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Volleyball involves sudden movements, which is why players tend to sprain their ankles, muscles, joints, and ligaments. With the right ankle brace, you can avoid injuries and take your volleyball career to great heights. Wearing a guard can also decrease the likelihood of suffering from ankle complications again.
To help you make a wise choice, we’ve compared the best ankle braces for volleyball that offer support, comfort, and protection.
- Best Ankle Brace for Volleyball in 2020
- Overall Best Ankle Brace for Volleyball: Zamst A2-DX
- Best Volleyball Ankle Brace for the Money: Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer
- Best Cheap Ankle Brace for Volleyball: Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support
- Best Volleyball Ankle Brace for Front and Row Players: Active Ankle T2
- Best Volleyball Ankle Brace for Recovery: Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support
- What Are Ankle Braces?
- What to Look For When Buying Volleyball Ankle Braces
- FAQ Section
- Wrapping Up
Best Ankle Brace for Volleyball in 2020
Volleyball is a reactive sport, which means players endure sudden cuts and exert vertical power. Such critical movements often put pressure on your ankle joints. To make sure your feet remain in top shape, we’ve reviewed the best volleyball ankle guards for ultimate support and recovery.
Overall Best Ankle Brace for Volleyball: Zamst A2-DX
The Zamst A2-DX is best for athletes who repeatedly suffer ankle injuries, and need a high level of support and protection. If you want to play on an existing injury without aggravating it further, the polyurethane nylon creates a rigid design to support mild to moderate sprains during play.
Zamst, a Japanese medical device manufacturer, has been a leader in the orthopedics market since 1973. The brand designed this model to balance comfort, support, and flexibility for those healing or players with weak ankles.
The unique part about this brace is the Exo-Grid, a dual exterior support structure that prevents the ankle from rolling inward or outward. The pre-curved design enables your feet to move in a full range of motion while correcting your ankle’s medial or lateral stability.
Adding to the brace’s pile of amazing features is the Grip Tech, which reduces the separation of the two lower leg bones where the ankle meets. In effect, you prevent high ankle sprains. What’s more, the inner liner includes rigid stabilizers to prevent the ankle from rolling.
Once you use the Velcro anchor straps, the brace will not move or slide around. As a result, the guard reduces friction and keeps you from having to stop and readjust during a game. Even if the straps make it a secure fit, you can still make lateral movements.
The sturdy plastic guards on each side of the ankle reduce your foot’s pronation. Despite the rigid support, the brace remains comfortable. In fact, Stephen Curry, one of the best NBA players, trusts the A2-DX for support during his practices and games.
The brace’s a-Fit and i-Fit technologies ensure excellent fit, and consequently, genuine comfort. In the same way, these technologies aid athletes in coping with moderate to severe ankle sprains.
What also makes A2-DX the best volleyball ankle brace is its flexibility. With its open-panel and fastener design, you can adjust the brace to fix precisely how you want it. Similarly, you can adjust the compression levels for a further fit.
Because of the brace’s ability to deliver a locked-in feeling, you can confidently move, dig, and jump around the court. With a level 3 support, you can play without the fear of injuries happening again, no matter how intense you need to make spikes or saves.
- X-Strap stabilizers with Grip Tech to prevent the foot from shifting forward
- Exo-Grid feature for the exterior support structure
- a-Fit and i-Fit technologies for adjustable fitting
- Polyurethane nylon material for a rigid structure
- Sturdy plastic guards to avoid pronation
- Strong support for moderate to severe sprains
- Adjustable fasteners provide three-way lateral and medial support
- High level of protection and support when making a full range of motion
- May be too rigid for some athletes
- Putting the braces on is a little complicated
- ANATOMICALLY CORRECT SUPPORT: Our advanced ankle brace is engineered with dual molded EXO Grid...
- ADJUSTABLE FIT: Our Ankle Braces offer adjustable fasteners to provide an individualized fit,...
- ANTI-ROLL AND ANTI-SPRAIN: Our Zamst Ankle Brace automatically correct the support with our A FIT...
