Basketball shoes (click for main review) come in different shapes and colours but they all fall into three main categories namely; Low-Tops, High-Tops and mid Tops. This refers to how high the shoe laces up on the foot and ankle. It is a matter of comfort and preference to the athlete wearing them and one type is not physically better than the other. Basketball shoes are classified as either Low, Mid or High-Tops sneakers. This means that the shoe ends well above the ankle, on the ankle and below the ankle. When playing outside you need the right outdoor basketball shoes.

Each of these classifications has their own set of features and one style is not necessarily better than the rest, it is a personal choice for each athlete. Low-Top basketball shoes resemble standard athletics shoes in the sense that the shoe ends just below the ankle bone. These shoes are designed to free the ankle for the speed and traction necessary to execute fast turns and dodges on the court. This type of style does not offer any additional ankle support and should not be worn if the athlete jumps or lunges more on the court.

Mid-Top basketball shoes are best suited for players who rely on sudden bursts of speed and a moderate amount of jumping. This type of style has somewhat more ankle support but do not restrict the ankles when executing high speed turns on the court. High-Top basketball shoes are the heaviest type of shoe but they also offer the most ankle support when it comes to power players who utilize jumping for most of the game. The higher tops give the ankles maximum support and shock absorption.

Do You Have To Wear Basketball Shoes To Play Basketball?

There are hundreds of different types of basketball shoes and athletic sneakers on the market today. All of them boast fantastic features and a wide variety of styles but are they really necessary? Some of the best professional basket ball players don’t even own a pair of real basketball athletic shoes. A proper pair of professional basketball shoes might make you look or feel more confident but they are not the source of your talent or skills. A certain type of basketball shoe will not miraculously make your an outstanding player.

They can give you better traction and more support but they will not turn you into Michael Jordan. Unfortunately on the other hand, a poor quality shoe can actually lower your performance levels on the court. Shoes with worn soles or floppy tops are not going to give you the right amount of ankle and foot support. They can also be dangerous because they can lead to a misstep which could spell a broken or sprained ankle.

So in retrospect, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to play in a normal athletic sneaker as long as you feel comfortable in them and they are a good quality pair of shoes. Basketball shoes have ridden the coattails of the famous game and will continue to do so for a very long time. It stands to reason that these companies want you to believe that you will be the world’s best player if you purchase their product.

How Do You Want Basketball Shoes to Fit?

Basketball Shoe FittingYou might be dying to get your hands on the latest trending pair of basketball shoes but fashion should never be a deciding factor over a good solid pair of shoes. Your feet work hard, especially if you are a basketball player. When buying a new pair of basketball shoes you should consider the following: Leave some room in your shoe to stop toes from feeling cramped or from doing damage to the toenails.

The rule of thumb is to leave at least a thumb finger width between the front part of the shoe and your toes. This will allow you to spread your toes comfortably give you better balance. A shoe that is too tight will cause damage to your toenails and the toes themselves. Your foot should fit comfortably over the mid sole area of the shoe. Your foot should feel snug there, without too much shifting movement.

Your shoe should only bend where the toes bend at the ball of the foot and not at the midsole. If the shoe bends in other areas it means the shoe is too loose. Your heel should feel firm and snug in the shoe to create stability within the shoe. Allow for some slight movement of your heel inside the shoe without having it slip in a and out of the shoe. This is another sign that the shoe is too loose as well as a ticket to a sprained ankle or worse.

What Basketball Shoes Have The Best Ankle Support?

Basketball involves a lot of foot and ankle movement during a game, which means it, is important to support your ankles in the best way possible. Shoes with a high top which ends above the ankle are your best bet for sturdy ankle support and maximum shock absorption. High topped basketball shoes should still allow your feet to bend as they naturally would and shouldn’t be too tight.  This type of shoe has been designed with power players in mind.

These players are the ones that are defending or shooting the hoops during a basketball game. They are less inclined to run around on the court for which you would rather use a mid or low-topped shoe. Leather basketball shoes are generally more durable and have a longer life expectancy. High quality leather athletic shoes will offer your ankles more support because the material is stronger and less likely to sag or stretch after an extended length of time.

Some brands incorporate a mesh and synthetic leather material into their shoe uppers which gives a certain degree of support but tends to crack or stretch. A good and solid rubber sole is the best way to support the arches of your feet when executing jumps, fast turns and sudden stop manoeuvres on the court. The rubber soles are designed to absorb most of the shock and direct it away from your knees and ankles.

Can You Go Running In Basketball Shoes?

Can You Run In Basketball ShoesYou would think that since you run around on a basketball court in basketball shoes there should be no difference going for your morning run in them too. Well it all depends on the type of shoes you play basketball in. Basketball shoes are generally cut much higher than athletic running shoes and although you do run with them on the court, it is not a continuous motion like with jogging. This higher cut might interfere with your running form and could do long term damage to your knees and ankles.

The soles of a basket ball shoe are designed to give traction on wooden or asphalt surfaces and not sidewalks and trails. The soles are designed to give an athlete more stability on the court and are therefore not very flexible. Running shoes are built for forward movement such as walking, jogging or sprinting. These types of shoe are generally lighter and much more flexible than basketball shoes, yet they are also designed with shock absorption in mind.

It should not pose a problem if you only plan to run a short distance in your basket ball shoes once every so often. If you start experiencing hip or knee joint pain while running in these shoes it means that you are not giving those areas enough support by wearing incorrect footwear. If you are a long distance runner, you should seriously consider changing to a good quality pair of running shoes before any serious damage can be done to your running form and joints.


Athletic shoes are designed with a specific sport in mind. Their features allow for support where it is needed the most. Irreparable joint damage could spell the end of a career for any professional athlete and it is all too easy to forget how hard our feet and knees need to work during a training session. Don’t neglect your feet by wearing the wrong footwear because you will pay dearly for it in the long run.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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