An ankle sprain is a common injury that’s not only painful but also one that can keep you from engaging in your favorite activity for a lengthy period.
They’re also, in many cases, avoidable, and wearing the right footwear can help.
Finding the best shoes for ankle support is essential not just for people with weak ankles but for anyone, and a top quality shoe such as the Saucony Integrity ST2 can prevent a lot of pain and time spent on the sidelines.
In this article, we’ll review the 11 best shoes for ankle support, as well as things to keep in mind when buying shoes for ankle support.
We’ll also discuss the types of shoes that provide the best/worst ankle support.
Let’s begin with some buying tips:
Before You Buy: 6 Things to Consider When Purchasing Shoes For Ankle Support
What qualifies as good ankle support varies for every individual. Shoes that are suitable for your feet and ankles may not provide the necessary support for someone else. There are, however, common things you should look for when buying shoes for ankle support – things on which you should never compromise.
If there’s a cardinal sin in purchasing shoes, it’s sacrificing fit for something else, such as appearance. Don’t do it. Also, how a shoe fits often varies from brand to brand. The bottom line: wearing a wrong-sized shoe often becomes a literal pain and can lead to a variety of foot, ankle, and leg issues if you wear it for too long.
If possible, have your feet measured by a professional, such as at a shoe store. Also, remember that your two feet aren’t necessarily the same time.
Don’t settle for shoes that lack the proper arch and heel support needed to prevent ankle and foot problems. If you’re more prone to ankle issues, such as ankle sprains, you may want to consider buying shoes with thicker, narrower soles, although that’s not the case for everyone.
Avoid buying shoes that are too stiff or don’t bend with the natural movement of your feet. The toe area should have plenty of flexibility but with light resistance. A shoe that offers good ankle support generally bends easily under the ball of your foot. The outsole also should be flexible, but considering buying another pair of shoes if they offer very little or no resistance.
Shoes – athletic or otherwise – consist of a variety of materials. If nothing else, the material must be durable while also providing the right amount of flexibility. In general, shoes made from premium leather offer a high level of ankle support and flexibility.
5. The Upper
It’s similarly important to find a shoe in which its upper construction helps support the ankle area and prevents ankle “rolls,” a common cause of ankle sprains. High-quality uppers usually consist of soft, breathable, and flexible materials that allow for natural movement while helping to keep the foot cool and dry.
The quality of a shoe’s midsole is crucial to what kind of ankle support it provides. The midsole should be shock-absorbing, supportive for both feet and arches, and conform to the shape of your feet. Most midsoles today consist of foam, leather, gel, and cork.
Let’s take a look at our choices for the best shoes for ankle support.
The 11 Best Shoes for Ankle Support For Men & Women 2019
With over 2,000 reviews on Amazon – the vast majority of which are positive – Saucony must be doing something right with its ProGrid Integrity ST2 Walking Shoe.
Well, it is doing something right – namely, putting a lot of research, innovation, and development into what’s one of the more popular walking shoes available. The Integrity ST2 offers all the support you need, whether walking or running, and belongs on any list of the best shoes for weak ankles.
It’s also a good shoe for anyone who suffers from other foot issues, such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and overly-high arches. You can add orthotics to the insole without disturbing the overall fit, and the fit is one area which Integrity ST2 wearers particularly laud.
We like, and laud, plenty of other ST2 features, including:
- A forefoot stretch zone that adds comfort and provides a more forgiving fit in that area of the shoe.
- Saucony’s ProGrid cushioning is lightweight and extremely comfortable.
- You have a nice choice of width options that help you get an ideal fit.
- A padded collar and tongue.
- Durable XT-material in the high-wear portions of the outsole.
- The outsole is non-marking.
- The heel support is second-to-none.
- Durable XT-material in the high-wear portions of the outsole.
- The outsole is non-marking.
- The heel support is second-to-none.
What’s also nice is the price. The Saucony ProGrid Integrity ST2 won’t break your budget, which is great news for you or anyone looking for a shoe that doesn’t compromise a thing when regarding comfort and stability.
