Volleyball, a very demanding and exciting sport but also, with many risks of injury, especially in the ankle. Ankle injuries are very common as they can occur at any second by a bad position of the foot, which can lead to a serious sprain, even the most experienced players can get hurt. It should thus come as no surprise that the ankle is the body component most susceptible to injury and risk in the activity. There may be hundreds of ankle guards and braces available, but only a select number genuinely provide a player with what they want. This is why we also recommend knee pads.
With volleyball ankle braces, you won’t have to worry about these accidents.
In this post, we bring you the best volleyball ankle braces that ought to provide you with good ankle support, compression, protection and comfort so you can play a safer game. We examined a large number of types of braces, including mechanical, sock, and gel/air pocket designs, as well as their strength, comfort, primary use, and cost.
Additionally, we looked into ankle braces that would work best for various athletes before settling on precisely 10 of the top ankle braces for volleyball. These offer the ideal level of comfort, protection, compression, and support for the ankles without immobilizing them to the point where movement is restricted.
What should the best volleyball ankle pads look like?
- Materials: neoprene offers stability and flexibility at different temperatures, it is resistant to degradation, twisting or bending. And the absorbent microfiber fabric can retain and absorb large amounts of liquid while keeping the surface clean.
- Durability: you need an ankle brace that will hold up to the way you play.
- Purpose: whether it’s to prevent injury or help you recover from one.
- Volleyball position: if your position involves putting more pressure on your ankles you will need it to be durable.
- Adjustability: you need a comfortable fit while still allowing for mobility during play.
5 Best Volleyball Ankle Braces
Is it necessary for all volleyball players to wear ankle braces?
Volleyball players are very likely to suffer from ankle bursitis due to the mobility required by the game. If the ankle does not move properly or is not adequately supported, it will weaken, increasing the risk of further problems later on. To avoid or prevent any accident or injury, it is necessary to perform warm-up exercises and use ankle braces to strengthen muscles and ligaments. Ankle protection is a need if you play volleyball at least sometimes and are worried about an ankle injury. While an injury can happen to anybody on the team, players at the net are more vulnerable since they engage in more jumping, blocking, and spiking.
Also, in case of injury, wearing an ankle brace makes recovery easier because the ligaments, muscles and tendons will no longer be under stress while you recover and minimize movement. A present injury can be healed and recovered more quickly. The ligaments, muscles, and tendons won’t be placed under stress as you heal since an ankle brace is made to restrict the movements that can lead to an injury in the first place. Quicker recuperation is the effect of this. The immobility that a proper ankle brace for rehabilitation should offer will help your ankle mend because it won’t be put under as much pressure.
The answer is an unquestionable yes if you’re a player or a worried parent questioning whether ankle braces are worthwhile to get.
Types of anklets for volleyball support
When choosing an ankle brace you should always consider the type according to your needs whether they should be straps, sleeved braces, hybrids and lace supports, each will help you in a certain way.
- Sock: is the simplest design and unique to all, being easy to put on and very effective, works more for the recovery of an injury.
- Mechanical: has supports with straps with repositionable fasteners that are usually fastened around the ankle and is ideal for injury prevention, it is the best option for play.
- Gel/air Pockets: are a comfortable orthopedic model, suitable for healing by decreasing swelling and providing support and compression.
Optimal Ankle Braces for Each Volleyball Position
While it’s not crucial to differentiate by position due to the minor variations between each brace and role, I’ve compiled my suggestions for each court position.
Ankle Braces for Mid Blockers
Central blockers are the most frequent jumpers in volleyball, as they are tasked with blocking on both sides. This constant airborne movement and drifting can lead to ankle injuries. As a central blocker myself, I’ve found the Active Ankle T2s to be a solid choice over the years. While I’ve experienced some sprains even with them, the incidence has significantly decreased. For central blockers, I’d suggest at least considering the Active Ankle T2s or Ultra Zooms. If you have a tendency for ankle issues, it might be worth considering the Eclipse II or Ultra High-5s.
Ankle Braces for Wing Attackers
For side attackers, the Active Ankle T2s or the Ultra Zooms are dependable options. If you have a clean injury record, consider the Mizuno DXS2. For those with a history of ankle injuries, the Eclipse II or Ultra High-5 would be a more suitable choice.
Ankle Braces for Setters
For distributors who mostly play from the back row (in a 6-2 offense), the 329 ankle sleeve, being lightweight, is a good choice. If you play in the front row, consider the T2, Ultra Zoom, or Mizuno DXS2.
Ankle Braces for Liberos
I generally advise against defensive specialists wearing ankle braces. Most volleyball ankle injuries result from jumping, which isn’t a significant part of a defensive specialist’s role. There’s a possibility (though unconfirmed) that wearing ankle braces could weaken ankles over time, so it’s best to avoid them if possible. If you still want some support, the 329 ankle sleeve is a lightweight option.
Considerations When Selecting Volleyball Ankle Braces When shopping for ankle braces, consider these five factors to ensure you make a satisfactory choice.
- History of Ankle Injuries: Your history of ankle injuries is a crucial factor. A player with a history of numerous sprains should choose a different brace than a player with few or no previous sprains. The more sprains you’ve had, the more effective braces will be at preventing future ones. If you’ve had few or no sprains, the preventive effectiveness of braces will be minimal. Therefore, I recommend more supportive braces for those with a history of ankle injury, and lightweight braces for those without.
- Position Played: The amount of jumping you do in volleyball is another important factor. Most volleyball ankle sprains result from awkward landings after jumps. A central blocker who jumps over 100 times a match should wear different braces than a defensive specialist who doesn’t jump at all. The more you jump, the more supportive your braces should be.
- Footwear: Almost all ankle braces will work with almost all volleyball shoes. However, if you wear high tops or some mid tops, the Ultra Zoom brace may not fit comfortably due to the front foot strap. Also, the Nike Zoom HyperAce 2s may not accommodate any ankle braces due to their thick internal padding.
- Color Preference: Most ankle braces come in white or black. It’s a good idea to ask which color is preferred before buying.
- Quantity Needed: Remember that ankle braces are sold individually, not in pairs. In most cases, you’ll need two braces, so remember to order two!
Avoid lace-up ankle braces, which have been shown to reduce muscle torque and power output during athletic movements. Instead, opt for semi-rigid braces, which are less restrictive and haven’t been conclusively shown to reduce sports performance.
Lastly, prioritize ankle strengthening exercises to truly reduce the risk of ankle injuries.
A lot of athletes appear to believe that an ankle brace might weaken the ankle. Clinical studies, however, have disproved this. Ankle braces do not appear to have a detrimental impact on players’ performance on the court, according to the evidence.
Ankle braces may and should be washed. You should receive cleaning instructions with each brace you purchase. Typically, it is advised to hand wash in cold water with a light soap or laundry detergent. Soak in a mixture of water and white vinegar for 20 to 30 minutes for a more natural remedy. After that, the brace has to air dry.