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How to Choose the Best Shoes for Basketball

When basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, he didn’t know that by 2021 there would be hundreds of thousands of different basketball shoes to choose from.

Today, many basketball players struggle to decide exactly what fit, type and look of shoes to go with for their next season.

In this basketball shoe guide, you will learn about all the aspects that make up a good basketball shoe. Then, you’ll learn how you can use them to your advantage on the court.

Keep reading to learn all about the best shoes for basketball.

Fit and Shoe Size

Basketball players have a wide range of basketball shoes to choose from. Yet, this makes it even harder to find the perfect shoe. Before looking for anything in particular, you need to find your shoe size.

The easiest way to do this is to measure the length and width of your foot and compare those measurements to a size guide. Different brands have different size guides, so make sure you check theirs before buying.

A good rule for sizing is to have 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of space from the tips of your toes to the front of the shoe. If you have too much space, you will slide around. If you have too little space, you will restrict your movement.

Three Parts of a Basketball Shoe

It’s important to know the anatomy of basketball shoes before buying them. Each part of the shoe enhances players’ performance on the court. The three main parts are the upper, the midsole, and the outsole.

The Upper

The upper of a basketball shoe comes in three different heights. They are low-tops, mid-tops, and high-tops.

Low-tops offer no ankle support. Yet, where you lose ankle support in these shoes, you gain agility and speed. Low-top basketball shoes are the right choice for players who need speed in their game.

Mid-tops offer some ankle support because they sit at the ankle. The shoes are more flexible than high-tops but still restrict some movement, unlike low-tops. These shoes are preferred by players who play multiple positions.

High-tops have the most ankle support. Your ankles are essentially caged in the shoes for limited movement. This reduces the risk of rolling your ankle during a game. Yet, this support requires a heavier shoe.

The Midsole

The midsole of the shoe determines comfort and flexibility. You need both of these things while playing a game of basketball. A good midsole can absorb impacts to relieve stress on the feet.

Most midsoles use technologies such as pressurized air, EVA, or lightweight foam. Polyurethane midsoles are also common due to their durability. They are much heavier compared to most alternatives.

The Outsole

The outsole of the basketball shoe gives players traction and balance. The best shoes for basketball feature wide and flat outsoles. They enhance players’ ability to stay on their feet and land safely after jumping.

Traction on basketball shoes is provided by the outsole’s material and pattern. Most outsoles are made of rubber or another synthetic material. The best pattern for traction is a herringbone or hexagonal pattern.

These reduce the risk of sliding between pivoting and jumping. Choose your shoes wisely if you plan to play outside. Outdoor courts’ asphalt can eat up your outsole and cause problems later. You need a durable outsole.

The Player’s Position

While it’s tempting to go with the basketball shoe that looks the coolest, you need to think about your position. High-top basketball shoes can look great, but they will hinder a guard’s ability to play well.

Some great guard shoes are the Asics basketball shoes due to their low-cut and lightweight feel. Guards are the team’s main ball-handler. They need to be able to run without restriction. They need a low-cut and lightweight shoe.

Centers and power forwards do best in high-top basketball shoes. They do a lot of scoring from the low post, and they tend to be large, aggressive players. Heavy, high-top shoes will support their performance on the court.

Small forwards and versatile players should wear mid-top shoes. They often have an array of skills that need ankle support and flexibility. Because of this, they need a middle ground. A mid-weight, mid-top shoe is perfect.

The Quality of the Shoe

Never skimp on the quality of a basketball shoe. Investing in a shoe that offers support, comfort, and traction will allow you to play your best games.

Try not to be too concerned with the brand or appearance of the shoe. Its quality is much more important.


The shoe should support almost every part of your foot as well as your ankle if you need it to. It should be able to easily bear your weight while never feeling too constricting.

If you have to think about how your shoes feel during the game, you need a new shoe.


A shoe without good traction is useless in basketball. Before you buy, ensure that the shoe features a rubbery sole that can handle quickly stopping and going.


Your basketball shoes will likely be one of the shoes that you use the most. Therefore, you need them to be comfortable. If your feet start to hurt during a game, your team may suffer.

The shoes’ cushion, size, fit, and support all work together to determine how comfortable a basketball shoe can be.

The Best Shoes for Basketball

The best shoes for basketball are the ones that boost your confidence in your ability to play. You can find the best ones for you by keeping these basketball shoe tips in mind while you shop.

If you found this article helpful, check out the rest of our page for more like it!

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