Playing football is one of the most entertaining physical activities you can do. But with all this fun, football also delivers great dangers. Football players, whether they’re in the junior league, high school or collegiate varsity, or even professionals, need to gear up and protect themselves from potential injuries that can manifest anywhere on the body. It could be on the hands, arms, knees, back, muscles, or the most common of all – in the ankles.
That’s why it’s important to know how to take care of injuries and prevent them. Each part of the body has a corresponding protective equipment. But in this article, we put our focus on the best ankle brace for football that will securely avoid injuries to your ankle.
Ankle braces serve two purposes which are support and injury prevention. A football ankle support is not an accessory that offers stylish benefits, but instead something that specifically protects you from ankle injuries when playing the extreme contact sport.
After an injury, you want to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. The best way to do that is by using something with compression that pressures your ankle or foot to relieve any condition. So without further ado, here’s our review of the top 10 best ankle braces you can find in the market today.
1. McDavid Ankle Brace / Ankle Support (Editor's Choice)
The first ankle brace on our list of the best football ankle braces is the McDavid Ankle Brace/Ankle Support. This is a lightweight, flexible, breathable ankle support that had a lot of people amazed. The first reason is because this ankle brace can be used on both feet. You don’t need to get a specific ankle brace for the foot you would like to support.
The McDavid Classic Lightweight Ankle Brace is a lace-up ankle support. This means that this brace offers much more ankle support than most other ankle braces. In addition to that, the laces allow this ankle brace to fit snugly on the ankle area, improving not only comfort but ensuring that your chances to get injured is reduced. Also, it does not have to be worn only when you are injured.
The McDavid Classic Lightweight Ankle Brace can also be used during normal play to help you keep away from injuries and prevent ankle sprains that are often associated with games and practice. This ankle brace is also very lightweight to ensure it doesn’t hinder movement.
Besides that, the McDavid Ankle Brace/Ankle Support’s tongue is made out of mesh to further certify that it provides all the ventilation that you need during training and games.
2. Aircast A60 Ankle Support Brace
At number two on our list is the impressive Aircast A60 Ankle Support Brace. This is an ankle brace that you can use to support your ankle during play to reduce the chances of injury as well as during a healing period to facilitate recovery. The Aircast A60 offers the comfortability you need on and off the field. It’s made out of material that is able to absorb impact. It can function as one of the protective gears you need in a high-impact and rough game.
One of the most important things that you should consider when getting an ankle brace is the amount of ventilation that you will get with the ankle brace. This ankle brace is made using Breathe-O-Prene fabric. This fabric provides amazing breathability to keep the feet and ankles dry and cool even in hot weather conditions and tough games.
The breathability of the material also ensures that sweat is able to escape your foot even further, thereby enhancing the comfort that this ankle brace provides. While this ankle brace does a really good job in ensuring that you are not injured during play, it does not hinder your movement.
We discovered that the Aircast A60 Ankle Support is manufactured with molded stabilizer guards. Thus, this ankle brace offers protection from both ankle sprains and rollovers. It affords you enough mobility to ensure that you are able to run, play, stop, and accelerate as much as you need during games.
3. McDavid 195 Level 3 Max Protection Ankle Brace With Strap
At number three, we have another product from McDavid, the McDavid 195 Level 3 Max Protection Ankle Brace with Strap. This is an ankle brace that comes with laced straps to ensure that the ankle brace offers all the support your foot requires while fitting snugly and holding on even during intense games.
This ankle brace is special because it simulates the support you would normally get from an athletic tape. It is made of durable and breathable nylon fabric that ensures you stay cool during games and your sweat escapes simultaneously.
This feature not only keeps you cool and dry during games, but it also ensures that the ankle brace remains comfortable even during long games. It also has a padded lining, sewn-in arch support, as well as an elastic heel. All of these features provide comfort while ensuring mobility and the ability to play without being held back in any way whatsoever.
Plus, its straps do not only provide support, they also offer protection. This is because they are made from materials that absorb shock, and so is the rest of the ankle brace. This ankle brace fits on both right and left ankles.
