Best Shoes for Ankle Support Reviewed & Rated
Ankle care in the here and now, as well as prevention, is why choosing the best shoes for ankle support is so important. There is nothing quite like looking forward to your next jog/run, sports meet, or a general outing with your friends and/or family only to twist or strain your ankle beforehand. Now you are out of commission; sidelined to watch everyone else enjoy themselves and have the fun you were also meant to enjoy. So, what kind of shoes do we need to help prevent such a disappointment?
- Under Armour Valsetz
- Full-length Micro G foam
- Vans Sk8-Hi Core Classics
- Padded collar
- DailyShoes Military
- Travel pockets
We have all sprained or strained an ankle a time or two and in one form or another. The pain of cheering from the sidelines, when we should be taking part in our favorite activity, can sometimes make the injury feel even that much worse. This is why we have put together the best shoes for ankle support. After all, taking care of your ankles means taking care of your entire body.
Whether you are recovering from an ankle injury, trying to prevent an ankle injury, have weak ankles or just really want to take excellent care of your feet, any of the 10 best shoes for ankle support below will serve your needs. We looked to have a variety of shoes including fashion and functional boots, trainers and hikers to ensure you have variety and choice.
10 Best Shoes for Ankle Support
1. Under Armour Valsetz RTS
In reference to the way these boots feel around your ankles, the UA ClutchFit design is more like a tougher second skin. In other words, your ankles will have the support they need. This type of setup is ideal for preventing rolling of the ankles.
Full-length UA Micro G
The full-length UA Micro G foam helps to support your ankles by supporting your feet. Less impact and more spring can help to take impact load off of your ankles. At the end of the day, ankle support and comfortability is the nature of this technology.
Cost and Value
These boots offer extreme ankle support and are budget-friendly. Moreover, when compared to the design and quality makeup of this pair of best shoes for ankle support, the purchase price is amazing. They are definitely worth the cost.
2. Vans Sk8-Hi Core Classics
The padded collar on these best shoes for ankle support creates a snug fit. In addition to raising comfortability factors, the padded collar works to allow your ankles mobility and strength while freeing you from the worries of gear.
By allowing your feet to remain mobile enough for the demanding tasks of skateboarding; yet, firm enough to support your ankles during an action, the canvas upper is a good choice within its design. In this regard, the canvas is an ideal fit.
Cost and Value
The cost of these shoes is size-dependent and stretches from low-to-mid. With both the padded collar and the canvas upper, this pair of skateboarding shoes is more than worth their price. With all things considered, the small investment to help bring peace-of-mind while riding is worth every last penny.
- Padded Collar
- Canvas Upper
- Waffle-like Outsole
- Great for Skateboarding
- Does not support orthotics
3. DailyShoes Military
Not only do these boots provide good ankle support, they are also rugged for walking through any type of terrain. They are slip resistant, ensuring a good foothold on slick surfaces. These boots will resist wear and are made of a heavy-duty vegan leather that will resist wear in the upper.
With a lace-up boot, the fit from the ankle up depends on how and how securely you lace the boot. This is ideal for finding the optimal fit for you.
Cost and Value
These shoes are the least expensive of the shoes on our list. For a very reasonable price, you get a secure boot with a high-quality zipper on the travel pocket. They are comfortable with padded insoles and the lace up, secure fit.
- Travel pocket
- Heavy duty zipper
- Lace up fit
- Padded insoles
- Rugged craftsmanship
- Less durable
4. Under Armour Lockdown
First, the full-length EVA midsole provides support from heel-to-forefoot. This type of cushioning helps to govern load rates in your ankles by utilizing shock-absorbent technology. As such, this pair of basketball shoes is a prime candidate for issuing ankle support through foot support.
The foam collar in this design helps to create a better fit; thereby, increasing comfort and stability. Stability is a key element in maintaining ankle support. As such, the foam collar in this pair of basketball shoes is perfect in bringing you a more secure environment. After all, a secure ankle can be less prone to injury.
Cost and Value
This pair of basketball shoes falls into the low-to-mid range of cost. They are a good buy for both pricing and quality reasons. Moreover, they are an even better buy for their ability to provide ankle support.
