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The most effective workouts are all about variety. How can you continue to throw different exercises, angles and training methods at your body to constantly challenge it, ensuring it never gets too comfortable? Incorporating different fitness tools is a great place to start. And if lower body strength and working out at home are both priorities for you, we recommend snagging a pair of the best ankle weights.
Ankle weights can be a great supplement to a workout routine, but with the right exercises, they can also be a workout until themselves, helping you to combine strength training and cardio
SPY’s product testers have been reviewing the best ankle weights for the past several months, and we’ve gathered our favorite options for you below.
What Are Ankle Weights?
Small and easily stored, these handy little training tools securely wrap around your ankles and weigh between 1 and 10 pounds, although it is possible to find heavier options. The best ankle weights are sold in sets of two, and the best ankle weights come with adjustable pouches that allow for more versatility. Many ankle weights can also double as wrist weights, depending on their design. Ankle weights are designed to be strapped to your legs and worn while running, walking or exercising.
Ankle weights are a useful add-on for many workout routines, whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced athlete.
The Best Ankle Weights for 2022
1. Sportneer TrainNTrack Smart Ankle Weights
Best For: Everyday workouts, adding resistance to walks and runs, tracking your steps and movement
Why We Chose It: Very comfortable, durable construction, fit is easy to adjust and smart mechanisms worked better than anticipated
We were skeptical of Sportneer’s “smart” ankle weights before testing them, but they delivered. While the smart capabilities — tracking steps, an app with workouts — aren’t necessary, and might not be used by the average fitness enthusiasts, the fit of these smart weights is excellent. The material they’re made of is super soft, and the cushioning around the weights makes them very comfortable to wear. The Velcro is on the outside of the weights, so it doesn’t come into contact with your skin, and they slipped minimally while working out.
We will say that our editors didn’t love the guided classes on the Sportneer app. They lead you through a series of simple exercises you could very easily do on your own without instruction, and the classes are led by a computerized voice rather than a real human.
- Very comfortable to wear
- Smart capabilities can help you track your steps and movement
- Size and fit are both easy to adjust
- More expensive
- Sportneer app underdelivers
Available Weights: 2 pounds, 3 pounds, 4 pounds and 5 pounds
2. Gaiam Ankle Weights
Best For: Everyday and long term use, as well as folks looking for a heavier ankle weight that’s still comfortable to wear
Why We Chose It: Gaiam has made an incredibly comfortable and ergonomic ankle weight, with very few pain points even after long term use
1-2 pound ankle weights are excellent for beginners or those looking to just add a touch of resistance to everyday activities. However, if you’re ready to uplevel and don’t want to sacrifice on comfort, these ankle weights from Gaiam are an excellent option. They come in 5 and 10 pound weights and are still very comfortable to wear. They’re made with soft fleece material on the inside along with athletic mesh for proper ventilation, and the velcro sticks out and attaches on the outside, so there’s no discomfort from it rubbing up against your skin.
They don’t slip around nearly as much as other, lighter options because of the thickness and of the weight itself and strength of the velcro, and they’re very easy to attach and adjust the size of.
- Very comfortable to wear despite heavier weight
- Sleek design that looks athletic but not bulky or misshapen
- Easy to adjust the size, velcro is entirely on the outside of the ankle weight
- Only come in heavier weights, not necessarily for beginners
- Aren’t available in many color options
Available Weights: 5 pounds, 10 pounds
3. EQUIPT UWrap 1.5 pound Vegan Leather Wrist Wraps
Best For: Comfort and style, rather than pragmatic athleticism, in your ankle weights
Why We Chose It: These wrist/ankle weights surprised us in how comfortable they were to wear, and are a great pic for those trying to avoid looking too dorky
Part of the appeal of ankle and wrist weights is they’re small and can be worn in everyday life, as opposed to a set of dumbbells that can only be used during a workout. These wrist weights from EQUIPT can easily be worn on your ankles during a workout, and definitely surprised us in how well they’re made and comfortable they are to wear. They’re made of soft vegan leather and have a long Velcro strap that attaches them to your body and was the easiest one to adjust out of all the ankle weights we’ve tried thus far.
