5 Best Shoes for Ankle Support and Pain Reduction (2020 Review)

5 Best Shoes for Ankle Support and Pain Reduction (2020 Review)

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Foot and ankle pain affects approximately 20% of adults, and many people find it affects their daily lives. Unfortunately, the fact is that most people simply can't let foot and ankle pain prevent them from leading their lives, going to work, caring for their families, and enjoying times with friends. For those people, it's important to find the best shoes for ankle support.

Foot health is also an important part of your overall health, and a great way to take care of yourself. Care for your feet now helps to prevent later feet problems and pain, so finding shoes that are comfortable, cushioned, and supportive is a healthy habit for a lifetime. Finding shoes that are healthy, comfortable, and stylish is quite the challenge, so read on to find our favorites for the best shoes for ankle support and pain reduction.

Quick Picks

For a quick look at the best shoes for ankle support in 2020, check out this list of our favorites in every category.

Best athletic shoes for ankle support (men)Best athletic shoes for ankle support (men)Under Armour Men's Lockdown Basketball ShoeCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best athletic shoes for ankle support (women)Best athletic shoes for ankle support (women)Ryka Women's Tenacity Cross-TrainerCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best dress shoes for ankle support (men)Best dress shoes for ankle support (men)Clarks Men's Vargo Mid Ankle BootCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best dress shoes for ankle support (women)Best dress shoes for ankle support (women)Kork-Ease RyderCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Editor's Pick: Best casual shoes for ankle supportEditor's Pick: Best casual shoes for ankle supportVan's Unisex Adults Sk8-hi ReissueCLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Best Shoes for Ankle Support Reviews

Best Athletic Shoes for Ankle Support (Men): Under Armour Men's Lockdown Basketball Shoe

Men's athletic shoes, particularly basketball shoes, are a great choice for comfort and ankle support in any activity. The extra cushioning, support, and light weight of basketball shoes keep the foot comfortable and pain free in a variety of settings.

Our best shoe for ankle support and pain relief for men in sport and casual environments is the Under Armour Men's Lockdown Basketball Shoe. This shoe is light and comfortable, with overlays for lateral and medial foot support.

It has a full length molded EVA sockliner and a full length EVA midsole. The solid rubber outsole has a herringbone pattern for great grip and control with padded comfort, and the high tops support the ankle.

The Under Armor Lockdown Basketball Shoe is made of leather, rubber, and synthetic materials. It is available in a striking black/red/white pattern, black and white, or a more subtle grey and black.

PROS

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • High top for cushioned ankle support
  • Supportive sole and structure
  • Provide great traction and control

CONS

  • When worn as a true basketball shoe, they wear down more quickly than other basketball shoes

Best Athletic Shoes for Ankle Support (Women): Ryka Women's Tenacity Cross-Trainer

Ryka shoes have a great reputation among women's active shoes, and the Tenacity model is an excellent versatile sport shoe for women. Modeled on dance shoes, the Tenacity has an engineered midsole with extra foam cushioning at pressure and impact points, and RE-ZORB foam for responsive cushioning and shock absorption.

The I.H.G. clip provides extra stability in the heel, and the outsole has a pivot design that creates traction without inhibiting the range of movement. These shoes have a support system that protects the ankle and provides comfort and stability throughout the shoe. Synthetic mesh provides ventilation to keep the shoes cool and dry in action.

The Ryka Tenacity Cross-Trainer comes in black with a fun leopard patterned panel at the heel, and is a great shoe for reduced pain and ankle support, in the gym or around town.

PROS

  • Great cushioning and impact absorption
  • Support for the ankle and across the whole foot
  • Great fit
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Breathable

CONS

  • Sizes don't have wide or narrow options, but arch strap can help adjust the fit

Best Dress Shoes for Ankle Support (Men): Clarks Men's Vargo Mid Ankle Boot

It's much easier to find comfortable shoes with ankle support when you are looking at men's athletic shoes or work boots. But a lot of men need a shoe that looks more formal than those styles, for the workplace or daily wear. Clarks shoes are famous for their comfort and durability, and the Vargo boot provides the comfort and support of a sneaker with a more refined style that can go nearly anywhere.

The Clarks Men's Vargo Mid Ankle Boot has a style that is contemporary and classic, with a leather upper that gives it a reined look. However, the EVA sole provides the great durability and traction of a work boot. Inside, it has soft padding around the ankle, arch support, and cushioned shock absorption. It even comes with a removable ortholite footbed, for even greater comfort and pain relief. It's a boot that looks like a shoe, feels like a sneaker, and provides excellent comfort and ankle support. The Clarks Men's Vargo Mid Ankle Boot comes in dark brown leather or dark tan leather.

