9 Expert Tips To Choose Basketball Shoes You Need To Know!
Like many sports, basketball involves a lot of running, jogging, and fast direction switches that require special shoes. If you’re a basketball player or if you just like playing for fun, you probably already know why finding the right athletic shoe is a very important decision.
Who would want to risk getting injured or performing poorly during a game, right? So, I’m here to help you with some valuable tips to choose the right basketball shoes. Keep reading and let’s get started!
Tips To Choose the Right Basketball Shoes You Need to Know :
Choose the perfect size.
You should never assume your shoe size as what you’re used to since the shape of your feet can change. Have both your feet measured professionally in a sports shoe store. You can use these measurements to ask experts or shoe store attendants about the correct shoe size for you.
If you’re buying online, you can compare the dimensions of the shoes indicated on the website and see which size can accommodate your feet’s measurements.
If you are buying from a store, you should try the shoes on, even better with socks so you can estimate the right allowance and fit. Test if the shoes are the right length by feeling your large toe with your thumb. There should be a little space between your toe and the end of the shoe, about a third of an inch at least.
The right fit should be snug, not too tight but not too large, either, as the extra space can cause your feet to move around too much, leading to pain while playing.
You can also walk, jog, or run around in the shoes to make sure that your heel does not slip. This will give you a better idea of how tight the shoes will be when you use them.
Another thing to remember about shoe size is that men’s shoe sizes differ from women’s. Shoes specifically designed for women are narrower. Therefore, if you’re a woman and you end up with men’s shoes, the extra shoe width can compromise your stability and level of comfort.
Consider your preference and playing style when picking the right shoe cut.
There are three kinds of shoe cuts: high-, mid-, or low-cut.
High-cut shoes have extended and usually padded ankle collars. High-tops are preferred by 70% of players, especially power players and all-around players, because they offer maximum ankle support. They also give you a more traditional look.
Mid-cut shoes, on the other hand, go up to the ankle level and are great for those who find high-tops restrictive. Mid-tops also work well for players whose assets are their speed.
Low-tops with low ankle collars are worn by the least number of players, only about 10%. These are great for regular play because although they are lighter, they don’t give as much ankle support as high-tops.
Based on the Pro Tips from experts in Dick’s Sporting Goods, choosing the shoe cut is largely based on player preference. However, aggressive power players often opt for supportive high-tops while speed players like low-tops.
Pay attention to the material used for the upper, which determines your shoes’ durability.
Basketball shoe uppers can be made with genuine leather, synthetic leather, canvas, and many other materials. Synthetic leather is the most common, which is lighter and more durable than real leather. Genuine leather also tends to be deformed out of shape.
Although leather is considered the most durable upper material for the longest time, it’s now being replaced by many others. Some of these include combination uppers that are not only lightweight but also combines the flexibility and breath-ability of synthetic mesh with the durability and stability of leather.
All-synthetic uppers developed through many new technologies are now even more durable than leather, offer more stability, and are super-lightweight.
Choose a good closure or lock down system to keep your feet safe and secure.
The next thing you should look for is a good closure system. These will protect and secure your feet during running, quick turns, side-to-side movements, or sudden stops. Sports shoes come with four general types of closure systems: laces, straps, zippers, or Velcro.
Laces, probably the most common of all, offer acceptable stability for your feet. Some manufacturers and companies are now offering or developing new lacing patterns or systems designed to provide more foot stability and security. A good lacing system should be easy to tie, have locks to keep the laces in place, and must not be prone to loosening or untying.
The next choice is strapping, which is, which are featured in several shoe models. For maximum protection and stability to prevent ankle rollover, straps should wrap around the shoes’ upper arch.
Zippers as closure systems are fairly recent but also function well in securing your feet in place. To avoid cutting or bruising your or your fellow player’s skin, zippers are often covered or hidden by a flap of protective fabric or other materials.
Lastly, Velcro closing systems are recommended for people who find tying their shoes difficult, such as children or persons with disabilities. These are the least reliable in terms of staying closed and do not offer the best support either.
Go for comfortable and supportive midsoles.
The midsole is a soft layer of material between the upper and the outsole, where your feet will rest and step on. It is an important part of any shoe. The material used and the construction of the midsole affects how the shoe absorbs impact.
Many shoes for basketball also feature paddings for cushioning your feet upon landing, or special heel plates for additional support. You usually cannot find these features in other kinds of athletic shoes, like tennis shoes or running shoes. You can often find these, however, in football shoes and basketball sneakers.
The midsole is made of cushioning materials like regular EVA, Compressed EVA, polyurethane, or a combination of these. EVA is lightweight and soft but is not very durable or stable. Compressing it, however, makes it more durable. Polyurethane or PU is a denser, more durable cushioning material than EVA. It provides great stability but is much heavier.
