Nike Ankle Braces
If you're looking for a good ankle brace to keep you on your feet, Nike has a few options that could be suitable for your needs. One thing we should mention right off the bat is that their ankle braces usually aren't too robust. They tend to be worn during activity, meaning you have already healed enough to return to activity.
For example, they don't offer any hinged ankle braces like the Zamst A2-DX, nor do they offer the secure fit of a nice lace-up ankle brace like the ASO ankle brace. That being said, for the types of ankle supports that Nike offers, they are quite good, and can be suitable for a lot of people.
This article will review Nike's three main ankle braces. Realistically, the term "ankle brace" might be a little misleading, as these are generally sleeves or wraps, and could be more appropriately called ankle supports. Nevertheless, we will describe their function in the following reviews, hopefully allowing you to decide whether or not they will work for you.
Nike Ankle Supports Reviewed
When you see the word "sleeve", this typically implies a low level of support relative to the wide range of ankle braces available. Sleeves usually slip onto the foot like a sock, but are made of elastic material that fits to the ankle in an anatomical manner. This Nike ankle sleeve does just that. It can be great for providing a little bit of extra support (not much) around the ankle joint, and it fits very easily under any shoe.
This sleeve can also be good for reducing pain and stiffness in the joint, even when lounging around. The compression usually stimulates blood flow, and any heat that is insulated will also have a pain relief effect. However, in this case, Nike has prioritized wearing this sleeve during activity, as they have combined proper ventilation to keep you as cool and dry as possible, but it will still retain more heat than a thin athletic sock.
The Nike Ankle Sleeve is machine washable, so there's a nice level of convenience, and it's really cheap by ankle support standards. This means there isn't too much risk in the purchase, so long as you know you don't need superior support for an ankle injury. One thing to keep in mind about this sleeve is that the sizes run quite small, so it could be a good idea to go with one size larger than you think you will need. They are supposed to fit really tight, but not to the point where you can't get them on!
Overall, these are pretty standard ankle sleeves, with the exception that they come with the recognizable swoosh, and so there are some style points, too. The sleeve won't offer that much extra support, but it's better than no support, and the low cost, slim fit, and hassle-free design lends itself to being worth a try.
The Nike Pro Combat Ankle Sleeve 2.0 is very similar to the standard Nike sleeve, but the quality of the material is a little better and this one also comes with an additional elastic strap for more customizable support and fit.
The material in this case is 41% nylon, 31% polyester, 18% SBR, 7% spandex, and 3% CR. This makes it more lightweight and breathable while still maintaining a good level of comfort. Even though there are straps incorporated into this ankle sleeve, it's still a simple slip-on application, and the straps are simply tightened once you have it on.
While they maintain that this sleeve is breathable, there is some neoprene in the material, and this usually isn't the most breathable material that could be used, but it offers strong elasticity and solid durability. In this sense, you will likely retain some of your body heat around the ankle, which isn't a bad thing unless it really annoys you. The heat can help reduce pain and free up some movement, but it isn't good if you are trying to prevent swelling (ice is better for that).
Overall, the Pro Combat Ankle Sleeve 2.0 is probably the best line of Nike ankle sleeves in terms of support. The material, as you will see in the next review, can still be improved on a little bit, but at such a low cost, we would still consider this their best value ankle sleeve. Just be cautious. Even though this offers good support by Nike standards, it's best to be confident in your ability to return to activity without the brace, and simply use it as a method of reducing risk of subsequent injury, albeit, not completely.
The Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Ankle Sleeve is actually quite similar in terms of function to the standard Nike ankle sleeve reviewed above. The main difference in this case is the quality of construction. The material used in this sleeve is 35% nylon, 19% polyester, 18% TPE, 17% silicone, and 11% spandex. This combination helps to drastically reduce the thickness of the material while still maintaining a high level of elasticity and overall strength.
While some portions of the brace can offer therapeutic heat, there is also a breathable mesh that is placed over areas where you need it most. The contoured design allows for freedom of movement in flexion and extension directions, but it still offers some lateral support. Again, you should be cautious with support, as this won't completely prevent you from rolling an ankle, but it does help keep you aligned and feeling more confident while you maneuver on the court or field.
Similar to the sleeve above, this one is very easy to wear under a pair of shoes and slips on easily, so long as you don't get a size that's too small. It's more expensive than the standard Nike ankle sleeve, but this is due to the higher quality materials that offer better performance.
Overall, we would recommend this if you just want a little extra support when participating in activity, and especially if you want something that is very minimal in design. It's also a great product for people who suffer from chronic ankle joint pain or stiffness, as the compression and small amount of heat insulation will free up your movement a bit and reduce some of the pain.
Nike's stock of ankle braces is fairly limited, but what they do have works well for their purposes. If you're feeling healthy enough to return to activity without a brace, these Nike sleeves will add just that little extra support to keep you feeling confident , while also slightly reducing the risk of injury and fitting comfortably under a shoe. Moreover, the low cost makes them an enticing option for many people, at least to try out, which is definitely a bonus. Good luck!