The 12 Best Shoes for Ankle Support in 2022
After testing 53 products, we found the Magnolia Shawnas (women) and Jamals (men) – both by Vionic – to be the best shoes for ankle support.
Before researching any products, we called on Dr. Maghreby: our team’s medical doctor and physician-scientist. He wrote a buyer’s guide that told us what to look for in ankle support shoes. You can find the guide in the table of contents below; it has lots of useful tips. We used it when choosing, researching and testing the products you’ll find on this page.
We tested the shoes in a number of ways, mostly in-store. We looked for ankle and heel stability. We looked for arch support features that improve foot posture, strengthening the ankle. We tested footwear by trying to roll our own ankles while wearing it.
We chose the Vionic models for a number of reasons. They’re both high-tops with snug ankle collars. These provide good ankle support without immobilizing the ankle. The Vionic heel cup is deep and ergonomic, making the shoe fit like a second glove – especially in the back. Both models are designed by podiatrists and approved by the American Podiatrical Medical Association (APMA).
Looking at the tech inside, it’s easy to see why. The insoles and midsoles support the arch, helping the foot do its work properly. This takes some off the load off the ankle. It also stops the ankle from moving excessively. Vio Motion Support improves stability when you walk, stopping the foot from rolling inwards or outwards. Together, these features do a lot to prevent ankle instability and support the joint.
Unfortunately, the Vionics have their limitations. You can’t use the them for sports – and that’s where the Inov-8 G300s (men | women) come in. They’re snug around the ankle, even when you’re moving. At the same time, they let the foot move relatively freely. They have good sports features: ankle support, flexibility, breathability and cushioning.
For best work boots, we went with two Doc Martens pairs. Little known fact: Klaus Märtens created the brand after injuring his ankle while skiing. He designed the first Doc Martens for pain relief and ankle stability. The brand’s boots – especially the models we picked – have best-in-class ankle support to this day. They also have excellent heel pads, which cushion the ankle from excess foot strike impact.
To learn about the shoes we tested and our doctor’s tips, keep reading!
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Table of Contents
Best Shoes for Ankle Support (Men)
Vionic was founded by a podiatrist, Phillip Vasyli, to help patients. Vasyli started making his own inserts to lower the cost of treatment and increase the speed at which his patients recovered. These famous inserts are the first thing you notice here, even before lacing up. They immediately improve foot posture and stability. This, in turn, improves ankle stability. This is one reason these are recommended by the APMA, or American Podiatric Medical Association.
Another major reason to like these is the tough, well-padded, high ankle collar. It fits the ankle like a glove, feeling snug but very comfortable. Reviewers say it lasts for 12-18 months without becoming loose. The eyelets are well to the front of the shoe, hugging the ankle when laced up. The padded ankle collar protects the top of the foot from excess pressure and feels comfy.
Note the elastic strap across the vamp: the section of the upper that comes across the front of your foot. This is an orthopedic feature; not a style element (which is what we thought at first). It helps hold your foot in place, lining it up with Vionic’s specialized footbed. This means the heel is nice and firm in its heel cup at all times. Thanks to that little piece of elastic, our ankles felt extra snug and stable in the shoe.
Now let’s talk about that footbed in more detail. As we mentioned above, Vionic shoes are designed with foot health in mind. It’s footbed is EVA, which is both soft and supportive. The shoes offer excellent arch support, as you’d expect. The deep heel cup feels exceptionally stable. Like most corrective EVA inserts, these might feel a little uncomfortable at first. They’ll both bring your foot arch into alignment and massage it as you walk. This will support the ankle by reducing torque and stopping it from rolling inwards and outwards.
This shoe has no real cons. It’s inexpensive, stylish and versatile. Hand to heart, some orthopedic shoes look dorky – but this isn’t the case here. The rubber sole is both grippy and flexible, which is perfect for ankle support. Outstanding shoe.
- Recommended by the American Podiatric Medical Association
Best Shoes for Ankle Support (Women)
Vionic Women's Magnolia Shawna
Why this product?
