Choosing the right pair of basketball shoes is a crucial aspect of becoming a true hooper. The pair of basketball shoes you wear can directly impact your in-game performance.
Some people believe that shoes only fulfill an aesthetic purpose, however, they are significantly important.Basketball shoes are also a hot fashion item. There are more brands offering basketball shoes than ever before. Some shoes can run in the hundreds of dollars.
But, it’s easy to find a good pair on a budget. Many older models offer the support and durability you need for the hardwood.
A good pair of basketball shoes can help prevent injury, improve your agility, and give you the traction you need depending on the surface you’re playing on. The three most important factors in determining your shoe selection are your play-style, your foot shape, and who you are in a physical sense.
In the following, we’ll cover the important aspects of picking out a great shoe. We’ll also make some recommendations based on your foot type and play-style.
When it comes to determining a shoe’s performance capacity, it essentially comes down to traction, support, and comfort. You want your basketball shoes to provide both support and comfort without sacrificing function.
• Laces: Flat or round laces are okay as long as you can ensure they remained tied at all times. Flat laces tend to offer more consistency. They are less likely to become untied. Other than that, it’s your own preference.
• Ankle area: There are three generally three types of basketball shoes with regards to ankle support. There are highs, mids, and lows. The name refers to how high the shoe material comes on your ankle. Mid-tops and high-tops provide the most ankle support. So, if you’re someone with recurring ankle issues, opt for a mid-top or high-top to provide you the structural support you need. Basketball shoes with ankle support are very important in preventing injury.
• Toe Box: The toe area should provide both range-of-motion and room for your toes to breathe. Otherwise, you might be dealing with some serious blisters.
• Midfoot Area: The midfoot should not be too tight while offering flexibility. You should choose a pair that will not bend in half but still offer slight pliability.
• Heel Area: This is important. Ensure that the shoes you choose have strong support around the feel. It should also feel comfortable and fit soundly around the heels of your feet.
Traction is so key! Depending on whether you play outdoors or indoors, traction can play a huge part in your lateral movement and court skills.
What to Look Out For:
• Material: The sole of your shoe should be made out of a material that does easily collect debris. You want to choose a shoe that doesn’t constantly have debris stuck to it.
• Patterns: The pattern on the soles of the shoes can give you a solid indication as to the shoe’s traction. You don’t want a pair that can easily collect dust as it can potentially lead to injury. Dusty shoes are slippery shoes.
• Shoe Shape: You want your pair of basketball shoes to follow along with the natural form of your foot. If you’re wearing orthotics, bring them with you whenever you go shoe shopping. Try the shoes on with them to ensure they’re a good and comfortable fit.
To check for these factors, try on the basketball shoes and make some basketball movements around the store.
Don’t worry, the salespeople should be used to this. It’s more important to make the right selection than worrying about how you look in front of others.
• Support: The support of the shoes should feel good on your feet. The amount of cushion and support the shoe provides directly correlates to the level of comfort and support.
• Width: You want a pair of basketball shoes that are snug enough so that your feet don’t easily slip out, but also not tight enough that it cuts your blood circulation. This is a great guide on basketball shoes for wide feet.
• Endomorph: These individuals are stockier with a softer build. If you have moderate muscle mass in proportion to your body fat, then you’re an endomorph. Think of a player like Zach Randolph.
• Mesomorph: Mesomorphs are both athletic and strong with ample body mass. Think Eric Bledsoe and LeBron James.
• Ectomorph: Ectomorphs are lean with minimal muscle mass. These individuals tend to be more prone to injury. Examples include Lonzo Ball and Kevin Durant.
• Facilitators: These players always have the ball in their hands. They are usually smaller, leaner players that rely on their agility and lateral movement. These type of players probably need more support with their shoes to make up for their lack of strength. They also need shoes to match their agility.
• Shooters/Slashers: These players really need traction. They are constantly making cuts and slashes towards the basket. They also rely on off-ball movements to get free for the catch and shoot style of play. Good traction is also key for players that focus on the defensive aspect of their game.
• Post Players/Big Men: If you’re a post player, you’re more than likely to be a bigger player. Post up specialists tend to be larger and slower. These larger players place a premium on support and comfort with their shoes to ensure their shoes don’t lead to any physical issues with the rest of their body.
Although there is more that goes into the shoe selection process, this is an excellent starting point. Ultimately, you know your feet best and this should serve as a rough guide to help you make a great selection.
Keep in mind that when you’re looking at certain players’ signature shoes, those shoes are specifically designed for those players. They are not made for you.
To give you a good example, Stephen Curry’s line of shoes are designed to provide excellent ankle support for ectomorph ball-handlers. He’s had a history of ankle issues and it shows in the shoe’s design.
We hope this guide serves you well on your path to hardwood greatness!