The Best Braces for Soccer Players

soccer player dribbling with trizone ankle brace
By Fara Rosenzweig

With quick starting and stopping and physical contact, the nature of soccer can lead to injuries whether you are the goalkeeper, a defender, midfielder, or forward.

The easiest way for soccer players to prevent injury is to make conscious decisions in warming-up prior to practices or a games - this includes keeping your muscles warm during long tournament days that have a lot of rest time in between matches. Aside from warm-ups, it is important to protect the most injured parts of the body during soccer: ankle, knee, and head. Ankle sprains are the most common ankle injury and ligament injuries are the most common in the knee. Concussions have been on the rise, so much so that new rules have been made to help bring down the number of concussions happening each year at all levels of the sport. The positive news is that you can take steps to prevent rolling your ankle by wearing an ankle brace, lower your risk of tearing a ligament with a hinged knee brace, and reducing your chance of concussion with soccer head gear.

If you have been recently injured or have chronic pain, you can still get back on the field. While some injuries are more severe than others, rest and proper protection is a must. With a variety of soccer bracing options, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which support is right for your injury. Regardless if you just got injured, are in the process of rehab, or want to prevent re-injury, here's a breakdown of the best braces that are ideal for common soccer injuries.

Top Ankle Braces for Soccer

The Best Soccer Ankle Brace

Touted as the best ankle protection for soccer. Similar to ankle taping, except this brace doesn't get loose after 30 minutes of sweating. With a figure-8 strapping and lace design, the DonJoy Stabilizing Pro delivers compression to reduce pain associated with chronic ankle instability or mild sprain. Can be worn to prevent ankle injuries during soccer. It's less bulky than other ankle braces and can fit easily into a soccer cleat without limiting full range of motion.

Ideal for Mild Sprains and Chronic Instabilities

From mild ankle sprains and strains to chronic instabilities and ankle tendonitis, the Donjoy Performance Trizone Ankle delivers compression to reduce pain and swelling. Lightweight and breathable, this sleeve is designed to provide mild ligament support with the build-in silicone banding. It's slim and comfortable to wear with soccer cleats without limiting range of motion.

Ideal for Recent Ankle Injury

Designed to use immediately following an ankle injury associated with third degree ankle sprains and severe chronic ankle instabilities, the Aircast Air-Stirrup provides immobilization and compression. The Duplex™ air cell system uses two pre-inflated overlapping air cells (distal and proximal), which provides support and compression when walking around. The compression helps reduce edema, the swelling that is caused by fluid trapped in your body's tissues, as well speeding up rehabilitation. It's recommended to stay off your injured foot when wearing this brace and taking a break from soccer until you can begin physical therapy.

Top Knee Braces for Soccer

The Best Soccer Knee Brace

You are less likely to get injured with this knee brace. The lightest ACL brace we have to offer that is designed for non-contact sports is the DonJoy FullForce Ligament Knee Brace. Reducing the amount of time your knee is in the "at-risk" position, improves your natural gait by applying progressive resistance before reaching a firm end point during movement. Mold the brace to your knee for a perfect fit while using the swivel strap taps to enhance fit and suspension. This light, low-profile brace won't get in the way of speed as you maneuver up and down the soccer field.

Most Rigid ACL Protection

For a soccer player who will be side tackling, the DonJoy Armor Knee Brace (Standard Hinges) will deliver the ultimate protection. This is the most rigid ACL brace available for contact sports without the need of a prescription. Designed with a custom frame and swivel strap tab, you'll have a personalized fit for support, suspension and protection. Made with 6061 T6 Aircraft Aluminum Frame, you'll get the benefits of a light and low-profile knee brace that is also stronger, thicker, and more stable than the other lightweight knee braces on the market. Available for MCL/LCL and PCL injuries too.

Ideal for Knee Cap Alignment Issues

For a light, comfortable and short knee brace option, try the DonJoy Tru-Pull Lite. Designed for mild to moderate kneecap (patellar) subluxation, this brace keeps the knee aligned and pain at a minimum. The pull strap system and side support along the patella, ensure constant stability during soccer. The Dual Durameter Buttress System offers a soft, tacky connection with the patella for maximum support and comfort. While some knee braces get hot and sweaty within minutes of play, the anti-microbial, wicking fabric that is hypoallergenic, is extremely light and breathable--keeping you cool during intense games.

Ideal for Jumer's Knee

Fifty percent shorter than the Webtech Knee Brace, makes The DonJoy Performance Webtech Short Knee Brace is ideal to relieve pain that's associated with tendonitis, also known as runner's and jumper's knee. This is the only option for quadriceps tendonitis that also provides kneecap stability. Designed with silicone webbing to ensure proper tracking of the patella. The compression molded back pad adjusts easily for a comfortable, optimized fit. The four-way stretch lycra/mesh undersleeve eliminates hot sports during soccer-and provides an extra layer of protection.

Top Soccer Head Gear

Prevent Concussions

With heading the ball and player-on-player collisions, concussions are one major concern among athletes, parents and coaches. The DonJoy Hat Trick head guard is suited for soccer players of all ages and ability levels to protect head during a game. Whether it's head-to-head impact or a knee or ball to the head, the impact-absorbing foam layer covers and protects the forehead and temples without altering ball rebound speeds. It meets every performance requirement in ASTM F2439, "Standard Specification for Head gear Used in Soccer" and is permitted by FIFA, the U.S. Soccer Federation, and National Federation of State High School Associations.

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