- Very forgiving fit
- Durable outsole material
- Excellent ankle and heel support
- Some wearers say the shoe could have better ventilation
The Saucony Women’s ProGrid Integrity ST2 is the shoe of choice for many women for a lot of reasons. You’ll get all the comfort, cushioning, and support you need, all in one shoe.
Think of the movement of the wave and how the energy is concentrated on impact but then spreads out evenly as it recedes into the water.
The same imagery applies when describing some of the many great features about Mizuno’s Wave Inspire 13 running shoes, which disperse the impact of each foot strike while spreading it outward, so the shock is much less jarring.
The Wave Inspire 13 represents the latest update in a popular line of running shoes. While it has some new features, it retains most of what went into making the shoe so good in the first place.
The new model is heavier, for one, but the slight increase in weight comes from more ample construction that provides additional support – including ankle support.
The sole of the Wave Inspire 13 is a lot like the sole of the Inspire 12, but that’s a good thing. It incorporates Mizuno’s u4icx technology, which is lightweight and helps to provide a comfortable ride with every step.
Among the new things on the Wave Inspire 13 is its textile and synthetic rubber that bolsters the shoe’s breathability and flexibility without sacrificing any performance or comfort. Some users say that Inspire 13 is roomier than previous versions.
You’ll like the sturdiness of the Inspire 13’s heel. It’s bigger than the heel on many other running shoes, but that’s also a good thing, because of the stability it provides on all sorts of terrain.
A blown-rubber outsole contributes to the smoothness of the Inspire 13 ride. Again, it’s a bit heavier than previous models, but its wave system distributes the energy of impact nicely.
- The shoe evenly disperses impact
- Increased breathability and flexibility
- Removable insole
- Improve midsole
- Takes some time to break in
Finding running shoes with ankle support isn’t always easy, but you can count on the Mizuno Wave Inspire 13 to keep your run comfortable and injury-free.
ASICS stands for a lot of things, including its iconic line of athletic shoes, and it’s hard to find fault with its reputation for innovation. Quality shoes such as the women’s Gel-Venture 6 stem, in part, from research and development at ASICS’ Research Institute of Sport Science Japan – a place where scientists, athletes, and coaches work together.
The ASICS commitment to innovation and excellence is evident in the Gel-Venture 6, which easily ranks among the best running shoes with ankle support. It’s also one of the most stable shoes in the ASICS line and offers support and traction on all kinds of terrain: pavement, unpaved trails, etc.
The Gel-Venture 6 has many other cool features, including a hard rubber sole that’s strong and durable and has all the traction that you need. Of course, it also includes ASICS’ gel cushioning system that helps lessen the shock of the runner’s foot impacting the ground while also allowing for a smooth transition into the next stride.
These shoes have a thick inner sole that provides plenty of comfort, yet they don’t feel too heavy or overly balky. The material surrounding the sole is reinforced and very durable while ensuring that you’re able to put in plenty of miles before it’s time for a new pair.
The rubber outsole includes reversed lugs that offer excellent traction on all types of terrain, as well as when you’re running uphill or downhill. It incorporates ASICS’ high-abrasion rubber placed in critical areas of the outsole for further durability.
Another feature we like is the Gel-Venture’s comfortable and cushiony sock liner, which you can remove if you need to insert an orthotic.
The Gel-Venture 6 design also consists of lightweight synthetic material that looks and feels good yet is strong enough to stand up to difficult terrain. Whether you’re running on an uneven trail or working out in a gym, the Venture 6 can handle the hard knocks.
- Rugged yet lightweight shoe
- Strong construction
- Excellent traction
- Comfortable inner sole
- Has a narrow fit
If you’re looking for a running shoe with plenty of ankle support that’s also rugged and versatile enough to use on a variety of surfaces, then the ASICS Gel-Venture 6 could be just what you need.
Under Armour designs plenty of athletic gear and active wear but may be a bit underrated regarding the quality of their basketball shoes. However, their men’s Lockdown basketball shoe earns high marks in many categories, including ankle support.