PROS

  • Attractive and comfortable, appropriate for a variety of styles and occasions
  • Real leather upper
  • Thick durable tractioned sole
  • Cushioned interior with removable ortholite footbed
  • Arch and ankle support

CONS

  • Because these shoes support the ankle, the opening is narrow to snug against the foot
  • Real leather needs waterproofing and occasional cleaning and conditioning to continue to look its best

Best Dress Shoes for Ankle Support (Women): Kork-Ease Ryder

Dress shoes for women tend to expose the ankle, rather than support it. Finding a comfortable, pain-free shoe that can be dressed up for more formal workplaces or occasions can be difficult. Kork-Ease shoes are recommended by podiatrists for keeping a woman's foot healthy and reducing strain, and these Ryder boots are cute and versatile enough to go anywhere, with anything, in comfort and support.

The Kork-Ease Ryder ankle bootie has leather lining and a cushioned leather footbed for lasting comfort. Extra reinforcing provides ankle support, while a rear zipper makes it easy to put on and take off. It has a 1 inch stacked heel, and rubber traction grip on the heel and center of the sole for non-slip traction. The versatile design with real leather uppers and attractive details can be dressed up or down, making these a great choice for comfort and support even on formal occasions.

The Kork-Ease Women's Ryder bootie comes in suede or smooth leather uppers, and is available in black, green, rum, taupe, blue, grey, dark brown, or rust colors.

PROS

  • Comfortable and supportive
  • Breathable cushioning on the inside
  • No break-in period
  • Stylish and can be dressed up or down
  • Wide range of colors

CONS

  • May not be very durable
  • Real leather needs waterproofing and occasional cleaning and conditioning to continue to look its best

Editor's Pick: Best Casual Shoes for Ankle Support: Van's Unisex Adults Sk8-hi Reissue

Vans are an iconic shoe of the 80s skate scene, but these shoes have grown up a lot since ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High.’ The reissue offers a whole new take on these classic shoes, with a huge variety of colors and materials that make these comfortable, versatile, unisex shoes worth another look. The Vans Sk8 high top reissue has a supportive high top with cushioning for ankle comfort.

The padded collars have a die-cut EVA insert and triple stitching for excellent support and padding at the ankle. They have good interior room for wide feet, and a supportive sole for excellent comfort. The vulcanized rubber sole is extremely durable, with a waffle pattern for great grip. True to their history as a skate shoe, they have a reinforced toe cap for extra durability at the toe.

While classic vans may not be your style, the Sk8 high top  reissue has a huge range of colors and materials in the upper, so these comfortable, supportive shoes offer styles and looks that suit nearly any person, for nearly any occasion. They are even unisex, and can be worn by men and women with the same fun, comfortable, casual style.

PROS

  • Great ankle support with interior padding
  • Good durability and traction in the sole
  • Extra reinforcement in the toe
  • Roomy interior is comfortable and can accommodate an insole
  • Huge range of colors and patterns
  • Fun unisex retro style goes with everything

CONS

  • May need waterproofing or conditioning treatment, particularly in wet climates

What to Look for in a Shoe for Ankle Support and Pain Reduction

When you have ankle and foot pain, here are some of the key features to look for in a pair of shoes. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, check out our list of the best walking shoes specifically for that condition. 

Depth. Even if a shoe isn't a high-top, a shoe for ankle support should have good interior depth from the top where it meets the ankle down to the inside of the heel. A deep shoe will provide greater ankle support, and shoes also need to be deep in order to accommodate cushioning and optional inserts. Shallow shoes not only lack their own support, but don't leave you enough room to use assistive accessories.

Arch support or room for an insole. When standing in a shoe in a neutral pose, you should feel the inner sole of the shoe make gentle contact with every part of your foot, including the high point of your arch. If a shoe is deep enough to fit an insert, then interior arch support is less crucial. But if arch support is lacking, then an insole is necessary. We prefer shoes that have their own arch support, with room for an insole if necessary.

Ankle support and ankle collar. Shoes that are high enough to provide ankle support should also provide a cushioned collar to prevent uncomfortable rubbing. High laces or straps allow you to adjust the fit around your ankle for comfortable support.

Heel stability. If a shoe has an elevated heel, it should be wide and thick, to provide extra stability. Instability in the heel forces the ankle to strain and balance in compensation, and this can exacerbate ankle and foot pain.

How to Care for Leather Shoes

Our favorite shoes for ankle pain have all those features, along with comfort, great fit, and style. For those reasons, many of our top pics are made of leather. Leather is a high quality, natural material that looks great in footwear, but it can require some extra care and maintenance to keep them looking stylish and prolong their lifespan, particularly in rainy weather. Here are some tips on how to take care of new leather shoes.