The high ankle and five eyelets on this shoe do an excellent job of locking your ankle in. Once laced up, these boots are very secure. The ankle joint feels safe and stabilized in these at all times.
Vionic was founded by Dr. Phillip Vasyli to help his patients as a podiatrist. At first, he made inserts that helped patients recover faster and at less cost. Then the brand started making shoes – one of which is the high-top Magnolia Shawna.
The high ankle and five eyelets do an excellent job of locking your ankle in. Once laced up, these boots are very secure. The ankle joint feels safe and stabilized in these at all times. There is a discreet zip on the side to make them easier to get on and off. This is comfortable and practical. You don’t have to pull these off the ankle joint by tugging, destabilizing the ankle. Just undo the zipper and they slide right off.
Like the male model reviewed above, these shoes have an ergonomic EVA footbed. It has a deep heel cup that helps stabilize the foot and ankle inside the shoe. Combined with the snug ankle collar, it really keeps the ankle in place. You’d expect this kind of shoe to be rigid – but this isn’t the case here. The smartly made inlays and overlays – all double stitched – let you move your feet freely. The outsole is EVA and relatively hard-wearing. Reviewers say it lasts about 600-800 miles before needing replacement. It grips well and uses Vio Motion Support tech to stabilize the foot when you walk. You don’t have to worry about a sprained ankle with these.
These shoes are both stylish and weather-proof. The upper is waterproof nubuck; the shoe upper is nice enough to wear out. It comes in a range of colors; our favorite has to be the wheat version. The nubuck leather upper looks gorgeous and feels buttery. It will definitely take a few days to break in – but it’s also durable and thick. All of this makes these an excellent all-purpose ankle support shoe.
Multiple consumers have said they plan to buy these shoes in multiple colors. Frankly, endorsements don’t get much better than that!
- Stabilizes the ankle joint
- Available in various colorways
Best Walking Shoes for Ankle Support When Walking (Unisex)
Finding a good walking shoe for ankle support can be tough. We don’t want a high-top shoe to weigh us down, but we still want joint stability. How can we get both?
Propet has the answer. This mid shoe has a wider-than-average forefoot and heel base, which the sleek design of these sneakers cleverly hides. It looks like a heel drop – but is really a wide stability cushion. It gives you a low, wide base that stops the feet from supinating or pronating. This minimizes lateral pressure and torque on the ankle, supporting the joint.
Another important ankle support feature is the heel counter. Usually found in running shoes, the Propet heel counter fixes the heel in place. It also goes well above the actual ankle. Combined with the high eyelets, it stabilizes the foot the same way a high-top boot would. Very smart. Just make sure to lace the shoe up tight. The padding and wide toe box will make sure you don’t constrict your foot.
The EVA midsole is shaped to support and normalize the arch. So is the orthotic footbed, which is both supportive and well-cushioned. Together, the insole and midsole support the foot arch and correct foot posture. This takes some of the load off the ankle and prevents it from rolling inwards or outwards. It also provides a high degree of shock absorption. All of this supports the ankle and helps stabilize it, albeit indirectly.
The upper is 100% leather; it’s available in a range of colors. Our completely subjective opinion is that the brown nubuck leather version looks best, followed closely by the white. It looks like a slightly higher-than-regular tennis shoe. As far as shoes like this go, that’s very stylish. Note the D-ring speed-lacing system. Our testers found it very easy to pull these laces tight and really lock their foot into the shoe. The tongue and sock liner are both padded, making for a comfortable shoe.
Note: if you’re a diabetic, you can claim these shoes through Medicare. They correspond to Medicare/HCPCS code A5500.
Note: these shoes tend to run small. We recommend buying a half size larger than you usually wear.
- Prevents supination and pronation
- Good arch support
- Shock absorbing
- Sizing tends to run small
Best Athletic Shoe for Ankle Support (Unisex)
Inov-8 shoe provides enough ankle support for a whole range of exercises. It has great ankle support, cushioning, and heel stability, so you can go from running to lifting in the same pair of shoes.
