Yeah, bad ankles can suck the fun out of any hiking trip. And its certainly a good idea to wear boots that offer as much support as possible. I still really like the Lowa Biomex" Vertex GTX ($168; lowaboots.com), which combines surprising comfort in a rugged boot with an external ankle-bracing system that is extremely effective. Its a great starting point for anyone with bad ankles.
Scarpa SL M3 Boot
Scarpa SL M3 Boot
So too are several all-leather boots that dont have anything exotic like the Lowas but still offer excellent support. Danners Talus GTX ($174; danner.com) is a classic all-leather boot that also has a Gore-Tex liner and a full rand around the sole for extra protection. Asolos TPS 520 GV boots ($210; asolo.com) also go the leather-and-Gore-Tex route in a little heavier, but still comfortable, boot. And Scarpas SL M3 ($210; scarpa.com) remains the personification of a sturdy backpacking boot that offers plenty of support and protection along with years of use. They have tough 2.9 mm leather and eschew a Gore-Tex liner.
All that said, its also true that once an ankle reaches a certain stage of weakness, boots alone arent enough to hold them in place. I have that problem on my right ankle due to an old sprain that I re-injured several years back and that has never fully recovered. So I recommend a quality ankle brace such as the DonJoy Stabilizing Ankle Brace ($40; betterbraces.com). Its made from sturdy, non-stretch fabric and is laced up then stabilized with straps that stay in place with hook-and-loop fasteners. It will fit under a boot without going up half a shoe size. These braces really are pretty comfortableIve used one for yearsand will reduce your ankle problems by at least 75 percent, if not eliminate them entirely. I have NEVER rolled my bad ankle while wearing a brace. Without one, several times.
The Gear Guy reports from 2007 Winter Outdoor Retailer, the bi-annual gearapalooza in Salt Lake City. Check out his top picks for gear to watch in 2007.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.