Best Volleyball Ankle Brace for the Money: Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer
If your playing style requires a high level of support without sacrificing mobility, you can rely on the Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer to balance support, comfort, and breathability. This model is perfect for athletes who need to limit up and down movements of the ankle.
The brace makes use of durable yet lightweight material called CoolFlex to ensure the contoured tongue will make a proper fit. The material also lines the inside back of the brace, offering increased comfort to the Achilles area.
This soft mobility brace optimizes an eight-figure stabilizing strap to hold your ankle in a vertical position. That being the case, the brace prevents rolling and stress on the joints when running or jumping.
An elastic strap wraps around the top to prevent the brace from slipping or rubbing against your skin. Paired with finger loops at the end of the stabilizing straps, you get the ultimate fit and support. An elastic cuff closure also keeps stabilizing straps and laces secure.
Removable plastic stays on each side of the brace enhance protection, especially during ankle sprain recovery. Thus, your injured ankle can play at full speed because the brace serves as a safety net. Meanwhile, the brace can also act as lockdown support when you have an injured ankle.
Note that the brace runs large, so you should choose one size smaller. The good thing is that the bilateral design makes the brace fit either on the left or right foot.
This laced-up brace brags ballistic nylon that makes it sturdier yet more lightweight than other models on the market. The garment has a cotton and nylon lining that increases comfort to the ankle’s Achilles area.
The combination of these materials creates a breathable and light brace, making sweating or abrasion unnoticeable. With a level 2 support level, the whole design offers moderate support to relieve pain caused by weak ankles or flat feet.
- Stabilizing straps support and protect the ankle
- Bilateral design lets the brace fit either left or right foot
- Lace-up system enables fitting adjustment
- Ballistic nylon material makes the brace lightweight
- CoolFlex material for increased comfort in the Achilles area
- Straightforward design makes the brace easy to put on
- Advisable for those with low ankle sprains
- You can wear it with any type of shoe because of a low profile design
- Not suitable for those with Achilles injuries
- Possibility too tight around the midfoot and arc
- Stabilizing Straps form complete figure-eight to protect and support ankle
- Ballistic nylon boot provides superior durability and strength
- Elastic cuff closure enhances support and keeps laces and stabilizing straps secure
Best Cheap Ankle Brace for Volleyball: Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support
For volleyball players who need to veer toward a budget-friendly price, the Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support will let the ankles make a full range of motion while supporting joints and tendons. The brace combines versatile design, quality materials, and ease of use.
The ankle brace’s framework easily conforms to the natural contour of your foot. The design also puts optimum pressure on your ankle, which is crucial if you are still recuperating from an injury.
The open-heel design creates a broad range of motion while embracing the Achilles tendon. Because of this, the brace can accommodate various foot sizes.
With a contoured design, you can customize the ankle guard to fit your specific needs. Make sure your ankle is feeling the floor through the hole in the middle of the brace. Attach the Velcro straps to any point of the exterior surface to tighten the fit on the ankle and midfoot areas.
The crisscross straps stabilize the ankle in place, keeping you from accidentally pointing the top of your foot away from your leg. Aside from avoiding foot slip-ups, the strapping mechanism guides your Achilles tendon and ankle joint to the right motions.
The Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support provides adjustable compression around the foot and ankle for stability and better injury recovery. You receive reliable support for acute injuries, including weakened ankle joints, muscle strain, and ligament strain.
If you want to continue with your daily playing routine, the brace reduces inflammation and relieves chronic pain while still getting stability on the ankles. It also serves as a stable support for protecting sensitive tendons and muscle tissues during recovery.
While the compression immobilizes an injured area, the pressure deters further swelling and inflammation. You can still move the surrounding areas to ensure blood flow, and that oxygen and nutrients can reach damaged tissues and muscles for complete healing.
True to its name, the neoprene material makes the brace breathable. Remember, the more you play, the more heat you’ll produce. Since neoprene adapts to extensive ranges of temperatures, your comfort and performance levels will stay the same.
Athletes experience excessive perspiration, but the material prevents moisture build-up, and subsequently, bacteria and body odor. To speed up healing in your injured area, the neoprene locks in your body’s natural heat, it accelerates tissue recovery and boosts blood circulation.