The upper is made of a lightweight knit with mesh panels for more breathability. It fits close to the foot without being restrictive. There’s also a flexible TPU cage structure around the midfoot to keep your foot in place during intense movement.
The ankle area is shaped for maximum support to your ankle, with a high back to keep your ankle stabilized in the shoe. This support prevents your foot from rolling to the side.
There’s also thick padding around the ankle collar for a comfortable fit that doesn’t cut into your skin. The low top leaves enough room for dorsiflexion, which moves your foot up toward your shin and back down, so you can stretch and move freely.
The Boomerang footbed has lots of cushioning, delivered by TPU beads that compress and then spring back into shape. The footbed provides plenty of energy return and gives you momentum during cardio activities.
These shoes have a stable base that’s ideal for lifting. To increase stability even more, these shoes include an Internal Lifting Stabilizer in the midsole to absorb shock and keep your feet firmly planted.
This shoe has a thick sole with a rocker front that allows the foot to roll easily from heel to toe, letting you move more naturally as you run. There’s no heel drop, reducing the strain on your ankles. The outsole is a durable rubber enhanced with graphene, making it stronger, more flexible, and longer-lasting.
The sole is geared toward stability and cushioning, but some people, especially those with plantar fasciitis, may find it too stiff. Other customers with wide or sensitive feet found the snug fit uncomfortable, especially with the cage around the midsole.
- Good ankle support and heel stability
- Provides good cushioning
- Shock absorbing
- Those who suffer from planter fasciitis may find the sole too stiff
Best Work Boots for Men
This is the original, iconic Dr. Martens 1460 work boot. The same one Klaus Martens made to recover from his ankle sprain. They’ve been re-engineered with hard-working people in mind, especially people who are on their feet for 8 hours a day. They have some extra cushioning – including a soft, supportive heel pad. This stops the foot from getting tired and destabilizing the ankle. It protects inflamed ankle tissue from pain and discomfort. And it’s just comfy.
Now, on to how these stabilize the ankle. A few things to note. First, the wide base. This stops the foot from rolling inwards and outwards. It gives the ankle a nice, stable base. Second, the one-piece heel and mid-shoe section. This keeps the ankle firmly in place when laced up – and goes all the way around the boot tongue. When laced up, it fits the ankle like a glove. Third, the eyelets go all the way up the boot – and there’s 8 of them. All these features combine to give you a tight, snug fit through the ankle and lower shins. Easily the best stabilization of any model tested.
The sole is reasonably flexible for a boot. This lets you move your feet freely, giving you a natural gait and reducing fatigue. The GripTrax tread is slip-resistant, offering amazing traction. Lots of stability, excellent grip on all surfaces, no chance of you re-injuring an ankle. As a matter of fact, these double as the perfect footwear for reducing lower back pain!
When you turn over the soles of these boots, they look extremely ‘grippy.’ They’re slip-resistant enough to meet worksite safety standard ASTM F1677-2005. They also meet the ASTM F2892-11 EH standard, meaning they protect you from electrical hazards.
The leather upper is industrial grade, meaning it’s water and spill-resistant. It’s nice and thick, meaning it continues to provide ankle support for years. It also offers some ankle protection on account of its thickness. It’s harder to bruise or injure an ankle that’s protected by a leather “foot glove” this tough. The leather is easy to clean; most things just wipe off. This classic boot is an excellent option for anyone who needs good ankle support.
- Ankle stabilizing
- Fatigue reducing
- Protects inflamed ankle tissue from pain and discomfort
Best Work Boots for Women
Crazy horse leather is a kind of waxed leather. It was used extensively in the saddle-making industry, hence the name. It’s durable and tough, but soft when broken in. We are big fans of the material – and of the Doc Martens that use it. Moreover, the leather upper can be re-soled. This way, you can extend the shoe’s life by years. Depending on the sole you use, you may even find the shoe more comfortable than when you first bought it.
