If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Footwear News may receive an affiliate commission.
Whether you’re dealing with pain from arthritis or are prone to sprains, wearing the best shoes for ankle support can help provide some relief and stability. That’s because sporting ankle support shoes can help make everyday activities more comfortable and reduce your risk of injury.
But shoes with ankle support look different from your average running shoes. In fact, even some of the most comfortable shoes around won’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.
The exact causes of ankle pain and weakness varies from person to person. For example, some people have weak ankles as a byproduct of loose ligaments from birth, Dr. Geller says. That said, the most “common causes of ankle pain and weakness include chronic ankle instability from multiple ankle sprains, hypermobile feet, rigid, high-arch feet, and ankle arthritis. It can also be caused by tightness or over-lengthening of the muscles in the back of the leg,” says Dr. Alissa Kuizinas, a board-certified podiatrist who specializes in holistic and functional foot health.
Choosing the right shoes for ankle support is a key step in managing ankle-related issues and preventing them from occurring down the line. With these ankle supportive shoes, you can step out in confidence.
The Best Shoes for Ankle Support of 2023
Nike LeBron Witness 7 Basketball Shoes
Best Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support
- Size range: 3.5-18 (men); 5-18.5 (women)
- Materials: Foam and mesh tongue
- Special features: High top for ankle support and max cushioning
- Pros: Ideal for basketball and other sports with lateral movements and jumping, like volleyball. It has high tops for ankle support.
- Cons: Not great for running
Sports like basketball involve a lot of side-to-side movement, which requires you to be quick and agile on your feet. Dr. Geller recommends high-top shoes because they help “control ankle laxity.” Essentially, this means the structure of the shoe gives your ankles necessary stability. An update from the LeBron Witness 5, the LeBron Witness 7 basketball shoes are the lightest model and is still built with signature Max Air cushioning that provides support for lateral movements and helps absorb some of the force when jumping for a layup or dunk. This helps reduce stress on your ankles.
Skechers Go Walk 6 Sneakers
Best Walking Shoes with Ankle Support
- Size range: 7-13 for medium and extra-wide widths (men); 5.5-11 for medium and wide widths (women)
- Materials: Mesh upper
- Special features: Ortholite foam insole, sock-like and slip-in design, and durable dual-density traction outsoles.
- Pros: Great for walking and other everyday low-impact activities
- Cons: Slip-on version doesn’t allow you to adjust fit
Dr. Geller likes Skechers’ Go walk collection of shoes for ankle support because they have a lightweight, cushioned build and stabile insole and outsole. The Go 6 shoes feature Ortholite foam insoles and Air-Cooled Goga mat cushioning to provide comfort and help absorb ground forces at the ankles. We also like that it accommodates wide feet and provides a stable platform.
What reviewers say: “I need a wide shoe width and this shoe fits perfectly. I also have bone-on-bone ankles and this shoe provides the necessary cushion that my ankles need in order to be pain-free,” a reviewer says.
Orthofeet Women’s Francis No-Tie Shoes
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Ankle Support
- Size range: 5-12 for narrow, medium, wide, extra-wide, and xextra-wide widths
- Materials: Knit fabric and foam padding
Special features: Wide toe box, deep heel cup and cushioning, and rocker
- Pros: Provides support for people with arthritis and other foot issues, including heel pain, bunions, hammertoes, and flat feet, and comes in a variety of foot widths
- Cons: Not the most aesthetically pleasing
Orthofeet is best known for using premium insoles that provide anatomical arch support, which you can remove and replace with your own inserts. These no-tie shoes are specifically designed for those with arthritis. They are easy to slip on yet have a heel cup to help keep your ankles stable while walking. They also have a wide toe box and mild rocker to allow for natural foot abd push-off movement, which is important for keeping your ankles safe. Moreover, you can adjust the arch support based on your specific needs.
What reviewers say: “I had painful ankles and wearing them have helped reduce the pain a lot. I am ready to order a pair of boots too. I will eventually only have Orthofeet shoes.”
