There are very few ambitious basketball players who have never sprained an ankle. Whether you get your ankles broken by a vicious crossover or you land on someone else’s feet after a layup – it’s bound to happen someday.
Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of injuring your ankles by getting a pair of basketball shoes that provide a ton of ankle support. These shoes will increase the stability of your feet and protect against excessive movements of your ankles that could result in sprains or worse ankle injuries.
Warning: If you are recovering from a severe ankle injury or if you sprain your ankles easily and frequently, getting ankle support from your shoes might not be enough.
Many NBA players get their ankles taped before every game or wear ankle braces to provide additional stability. Check out this article to learn more about ankle braces and to find out which one helped save Steph Curry’s career.
The following list shows you the top 10 basketball shoes for ankle support.
The Air Jordan 36 continues the recent trend from Jordan brand and picks up right where the last two models left off. The traction is phenomenal. It performs well on both clean and dusty courts.
All reviewers agree that the cushioning used in the 36 performs amazingly, but they also agree that the Air unit protruding from the outsole is unnecessary.
The fit is snug and narrow, so if that's not your cup of tea, consider sizing up.
Materials are slimmed way down this year. They make the shoe lightweight without sacrificing much in terms of comfort and durability.
The surprisingly strong upper and the outsole materials wrapping upward towards the midsole make the support in this shoe solid.
Being the latest signature shoe in the lineup, the Air Jordan 36 delivers and is yet another high-quality performance basketball shoe.
The final release in Nike's GT series, the GT Jump, manages to find a way to make all of the tech Nike threw in it work well together.
The traction gripped all the different surfaces that reviewers tested it on while still keeping up with the cushioning.
When it comes to cushioning, if you're a fan of Nike Zoom, you're going to love these. It's bouncy, provides ample impact protection, and is very fast to play in.
Nike uses Jumpwire combined with synthetics and meshes to keep the shoe breathable without compromising performance.
Most reviewers also agree that the Jumpframe is a standout aspect of the shoe. It helps secure the foot so that the player doesn't feel unstable on top of the cushioning.
Although the wait was long, the Nike Air Zoom GT Jump delivers, and it's one of the best shoes to come out this year.
The latest entry in LeBron's signature shoe line gets off to a shaky start with reviewers mentioning that the traction performs inconsistently.
As always with the LeBron line, the cushioning is the standout performance aspect. The shoe has ample impact protection while still finding a way to feel bouncy due to the forefoot Zoom Air.
The fit can be snug. However, the materials do loosen up once broken in.
Speaking of materials, they are much improved this year. The upper feels light and is comfortable straight out of the box.
There are no issues with support and lockdown. In fact, the lateral containment is even a highlight for the LeBron 19.
Overall, the Nike LeBron 19 is a fun shoe to play in with its crazy cushion setup, improved materials, and solid support. The only downside is the traction.
Kawhi Leonard's latest signature model with New Balance is a solid step in the right direction.
The traction bites on just about any surface after an initial break-in period.
New Balance keeps the shoe feeling low to the ground and responsive with the full-length FuelCell setup. It isn't the plushest, but it helps players feel nimble.
The materials used on the upper of the shoe are lightweight, breathable, and make the shoe feel very supportive.
Working together with the materials, the heel counter and outsole tread that wraps up the shoe, keep your foot feeling secure. These features make support and lockdown a non-issue in the shoe.
Most reviewers had no issues with the fit, but they did mention that New Balance doesn't seem to offer this model in extra widths.
Overall, the New Balance Kawhi 2 is a strong performer that provides excellent traction and stability.
Jordan Brand switches up the traction to look more like the traction on the Zion 1, but the performance is still there.
The double-stacked Zoom Strobel and Zoom Air unit in the forefoot provide plenty of bounce and responsiveness. Meanwhile, the heel cushioning is Formula 23, and it feels caged.
All reviewers agree that the materials are not premium but excel in all performance aspects.
The fit is improved compared to last year's Air Jordan 36. It accommodates slightly wide feet better.
The support features are all there too. The materials work well to keep the foot contained during play.
The latest mainline Jordan, the Air Jordan 37, offers innovative performance and has plenty of features to love.
Elena Delle Donne's debut sneaker features a traction pattern reviewers said was inconsistent. It performs on clean courts but is poor whenever dust is present.
The cushioning is a full-length Air Strobel and a forefoot Zoom unit. The setup is comfortable while still providing some bounce.
Reviewers have divided opinions on the materials. Some say the materials are poor quality, and others say it's plush and comfortable.
The support and lockdown are surprisingly stable despite not having a traditional heel counter.
Overall, the Nike Air Deldon is a mixed bag performance-wise. The traction has a lot of room for improvement, but the cushioning and support perform well.
As controversial as Kyrie Irving is, his signature basketball shoe continues to be a quality performer.
The traction is what you come to expect from the Kyrie lineup. It performs well, similarly to the previous models.
For the Kyrie 8, Nike implemented a forefoot Zoom Strobel that adds a new dimension of bounce while still remaining low to the ground.
The materials used feel comfortable while providing quality performance. They're also thin and breathable.
The lacing system helps to provide a fit that won't cause issues for most people.
Reviewers also agree that the lateral containment and lockdown provided are excellent.
When it comes down to it, the Nike Kyrie 8 is an excellent shoe that caters to many different playstyles.
Reviewers agree that the grippy traction is the best part of the Li-Ning Way of Wade 9 Infinity.
The cushioning setup feels springy, but the impact protection could be better. It's great at propelling players forward.
The materials are thin and breathable, and the lacing system is well done.
None of the reviewers mentioned any glaring issues with support, which is a positive sign for a shoe that's so high off the ground.
With excellent traction, and a strong, durable outsole, the Way of Wade 9 Infinity offers the tech and performance to warrant its high price tag.
Do high-top basketball shoes prevent ankle sprains?
High Tops wrap your ankles, so they must logically provide more ankle support than comparable low-tops, right?
Not so fast! Scientific studies have analyzed the frequency of ankle sprains of players wearing high tops versus players wearing low-top basketball shoes and couldn’t find a difference. The additional collar height is not restrictive enough where it can save you from rolling your ankles. Another study showed that the fewest injuries occurred in players wearing low-top shoes and laced ankle stabilizers.
How do I find a shoe with a lot of ankle support?
If high-tops are not the solution, what else can you look for?
The lateral outrigger is the extension of the outsole on the lateral side that increases the width of the shoe and provides additional stability. By providing a wider base, the outrigger makes it mechanically much more difficult for your shoes to roll during hard cuts and crossovers. See an example of a lateral outrigger in the Crazy Explosive 2017:
Tough upper material and great lockdown
You want to look for a shoe that securely locks down your feet and prevents unnecessary side-to-side movement. Make sure that the shoes fit tightly and that the upper material is strong enough to hold your feet even on aggressive movements.