- Open-heel design easily conforms to the natural contour of both left and right feet
- High-grip crisscross straps for customized tightness and bracing
- Neoprene construction creates an internal thermal insulator to drive proper blood circulation
- Uses compression to aid in injury recovery
- Lightweight and breathable open design at a budget-friendly price
- Uses straps for more comfortable fitting
- Provides optimal ankle and foot support, without restricting your foot’s movement
- Has no laces
- Some athletes are allergic to neoprene
- Adjustable Compression - High-grip crisscross hook-and-loop fasteners attach anywhere along the...
- Skin-Friendly & Breathable - Premium-grade neoprene increases circulation resulting in a faster...
- Multi-Purpose Support - Eases a broad range of conditions such as ligament instability, chronic...
Best Volleyball Ankle Brace for Front and Row Players: Active Ankle T2
Whether you are a spiker at the net or a libero at the back, the Active Ankle T2 will protect your ankle in every lateral movement. This ankle guard also supports injured ankles on a range of motion, making sure you can still perform to the best of your abilities.
For over three decades, Active Ankle has been regarded as one of the leading volleyball ankle support makers on the market. They are famous for their trim-up wrap supports that provide well-distributed pressure around the lower leg.
Among its innovation is the T2 ankle brace, which is an improvement from T1. For starters, there’s a lightweight EVA cushion on each side of the ankle. This molded padding makes the ankle guard adapt to your foot size, creating a snug yet comfortable and a breathable fit.
There’s also a flat plastic piece you can slide under your shoe’s insole. This part helps keep the brace in place, giving you peace of mind when making offensive and defensive plays.
Aside from that, there are Velcro straps that go around the ankle to support you during dangerous under-the-net contact. You can easily adjust the straps to fit into your high and low cut shoes.
Because T2 is a rigid brace, it offers maximum protection for athletes with weak or injured ankles. This is perfect for athletes who risk ankle trauma. The same goes for players who dash from the back and dive to save a ball.
The non-slip, silicon-grasp design prevents the ligaments from tearing whenever you need to jump, land, or suddenly change directions. The addition of bilateral anatomical hinges creates a full range of motion. Hence, the brace won’t hinder your rapid movements.
Durable neoprene pads with finger tabs make it easy to put on the brace. The breathable material also provides warmth to the skin around the ankle, aiding you in speedy recuperation.
Even if this model has a feather-light construction and slim build, the lightweight construction is more durable compared to its predecessors. Don’t worry about the mechanical structure because the brace is unlikely to give you abrasions.
- Quick-fit strap that is adjustable for both high and low top shoes
- Custom EVA padding molds to the contour of your ankle
- Anatomical bilateral hinge minimizes the effect of strains and sprains
- The strap design hugs the ankle well
- Neoprene pads promote proper ventilation and recovery
- Lightweight yet durable design can withstand the demand for competitive play
- Promotes flexibility and stability
- Sleek, less-bulky construction
- A little oversized
- Some players do not like rigid construction
- T2 Rigid Ankle Braces offer an exceptional level of protection with a quick-fit single strap that is...
- Fits left or right foot, and offers maximum performance and protection for sports like volleyball,...
- Sleek, less-bulky brace features feather-light, custom molded EVA padding, which hugs every contour...
Best Volleyball Ankle Brace for Recovery: Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support
The Shock Doctor 849 Ultra Gel Lace Ankle Support is a compression, lace-up wrap that comes with pre-curved tongue and internal gel cushions for stability. Support, alignment, and recovery features get together into one comfortable ankle brace.
Designed with your comfort in mind, this ankle guard utilizes internal gel material as cushions, guaranteeing mobility and comfort while you heal from your injuries. The open heel design invites air to circulate while the antimicrobial liners block foul odors and bacteria.
Gel cushions and the wrap curve into a tongue to offer more stability and alignment. This design provides average support to mitigating sprains, extreme joint movements, and muscle strains, sprained ligaments, unstable joints, and severe joint movements.