Some brands and companies like Adidas, Reebok have exclusive patented cushioning materials and technologies that combine these materials. These features are often located in the forefoot and heel of the shoes. The main goal is to add cushioning, support, and stability, without adding too much weight.
When it comes to stability and motion control, stiff materials used in the midsole or the medial and inner sides of shoes prevent the feet from rolling inward.
Cushioning materials that are more denser can also be added in the middle part of the midsole to increase stability. However, a midsole cushion that’s too thick can also compromise stability. Therefore, look for a sufficient but thin cushion layer to keep your feet supported and stable.
Shock Absorption is Key.
Another shoe feature that’s very important for all basketball players of any skill level is shock absorption. This also depends on the midsole material. EVA and PU are both responsive foam paddings. Meaning, they offer a level of shock absorption.
Some basketball sneakers also have sock liners or inner textile liners that promote good fit, moisture wicking, and shock absorption.
Leading footwear brands like Nike also offer built-in air pockets that absorb and distribute or dissipate shock from impacts of the foot with the court floor. Although this could mean some added weight, it can increase your comfort level while playing and prevent certain injuries.
Choose a good quality outsole.
The outsole is the material, usually rubber, that makes up the bottom of shoes. A good pair of basketball footwear should have a flat and slightly wide outsole. This creates a stable base and helps stop your ankles from rolling over.
Pick shoes with outsoles that meet your needs. The sole’s surface is usually made with patterns that offer traction by gripping the floor.
You should look for a good tread or pattern. Often, shoes have spirals, circles, zigzags, or herringbone patterns. The most common is the herringbone pattern, which offers traction that keeps your feet steady during quick movements.
The outsole also determines whether or not a pair of shoes is specifically made for outdoor or indoor play. Although most shoes are designed for playing basketball indoors, there are some models with heavier, more durable out-soles for outdoor court games.
Outsoles also influence a player’s ability to execute swift, multi-directional movements and complicated footwork. Aside from herringbone patterns, modern basketball sneakers also feature hexagonal patterns that provide extra traction on specific key zones along the outsole surface.
Make your statement loud and bold.
Aside from protecting your feet, your shoes are also your way of completing your outfit and making a statement. Basketball shoes are no exception. They usually come in combinations of vibrant and bold prints and colors, making them look pretty lit and stylish both inside and outside the court.
This also shows on how your favorite players and NBA icons design their signature shoes from personal inspirations. In fact, Lebron James once designed a pair by taking inspiration from the car he used to drive in high school.
So, you can pick one pair for actual playing in the court and another one for casual wear on the streets, or buy a pair that functions well for both. Either way, choose a style and design that speaks your personality.
Consider your playing style.
Lastly and most importantly, choose your shoes based on your playing style. Lightweight shoes that offer medium cushion, support, and flexibility are recommended for all-around and speedy players. Power players, on the other hand, need heavier shoes that give optimum cushion, ankle support, and stability.
Low-cut shoes work better for quick players while high-tops are best for power player and post players. High-top shoes provide good support and balance and also prevent twisting of your ankles. However, they also tend to be much heavier. If you want something in between, mid-tops are the ones for you.
Here are the specific playing types and the right shoe characteristics for each (5):
- Facilitators or Distributors
This role means you’re constantly running the floor. So, you’ll need shoes that fit perfectly and are secured by a good lock down or closure system. Your shoes should also be cushioned well for your comfort. You’ll also need superior traction to prevent you from slipping while you run.
- High Flyers, Scorers, Slashers, or All-around players
All-around players require all-around shoes, something that allows you to move freely on the court. The most important features are fit or closure, and traction. These will allow quick stops, starts, or changes of direction.
Lateral support and arch support also help keep your feet and heel in place. Also, you need a level of cushion for stability and comfort. You also need as much and as even protection from impact as possible.
- Power Players or All-Around Players
Lebron James is a good example of a power player, who can do almost everything as a player. The most important attributes of shoes for power players are fit and security. You also need good support, cushioning, traction, and everything else that’s available.
Think of it this way: if you can do anything, your shoes must keep up with your pace.
- Post Players
Post players are responsible for blocking shots, crashing the boards, and backing down opponent players. The shoes for this role need to fit perfectly and securely.
Torsional, lateral, and heel support is also important for preventing over-extension of your arch and injuries during powerful and fast movements. Cushioning in the heel, forefoot, or both enhance responsiveness and impact absorption.
I know these tips seem overwhelming, difficult or time-consuming to follow on the dot, but try your best and you will find a life-changing pair of shoes. These tips made such a difference for me; I hope sharing them with you can help you, too.