You can adjust the “six-figure” strap that comes with this ankle brace without removing your cleat. Furthermore, the McDavid 195 Level 3 Max Protection Ankle Brace with Strap offers a convenience that you cannot find on other braces.
4. Shock Doctor 894 Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support
Coming at fourth on our list of the best football ankle brace is the Shock Doctor 894 Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support. This ankle brace from Shock Doctor offers a compression lacing system that works really well especially if you have compression socks on. It has a comfort gel support to ensure that the ankle brace is as comfortable as you may need it to be. The compression wrap lacing loop system built into the brace offers additional ankle support.
As with most of the other football ankle braces on this list, the Shock Doctor 894 Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support is manufactured with a combination of latex, polyester, and nylon. The combination of these materials ensures that this ankle brace is not only flexible enough to provide you with all the mobility that you need on and off the field, but also ensures its durability for longer use. This ankle support is also small enough to fit inside your shoes or whichever cleats you find here.
Although the Shock Doctor 894 Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support can be used to prevent injury and provide the support that you may need when healing, it is not a replacement for medication or therapy.
It is always a good idea to talk to a health care professional about any injuries that you have and let them decide if you need a brace or a cast.
5. The Active Ankle Volt Rigid Ankle Brace
Next up at number five, we have the Active Ankle Volt Rigid Ankle Brace. This ankle brace will provide the support your ankle needs after injury and offer support in case of ankle sprains. It comes with a reinforced plate for total ankle sprain support. Despite this, this ankle brace manages to remain relatively lightweight so as not to weigh you down when you have it on. This ankle brace also comes with a hinged molded design that allows for a wide range of motions if the physical therapy of healing demands it.
The strengthening ribs that come with this ankle support do not only help improve the support that this ankle brace offers but also ensure that it is small and light enough to fit into most cleats. If you need to use this ankle support during games, you will discover that its straps allow for dual fastening that secures the ankle for a customized and snug fit.
Additionally, the plate where you rest your feet is made out of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber offers the strength and support that you need without increasing the weight of the ankle brace.
The Active Ankle Volt Rigid Ankle Brace comes in a variety of sizes as well as different colors for the plates, which makes it very easy to find one that matches your team colors.
6. Aircast AirSport Ankle Support Brace
At number six on this list is another product from McDavid – the Aircast AirSport Ankle Support Brace. If you have a chronic ankle injury that needs thorough support during games or training, this is one of the best choices of football ankle braces that could help you. This support brace has a semi-rigid encased shell to provide the ventilation you need to remain comfortable even at longer periods of gameplay.
In addition to comfortability, the Aircast AirSport is designed to provide a moderate amount of compression on the muscles surrounding the ankle to stabilize blood flow around this area. The compression utilizes Aircel technology so that it gives exactly the right amount of compression to your ankle and surrounding areas. This ankle support brace offers exceptional support for football players that need it for extended periods. It also helps to prevent ankle injuries that are commonly incurred in playing football.
If you are an athlete or an active football player, the Aircast AirSport ankle brace will securely protect you from both ankle sprains and rollover injuries. It is also very easy to put on as it incorporates a unique step-in design that allows for quick and easy wearing. There are also straps that come with this ankle support, which helps ensure that it fits snugly while offering additional support to your ankle.
7. McDavid Ankle Support With Strap
Coming in at number seven is another McDavid product which is the McDavid Ankle Support with Strap. This McDavid brace is lightweight, comfortable and can prevent injuries while on the field. However, it is not meant to offer enough support if you currently have any ankle sprains or injuries. You will have to wear kinesthetic tape with this support or choose a different ankle brace from this list to get the right support you need when you’re injured.
One of the first things that you notice about this ankle brace is its strap. The strap enables you to secure the ankle support in place, plus it adds extra support during gameplay. The strap promotes comfortability too, and the compression it offers is enough to hold the brace in place without any strain on the foot and the ankles.
Additionally, the McDavid Ankle Support with Strap is made of material that good for ventilation. This helps to keep your foot cool and dry on the field. Besides that, its material is light, durable and just thin enough to be able to fit this support inside a cleat.
