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Best ankle braces, supports and compression sleeves for hiking, walking, rock climbing and mountain sports - Buying Guide: 2023

66% of mountaineers, hikers and climbers have sprained their ankle at some point, which is due to the frequency of ankle injuries. This is because an acute muscle tear can deform the foot and cause instability and pain.

Discomfort in the ankle means a painful step. You can manage and avoid this injury by protecting yourself with ankle compression sleeves. We explain in detail their types, features, functions, and even the injuries mountain athletes can sustain in the field.

What is the best ankle brace for hiking injuries?

Feel Recovery - Ankle Compression Sleeve
  • Sizes: S-M-L-XL
  • Colors: Green, Pink and Grey
  • Material: Breathable
  • Nº of Products: 2 pieces
  • Uses: Rehabilitation and sport
  • Elastic Fabric
  • Double Anti-Slip Silicone
  • Ergonomic & Adjustable
  • Sport Design
  • Unisex

Feel Recovery - Ankle Compression Sleeve

Double Silicone Anti-slip

Feel Recovery - Ankle Compression Sleeve

Elastic Fabric

Feel Recovery - Ankle Compression Sleeve

Various Colors and Sizes

Bauerfeind - Adjustable Sports Ankle Brace for Sports Injury Recovery
  • Sizes: T1 to T6
  • Colours: Grey and Blue
  • Material: Breathable Material
  • No. of Products: Single
  • Type of closure: None
  • Positioning aid
  • Highly elastic fabric made of breathable material
  • Material not indicated
The ultra stretchy, breathable fabric of the Bauerfeind ankle stabiliser keeps the joint stiff, relieves pain, prevents re-injury and reduces swelling in the area. The protector is ideal for use in sports, as its compression edges are reduced at the ends, making it more comfortable to wear with footwear.

It is designed for people suffering from arthrosis and tears because it stimulates blood circulation thanks to the viscoelastic pads located on each side. The model of this muscle-stabilising bandage comes in different sizes, but be aware that it can only be used on the right foot. The lateral guides can cause discomfort when walking and, in some cases, wear out easily.

McDavid - Ankle Brace with support strap Unisex for adult size
  • Sizes: M
  • Colours: Black
  • Material: Polyester
  • No. of Products: Single
  • Type of fastening: Elastic straps, laces and velcro
  • Very lightweight design
  • Laces for a good fit
  • Elastic Achilles arch
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Bulkier
  • One size fits all
Prevention and recovery are the two features that make this ankle brace with strap for men and women stand out. It is ideal for use in high impact sports where the correct ankle posture must be maintained at all times. It can be worn inside sports shoes and over one or two compression socks to avoid skin irritation.

You should give a good tension to the laces, stretch the lower strap to fit the instep and then pull the upper band until you feel that your ankle is stiff. If you want to maintain more pressure you should stretch the loops during activity. If you do not tighten the laces properly the whole brace will be loose. Please note that you cannot apply this stabiliser if you have open wounds on your ankle, suffer from dermatitis or have blood circulation problems.

Voltactive - Ankle Support brace with 3D Technology to Support Joint Mobility
  • Sizes: S-M-L
  • Colours: Black
  • Material: Breathable Antibacterial
  • Nº of Products: Single
  • Type of closure: None
  • 3D technology with mesh fabric
  • Technogel pad for added protection
  • Suitable for sports activities
  • Highly elastic fabric made of breathable material
  • Not waterproof
  • Slightly thin material
The Voltactive right ankle brace uses 3D technology in the flat mesh fabric. This allows for proper ankle mobility, while maintaining the importance of joint support in sports activities. This protector can also be used in everyday activities due to the anatomical Technogel pad on the underside of the heel which acts as an ankle cushion.

Thanks to its unique design it is possible to relieve pain, reduce swelling and protect the ligaments in the demands placed on the tibio-tarsal joint. This model can be worn on the right leg when playing football, basketball or gardening. The elastic material is breathable, but in summer or in high temperatures it can cause superficial injuries to the skin.

