If you have recurring ankle problems or if you’re having a hard time finding an ankle brace that you like, the Ankle Roll Guard might just be a solution for you.
Buy the Ankle Roll Guard here for $34.99
The Ankle Roll Guard is a product that can be used as an alternative to traditional ankle braces and wraps. There are several benefits that the Ankle Roll Guard offers over traditional braces and wraps — the main one being that it provides the same protection against sprains as a traditional brace while retaining ankle mobility.
This product is currently being independently tested at Boise State University and so far studies have shown that the Roll Guard provides “equivalent inversion protection to an external brace and closed basket weave (standard) ankle tape.”
We took a minute to talk to the owner and inventor of the Ankle Roll Guard, Chris Dean, to give us a little insight into how he came up with the product and what inspired him to make it a reality.
Can you tell us how this idea came about, what inspired you, and how you made an idea become reality?
I love playing and watching basketball and over the past 20 years, I’ve probably sprained each ankle over a dozen times…mostly from “rolling” it. So in 2006, I came up with the idea to prevent or limit the rolling action while watching an NBA game. I can’t remember the player, but he rolled his ankle and I thought, “why can’t there be a product that cushions the ankle as it starts to invert?” After that, I started to draw up designs and make prototypes in my garage. I tried several prototypes out on the court and was happy with the results.
From there I investigated if there were any similar products on the market or an existing patent but found nothing. So I applied for a patent in 2007 and it was issued in 2010 (U.S. Patent No. 7,849,611). Once I had a patent, I hired a professional sports medicine designer and we had the first marketable product in 2011. After getting customer feedback on that design, we went back to the drawing board and developed the current design we are selling today. We had lots of feedback that went into making the current Armor1 Ankle Roll Guard…make it less bulky, sleeker, more durable, etc.
I’m proud of the product we sell now as it has helped so many people in sports and in the medical space (chronic ankle instability, stroke, Parkinson’s, MS, ankle surgery, etc.).
For those who have only been using traditional ankle braces, how would you explain to them, using an elevator pitch, why your product is better?
The Armor1 Ankle Roll Guard is a patented, brace-less ankle support that prevents sprains by cushioning the ankle from an inversion or “roll.” Unlike conventional ankle braces, the Armor1 wraps securely around the outside of any shoe type and allows you to retain full ankle mobility & comfort. It provides ankle stability, balance, and protection if you have weak ankles, tend to frequently roll your ankles, or have a neuromuscular disorder.
What was the hardest aspect of designing/producing the Ankle Roll Guard? What was your biggest obstacle?
Making a product that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Our early designs were always described as “bulky” and ugly but I was always concerned with providing enough protection. So we finally designed the perfect compliment of both in the Armor1 Ankle Roll Guard.
As mentioned in the review, we think the Roll Guard is a great product that works extremely well. In what ways do you think it can improve for future iterations?
We receive feedback from customers that they want different colors so that is on the horizon. Also, we are always looking at the under sole strap material and different types of materials that are both extremely thin and abrasive resistant. We have tried Kevlar, “Super Fabric,” nylon, etc. but nothing lasts as long as what we use now…tarpaulin (yes Kevlar can stop a bullet but is not very abrasive resistant!). We are also working on new designs as part of our Idaho State grant (IGEM) to look at ways to improve functionality, usability, and aesthetics.
What’s next for you? Any plans for new products/inventions?
We are working on new designs and have several ideas that possibly use the internet of things (IOT). Still in design and can’t go into much detail as we may be filing more patents. In our very next design though, we are looking at making it even sleeker and lighter.