Moreover, Shock Doctor 849 boasts a silicone grip pattern to its footbed, ensuring a no-slip fit either the left or right foot in place. It even has an integrated antimicrobial technology to reduce odor-causing bacteria during long periods of playing.
Lacing loops keep your feet comfortable while the finger tabs let you pull the brace easily for the perfect fit. The laces and uppers work together to provide natural warming. Another benefit of this method is that you can readjust the pressure according to your needs.
The advantage of this system is that it’s a convenient way of widening the opening of the ankle guard. Pull the stretchable exterior tabs, slide your foot in seamlessly, and adjust the fit according to your preference.
Spraining an ankle when you need to train for a tournament can be a bummer. Fortunately, this compression ankle guard will let you stay active while helping heal your ankle.
With a level 3 support system, you get compression, support, healing, and stability features in a neatly constructed brace. Whether you need to heal from long or a short-term injury, this braces lessens the pain without restricting mobility.
Adjustable ankle compression lets you modify the pressure, stimulating warmth to the sprain to urge the muscles to heal. In the same way, the heat stabilizes your injury. Thanks to the compression, your blood flow increases to treat your sprain faster.
Lastly, the model combines rubber latex materials, gel inserts, and neoprene to create strong support for your whole feet.
- Non-slip grip pattern for stability
- Lacing closure system for an adjustable fit
- Internal gel cushions provide comfort and protection
- Compression wrap system for enhanced therapeutic support
- Antimicrobial technology eliminates the causes of skin irritations and odor
- Balances support, breathability, and compression without limiting movements
- Wrap looping system serves as stability reinforcement
- Footbed conforms to your foot’s anatomy
- Natural rubber latex may cause allergic reactions
- Lacing system is not suitable for those with excessive swelling
- DESIGNED WITH YOUR COMFORT IN MIND - comes fully equipped with internal gel cushions, a pre-curved...
- GET UP AND GO OUT - Spraining an ankle can put a damper on your plans, but with our compression...
- FOR SPRAINS AND STRAINS - Performance Level 3: Provides medium stability for moderate to major...
What Are Ankle Braces?
Ankle braces are garments you wear around the ankle for protection or immobilization during recovery. Braces also help volleyball players heal from sprain and foot injuries. They enable the joints to move smoothly while providing heat and compression to the bones.
When Do Volleyball Players Need to Wear Ankle Braces?
Athletes don’t need to wear ankle braces all the time. There are certain cases when volleyball players need to wear ankle guards: to prevent injuries from occurring and recurring, as well as support and recovery from injuries.
Protect and Prevent
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, ankle injuries are the most common injury in sports, with an estimated 28,000 cases in the United States daily. Ankle braces aim to minimize the risk of injuries that happen on the competitive court, including when landing from a jump.
Ankle braces help athletes recover because of the additional protection they can provide. The braces can withstand the high-intensity demands of volleyball, making it faster for players to recover. At the same time, ankle guards also limit motions that can lead to injuries from happening again.
A quality brace provides immobilization while withstanding the demands of volleyball. Braces prevent tendons, ligaments, and muscles from receiving too much pressure during recovery.
What Are Some Common Ankle Injuries?
Ankle problems typically occur when a player lands on the foot of a teammate after attacking or blocking. With the ankle being one of the most critical body parts, injury to the ankle may lead to various complications:
- Ankle sprain: This happens when the ankle’s ligaments stretch beyond their limits and tear. This also occurs when you turn, twist, or awkwardly roll your ankle, stretching the ligaments that hold your ankle bones together.
- Lower leg injuries: The legs are a bundle of muscles, bones, and connective tissues that run up to your ankle and foot. Problems in the ankle may lead to lower leg fractures in the long run.
- Osteoarthritis: This occurs because of wear and tear on a joint. This is common for volleyball players who have previous ankle injuries.
- Degenerative sprain: This occurs when cartilage tissues in the ankles start to break down, causing inflammation to the joint and resulting in swelling, pain, and deformity.
- Postoperative pain: A condition of muscle spasm and tissue injury after surgery.