FYSHOP - Compression Ankle sleeves for sprained ankles and pain
  • Sizes: One size fits all
  • Colours: Black
  • Material: Polyester
  • No. of Products: Single
  • Type of closure: Closure with elastic straps and velcro
  • Adjustable tension
  • Silicone anti-slip bars
  • Size too large
Enjoy full ankle movement in your daily activities or your favourite sports using the FYSHOP stabilising ankle brace. Thanks to this breathable protector you can keep your foot dry and firm. By simply placing your foot on the elastic band and then wrapping the ankle and sole with the adjustable strap you are ready for action. The great advantage of this system is that you always keep your tendons protected, without losing the joint opening.

You can use it on either foot and, as it is one size fits all, it is suitable for both men and women. The silicone of the anti-slip bars offers safety when walking, running or jumping, avoiding injuries or sudden displacements of the ankle. As it does not come with instructions, you must put it on carefully to avoid misuse, and the stitching finish may scratch the sole and ankle, causing skin irritation.

Hually - Adjustable Ankle Brace with Breathable & Elastic Nylon for Women and Men
  • Sizes: One size fits all
  • Colours: Black
  • Material: Neoprene
  • Nº of Products: 2
  • Type of closure: Closure with elastic and velcro straps
  • Machine washable
  • Quality Finish
  • Multifunctional Protection
  • Soft and comfortable fabric
  • Thin material
  • Low compression
Ankle instability will disappear when you wear this one-size-fits-all neoprene protector. This will improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation caused by tendonitis, bursitis, sprains or osteoarthritis. The ankle brace is ideal to be worn underneath your shoes when you do your daily activities or play ankle-demanding sports.

Its built-in stabilising strap improves the grip of either foot, making it an easy fit for both men and women. The multi-functional hook and loop protection system may cause some discomfort when wearing tight-fitting footwear. The Hually ankle brace may lose elasticity in the malleolus area over time or when worn frequently.

Bauerfeind - Unisex sports ankle brace for Sports Such as Football, Fitness and Jogging
  • Sizes: S-M-L-XL-XXL
  • Colours: 3 Options: Black, Red and Blue
  • Material: Neoprene
  • Number of Products: 1
  • Type of closure: Closure with elastic and velcro straps
  • Durable quality and easy to clean
  • Anatomically shaped for a secure fit
  • No indication of material
Bauerfeind presents its unisex ankle brace for use in fitness, yoga, climbing, football and any demanding sport. It features knitted stabilizer bars that provide protection and stability under weight loads, making it an ideal compressive garment to be worn everywhere. Not only can it be used for sports, it is also useful for post-surgery or to relieve pain from osteoarthritis or other degenerative diseases.

The adjustable strap stimulates alternating compression and achieves a better support of the ligaments. It is characterised by the fact that it is a non-slip garment and its polyamide main component makes the protector machine washable. The articulated elastic thread closure may cause discomfort in the plantar area, making the anatomical fit uncomfortable. The massaging fabric may not fit properly on some users.

SOFIT - Ankle Support Sleeve for Sports, Running, Fitness, Ankle Sprain, Achilles Pain Relief
  • Sizes: One size fits all
  • Colours: Black
  • Material: Spandex
  • No. of Products: 1
  • Type of fastening: Closure with elastic straps and velcro
  • Breathable high performance fabric
  • Seamless and durable
  • Quality finish
  • Improved ankle support
  • High ankle support
  • Not machine washable
Don't forget to take the ankle support with you so that your ankle joint is safe and secure when doing your favourite sport. The quality of the material with 3D knit technology allows you to keep your feet dry at all times, thanks to its unique moisture wicking properties. You can also use this protector to relieve pain caused by inflammation in tendons, bursae and plantar fasciitis. It is ideal for preventing sports injuries.

It contains an adjustable support to achieve the greatest possible stability and prevent the foot from slipping during use. Its antiperspirant system guarantees performance and a long life of all components, including its soft stitching. It can be worn on either foot, but please note that in some cases, adjustable socks may be required to improve compression.