- Molded Full-length EVA Sockliner
- Full-length EVA Midsole
- Collar Foam
- Multi-directional Traction Pattern
- Minimal colors available
5. Nike Air Zoom Structure 21
There are two types of cushioning in the arch area of these shoes. The inner side of the arch houses firm foam; whereas, the lateral side of the foot is made a bit softer. In essence, this design helps to distribute weight more efficiently, by balancing the load evenly while you step.
Dynamic Fit Technology
In order to bring you more stability and comfort to your feet and ankles, the Dynamic Fit technology in these shoes is an accumulation of parts working together. From the Flywire to the laces and on to the internal arch band, these shoes have an amazing adaptive quality to them. In other words, if you need them to be snugger, they can be.
Cost and Value
These shoes have a really wide range in cost. Starting in the mid-low, they quickly rise to the upper-high in pricing. This pair of shoes utilize a lot of technology; therefore, the price is not going to be budget-friendly, as it were. They do, however, provide a lot of support for your ankles. In this, they could very well be worth the investment for those looking for nice additions to their gear.
- Forefoot Nike Zoom Air Cushioning
- Two Types of Arch Cushioning
- Dynamic Fit Technology
- Flymesh Upper
- Water repellent
- Higher Cost
6. Asics Gel Kayano 24
These runners come equipped with FluidFit™ upper technology. Made from mesh and stretch reinforcements, these shoes have multi-directional flexibility. As a result, ankle support increases through this glove-like fitting design.
Heel Clutching System Technology
The pair of running shoes has a heel clutching system deployed. This means your heel is in a more acceptable environment via the exoskeletal heel counter. When your heel strikes the ground, there is support when it is most needed. As such, your ankles will be thankful.
Cost and Value
The cost of these shoes falls into the mid-to-upper range. With all of the high-quality technologies to help your ankles remain strain-free, however, these shoes are well worth the investment. After all, great foot support decreases the chance for an ankle sprain.
- I.G.S (Impact Guidance System) Technology
- FluidFit Upper
- FlyteFoam Midsole Technology
- Heel Clutching System Technology
- Comes in 10 available colors
- A bit costly
7. Danner Kinetic GTX
Often when a boot is waterproof, it also means that the boot is horrible incapable of breathing. However, with the Kinetic GTX, you get the best of both worlds. The Gore-Tex liner in the boot keeps the water out while also allowing your feet to stay cooler and dry.
There’s not a whole lot of use in a boot with great ankle support if it leaves you slipping and sliding all over the place. This boot features a kinetic outsole that has multi-directional lugs on it to ensure superior traction.
Cost and Value
This boot is one of the most expensive shoes on our list. However, you are getting a hard-working and durable boot that will support your ankles and leave you comfortable through long days at work. Breathable and waterproof on top of all that and you have a good value.
- Leather and canvas upper
- Exceptional traction
- Ankle high work boot
- Breathable Gore-Tex lining
- Comfortable footbed
- Supportive midsole
- Zipper can break
8. Ryka Tenacity Cross Trainer
You won’t have to worry about your ankles or your traction when executing those pivot moves while dancing. The rubber outsole on the Tenacity is designed with pivoting in mind so you can move easily from one move to the next.
Besides the ankle support in this trainer, the Tenacity also features Flex-Foil and Direct-Fuse materials that provide support to the foot. A Velcro strap over the midfoot also provides a secure fit.
Cost and Value
These shoes are priced in the lower range relative to the rest of the list. For the value though you get a very supportive and secure shoe that will serve you well in the gym without having to worry about your ankles. The rubber outsole is also designed for those moves in your dance, aerobics, Tae Bo, Zumba or other quick paced class.
- Breathable mesh upper
- Supportive construction
- Velcro strap for fit
- Pivot design outsole
- Great traction
- Not a lightweight shoe
9. KEEN Targhee II
No one is comfortable with a wet, soggy foot. The Targhee II features a waterproof leather upper and a KeenDry waterproof membrane inside. This will ensure your feet stay dry while the boot remains breathable for cool comfort.