Under Armour’s Lockdown design includes added collar foam that increases the support and comfort around the ankle. As a basketball player, your shoe requirements include an extra amount of ankle support, and the Under Armour Lockdown is a sturdy, stable shoe that can handle the many different movements needed on a basketball court.
The Lockdown’s upper includes leather and lightweight synthetic overlays that offer lateral and medial support, as well as an EVA sock liner and midsole. We’ll talk a lot about EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) in our shoe reviews, and, without getting overly scientific, it’s one of the best shoe materials available, because it’s water-resistant, durable, and an excellent shock absorber.
The Lockdown also features a one-piece solid rubber sole with a herringbone traction pattern that provides exceptional control and lateral and linear movement.
While the Lockdown’s fit is snug and secure, it’s not so snug that it becomes uncomfortable during the heat and action of a game. Moreover, they look good, thanks to an excellent design from the folks at UA.
- Added collar padding for extra ankle support
- Full-length EVA sock liner
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Check sizing carefully
The UA Lockdown design has everything you need in ankle support basketball shoes. You can work on taking your game to the next level without worrying about the comfort and support of your feet.
You don’t need shoes with ankle support only when you’re running, hiking, playing basketball, or any other type of physical activity. You also need them for work, especially if you spend long hours on your feet.
The Skechers Women’s Sure Track Slip-Resistant shoe is excellent for the workplace, thanks to its rugged design and casual look that’s suitable for all types of jobs. They’re durable and dependable while providing the kind of comfort that won’t leave your feet and ankles fatigued or sore after a long day.
While the shoe has a rugged look, don’t let that fool you, because it offers a relaxed fit and the right amount of flexibility. It also features a lightweight midsole with FlexSole technology for superior shock absorption.
The Sure Track’s upper includes perforated side panels that help keep your feet cool throughout the day, while a memory foam footbed with removable insoles makes it easier to find the perfect fit.
Another major plus is that these shoes meet a variety of safety guidelines established by OSHA, including for slip resistance and electrical hazard protection. No matter what your occupation, the Skechers Sure Track keeps your feet safe, secure, and stable.
Among the many other reasons we like these shoes are their arch support and also that there isn’t a lengthy break-in period, i.e., they’re good to go right out of the box.
- Rugged, durable, comfortable
- Excellent ankle and arch support
- Heel is too narrow for some
Keeping your feet and ankles protected during the work day is vital, and the Skechers Sure Track provides all the protection you need without sacrificing comfort.
Skateboarders need plenty of ankle support, too, and the Vans Sk8-Hi Classic High Top has them covered with a design that draws many rave reviews.
Better yet, the Vans Sk8 isn’t just for skateboarders, and you can wear them practically anywhere: to school, while hanging out with friends, for playing a friendly game of pickup basketball, and more. They look good and keep your feet and ankles stable and secure.
The Sk8 has a padded ankle design that offers ample comfort and support, as well as a suede and canvas upper that’s durable and features an excellent design.
A cotton drill lining (drill is a durable, stout cotton fabric), collar padding, and a triple-stitched collar are other important features of the Sk8, while a die-cut EVA insert helps ensure all-day comfort. The shoe also has a flexible rubber sole that delivers plenty of traction and stability.
Considering all it has to offer, the Vans Sk8 comes at a very affordable price, which is another plus for a younger generation of buyers. It also comes in a vast array of color combinations.
- Supportive and padded ankle
- Cotton drill lining
- Appealing design
- Colors may fade when wet
Ankle support? Check. Comfortability? Check. The Vans Sk8-Hi checks plenty of other boxes while ranking among the best high top ankle support shoes.
As you’d expect, there are many options when choosing Nike shoes with ankle support, but we like the Nike Winflo 5 for many reasons that help it rise to the top.
While the Winflo 5 is considered the little sister to the popular Nike Pegasus, it holds its own in several categories, including its ankle support. It’s also a versatile shoe that’s great for running, obviously, but also comfortable for running errands or working out at the gym.
