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The 9 Best Ankle Braces for Basketball Players in 2020

Basketball is so much fun!

Till you roll an ankle or land awkwardly in a game.

Ankle and knee sprains are not unusual in basketball but remain a painful and borderline frustrating injury. After my first ankle sprain, I suffered the same fate over six more times on both legs.

For some basketball players, they never have to worry about ankle sprains, but to heal, manage, or prevent having one, ankle braces come in handy.

A tip before we get started:

Don’t try to wear them as accessories if you’ve never had an ankle injury or have a habit of twisting your ankles.

That said, I’ll go ahead and recommend the best ankle braces for basketball players on the market. From affordable ones to high-performance ankle braces (Stephen Curry endorsed ankle braces), you’ll find your remedy.

9. BodyProx Ankle Support Brace

An excellent place to start this review is with the most affordable ankle brace you can find. These ankle braces cost a little over a day’s lunch at McDonald’s. It uses a velcro system that’s easy to wrap and adjust and also effectively secures the ankle against light sprains.

Key Features

  • Light neoprene material
  • Semi-elastic
  • Open-heel design
  • Velcro adjustment straps
  • One-size 11 inches feet circumference

What I Like About This Product

If you think this ankle brace is too cheap to function well on the court, you might want to have a rethink. Yes, the neoprene material may be light, but it still offers enough support for rehab training and prevention of light sprains.

Also, the velcro straps make adjustments and wearing a breeze. You can get them on within seconds without having to stress over lacing up for minutes or longer.

What I Don’t Like About This Product

As some folks would have anticipated, it shows signs of wear and tear after some months. Especially if you train frequently and for long hours, these signs, like seams loosening, may come up in less than a month.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to adjust hook and loop closure
  • Quick and easy to put on

 

Cons

  • May wear out faster than an average (more expensive) ankle brace
  • One-size

Takeaway

This is the best basketball ankle brace for the money. I’ll recommend the BodyProx ankle brace for supporting light ankle sprains and preventive measures.

 


8. McDavid 511 Ankle Sleeve

A post on the best ankle braces would be incomplete without at least one McDavid model. And there’s, in fact, more than one. The McDavid 511 has a simple tight-fitting sleeve design for support and is one of their affordable options.

Key Features

  • Non-neoprene construction
  • Elastic
  • Open heel sleeve design
  • Level 1 protection

What I Like About This Product

The quality of its material is top-notch. It’s a stretchy knitted material, but it doesn’t slack even after going through plenty of use and washes.

This McDavid sleeve holds up the ankles well for support, and maybe guard against minor ankle rolls or twists. Essentially, it’s a great product for veteran basketballers who don’t move as much on the court, shy away from contact, or mostly shoot at a spot.

What I Don’t Like About This Products

If you like the comfort of your feet and don’t want them burning after a game, order a size up. As a note, if you are a big man with size 15 feet, you may not find a snug fit.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Non-bulky design fits over shoes and tracks
  • Elastic material stands the test of time
  • Provides firm compression for support and stability

Cons

  • Inaccurate sizing chart – order a size up

Takeaway

The McDavid 511 is a quality affordable option if you want a low-profile ankle brace to fit your shoes and sportswear, like joggers. Also, its support is light and perfect for less mobile players or veterans managing tendonitis and arthritis.

 


 

7. Zenith Athletics Lace Up Ankle Brace

The Zenith Athletics lace-up ankle brace opens the floor for the first premium ankle support on the list. While I’m not sure of the company’s claim – that the brace could rid or reduce ankle pain in a month – I know for sure it comes close. And at an astonishing price.

Key Features

  • Neoprene and nylon material
  • Lace-up and figure 8 strap adjustment
  • Padded lining
  • Fits left or right ankle
  • Open heel design

What I Don’t Like About This Product

The Zenith Athletics ankle brace has a quality construction that’s close to being medical-grade, if not the same. From a quality nylon and material, sturdy velcro, to double-stitched seams, it would survive daily use for months, if not years.

Despite the seemingly bogus claim made earlier, the brace gives maximum support for serious ankle injuries, showing a difference almost immediately. The sizing chart is also perfect for ballplayers, so you wouldn’t have to bother about receiving a tight and uncomfortable ankle brace.

What I Don’t Like About This Product

Aside from the general issue with lace braces being a pain in the neck to put on regularly, it’s great overall. But the laces could be better with a nylon material that wouldn’t bobble anytime they touch the velcro.