The footbed in this hiking boot is a removable dual density EVA. It is metatomically formed to suit the natural shape of your feet, providing additional comfort. The midsole is also a compressible EVA for cushion and shock absorption.
Cost and Value
This boot is priced in the mid-range of shoes on this list. For an exceptional value, you get a boot that is not only supportive but breathable and waterproof. It has a number of features that are designed for your comfort and support and includes an adjustable ankle support with the heel lock.
- Adjustable heel lock
- Waterproof upper
- Breathable membrane
- Removable EVA footbed
- EVA midsole
- Could be more durable
10. Under Armour Curry 2
Sliding on the court can potentially raise the risk of rolling your ankles. External heel counters and midfoot shanks not only work to prevent this, but they offer arch, forefoot, and heel support; thereby, supporting your ankles in the process.
Full-length Charged Cushioning
Firstly, the full-length charged cushioning absorbs impact; thus, reducing the load rate in your ankles. Secondly, this same cushioning system is responsive; meaning that you will gain great transitional ad first-step speed. After it is all said and done, you will be able to concentrate on the game more and worry less concerning your gear.
Cost and Value
The cost range is in the upper for this pair of basketball shoes, but the cushioning support system in place makes them worth the buy. Also, when considering the added external heel counter and midfoot shanks, the purchase cost does not seem to be that much. After all, these shoes give ankle support when it is most needed.
- External Heel Counter
- Midfoot Shanks
- Full-length Charged Cushioning
- UA SpeedForm Technology
- Upper range in cost
To prevent ever rolling an ankle is an athlete’s dream. Well, maybe, we all wish that in some form. The reality, unfortunately, is that we may never know what it is like to never twist and/or turn an ankle, but we can help to decrease the chances of potential injury. Through the right choice in shoes, we can become more pro-active in protecting our feet. The right shoes can even help strengthen our ankles for the long-term; helping us to become stronger and agiler than ever. For those of us who might be unable to strengthen our ankles, however, there are still choices in shoes which can give us the hope we need in finding ankle support.
There are many variables to consider when examining the potential rolling of an ankle and/or other similar injuries. Even more so, there are medical-related pre-existing conditions some of us must deal with on a daily basis. This can make finding the best shoes for ankle support that much tougher. Furthermore, with the plethora of information about the subject matter, it can become a literal nightmare to try and sort through it all. This is why we have taken the liberty to make available an FAQ and criteria section for evaluating the best shoes for ankle support.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Shoes for Ankle Support
Contrary to popular belief, shoes which ‘feel good’ are not necessarily the correct choice when choosing the best shoes for ankle support. The ‘feel good’ approach is only part of a solution. Remember, shoes must fit well, also. A new pair of shoes might ‘feel good’ when you first put them on, but they may not be the correct shoes which ensure you feel good continually throughout the day. As time progresses, the goal (in relation to your shoes) is to remain in a comfortable, pain-free zone all day long.
Additionally, shoes which change your natural gait can sometimes have an adverse effect; thus, causing more damage than good. The strange thing about this anomaly is that most shoes do change the gait pattern from our natural gait; that is, the gait pattern is different than it is when walking barefoot. So, what can we do to improve ankle health if shoes change our natural gait?
In general, when we discuss underpronators and overpronators, orthotics provides support in the form of counter-balancing while; simultaneously, allowing an environment conducive to natural gait. In essence, orthotics relieve pressure and pain by changing the distribution of impact force to a more natural state. For example, an underpronator (supination) has a tendency for their foot to not roll inward enough while walking. As such, their feet do not provide adequate support in the realm of shock absorption. For supination, an orthotic will have an instep shape which is flatter and helps to counter-balance the tendency to not roll inward enough via natural gait. As such, underpronators will feel less pain and discomfort when using an orthotic designed for them. In conclusion, underpronators in this scenario will have a decrease in a potential ankle injury and/or pain, per se.