They were designed with style in mind so you can wear them all day without needing to hide them, and they definitely deliver in this pursuit. The black leather is super classy, and definitely looks cool. It’s worth noting that leather is not the material you want to be wearing in a super sweaty yoga class, or on an outdoor run on a hot day. However, these weights are perfect for a cool morning walk, a barre or pilates class, or gifting to someone who loves light exercise.
- Surprisingly comfortable
- Soft faux leather feels high-quality
- Velcro strap is long and easy to adjust, so you can customize the size to your liking
- Much more affordable price tag than other luxe or style-oriented options on this list
- Material isn’t designed for wicking sweat or temperature regulation
Available Weights: 1.5 pounds
4. Bala Bangles
Best For: Splurging on an IG-worthy pair of ankle weights that also get the job done
Why We Chose It: These are worth the hype, and like the EQUIPT pair, are a great option if you hate the look of other ankle weights
If liking how your ankle weights look on your body is going to help you use them more consistently, then this pair from Bala might be worth the investment. Our Senior E-Commerce Editor, Taylor Galla, already owned these when we started testing and has enjoyed using them for years. Overall, they’re worth the hype. The exterior of the weight chain is made of durable material, and after years of use they still basically look brand new.
The Velcro attachment allows for a customized fit, although the Velcro does occasionally rub up against skin due to how they’re designed which can be uncomfortable. Our testing pair, after years of use, has also lost some of its elasticity so a few of the weights are further apart than they were when Galla first purchased them. However, they still work as intended and don’t look any different once attached.
They’re expensive, and you by no means need them to reap the same benefits you could with a $25 pair of weights, but if you’re looking for an *aesthetic* look while walking and running, they’re a great option. Their material is also designed for fitness and performance, making it more sweat-friendly and comfortable to wear during intense exercise.
- Look great while you’re wearing them
- Even weight distribution throughout your whole ankle due to the design
- Available in fun, pastel colors
- Velcro touches skin
- Elastic wears out over time
Available Weights: 1 pound, 2 pounds
5. adidas Ankle and Wrist Weights
Best For: Use as ankle and wrist weights, as they’re lightweight and comfortable enough to be worn as either one
Why We Chose It: adidas has designed a true ankle/wrist weight that’s comfortable to wear on either, doesn’t slip and is lightweight for beginners
adidas’ ankle weights are slightly less comfortable to wear due to the block weight design that can cause pain points after wearing them for more than 20-30 minutes. However, they make up for it with a fleece-lined interior and a secure velcro strap that wraps around the weight, securing it in place and preventing movement. This design feels very similar to the EQUIPT ankle weights and works well.
These weights can be worn on either the ankles or the wrists, and they didn’t slip throughout working out in both positions. They’re available in 1 or 2 pound varieties, so you’ve got lightweight options, and they’re very easy to pack or store due to their compact size.
- Lightweight and don’t slip
- Athletic fleece-lined interior
- Long velcro strap that secures them in place
- Block weight design is chunky and can lead to corners rubbing up against your skin
Available Weights: 1 pound or 2 pounds
6. Sportneer Adjustable Ankle Weights
Best For: Athletes looking for an affordable pair of ankle weights available via Amazon Prime
Why We Chose It: Sportneer makes some of our favorite budget gym equipment, and these adjustable ankle weights are worth the investment
Sportneer also offers these adjustable ankle weights, and although they don’t have the same smart capabilities as the pair above, they are a solid option nonetheless. This popular option is universally sized and easy to extend or shorten. A sturdy exterior provides long-lasting quality (one of our editors has had this set of ankle weights for over a year), but also a soft and breathable feel ensures that your skin is happy through the most rigorous workouts.
The adjustable aspect offers tons of variety, such as usage on arms or wrists, and users can gradually increase or decrease weight without needing to purchase multiple pairs. This model is weighted with flexible sand inserts. Although they’re not quite as comfortable as luxe picks from brands such as Gaia or Bala, it’s comfortable enough for athletes.
