Basketball: How to Choose your Basketball Shoes
Copywriter, J. Sisko | Date Updated on: 5-20-13
You play hard and you expect your basketball shoes to perform just as hard. But which shoe and which features are the optimum choice for you?
Quality basketball shoes should offer you durability, support, stability, flexibility and shock absorption for the constant starting, abrupt stopping, high jumps and quick side-to-side movements that are a part of the game.
When it comes to choosing basketball shoes, you should always factor in what position you play, which can make a big difference in the type of shoe you'll need:
If you're a shooting guard or point guard, you rely on speed and quickness to succeed on the court. You need to be constantly running and hitting jump shots. These activities can put a lot of stress on your knees and ankles. Guards like you should select lightweight, low-profile basketball shoes that feature an adequate amount of cushioning. It also helps to choose shoes that have ample amounts of support for stability and hard slashes to the basket.
If you're a small forward you need a basketball shoe that can handle the abrupt starting and stopping, vertical jumps, and lateral movements that occur in the course of a game. You need lightweight support in your basketball shoes for fast breaks to the hoop and responsive cushioning to help keep you quick on your feet. If speed is your game, low-profile basketball shoes that are built with excellent cushioning in a lightweight package will give you the best opportunity to succeed on the court.
If you're a power forward or center, you're required to grab rebounds and score points when you get close to the basket. You are constantly leaving your feet to rebound or score and then landing hard on the court. A good basketball shoe for taller, heavier players like you should have lots of ankle support and shock absorption. The bigger you are, the bigger your need for all the cushioning you can get from your sneakers.
Here's what some top players have to say about their shoes:
The Anatomy Of A Basketball Shoe
With basketball shoes, shoe construction is an important factor to understand. Inevitably, knowing the ins and outs of your shoe will help you make the most educated decision in choosing the right shoe features for your position and your personal physical needs in the game. Following is a breakdown of a typical basketball shoe:
Highs, Mids, Or Lows?
Legendary players like Larry Bird used to wear high-tops because they were the shoe of choice of power players and all-around players who prefered the stability of this style. However, this type of shoe is no longer readily available because of their lack of popularity in today's game. Mid-tops, like the Jordan FLT Club 91, are for guards who feel restricted in high-tops and use speed as their greatest asset. Low-tops, like the Nike Kobe 8 System worn by Kobe Bryant, are lighter but don't offer the built-in ankle support that high-tops or even mids do.
Today's basketball shoes feature lightweight combination uppers, which mix the stability and durability of synthetic leather with the breathability of mesh. High-tech, all-synthetic uppers are often more durable than leather and have gained popularity for their ability to offer stability in a super-lightweight shoe. Technologies like SPRINTFRAME in the adidas Rose 3.5 help to enhance the fit, feel, breathability and lockdown of the shoe. One of our customers says this about the Rose 3.5: "Out of this world comfort on these kicks. Really great court feel and very supportive!"
The midsole is located between the upper and the outsole and will impact the levels of cushioning and shock absorption in the shoe. It can also affect a player's ability to explode off the floor. Most midsoles are made of EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) that is compression-molded or injected to offer lightweight cushioning. Most brands also offer some form of cushioning technology like the Zoom™ units in the Nike Zoom Hyperdisruptor that are usually found in the heel and/or front of the shoe and provide an extra degree of cushioning without adding extra weight.
The outsole of a good basketball shoe should be flat and moderately wide to create a stable base and to help prevent ankle rollover. Outsoles will usually be made of a non-marking rubber material (except for outdoor basketball shoes). They often feature a herringbone pattern that gives additional traction on the hardwood like the outsole on the Under Armour Spine Bionic. Some basketball shoes even have outsoles that limit dust build-up to help prevent slipping!
Fitting Your Basketball Shoes
What's one of the most important factors in deciding if this is the right shoe for you? The fit. When trying on your basketball shoes, always allow a thumbnail's length of space between the top of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Your foot should fit comfortably over the midsole of the shoe, and the heel should be secure and not slip.
Many women prefer to wear men's basketball shoes because they feel there is a better selection. Women should generally order men's shoes a size and a half smaller than their normal shoe size. So, if you're a size 10, order a men's shoe in size 8.5.
When you play hard, you expect your shoes to perform as hard as you play. All the features and factors of basketball shoes — and you — make a big difference in the style of shoe that will meet up to those expectations on the court. No pair of shoes can make you a great basketball player. Improvement comes with talent, hard work and lots of practice. However, the right pair of basketball shoes can minimize risk of injury, increase traction on the court and keep you on the road to that next level.