If you’re a basketball player, you know the importance of ankle support. That’s why it’s important to do whatever you can to avoid injuries–and it all starts with buying the right basketball sneakers with the best ankle protection. I believe that whether you’re a guard or a big man, ankle support is the most important thing to consider in a shoe.
Unlike a few years ago, the height of the shoe no longer directly affects the protection of your ankles. Steph Curry, one of the quickest guards in the NBA, wears “high top” basketball shoes. It still comes down to player’s preference–but we’re only pointing out that just because a shoe is a “low top,” doesn’t mean as much as it used to.
Disclaimer: Shoes are the most important thing you can buy, but exercise, stretching, and warming up are the most important things you can do to stay in the game. Additionally, if you’re wearing ankle braces underneath your shoes you must strengthen your ankles on your own. The braces significantly weaken your ankles, leaving them unable to perform without the support of ankle braces.
Even with the braces on, I’ve sprained my ankle because I thought the brace would be enough. It wasn’t. I rehabbed them, waited longer than I would have liked, and now play without braces.
In this author’s opinion, the best support isn’t an ankle brace. It’s ankle tape. Although unless you’re a college or even high school player that option probably isn’t available.
So now that we’ve gotten our lecture out of the way, let’s take a look at the basketball shoes that provide the best ankle support today. This list will change after new shoes come out, but right now these kicks are as good as it gets.
Under Armour Curry 2 High Top
Explanation: In our experience, the basketball shoe that gives the most ankle support is the Under Armour Curry 2 High Top edition. Yes, Under Armour sells equally cool low tops (which should provide great protection) but you’re losing negligible speed and cutting when you opt for the high tops. And the peace of mind you’ll get from buying the High Tops puts them over the top.
OK, but why the Curry 2’s? First of all, your foot is low to the ground in these shoes, meaning that you have less distance to roll your ankle. Second, the combination of external heel counter and mid-foot design mean that your feet are locked into the shoe–eliminating the chances you have of hurting yourself. Third, Steph Curry (a superstar with a history of ankle injuries) wears these shoes. If he trusts them, you can too.
As an added bonus, these babies are light as a feather.
I’d also like to add that if you can find an affordable pair of Curry 1’s, those are also great for ankle support.
Jordan Super.Fly 4
Price: $99-$150 (depending on colorway)
Explanation: Before I recently moved to the Curry 2, I was wearing the Super.Fly 4’s. They were great. I loved them. I just happen to love the Curry’s more. What I liked about them the most was that the feeling of security my ankles had when I was wearing them. The straps within the shoes lock my feet in place, and the webbed lacing system added to the feeling.
Additionally, there’s an external TPU hell counter to stabilize your foot. For what it’s worth, the external systems on these shoes are awesome.
Nike Zoom Lebron Soldier IX
Explanation: Full disclaimer, I don’t own a pair of these and I’ve never worn them, but a couple of my friends swear by them.
That being said, these sneakers are pretty much made to strap your foot into the shoe–removing any chance that loose laces will cause a turned ankle. The straps actually offer a 360° support system.
Tack on the flywire technology and a wide outsole to prevent accidental rolls, and you’re looking pretty secure.
Nike Hyperdunk 2015
The Nike Hyperdunk line of basketball shoes have been a staple shoe in leagues everywhere–from high school to the NBA. Obviously this year’s shoes look a little different than some of the previous models, but just because they look slick doesn’t mean that they don’t hold it down.
First of all, the internal bootie within the sneaker is the first line of defense. Then the dynamic flywire within the shoe (you can see it on the outside) has got you locked in. You’ll also notice the big heel, which makes sure that your heel stays where it’s supposed to…
Nike Lebron 13 Elite
My favorite shoe of all time were the Nike Lebron X’s. The reason was because the ankle support was superb, I felt like a tank in them, and they looked good on me. Unfortunately, those kicks are impossible to find now and I’m not so much of a fan of the new aesthetic the Lebron lineup has been going in. That being said, the Lebron line still performs amazingly. And the Lebron 13 Elite’s are representative of that.
Yes, I know it looks like there’s a glaring hole (literally) right next to where your ankle is, but the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t really affect the stability of the shoe (they’re there to give you more flexibility in the material).
The XIII Elites have an upgraded midfoot and carbon fiber shank plate that help keep you in the game.