If you are looking for a strapped ankle brace and support that will protect you from sprains and injuries while allowing you all the mobility you need on the field, the McDavid Ankle Support with Strap is one of the braces to get.
8. Adidas Performance Adizero Speedwrap Ankle Brace
The only ankle brace from Adidas that made it to our list of the best football ankle brace is the Adidas Performance Adizero Speedwrap. This ankle brace is specially made for athletes and footballers who want to ensure they won’t sprain their ankles. And you’ll be delighted that this particular ankle brace does a good job at protecting one’s ankles. Also, it does a good job at supporting the ankles should you have any injury or sprains.
The Adidas Performance Adizero Speedwrap features a lateral spare that is credited with ensuring that your ankle has enough support to prevent rollover injuries. This brace is made to be as light as possible.
In addition to that, this ankle brace incorporates anti-slip zones inside. These zones help ensure that your foot remains locked down, thereby adding an extra layer of protection against sprains.
Besides the Adidas Performance Adizero Speedwrap being tremendously lightweight, it is also very breathable. So if you are planning to wear this ankle brace with your cleat, you can ensure that your foot will remain cool and dry throughout an intense game of football.
9. The Active Ankle T1 Rigid Ankle Brace
At number nine is another ankle brace that does a really good job at preventing sprains and other types of ankle injuries. The Active Ankle T1 Rigid Ankle Brace comes with a rigid brace that offers amazing support and protection. It also features a high-quality strapping system to keep the foot in place while ensuring that it stays in place to offers the support the player requires.
The Active Ankle T1 Rigid Ankle Brace can be used for different sports, not just football. It fits both legs comfortably, which is a huge advantage because you would only need one brace provided that you do not injure both your ankles at the same time.
This ankle brace also comes with a hinge to promote maximum movement. This is another important feature for football players with sprains or strains. The up and down movement facilitated by its hinge goes a long way in helping players recover much quicker.
Additionally, if you look at the inner part of theActive Ankle T1 Rigid Ankle Brace, you will discover that there is a neoprene padding. This ensures comfort during training and even after if you are going to be wearing the brace off the field.
10. Mizuno DXS Right Ankle Brace
Finally, the last brace on our list is the Mizuno DXS Right Ankle Brace. This is a pretty sturdy ankle brace because it offers lateral support which you need if you want to keep sprains and strains away.
One thing you’ll notice about this ankle brace is it comes with a lot of padding. All of this padding makes it much more comfortable than other available ankle braces, while helping to absorb impact during tough games.
Even if it looks too thick, the Mizuno DXS Right Ankle Brace provides the ankle with great mobility. This is important for ensuring your feet can move as they ought to both on and off the field.
This brace offers a lot of support which is promoted by the three different belts on the brace. There’s the anchor wrap that holds the whole brace in place, an under heel strap, which is important if to support your ankle in case of sprains, and a V-shaped strap.
The Mizuno DXS Right Ankle Brace comes in a variety of sizes, so be sure to get the right size for you as the wrong size will surely affect your on-field performance. This ankle brace is also very light meaning you won’t have any problem while wearing even for long periods of time. Lastly, it offers great breathability which helps keep your foot dry all even at the toughest games.
What You Should Consider Before Buying Football Ankle Brace
There are various types of football ankle braces, even though they offer almost the same benefits. Knowing the difference will help you pick the ideal option according to your needs and desires.
The first type of ankle brace is the Sleeve. Sleeves are generally made of knit fabric or neoprene, typically designed with the main purpose of providing moderate protection & compression for pain relief effects. This brace works really well for people with arthritis, tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, yet they offer great mobility due to their lightness and comfortable design.
Then we have ankle supports with straps. They have a similar design to sleeves, but instead of being like a sock, they come with straps that compress the feet effectively. These braces are the ideal ones for football players that want to keep their ankle protected at all times and prevent unnecessary movements. They can still be used for playing, but they offer less mobility than sleeve ankle braces.
