Lace-up ankle braces were invented in 1887 (over 125 years ago!!) and are still a commonly recommended bracing option for athletes despite how serious they are about their performance and injury prevention. For players that are looking to help prevent ankle injuries while maximizing their athletic performance a century-old corset design, such as a lace-up brace, won’t get the job done.
Reasons to Cut Ties with the Old Lace-Up
Lace-Ups Restrict Normal Range of Motion – When the ankle joint is tightly tied up in a lace-up, it’s too restricted to move naturally and therefore cannot perform at maximum levels. Athletes today work so hard to achieve the highest levels of performance, so why would they wear an ankle brace that negatively effects your performance by restricting normal ankle range of motion? It makes no sense.
Lace-up Braces Will Never Pass an “Ankle Rolling” Comparison Test – When athletes are instructed to keep their usual lace-up brace on one ankle and then apply a semi-rigid brace (such as the Ultra Zoom®) on the other ankle they can quickly feel the difference in joint protection with a quick comparison of gently rolling each ankle to the side. It’s easy to see that with a semi-rigid, hinged-cuff brace it’s a lot harder to roll your ankle outwards or inwards, whereas with a lace-up brace your ankle is still majorly susceptible to injury.
They Lose Support Rapidly – Because lace-ups restrict normal range of motion, they start losing support the moment you start playing, essentially turning them into a dirty sock in 20 minutes. Players shouldn’t be worried about their ankle protection at any point during the game, and should trust their ankle protection to support them as long as they need to play.
They Break the Bank – Sure, you can buy a lace-up brace at a sports store for a relatively inexpensive cost, but once you have to make the trip numerous times to replace your smelly, ripped, worn out lace-up brace the costs start to add up. Advanced ankle braces are typically guaranteed for at least a playing season, and those such as the Ultra Zoom® usually last much longer.
Lace-ups Weren’t Developed for Modern Sports & Athletes – Since the lace-up brace as we know it was invented in 1887, that means it predates most modern sports that are played by athletes today. Just as other sports medicine technology has been updated to more advanced, medically sound solutions it’s time to reevaluate how ankle bracing has evolved as well. Today’s ultra athletes deserve to be playing in an ankle brace designed for maximum performance that utilizes the most advanced protection features... not a brace designed for their great, great grandmother.
It’s Clear Lace-ups Aren’t the Answer – So What Is?
That’s exactly what the founder of Ultra Ankle® was trying to figure out when he invented the Ultra Zoom® – a soft-shell, hinged-cuff ankle brace that works with the ankle joint, not against it like lace-ups, to help prevent serious ankle injuries and aide in the treatment of mild to moderate ankle instability. Unlike the lace-up, the Ultra Zoom provides long-lasting ankle protection and multi-season durability making it the best preventative ankle brace for volleyball, basketball, football, and other sports with a high incidence of ankle injuries.
The key differentiating factor of the Ultra Zoom® is it’s hinged-cuff design – a hinge that allows the brace to retain full, normal range of motion to ensure the ankle does not weaken and a cuff that keeps the ankle joint from turning as well as twisting. No other brace on the market provides this advanced level of protection which is why only ultra athletes wear Ultra Ankle®.
Still have questions about why you should upgrade your ankle braces from the century old lace-up? Feel free to email me, Rick Peters, an athletic trainer with over 30 years’ experience in the ankle bracing industry and I’d be happy to discuss your concerns, questions, and comments! If you’d like to learn more about the Ultra Zoom® check out our website, fitting instructions video, or testimonials.
Written by Rick Peters
Rick Peters is a Certified Athletic Trainer who has been advancing ankle bracing technology for three decades. Peters patented his first ankle brace in 1985, revolutionizing the industry by adding a hinge to traditional stirrup braces for greater mobility. In 1989 he was a founder and became President of Active Ankle Systems. In 1998 he co-founded Ultra Athlete LLC to develop the next generation of ankle bracing technology. Peters has 18 ankle brace patents and is considered an authority on ankle bracing technology worldwide.