- Synovitis: An inflammation of the synovial membrane, which possesses cavities, known as synovial joints.
- Achilles tendinitis: An overuse of the Achilles tendon, which is a band of tissue that connects the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
What to Look For When Buying Volleyball Ankle Braces
Ankle braces differ in functionality and materials, and consequently, their comfort and support. To make sure you will pick the right guard for your situation, consider these factors below:
- Front Row Player: Players at the net will make more motions. Aside from the arms, the ankles experience too much pressure. This is why front row athletes need ankle braces that can provide a high level of protection and support.
- Back Row Player: Players at the back focus on defensive movements, which means they need a high level of mobility for diving and digging motions.
Types of Volleyball Ankle Braces
Depending on your situation, an ankle guard can either prevent an injury or help you recover from injuries.
This type of volleyball ankle brace is best for injury recovery because of its simplicity and effectiveness. Made of durable fabric, they usually have a one-size-fits-all design, which makes them less bulky and easy to fit into your shoes.
The downside is that the fabric design is not as durable as mechanical braces, so there’s a possibility of wear and tear. However, if you want a nice fit brace that offers maximum protection, choose sock ankle braces like the Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support.
A mechanical ankle brace has strap-on support that wraps around the foot, making this type the best ankle guard for injury prevention. It usually has durable padding and uses a stirrup to secure itself to the base of the foot.
The main drawback is that the plastic parts may make your feet uncomfortable when worn for a long time. The good news is that mechanical braces such as Zamst A2-Dx, Med Spec ASO, and Active Ankle T2, offer more mobility.
A gel-enhanced ankle brace like the Shock Doctor 849 uses air cells or gel to decrease discomfort and swelling. The soft cells deliver compression and support when stepping with the injured ankle. Without sacrificing stability, this type of ankle guard enhances circulation and normalizes critical movements during recovery.
Kind of Ankle Brace Support
Sock, mechanical, and gel-enhanced ankle guards have additional support features:
- Lace-Up: Although lace-up braces are rigid in form, these offer more flexibility, adjustability, and comfort. By limiting the up-and-down and side-to-side movements, lace-up braces help treat a moderate type of ankle sprains.
- Rigid: This kind utilizes a sturdy design to help with swelling and recovery, so we don’t exactly recommend these for activity purposes. It features hard plastic placed on either side of the ankles and secured using a Velcro strap.
- Hinged: Semi-rigid in nature, but have padded linings and straps for comfort. Hinged braces let your ankles move up and down freely. However, they will prevent your ankles from moving side to side.
- Compression: These braces use stretchable, lightweight materials to allow your ankles to make regular movements and rotations. This kind of support improves balance while reducing swelling. Compression braces decrease muscle stiffness by keeping your ankles warm.
A2-DX and Active Ankle T2 fall under the rigid kind. Bracoo Ankle Support focuses on compression while Med Spec ASO utilizes a lace-up system. Finally, Shock Doctor 849 combines laced-up and compression structures.
Comfort and Breathability
The best volleyball brace must wrap your ankle snugly yet comfortably. If you feel uncomfortable, there’s a chance you won’t wear the braces, or you won’t be able to move in it. As a result, you increase your risk of injury.
Ankle braces with soft padding won’t rub against your feet. A comfortable guard will hug your ankle, making you confident enough to jump, roll, and turn without hurting your ankle. Among the features that make the models in the list comfortable are open-heel designs, adjustable compression, paddings, and gel cushions.
Similar to shoes, ankle guards must circulate air to enhance comfort. Players will inevitably sweat a lot while playing, which may drive bacteria to grow. In effect, you can suffer from rashes or bad odor.
The best braces for volleyball provide additional support to the ankles as well as the joints and lower leg muscles. Players who wear ankle protection are less prone to injuries, letting them use their full potential. Here are the levels of support:
Performance Level 1: Compression-Alignment-Healing
Braces with level 1 support optimize compression-oriented designs to deliver therapeutic benefits. Compression aid in joint alignment and blood flow. For instance, the Active Ankle T2 provides light support for minor pain, enabling daily use for extended playing periods.
