The 8 Best Ankle Braces of 2022

The Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer has extra padding for comfort and support

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Whether you're recovering from an injury or just looking to prevent one, wearing an ankle brace can be extremely beneficial. "Ankle braces are designed to put pressure on the ankle to support the ligaments and restrict abnormal motion," says Patrick McEneaney, MD, owner and CEO at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. "This will help prevent the ankle from spraining again."

Reviewed & Approved

Designed with padding for comfort and breathability, the Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer braces the ankle for maximum relief. We also recommend the ACE Compression Ankle Support, which is both affordable and easy to find at local retailers.

Various materials, sizing options, and levels of support can make the selection process feel daunting. And because some are designed for specific needs, like aiding ankle instability or providing support after a sports injury, it's also important to select the right type of brace for your activity level. 

The best ankle brace for you will fit snugly without pinching and will be comfortable while providing support and the amount of rigidity you need to aid your recovery. We researched dozens of ankle braces and evaluated them based on material, support, comfort, adjustability, and price. 

Here are the best ankle braces on the market today.

Best Overall: Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

4.8
Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

Amazon

Pros
  • Padding for comfort

  • Bilateral design for fit on either ankle

  • Invisible seams to prevent irritation

Cons
  • Not as adjustable as some other options

  • May not fit into all shoes

The Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer is our top pick, because it's made from high-quality materials and provides superior support. The padding is comfortable, and its unique design makes it suitable to wear on either ankle. We like the figure-eight strapping system, which helps to provide a more customized fit. It's also available in a variety of sizes from XXS to 3XL, so you're sure to find one that fits well.

Unlike some nylon braces, this one is machine washable for easy care. It also has invisible seams that help to prevent irritation. The only downside is that it's not as discreet as some options, and it may not fit into every shoe. Overall, it beats out the competition in terms of quality and support for the best ankle brace.

Material: Nylon | Sizes: XXS-3XL | Machine washable? Yes

Best Budget: ACE Compression Ankle Support

ACE Compression Ankle Support

Walmart

Pros
  • Easy to put on and take off

  • Lightweight

  • Breathable design

Cons
  • Not as adjustable as other options

  • Limited support

This ACE compression ankle support is a great option for those on a budget. Made from a breathable elastic and neoprene blend, it's designed to provide compression and stability for weak or injured ankles. It's also easy to put on and take off, making it a great option for those who are seeking convenience.

While this ankle support is less expensive than some of our other picks, it's important to note that it's not as adjustable. Additionally, it may not provide as much support as the pricier options. However, it's still a great choice if you’re looking for moderate ankle support without a hefty price tag.

Material: Elastic and neoprene blend | Sizes available: Small/Medium, Large/X-large | Machine washable? Yes

Best Compression Sleeve: Incrediwear Ankle Sleeve

Incrediwear Ankle Sleeve

Amazon

Pros
  • Breathable design

  • Multiple sizes to choose from

  • Flexible

Cons
  • Limited support

  • Not adjustable

This Incrediwear ankle sleeve is a great option for those who need a compression sleeve that provides support for common ankle injuries and conditions, including sprains, tendonitis, ligament injuries, and more. We like that it’s made from a breathable and flexible blend of cotton, nylon, polyester, and spandex. Its design will also help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

The sleeve has three size options, including S/M, L, and XL. It's also machine washable for easy care. While this ankle sleeve provides some support, it's important to note that it's not adjustable—so following the size guidelines before purchasing is key.

Material: Cotton, nylon, polyester, spandex | Sizes available: Small/medium, Large, X-large | Machine washable? Yes

Best with Padding: McDavid Bio-Logix Ankle Brace

McDavid Bio-Logix Ankle Brace

McDavid

Pros
  • Superior padding for comfort

  • Heavy-duty

  • Fully adjustable

Cons
  • May be uncomfortable

  • Bulky

This adjustable ankle brace from McDavid features memory foam padding that conforms to your ankle for a comfortable, custom fit. We like the breathable polyester, TPU, and neoprene fabric blend that wicks away sweat and helps keep your skin cool and dry. With three size options and an easy-to-use Velcro closure, it's a great choice for those who are seeking a comfortable and supportive ankle brace.