Waterproof Them Before Wearing Them

In mild climates, waterproofing isn't always necessary, but if you'll be wearing your shoes in rain, snow, or on muddy trails, it's a must. You can use a waterproofing spray, wax, or cream. Sprays are less effective, and need to be re-applied several times a season, while waxes last longer and can be applied once a year. Before waterproofing, clean the shoes, remove the laces, and then allow them to dry completely afterward.

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Waterproofing shoes before you use them is a must during raining and snowing seasons.

Clean Your Shoes

Regularly wipe down your leather shoes with a damp cloth. If you wear your shoes every day, they should be cleaned weekly. In most cases, this is all that's needed to keep leather shoes looking clean. If necessary, use a leather cleaning product for a deeper clean.

Condition the Leather

Conditioning leather is like applying lotion to your skin; it keeps leather moist, supple, and new looking, while reducing or preventing scuff marks. It won't necessarily make leather shoes shiny, depending on the product. For a more rugged look, condition leather twice a year. For dressier shoes, shoes that are worn every day, or in dry climates, condition your shoes four times a year.

Suede shoes need different care, since they should not be cleaned with water and don't require conditioning. Gently scrub them clean with a suede brush, and keep them out of rain, snow, and damp environments.

Store Leather Shoes Properly

Leather shoes should be stored in cool, ventilated areas away from direct sunlight. Storing them in airless plastic bags can lead to mildew or rot, while storing them in the path of heating vents can make them dry and crack. Sunlight will speed degradation of leather. If storing for longer periods, use a cedar shoe tree to preserve the shape and reduce creases.

Following these tips will help you keep leather shoes looking and feeling great, and make the shoes more durable, so you can wear them comfortably and pain-free for years.

Strategies for Reducing Ankle and Foot Pain

In addition to choosing the right pair of shoes, you can also modify your daily habits to better protect your feet. Here are some strategies to help care for your feet in your daily life.

Use a standing mat. We all know that standing is much better for the body than sitting, and some people have jobs where they are on their feet all day. But standing in a stationary position on a hard surface for prolonged periods can be hard on the feet. If possible, get a cushioned mat to stand on, to provide more support and cushioning than a hard floor.

Consider an Insole

Insoles are a great way to make sure that any shoe provides the right cushioning and support for your feet. Insoles go inside your shoes, so they can be used on any occasion or with any style of shoe, provided the shoe is deep enough. You can choose an over the counter insole or get a custom-made orthotic insole for severe foot problems or unusual feet shapes.

Use Compression Socks

There are a huge range of elastic ankle braces and compression socks that can work with almost any footwear. These socks provide extra support to the ankle, and reduce foot swelling and joint pain. They are often used after surgery and by athletes, but anyone with foot and ankle pain can benefit from the extra support and circulation provided by compression socks.

Use a good walking shoe. This list of the best shoes for ankle support and pain reduction is focused on shoes for everyday wear. But if you are a fan of long walks or hiking, or if your daily routine requires lots of walking, it's better to get a shoe designed specifically for that purpose. Here are our lists of the best walking shoes for men and women.

Get Foot and Leg Massages

If you can't afford to regularly get professional foot massages, there are a wide variety of devices made specifically to massage the feet and lower legs. These devices reduce pain and soreness, improve circulation, and can be a great way to practice self-care. Taking a few moments out of the day to relax, calm yourself, and have a relaxing foot massage will relieve stress and anxiety as well as foot pain, and is a good daily habit. 

Final Thoughts on Best Shoes for Ankle Support

If you are one of the millions of adults who has foot and ankle pain, it can be incredibly difficult to find shoes that both look good and feel good.

All too often, the most comfortable, supportive shoes are low on style, and aren't versatile enough for a wide range of occasions That's why we love the new Vans Sk8 High Top Reissue, and it's our top pick for the best shoe for ankle support and pain reduction.

The Vans have a cushioned, comfortable style with plenty of support and stability, but a fun, fashionable look that can go almost anywhere. The huge range of colors, patterns, and styles mean that you can pick up multiple pairs and have a great, supportive shoe for every outfit and every occasion.

The style isn't just unisex, it's universal, and they embody the youthful, retro look that is so popular right now.

The Vans Sk8 high top reissue proves that comfortable, supportive, pain-reducing shoes don't have to be heavy, clunky, or unfashionable. And the design gives plenty of room for insoles, orthotics, or supportive braces and stockings, if you need even more support.

If you suffer from ankle and foot pain, don't choose the wrong shoes just for the sake of looking good. Make sure to take time to find the right shoes, stockings, mats, insoles, massagers, and other devices that will help care for your feet and your whole body. Properly caring for yourself is one of the most important healthy habits you can develop, and will prevent future pain and problems later on.

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