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3 Basic Types of Basketball Shoes

A pair of black and white basketball shoes with a basketball.

Basketball shoes have gone way beyond the court. They’re the super stylish accessory adored by celebrities of all types and the must-have item when a new pair comes out in stores. You probably already know a little bit about the history of basketball shoes and the different styles that are out there, but do you really know which types o basketball shoes you should be wearing for everything you’re going to be doing?

History of Basketball Shoes

It’s somewhat well-known that Converse invented basketball shoes. The first basketball shoes were Converse All-Star shoes. They were made in the early 1900s. The first Chuck Taylor shoes, some of the most famous basketball shoes in history, were created around 1920.

This was the best-selling basketball shoe for 40 years and it has an iconic look. Chuck Taylor basketball shoes are still made today and the look hasn’t changed a whole lot. These shoes were and are made with canvas uppers and rubber soles.

It wasn’t until the 1960s and the success of leather basketball shoes that the famous Chuck Taylor brand finally had some competition. Now, the basketball shoe market has exploded. There are many competitors out there and a seemingly endless amount of choices available.

How Many Types of Basketball Shoes Are There?

The world of basketball shoes is vast. And when you think of different types of basketball shoes, you probably think of brands of basketball shoes. There are some really famous ones out there that have become actual collector’s items. But all those famous names and specific brands are still just types of basketball shoes. And when you get right down to it, there are only three basic types of basketball shoes.

A close look at a gray and black high top basketball shoes.

High-top basketball shoes are the tallest design and they’re notable because they cover the ankle. This does provide excellent support for the ankles and feet. However, these are the heaviest type of basketball shoes. This can affect speed and slow down the wearer.

A close look at a pure black Mid-top basketball shoe.

Mid-top basketball shoes are ankle-high. This keeps ankles flexible while still providing some support, though not as much as high-tops. Like the name says, mid-top basketball shoes are somewhat between the height of high-top and low-top basketball shoes.

A close look at a yellow and black low-top basketball shoe.

Low-top shoes are cut so they are under the ankle. This offers the greatest range of flexibility but offers the least amount of support. It’s easier to run in these shoes, so you can run your fastest in a pair of low tops.

If you’re wearing basketball shoes for style, then you choose the type that has the look you want. But if you’re looking for a pair of basketball shoes you can actually wear on the court, you need to buy what’s going to work best for your playing style. The three basic styles of basketball shoes are designed the way they are based not on looks. These designs are very specific to certain playing positions on the court.

Post players who spend a lot of time in the paint need high-top basketball shoes. The high-tops give them ankle support while they’re being jostled around under the basket. Post players do a lot of jumping and landing, so they need the extra support that high-tops will give them.

However, you don’t want your point guard in a pair of high-tops. A guard who handles the ball a lot needs to be able to run, move, and juke. This means that low-tops are the best type of basketball shoes for these players.

A player who may switch between being a guard and a forward, someone who can bang around under the basket and then step back to let a shot fly or whip over a pass to a teammate, will get the best performance from mid-top basketball shoes.

What Are Your Shoes Made Of?

A close look at the bottom of a basketball shoe with red and white tone.

The material used to make your basketball shoes is just as important as the style they’re made in. Though canvas and cloth basketball shoes are still available, leather is far more common and considered to be a superior design. Leather has less tendency to stretch and sag over time, so the shoes will continue to fit well and perform well.

Some basketball shoes are made with mesh and synthetic fabrics. This creates shoes that are light in weight, but also more prone to cracking and stretching than all-leather basketball shoes.

Basketball soles are made with rubber soles that are highly flexible and somewhat bouncy. The soles absorb shock that comes from stepping, jumping, running, and moving. Rubber soles provide support for the feet and arches, which is essential whether or not you’re being athletic.

How to Wear Basketball Shoes

Basketball shoes are big fashion. Everyone wants that latest style that just came out and it’s a status symbol to own many pairs of name-brand basketball shoes. Even major celebrities and recording artists wear them to the most high-class events, so it’s acceptable and stylish to wear basketball shoes absolutely everywhere. But basketball shoes can be expensive. So before you buy, make sure you know how to properly wear basketball shoes. Get a pair that fits well so you get maximum comfort and performance.

You should have enough room between the front of the shoes and the front of your toes to insert your thumb. This is enough room for your toes to comfortably spread out, which gives you a better balance. Tight shoes can actually cause damage to your toes.

Make sure the shoes are wide enough for your foot as well. The bottom of your foot should have enough room to spread out comfortably inside the shoes. However, you don’t want there to be too much room. If your feet are sliding around in your shoes, they are too big and they are unsafe to wear. Your feet should be inside the shoes snugly, with just some slight movement around the heel. If your shoes are too loose, you could suffer from a sprained ankle.

A man wearing a pair of black and red basketball shoes.

Since basketball shoes are designed for basketball, you can always play a quick game with your friends in a pair. But you absolutely shouldn’t reach for your basketball shoes if you’re going on a job. It seems natural that basketball shoes can also be running shoes because you run when you’re playing basketball, but it’s not true.

Because basketball shoes are typically cut a little higher than running shoes, they interrupt your long-distance running stride and can actually do damage to your knees and ankles if you run in basketball shoes a lot. Wear basketball shoes for playing basketball or for great style, but not for your morning run.

Basketball shoes are ideally designed for wooden and asphalt. They’re not great on trails. Don’t treat your basketball shoes like hiking shoes, because they aren’t going to give you the traction you need on rough trails. Your feet could slip and you could end up getting hurt.

Buy your basketball shoes based of course on the style you like, but also on how you’re going to be wearing them. Choose a pair that fit well and that are made well. You know how you’re going to wear your shoes, what you’re going to be doing in them and what looks good to you. Now that you know a whole lot more about basketball shoes, you can always get the right pair for your feet.

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