 

Pros

  • Well made materials
  • Extraordinarily secure ankle support for stability and against serious ankle issues
  • Suitable for rehabilitative or recovery use
  • Laces and straps provide an adjustable snug fit
  • Available size options for players with large feet

 

Cons

  • Can be bulky for low-profile basketball sneakers
  • First time lacing may be difficult

Takeaway

The Zenith Athletics ankle brace is built for the elite athletes. It provides maximum support, superb stability and can take a lot of abuse from collegiate or even pro players.

 


 

6. McDavid 199 Ankle Brace

Here’s another ankle brace from McDavid’s as promised, but this time, it’s a model with extra protection. The McDavid 199 is a lace-up ankle brace – one of their best sellers – made of breathable vinyl mesh and steel medical stays for support.

Key Features

  • Vinyl mesh construction
  • Lace-up design
  • Fits left or right ankle
  • Spring steel stays
  • Padded HydraVent technology lining
  • Level III protection

What I Like About This Product

If you’re recovering from an ankle injury and still have that intrinsic fear that they might roll, this is one superb ankle guardian. It has steel spring stays on both sides to hold the ankle firmly in place, speeding up the healing process and giving you confidence in the process.

The vent holes on the tongue make a smart design since it’s not an open-heel ankle brace. Also, using HyperVent technology, the ankle area is padded with a breathable material that makes it even more comfortable.

What I Don’t Like About This Product

The superb ankle protection of the medical stays sacrifices free movement to some extent. So, it may be uncomfortable or restrictive for a point guard, or a player that makes sharp moves, like crossovers frequently.

In a way, the brace is only doing its job, which is securing major joint instabilities.

Pros

  • Medical steel stays for stability
  • Ventilated ankle padding
  • Tongues are breathable

Cons

  • Steel stays may restrict or make some moves uncomfortable
  • Can be difficult to wear or take off

Takeaway

The McDavid 195 is you one of the best ankle supports with its full lace strap, but also try not to expect unrestricted movement. It is best for players recovering from an injury or need limited mobility to prevent old wounds from resurfacing.

 


 

5. Nordic Lifting Ankle Sleeve

The Nordic Lifting ankle sleeve has a weightlifting background but is also recommended for basketball. Notably, its design and construction improve performance on the court, unlike lace or hook and loop braces.

Key Features

  • Nylon yarn material
  • Package contains a pair of sleeves
  • Level I protection

What I Like About This Product

The nylon yarn material is astonishingly comfortable and warm. Its compression fit is such that it feels like you’re wearing a tight pair of socks, but it works – supporting the ankle adequately without any swelling even after wearing it for long hours.

That’s about what you’ll need if you’ve had a history of ankle injuries and only need a preventative brace that wouldn’t affect your game at all.

What I Don’t Like About This Product

Unless you order a size that doesn’t fit, there is nothing to dislike about this ankle sleeve.

Pros

  • Unrestrictive ankle support
  • Comfortable nylon material can be worn for hours on end
  • Exceptional compression for preventing injuries and for rehab
  • Warming effect that helps loosen stiff muscles

Cons

  • A few sizing issues

Takeaway

If you want to prevent old ankle injuries or light sprains and ball with little or no restriction, Nordic Lifting ankle sleeves are top-choice. In short, they fit like a sock and have a warm effect for stiff muscles.

 


4. McDavid 195 Ankle Brace

McDavid is easily the most recommended ankle brace brand among sports medical professionals. The McDavid 195 is another of their product in this review that excels in its class.

Key Features

  • Canvas material
  • Front laces with strap
  • Figure 6 strap
  • Fits left and right ankle (Bilateral design)
  • Level III protection

What I Like About This Product

If you like statistics, McDavid 195 was tested at a major research university, and athletes experienced reduced injuries in three folds while wearing one.

Now, to its performance, it pretty much locks the ankle tightly against sprains. But not in a way that it’s restrictive like with a medical grade ankle brace. The hook and loop closure provides excellent support, so you don’t have to make the laces too tight and end up feeling choked in the feet.

If you’ve worn athletic tapes, you’ll have a clear picture of its performance. Only that it’s reusable and offers a little more support.

When it’s worn, it can fit well into most sneakers, including running shoes,  if you want to train off the court.

What I Don’t Like About This Product

The heavy canvas material is uncomfortable during the break-in period. It might take a week or two till it feels comfy and easy on the leg.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Low-profile construction fits into most shoes
  • Wide range of sizes even for small ladies
  • Design with padding and vent holes for comfort

Cons

  • Takes time to put on and off
  • Needs to break-in

Takeaway

The McDavid 195 is a durable ankle brace for secure protection on the court. If you think the fit of the Zenith Athletics brace is too restrictive, this would make a better option.

