When I was a junior in high school, I tried to do my best LeBron impression, and elevated for a chase down rejection that would have been reminiscent of “The Block” on Iguodala in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals. Rather than pinning the ball against the glass, however, I whiffed by about six inches, and landed on the foot of another player stationed in the paint. The result of my King James fantasy was a severe high ankle sprain.
After the injury healed, I remained anxious about the prospects of re-aggravating the area; but I was resistant to using ankle braces. I was skeptical about the amount of support they provided, and refused to compromise too much mobility or comfort. I was a point guard and my quickness and agility were imperative to my game.
It was with this perspective that I assumed the task of testing a number of ankle braces supplied by a company called Active Ankle. I brought four different models (all debuted or updated this past summer) to a pick-up session and switched them up in-between games.
For additional support without compromising movement, I found the newly rebranded 329 Ankle Sleeve to be an extremely useful product. Imagine wearing a much denser and tighter second layer of socks that consists of a few multi-directional dual straps—that is the 329 sleeve. It might not provide the maximum assistance in terms of injury prevention, but the sleeve undoubtedly affords some level of defense, while also delivering the utmost comfort. I would suggest that all players with any reservations about ankle safety at least investigate the sleeve, as it heightens security without confining any other facets of your game.
The AS1 Pro, which was also updated this summer, is your classic lace-up brace—the kind you probably picture when you think of ankle products. Through its laces and vertical straps, this one definitely brought more support to the area, and was not as uncomfortable or limiting as one might fear. It was considerably bigger than the sleeve but still fit nicely beneath my High-Top Nike Hyperdunks and enabled great agility out on the floor.
Active Ankle’s brand new releases, the Eclipse I and the Eclipse II, are what you would call rigid ankle braces. These ones are far more complex and multi-faceted (it took me awhile to figure out how to properly put them on). Both products offer more protection than any other ankle braces I have ever encountered; but of course, at the cost of being a bit stiff and restricting some ranges of motion.
The Eclipse I is the more comfortable and less bulky of the two. The II provides, as the Active Ankle website claims and I can substantiate, “the maximum protection available in a rigid ankle brace.” You can just tell when you look at this thing that it’s serious, with its elaborate U-shaped design and multipoint strapping system. According to a product fact sheet, the II is most ideal for sports that consist of more forward/back and vertical motion (like volleyball, baseball and football) than side-to-side. The Eclipse I is built more for basketball players. I presume as well that both braces are more cozy and less imposing once broken in.
In general, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of ankle protection exhibited by these products. Had I known of all of these options back when I was recovering from my injury, I certainly could have located something I was down for. Active Ankle offers a vast array of choices depending or whether you want some security with no loss of mobility, or the greatest security with some constraints.
If you ever have the misfortune of failing at your own LeBron impression (though this is not advised) and badly twisting an ankle, I can attest to the fact that Active Ankle has you covered, no matter the severity.
Active Ankle products can be purchased online here.