Best Ankle Braces For Running Reviewed & Rated for Quality

Running comes with a number of different benefits, but can often come with a slew of achy muscles and tense joints the next day. Runners know that stretching before and after long periods of running and hitting the pavement are necessary to reduce the risk of injury and help maximize performance, and often serve as warm-ups to get you in the right mindset.

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If you’ve ever seen marathoners or hardcore runners, you might have noticed that they were either long type of socks or a tight-fitting ankle sock and have wondered what they were. These are called compression socks or ankle braces and are popular among runners and athletes because the benefits they can provide. They are known to boost circulation while running, soothe sore and achy feet, reduce swollen inflammation, and prevent new injuries. If you are lost on where to even begin in looking for the right pair of compression socks, no worries. We have searched the market and found the most effective, comfortable, and affordable compression ankle socks out on the market today.

 

10 Best Ankle Braces For Running

 

1. Sleeve Stars

1. Sleeve Stars
If you are prone to sore, stiff ankles after a long run or strenuous activity that keep you on your feet all day, then this model is the ultimate aid for weak or stiff ankles. These are perfect for those who have had prior ankle injuries and want additional support and are also a good addition to those who want to prevent future injuries.
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Premium Quality
Let’s face it- one of the worst things in the world are hot, sweaty socks. If you’ve ever had a cast on your ankle or anywhere else on your body, you know how uncomfortable and itchy a compressed cast can be. The Sleeve Stars are made from sweat-resistant material and are designed to keep your feet cool and free of smell.

Speeds up Recovery
If you are suffering from a previously ankle, previous broken foot, Achilles heel, Plantar Fasciitis, or any other type of foot related injury, this support wrap will help support your foot or feet so that you recover faster and can still go about your day to day activities

Cost and Value
Many brand name sports items come with a hefty price tag, even for compression socks or braces. The Sleeve Stars come at a very affordable price point, and even come with a free compression strap that can give you additional support, which can speed recovery and prevent new injuries.
Pros

Sweat resistant material

Versatile use

Free compression strap

Comfortable and light

Boosts circulation

Cons

Not intended to wash in hot water

2. Liomor

2. Liomor
The Liomar Ankle Support is a easy to use, breathable, supportive model that provides the ultimate support for those who have had ankle sprains or other foot-related injuries, or just need that additional support for their feet. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive shoe inserts- these can provide the support you need at a small fraction of the price!
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Ultra Strong Support
Because these are designed to stabilize ankles that have gone through some rough times, they are designed with a unique criss-cross strap to keep your ankle in line and from giving out while you continue your activities. It supports the ankle joints and tendons perfectly so you’re completely stabilized.

Anti Odor and Anti Itch
This is made from a moisture wicking fabric that is designed to keep sweat away. It has a unique perforated inner layer that keeps air circulating throughout, so heat does not get trapped inside the fabric. It is also made of elastic so it can rest snugly but comfortable to your feet.

Cost and Value
Compared to most compression ankles or braces on the market, these come at a very affordable price point. Considering that they have extremely strong support and made from quality material, you won’t find a better deal than this price!
Pros

Strong support

Multiple sizes

Anti odor and anti itch

Reasonable and comfortable design

Adjustable straps

Cons

Considered bulky to wear with certain shoes

3. Vanwalk

3. Vanwalk
The VanWalk support braces come in a unique design where you get the compression sock benefits along with the added support of compression straps or wraps around the ankle. The adjustable straps can offer a more catered, targeted compression that you can adjust, making sure it works perfectly for you.
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Great for Preventing Injuries
For those who engage in intense activities like running or sports, the design of these is great to provide the extra support that supports your ankles, and exerts extra support and compression on your heels, toes, and ankles.

3D Weaving Technology
The fabric has been woven in a unique way to provide compression that is more breathable and softer to the touch. The 360 degree design also provides all around support for your ankles and feet.