- Universal fit
- Velcro straps are easy to adjust and stay secure
- Adjustable weight up to 5 pounds on each leg
- Weights can slip around your legs as you move
Available Weights: 1 pound, 2 pounds, 3 pounds, 4 pounds and 5 pounds
More Ankle Weights
The rest of the weights on this list are ones our team is still in the process of fully testing, and we’ll continue to update this guide with additional ankle weight reviews. Until then, peruse our other picks for the best ankle weights of 2022 below.
7. REEHUT Durable Ankle Weights
These ankle weights are made of breathable mercerized cotton with an interior that absorbs sweat. A sturdy velcro strap ensures that your weights won/t be uncomfortably bouncing around throughout your activity. Although the velcro has a powerful hold, these weights are easy to take on and off, and one reviewer even wears them under socks for convenient daily use.
8. The Cuff Original Adjustable Ankle Weight
These trendy color-coded ankle weights from The Cuff don’t just look good — they get the job done, too. Unlike many nylon or neoprene accessories, these weights won’t absorb sweat and are easy to clean thanks to a vinyl exterior that is double stitched for extra resilience. The options on these sets make your workout completely customizable, and this brand is one of the only to offer sets with a rack for hanging.
9. Nordic Lifting Ankle Weights
MOST COMFORTABLE PICK
If comfort and decadence are what you’re looking for, these pillowy weights are without a doubt the choice to make. The velcro closure pad is larger than most, and a subtle reflective trim is a sleek integration of an important safety feature. These weights also come with a complimentary carry bag for easy portability. Anyone troubled by thin or plasticky materials will quickly love this thick alternative, which is used by both professional athletes and those new to fitness.
10. Day 1 Fitness Ankle/Wrist Weights
BEST BUDGET PICK
These ankle/wrist weights from Day 1 Fitness come with a modest price tag and superior quality. They’re designed to be comfortable, ergonomic and are designed for building strength with weight progression options between 0.5 lbs and 10 lbs. They have extra fabric to help avoid chafing and the adjustable straps have a setting that will fit most people. The straps are also reinforced so they won’t give out mid-workout, and the whole weight is made with breathable fabric that’ll absorb sweat and prevent slipping.
How We Tested The Best Ankle Weights
Testing ankle weights involved a less technical process than some of our other reviews, but there are key performance indicators we were still looking for, and assessments we were making to ensure they were up to our standards for recommendation.
Our Senior E-Commerce Editor Taylor Galla, who has over 3 years of experience testing and reviewing fitness equipment, used them during her regular daily workouts, assessing their fit, how comfortable they are when you first put them on versus 40 minutes into a workout, how adjustable the fit is and how they stand up to sweat. We worked out in each pair for at least an hour, excluding the Bala Bangles which got far more testing time due to the fact that our editor already owned them, and has been using them for years with minimal complaints.
Here’s the specific criteria we were using to create our rankings:
- Comfort/Fit: The most important judgement criteria was definitely the fit and how comfortable the weights are to wear. The nature of ankle weights as a product category is they’re meant to be easy to wear whilst doing other things, and comfort plays a large role in that.
- Materials/Durability: Another key judgement criteria, that’s true of nearly all fitness equipment, is how durable the materials are. Working out is a rigorous activity, and the equipment we use to get it done needs to be able to withstand all that intense use in order to be worth the price.
- Ease of Use: This is a bit of a vague category, but overall we were looking for how easy the ankle weights are to use. Are they easy to get on and off? Easy to store? Do they move with you during your workout or are they stiff?
We also awarded extra points to ankle weights that come in a wide range of weights as opposed to just 1-2 choices, as well as ankle weights that allow for weight adjustments and increments within a single pair. All of this is what led us to the rankings above.
The Best Ankle Weight Exercises
An alternative to other heavy-duty strength training tools like barbells and dumbbells, ankle weights often appear in workout routines for building glute and hip strength. But they also can aid in a more clinical sense as well, like improving walking gait and balance in older adults. And because they’re so light and easy to transport or stow, ankle weights are perfect for home workouts that don’t require a ton of equipment.
