What basketball shoe you wear is a crucial part of your game, especially at the competitive level. Oh, sure you can play in any pair of tennis shoes but you risk the chance of sliding, being slowed down by weak grip or worse of all, injury. Competitive ball players take their basketball shoes very seriously. I know I do.
In today’s market there are so many different styles of bball shoes. So how do you choose what’s best for your game? There are a few important things to look for in your shoes. By nature, basketball puts a lot of wear and tear on your shoes. All the constant starting, abrupt stopping, high jumps and quick side-to-side movements really take it’s toll.
So what do I look for in a basketball shoe? I’m glad you asked. The most important factors are durability, support, traction, comfort and for most ballers, style.
DURABILITY Have you ever seen the movie “Like Mike”? Lil Bow Wow plays an orphan boy who finds a pair of magic shoes with “MJ” written on the tongue. He suddenly has super bball skills. Anyway, in the most important game of the season “Calvin” drives the lane and gets fouled. When he gets up his magic shoes have completely fallen apart. Magic shoes or not you want to make sure that never happens to you. Buy quality shoes. And yes, sometimes that means paying a little more.
SUPPORT Different types of players require different types of support. Power players like “Shaq” need high tops with maximum ankle support and comfort. All-around players like “Kobe” or “T-Mac” usually will wear a midsole type of shoe and speedsters like “Iverson” wear low tops for light weight and non-restriction of the ankles.
TRACTION Have you ever played on the hardwood floor of a gym that didn’t clean the floors? Your slipping, sliding away and it’s hard to cut and slice your way to the hoop. Wearing the wrong shoes can have the some results. You must be able to stop and start on a dime. Look for good traction on both the forefoot and the heel.
COMFORT The goal is to find a basketball shoe that fits like a glove. You don’t want your foot to be swimming in any area. Since the toes, arch and heel all have different needs for comfort, you want a shoe that provides comfort in each area and still provide the support you need for your type of game.
STYLE And, of course, you gotta look good on the court. Whether you’re wearing the “Jordan Retro”, the “T-Mac 5”, the “Air Zoom Kobe I” or either of the “Answer 1 – 9” pair of shoes, style is definitely key.
The bottom line is you must think of your shoes as an investment in your game. If you’re looking to excel, then don’t cheat yourself when it comes to your gear, especially your shoes. The right pair will not only help you play at top level but most importantly help prevent injury. If you’re hurt you can’t play! So go get some quality kicks and get out there and play!
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