Shoes, which allow an orthotic placement inside are a better fit for those in need of orthotic support. These types of shoes are, generally, equipped with a removable insole. Additionally, there are shoes which cater to a specific pronation-type (i.e. neutral, underpronator, and overpronator). When we pay attention to these sorts of details, it is much easier to pick the best shoes for ankle support.
Fit & Comfort
When looking for the perfect fit there are a few things you want to remember.
- Your shoes need to fit a half-inch from the toe box to the tip of your longest toe.
- Your feet are largest at the end of your day. As such, shoes should be fitted and/or your feet measured in the evening.
- Next, shoes should be snug; not overly tight or too roomy.
- Lastly, ensure the tongue does more than separate your foot from laces. The tongue should be thick and provide a ‘snugger’ sensation.
As previously mentioned, comfort is only part of a solution, but it is a big part. We are all made different in one form or another, and our feet are not dissimilar in this regard. Always choose shoes which are a better fit for you and not for someone else. When wearing your shoes, you should experience a comfortable day; as this applies to a regular day. In short, if you experience increased discomfort when changing shoes, they are not the right shoes for you. ‘Breaking-in’ a pair of shoes is the wrong approach. They should be right from the beginning.
Cushioning comes in many varieties. The range is wide in that shoes can come equipped with no cushioning support, or all the way up to a lot of cushioning. Again, some people need stiffer cushioning; whereas, others might be in need of softer cushioning. Arches, the weight of the person, and pronation-types play a huge role in this; as well as, the type of activity which is being engaged. In other words, arches and pronation-types are not going to matter much if you choose to play basketball in a pair of high heels.
As funny and/or strange as this might sound, it is important to understand the correct choice in a shoe for the job-at-hand; that is, if playing basketball in a pair of high heels, no amount of cushioning is going to lower the chance of ankle injury versus wearing basketball shoes. In this worst-case scenario, the risk of ankle injury might even increase. In conclusion, for this particular job, basketball shoes are the smarter choice; or at the very least, it is the smarter choice when choosing the best shoes for ankle support.
High Tops versus Low Tops
In an article written by the Bone, Muscle, and Joint Team of Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Miniaci-Coxhead is stated as saying, she believes high tops could very well be good for those recovering from an already existing ankle sprain, and/or help those persons pre-disposed to ankle sprains. Furthermore, she states studies have shown high tops decrease the likelihood of minimal inversion; but in excessive inversion, there is no real difference between high tops and low tops.
In other words, in minimal inversion situations, high tops can be used to minimize the chance of ankle injury, and/or can work as an assistive device to those already suffering from an ankle sprain. Additionally, high tops are a good choice for those prone to injuries.
But there is another side to this same coin, as it were.
According to the Bone, Muscle and Joint Team of Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Miniaci-Coxhead; also, states the best solution to help with ankle health is to strengthen the ankles in the long-term. The muscles (evertors) associated with preventing inversion injury can react later than normal when wearing high tops. This, in essence, can cause your ankles to become weaker. At the end of the day, low tops would be better-suited for ankle strengthening over the long-term.
In the short of it all,
- High Tops are best suited for those prone to ankle-related injuries and/or are already suffering from an ankle sprain.
- Low Tops are best suited to help strengthen the muscles associated with inversion prevention.
- Springing into Action with Midsoles –
Midsoles play an important role in ankle health. In addition to providing comfort, a midsole creates a more stable environment and is responsible for decreasing load rates in conjunction with returning stored energy. By releasing the stored energy gained from your foot placement upon a surface, the best shoes for ankle support will put a ‘spring’ into your toe-off. This setting helps to minimize impact force; thereby, increasing the chances you will avoid an ankle injury.
- Tongue –
The tongue should fit snug and provide additional lockdown while remaining comfortable. Sometimes, tongues tend to slip to the side; thereby, reducing the performance they provide in foot support. Dependent on the situation, anytime foot support is lowered, the risk of ankle injury potentially rises. So, it is paramount to check the tongue for fit and increased snug-effect. The ‘bootie’ design is one of the better tongues out there.