The leather also means that the ankle is well stabilized when laced up. It’s capital-T Tough, and since it’s based on the original 1460 – an ankle support boot – it does a good job keeping the joint in place. You can always lace it up tighter if you want more ankle stability. The eyelets go all the way around the tongue, covering most of it. This means the boot fits like a glove – even without much padding on the inside. It also has a snug heel section, which locks the heel and ankle firmly in place.
Like most Doc Martens, this model has soft ‘bouncy’ soles ideal for any kind of foot pain. They offer excellent shock absorption when walking. This prevents the arch from getting fatigued and putting extra stress on the ankle. This is good news if you have ankle pain because of an injury. The outsoles have excellent slip and abrasion resistance. They also have an extra wide base which makes slipping or rolling an ankle unlikely.
We recommend these boots for casual wear and work. As the leather gets older, every scratch, nick and scuff starts to tell a story. Our editor owns a pair of these and has been getting them resoled for 4 years so far.
- Can be resoled
- Ankle stabilizing
- Fatigue reducing
Best Shoes for Ankle Support When Walking (Men)
Danner FullBore is the perfect walking shoe for ankle instability. The eyelets go all the way up, with a separate pair of at the very top. This makes the ankle extremely stable. At the same time, the distance between the top three eyelets means the ankle can move with some freedom. This is exactly what you need for walking. The top part of the shoe acts like an athletic ankle brace, stabilizing without restricting.
The SPE midsole is made by Vibram: a leader in ergonomic, functional footwear. It supports the arch and helps the foot cushion and align as you walk. This reduces ankle strain and helps prevent ankle instability. The footbed is Ortholite, with plenty of heel cushioning and a nice, deep heel cup. Combined with the ergonomically designed ankle collar, this really locks the ankle in for maximum support and stability. It is all but impossible to roll your foot in this shoe.
When you turn these boots over, the first thing you’ll notice is the aggressive lug pattern. Deep diamond-shaped lugs are one thing but note the extra depth around the heel area. This unique tread pattern gives the Danners excellent grip, even on mud and sand. The material used is called “Megagrip rubber”. It gives excellent traction on wet and dry surfaces across various terrain. If you’re worried after slipping while recovering from ankle surgery or a serious injury, this is the shoe to get.
The upper is a suede and textile mix. Our testers commented on the premium feel of the material. It feels soft but durable, reminiscent of premium fashion sneakers. Store staff report that both materials are spill-proof and easy-to-clean. The textile stretches easily, hugging the foot comfortably and providing extra padding. The combination of mesh and multiple leather sections keep the foot flexible and functional for walking. The mesh is breathable, which means your feet don’t get hot and sweaty. At the same time, the upper is water-resistant. You can wear this during light rain and snowfall without feeling any discomfort.
If you need a hiking boot with ankle support, you will have a hard time doing better than these boots from Danner. The price point is relatively high, like I said previously – but this is still excellent value-for-money.
- Good arch support
- Prevents ankle instability
- Good traction
- High price point
Best Shoes for Ankle Support When Walking (Women)
This is Danner’s flagship hiking boot, and they’re deservedly proud of it. According to our testers, the high eylets and deep heel cup made their ankles feel very secure. The heel stability is comparable to that of a running shoe with a heel counter. It keeps the heel and ankle well in place. The upper is carbon-washed textile, which is both breathable and tough. It hugs the foot well. The eyelets aren’t as much to the front as we’d like, but the cushioned tongue makes up for this. All in all, the shoe is snug around the ankle on all sides. As an extra feature, Danner employs a TPU heel frame to increase stability and support for the ankle. As with the previous Danner model, you’ll find it hard to roll your ankle in these.
These boots have a Vibram Fuga outsole with Megagrip rubber. It offers superior grip on wet and dry surfaces alike. The tread patterns are deep, with multidirectional grooves. It can handle literally any walking surface you might run into. It also has multiple grooves, making the sole as flexible as it is tough. It’s bouncy too, protecting inflamed ankles from discomfort and pain.
The midsole is Vibram SPE, which combines shock absorption with flexibility. It provides some arch support and does a good job of normalizing your gait. The removable and machine washable footbed comes from OrthoLite. OrthoLite footbeds are incredibly comfortable and durable. We like them a lot. They’re also easy to replace because they’re so readily available. If you need extra arch support to support your ankle, you can do that with a custom orthotic.
