Footwear that provides adequate support to your ankles is crucial, whether you’re recovering from an injury or just planning to spend a lot of time on your feet. The best shoes for ankle support tend to be lace-up styles, but you can also find other options that help minimize strain with the help of deep heel cups, cushioning, and arch support. I talked to a board-certified podiatrist to understand what to look for — and what to avoid.
About The Expert Gregory Alvarez, DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist at the Ankle & Foot Centers of America in Fayetteville, Georgia. A Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (FACFAS), he received his medical training at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine and completed his residency at Atlanta Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Shoes For Ankle Support What To Avoid
Not surprisingly, shoes like high heels and flip flops aren’t the best choice if you’re looking for ankle support. “Due to their elevated heel heights, [high heels] can cause instability and put extra strain on your ankles,” explains podiatrist Gregory Alvarez, DPM. When shopping for a pair of
comfortable dress shoes, Dr. Alvarez advises that buyers “stick to lower-heeled options with arch supports.”
“Similarly, sandals can also be problematic as they lack the cushioning and ankle support needed for long-term wear,” Dr. Alvarez says. (The open-back design of a sandal doesn’t provide the structure required to keep the ankle securely in place.) That said, if you need something for summer, look for
a sandal with a deep heel cup — this will help create a shoe with more stability that keeps your foot secure each time it makes contact with the ground. Support Features To Look For
As you might suspect, a shoe with a high collar (the part of the shoe that surrounds the ankle) is one of the main features to look out for, as this will help brace your ankles — but that’s not the only factor.
“When it comes to ankle support, the primary feature you should look for in a shoe is adequate cushioning,” Dr. Alvarez explains. “The more cushioning a shoe has, the more shock absorbency your feet and ankles will experience when walking on hard surfaces.” Wearing shoes without adequate cushioning, he warns, “can cause stress fractures in the feet due to repeated impact from walking on hard surfaces.”
“Additionally, look for shoes with support features such as arch supports and deep heel cups — these can help provide additional stability and reduce the likelihood of developing common foot problems like plantar fasciitis.” Plus, Alvarez notes, shoes with a sturdy frame and secure fit will go a long way.
Last but not least, the
most comfortable and supportive shoes won’t be overly tight or compressive, and ideally should be adjustable with laces to give you a snug but comfortable fit.
Ready to do some comfortable, strain-free walking? These are the best shoes for ankle support in a variety of sizes and styles.
Shop The Best Shoes For Ankle Support In a hurry? These are the best shoes for ankle support: The Everyday Sneakers That Are Engineered With Ankle Support In Mind: New Balance 990 V5 Sneaker The Arch-Support Sandals That Come At A Budget-Friendly Price: AEROTHOTIC Arch-Support Sandals The Lace-Up Boots That Boast A Podiatrist-Designed Footbed: Vionic Lani Mid-Calf Boots The Memory Foam Cross-Trainers With Concave Soles That Soften Impact: Avia Avi-Verge Sneakers The Classic Birkenstocks With Molded Cork Footbeds: Birkenstock Arizona Sandals The Simple Ballet Flats With A Contoured, Supportive Design: Naturalizer Flexy Ballet Flats The Mesh Sneakers With Gel Cushioning To Absorb Shock: ASICS Gel-Contend 7 Running Shoe A Pair Of Dressy Sandals That Are Contoured For Support: Vionic Rest Kirra Sandals The Running Shoes With Guide Rails That Provide Extra Stability: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 Running Shoe The Hiking Shoes With Air Cushioning For Stability & Shock Absorption: Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe The Trail-Running Shoes That Provide Padded Structure For Ankles: Salomon Speedcross 5 Trail-Running Shoes 1 The Everyday Sneakers That Are Engineered With Ankle Support In Mind Expert Pick
New Balance is one of the footwear brands Dr. Alvarez recommends most, and these
ankle-support sneakers— which have been manufactured for more than 30 years — have a few features that make them a worthy buy. Made from leather with a breathable mesh upper, the sneaker has a dual-density foam collar that’s designed specifically to offer cushioned support to ankles. New Balance’s ENCAP midsole features a core of soft foam cushioning combined with a rim that helps stabilize the foot. A thick rubber sole offers great shock absorption, and reviewers reported you’ll get moderate arch support. This New Balance pair boasts a timeless style that you can wear for years to come. One reviewer wrote: “This is my third pair of these sneakers. They were recommended by my podiatrist for painfully flat feet and weak ankles, the pain went away almost immediately after I started wearing the shoes.” Available sizes: 5 — 13 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 4 2 A Pair Of Arch-Support Sandals That Come At A Budget-Friendly Price
sandals with arch support prove you can take good care of your feet while still staying within a more wallet-friendly price range. The memory foam footbed and thick sole minimizes impact with every step, while the deep heel cup and raised toe bar provides stability and grip. The faux leather straps are adjustable at two points, allowing you to get a snug but comfortable fit. Made from synthetic materials, this pick is sweat- and water-resistant, so it’s perfect for sweltering weather or days spent by the water. The earthy aesthetic is timeless, and you can choose from several strappy styles. Still, as a sandal, this won’t offer the the stability of a boot or sneaker. One reviewer wrote: “Amazing ankle and arch support! Normally a size 9, sized up to a 10 and they fit perfectly. Cute and comfortable. Great quality!” Available sizes: 6 — 11 Available colors and styles: 19 3 The Lace-Up Boots That Boast A Podiatrist-Designed Footbed
If you’re looking for
ankle-support boots that pair nicely with everything from denim to maxi skirts, this pair from Vionic fits the bill. Made from your choice of suede or tumbled leather, the shoe features a podiatrist-designed footbed that includes a deep heel cup, arch support, and forefoot cushioning. The thick lug sole offers traction and shock absorption, while the zip closure on the inside of the boot makes it easy to take it on and off. Last, the boot rises to the lower calf, providing a stable frame that helps brace your ankle. One reviewer wrote: “I’m in love with this boot! Perfect fit and great support for arches and ankles!” Available sizes: 5 — 11 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 7 4 These Memory Foam Cross-Trainers With Concave Soles That Soften Impact
sneakers with ankle support can help reduce any potential strain while working out or playing sports (and they’re great for everyday walking support, too). Made with synthetic materials, the cross-trainer has a molded EVA foam midsole and an anatomical heel cradle that works to stabilize and support, while the removable memory foam sockliner adds cloud-like cushioning. The shoe is engineered to keep the heel centered over a concave sole — this is meant to enhance stability, increase energy return, and help absorb shock. Just note that some reviewers with higher arches recommended adding extra arch support inserts for the most comfortable fit. One reviewer wrote: “I have been wearing Avia Sneakers now for a long time. I have ankle problems and they fit me and give me the support that I need.” Available sizes: 6 — 12 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 4 5 The Classic Birkenstocks With Molded Cork Footbeds Expert Pick
If you’re looking for a pair of sandals, Dr. Alvarez recommends Birkenstocks as your best bet. This
Birkenstock Arizona sandal has a contoured cork footbed that enhances arch support, along with a deep heel cup that provides stability to ankles. The cork material is naturally shock absorbing, and the raised toe bar provides gripping power to toes. The leather buckle straps can be tightened or loosened to fit your foot’s unique shape, while the grippy outsoles give you plenty of traction. The one drawback? The slip-on design (and no structure at the back of the foot) means less ankle support than full-coverage shoe options. One reviewer wrote: “I have been wearing the Arizona pretty much all my adult life. It's a great shoe, easy to slip off at the door and awesome support. There is always a break-in time with Birkenstocks, but they will make your feet happy once the cork warms and forms to your foot. I have a fused ankle and I can't do without it. Highly recommended to anyone with foot problems.” Available sizes: 3 — 17.5 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 40+ 6 A Pair Of Simple Ballet Flats With A Contoured, Supportive Design
When you need something dressier, these
cute shoes with ankle support are a good pick, as they have a simple, elegant design combined with some comfort features. Unlike the bare-bones design of many other ballet flats, with these you’ll find a cushioned, shock-absorbing footbed, arch contouring, and a deep heel cup for support and stability. A padded heel collar upgrades the comfort factor, while the slight lift at the heel of the sole further guards against impact. Available in leather and fabric options, the shoe comes in classic shades like black and saddle tan, as well as style-forward alternatives like lavender, snakeskin, and leopard print. One reviewer wrote: “Perfect for ankle and arch support. They are very comfortable and plush. Perfect for standing and working for long period of time.” Available sizes: 5 — 12 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 13 7 The Mesh Sneakers With Gel Cushioning To Absorb Shock
Designed with shock-absorbing silicone gel, this