The Winflo 5’s cushioning may not be as thick as on some other running shoes, but it’s soft without being overly mushy, and it still has the type of responsiveness found in Nike’s highest-quality running shoes.
The Winflo 5 upper consists of a full-length mesh that’s different from the previous versions, being more lightweight and breathable. Meanwhile, a soft textile lining creates a comfortable in-foot feel that will help you glide through runs of any distance.
The padding around the ankle is comfortable and supportive enough for even the most intense runs, while the outsole enables wearers to run on a variety of surfaces without sacrificing anything regarding stability.
The Winflo 5 also has a seamless design which prevents irritation that can occur throughout a long run (or a run of any distance, for that matter).
The outsole also features a flexible waffle-pattern design that’s great for flat surfaces – as well as other surfaces – while maintaining excellent traction. Combine it with a flexible upper, as is the case with the Winflo 5, and you’ll have a sturdy yet cushioned ride.
We already mentioned the Winflo 5’s versatility, but it’s worth repeating: it’s a great shoe for the gym, whether you’re running on a treadmill, on other machines, or taking part in a fitness class.
- Improved breathability from previous Winflo versions
- Lightweight yet supportive
- Excellent traction
- Could use more color options
The Nike Winflo 5 is a reasonably-priced shoe that produces excellent results out on the road, trail, or in the gym. It also offers plenty of support for anyone dealing with ankle weakness and other issues.
Many people who suffer from ankle pain and ankle instability also have flat feet, because flat feet can alter the alignment of the legs and force excessive pressure on the feet and lower leg.
The Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoe kills two birds with one stone, because it’s great for people with flat feet who may have weak ankles, as well as for those who suffer ankle issues for other reasons. It’s also a great shoe choice for anyone who suffers from plantar fasciitis.
The Addiction Walker has plenty of other positives, including that it’s built to handle high mileage without causing foot fatigue and comes in men’s and women’s versions. We also like it because:
- It has a full-grain leather upper that’s durable and contributes to the shoe’s overall durability.
- Brooks’ MoGo technology consists of a highly-cushioned footbed that’s sturdy and resilient without sacrificing comfort.
- Cushioning also comes from HydroFlow technology that enhances the shoe’s midsole while providing the right amount of shock absorption.
- Gel-like fluid units placed in the heel and forefoot also help bolster the Addiction Walker’s shock absorption.
- The midsole and outsole are constructed in a way that aligns the foot in its most balanced and stable position for maximum motion control and flexibility.
- You’ll like the shoe’s flexibility and control that guide you comfortably through your heel strike and your toe liftoff in every stride.
- The Addiction Walker is not only great for walking but also offers excellent comfort if you spend a lot of time standing. For people with flat feet, those who may be a bit overweight, and those who suffer from overpronation, long hours spent standing can become very unpleasant by the end of the day.
We also like the Addiction Walker’s roomy toe box, which allows your toes to spread out naturally without feeling crimped.
- Excellent for people with weak ankles and/or flat feet
- Great midsole cushioning
- Durable design
- A bit heavier than some may like
If you do a lot of walking for exercise or otherwise, the Brooks Addiction Walker is an excellent shoe option for you. You put in the miles and hours on your feet, and it will provide the comfort and stability you need.
New Balance continues to upgrade its popular 1080 version, and the latest incarnation includes a few updates that runners and walkers will appreciate.
For starters, there’s an entirely new mesh upper that makes for a better fit in the midfoot. The outsole has redesigned flex grooves, while the overall design of the shoe is made to produce a smoother, softer run.
The v7 shoe also has a one-piece Fresh Foam midsole (the outsole consists of blown rubber) that’s thick, while a wide base helps bolster the shoe’s support. The midsole is said to have more Fresh Foam (New Balance’s unique cushioning material) than ever, which makes for a more comfortable ride for runners.
The outsole’s flex grooves, placed in parts of the midsole, allow the shoe to flex more than in the previous versions and then combine with the shoe’s upward taper in the forefoot to make for a more stable run, as well.