Lastly, we have the lace-up ankle braces. Lace-up ankle braces use the same design as ankle support, but instead of straps, they use laces. This helps to increase the overall pressure and compression they offer, and this means superior support and protection. But with its tightness, you also get minimal movement, because they are mainly designed to heal injuries than to prevent them.
When getting an ankle brace, you need to do some research or ask questions on the material they are manufactured with. This may seem somehow unnecessary, but is not. Ankle braces are manufactured from different materials which serve different purposes.
Some materials are good at absorbing shocks. Some are lightweight, some offer a high breathability level which helps to keep your foot dry during the game, and some offers mobility support.
As a professional football player, you need to be sure that you are getting one of the best ankle brace to add to your protective gear. Your gears must be made of good quality materials so they can give you the protection you need.
Finally, get an ankle brace that is made of good quality material and can offer you some if not all of the points as mentioned earlier.
#3 SUPPORT & COMPRESSION
The support and compression of a brace are essential to know whether it will work or not. With more pressure or support, the more compression you have, therefore, the higher the protection it offers. But the more compression it delivers, the more likely it is to be stiff and hard, and it could affect your on-field movement and your performance negatively.
That’s why you should always pick an ankle brace that fits your needs. Lace-up and strap supports are both good choices for more pressure & compression over anything else. Go for a sleeve brace if you don’t need that much compression.
#4 COMFORT & FLEXIBILITY
Always go for an ankle brace that fits your mobility needs. And here you need to consider two things which are the material of the product and the overall construction of the brace.
A lace-up brace or support with straps will not be as flexible or comfortable as a sleeve with no lace. This also means the lace-up brace may provide a hotter feeling in the feet compared to the sleeve brace and eventually restrict movement exponentially.
If you want something that doesn’t restrict your movement and is comfortable enough to play football effectively, go for a sleeve brace. Otherwise, you may pick any of the other two types. But before you make your pick, know the type of game you will be playing, the type of field you will be playing on, and the weather condition of the area the field is situated. All these are factors to consider, as they also contribute greatly to the performance of football players.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a really tricky question, and most people seem to be confused when they get to know that even with an ankle brace on, they may still suffer an injury. Yes, its main purpose is to help you avoid getting injured and even though it does a pretty good job at that, there are still tendencies for you to injure your ankle during the game. Ankle braces, especially the most rigid ones, are specifically designed to prevent injuries and heal them.
However, with the less compressive options and even with the rigid ones, you may still have a certain level of danger when playing football due to the physical nature of the game. But the injuries when using ankle braces for ankle support tend to be far less damaging.
The longevity of an ankle brace depends on the amount of physical activity you engage in with your brace on. Typically, football players who are using braces at all times to reduce pain or heal injuries tend to replace their braces between six months to one year.
This is because the ankle brace is prone to wear out with time and usage, so you might have to get different sets or pairs of ankle braces so you can rotate using them. If you are someone who uses a brace or ankle support every now and then and only needs it to prevent ankle injuries, your brace may last up to two years or more.
Yes, washing/cleaning an ankle brace is an excellent way not only to keep the product smelling nice but also to increase the overall durability of the product. We recommend that you clean your ankle brace using a damped cloth with soap. Be sure not to put them in the washing machine because its durability will surely reduce with time if you keep washing it in a washing machine.
Like we stated earlier, it best to wash it with a damped cloth and soap, this will prevent it from wearing out quickly and keep its durability reserved. You have to maintain your ankle brace so it can last you for some time, constant wash will also affect it negatively so make sure that you only wash it after using it for a while.
As a football player, you should always have your ankle brace on while on the field of play. So there’s almost no exception when it comes to using an ankle brace. However, most manufacturers advise not to have an ankle support on when taking a shower or on rainy days, but you can have it on while sleeping.
Too much of water will surely dampen the ankle brace and soften it, and this will reduce its effectiveness in providing the required support and damage it really quick. So even before you wash it, you have to wear it for a long while and be certain that it needs washing before you finally decide to wash it. We are sure you would not want your ankle brace to wear out quickly.