If your basketball game is in dire need of assistance and you’re looking for a remedy, you won’t find it in a sneaker box.
Despite the array of shoe companies and their appealing marketing campaigns, the fact remains: No pair of shoes can make you a great basketball player. Improvement comes with talent, hard work, and lots of practice. However, the right pair of shoes can minimize risk of injury and increase traction on the court. Here are a few tips and suggestions to keep in mind when shopping for your next pair of kicks.
Measure Your Foot
Even if you think you know your shoe size, it’s still a good idea to have your feet measured. The shape or size of your feet can change over the years (even if your feet are done growing). Knowing their exact length and width will help you find shoes that fit properly. And here’s the best part: Most shoe stores provide this valuable service free of charge!
Know the Basics: Highs, Mids & Lows
Basketball footwear comes in three basic styles: High-tops, mid-tops, and low-tops. The style that suits you best will depend on your playing style and personal preference. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, some of which are outlined below.
High-tops: Of the three styles, the high-top offers the most ankle support and stability. However, high-tops are generally the heaviest of the models because of the extra material. If you’re looking for maximum support and don’t mind a little extra bulk, this could be the shoe for you.
Mid-tops: The mid-top is shorter than the high-top, stopping at ankle level. For that reason, it allows more freedom of movement than its taller counterpart, while still providing sufficient ankle support. The mid-top is the most popular style and is a solid choice for all-around players or beginners.
Low-tops: The advantage of the low-top is that it is the lightest of the three models. In theory, this style allows fast players to capitalize on their speed and quickness. It should be noted, however, that these shoes do not provide much ankle support.
It's Not a Beauty Contest
Shoes are a baller’s most important piece of equipment, so it’s imperative that you make the right choice for the right reasons. This may mean choosing a plain (but comfortable) shoe over a more stylish one. No one wants to sport ugly kicks, but aesthetics should never take precedent over practicality. The best pair for you is the one that best meets your needs on the court. Let your game be the reason you stand out, not your shoes.
Determine Your Playing Style
What type of player are you? Are you a slasher who depends on quickness to beat the defender and drive the lane? Or perhaps you prefer to bang down low with the big boys. Determining your playing style is essential when choosing new footwear. Here is a breakdown of three popular playing styles and shoes that suit each one:
Power player: Generally, power players spend the majority of their time working in the low post. Because this type of play requires a lot of physical contact and jumping within confined spaces, power players will want a shoe with maximum cushioning and stability. The power player can probably afford to wear a slightly heavier shoe because the extra weight won’t have a significant impact. High-tops or mid-tops would work well for a power player.
Speedster: Fast players rely on speed and quickness, so they don’t want a heavy shoe holding them back. Low-tops—lightweight shoes that still provide a decent amount of support and cushioning— are ideal for this type of player.
All-around player: These players are jacks of all trades. They do a little bit of everything. That being said, this type of player should look for shoes that offer good support, cushioning, and flexibility, but are not too bulky. Mid-tops are usually a great fit for this type of player.
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