While the Bio-Logix Ankle Brace is heavy-duty and adjustable, some users may find it bulky and uncomfortable. The extra padding may also make it difficult to wear with certain shoes. However, overall, this is a great option for those who need a padded ankle brace.

Material: ‎Polyester, TPU, neoprene | Sizes available: XS/SM, MD/LG, XL/XXL | Machine washable? Yes

Best for Working Out: Active Ankle Prolacer Brace

Active Ankle Prolacer Brace

Amazon

Pros
  • Open heel design

  • Durable

  • Non-slip

Cons
  • Bulkier than fabric options

  • Hand-wash only

For active individuals who need an ankle brace to wear during workouts, the Active Ankle Prolacer Brace is a great option. This brace is made from a blend of nylon and neoprene for durability and breathability. We like that the non-slip design helps prevent it from rolling down or slipping during activity.

Available in five sizes, this brace is designed to fit a variety of foot sizes. While both durable and supportive, some users may find it bulky and tedious to put on due to its lace-up design. It's important to note that this brace is not machine-washable—so hand-washing is recommended.

Material: Nylon, neoprene | Sizes available: X-small — X-large | Machine washable? No

Best Strap: Bodyprox Ankle Support Breathable Ankle Brace

Bodyprox Ankle Support Breathable Ankle Brace

Amazon

Pros
  • Adjustable pressure

  • Bilateral design for fit on either ankle

  • Non-slip

Cons
  • Only one size option

  • May be difficult to wrap

For strap-style ankle support, the BodyProx Ankle Support Strap may be the best option. Made from a lightweight and durable nylon, latex filament, polyester, and silicone blend, this strap is intended to provide adjustable compression and support. Its unique bilateral design makes it easy to wear on either ankle, while the open heel offers a wide range of motion.

The BodyProx Ankle Support Strap is only available in one size, which may not be ideal for those with larger ankles. The manufacturer recommends hand-washing this product for proper care. Some users may find it difficult to wrap the strap around the ankle correctly. However, overall, its semi-rigid support makes it the best strap-style option on the market.

Material: Nylon, latex filament, polyester, silicone | Sizes available: One size fits most | Machine washable? No

Best Lightweight: Nufabrx Pain Relieving Compression Ankle Sleeve

Nufabrx Pain Relieving Compression Ankle Sleeve

Walmart

Pros
  • Infused with capsaicin for pain relief

  • Breathable design

  • Discreet

Cons
  • Limited support

  • Only one size option

  • Capsaicin may irritate skin

For a lightweight option that's also budget-friendly, the Nufabrx Pain Relieving Ankle Compression Sleeve offers both compression and pain relief. This sleeve is infused with capsaicin—a natural pain reliever that may help relieve pain associated with conditions like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and more. Its nylon, polyester, and spandex blend is both breathable, flexible, and comfortable to wear.

The Nufabrx Pain Relieving Ankle Compression Sleeve only comes in one size, which may not be ideal for everyone. And while capsaicin offers pain relief, there's a risk of irritation for those with sensitive skin. That said, the sleeve offers 150 hours of pain relief and is washable up to 15 or moere times—and we think it’s a superior and lightweight option.

Material: Nylon, polyester, spandex | Sizes available: One size | Machine washable? Yes

Best with Extended Sizing: Mueller Sports Medicine The One Ankle Support Brace

Mueller Sports Medicine The One Ankle Support Brace

Amazon

Pros
  • Bilateral design

  • Fully adjustable

  • Whole-ankle support

Cons
  • Difficult to put on

  • Bulkier than fabric options

  • Hand wash only

Mueller's The One Ankle Brace is a great choice for those searching for extended sizing options—with eight sizes ranging from XXS to XXXL. This brace is made from a breathable and durable nylon material and features a figure-eight strapping system for a customizable fit. It provides whole-ankle support to help prevent injuries during activities like basketball, football, volleyball, and more.

While the extended sizing is great for those with larger ankles, some users may find the strapping system tedious. It should also be hand-washed, which may be a downside for some. We think the low-profile design and anti-slip silicone grip make it one of the best nylon braces available—especially for larger ankles.

