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"ankle Support" - The Sales Job.

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Walking, running, is “ankle support” a thing that’s needed? Or just a sales-wank?


It’s a selling point to everyone, not just athletes.


Just had along discussion with my paramour.


Her position: “Many studies” say that “ankle support” reduces sports-type injuries. And, her personal experience backs up the idea that high-walled shoes make walking safer. That’s why we wear boots, in the mountains, she says.


After comedically miming someone falling down while traversing a pedestrian crossing, “Oh, I forgot the ankle support!” I said:


No, it’s an enormous sales-wank. Humans have been Naturally Selected for a million years to, er, walk. And run. The ankles are fully equipped. Fully able to do their job. Buying “ankle support” is like a healthy person buying a neck-brace. In case your head can’t hold itself up.


I've Run, I've been up Mountains. Ankles seemed ok.



‘Many studies’? Any not funded by shoe businesses?

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i have to say your post first struck me as spam, but as i see no links -yet-, i'll give you the benefit of my doubt.


so yes, ankle support is unsupported sales tripe. so too is activia yogurt, sketcher's shape-ups, energy bracelets, and no end of health benefit products trotted out on tv, the web, & in advertising ad nauseum. but hey, that's just unregulated free-enterprise free-market as the republicans/conservatives would have us believe is the best sort of medicine for society and covered by the simple convenient addage Caveat emptor you poor stupid ignorant dupes.

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Walking, running, is “ankle support” a thing that’s needed? Or just a sales-wank?

Wank/hype, I think, with some psychological and historic roots.


Footwear with purpose-built ankle support has appropriate applications, but I agree with Vexer and Turtle that for ordinary, healthy children and adults, in most situations, including even occasional high-stress athletic ones, it’s not needed.


Clearly, some ankle-supporting footwear is appropriate. Few of us would consider alpine skiing or snowboarding in shoes that end below the ankle, even if such gear was available from regular manufacturers (with the exception of cross-country ski boots “low cut” ski/snowboard boots refer to one that reach less far than usual up the calf, not ones that don’t cover the ankle), and would likely soon regret it. There are some industrial and construction settings where slipping and straining an ankle on irregular surfaces are a constant risk, so ankle and calve-covering boots are needed (not only to support ankle injuries, but to protect the lower leg from scrapes and cuts)


People with special needs due to acute or chronic injuries may need special footwear, though for ankle support, special appliances that strap to the leg and under the foot, then are covered by an ordinary shoe, are more effective than most high-top shoes.


I’ve known some people who were prone to sports ankle injuries, and found that high-top shoes reduced or prevented them. I’ve also known people who seemed to need them for psychological reasons: having had a bad ankle injury, they feel nervous and fearful wearing low-cut shoes, even though ones with “enhanced ankle-support” really would do little to prevent a repeat injury.


I’m not familiar with all sports, so there may be some, such as serious basketball, where the slight added ankle rigidity of some kinds of high-topped sport shoes are justified. I’ll leave that question for someone with the needed sports expertise.


Some footwear history:

The modern, injection-molded rubber/plastic shoe sole is a fairly modern invention, that allowed shoes to be much more stable, resisting rolling on to their sides and causing ankle strain and injury. High, tighly-bound boots, thus, made sense in the past, where less stable wood and leather soles were more prone to role-over. High-topped shoes and boots, then, can be seen as something of an anachronistic tradition, and a fashion.


High sides also allow a shoe to have a more distinct style. So “ankle support” in present day shoes is, IMHO, something of an excuse to make them more decorative, and more importantly from to the shoe-selling business, more brand-identifiable. Humans have more than mechanical needs – we’re social, and thus subject to aesthetic and fashion needs, as well.


Some personal history:

When I was around 10 years old, my parents took me on a hiking trip, insisting that I weal over-the-ankle hiking boots. Used to bare feet and 1960’s soft-soled sneakers, I found even these properly fitted and broken-in boots minor torture, heavy and abrasive, and after a few days and dozen miles, begged (and was denied) to be allowed to go barefoot. Years later, I did more hiking, sans parents, and was happy to wearing whatever running shoes (which, in the early ‘70s, had just started to distinguish themselves from the previous generations less comfortable flat-bottomed tennis/basketball/sneaker) I had at the time. So you might say I was effectively “deprogrammed” of the hype about ankle support by experience at an early age.

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