A Comparison of Active Ankle® T2 and Ultra Zoom® by Ultra Ankle®: Choosing the Preferred Ankle Brace
Author’s Note: Before we delve into the comparison between the Active Ankle® T2 and Ultra Zoom® ankle braces, I want to disclose that I am the inventor of both products. I developed the first commercially available hinged ankle brace and co-founded Active Ankle Systems in 1989 and was president until 1996. In 1999, I co-founded Ultra Athlete LLC and introduced the Ultra Ankle line of ankle braces. Over the years, I have accumulated several patents for emerging ankle bracing technologies.
When people inquire about the difference between the Active Ankle® T2 and Ultra Zoom® ankle braces, I’m often asked to provide insights. In this post, I will outline the characteristics of each brace and discuss why the Ultra Zoom is preferred over the Active Ankle T2.
The Active Ankle T2, designed around 35 years ago, represented a significant breakthrough in ankle brace technology compared to traditional splint-style braces such as the Aircast®. Its hinged design allowed full ankle motion, providing support and freedom to run and jump without restrictions. The hinge ensured that the brace moved with the joint, keeping the straps securely in place and maintaining ankle support. The Active Ankle T2 was primarily designed to prevent excessive ankle turning, known as “inversion,” which often leads to low ankle sprains.
Braces for High Ankle Sprains
In the mid-90s, there was an increase in athletes experiencing high ankle injuries, also known as syndesmotic ankle injuries. While low ankle sprains involve excessive inward or outward ankle turning, high ankle injuries occur due to excessive ankle twisting or rotation. These injuries tend to be more severe and require longer healing times. At that time, all ankle braces, including the Active Ankle T2, were designed to treat low ankle injuries exclusively. Consequently, a new ankle brace technology was required to protect against both low and high ankle injuries.
In 1999, Ultra Ankle introduced the first hinged-cuff ankle brace, addressing the need for comprehensive ankle injury protection. By incorporating a cuff into the hinged design, this new brace could effectively restrict both excessive ankle turning and twisting, offering support for both low and high ankle injuries. In 2010, Ultra Ankle introduced the hinged-cuff Ultra Zoom performance ankle brace. Compared to the rigid Active Ankle T2, the Ultra Zoom features a flexible Performathane® shell that custom-fits to the ankle using body heat, providing comfortable and long-lasting ankle support. The Performathane® shell boasts advanced resin technology, which was not available when the Active Ankle T2 was invented in the 1980s. This innovation ensures the Ultra Zoom will never crack, break, or tear, ensuring durability across multiple seasons of use.
When comparing ankle braces and deciding about which is best for you, it’s important to consider various factors. Questions such as durability, injury prevention capabilities, comfort, and warranty coverage should guide your research and help you make an informed decision. If you have any specific inquiries regarding ankle braces and how they relate to your situation, please leave a comment below or send us a message. Our certified athletic trainers will be more than happy to assist you.
Quick Comparison: T2 vs. Ultra Zoom
Ankle Brace Design
- T2: Hinged design
- Ultra Zoom: Hinged-Cuff Design
- T2: Helps prevent low ankle injuries
- Ultra Zoom: Helps prevent low and high ankle injuries
- T2: Rigid Polypropylene
- Ultra Zoom: Flexible Performathane®