Basketball shoes offer a combination of durability, support, stability, traction and shock absorption. The specific requirements for each feature varies from player to player. In general a basketball shoe needs to be able to handle the abrupt starting and stopping, vertical jumps and lateral movement that occur in the game. You can determine the best shoe for you by determining what type of player you are. Are you a power-player, all-around player or a fast player?
- A power player wants shoes with excellent cushioning and stability. This shoe tends to be heavier as it provides this. You are sacrificing speed for better movement on the court. As a power player, this loss of speed is very insignificant to you.
- The all-around player will want shoes with moderate ankle support and cushioning. These are the most common types of basketball shoes and the ones you will most likely end up with.
- A fast player should choose a more lightweight shoe with moderate support and much flexibility. You will probably have to sacrifice some cushioning for the sake of a little more speed.
Next, determine the best cut of shoe for you.
- High-tops offer maximum ankle support and are used by a majority of players for their stability. High-tops are best for power players and all-around players.
- If you do not feel comfortable in high-tops, you can go for a mid-top. The mid-top comes just to ankle level.
- If you are a fast player, you may want to try the low-top. The advantage of the low-top is that they are lighter and allow you to move faster. The disadvantage, however, is that they offer no ankle support.
- If you are on a team, your position can help determine the shoes you buy. A guard may want a lighter shoe to make it easier to cut while a forward or center may need a more heavy and durable shoe.
Style, of course, is a matter of choice. If you are on a team, you might want to coordinate it with your uniform. Make sure to consider a pair of shoes only for basketball and maybe even a pair for the hardwood and a pair for the asphalt. This will help prevent injury. Finally, we come to the matter of price. I hope I am safe in saying that everyone wants to save money. The truth of the matter is that while commercials may tell you otherwise, there is no shoe that will make you as good as Michael Jordan (were you hoping I wouldn't mention His Jumpness?).
I've heard many say a good pair of basketball shoes runs between $50-$100. To be honest with you, there are few instances where I'd spend even that much. These days you can get a pair of reasonable quality shoes for $15 dollars called the Starbury. If you live near a Steve and Barry's, you might be able to pick up a pair. If all else fails, try eBay. Just remember while the shoes can't make you a great player, they can help you prevent injury, maximize your speed and effectiveness on the court, and maybe turn a few heads. Also, picking a durable shoe can also keep your hobby from burning a hole in your wallet.