For all basketball players, the choice of on-court shoes is an integral part of their performance. If you play basketball and you want to know how to choose the right basketball shoe, then it’s going to be vital to avoid the pitfalls and ensure you are making the right decisions.
First of all, the court where you are going to play, plays a role. When playing on an outdoor court, the court can be harder and often the natural elements (dust, dirt, grass and rain) can come into play. Therefore, you will need a shoe with a sole that won’t break easily, a sole that is strong and will last all the wear and tear that often comes with outdoor courts. In most cases, basketball shoes are made for indoor use unless otherwise stated. So if purchasing a shoe for outdoor use – look for a shoe that specifies that it is suitable for outdoor courts (the Tai Chi is one of our favs) or know that in purchasing a basketball specific shoe – wearing them on hard outdoor courts may mean they don’t last as long.
Having decided on which court surface, the next thing to look out for is the right shoe size. Generally, your foot should be comfortable inside the shoe, with the big toe having a maximum distance of half a toe from the top of the shoe. In addition to finding the perfect sizing, depending on your position on the court – the weight of the shoe, whether it is lightweight or more sturdy, may also be important. Any athlete’s foot needs quality blood circulation and for this reason you should avoid undersizing. Feet can swell easily with increased blood circulation during playing. To ensure the perfect fit of your new shoes, try them on wearing the usual socks you would wear when playing.
The ‘make-up’ of the shoe
The standard basketball shoe is divided into three parts, the upper, middle and sole. Each one is vital to the way in which they fit on our feet. The upper part is the part of the shoe that will catch your eye on the shelf but besides making the shoe look good – it is also responsible for keeping the foot steady. The upper part of the shoe protects the top part of the foot and is internally connected to the middle part of the shoe. It has an important role and factors to consider are the height, construction and the lacing system.
Our Tai Chi Mid features Synthetic leather, which is often the preferred material for basketball players due to its durability. The modern design of basketball shoes allows for a wider range of motion of the foot, approaching natural movement and at the same time less weight on our feet.
The Mid Section
The mid section or sometimes referred to as the middle, connects the upper and sole of the shoe and is responsible for the absorption of vibrations, greatly affecting the stability of the gait. Basketball typically involves jumping, side to side movements, sprinting and often requires quick changes of movement. This means you need a shoe that will keep your feet supported, stable and balanced. When looking at the mid section you want a shoe that has a decent amount of shock absorption to help you move quickly and freely across the court.
However here’s the catch – a shoe with high levels of shock absorption can often be heavy which may slow you down on the court.
A thin mid section, whilst light and giving you excellent court feels and greater stability on the ground, has to compromise on shock absorption. So like we said it’s important to consider what position you play on the court and what kind of movements are typical for you in a game.
A person playing center, who rebounds consistently may prefer a shoe offering more shock absorption that the point guard who needs to be quick on their feet so will be choosing a shoe that is lightweight and low to ground.
The sole is the hardest part of the shoe, as it is the one that comes in contact with the ground. In basketball shoes the shape of the sole varies, but in any case it must be flat and ideally equipped with the so-called “herringbone pattern” to avoid unwanted slips. The herringbone pattern, found on our Cyclone Junior is essentially a pattern of small rectangular shapes which helps the shoe acquire longer lifespan. A good tip when choosing a basketball shoe is to caress the sole with your hand and consider the one with the roughest surface and the densest possible patterns. You will also notice that one way to reduce the weight of the basketball shoe is to create gaps in the sole, in places that do not affect the stop-braking, such as e.g. in the arch of the foot.
In many pairs of shoes there is an extra level of safety for extra stability and avoidance of unwanted turns, which is found either as an extra layer of material on the upper part of the shoe behind the Achilles and the axis of the ankle, or as a wall starting from the middle part and extends to the top, from the middle of the shoe to the front.
Here are some further things to consider.
When tying a shoe, you want to make sure your foot feets secure and stable. Loose laces mean a reduction in stability in the shoe. You want to make sure that the lacing system makes your foot feel secure.
Some shoes have the added benefit of a Velcro or additional strapping system to keep the foot extra secure in the shoe. If you find that a simple lacing system doesn’t off you enough support, maybe a shoe with straps is an idea to consider.
In basketball, for extra support and to avoid the tongue moving around in the shoe, the tongue is sewn making it feel like a sock. Whilst it might feel a bit hard to put on – it provides more support for the foot.
If you have any questions about the basketball shoe that’s the perfect fit for you, get in touch with our friendly team today!