Dr. Scholl’s Men’s Sync Oxfords
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Standing All Day
- Size range: 8-15 for medium and wide-widths
- Materials: Faux leather
- Special features: Round toe box, low heel-toe drop, dense foam cradling the heel, and flexible soles
- Pros: Round toe box to support natural movement and a low heel-toe drop to promote stability.
- Cons: Can be difficult to clean
If you need a new pair of shoes for standing 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. It also has a round toe and soft tongue and collar to promote natural foot movement. Great for a dinner night out or a casual hang with friends, these shoes also supply good arch support.
What reviewers say: “My husband finally gave in into buying Dr. Scholl’s. He thought they were only for old people. Wrong, haha. His feet, on which he stands for over ten hours, thanked him at the end of a work day. He also brought the ones in gray. Looks very professional.”
NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro 2 Hard Court Tennis Shoes
Best Tennis Shoes for Ankle Support
- Size range: 6-15 (men) and 5-12 (women)
- Materials: Durable mesh
- Special features: Herringbone outsoles to provide lateral grip and full-length foot frame to stabilize your feet
- Pros: Great grip but also promotes movement, foot framing to stabilize your feet
- Cons: Might run a little smaller than your usual size
Anyone who plays tennis will tell you that the sport demands speed and agility. These tennis shoes for women and men fit the bill for ankle support by providing full-foot framing that stabilizes your feet during quick transitions and a grip that allows you to pump the breaks yet slide with ease. The NikeCourt Air Zoom sneakers are also equipped with a cushioned midsole so you can play set after set with some bounce in your serve.
What reviewers are saying: “Very comfortable worn loose for coaching and great support when tightened for hitting.”
No Bull High-Top Trainer
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Ankle Support
- Size range: 8-16 (men) and 5-11 (women)
- Materials: Durable, breathable, and abrasion-resistant material and a microsuede tongue
- Special features: High ankle collar and lateral and medial guards for ankle protection
- Pros: Built with abrasion-resistant material and has lateral guards for ankle protection and great traction
- Cons: Can be tedious to lace and unlace
Designed for weightlifting, these No Bull High Top Trainer shoes are lower to the ground so you can establish a deeper connection with your feet for your heavy lifts. If you have hypermobile feet, then the built-in lateral guards will come in handy when you’re transitioning quickly from one position to the next. CrossFitters will also appreciate the abrasion-resistant material that will withstand rope climbs, burpees, and much more. The other great perk: They come in a variety of bold and neutral colors that’ll make you stand out in the gym.
What reviewers say: “The high tops help keep my ankle sturdy, as I’ve had a previous injury. Plus, they’re fashionable which I love.”
Hoka Huaka Origins
Best Running Shoes for Ankle Support
- Size range: 4-14 (men) and 5-15 (women)
- Materials: Flat-knit upper
- Special features: EVA foam midsole, low heel-toe drop, and wide toe box
- Pros: Low heel-toe drop and wide toe box
- Cons: Lack of colorway variety
These Hoka road running shoes are a great option for those who need ankle support because they have a low heel-toe drop, which will naturally give you more stability with each stride. They also feature a wide toe box and a responsive foam midsole that keeps you closer to the ground yet gives you some energy boost back. Great for running outdoors or on the treadmill, these shoes provide comfort and style.
What reviewers are saying: “I was having lower back pain and sore feet, ankles, and knees when I stumbled on to Hoka shoes while on vacation in Tennessee. I now own 3 pairs of them and am never looking back. My pain was way less by the time my vacation was over and I credit that to the Hoka brand shoes because they have half the heel-to-toe drop than most shoes on the market.”
Xero Shoes Forza Trainer Sneaker
Best Cross Training Shoes for Ankle Support
- Size range: 6.5-15 (men) and 5-12 (women)
- Materials: Flat-knit upper
- Special features: Heel and in-step and midfoot straps, wide toe box, and zero drop
- Pros: Heel and in-step strap help secure your feet and provide extra lateral stability, a wide toe box promotes natural movement, and a grippy tread helps to keep your ankles safe during quick movements.
- Cons: Available only in one width and lack of color varieties
Cross trainers are usually built with lateral support, but these Forza trainers take it to the next level with two different straps. First, the heel-and-in-step straps go around your heel to provide extra security, then the midfoot straps offer lateral stability. Moreover, the zero drop and wide toe box provide more foot control and comfort.
