How to Choose the Right Basketball Shoe

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A close-up of a basketball player holding a ball on an outdoor court. (Image: Alexey Klementiev/Hemera/Getty Images)

Choosing the right basketball shoe is one of the most important decisions a player can make. Basketball involves running, jumping and quick changes in direction that require good quality shoes. When selecting basketball shoes, athletes must consider several factors to make the best choice. The right basketball shoes can help a player do well on the court, and reduce the risk of foot and ankle injuries.

Step 1

Have your foot measured professionally at an athletic shoe store. The measurements will help determine the correct shoe size, and whether or not you need a shoe with a narrow or wide fit.

Step 2

Choose a type of basketball shoe based on your basketball playing style. Fast and all-around players should use a lightweight shoe with moderate cushion, flexibility and support. Power players require a heavier shoe with maximum stability and cushion.

Step 3

Look for a shoe cut that offers the level of protection needed. Most players choose high-top basketball shoes because they offer maximum ankle support. Some players prefer mid-top or low-top shoes because they are less restrictive.

Step 4

Select a shoe with a sole that meets your needs. The surface of the sole will be made of rubber in a pattern that will help grip the floor and provide traction. Some shoes are designed specifically for outdoor play and have heavier soles.

Step 5

Try on the shoes and test the fit. Test the length by pressing your thumb between your largest toe and the end of the shoe. There should be a small amount of space, about the size of your thumbnail. The width of the shoe should feel snug, but not too tight. Also take a few running steps to ensure the heel does not slip against the back of the shoe.

Tip

Try not to be overly concerned with the brand or appearance. It is more important to have a good shoe that performs well.

Warning

Wearing worn-out basketball shoes can result in overuse injuries to the foot. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends that high school and college basketball players replace their shoes once a month. The daily use of the shoes for practices and games wears down the shoe material, and reduces their ability to provide the cushion and support needed to protect the foot.

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