Bonmedico - Elastic Compression Sleeve ankle for running and Foot Injuries
  • Sizes: M-XL
  • Colours: Grey
  • Material: Neoprene
  • No. of Products: 1
  • Type of fastening: None
  • High anatomical versatility
  • Stabilizes the joint
  • Large sizes
For sports injuries to the ankle or to relieve pain from tendonitis, tears or dislocations it is important that you protect the joint with an elastic Bonmedico stabilising ankle brace. This compressive bandage is ideal for use on either foot when you suffer from plantar fasciitis and don't want to miss a game of tennis, football or basketball.

Its ergonomic design achieves maximum grip without disrupting joint range and its external seams keep the foot and lower calf area snug at all times. Thanks to the flexible material it is made of, it can be worn under shoes in summer because it evaporates body moisture. If you choose this compression garment for intensive use, it is likely that the back seams will come apart and the ankle brace will separate.

Video: Ankle joint anatomy

Feel Recovery - Ankle Compression Sleeve

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Types of ankle braces you should know about

What are the most common ankle injuries in mountain sports?

Mountain sports put a lot of stress and strain on the ankles. When an ankle injury occurs, the soft ligaments that connect the bones of the tibia, fibula and ankle suffer a tear or even a break in the foot. Some of these conditions paralyze the athlete and force him to stop his activities for a long period of time. Here we present the most common injuries they can face while hiking.

Ankle sprain

The ankle ligament is a long, strong fibrous band that serves as a connection between bones, facilitates the natural and anatomical movement of the ankle, prevents excessive movement and serves as a stabilizing mechanism. It can also help prevent further injury.

Tendonitis

The tendons that connect the muscle to the ankle bone can be easily injured on unstable terrain, such as in the mountains. Tendonitis is an injury that can occur in any sport in mountainous areas. It can be caused by repetitive movements, muscle weakness or unbalanced terrain. It is recommended to do warm-up exercises before any activity related to these practices and take time to strengthen the muscles and ligaments.

There are 4 stages or degrees of ankle tendonitis. In the first two stages, you will feel a sharp, stabbing pain with activity. In stage 3, there is difficulty in performing any movement, and in stage 4, there is complete loss of mobility of the affected limb. In all these cases, it is advisable to perform these activities with experienced people.

Dislocation

This is a dislocation of the bones near the ankle joint, i.e. the bone moves out of its natural position. In severe cases, pieces of cartilage can detach and a number of other complications can occur. Imagine you are walking in the mountains and you have to make a jump and you fall with your foot in an awkward position, resulting in a dislocation, these are events that cannot be avoided, even the most experienced people could end up in such a situation.

Symptoms include pain, swelling, joint deformity, tingling and possibly loss of sensation and mobility of the foot. Depending on the severity of the complication, you may need to wear an ankle brace to stabilize the joint.

Fractures

A fracture can be one of two cases: the breaking of an ankle due to a sudden impact or the breaking of the bone until it penetrates the skin, with the following symptoms: severe pain, loss of sensation, inflammation of the joint, deformity, bruising, loss of mobility of the foot, and others.

This condition is common in all mountain sports. The ground conditions in these areas can vary until you reach the point where you have to jump and fall to reach the solid ground, you can fall heavily on your foot or abruptly, in one of the cases you can get a mild or moderate fracture as explained above.

Bursitis

Bursitis is a smallsac, completely filled with synovial fluid, located between the bones and the moving parts of the ankle. Its function is simple: it prevents friction and wear of the ankle joints, thus preventing further injuries.

When you go hiking, mountaineering or canyoning, walking or biking in the mountains for along time, the joints get tired and you feel stiffness, severe pain and when you least expect it , the ankle gets inflamed and bursitis develops. For these cases, there is nothing better than a compression ankle brace.

Buying guide: Tips on how to buy the best ankle brace for hiking

If you know the different injuries that you will face in any physical activity, choosing the most suitable ankle brace is not that difficult. The material that allows stability and compression, the size or the design that best suits your needs are features that will help you choose the right product.