The redesigned mesh upper allows for plenty of breathability and is durable enough to get your through hundreds of miles, whether on the road or the trail. Additional comfort comes from a plush tongue that has a piece of fabric on each side that attaches it to the upper.
All in all, it’s a comfortable, secure fit that hugs the midfoot nicely while also providing plenty of room in the toe.
- Even more cushioning than on previous versions
- Breathable mesh upper
- Stable, secure outsole
- Sizing may run large
The 1080v7 represents another step forward in a popular line of New Balance shoes. They’re sturdy enough to support your ankles but lightweight enough to make every run feel comfortable.
Hikers understand the importance of footwear that can handle all kinds of terrain. They also need a hiking shoe or boot with plenty of ankle support, and the Keen Men’s Targhee II hiking delivers in that category, plus many others.
Let’s start with the ankle support: the Targhee II features a thick, padded collar with a torsion stability ESS shank. The latter offers rigid-but-lightweight support in the midfoot, as well, which lessens the fatigue of many hours and miles spent on the trail or hiking through the concrete jungle.
Hikers also understand that not every surface they step on is dry, but the Targhee II has them covered with a waterproof upper. The nubuck leather upper offers excellent breathability, as well, and you’ll appreciate how your feet remain dry and comfortable, even in the heat of a day.
Another reason we include the Targhee II on our best shoes for ankle support reviews is that they maintain an excellent balance between weight and durability. They’re lightweight enough that you won’t lose anything regarding agility but durable enough to handle the toughest terrain.
The Targhee II follows the model of Keen’s popular sandals when it comes to comfort but adds a beefier sole and the extended upper of a hiking boot. Hiking boots need a reliable, thicker sole that provides traction even if you’re trekking in the rain and along a slippery path.
The rubber sole on the Targhee II wraps over the toe, as well, which helps prevent the pain and impact of stubbing your toe.
Another nice feature of the Targhee II is that it offers plenty of arch support, while the metatomical insole flexes naturally with the contours of the wearer’s foot.
The Targhee II’s insole is removable, so you can air out your shoes properly while even washing them if needed.
Keep in mind that Keen doesn’t define the “outdoors” as simply being wooded trails and the backcountry but any place without four walls and a ceiling. That’s why the Targhee II hiker is a comfortable fit for city exploring, walks in the neighborhood or nearby parks, and many other places.
That said, no matter where your next adventure takes you, the Targhee II will provide a comfortable, stable ride.
- Rubber sole plenty of stability and traction
- Lightweight but sturdy design
- Heel isn’t as snug as some wearers prefer
The Keen Targhee II is a hiking boot that fits a much broader job description, but no matter how you use it, you can count on superior support and comfort.
Plenty of women extol the virtues of the New Balance WX608v4 training shoes; just check out the thousands of reviews on Amazon.
New Balance clearly must be doing something right with this popular model of ankle support sneakers, and you can boil it down to a few essential elements, including their versatility. The WX608v4 is good for walking, cross-training, and for running everyday errands when you don’t feel like changing into other shoes.
It has a lot else going for it, too, including shock-absorbing Abzorb technology that lessens the force of impact while dispersing it evenly, which your feet, ankles, and legs will love. The midsole features softer density foam than on previous WX608 versions, which adds additional cushioning.
While the WX608v4 offers excellent ankle support, it also helps stabilize the entire foot. The additional foam makes for excellent cushioning while still providing a firm, stable platform. Moreover, the leather uppers and synthetic overlays are rugged, durable, and help keep your feet comfortable at all times.
You’ll also like that New Balance offers the WX608v4 in a variety of colors, making it easier to match your style and clothing.
- Shock-absorbing technology
- Check width carefully
It’s hard to go wrong with a cross-training shoe like the New Balance WX608v4. It’s versatile, sturdy, and serves you well for a variety of activities.
What Types of Shoes Offer the Best Ankle Support?