- Shank Plate –
Without a shank plate, your shoes would more-or-less fold in on themselves. The shank plate is made from many different materials. One of the most expensive parts of the shoe, the cost can drastically increase when a high-grade shank plate is present. It lies between the outsole and insole and is responsible for stability and durability. If you can bend your shoes at the midfoot, your shoes either have a really bad shank plate or there is none present (think house shoes).
- Heel Counter –
The heel counter can either add performance or take it away; dependent on its design. In high-quality basketball shoes, the heel counter creates a more snug environment around the heel; thereby, initiating greater stability.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the best shoes for ankle support?
A. First, the best shoes for ankle support are going to maximize comfort and stability by reducing impact force related to landing. Second, there will be strong lateral support, great arch support, and the heel will feel as though it sits in a glove, more or less. The right kind of shoes just might make you want to say, “Ahh, now that is nice,” after you place them on for the first time. There is no discomfort when wearing them, and they reduce the overall stress in your ankles while you pursue your favorite activity.
Furthermore, the best shoes for ankle support should help reduce the risk associated with minor inversion and/or work as a tool to better strengthen your ankles in the long-term. Next, great ankle supporting shoes have a high-quality component list working as one unit; that is, the entire shoe is designed to not only help prevent ankle-related injury but to, also, encourage foot and ankle health.
Lastly, the best shoes for ankle support will make multi-directional quick-movements much easier to handle in transition. This, in essence, will allow greater mobility and decrease the chance of an ankle-related injury.
Q. What should I look for in cushion support?
A. Cushioning should do the following:
- Reduce the load rate of impact force in your ankles.
- Help to return to mid-stance from heel strike; or at least, keep it a fluid motion.
- Reduce discomfort in your feet while engaging your activity; that is, there should be no pain involved, as a result of the shoes themselves.
- Provide adequate support.
- Promote your natural gait by supporting your pronation-type.
Q. I have arthritis in my ankles. What are the best shoes for me?
A. For someone suffering from arthritis in their ankles, they should always seek out their doctor’s advice, first. There are different types of arthritis. With each type, there are separate needs which need to be addressed.
With that being stated, you might mention to your doctor you are interested in rocker-sole shoes. Shaped in a curve (akin to a boat), these shoes help assist in the walking motion. By decreasing the load rate and enabling the ability for normal gait, these shoes are believed to aid in lowering pain levels. Finally, shoes having low heels and extra depth is, also, recommended. But as previously mentioned, you should always seek out your doctor’s advice when evaluating the best shoes for ankle support.
Q. Are there any lifestyle tips for avoiding ankle injury?
A. First, always choose the right kind of shoes for you. This means you should choose the shoes based on your needs. To sum it up, the choice should involve shoes that fit well, remain comfortable, and are the correct shoes for the job. Second, eating healthy means your muscles are eating healthy, as well. It is easier to strengthen a healthy muscle than one which it isn’t. Thirdly, stretch out and do warmups; especially, before vigorous workouts. It is, also, a great idea to stretch your muscles each and every day, regardless of an upcoming vigorous workout. In this, your muscles will remain much more limber and less prone to injury. Finally, when you become tired or feel fatigue setting in, take a break from your activity. It is, also, recommended to not start your activity if you are already in a fatigued state. This will help to reduce the chance of an ankle injury.
Q. How can I distinguish the difference between a minor or serious ankle injury?
A. To begin with, ankle sprains are common and are the result of stretching and/or tearing ligaments. It is estimated nearly 25,00 people have an ankle sprain each day. Swelling, bruising, and pain are usually the norm in even the most minor of cases. As with any injury, it is recommended to make an appointment and visit your doctor to gain a better assessment. If, however, you hear popping in the joint, there is severity in pain, an open wound, deformity, and/or you are unable to put any weight on the foot-in-question, it is highly advised you seek out medical attention immediately.
There are three phases (Grades) of an ankle sprain.
- Phase 1 (Mild) – Slight ligament stretching; tearing is at a microscopic level; pain and swelling are mild.
- Phase 2 (Moderate) – There are moderate pain and swelling of the ankle, as a result of partial ligament tearing.
- Phase 3 (Severe) – This involves complete ligament tearing and could, also, indicate a dislocated joint.
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