According to their function

  • Support: Elastic ankle supports provide excellent joint support, increase mobility and compress the ankle. They are suitable for hikers or outdoor activities and minimize the risk of injury while hiking or exercising. This brace is useful for relieving pain from injured muscles and tendons and protecting against chronic overuse of the ankle.
  • Protection: in mountain sports, the risk of an ankle injury is often high. Prevention can be achieved with compression garments that protect the joint from sudden movements, jumps, falls, missteps and more by supporting and stabilizing it.
  • Pain relief: these disciplines often take a long time and are far from medical attention. With the sports ankle brace you no longer have to worry about the usual pain that can occur in mountain sports, whether due to overuse, overweight or other reasons that can be reduced thanks to the compression therapy of this garment.
  • Stabilization: As already mentioned. Sports ankle braces provide enough stability to keep the joint in position without causing incorrect movements that can lead to sprains or fractures, which is a serious case. In this way, you can practice your favorite sports without worrying about running or mountain climbing.

Material

The material is one of the most important points to check before buying a sleeve. It is an important factor to achieve the desired benefits for the ankles. They must have certain aspects to achieve the compression, stability and even comfort that are so important when running in the mountains, whatever the discipline.

The first thing to analyze is the fabric. The most commonly used and recommended fabrics are nylon and spandex. Both offer elasticity, sufficient pressure, softness, comfort, lightness and - very important - moisture transport. This last point must be taken into account, otherwise your feet may get wet, which would cause discomfort.

Type of support

Elastic compression ankle sleeve have easy-to-use closures for ease of application, allowing the hiking athlete greater freedom of movement without worrying about the garment slipping or twisting. These are the most recommended materials for optimal support.

  • Stabilizing strap: a cross strap that completely covers the instep and heel to protect the joint and minimize shocks or sprains, as well as exerting a strong compression on the ankle and preventing slippage of the garment due to lack of movement.
  • Velcro closure: a simple and secure opening system. They offer an ergonomic design and good elasticity with a precise fit that keeps the ankle firm and well supported.
  • Neoprene: A type of synthetic rubber commonly used to make ankle orthoses. It is temperature stable, lightweight and supportive, fits comfortably around the joint and prevents slippage.

Size

To determine your ankle size, you will need to measure the circumference of the ankle joint just above the instep and then use the diameter found in the chart below to determine the correct size.

Design

A very important feature for athletes who want to maintain their image or style. This garment is available in a variety of designs, so you can choose the color, shape and design that you like and still get the compression, support and stabilization effect that you expect from the product.

Since they are breathable, you can use them all day long without discomfort and climb, trek, hike or practice any other type of sport in the mountains with the shoes you like best, always ensuring the same safety and comfort. It is also worth noting that most models are made in unisex sizes, so you do not have to search long for your gender.

Price

The cost of ankle orthotics depends on the type and material they are made of. As mentioned throughout the article, you need to pay attention to the characteristics of the garment so that it can exert the therapeutic effect on the joint, depending on the needs of each person. It is not advisable to buy very cheap ankle braces, as they do not have the compression and quality required for proper use.

Are compression ankle sleeves for mountain sports really effective?

Whether you are climbing, hiking, mountaineering or any other mountain sport, compression therapy is undoubtedly the most effective injury healing technique that every athlete should know. However, ankle braces with compression technology benefit the mountain athlete by preventing accidents in this area and facilitating recovery. At the same time it provides a safe and comfortable experience.

Compression therapy improves the oxygen supply to the tissues. This is because it optimizes oxygen consumption in the body and especially in the joints or areas where there is an energy overload, which leads to an increase in performance. In case of heat loss during exercise or recovery, these ankle braces have the function of retaining heat, allowing a stable blood flow.

It is a mistake to think that just because you played sports and didn't get injured, you don't need to protect your foot. However, proper protection can minimize the negative effects on your health and provide adequate prevention.

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