Cost and Value
These come with two support braces, and a very reasonable price point, making these a great value. They also come with a lifetime replacement guarantee, so you know that they are made to last.
Pros

Nylon

Comfortable

Detachable bandages

Targeted compression

Great value

Cons

Runs tight

Not for treating injuries

4. PowerLix

4. PowerLix
The PowerLix models offer supreme comfort and protection for those who suffer from a number of foot injuries or discomfort. They not only come in a fashionable design, but are also made from quality material and are available in a variety of different sizes, so you are sure to get your perfect fit.
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Special Fit
Many compression socks or braces offer a limited number of sizes if any. The PowerLix have small, medium, large, and extra large sizes, and are made from special knitted technology that is guaranteed to be a perfect fit for large or small ankles.

Premium Fabric
Not only is this moisture wicking and designed to keep your feet dry and cool all day long, but they are also designed to maintain an optimal temperature all day for your joints to be supple and smooth.

Cost and Value
These come at a slightly higher price point compared to the compression socks on this list. Customers say that the quality of fabric and sturdiness has maintained its form even after many washes.
Pros

4 way compression

Special knitted design

High performance fabric

Anti slip system technology

Absorbs sweat and odor

Cons

Slightly pricey and comes with one brace

5. Zenith

5. Zenith
The Zenith model is a heavier, sturdier ankle support brace that boasts to get rid of any ankle pain or injury with consistent use in just a month! With a superior ankle wrap and crossover design, this wrap is guaranteed to give you the stability and support you need.
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Easy to Put On
You don’t have to struggle to squeeze your already hurting foot into these braces- they are designed to easily slip in and lace up, just as you would a shoe!

Comfortable
Despite the sturdy look of it and the fact that it extends past the ankles, customers say this brace is actually very comfortable and doesn’t lack circulation flow like many other compression socks designed for your feet.

Cost and Value
These come at a higher price point compared to others on this list, and also come with one brace. However, it is so supremely designed that it comes with a money back guarantee, so you’re sure to get your money’s worth, and your foot will thank you for it!
Pros

Easy to Put on

Neoprene and nylon material

Comfortable

Breathable

Varying sizes

Cons

Pricier than some

6. Cotill

6. Cotill
The Cotill brace comes in a unique, double strapped and minimal design that is designed not only for comfort, but to hit all the right pressure points in your feet to minimize injury and maximize recovery.
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Open Heel and Toe Design
These offer an open heel and toe design which allows for greater movement and flexibility, not to mention more airflow and lack of restriction and heat. Even though it has an open air design, the contoured fit is designed to offer strong support and stabilization.

Enhances Blood Flow
This design is great for athletes, performers, runners, etc so that they can get the most out of their performance because of the increased blood flow to the feet and legs.

Cost and Value
These come in one size and at an extremely affordable price point, given that they are made from expensive neoprene material and offer a 100% money back guaranteed if you are not satisfied with the product.
Pros

Open design

Double adjustable straps

Breathable neoprene material

Anti itch and anti odor technology

24 hour comfort

Cons

Shouldn’t wear with tight-fitted shoes

7. Sparthos Socks

7. Sparthos Socks
Sparthos has created the perfect compression sock that “knows no limits.” These can be worn anywhere- to the gym, to go shopping, to go hiking, you name it! It’s unique, fashionable, and discreet design is made to give you all day comfort and all day energy.
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Lightweight
These look and feel just like a pair of socks and can be worn with any shoe, making it the perfect fit for anyone who needs an extra boost throughout the day to maintain optimal performance.

Breathable Material
Customers say they can even wear this in their sleep, and get the extra circulation they need for their activities the next day! It’s breathable elastic fabric make this extra comfortable.

Cost and Value
These come in four different colors and four different sizes at the same price point, which is very reasonable and come at a great value, considering you get a pair of compression socks as opposed to one brace.
Pros

Lightweight

Breathable

Optimal compression grade

Comfortable

Multiple sizings and colors

Cons

May run big for some

8. Dowellife Socks

8. Dowellife Socks
The Dowellife Socks are technically designed for those who have plantar fasciitis but are comfortable and versatile enough for anyone to wear and benefit from - nurses, runners, teachers, even office workers. You don’t have to have injuries or be on your feet for long periods of time to benefit from these socks. They are designed to keep the blood in your feet moving, and that’s good for everyone.
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Foot Support for Anyone
These foot ankle compression sleeves are designed for anyone- men, women, and children of all ages. They are versatile and comfortable enough to fit under most shoes and can provide and stimulate energy for long-lasting enjoyment all day.

