The market for ankle braces is a wide and sometimes complicated one. Different braces have different uses and design features. Rehabilitation braces for an existing injury are often very likely to be excessively restrictive for those who are merely looking for a bit of extra support. Similarly anyone looking for a brace in order to prevent a recurring injury will need a specific type of protection. The type of brace that is best for you of course also depends on the activities for which you intend to use it and your own physical state. Here we will look at some of the best ankle braces for hiking, those that are strong enough to cope with rugged terrain whilst giving flexibility and support over long distances and strenuous exercise.
Active T2 Professional ankle supports are available from Amazon for around $60. The T2 is an extremely lightweight and securely fitted product. It is designed to allow the user a high level of flexibility and good bi-lateral support for their joints. The range extends to a very wide range of shoe sizes so it should be possible to find a comfortable and personalised fit. The T2 has a U-shape design and aims to provide protection from both inversion and eversion injuries. The strap is adjustable so it can be fitted to either high top or low top shoes and each strap can be used on either the left or right foot. The T2 is a functional and comfy ankle support that is aimed at prevention of injuries rather than rehabilitation and recuperation.
ASO Ankle Stabilisers (standing for Ankle Stabilising Orthosis) are available from Amazon for less than $30. Unlike the Active T2 the ASO Stabilisers only don’t come in shoe sizes (x small, small, medium, large, X large or XX large). There is a guide when ordering on what size would be appropriate, depending on ankle measurements. Like the Active T2 the ASO can fit either foot. The ASO stabilisers include additional flexible plastic medial and lateral stays. These can be attached to provide extra support to the desired areas. The design is slightly more tough and robust than the Active product and is built with those recovering from strains, sprains and injuries in mind, so if you’re hiking with a niggle this could be the one for you.
McDavid Ankle Guards are available from Amazon for between $10 and $60. The price difference depends on the size being purchased with more unusual (and therefore rare) foot sizes being the most expensive models. It is a large, laced product designed to give comprehensive support to the ankle. Unfortunately the size means some hikers may find it a little uncomfortable or impractical. It is made from durable vinyl and nylon plastic meaning the device is robust while also offering a good level of flexibility and movement. The McDavid’s are designed as a ‘catch-all’ product. They can be used during rehabilitation from an injury, and then afterwards as injury prevention. They should be particularly appealing to those who regularly suffer ankle sprains and strains.
The three products described are all appropriate for hikers and offer support from a mixture of strain and sprain types. The Active would be ideal for one looking to avoid injuries whereas the other two are geared towards rehabilitation.