Twist your ankle, roll your ankle, make a wrong step coming down the stairs – you know the drill. The next thing you know, you’re laid up with an ankle injury, such as a sprain, and some people are more prone to ankle injuries than others, although no one is immune to them.
If finding a shoe that provides the right amount of ankle support is important to you – and we think it should be – keep in mind that certain types of shoes are more robust than others regarding that support.
Let’s start by discussing what shoes aren’t good for ankle support, including:
Wearing high heels means your weight is supported primarily by the front of your foot, which can cause foot and ankle pain. High heels also may cram your toes together and lead to bunions, corns, and other foot issues that can lead to ankle problems.
Low-heeled shoes are better than high heels for avoiding ankle problems – to a certain degree. Like high heels, they can lead to toe cramming and instability. It’s best to wear them occasionally, not constantly.
On the other hand, flip flops and other flat shoes aren’t good for your feet, because they don’t provide support. In turn, that can lead to multiple foot and ankle issues. Thong-style flip flops put excess strain on your toes, because they’re the only thing keeping the shoe on. We get it, it’s hard to beat the comfort of flip flops at the beach or when hanging out in the summer, but try to not wear them for extended periods.
It depends on the sandals, but some are as bad for your feet as flip flops and should be avoided, at least for long-term wear. Many of them have a flat bottom and have only a few thin straps holding them on your feet. The more straps the better, plus there are quite a few sandals available that help protect your feet.
Foot Gloves/Minimalist Shoes
If you have ankle problems, it’s best to avoid “foot gloves” and minimalist shoes. It’s not unlike going barefoot when it comes to support and shock absorbency.
You also should avoid shoes that feel too stiff at the beginning but which you think will break-in over time. Shoes should fit comfortably from the start, regardless of whether they’re “break in” more as time goes on. If not, you may end up disappointed with your purchase.
On to the types of shoes you should wear if you have weak ankles and ankle problems:
We’re not talking about wearing athletic shoes for every occasion, but if you play sports it’s essential to find a shoe that’s sport specific. For example, a pair of basketball shoes probably isn’t your best choice for playing soccer. Most athletic shoes help maximize support and minimize pain.
The High Top/Low Top Debate
One common line of reasoning says that shoes with high tops are better than low tops regarding ankle support. It only stands to reason, you would at least think, because of the snug ankle protection a high top provides. While some studies suggest that the foot inverts less when wearing high tops – which helps prevent ankle sprains – some say that high tops don’t necessarily prevent excessive inversion that may lead to sprains.
Nonetheless, it’s probably a good idea to wear high tops while playing sports that come with a greater ankle sprain risk, but there are other ways to get ankle support, such as taping the ankles or using ankle braces and other support.
Choosing the right running shoe for ankle support often comes down to understanding your foot’s pronation – the natural side-to-side movement of your foot when you run or walk. One way to determine your pronation style is by studying the wear patterns on the bottom of your shoes. A shoe on which there’s more wear on the inside of the foot indicates overpronation, while wear on the outside suggests underpronation.
We’ve talked about various other types of shoes – from more formal to business casual and hiking boots in our reviews – and most people wear the shoes that best suit their activity. Whatever type that is, check the space between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe and make sure that the heel counter grips your heel snugly. Also, always walk around in your shoes to check the fit if buying them from a store.
Why We Chose These Shoes For Our Review
Our criteria for choosing the 11 best shoes for ankle support was similar to our list of things to consider when buying shoes: fit, comfort, style (we recommend high tops for basketball), as well as advanced features that help provide additional support.
Comfort and fit are everything if you’re planning to get a lot of use from a shoe, but you can find shoes that accomplish both while also getting a shoe that supports your ankles properly.
It’s important when buying shoes for ankle support to choose carefully. There are plenty of options available, but your needs regarding style and type of shoe may vary from someone else’s. Ankle issues are nothing to take lightly, and the shoes you choose should keep you active and on your feet – and not on the couch or sidelines as you nurse an ankle injury.
Do you suffer from ankle problems? If so, what kind and brand of shoes do you wear? We’d love to hear from you.