Comfortable but Powerful Design
These fit like open-toed socks and can be worn under any pair of shoes, but they are ergonomically designed to compress in all the right places to minimize and alleviate feet pain, providing the right amount of pressure on the arches/heels and ankles.

Cost and Value
These come in three different sizes (small, medium, and large) and four different colors (black, pink, white, and nude) with all the same prices. You get a pair as opposed to one brace specific to one ankle injury, and come at a very reasonable price point.
Pros

Lightweight and breathable fabric

Quick relief for foot pain

Strong arch and heel compression

Comfortable and easy design

Variety of sizes and colors

Cons

Runs right, may want to go up a size

9. Doc Miller

9. Doc Miller
These fashionable, high-quality compression socks are made for everyone to wear and benefit from. They increase blood flow, so they can even help the office worker who is sitting all day receive some circulation in his or her feet.
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Versatile Use
These can be used for prevention of injuries for people who engage in sports like basketball, running, deadlifts, gymnastics, football, etc. They can also help people who have foot injuries or discomfort like arthritis and swollen feet and tendons.

Multiple Sizes
The Doc Miller offers a wide range of sizes for the perfect fit for everyone- they’re perfect for fallen arches and flat feet, men, women and children. Everyone can benefit from greater circulation and mobility.

Cost and Value
These come in a range of 5 different sizes from small to XXL, and six different colors (blue, gray, green, orange, pink, and red), and vary in price by a few dollars according to the style and size. These do also come with a 100% money back guarantee, so there is no risk to try.
Pros

Versatile use

Flexibility

Fashionable design and comfort

Improves blood circulation

Breathable fabric

Cons

Runs small- may want to go a size up

10. CopperJoint

10. CopperJoint
The CopperJoint Compression sleeves offer the qualities that every ankle support system should have- breathable, provides the right support, and comfortable. This is also uniquely infused with copper to provide additional benefits. Let’s find out how.
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Copper Infused
These infuse genuine copper ions, which help facilitate and stimulate oxygen flow and circulation, so you feel increased comfortability and support for muscle recovery and pain relief.

Thermal Stabilizer
This is a special performance fabric that is designed to keep sweat away and keep you odor free. The unique fabric is also temperature regulated, meaning it stays cool in hot temperatures and warm in cool temperatures.

Cost and Value
These are offered in one single sleeve, with a comparable price point to other single sleeves on this list. The added benefits of copper-infused fabric may be the tipping point into making this purchase over the others.
Pros

Copper infused

Breathable flexible fabric

Temperature regulated

Comfortable

Joint and pain relief

Cons

Sold in single sleeve

Our feet literally serve as our foundation and base in which our entire body is supported all day. When we’re engaging in rigorous activities, we’re putting them through high stress that can add up to injuries and damage over time. Whether you have already experienced these damages, suffer from a type of foot discomfort, or generally want to benefit from injury prevention, compression socks may be an addition to your sock drawer that can bring long-lasting comfort and relief that not only your feet will thank you for, but the rest of your body will too. We’ve provided some of the best compression socks that are out on the market today, that help with people who are prone to injuries or for the everyday folk with a normal lifestyle. There’s one out there for every type of need, style, and budget, and you may find yourself performing better with consistent use of these socks.

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Ankle Braces for Running

There are many different types of compression socks on the market nowadays that cater to different needs and goals. The ones we focused on specifically today were ankle braces that support the feet and ankles for current and past injuries and to prevent new injuries. These are meant to be worn by people who have been experiencing foot discomfort to people who need more circulation throughout their day. There are certain criteria you should look for when purchasing compression socks specific to the ankle, and we’ll take you through them.

