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Ankle weights make it easy to level up any workout you’re doing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re tackling an online yoga video or simply walking around the house—strap on a pair of ankle weights, and suddenly, you’re strength-training. “Ankle weights are a great way to easily add a challenge to your workouts,” Latoya Julce, CPT and trainer at 305 Fitness, says. Julce notes that ankle weights can make a great addition to both strength-training and cardio workouts. And since you don’t have to hold wearable weights, you can use them to tackle movements you might not be able to pull off with free weights.
Convinced you need to add a pair of ankle weights to your routine? We don’t blame you. Read on to learn more about the best ankle weights available now.
Best Overall: Bala Bangles
Bala Bangles aren’t just comfortable and practical—they’re also so cute they could double as accessories. Seriously, don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for excuses to wear them. The bangles weigh in at 1 pound apiece, though the brand also offers sets with 0.5-pound and 2-pound weights. And since you can wear them on your wrists or ankles, they’ll make a versatile addition to your fitness routine. Stock up on a set in a color you love, and throw them on during all your favorite exercises. Since the bangles are finished with a silicone coating, they’re durable enough to toss in your bag—and you can even take them into the pool.
Best Budget: BalanceFrom GoFit Adjustable Ankle Weights
BalanceFrom’s GoFit Wearable Weights are sleek, comfortable, and budget-friendly. And since they come in nine different weight options, you can easily find a set that meets your needs. The weights are crafted from moisture-wicking neoprene. So they promise to keep you feeling fresh and comfortable, even after you’ve worked up a sweat. Each wearable weight comes equipped with a velcro strap you can use to get a customized fit. And since BalanceFrom color-codes their weights, you can easily keep track of which weight is which—and see visual evidence of your progress over time.
Best for Beginners: BONA Fitness Ankle Weights
If you’re using wearable weights for the very first time, you’ll want a set that’s comfortable, breathable, and genuinely lightweight—and this one fits the bill perfectly. The weights are available in four pretty colors, and they come in weights ranging from 1 to 2.5 pounds (per weight). (Also nice: BONA Fitness jumps up in 0.5-pound increments, so you can go from 1-pound weights to 1.5-pound weights—and then to 2-pound weights.) The weights are crafted from stretchy, sweat-wicking lycra, so they're super comfortable—plus, since they’re lined with reflective details, they’re particularly great for walking and running.
Best Advanced: CAP Barbell Adjustable Ankle Weights
Most wearable weights cap out at 5 pounds apiece. But the CAP Barbell Adjustable Ankle Weights can reach weights up to 10 pounds apiece—giving you a total of 20 pounds to work with. Intimidated? Don’t be. The weights are adjustable, so you can start low and work your way up to 10 pounds over time. You can also change up your weight between exercises, making your go-to moves heavier and more challenging, and keeping already-tough moves on the lighter side.
Best Adjustable: Gymenist Ankle Weights
Many ankle weights are adjustable. But GYMENIST’s ankle weights give you more control than most. Each wearable weight comes lined with 10 different pockets you can slide metal bars into to increase your weight (or remove metal bars from to decrease it). Each set ships with 20 metal bars designed to fit inside these slots. Each metal bar weighs 0.5 pounds, so the total set can weigh anywhere from 0–10 pounds, depending on how many metal bars you’ve decided to use.
Best Comfortable: Fragraim Ankle Weights
Many wearable weights are made of neoprene, lycra, or silicone. But if you’re looking for a pair that will be genuinely soft and comfortable, you may want to try the Fraigraim Ankle Weights, instead. The weights are crafted from mercerized cotton, a material that promises to be soft, stretchy, and durable all at once. And since they’re filled with sand, they’ll hug your ankles in a way traditional metal weights just can’t. Use the adjustable velcro strap to customize your fit, and slip into these weights any time you need an added challenge. They come in weights ranging from 1 to 15 pounds apiece, so you can easily score a set that suits your needs.
Best Style: Equipt Movement UWrap Vegan Leather Weights
Crafted from vegan leather, EQUIPT’s UWrap Vegan Leather Weights look incredibly sleek—and they feel great on your ankles, too. The sleek, black weights are crafted from smooth polyurethane and are filled with small metal balls. Each one weighs 1.5 pounds, meaning a set will give you 3 pounds to work with. So slide these surprisingly stylish wearable weights onto your wrists or ankles the next time you want to make your workout a little tougher.