The liner is air-mesh; they are not waterproof. If you want the waterproof version of this boot, we suggest looking into Mountain 600 range.
- Heel stabilizing
- Good traction
- Protects inflamed ankles from discomfort and pain
- Normalizes gait
- Not waterproof
Best Running Shoes for Ankle Support and Weak Ankles (Women)
ASICS Women's Gel-Kayano 26
Why this product?
The Dynamic DuoMax support system is molded into the midsole of this shoe, elevating the arch ergonomically. The result is that the feet are brought into a healthy posture, increasing ankle support and stability.
The Gel Kayano 26 is a low running shoe with the kind of ankle support you see in a mid. The main reason is the high heel section and the two high eylets.
When laced up, these hug the ankle tightly and keep it in its natural position. At the same time, the rest of the heel section has a low profile. This means that you get ankle support and freedom of motion. The ankle never feels constrained or restricted in this shoe; just pleasantly supported. Put differently, the shoe allows for plantar flexion and dorsiflexion. At the same time, it stabilizes the ankle and stops the foot from rolling inwards and outwards. This is exactly what we want in a running shoe.
Extra ankle support is provided by the shoe’s insole and midsole. When you have flat or elevated feet, the foot can’t move or cushion against impact freely. This destabilizes and overloads the ankle. This can lead to poor running gait, ankle pain and injury. The Kayano 26 addresses this problem with strong arch support. The midsole features a rigid arc frame that supports the medial foot arch. The Dynamic DuoMax support system is molded into the midsole, elevating the arch ergonomically.
The result is that the feet are brought into a healthy posture, increasing ankle support and stability. The shoe’s midsole and outsole also feature Impact Guidance System (IGS) technology. This guides the foot through it’s natural gait, from heel strike to toe off. It stabilizes the foot, reducing ankle torque and preventing rolled ankles.
Outside of ankle support, this is an excellent running shoe. The FlyteFoam layer features best-in-class cushioned foam. It’s soft but firm, doing a good job of reducing striking impact. The back of the shoe features an excellent gel insert. This, too, is best-in-class. The shoe has a rocker sole that lets the foot roll through the midfoot-to-toe part of the gait cycle easily. The upper mesh is breathable, with tough, easy-to-clean overlays in the heel and toe box sections. The toe box is nice and roomy with lots of wiggle room.
Note that the Gel Kayano 27s don’t have the same kind of high heel section. They offer less ankle support than the 26s. While they’re an excellent running shoe, they do not have the same kind of ankle support ankle support shoe. Look for the 26s. If you can’t get the 26s, get the 25s – but not the 24s. Another word of advice: remember this is not a trail runner.
Don’t use it for deep mud and rocky, unstable surfaces. Our advice is to ignore surfaces like these altogether if you have a weak ankle or ankle instability.
- Allows for plantar and dorsiflexion
- Good arch support
- Reduces striking impact
- Not suitable for trail running
Best Running Shoes for Ankle Support and Weak Ankles (Man)
This is our top men’s running shoe for ankle stability. Many other reviewers recommend the Brooks Adrenaline GTS; we don’t know why. Our testers consistently reported that the Adrenaline GTS doesn’t have good ankle support. The Ravenna 11 does a much better job of supporting the joint. It has a high ankle section ahd two eyelets at the top of the vamp section.
Once laced up, these secure the ankle in place without affecting foot dorsiflexion and flexion. In layman’s terms, this means your foot and ankle have all the mobility they need to run… But that the ankle has strong lateral stability. With these on, your feet don’t roll inwards or outwards; the ankle itself is brought into alignment. It helps that the shoe has an extra-wide base, especially around the heel. This gives you even more stability in the back of the foot.