Material: Nylon | Sizes available: XXsmall — XXXlarge | Machine washable? No

Final Verdict

The Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer features CoolFlex padding that is breathable and conforming. The figure-eight straps offer a customized fit, making this brace a great choice for those who need extra support. If you're looking for added pain relief, the Nufabrx Pain Relieving Ankle Compression Sleeve is infused with capsaicin for natural pain relief. It’s also machine washable up to 15 or more times, making it an easy-care, lightweight option.

How We Selected the Ankle Braces

When selecting the best ankle braces, we spoke to orthopedic experts and spent hours researching the best options on the market. We looked for ankle braces that were designed using breathable materials like nylon and spandex and had padding to provide cushioning and support. We also considered sizing options, as some people may need a smaller or larger size than average. 

To narrow down our list, we looked at adjustability and whether the ankle brace was machine washable. We also considered how easy it was to put on and take off, as many users have difficulty reaching their feet. Finally, we looked at the price point to decide which ankle braces provided the best value. Based on these factors, we compiled a list of the best ankle braces on the market.

What to Look for in an Ankle Brace

Comfort and Support

When looking for an ankle brace, Dr. McEneaney recommends finding one that's both comfortable to wear and fits inside your shoe. "Bulkier braces may feel more supportive, but they are no good to you if they don't fit in your shoe." 

You'll also want to look for an ankle brace that provides stability and keeps your foot in place during activities. "An ankle brace should provide enough support to decrease symptoms while increasing ankle instability," says Robert L. Parisien, MD, orthopedic sports medicine surgeon at Mount Sinai and team physician for US Ski & Snowboard and USA Fencing. "However, it must be noted that following a traumatic ankle sprain, all patients should undergo formal focused physical therapy to work on stretching, strengthening, as well as neuromuscular and proprioceptive training."

Dr. Parisien urges people to seek guidance from a professional to ensure that they're getting proper treatment. "Both an ankle brace and formal physical therapy can help provide physical stability and mental confidence in the ankle, both of which are critical."

AFO vs ASO Designs

According to Dr. Parisien, it's important to consider your activity level when choosing an ankle brace. "The degree of injury, acuity of injury, and activity level all play an important role in the type of ankle brace that may be utilized," he says. Your activity level and recovery needs should dictate whether you opt for an ankle-foot-orthosis or an ankle-stabilizing-orthosis.

Ankle-Foot-Orthosis (AFO): These are larger, more rigid braces that, according to Dr. Parisien, "may be used to improve walking patterns by reducing, preventing, or limiting movement of the lower leg and foot and by supporting profoundly weak muscles."

Ankle-Stabilizing-Orthosis (ASO): These braces provide low-profile support and stability for both chronic and acute ankle instability.

Fit

Making sure the ankle brace fits well is important for both comfort and support. Dr. McEneaney recommends a snug fit but not one that is too tight or loose. "A loose brace is useless," he explains. It's essential to find an ankle brace that fits appropriately so it can do its job properly. Pay close attention to the sizing chart when purchasing an ankle brace, as some brands may run small or large.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should you wear an ankle brace if you are recovering from a minor injury?

    According to McEneaney, most people wear their ankle brace for two to four weeks after an injury, depending on the severity of the injury. "After the acute period, if the ankle has recovered well, I recommend wearing the brace during activities for the next six to eight weeks." He also suggests seeing a doctor if your ankle is still bothersome after the first month.

  • Can you wear an ankle brace to bed?

    According to Dr. Parisien, ankle bracing while sleeping isn't always necessary, but it may help in some cases. "An ankle brace can be worn to bed, but, in the case of an ankle-stirrup or ASO, it's typically not required—especially following a minor ankle injury." Talk to your healthcare provider about the proper use of an ankle brace based on your particular injury.

  • Do ankle braces weaken ankles?

    "Prolonged bracing can cause the ankle ligaments and muscles to not do their job. This can cause weakening over time," says McEneaney. He recommends only wearing an ankle brace when necessary and slowly transitioning out of it as your symptoms and pain improve.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Lindsay Modglin has written articles for Insider, Forbes, Everyday Health, and many more. As a nurse, she has a decade of clinical health and wellness experience. She holds a professional certificate in scientific writing from Stanford University, further helping her break down complex health concepts into easy-to-understand language. Her number-one priority is ensuring that readers have access to accurate and actionable information so they can make the best decisions for their health.