

9. Best for Arthritis Support: TechWare Pro Ankle Brace

Why we like it: Seeking relief against arthritis while you support your strain? This is a fantastic brace, with tight compression, a lightweight design and a small build.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: Low to medium
  • Wrap Type: Pull-on
  • Price Range: Low to medium

Support and Comfort

With a small, subtle build, you can easily wear this all day to provide support and pain relief during your day-to-day life. But don’t let the small build fool you – the compression here is much stronger than you might expect, so it’s great if you want relief against both arthritis and a mild sprain. There’s also pretty good arch support and support against plantar fasciitis.

If you’re not accustomed to lots of compression, you might even find these too tight.

The breathability is fantastic and helps to massively battle sweaty feet.

Purpose

The 4-way stretch offers maximum mobility, so you can wear this constantly – for any activity – without any discomfort or limitation. Because this is pretty small, you can wear it everywhere without it becoming a distraction.

Pros
  • 4-way stretch for brilliant mobility
  • You can wear this all day and night
  • Great if you want support against arthritis along with sprain support
  • Lightweight build
  • Great breathability
Cons
  • The compression might be too much for some people
  • This is very lightweight and basic (though great at what it does)

10. Best Small Ankle Brace: IRUFA Ankle Brace

Why we like it: Want a tiny, minimalist brace for only a small amount of support? This brace is fantastic at exactly that.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Level of Support: Low
  • Wrap Type: Small pull-on
  • Price Range: Low

Support and Comfort

With a tiny build, this is fantastic if you want a small amount of support from a very small brace. It’s incredibly lightweight and breathable, it’s the least intrusive ankle brace on this list, and it’s suitable for constant use. In short, if you want something very small, this is the best you’ll find.

Because the build is so lightweight, this doesn’t prevent further injury – it only helps to soothe pain. This is also great for mild arthritis, as the air cushion effect distributes support throughout the entire brace.

Purpose

You can use this all day, at all times, for everything. Because it’s so small and non-intrusive, it doesn’t chafe, it isn’t distracting, and it doesn’t irritate. The gap at the heel makes the breathability excellent, so you shouldn’t even get sweaty feet while you’re wearing this.

Pros
  • Excellent for anyone seeking something very small and light
  • Very unintrusive
  • Good for mild arthritis
  • Great breathability
Cons
  • For anyone who wants anything more than the very mildest of ankle sprain support, this won’t be enough
  • Doesn’t prevent further ankle injuries – only provides a little support against pain

Everything You Need to Know Before Choosing The Best Ankle Brace

injured woman wearing ankle brace

There you have it – the ten best ankle braces on the market!

They’re all fantastic for keeping your ankle safe and supported, speeding up your recovery and reducing pain. But there are many things you need to think about before you invest in one for your very own ankle. Read on to make sure you buy the correct ankle brace for you.

What Is an Ankle Sprain?

In short, an ankle sprain is simply an injury to your ankle ligaments (they’re the bits that help to keep your bones attached to one another). If you push your ligaments beyond their normal range of motion, they become strained – and that’s what causes the pain.

But I’m not a doctor, I’m just a writer. Here’s more information from someone who really knows what they’re talking about.

Duration of a Sprained Ankle

Most sprains take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to fully recover, though some lucky people might heal faster. But a good ankle brace can massively reduce your recovery time.

If you’ve had a very bad sprain (and snapped your ligament), you might need surgery or months of recovery. But it’s unlikely that applies to you – because if it did, you’d be in the hospital now, instead of reading this.

Helping Your Sprained Ankle Heal

To make your sprained ankle heal quicker, you should use exercises, compression and periods of activity. Here’s much more information.

But the most important thing you can do is – no surprises here – wear a good ankle brace! Wearing a good ankle brace can massively help to speed up your recovery time and make you more comfortable while it happens. It can also help to prevent further injury (which would, of course, delay your recovery).

Ankle Sprain Support

All ankle braces (obviously) offer some level of support. But while some offer very basic support for only the mildest of sprains, others are more robust for people with more serious injuries.

It’s important you choose an ankle brace that matches up with the level of support you need. If you have a very bad sprain, go for something rugged and robust, such as the Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace. If you have a very mild sprain, something smaller (such as the IRUFA Ankle Brace) is all you’ll likely need.

Different ankle sleeves have different levels of support, as follows:

  • Level 1: For people with mild sprains who need the least support
  • Level 2: For people with moderate sprains who need moderate support
  • Level 3: For people with particularly painful sprains who need lots of support

These are, of course, a little arbitrary, and there’s some crossover between which is which, but this is a good general guide. In our reviews, we generally haven’t used these numbers, as we’ve instead analyzed each brace’s support in more detail. But if you see those numbers while you’re looking for an ankle brace, that’s what they mean.