Meanwhile, the rocker sole up front means the foot rolls from ankle to toe-off easily. This reduces striking impact and torque, giving the ankle a little extra stability. The Brooks helps support the ankle in another way: through foot support. When our foot arch is collapsed or high, the ankle has to work extra hard. This can lead to instability, sprains and other foot injuries. It can also affect your strike, e.g. by giving you an unnaturally hard heel strike.
The Ravenna 11 has a firm, supportive midsole that supports the arch as you run. It also has one of the best insoles we’ve seen in any running shoe. It’s flexible and supportive. Between the midsole and insole, the foot is always in its natural posture with the Ravennas. This reduces the load the ankle has to bear, helping support that joint.
The cushioning on these isn’t quite like anything we’ve tested before. It’s not as springy as other popular running models… But it’s somehow lightweight, flexible and well-cushioned. We can’t tell if that’s because of the foam itself or the construction of the midsole. Either way, the foot is well-cushioned. Surprising when you consider how much support the midsole gives the arch. There’s a lot of rebound with this shoe.
The upper is flexible, lightweight and breathable. The toe box is wide and has plenty of wiggle room. The ankle collar is relatively wide for even more breathability. We’ll be honest; the engineered mesh isn’t quite as soft as the one on the Adrenaline GTS 21s. At the same time, it’s a little more supportive. This is what we want here, so it’s a trade-off we’re fine with.
- Strong lateral ankle stability
- Reduces striking impact and torque
- Good arch support
Best Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support (Women)
These funky-looking Under Armour pair of high-tops features a hard overlay in the heel section. According to our tester, this acts like a pair of “clamps”. When laced up, it applies light pressure to the ankle joint, keeping it in place – even during vigorous activity. Since it’s hard, it makes it extremely difficult to roll an ankle. It also reduces heel slippage. You’d think it feels hard on the ankle – but the shoe has enough padding to cushion the foot.
The upper is molded textile, perforated for breathability. The rubber outsole has plenty of cushioning. This is further enhanced by the EVA sock liner. The latter is very soft underfoot. This shoe makes running, jumping and lateral movements soft on the feet. Our tester really liked the rocker soles. Apparently, these rock front to back and side to side. This protects the knee and ankle during lateral movements. It makes a knee sprain a lot less likely by letting the foot and ankle move more freely than usual.
We like the mesh tongue; it’s very comfortable against the upper foot. The webbed lacing system makes for a very snug fit. All in all, this feels like a much improved version of the Adidas Pro Vision streetball shoe. It’s a little too athletic to pass for a casual sneaker… But if you want a quality sports shoe, this is a good choice. The rubber outsole has a tread pattern that can handle indoor and outdoor surfaces.
- Good cushioning
- Knee and ankle protection during lateral movements
Best Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support (Men)
Basketball is not easy on the ankles. It features lots of lateral movement which can stress the joint. Moreover, many of the injuries common in basketball – ankle sprains, ACL injures, MCL injuries – are connected to ankle mobility and stability.
Fortunately, these Jordans do a great job of supporting and cushioning the foot and ankle. You might assume that, being low for a high-top shoe, they don’t stabilize the ankle. You’d be wrong. First, the ankle collar overlay connects to the heel section. When you lace up in these, your ankle and heel are locked in place inside the shoe.
Second, note the premium eyestays keeping your foot locked in place. When laced up, these sit close to the shoe’s tongue for a tight, snug fit. The result is that you get a very stable, very secure ankle fit without sacrificing mobility.
Another big selling point with these shoes is the Max Air unit in the heel. You’re literally walking on air; it doesn’t get much softer than that. Whether you’re jumping or running, your heel will be cushioned and protected in these.
By the way… These basketball shoes were designed by Spike Lee’s son and make style references to four classic Air Jordans. We’re not going to tell you which ones; that would ruin the fun. See if you can spot them.
- Good cushioning
- Heel protecting
- Ankle stabilizing
Buyer's Guide: Best Shoes for Ankle Support
When most people think “ankle support”, they just think “tight ankle collar”. There’s a lot of sense in that. A high top shoe that acts like a soft ankle brace, keeping the joint in place, is key. But foot and arch support are just as important. Why?
