The 10 Best Ankle Weights for a Lower-Body Burn, According to Trainers

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collage of the best ankle weights of 2021 isolated on a teal background
Gymenist Ankle Weights
BalanceFrom GoFit Ankle Weights
Gaiam Restore Ankle Weights
Pinc Active Adjustable Ankle Weights
Bala Bangles
Fragraim Adjustable Ankle Weights
TheraBand Ankle Weights
Sportneer Adjustable Ankle Weights
The Cuff Original Adjustable Ankle Weight
Equipt Movement Unwrap
The best ankle weights come in a variety of weights, shapes and materials.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com

Wearable ankle weights might just be the sneakiest way to up the challenge on your body-weight exercises. And they're equally effective.

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Slip them around your ankles and you immediately add resistance to donkey kicks, reverse clamshells and body-weight hamstring curls. And with more resistance, you can build more muscle and strength in your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, says Jessica Mazzucco, CPT, a certified personal trainer in New York City.

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And perhaps best of all, they don't require you to hold onto or fiddle with weights or resistance bands. That's huge for anyone who doesn't have a lot of equipment, has a hard time working with weights or bands or who just likes to take a hands-free approach to their workouts.

But for the ultimate ankle-weight-burn, you need the best pair for your body and needs. We talked to trainers and physical therapists to ID the best ankle weights you can buy.

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1. Best Overall: Gymenist

  • Weight adjustable:​ Yes
  • Material:​ Neoprene
  • Weights:​ 0.55 to 5.5 lbs (each)

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These highly-rated weights feature 10 slim pockets where you can add 0.55-pound metal sticks to easily fine-tune the weight. The set of two tops out at a total of 11 pounds (5.5 pounds each), "so they're a great option for all strength levels," Mazzucco says. Plus, it's a cinch to adjust the tightness around your ankles, which helps ensure a comfortable fit, she adds.

While these aren't the cheapest wraps on our list, they're far from pricey, making these wearable weights a great pick overall.

Buy it:Walmart.com; ​Price:​ $41.69 (set of 2)

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2. Best Budget: BalanceFrom GoFit

  • Weight adjustable:​ No
  • Material:​ Neoprene
  • Weights:​ 0.75 to 10 lbs (each)

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This set offers quality ​and​ a budget-friendly price tag. "With an oversized Velcro pad, the weights are very easy to put on and take off, and this product has a breathable, soft material," Mazzucco says.

While you can't adjust the weight of these ankle cuffs, they're priced low enough that you can invest in a second set if needed. Choose between seven weight options, from 0.75 to 10 pounds (per wrap).

Buy it:Amazon.com; ​Price:​ $14.56 - $27.78 (set of 2)

3. Best Non-Slip: Gaiam Restore

  • Weight adjustable:​ No
  • Material:​ Neoprene, polyester and mesh shell
  • Weights:​ 5 to 10 lbs (each)

The best ankle weights offer a secure fit so they don't slide up or down your ankles, says Karena Wu, DPT, a board-certified orthopedic specialist at ActiveCare Physical Therapy in New York City. Slippage can cause the wraps to rub against your skin, causing irritation.

Here's a set that won't budge. It features a hearty Velcro closure and comfortable, form-fitting design to ensure zero slippage during your workout. Score these weights in a 5- or 10-pound set.

Buy it:Gaiam.com; ​Price:​ $17.98 - $24.98 (set of 2)

4. Best for Beginners: Pinc Active Adjustable Weight

  • Weight adjustable:​ Yes
  • Material:​ Neoprene
  • Weights:​ 1 to 5 lbs (each)

Beginners should opt for a set that allows you to adjust the weight, Wu says. This way, you can easily change the resistance as needed so you don't injure yourself while learning exercises, she explains.

These adjustable ankle weights are a great option for anyone new to cuffs or resistance exercise. You can adjust the weight from 1 to 5 pounds (per wrap) by using the removable weight bags. Plus, they feature extra padding for maximum comfort, as well as a secure fit.

Buy it:Amazon.com; ​Price:​ $26.99 (set of 2)

5. Best for Style: Bala Bangles

  • Weight adjustable:​ No
  • Material:​ Recycled stainless steel wrapped in silicone
  • Weights:​ 1 to 2 lbs (each)

The trouble with many ankle weights is that they ​look​ like ankle weights. And that usually means not-so-stylish.

Not so with the ever-popular Bala ankle weights (aka bangles). They're made of super-soft silicone and offer a more low-profile fit than many competitors. Plus, they're available in a variety of both subtle and bold colors, including charcoal and neon rainbow.

These weights also have a hidden elastic band and Velcro strap you can use to adjust your fit. Choose between 1- and 2-pound bangles (total of 2 or 4 pounds per pair).