What reviewers are saying: “I used to lift without shoes on but now I don’t have to! These have been the best change for me in the gym. Less ankle pain, being able to feel my feet on the floor while lifting heavy, and being comfortable doing cardio after. I love these!”
Lems Primal Pursuit Mid
Best Hiking Boots for Ankle Support
- Size range: 5-15 (men) and 6.5-11 (women)
- Materials: Suede upper, polyester lining, waterproof membrane
- Special features: Waterproof upper, high top, zero drop, wide toe box, durable traction
- Pros: The high-top, zero-drop design provides ankle support
- Cons: Might feel a little bulky
You’ll love hitting the trails with these strong and sturdy hiking boots. The zero-drop and high-top design helps your ankles feel stable on rugged terrain, and the recessed grooves on the outsoles provide ample grip to make you feel connected to the ground. Designed with a wide toe splay, roomy toe box, minimal cushioning, your feet will feel comfortable for hours without compromising your ground feel.
“These waterproof boots are foot shaped, provide great ankle support, and also enough cushioning to keep your feet comfortable without compromising ground feel and proprioception,” Dr. Kuizinas says.
Xero Scrambler Mid Ultra-Light Hiking Boot
Best Trail Runners for Ankle Support
- Size range: 7-15 (men) and 5-11.5 (women)
- Materials: Michelin fiber lite soles
- Special features: Zero-drop heels, breathable and flexible upper, two-layer toe cap
- Pros: Zero-drop heels and wide, round toe box offer stability, and the breathable, flexible upper promotes natural foot movement
- Cons: Might have to size up with thicker socks
Thanks to their lightweight and flexible design, you will love these minimalist Xero hiking boots, which you can also wear as trail running shoes, Dr. Kuizinas says. They have a two-layer toe cap for extra protection. The zero-drop heels and wide, round toe box also promotes better posture and awareness of where your foot is on the ground. What’s more, the Michelin fiber soles—the same material used in high-performance mountain bike tires—offer superior grip.
What reviewers are saying: Reviewers are pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and supportive these minimalist hiking boots are. “I wore them on a short hike this weekend and not only are the boots comfy with just enough padding that the sharp rocks didn’t hurt, but also the soles are really grippy. They gave me a lot of stability while being the most ridiculously light hikers I’ve worn,” a reviewer commented.
Propét Walker Shoes
Best Ankle Support Shoes for Work
- Size range: 7-17 narrow, wide, and extra-wide (men) and 5-13.5 narrow, wide, and extra-wide (women)
- Materials: Leather upper and rubber sole
- Special features: Wide toe box, stability shank, molded EVA midsole, internal heel counter
- Pros: Has a stability shank to provide control for side-to-side movements and removable footbeds so you can insert your own orthotic
- Cons: They might feel bulky and tend to run small so order a half size up.
If you have a job that requires you to commute long distances or be on your feet all day, consider these supportive kicks. “Propét’s Walker will support ankles with its orthotic control that includes a durable, stable outsole,” Dr. Geller says. Designed with a roomy toe box and a stability shank on the outsole, these shoes provide you with comfort and control. You can also replace the footbeds with your own orthotics.
What reviewers are saying: Reviewers love these shoes for their stability and comfort. Many who have worn the shoes say they are great for a variety of activities, including walking and jogging. “I wanted a good stable base for walking. I am 76 and walk 1-2 miles a day. My depth perception and balance require a well fitting and good base of support. This shoe provides a better balance,” says one reviewer.
Vionic Women’s Lani Lace-Up Boot
- Size range: 5-10 medium and wide widths (women)
- Materials: Leather or suede upper and rubber outsole
- Special features: Lace-up design and side zippers, water-repellant upper, and removable EVA footbed
- Pros: High-top design secures your ankles and the EVA footbed provides cushioning
- Cons: Runs a little small so make sure to choose the appropriate size
These sleek-looking ankle boots have a water-repellant leather upper and come with side zippers to ensure your feet stay secure. In addition, they have a lightweight rubber outsole that provides ample traction on slippery roads. Whether you want to dress up or down, these versatile boots will elevate your overall look.
