Basketball shoes
Last updated: 08/13/2020

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Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, with nearly 500 million players. The top competitions in the U.S. and in Europe also make it one of the disciplines that generate the greatest economic income. This is also due to the international media coverage of its most famous stars.

You need two essential things to play basketball: a ball and a basket. But there is a third element that is fundamental for all players to perform at their best: basketball shoes. This footwear is tailored to this sport and will allow you to truly enjoy it.

Key Facts

  • Basketball shoes are one of the sporting goods that most receive investment in technological development from manufacturers.
  • The floor of basketball courts requires soles to present specific characteristics.
  • Comfort is essential, as are design and technology, to get the most out of your basketball shoes.

Our Selection of the Best Basketball Shoes on the U.S. Market

In the section below, you’ll discover our very own selection of the most popular basketball shoes on the market. We’ll tell you all about their characteristics, which will help you pick the model that best fits your needs. If you want to offer basketball shoes to someone, you’ll be able to discover various designs.

Best Overall Basketball Shoes

The Nike Air Visi Pro VI are Amazon’s Choice in the category, and they have received excellent reviews from the basketball community. These mid-cut basketball shoes are a great all-round choice, providing comfort, breathability and shock absorption. Their rubber sole will allow you to play both indoor and outdoor, so you can switch from regular basketball to streetball or 3-on-3. They’re stylish too and come in two different colors.

Best Women’s Basketball Shoes

Female players have praised the quality of these Under Armour Jet, and this is why they are now Amazon’s Choice for women’s basketball shoes. Their mid-top cut gives them the versatility many players need, providing safety and comfort to the ankle while giving freedom of movement for quick plays. Available in two color combinations, they feature a rubber sole with grooved patterns to offer more stability and traction.

Best High-Cut Basketball Shoes

The Adidas Pro Bounce are designed for players who need maximum support on their ankles. If you’re a center or recovering from an injury down there, these basketball shoes are exactly what you need. Made from breathable materials, they’re still light so you don’t have to give up on mobility either. The bounce cushioning integrated into the sole provides greater stability and flexibility when you’re getting that rebound.

Best Low-Cut Basketball Shoes

We could have said that the Under Armour Spawn line featured the best design, but these basketball shoes first and foremost offer incredible performance. Extra padding throughout the footwear increases comfort and support, while the mesh parts are designed to be breathable and supple. The soles present traction patterns that will help you start, change directions and stop faster than ever.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Basketball Shoes

There are many questions to be asked when it comes to buying your own basketball shoes. We’ll talk about some key criteria in our final section, but first we want to give you more information on specific aspects of this footwear. You will learn more about their care and cleanliness, and even the importance of the great figures of the sport in promoting technological progress.

American teenage boy tying his shoelaces on a basketball court

The sole is a key component of these shoes, as they need to absorb shocks to prevent injuries.
(Source: Rawpixel: 99217101/ 123rf.com)

What are basketball shoes exactly?

This type of sports footwear is specifically manufactured to play basketball. Whenever you practice a sport, it is important you wear shoes that will allow you to perform at the highest possible level. It is no different with basketball.

One of the main specificities of these shoes is easily detected at a glance. They feature a high-top design to provide greater support to the ankle, protecting it from potential sprains and other injuries. Generally padded, the sole of the shoe is also key to take care of your foot’s sole.

In what other disciplines are basketball shoes used?

In addition to basketball, this footwear can also be used in other sports disciplines with similar roots. These other versions of basketball are played on smaller courts for a variety of reasons — to adapt it to young children starting basketball, for instance. Here’s a table with these different variations:

Mini basketball Streetball 3&#215 3 basketball
It is practiced by children under the age of 11. This is a one-on-one between two players. Two teams of three play against each other.
More than for competition, it is designed to teach the basics of basketball. Played on the streets, it is an element of hip-hop culture. The court is half a regular court and a single hoop is used.
The size of the court, the hoop, and the ball are all smaller. It features spectacular dunks, feints, and ankle breakers. This discipline is designed for the Olympic Games.
Some rules change (there are no 3-point shots, for example). Certain rules of basketball aren’t followed, such as double dribbles. There are several differences with the original rules of basketball.

How important is the material of the shoes?

The materials used to manufacture basketball shoes ultimately determine their overall performance. They also strongly influence the footwear’s useful life and your comfort when wearing them. Some high-quality materials are too heavy and will reduce your movements. Ideally, you should opt for a light yet durable material.

Breathability is another fundamental criterion when you play a sport as demanding as basketball. Strategically placed in certain parts of the footwear, mesh or other light materials will allow for better transpiration and your feet will feel more at ease.

Getting ready for a good game!

Remember to store your shoes in a dry place once you’ve washed them.
(Source: Bernard Bodo: 75900320/ 123rf.com)

How can I prevent my shoes from slipping?

A basketball player should be able to turn, change direction, stop, and block very quickly. If your shoes become slippery, you won’t be able to do any of the above, which will very much impact your overall performance. Here are some tricks to help you keep your shoes nice and grippy:

  • Place adhesive tape under your shoes before you play. This will remove any dust and dirt from your sole.
  • Put hair spray on the soles. This will create a thin adherent layer that will improve grip.
  • Apply any liquid to the sole and dry it with a cloth. You will remove dirt and gain in traction.
  • Wet your fingers with saliva and pass them over your sole. This might be a revolting solution, but it will help you in emergency situations.
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Did you know that basketball was invented in 1891 by physics teacher James Naismith?