Performance Level 2: Support-Compression-Alignment-Healing
Braces at level 2, like the Bracoo Ankle Support and Med Spec ASO, have the same therapeutic benefits as level 1 models. The only difference is that they provide more support and stability features. These braces support moderate sprains and strains for faster recovery.
Performance Level 3: Stability-Support-Compression-Alignment-Healing
Ankle guards at level 3 share the same characteristics of level 2 models but offer more advanced designs and integrated support features for stability. Braces such as Shock Doctor 849 and A2-DX generate medium stability to support severe muscle strains, unstable joints, and major ligament sprains.
A jump or dive may turn the foot inward, causing damage to your ankle joints. Ankle support ensures stability without limiting movement. One of the main goals of ankle braces is to deliver support to prevent and heal injuries.
Remember that the right brace must deliver freedom of movement, yet it would restrict excessive ankle rotation. This is why some models have extra closures, laces, stirrup strap, and strapping patterns. Others have front stabilizers for foot compression.
A2-DX relies on sturdy plastic guards and dual exterior support structure for support. Med Spec ASO uses stabilizing straps for stability while Shock Doctor 849 utilizes lacing loops. Bracoo and Active Ankle make use of Velcro straps.
Size and Adjustability
Your size or ankle circumference may dictate the size of your ankle guard. Regardless of the size, the brace must have a tight fit to immobilize and isolate the affected areas in your ankle. Aside from that, the best braces offer laces or straps for adjustability.
Sizing may range from extra small to extra large. Consult this sizing chart to help you snag the right fit:
|Common Brace Size||Ankle Circumference in Inches|
|Extra Small||9 to 10 inches|
|Small||10 to 11 inches|
|Medium||11 to 12 inches|
|Large||13 to 14 inches|
|Extra Large||14 to 15 inches|
Durability: Materials, Design, and Construction
If you are playing hard and fast every day, you’ll need an abrasion-resistant brace that can endure the pressure and intensity it receives. In addition, moisture around your ankles can cause braces to slide down. The best ankle brace will absorb sweat and remove moisture at a high rate.
The choice of material is a case to case basis. If you are after durability, go for quality braces with tough materials such as neoprene and nylon. These materials conform to your feet’s shape, enabling joint mobility and comfort.
Although a bit expensive, neoprene is lighter and more comfortable. Meanwhile, nylon provides better ventilation at a cheaper price. If you need to balance ventilation and mobility, it’s better to choose breathable braces made from fabric and knit materials.
Do Volleyball Ankle Braces Weaken Your Ankles?
There is no clinical evidence that confirms wearing braces can weaken the ankles. However, there are cases where volleyball players avoid games or exercises to reduce strain on the ankles.
Athletes who have undergone surgery need recovery time, which means they tend to limit ankle movements. If they restrict joints and muscles in the ankles from making a full range of motion, muscle weakening is a possibility.
How Long Should You Wear Ankle Support?
It may depend on your doctor’s prescription, but you should increase the time you wear a brace gradually. In this way, the skin and soft tissue develop tolerance to the brace.
On the first day, wear the brace two times for one hour. Add one hour to each wearing period until you become comfortable wearing the brace. Make sure you are not receiving pressure sores or red marks.
Remember to take a break from wearing the ankle guard, as it can increase body temperature and build moisture. Let your skin and brace to dry out.
How to Clean and Maintain Ankle Braces?
Depending on your usage, you may clean your ankle brace every two to three days. With some care and cleaning, your ankle guard can avoid infections, and will ultimately last for several playing seasons.
Here’s how you can clean and maintain ankle guards:
- Remove any inner pads.
- Mix laundry detergent and clean water. Soak the gear in the water for about five minutes.
- Use a washrag to scrub the braces.
- Rub and squeeze the guard when rinsing.
- Air-dry the braces before use.
Volleyball ankle guards help prevent injury and recover from chronic conditions. With the best ankle brace for volleyball, you can confidently land, jump, or dive without hurting your feet. Use the guide and comparisons we’ve provided, so your ankles remain mobilized and safe while playing.