What reviewers are saying: “I absolutely love these boots. I have several pairs of Vionic shoes and these are the most comfortable of all. I broke my ankle really badly about two years ago and have lived with a lot of pain and stiffness since then. I need great arch support, and it turns out, I need a lightweight shoe so my foot and ankle doesn’t get exhausted lifting up a heavy shoe with every step. Also with the laces they can have a snug, custom fit,” a reviewer says.
What Causes Ankle Pain and Weakness?
In the case of arthritis, ankle joint pain is the result of bones rubbing together when cartilage between two joints breaks down, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Although arthritis tends to be more common in older adults, frequent injuries and overuse can lead to ankle arthritis.
If you do a lot of high-impact activities or sports, such as those that involve jumping and lateral movements, you need extra ankle support. For example, people who play tennis or slip into hiking boots for a trek regularly can benefit from ankle support because there is greater movement at the ankle joint in side-to-side movement, Dr. Kuizinas says.
People with high arches are also prone to outer ankle pain and sprains because they tend to supinate, or roll toward the outside of the ankle, when they walk, Dr. Kuizinas says. They also tend to have less range of motion in the ankle, or tighter calves. A good pair of supportive walking shoes for high arches can help.
Ankle support shoes work by providing stability and comfort around the joint. Ankle support offers proprioceptive feedback to your ankle, so you have a better sense of where it is in space, says Dr. Kuizinas.
What to Look for in the Best Shoes for Ankle Support
The best shoes for ankle support for you will depend on your individual needs and foot type, so it’s always best to consult a podiatrist about what shoes are suited for you. But here are some features to consider before purchasing a pair for yourself:
- Deep heel cup: This helps stabilize your foot and ankle in the shoe, Dr. Geller says.
Wide, foot-shaped toe box: More room in the toe box will allow for more natural movement in your feet.
- Low heel-to-toe drop: Lower heel-toe drops (difference between how high the shoe is in the heel versus the forefoot) are more stable so they can help prevent ankle sprains. For example, shoes with a low heel-toe drop and minimal cushioning can help reduce the impact forces on your ankles, especially for folks with high arches who tend to have more rigid feet.
- High ankle tops: This extra support on shoes will give your ankles more support, Dr. Kuizinas adds. “Some people find that adding ankle support can help with overpronation or for ankle protection in those with rigid feet. If you have these issues and feel unstable in your ankle, adding ankle support can be helpful to give you more of a feeling of security,” Dr. Kuizinas says.
What Is the Best Way to Tie Shoes for Ankle Support?
Tying your shoes can help provide more ankle support. Dr. Kuizinas recommends heel lock lacing, where you utilize the extra lace hole at the top of the shoe to lock your foot in place. You simply loop your laces around the highest lace holes on your shoe and criss-cross them at the top before tying. This will help you feel more stable in the ankles and help prevent your foot from sliding around in the shoe.
How We Chose the Best Shoes for Ankle Support
For more than 75 years, Footwear News has been the shoe authority. Our coverage spans top industry news, retail trends, head-to-toe fashion, athletic and outdoor analysis and more. Footwear News’ global network of editors has carefully curated all product selections featured using our expansive brand knowledge and thorough research to find quality, long-lasting items. When it comes to choosing the best shoes for ankle support, we consulted experts and scoured online customer reviews. The result is this researched list of the best shoes for ankle support of 2023.
Meet the Experts
Dr. Dan Geller is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and advisor for Kane Footwear.
Dr. Alissa Kuizinas is a board-certified podiatrist based in Concord, MA who specializes in holistic and functional foot health.
Meet the Author
Tiffany Ayuda is an editor and writer based in New York City. She writes about fitness, nutrition, health, and general wellness. Most recently, she was a senior editor at Prevention.com, where she expanded their fitness, nutrition, and e-commerce coverage. She held previous editorial roles at Eat This, Not That, Daily Burn, Everyday Health, and South Beach Diet. Tiffany’s work has appeared in the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, Women’s Health, Mind Body Green, PopSugar, Yahoo! Health, Health and NBC News Better. She is also a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise.