“Like a sprained ankle boy, I ain’t nothing to play with…”
Those are lyrics from a song called “Forever” that Toronto Raptors superfan and renowned musician Drake once shared with the world. There are a lot of reasons why this line hits home for many people, especially with basketball players.
Since seemingly forever, ankle injuries usually sideline even the toughest ballers out there, truly making the ailment that isn’t to be played with.
Ankle sprains are also pesky in the sense that they seem to come with a high probability of reaggravation.
With this in mind, anyone stepping on a basketball court should prioritize footwear that provides great ankle support. In most cases, high-top basketball shoes are known to give basketball players the optimal level of protection against one of the most common injuries in the sport.
Let’s take a closer look at the best basketball shoes on the market that emphasize ankle stability.
1. Nike Air Jordan 36
Even though he’s been out of the NBA for the better part of 2 decades, Michael Jordan’s sneaker products continue to be some of the best athletic footwear options around. The former Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards star has a pair of Air Jordan 36’s that provide trusted support which keeps players healthy and on the floor.
It features an internal heel counter, a midfoot plate, and phenomenal traction that keep your feet in control of the action. Many think that a lack of traction can result in unnecessary falls (which is true), but this can also lead to awkward weight distribution on your ankle, which can cause tweaks or sprains.
This isn’t remotely a concern with the Air Jordan 36’s, and comfort isn’t sacrificed, either. The only potential concern for some players might be the reported snug fit of the sneaker, which may result in a less than ideal amount of breathability.
Total Dick’s Sporting Goods Reviews: 28
Average Dick’s Sporting Goods Rating: 4.4
2. Nike LeBron 19
The NBA’s all-time leading scorer has been a picture of health throughout his professional career, as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James’ durability has allowed him to break a longstanding record. His LeBron 19 sneakers make players feel like their feet are inside an impenetrable Hummer vehicle, and like they can compete forever.
This product receives excellent marks when it comes to keeping an ankle in place, and giving an athlete elite stability as they move laterally on offense or defense. While stepping on another player’s foot is a hooper’s worst nightmare, the LeBron 19’s give an athlete confidence that they’ll come out healthy even if that scenario does take place.
The advantage of these pair of shoes can also serve as a negative to some players. It’s perceived as relatively bulky, which might weigh players down.
As such, the LeBron 19’s may be best suited for players who primarily operate in the post.
Total Amazon Reviews: 294
Average Amazon Rating: 4.6
3. New Balance Kawhi 2
Another accomplished NBA player has a sneaker on this list, as Los Angeles Clippers dynamic forward Kawhi Leonard has an offering with New Balance that provides very good ankle support.
It feels like the New Balance Kawhi 2’s were specifically designed with this objective in mind. It features notable arch support, and is made of sturdier materials than a lot of its counterparts.
This can lead some players to find the Kawhi’s 2’s to be a bit rigid at first. That seems to be a common concern, but it should also be noted that once it’s broken in, the sneaker becomes a go-to selection after that initial period.
Total Dick’s Sporting Goods Reviews: 1
Average Dick’s Sporting Goods Rating: 5
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4. Nike Kyrie 8
The Dallas Mavericks took a leap of faith by acquiring All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, but anyone looking to invest in a highly regarded basketball sneaker at an affordable price should confidently look at the Kyrie 8’s. It has a versatile lacing system that gives players a unique ability to calibrate the type of fit they’re most comfortable with.
The sneaker also provides a nice bounce component, meaning that the shoe essentially gives you a little bit of an upward push as you bring your weight down on it. This split-second of additional boost can make the difference between you grabbing a rebound or relinquishing the ball to your opponent.
While they’re a little thinner than some other alternatives, folks who play with the Kyrie 8’s say they provide sufficient ankle protection. They’re also deemed to be lightweight.
Total Foot Locker Reviews: 69
Average Foot Locker Rating: 4.0
5. Nike Jordan Why Not ZerO.4
Despite the somewhat indifferent name of this product, there are a few legitimate justifications for why an avid basketball player should invest in a pair of Jordan Why Not ZerO.4’s. For starters, they’re pretty much ready to go for indoor court use as soon as you buy them.
Additionally, they’ve got excellent heel and forefoot construction, which keep your foot and ankle steady from the first quarter through the fourth quarter. The Why Not ZerO.4’s also allow air to enter into the shoe to keep your feet feeling cool.
As touched on above, these sneakers are most effectively deployed indoors. Their traction is a bit of a question mark, which comes into play more during contests held outdoors.
Total Amazon Reviews: 4
Average Amazon Rating: 5.0
6. Under Armour Embiid 1
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is making a strong case to win his first MVP award this season, and his Under Armour Embiid 1’s might very well turn out to be the most valuable sneaker in your collection. Its designers paid a bunch of attention to making sure players don’t turn an ankle in them.
Despite its snug fit, it contains a ton of cushion throughout the shoe that makes it an enjoyable wear. It also possesses a TPU wing and a die-cut EVA sockliner, which are all specifically present to protect your ankle.
When deciding which sneakers are best for a player, they should also factor in the type of style they play on the court. The Embiid 1’s, to perhaps no one’s surprise, are best geared for players who will do most of their damage close to the basket.
Total Amazon Reviews: 245
Average Amazon Rating: 4.5
7. Nike KD 15
If you’ve been paying attention to Basketball Buckets and our product reviews(and there’s no reason not to!), you’re probably well aware that the KD 14’s have consistently ranked as a great shoe across a wide variety of categories. The next edition makes our list this time, as the KD 15’s are thought of as even more supportive than its predecessor.
This sneaker does what most high tops are designed to do—they’ll “catch” your ankle if it’s heading in the wrong direction at a perilous angle. The KD 15’s have TPU pieces on the sides of the shoe built in to save you from a several day, or several week injury.
It’s not a knock, but for players who use different accessories in and around their shoe, keep in mind that the KD 15’s fit pretty true to size. It might be best to try them on with your other items to ensure a comfortable fit before making the purchase.
Total Foot Locker Reviews: 1
Average Foot Locker Rating: 4.0
8. Under Armour Curry Flow 10
Four NBA titles later, you wouldn’t necessarily guess that Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry had some legitimate ankle injury concerns as a young player. Before he became the deadliest shooter of all time, he had to find a way to stay on the court.
As a result, anything he lends his name to will be well vetted from an ankle support perspective, and the Curry Flow 10’s fit that bill. It’s been said that these shoes do a better job of providing stability than the Flow 9’s, which is music to ballers’ ears.
This product has tremendous traction, so you’ll be able to stop on a dime with confidence, leaving your defender in the dust.
Total Under Armour Reviews: 1
Average Under Amour Rating: 5.0
9. Nike Air Jordan 37
We started the countdown off with kicks from His Airness’ brand, and we find another strong option here. The Jordan 37’s have an extended collar, as well as neoprene ankle pillows that take very good care of your ankles.
As one might expect from a Jordan line, the Jordan 37’s also promote bounce and burst, which will help you get off the ground more quickly than your opponent.
These sneakers are more geared towards games taking place indoors.
Total Nike Reviews: 35
Average Nike Rating: 4.7
10. Nike Jordan Zion 2
This sneaker donning Jordan’s and New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson’s name is a solid, if not spectacular shoe. For the purposes of our objective here, the Jordan Zion 2’s get 2 thumbs up on the ankle support front.
It has a shank plate and a forefoot strap that keeps your lower extremities in place, allowing you to play with the freedom that Williamson does when he aggressively crashes the glass.
From a durability perspective, the Jordan Zion 2 might fall short in relation to its competitors. It has a short break-in period though, so it won’t be long before they feel like they’ve been on your foot for dozens of pickup games.
Total Nike Reviews: 13
Average Nike Rating: 4.8
11. Nike LeBron Witness V
As we’ve learned by now, sometimes sneakers that focus in on ankle support can be a little bulky. The LeBron Witness V is no different, and can seem heavy to some players who are looking for more of a sleek feel.
In this particular case though, mass doesn’t equate to supreme rigidity. The LeBron Witness V’s are made flexibly, which helps navigate through some of the added weight.
The Zoom Air pods at the bottom of the shoe also make them a comfortable selection as well.
Total Amazon Reviews: 5
Average Amazon Rating: 4.2