 


 

3. McDavid Elite Bio-Logix Ankle Brace

This is the final McDavid product in review and what’s a better way to finish if off than with an elite ankle brace. The Bio-Logix ankle brace is no joke and is designed to heal and prevent serious ankle injuries. It even helps with Achilles tendon issues.

Key Feature

  • Neoprene blend material
  • Flex-link hinge design
  • Molded exo-skeleton
  • Memory foam ankle padding
  • Fits only left or right ankle
  • Level III+ protection

What I Like About This Product

The Bio-Logix is the perfect lockdown protection for the ankle while playing basketball. While it allows fairly restrictive support, it doesn’t have plastic moldings or metals that can chafe or dig into the skin. In fact, its memory foam padding adds a degree of comfort that’s unseen in most Level III ankle braces.

It uses a non-slip foot bed design that makes it easy to wear compared to a lace ankle brace. This is especially useful when your ankle is sprained and swollen, and any slight movement would cause jolts of pain down your body.

What I Don’t Like About This Product

This McDavid ankle brace sure delivers superior ankle protection but comes at a premium price.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Maximum ankle support allowing minimal movements
  • Comfy memory foam cushioning on sides
  • Easy to wear and take off

Cons

  • Pricy

Takeaway

If you want an ankle bracelet with the highest level of security, limited mobility,  but without any hard parts, the McDavids Bio-Logix is a reliable option.

 


 

2. Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

The ASO ankle stabilizer is arguably the best-selling ankle brace online, and you can bet it’s for a good reason. It has a typical lace and strap design but with an astounding value considering its design and quality.

Key Features

  • Ballistic nylon material
  • Elastic cuff
  • Lace and hook and loop (velcro) closure adjustment
  • Fits left or right ankle
  • Level III protection

What I Like About This Product

The single thing that sets it apart from the closely related McDavid 195 is its low-profile design. The lace and brace material are thinner, yet durable enough, to form a long-lasting ankle support that fits most shoes comfortably. Although the McDavid may be a more of an eye-pleaser if that’s your thing.

Also, it uses a more secure figure-eight strap, which also translates to more stress taking it on and off. So, it’s down to your style of play, patience, and gravity or susceptibility to injury.

What I Don’t Like About This Product

While it’s common to order a wrong size, Med Spec doesn’t accept returns or give refunds.

Pros

  • Good bang for the buck
  • Lightweight
  • Firm tape-like ankle protection
  • Low-profile construction
  • Sizing is accurate for the most part

Cons

  • No refunds or returns

Takeaway

The ASO ankle brace  is a bargain for any basketball player for its value, lightweight, comfort, and of course, moderate ankle protection against sprains.

 


1.  Zamst A2-DX Ankle Brace

The best basketball ankle brace without a doubt goes to the Zamst A2-DX, which is highly recommended and reputable. If you know Steph Curry – of course, you do – you’ll also know he has suffered a series of reoccurring injuries. The Zamst A2-DX ankle brace has helped him rise and maintain stardom as he uses if through his recovery phases and in-game play.

Key Features

  • X – Strap figure 8 technique
  • Unilateral design – fits only one foot
  • Exo-Tech skeleton
  • Level III+ protection

What I Like About This Product

 

Let’s face it, if an all-star NBA player with chronic ankle sprains trusts his protection with this ankle, you know damn well they are top-rated.

Enough with the name dropping.  The Zamst A2-DX is designed to promote stability and prevent ankle rolls or twists while remaining comfortable. Even the plastic molded exoskeleton doesn’t cause any form of discomfort.

Even better, it fits into literally any basketball shoes, as opposed to the bulky frame of high-level protection ankle braces. It fits into Curry’s signature sneakers with ease, for instance.

Finally, the comfort and flexibility of the Zamst A2-DX allow it secure the ankles without drastically dropping on-court performance by restricting movement. Its A-Fit technology ensures that the brace anatomically adapts to your ankles.

Ironically, Curry breaks other defenders’ ankles while wearing this ankle brace.

What I Don’t Like About This Product

It’s no surprise, but worth mentioning that it costs almost double the price of regular ankle braces.

Pros

  • Excellent lateral stability with its molded exoskeleton
  • a-Fit technology allows brace fit ankles anatomically
  • Highly personalized fit its I-Fit adjustable fasteners
  • Snug fit on any ankle size
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Expensive

Takeaway

If you’ll stop at no cost to get the best basketball ankle brace on the market, opt for the Zamst A2-DX ankle stabilizer. It is endorsed by, 2x NBA MVP, Steph Curry to protect his sprain-prone ankles on the court.

 

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