When shopping for ankle weights, some factors to consider are comfort, weight and what kind of activity is being completed. There are many differently weighted options out there that can be chosen according to your fitness level.
Our team has tested three pairs of ankle weights, and are continuing to test more as we lean into more hands-on reviews of fitness equipment. We’ve included them below, as well as other top brands we’re looking to test next, that our editors have deemed approved for coverage.
If you’re looking to make your home workouts more intense, it’s time to invest in a pair of ankle weights.
1. Superman Exercise
Superman holds are deceptively tough and great for engaging your core and lower back. Though they’re traditionally performed with only your body weight, a set of ankle weights (or two, if you want to strap them onto your ankles and wrists), will add an extra challenge. To perform the superman exercise, lie on your stomach with your arms extended above your head. Lift your arms and legs off the ground as far as you can. You should feel your lower back and glutes engage to support the movement. Hold for 30 seconds, then rest before repeating.
2. Flutter Kicks
Ankle weights lend themselves particularly well to pretty much every ab exercise. Our personal favorite ankle weight ab exercise, though, is the humble flutter kick. They’re tough enough on their own, but it’s pretty tough to add any kind of weight during flutter kicks. Dumbbells are too heavy and won’t stay in place. Resistance bands could work, but finding something to anchor them to is tricky. Ankle weights are perfect for flutter kicks, because your ankles are driving the exercise.
Lie flat on your back with your palms facing the ground under your butt, creating a platform for your body to rest on. Now, when you position your body in a straight line, your legs will hover above the ground. With your legs extended, alternate lifting each leg up and down in a back-and-forth kicking motion. You should really feel your lower abs doing the work here.
3. Glute Kickbacks
On a quest for a better butt? Well, ankle weights are a favorite among those building strength in their glutes. Those types of exercises tend to enlist steady, targeted movements you can do on your living room floor. The glute kickback is a particularly convenient exercise made even more effective with the help of some ankle weights. To perform, begin on your hands and knees. Keeping your knee bent, push your leg upwards with the sole of your foot moving toward the ceiling. Your glutes should drive that pushing motion. Repeat on both legs for reps.
OK, so burpees are already absolutely brutal. A few sets of 10 reps will have you gasping for air and your body feeling the burn. But if a bodyweight burpee somehow isn’t enough of a challenge for you, try performing it with ankle weights on your wrists and legs. Since burpees rely on all four of your limbs, the added weight will make a huge difference. Begin by standing in a neutral, athletic position. Lower your arms to the ground, then kick your legs back so you enter a high plank. Drop your body to the ground, push up, then spring your legs forward so you can stand up and jump toward the sky. It’s a multi-faceted exercise that should be performed quickly to reap the benefits. Check out the video below for a visual demonstration.
5. Ankle Weight Workout
If you want to create a bigger circuit of ankle weight exercises, check out this awesome video from YouTuber Dale Findley. He makes incredibly effective use of a couple of pairs of ankle weights, performing exercises that target the entire body, while paying particular attention to the abs and legs. He also incorporates some cardio exercises that can help you burn calories and fat. Seriously, if you need the perfect ankle weight exercises starter pack, look no further.
Updates: On July 15, 2022 we added reviews for two additional ankle weights done by our team: Gaiam’s ankle weights and adidas’ ankle and wrist weights. Both of these pairs of weights were high-quality enough to earn a spot in our rankings, based on the materials, construction and performance during testing. Gaiam’s ankle weights became one of our top 3 picks, and adidas earned the 5th spot overall.
On June 22, 2022, we added reviews for four ankle weights tested by our team. Based on our testing, we revamped the overall product selection for this product guide and added additional information on the benefits of this workout equipment. We also selected new “Best Overall,” “Runner Up,” and “Best Splurge” products: Sportneer TrainNTrack Smart Weights, EQUIPT’s ankle weights and the Bala Bangles. We will continue to update this guide as we test and review additional products.