As a doctor, I can tell you that flat feet and high arches lead to weak ankles. The same goes for excessive pronation and supination. So we’re not just looking for ankle support. We need features that correct our foot posture and placement too.
Here are the top features to look for.
Mid or High-top Height
The higher the shoe extends relative to your ankle joint, the more ankle support it can provide when laced up. That’s why every basketball shoe you see in-store is a high-top; sometimes a low-top. This is especially important if you have a weak ankle that’s unstable to begin with.
Look for shoes that surround the ankle and function as ankle supports. Make sure the ankle feels stable on flat surfaces – when sitting, walking – and when flexed (1). Also, look for high eyelets and heel sections – especially in lower shoes. These can give the same effect, even in a lower shoe.
A Snug, Padded Collar
A supportive ankle collar will have two key features. First, a secure fit around the ankle. This can be be a strong pair of straps, eyelets positioned towards the front of the ankle, or a zipper. Eyelets that are more to the sides than the front are okay but less than optimal.
Second, we want comfortable but firm padding around the ankle collar. This padding will fill up the space between ankle and shoe, guaranteeing a perfect fit. It’ll also cushion the ankle, letting you lace up tight without chafing or hurting yourself.
Foot problems are a major reason for ankle instability. For example, a foot with a high or collapsed arch is likely to roll inwards or outwards. This can lead to rolled ankles, a lateral ankle sprain, and chronically weak ankles. The same is true for excessive pronation and supination.
In other words, your ankle problem isn’t just an ankle problem. It’s also a foot problem. That’s why we need to look for shoes that support the arch, improve foot placement and improve foot posture.
With good arch support, the feet will distribute your weight evenly. They’ll align your foot in the direction of your knee, reducing knee and ankle instability. If your ankle is generally healthy, even a low-top shoe with arch support can improve stability.
A Flexible Sole
Flexible soles let your feet to bend and flex naturally. This helps the feet work properly, absorbing impact and providing stability. This directly contributes to ankle stability and injury prevention.
A rigid sole, on the other hand, will reduce your foot’s range of motion. This will destabilize the ankle, making it move more to compensate. It’ll also increase your striking impact, sending more of it into the ankle.
Traction stops your feet from rolling outwards and inwards, especially as you move. This stops the ankle from moving excessively. Look for high-grip natural rubber and sole patterns with grooves and indentations.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of synthetic soles for ankle instability. They tend to have significantly less grip than their rubber counterparts. If you’re often around wet surfaces, look for slip-proof models.
You might be surprised to see cushioning on this list. Don’t be. An unstable ankle can cause achilles tendonitis (2), plantar fasciitis (3), and other inflammatory conditions. Even a mild case of these can make moving and walking painful.
That’s why we want good cushioning. Shoes designed to help with heel pain are usually a good choice. The heel is directly above the ankle, and protecting it will help the ankle as well. Look for shoes that have a springy rubber sole, gel or air cells, and quality insoles with a heel pad.
Shoe durability is always important – but especially important if you need ankle stabilization. An ankle collar and shoe upper that wear and stretch quickly won’t support the joint long. Tough leather, durable mesh and quality synthetics will all get the job done. Always monitor your shoe’s integrity and replace it promptly to avoid injury, instability and pain (5).
- Ottaviani, R. A., Ashton-Miller, J. A., Kothari, S. U. &Wojtys, E. M. Basketball Shoe Height and the Maximal Muscular Resistance to Applied Ankle Inversion and Eversion Moments. Am. J. Sports Med.23, 418-423 (1995).
- Morrison, W. Achilles Tendonitis. (2019). Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/achilles-tendinitis.
- Orchard, J. Plantar fasciitis. BMJ Br. Med. J.345, e6603 (2012).
- MacLellan, G. E. & Vyvyan, B. Management of pain beneath the heel and Achilles tendonitis with visco-elastic heel inserts. Br. J. Sports Med.15, 117-121 (1981).
- DC, R. Sports injury assessment and rehabilitation.Clinical Rehabilitation7, (Churchill Livingstone, 1992).