How does technology influence basketball shoes?

The world’s leading sports equipment manufacturers invest a great deal of money, time, and effort in improving their products. This fierce battle leads to constant technological advances that are added to new models, increasing their quality, performance, and eye-catching designs.

This continuous desire to better the footwear has caused the improvement of cushioning, durability and resistance, as well as comfort and lightness. Air units are integrated into the insole and gel is added to the base to enhance cushioning. Certain models are made of microfiber.

Young man on basketball court dribbling with ball. Vintage mood

You have to choose the basketball shoes that best suit your tastes and needs.
(Source: Michal Bednarek: 32104267/ 123rf.com)

How should I clean my basketball shoes?

If you want to keep your basketball shoes in good condition and increase their durability, you should ideally clean them after every use. In addition to hand-washing, you might have to be more meticulous with parts where dirt or small stones can stick. In that case, you can use a brush or a toothpick. Here are some guidelines:

  • Hand wash your shoes using a small brush and soap or mild detergent.
  • Scrub the dirty areas with a brush or cloth and soap.
  • Scrub the soles with a toothbrush with toothpaste and soaked in warm water. A toothpick can access small dents and remove dirt.
  • Rinses with a clean, soft cloth that you’ve humidified.
  • Dry the wet zones with a cloth and leave the shoes in an aired place to complete the process, but never in the sun.
  • Store your shoes in a bag or a dry place, once you’ve made sure they’re not wet anymore.
Basketball court with ball and shoes

You are advised to clean your shoes with a small brush and mild soap.
(Source: Yuttadanai Mongkonpun: 88123296/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

There is a variety of factors that you need to take into account when choosing your very own basketball shoes. They are fundamental to help you pick out quality shoes, but also find the features that best suit your in-game needs. In the following section, we’ll analyze the following criteria so you can make the right purchase:

Design

Their design is the result of anatomical and biomechanical research carried out by the manufacturers. They strive to create quality products that withstand the demands of the sport, the conditions of the hard and slippery surfaces on which it is played, as well as the weather conditions when practicing outdoors. There are different types of design based on the cut of the shoe:

High Medium Low
For Indoor players Heavy outdoor or fast indoor players Outdoor players
Advantage Greater ankle protection Enhanced ankle support after jumps Ability to safely change directions

Sole

Experts believe that the sole is the most important part of basketball shoes. Jumps predominate in this discipline, and our feet have to support up to eight times our body weight. For that reason, the shock absorption system is fundamental to protect your ankles and knees, as well as back injuries to the spine.

You should also make sure that the sole provides good on-court grip. The wooden floors are very slippery, in particular when moistened by players’ sweat. You’ll be avoiding unnecessary risks with quality non-slip soles.

Position

The position you play will also influence the type of shoes you should buy. Some need agility and greater freedom of movement, while others need more ankle protection and good cushioning. The latter tend to jump often and are more exposed to stepping on another player and injuring themselves. Here are the characteristics of each position and which shoes are best for them:

  • Guards: These fast and explosive players make sudden changes of direction. They need low-cut shoes.
  • Small forwards: These players have a somewhat similar profile to that of guards and the same type of shoes is recommended.
  • Power forwards: They are bigger than the players mentioned above and step in the paint more often. Despite being fairly explosive like small forward, they are more exposed to injuries. Mid-cut shoes are recommended.
  • Centers: These players are the biggest on the team. They need good shock absorption because they’re constantly jumping for rebounds. Their ankles also need to be protected since it is frequent to fall on other players’ feet in the paint. This can lead to serious injuries, and centers should therefore favor high-cut shoes.
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Did you know that Yao Ming was the tallest player in NBA history? He is from China and measures 7 ft 6 in.

Closure System

This is another important aspect of your shoes because it plays a role in how well the footwear fits you. You are advised to use laces to prevent discomfort or potential injuries. This closure system allows you to truly adjust the shoe to your needs, which isn’t always possible with other options. Here are the most common closure systems:

Laces Velcro Zipper
Fit They allow you to adjust the shoes to your feet. It isn’t as fitting and can break. You won’t be able to fully adjust it to the foot.
Advantage They are the safest. Using them at a competitive level will wear them out quicker. They do not offer the right guarantees for competition.
Suitable for They are the most frequently used for competitions. It is more suitable for walking or training. They are ideal if you want to show off your shoes.

Summary

There is a wide array of basketball shoes available on the American market, and it can be difficult to pick the right pair for you. Remember not to base your decision on the obvious: an attractive design with a specific color, an affordable price or a great marketing campaign won’t make the shoe any better.

You should choose a model that fits you and your style of play, that are comfortable, resistant, flexible, and light. Bet on high-quality materials that will help improve your overall performance, prevent discomfort and protect you from potential injuries.

If you liked our guide on basketball shoes, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share our article with your friends!

(Source of Featured Image: Andriy Popov: 75949195/ 123rf.com)

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