Best for Walking: P.volve Ankle Weight Set
P.volve’s Ankle Weights will look great over your favorite leggings—or your go-to gym socks. The versatile weights are crafted from soft, stretchy neoprene. And since they’re filled with sand, they’ll hug your ankles every time you strap them on. Each weight weighs 3 pounds, giving you a total of 6 pounds to work with. And since the weights were designed with lower-body exercises in mind, you can rest assured knowing they’ll stay securely in place during yoga routines, Pilates classes, and walks around the neighborhood.
Best for Yoga: Gaiam Fitness Ankle Weights
Gaiam is a best-in-class option for all kinds of yoga equipment. So it’s no surprise that the brand’s wearable weights rock. Crafted from a blend of polyester and neoprene, the weights promise to be comfortable to wear. And the built-in mesh panels will keep your ankles from overheating every time you work out. Choose between 2.5-pound weights and 5-pound weights, and snag a set that suits your needs. And strap them on to make your favorite yoga classes a little more challenging.
Best for HIIT: Tone It Up Ankle Weights
Tone It Up’s Ankle Weights will help you work up even more of a sweat during your next cardio session. The soft, stretchy weights are filled with sand. And since they fasten with velcro, they’ll offer a snug fit every time you strap them on. Each weight’s figure-8 shape will help the sand disperse evenly over your ankle, challenging you while keeping you comfortable. Snag a 5-pound set to score two 2.5-pound weights, and slide into them to toughen up all your favorite HIIT and cardio routines.
Ankle weights can make a great addition to any at-home fitness routine. And if you’re looking to score a pair of your own, you’ve got all kinds of options. Bala Bangles are a best-in-class option—and one you’ve probably seen all over Instagram. The wearable weights are so stylish you’ll be looking for excuses to slip them on, and you can rest assured knowing you’ll get a solid workout every time you do. If you’re looking for a budget-friendlier option, BalanceFrom’s GoFit Wearable Weights is a great pick. The soft weights come in a bunch of different sizes, so you can easily find a set that fits into your routine.
What to Look For When Buying Ankle Weights
Any time you’re buying free weights, weight should be a key consideration. (That is, after all, the entire point of the purchase.) Look for a set that feels consistent with your skill level. And if you’re really not sure where to start, snag an adjustable set with low entry-level weight, and work your way up over time.
Wearable weights can be made from all kinds of different materials—including silicone, cotton, neoprene, and more. If you want a softer set, look for weights crafted from fabric. And if you’d prefer something smoother, score a silicone option.
Some wearable weights are adjustable, meaning you can remove weighted bars from the weights to make them lighter—and add weighted bars to the weights to make them heavier. Not all wearable weights are adjustable. (In fact, a lot aren’t.) So if this a feature you’re interested in, be sure to keep an eye out for it.
What benefits do ankle weights have?
Ankle weights boast a few different benefits. For starters, they’re a convenient way to strength-train. “Ankle weights are a great addition to most workouts,” Latoya Julce, CPT and trainer at 305 Fitness, says. You can strap them on during cardio routines and strength-training workouts, and you can even use them to challenge your lower body during upper body-focused exercises. They’re also a great way to get a targeted lower-body workout. “[Ankle weights] can be a great tool for those looking to build their glutes,” Danny Saltos, a Los Angeles-based personal trainer, says.
Finally, you don’t have to hold ankle weights, so you can use them to tackle exercises you simply wouldn’t be able to do while holding free weights. For example, you could strap them on while running—or use them to make leg lifts more challenging.
How heavy should ankle weights be?
Whenever you’re weight-lifting, you want to make sure the weights you’re using are challenging enough to give you a good workout—but not so tough that you can’t maintain proper form while exercising. “The weights you use will depend on your fitness level and the routine being done,” Julce says. “If you are unsure of which weights to use, start small and build up.”
Are ankle weights safe?
Ankle weights are just as safe as any kind of free weight. If you use them the wrong way—or if you use weights that are too heavy—you can risk getting hurt. But if you use appropriate weights with proper form, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. When in doubt, talk to your primary care provider before tackling a new fitness routine. They can help you make sure you’re setting yourself up for success!
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Byrdie contributor Lindsey Lanquist has years of experience in the health and fitness space. And as an avid shopper, she knows what a bummer a bad product can be. That’s why she makes sure to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and widely beloved by those who've tried them.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any ankle weights from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.