With athletes looking for the slightest edge in performance over their competition they would never wear a product that negatively impacts performance, but yet they do. Many athletes, including elite athletes wear a product that restricts non-injury range of motion. And if you restrict normal joint range of motion in any way, you negatively impact performance. Try restricting elbow ROM and ask that quarterback to pass the ball with velocity, or the basketball player to shoot the ball accuracy. Binding up that joint is going to affect their performance. Then why do athletes wear lace-up ankle braces that do the same thing? Do you think you can run as fast, or jump as high with the lace-up brace binding up your ankle?
Lace-ups became popular in the mid 90’s NOT because of their great features and benefits, but because they were a lower cost alternative to tape. And like tape, they restrict normal ROM, so they lose support rapidly, they collect bacteria and stink, they are a pain to fit, and they wear out quickly. Lace-ups were first designed in 1887, and they perform like it. That is why we developed the first real Performance ankle brace for the Prevention market segment, the Ultra Zoom®. A new technology had to be developed that would be comfortable and durable enough to wear for multiple sports seasons. That new technology would also need to be very low profile in the shoe (no bulk) and skin tight. And lastly, this ankle brace would need to provide long lasting ankle support throughout a practice or game. These design goals drove us to develop an entirely new type of performance technology,Performathane custom-fit soft shell technology.
The Performathane® custom-fit soft shell of the Ultra Zoom® is not rigid like most plastic ankle braces; it’s flexible and forms to the ankle. In fact, the Performathane® soft shell uses body heat to form or custom-fit to the ankle for a comfortable low profile fit. The hinged-cuff technology allows the Ultra Zoom® move with normal ankle ROM providing long lasting ankle support and performance. Now, wearing a preventative ankle brace does not mean you have to sacrifice performance. The Ultra Zoom® is the ultimate performance ankle brace for the prevention market.
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.