If you need anything stronger than a level 3 ankle brace, close this page and take yourself to the hospital.

Wrap Type

Some ankle braces are pull-on, some wrap around the ankle and some are tied with Velcro or laces. Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s offered by each:

  • Pull-on ankle braces: these are the simplest type, and they’re in the form of a tube which you pull onto your ankle, like an open-ended sock. If you want simple support, they’re often the best option.
  • Wrap-around ankle braces: these typically use Velcro, which you can wrap around the ankle for strong compression and a bespoke fit.
  • Lace-up ankle braces: these use laces for a huge amount of bespoke compression. Want a mega tight ankle brace? You can tie these very tight. These are often also a little larger and come higher up the leg, so they provide a huge amount of support.

Materials

Lots of different materials are used in ankle braces for lots of different purposes:

  • Copper: Copper may help speed up the recovery process of sprains, but it also improves the structure of the brace a little. Meanwhile, it’s most famous for avoiding stinky scents, so if you’re a particularly sweaty person, a copper-infused brace can be particularly helpful. Are you looking for one? Go for the Treat My Feet brace.
  • Metal plates: Ankle braces with metal plates provide more structure than malleable fabrics, so they’re great for people who need ultimate levels of support. If that’s what you need, consider the Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace.
  • Neoprene: Neoprene is light and breathable, but also tough and durable, so it’s a great ingredient for anyone seeking great compression along with lots of flexibility. Basically, if you have a light sprain and you want an ankle brace that you can wear while you’re playing sports, consider an ankle brace built with neoprene. A good option is the Bodyprox Neoprene Sleeve Ankle Brace.

Purpose

Do you want your brace for playing sports? For daily use? For stopping your ankle from rolling outwards or inwards? Buy accordingly. Though most ankle braces are typically pretty versatile, some are more suited to some purposes than others.

Comfort

It’s, of course, important to have an ankle brace that offers lots of comfort. You don’t want one made from a cactus. Or glass. Or… you get the idea.

All of the ankle braces we’ve featured on this list are very comfortable, but if you’re looking for one which you’ll constantly be wearing, it’s best to prioritize comfort. If that’s the case, go for one which is pull-on sleeve-style, as they’re typically most comfortable.

Price

Most decent ankle braces are very affordable.

If you’re looking for a particularly affordable ankle brace, our top pick is the Bodyprox Neoprene Sleeve Ankle Brace.

Yes, you can buy an ankle brace from a dollar store, but it’ll likely do more harm than good, and it won’t give you anywhere near the amount of support you need. It’s very easy to find an ankle brace that is both very effective and relatively affordable. Don’t be an enormous cheapskate – your ankle will hate you for it.

Size

Make sure you buy a brace that matches your size – and one that matches the foot you’ve sprained. There’s little point in buying a small-sized left-foot brace for a large-sized right foot.

Different manufacturers have different size guidelines. So whichever brace you’re buying, check the size guide for that brace before you buy. And remember that some ankle braces (especially the wrap-around ones) might be one-size-fits-all.

How Should I Take Care of My Ankle Brace?

Most ankle braces aren’t machine washable. So though you need to wash your ankle brace on occasion (because no-one wants to stink), you should usually do so only by hand. And if there are any removable metal parts in your ankle brace, make sure you remove them before you wash it.

But it’s important to know that different ankle braces require different types of care, so always follow the instructions provided with your specific ankle brace.

What About Ankle Braces for Plantar Fasciitis?

What’s plantar fasciitis? In short, it’s inflammation of the plantar fascia, the part of your foot which helps to connect your heel to your toes. If you feel pain around your heel and your arch, you might be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.

Here’s some good news – some ankle braces are specifically built for combating the pain and discomfort caused by Plantar Fasciitis. If that’s what you’re looking for, we’re recommending something from off of our list: Bitly Plantar Fasciitis Compression Socks.

This ankle brace is designed exclusively for plantar fasciitis. It uses excellent compression to massively reduce plantar fasciitis, reaching from just past the toes to just above the ankle bone. The arch support will keep your feet pain-free for plenty of time to come.

This support is lightweight, breathable, and made from nylon. But to be clear, it’s only suitable for plantar fasciitis – if you have a sprain, look elsewhere!

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the best ankle braces on the market!

They’re all fantastic for providing support and comfort, and they all help the healing process while reducing the chances of further injury.

But before you buy, ensure you consider why you want to buy an ankle brace, and buy accordingly. A brace for general support, for example, is different from a brace built for playing sports.

No matter your needs, your budget or the type of ankle brace you’re looking for, there’s a perfect ankle brace for you somewhere on this list.

Buy one, slide it onto your leg, and look forward to a life of less limping!

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