ASICS running shoe offers fantastic impact reduction on hard surfaces, while the brand’s “AmpliFoam” midsole provides soft cushioning that’s engineered to not wear down over time. You’ll also find OrthoLite insoles which provide breathable, moisture-wicking comfort, and mesh uppers that lend plenty of ventilation. Made entirely of synthetic materials, this shoe is offered in a range of cute styles as well as bright and neutral colors. Keep in mind that some reviewers reported this pair runs small, and that if you have higher arches, you may want to add extra insole support. One reviewer wrote: “Comfy and stylish. Just started jogging again. These sneakers are perfect. I love the gel feel and the support is great for my weak ankles.” Available sizes: 5 — 13 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 18 8 A Pair Of Dressy Sandals That Are Contoured For Support
If you’re looking for something that feels nice enough to wear to an outdoor wedding or cocktail party, you might want to consider this
dress sandal that’s earned the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance. The orthotic-grade footbed is wrapped in soft microfiber, and it features arch support and a deep heel cup for stability. The midsole is thick at the heel to enhance shock absorption, but note that the front of the sole is on the thinner side, so you may notice more impact there. The uppers are made from leather and feature gold hardware for a chic, polished touch. Just keep in mind that this shoe won’t provide a sturdy frame at the ankle, which means it’s likely best for short periods of wear. One reviewer wrote: “Love these sandals. I [...] have struggled to find shoes that don’t bother my knee and ankle. My podiatrist recommended vionic shoes for support since I overpronate and have sinus tarsi syndrome. These allow me to walk around pain free. Will definitely buy more in the future.” Available sizes: 5 — 12 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 6 9 The Running Shoes With Guide Rails That Provide Extra Stability
For all-around joint protection, these
running shoes with ankle support are built with internal “GuideRails” that stabilize the foot to prevent stress on the knees and hips as well as on the ankles. The brand states that this shoe is also idea for anyone who overpronates — i.e., walks so that the ankle rolls downward and inward, which can lead to instability and flat feet. The midsole is made of the Brooks’ signature cushioning, which — according to the brand — is a combination of EVA foam, rubber, and air that creates a responsive but not overly squishy feel. The 3-D-printed mesh upper adds additional structure and breathability, and many reviewers wrote this pick offers amazing arch support.
Aside from the impressive construction, this shoe comes in a super wide range of fun styles — as well as neutral options for those looking for something understated and versatile.
One reviewer wrote: “Great shoes! Love the fit. Use for exercise and has supported my knees, hips, and ankles well. Feels like my feet are walking/running on the clouds.” Available sizes: 5 — 13 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 38 10 The Hiking Shoes With Air Cushioning For Stability & Shock Absorption
If you’re planning a trek through the mountains, these
hiking shoes from Merrell have your back (or rather, your ankles). The upper is made from leather and mesh, while the Vibram outsole provides a springy feel without sacrificing traction or durability. There’s a removable contoured insole that adds arch support, while the heel features targeted cushioning to reduce stress on the foot. The padded collar offers extra comfort to ankles for all-day wear. One reviewer wrote: “Love love love these hiking shoes. Best buy I’ve ever made. My ankles would roll in other shoes not in these. So comfortable. Can hike for miles!” Available sizes: 5 — 11 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 9 11 The Trail-Running Shoes That Provide Padded Structure For Ankles
If you’re a trail runner or backpacker — or just want something with extra traction — these
ankle-support running shoes from Salomon are a worthy contender, and they’ve earned an impressive 4.7-star overall rating after 3,000 Amazon reviews. The sole’s large lugs offer superior grip in all kinds of terrain, and the shoe’s sturdy frame provides excellent stability and support on uneven surfaces. The welded upper and high, padded collar are designed to cradle the foot and ankle, while Salomon’s unique lace design makes it easy to adjust the fit and prevents the laces from becoming untied. The shoe is both rugged and cushiony, and reviewers have raved over the next-level arch support. One reviewer wrote: “They fit perfectly and hug my feet like a glove. I’ve ran through muddy rocky hiking paths and was very impressed. For sure I would have sprained my ankle with other shoes but not these. I’m so happy with them.” Available sizes; 5 — 12 (multiple width options) Available colors and styles: 6 Expert: Gregory Alvarez, DPM, board-certified podiatrist at Ankle & Foot Centers of America in Fayetteville, Georgia
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