Comfort

Ankles braces are meant to prevent ankle injuries for athletes and runners who exert extra force and energy onto their feet. They are also meant to serve as extra pieces of protection for those who already have ankle injuries or have chronic ankle pain. These are meant to be worn for long periods of time or when participating in active activities. Naturally, you want to look for optimal comfort when purchasing an ankle brace or compression sock because you will be wanting the most level of support to perform at the maximum level. For those who already have ankle injuries, you don’t want to add on to your existing pain, so you definitely want to find one that is a good fit and is comfortable for you. The comfort level can vary based on the individual- some people like a more snug, compressed fit that hits deep on all the pressure points, while some prefer a more loose fit that still provides stabilization. This may come with trial and error- you may find that while a looser fit feels more comfortable, you are not getting the support that you may need. If a compression ankle brace is not working for you, it may be best to experiment with several types and sizes to see what is most optimal for your support. You want to make sure it is a perfect fit, and sizes and comfort level can vary based on the brand and type of material that the brace is made out of. To make sure it is the proper fit, make sure that you are going by the ankle and feet sizing chart to make sure you are getting the right one to get the best fit and support you need.

Material

Compression socks and ankle braces are made out of number of different materials on the market today, and this depends on what type of material you prefer. First, you definitely want to look for a compression sock that is moisture-wicking and breathable. Our feet are trapped in humidity all day, and are easily the sweatiest parts of our body. When you mix in a compression sock that is designed to, well, compress our feet even more, then you have an extremely sweaty and uncomfortable situation on your hands, or feet, if you purchase ones that are not made to be sweat free. Moisture-wicking fabric is important to keep your feet comfortable and dry, and not add on any more added discomfort to your feet. Because compression socks are designed to keep air circulating and provide more stamina and energy, you do not want to be distracted by heat and sweat. Some models even have an innovative, thermal regulating technology so that your feet can stay cool when the temperature is hot or stay warm when the temperature is cold. You also want to look for ones that are made from elastic or stretchy material, like neoprene or nylon. These ensure that it molds perfectly to your feet and provide the perfect fit, unlike other fabrics that can stretch over time. Neoprene is commonly used in the manufacturing of these braces, as it allows for a snug fit that is designed to provide the stability and support your ankle needs, while providing compression and heat that circulates throughout. Neoprene is not considered a breathable fabric, so this type of material may be best for those who enjoy the added heat pressure neoprene provides.

Types

There are different types of ankle braces that are specific to your needs.

You may have seen sock-like ankle sleeves throughout this list. These are common, portable, and easy to wash. They are put on similarly to a sock, and usually are thin enough to wear under most shoes. These are usually made from some sort of neoprene or knit type of fabric and are designed to provide all day protection and a moderate level of protection. These also provide pain relief for those suffering from pain, inflammation, and swelling for multiple foot conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, or other ankle or foot injuries. These can be worn in a pair or on the injured foot.

There are also ankle compression socks with straps, as you may have also seen on the list. These straps can provide additional support for the ankle, and are usually adjustable so you can adjust them to your comfort or tightness level. The strap goes over the compression sock or sleeve, and provide more protection and stability. These are best used for people who have had recent injuries and need the maximum level of protection and comfort to go about their daily activities. The wraps usually come in a figure 8 or figure 6 application style. The figure 8 style wraps around the entirety of the ankle in a figure 8 style, so you have the maximum level of pressure and compression, and you can also adjust the preferred compression level. Figure 6 is more of a linear, lateral strap and provides protection for those who are prone to ankle sprains or ankle rolls.

Lace-up ankle braces are another type of design that act as a shoe. They also sport a similar compression brace or sock but have an upward lace-up shoelace, so you can tighten it and adjust it to provide the compression that you need.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How tight should my ankle braces or compression socks be?

A. This can depend on your personal preference or comfort level, but these should always be a little snug. You’ll want your ankle to feel a bit of pressure and to have a semi-tight feeling. Generally, you want to feel protected or locked into your brace or sock. It should not restrict blood circulation or blood flow, but should rather stimulate it. You don’t want your feet to feel numb because they’re too tight, or have no support because they’re too loose. That would defeat the purpose of an ankle brace. Generally, the tighter the brace or sock, the more the level of protection that you get. The looser it is, the more flexible it is. These can be a good level of tightness for people who need more flexibility and are using them for everyday use. If you are recovering from a previous or recent injury, you want to make them tight as they can be without sacrificing comfort. You may want to adjust the tightness and straps several times before embarking on the sports activity to make sure it is a good fit.

