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When you have ankle pain or weakness, you can’t just wear any type of footwear. For example, running shoes — aka some of the most comfortable shoes around — don’t always fit the bill.
“High-top shoes are great for additional structure and support to prevent ankle injury,” says Dr. Dan Geller, a board certified foot and ankle surgeon and advisor for Kane Footwear. “Running shoes may not always be the best for folks with weak ankles as some can actually roll you out,” explains Dr. Geller.
What exactly causes ankle pain and weakness is complicated, since it varies from person to person. To start, Dr. Geller says that “some people have weak ankles as a byproduct of loose ligaments from birth.” He also advises that ankle sprains or injuries can lead to pain and weakness in the ankles. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, the best way to prevent ankle injury or sprains from activity is to properly warm-up before you exercise — in addition to wearing the right shoes.
If you have any ankle issues, pain or injuries, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor about what shoes are best suited to your specific concern. But in general, Dr. Geller recommends shoes with “a stable wide platform and deep heel cup to stabilize the foot and ankle better.”
Alongside supportive shoes, Dr. Geller says investing in ankle supports can be beneficial — but depending on the type you purchase and how often you wear them.
“Always wearing a brace can actually destabilize your ankle through lack of motion,” Dr. Geller says. “Custom orthotics can be a great way to better control the hindfoot and ankle motion while not restricting Sagittal plane motion. Dr. Geller notes that he make these for many top basketball players, since they tend to have experienced “multiple sprains and developed weak ligaments in the ankle over the years.”
Ultimately, though, Dr. Geller says the best way to address the problem is through strength training, balance and proprioception exercises.
From walking to hiking styles, shop the best shoes for ankle support, according to Dr. Geller and enthusiastic shoppers.
Best Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support
Dr. Geller likes high-tops, as they help “control excessive ankle laxity.” Essentially, this means the structure of the shoe gives your ankles necessary stability.
The LeBron Witness 5 is a lightweight basketball shoe with responsive cushioning and a rigid heel for support. One reviewer said, “This Lebron shoe feels great so far. I’ve actually played in them at least twice now, and they have great ankle support for cutting and slashing to the basket.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike Buy: Nike LeBron Witness 5 $100 Buy it
Best Walking Shoes with Ankle Support
Dr. Geller likes Skechers’ Go Walk series for ankle support thanks to the shoes’ lightweight, cushioned build and stable insole and outsole. Popular for walking and everyday wear, the Go Walk 6 features an Air Cooled Goga Mat insole with high-rebound technology for a bouncy, supportive feel underfoot.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Skechers Buy: Skechers Men's Go Walk 6 $80 Buy it Buy: Skechers Women's Go Walk 6 $85 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Running
To reiterate, not all running shoes will offer the ankle support you need — but Asics’ Gel Kayano 8 is an exception. While the shoe is stable, it still has some cushioning — making it one of the brand’s best running shoes to date.
Buy: Asics Men's Gel-Kayano 28 $142-$300 Buy it Buy: Asics Women's Gel-Kayano 28 $142-$300 Buy it
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Ankle Support
Orthofeet makes orthopedic shoes that provide arch support, gel cushioning and extra foam padding. These are also covered in a wool blend material, making them great for colder temps. If you do have a custom insert, you can add them to these shoes since the insoles are removable.
Buy: Orthofeet Women's Sierra Shoe $129 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Standing All Day
If you stand all day at work, these Dr. Scholl’s men’s oxfords offer great comfort and style. They come in wider widths for those that need it and supply ample arch support and cushioning. One rave review said, “This shoe really shines in term of ergonomics. It feels like I’m wearing a running shoe instead of a formal office shoe. My knees and ankles don’t hurt anymore and I’ll probably buy Dr. Scholl’s shoes as my work shoes for the rest of my life.”
Buy: Dr. Scholl’s Men’s Sync Oxford $25-$163 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Wide Feet
Vionic shoes earn the stamp of approval from both Dr. Geller and the American Podiatric Medical Association. The brand also makes plenty of shoes in wide widths, like these Shawna booties. Not only do they have anatomically-crafted cushioning, but the higher-top style gives your ankles more support and stability.
Buy: Vionic Women's Shawna Bootie $86-$246 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Trail Running
With its cushioned-yet-responsive feel and great color selection, too, Nike’s Pegasus Trail 3 is one of the best Nike running shoes. Again, many trail running shoes aren’t great for ankle support, but these are extra cushioned and supportive to help keep you stable on uneven ground. Plus, their outsoles provide solid grip, which can help prevent twisted ankles.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike Buy: Nike Men's Pegasus Trail 3 $130 Buy it Buy: Nike Women's Pegasus Trail 3 $130 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Hiking
Hikers need a lot of support, and that’s especially true when you have ankle issues. One of the best hiking boots overall and a great pick for those with weak ankles, the Lowa Renegade Gore-Tex Mid has a tall ankle cuff and stiff support. While these shoes aren’t lightweight, they’re durable and made to last.
Buy: Lowa Men's Renegade Gore-Tex Mid $239 Buy it Buy: Lowa Women's Renegade Gore-Tex Mid $239 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Tennis
Asics always delivers great cushioning and stability, no matter the sport. This style from the brand is one of the best tennis shoes you can buy, especially if you like an extra plush ride when hitting the courts.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon Buy: Asics Men's Court FF 2 $149-$299 Buy it Buy: Asics Women's Court FF 2 $98-$270 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Cross-Training
Cross-training can put a lot of strain on your feet and ankles, which is why the Under Armour Hovr Apex 3 earned a spot on our best-cross training shoes list. This style from Under Armour delivers when it comes to stability and a bouncy, cushiony feel.
Buy: Under Armour Men's Hovr Apex 3 $140 Buy it Buy: Under Armour Women's Hovr Apex 3 $108-$140 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Weightlifting
When lifting weights, you want a flat, stable shoe without a lot of cushion to keep you grounded. In this case, go for Vans’ high-tops, which are podiatrist approved for ankle support needs.
Buy: Vans Canvas SK8-High Tapered Shoes $70 Buy it
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Work
“Propét’s Walker will support ankles with its orthotic control that includes a durable, stable outsole,” Dr. Geller says. The style features a leather upper and comes in white or black — two great basic colors to carry you through a long workday and beyond.
Buy: Propét Men's Walker $32-$178 Buy it Buy: Propét Women's Walker $27-$117 Buy it
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