Buy it:ShopBala.com; ​Price:​ $42 - $65

6. Best for All Levels: Fragraim 10-Pound Adjustable

  • Weight adjustable:​ Yes
  • Material:​ Neoprene
  • Weights:​ 1 to 10 pounds (each)

If you plan on using your cuffs for a variety of exercises, you may need a pair with a wide range of resistance levels. This pair offers exactly that. By adding or removing 2-pound sandbags, you can customize the resistance of each wrap up to 10 pounds.

These cuffs are available in a few different colors. They also feature adjustable Velcro straps, and a breathable, moisture-absorbing fabric interior fabric.

Buy it:Amazon.com; ​Price:​ $59.99

7. Best for Comfort: TheraBand Ankle Weights

  • Weight adjustable:​ No
  • Material:​ Neoprene exterior, non-abrasive terry cloth interior
  • Weights:​ 2.5 lbs (each)

This pair was built for comfort. These wraps feature a smooth neoprene exterior and a soft, non-abrasive terry cloth interior to absorb sweat. Use the long, durable Velcro strap and adjustable buckle to keep the wrap's ankle-hugging design in place during movement.

Bonus: These low-profile wraps hide well under clothing.

Buy it:Amazon.com; ​Price:​ $23.71

8. Best for All Sizes: Sportneer Adjustable Weights

  • Weight adjustable:​ Yes
  • Material:​ Neoprene
  • Weights:​ 0.5 to 6.5 lbs (each)

If you're worried an ankle wrap won't fit, go for a set with an extra-long strap, like this pair. These weights feature easy-to-adjust Velcro straps, "and the strap extends to 12.4 inches, so it provides a fit for ankles of all sizes," Mazzucco says.

These wraps are also available in a variety of weights, from 4 pounds per pair to 13 pounds per pair. You can then adjust the weight of each set by adding or removing sand-filled inserts (each insert adds 0.5 pounds). The 4-pound set, for example, can be adjusted from 1 to 2 pounds total.

You can choose from five different colors, including purple, pink, orange, blue and basic black.

Buy it:Amazon.com; ​Price:​ $16.14 - $39.99

9. Best for Cleaning: The Cuff Original Adjustable Ankle Weight

  • Weight adjustable:​ No
  • Material:​ Vinyl
  • Weights:​ 0.25 to 25 lbs (each)

Wu favors these straps for their breathable, easy-to-clean vinyl material. Each weight also features a grommet so you can hang them up when not in use.

Thanks to a long closure strap, these cuffs easily adjust to fit most users. Cinch them with the durable hook and loop fasteners and they'll stay put for the duration of your workout.

These wraps are also available in a lot of different weights, from a mere 0.25 pounds to a whopping 25 pounds each. However, they aren't available as a set, which means you have to buy each cuff individually.

Buy it:Walmart.com; ​Price:​ $9.48 - $67.78 (each)

10. Best Luxury: Equipt Movement Unwrap

  • Weight adjustable:​ No
  • Material:​ Vegan leather, neoprene padding
  • Weights:​ 3 lbs

These vegan leather wearable weights are a bit pricey, but they add a touch of cool luxury to your workouts. Each waterproof wrap is weighted with 3 pounds of small metal balls to challenge your muscles. Meanwhile, neoprene padding and a hook and loop closure ensures a comfortable, secure fit.

Buy it:Bandier.com; ​Price:​ $65 (set of 2)

Warning

Weighted ankle cuffs are great for lower-body exercises, but they aren't ideal for cardio.

“If you wear ankle weights when walking, running or doing other cardio-centric activities, they can interfere with your mechanics, throw off your gait and potentially cause injury in your knee, ankle, hips or back,” Mazzucco says.

3 Things to Look for When Buying Ankle Weights

1. Weight

How heavy should ankle weights be? Nailing down the right weight level should be your first order of business.

"Start with a low weight, anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds on each ankle," Mazzucco says.

Because you're bound to get stronger over time, the best ankle weights tend to be adjustable. This way, you can increase weight within seconds.

However, if you can't find ones you like, buy your weights in 1-pound increments. Even small increases in weight can mean more work for your trunk. If you jump up in weight too dramatically, your exercise form will likely suffer, Wu says.

2. Material

Ankle wraps stay in close contact with your skin throughout your workout, so it's important to find a pair constructed with comfy material.

Mazzucco recommends weights that are covered in a non-irritating, breathable material such as neoprene. If you prefer a softer pair, terry cloth can be a great option. And if you care most about keeping the weights clean, look for vinyl or silicone.

3. Secure Closures

A secure fit is important so your weights don't slip up or down your leg while exercising, Wu says. Because when the weights slip, they can chafe your skin.

The best ankle weights wraps can also fasten tight so they don't fly off mid-exercise.

To ensure your wraps stay put, look for ones with long straps and strong closures. This way, you can adjust the tightness of the weight to fit your ankle. Velcro, hook-and-loop, O-rings, D-rings and buckle closures are all great options.

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