Q. What are ankle braces used for?

A. This braces have many purposes that can cater to many different needs. Basically, an ankle brace is a specific type of garment or fabric that is worn around the ankle to make it immobilized and provide the maximum level of support, which allows it to rejuvenate from many types of foot injuries and sprains. They work by adding compression and heat to the joints and bones, which makes blood circulate faster and provide a limited range of motion so the foot can heal faster. These are commonly used for people who have experienced ankle trauma and need to be recovered quickly while still being able to go about their daily activities. The common types of foot or ankle injuries that this can help with are ankle sprains or ankle rolls, postoperative discomfort and stabilization, plantar fasciitis, feet swelling or inflammation, fractures, ankle weakness, and many more. These types of injuries occur a lot in athletes, typically those that are putting massive weight and stress on their ankles, like weight-lifting, basketball, soccer, running, rugby, and basketball. Ankle compression socks can also be worn by anyone who needs additional blood flow and circulation to their feet. Nurses can often be found wearing compression socks because they are often on their feet all day, and blood flow rushes to the bottom, causing their feet to swell from constant standing and movement. Truck drivers who have long drives can benefit from compression socks because it stimulates blood flow from the legs to the ankles in long periods of non-movement. Even if you are going to the gym or hiking, you can benefit from compression socks because it can prevent injuries from added stress and activity.

Q. When should I wear my ankle brace?

A. If you are using an ankle brace as a preventative or comfort measure, then you want to wear them for the duration of the activity. If you are using them when you are going hiking, then you want to wear them for the duration of the entire hike to increase blood flow and prevent future injuries. People who engage in sports activities should always wear them to prevent sprains or rolls, and this can be especially helpful in basketball and soccer. If you are using the ankle brace to heal injuries or treat discomfort, you want to wear them as long as you can, or when you partake in your daily activities, like driving or going to the grocery store, or whenever you will need to add pressure to your ankle, to provide more stability and limit the risk of another injury. Your injury is probably very fragile and is susceptible to new injuries, so you want to use the brace as a protective measure. Some people even say they wear compression socks to bed while they sleep, and they are able to heal faster because the sock is working overtime to apply added compression and heat while you sleep. This can also prevent your feet from moving in unnatural movements while you sleep, which can cause more injuries and discomfort. Of course, some people do not like the feeling of tightness while they sleep, so they prefer not to sleep with the compression sock. It might help to experiment and see if there are looser fitting compression socks that can help you.

Q. What type of ankle brace do I need if I just sprained my ankle?

A. There are different degrees of sprains and rolls, from mild to extreme, that requires different levels of support. Mild or lightweight ankle braces are for those who do not have serious ankle injuries but have mild strains or injuries that are considered First Degree. These can provide additional support and provide comfort throughout the day so your ankle injury doesn’t get worse. Moderate or medium support ankle braces, typically those with adjustable straps or high compression, are for Second Degree injuries or sprains and are usually used to treat sports-related ankle injuries, or as a preventative measure for players when they engage in sports activities to help avoid future injuries. Maximum support is a typically heavier duty, lace-up braces that are meant to be worn alone and are used to treat severe ankle sprains or Third Degree injuries. These provide more stability and support than the others and are usually for those who have participated in extreme sports activity and need additional support to prevent injuries from reoccurring.

Q. Am I supposed to wear socks with an ankle brace? What about shoes?

A. Ankle braces come in different forms, and it depends on your personal preference. Compression socks often serve as socks themselves, so it is your prerogative if you want to wear a sock over it or not. That can often cause more heat to trap, so some people may not prefer it. Most compression socks come in open toe style, so you may want to wear a thick loose sock over it if you are pairing these with boots or other types of shoes where you do not want your toes exposed. You can wear most compression socks with shoes, but you have to see if the brace can fit the type of shoe you’re wearing.

Sources

  1. Mayo Clinic, When to Use an Ankle Brace
  2. Runner’s World, Should I Wear an Ankle Brace While Trail Running?
  3. Livestrong, Are Ankle Guards Good or Bad for Runners?
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