Choosing the best ankle brace for running is not always an easy process. There are so many different types on the market, some designed to prevent injury and others designed to help you heal.
Furthermore, there’s heaps of terminology that can add fuel to the fire of confusion. Ankle supports, ankle sleeves, ankle braces and more – what’s the difference?
In this guide, we’ll explain the terminology, examine how to choose the right brace, whether you’re trying to stabilize an ankle injury or reduce the chance that it will happen again.
We have also listed our top 7 ankle braces, including a summary of their main features and the types of situations they are most suitable for.
Let’s get into it!
What’s The Different Between an Ankle Brace and an Ankle Support?
Technically, an ankle brace is designed to help you heal from an injury, usually by limiting the ankle’s range of movement. It is worn throughout the rehabilitation period but isn’t always meant for ongoing use.
The main purpose of an ankle support (also known as a compression sleeve) is to prevent injury from occurring. It can also be used to help heal minor injuries by reducing swelling and pain. Typically made from stretchy, lightweight fabric, ankle supports can be worn on a daily basis.
But you will often see these terms used interchangeably. And some ankle braces – particularly those with a semi-rigid design – offer a combination of features and are therefore more versatile.
If you are dealing with an injury, it’s a good idea to discuss your specific needs with your medical provider. Wearing an inappropriate ankle brace in this situation can actually do more harm than good.
Other Reasons to Wear an Ankle Brace for Running
Besides healing and preventing injuries, using ankle support for running can:
- Enhance ankle joint proprioception (your awareness of the ankle’s position in relation to your body)
- Keep you mindful of proper form, reducing your chance of future injury
- Relieve the pain and discomfort caused by degenerative conditions like arthritis
- Provide relief from plantar fasciitis
The Best Ankle Brace for Running: Our Top Picks for 2022
#1. BraceAbility Neoprene Water-Resistant Ankle Brace
– Lightweight and comfortable, with strong Velcro closures
– Ideal for daily use
Featuring flexible and adjustable figure-eight straps, this brace is designed to improve the circulation around your joint and promote healing. It is quick and easy to put on, with medical-grade Velcro closures ensuring a snug fit.
The heel and forefoot are left open which helps you maintain a comfortable temperature. Meanwhile, the band that runs under your foot is strong but so thin that you can barely feel it. It stays in position throughout your run, without bunching.
Although the brace is made with a soft and comfortable fabric, it doesn’t compromise on support. The compression in the ankle area is ideal for reducing swelling and also provides the support you need for long-term injury prevention.
#2. Zenith Ankle Brace, Lace Up Adjustable Support
– With double-stitched seams for durability
– A great choice for injury recovery
This ankle brace for running is one of the best when it comes to achieving a custom fit. It has laces that you tie at the front and figure-eight strapping that can be tightened around the ankle. This gives you just the right level of support, whatever your needs.
The fabric – a mixture of high-quality neoprene and nylon – is both soft against the skin and durable. It’s also very breathable and does a great job at keeping your feet cool and dry.
This is a medium support brace. It strikes the ideal balance between comfort and function, with the side straps contouring to the shape of your ankle. These immobilize your foot to relieve pain and allow any injuries to heal, without affecting your ability to run.
#3. Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer
– Featuring a low profile to suit any type of shoe
– The best choice for ankle stabilization
Prone to inversion or eversion ankle sprains? Then this ankle brace for running may be the answer, both in terms of helping you get back to perfect form and preventing similar injuries going forwards.
It has all the features you need for a great fit, including a lace-up front and figure-eight stabilizing strapping. The straps even have finger loops, so you can secure them tightly and maximize support. The woven elastic cuff provides additional security, both stopping your ankle from rolling and holding the straps and laces firmly in place.
This is a popular brace with professional athletes, made with a durable and breathable Coolflex fabric. This material has even been used to line the inside of the back of the boot, keeping your Achilles area comfortable too. As a bonus, the seam is invisible – so you won’t need to worry about it digging into your foot!
#4. Copper Fit ICE Plantar Fasciitis Compression Ankle Sleeve
– Infused with menthol
– Designed to relieve the pain from plantar fasciitis
The cooling sensation provided by menthol provides welcome relief from pain, whether it’s the discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis, or everyday aches, soreness, and stiffness.
Using its unique, patented Micro-Encapsulation Technology, Copper Fit combines the benefits of menthol with the energizing properties of copper. The result is an advanced and flexible compression sleeve offering all-day support.
Designed to stretch in 4 directions, this is a comfortable brace made from a moisture-wicking fabric that will keep you cool and dry. There is no seam to worry about and the reinforced band is strong enough to keep it in place throughout your run.
The sleeve contours well to the shape of your foot and provides a slim enough fit to be virtually unnoticeable in your running shoes.
#5. Bodyprox Adjustable Ankle Support Brace
– An open heel design for a snug fit and great flexibility
– Best budget option
If you are looking for a budget-friendly ankle brace for running and don’t want to compromise on quality, check out this adjustable wrap from Bodyprox.
Made from a breathable neoprene material, it is simple to apply and wraps comfortably around the feet. The three adjustable straps make it easy to get a great fit, no matter what your shoe size.
If you find that some braces tend to pinch your skin or bunch up, then you’ll appreciate the open instep and heel that allow you to move freely without the brace budging an inch!
Durable and easy to wash, this is the perfect brace for everyday wear, offering support when you need it and helping reduce the pain from both acute and chronic ankle conditions.
#6. Ankle Compression Brace with Silicone Ankle Support
– Made with copper-infused fabric and embedded silicone
– Offering cushioned ankle protection for long-term use
Made by the appropriately named ‘Treat My Feet’, this is a great all-round ankle brace for ongoing use. It has lots of features to keep you comfortable as you run, including support in the heel and plantar areas and moisture-wicking fabric.
One of the best features of this brace is the enhanced silicone cushioning on either side of the ankle area. This is useful if you suffer from weakness in your ankle joints and provides the additional support you need to protect you from injury. The advanced compression is enhanced by the interlocked stitching.
But despite the firm support it provides, this brace doesn’t feel as if it’s restricting your circulation. In fact, it even has enough stretch to accommodate wider feet without digging in!
#7. TechWare Pro Ankle Brace Compression Sleeve
– Available in a range of fun colors
– Best choice for injury prevention
Offering effective but lightweight support, this ankle brace for running is one of the most popular on the market. And with good reason – it looks great, feels comfortable, yet gives the tight fit needed to improve your blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
The soft fabric – made from a blend of nylon and Spandex – is designed to wick moisture away from your skin. This means you can be confident you’ll stay cool and dry, even in warmer conditions. It is also so slim and breathable that you could quite easily wear the brace all day – just what you need if you are trying to recover from an injury.
Offering strong compression of 20 – 30mmHG, this brace is effective for treating conditions like edema and bursitis. It can also provide fast relief from plantar fasciitis pain.
The Best Ankle Brace for Running: Key Takeaways
Choosing the right ankle brace for running can either speed up your recovery from an injury or provide the necessary support for exercising safely.
I hope this guide has helped you to identify the right product to enhance your running experience – one that will keep you comfortable and injury-free, whilst ultimately strengthening your performance.
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1 thought on “The Best Ankle Brace for Running 2023: Our Top Picks”
While I usually enjoy your articles and want to trust that you truly are stating your opinions, I have a big problem with your recent discussion of ankle braces for running. In your discussion of Copper Fit ankle sleeve, you stated the “energizing benefits” of copper, however there is no evidence of copper benefits in clothing beyond its antimicrobial properties. Its unfortunate that Copper Fit gets away with these claims.