Finding the perfect pair is part of the joy of the game
For most hoopers, their basketball shoes are as much a part of their personality as their style of play. With the recent re-proliferation of sneaker culture, it is an opportune time to take a look at how players select the perfect pair of shoes, beyond the basic requirements of a good fit.
The basketball shoe can be divided into three basic components, each with their own distinct purpose. The upper part of the shoes is for support, while the midsole functions as cushioning and the outsole provides traction.
For the uppers, a simple dilemma exists: how low can you go? High-tops used to be the norm for basketball players, due to extra stability. As the game moves away from the paint and onto the perimeter however, low-tops have become trendy instead. There is always some trade-off involved, with guards usually opting for the faster and lighter low-tops while big men choose the high-tops for their greater support. Of course, you can always go for balance in the form of mid-top kicks.
The midsole is important for performance as the cushioning alleviates pressure that is exerted on the feet. Additional cushioning is usually desired at the front of the foot and the heel due to the greater strain experienced. With a good pair of shoes, the midsole is usually stiff enough to serve as protection and flexible enough to retain mobility.
Good traction is essential for a start-stop game like basketball, and the outsole is essential in this regard. As you move throughout a game, a wider outsole is often useful in aiding balance while certain patterns can provide grip as well. If you play more on outdoor courts, you will also want to get a thicker outsole for durability, although these tend to be heavier.
In terms of style, the most expensive or flashiest kicks may not always be the best ones. However, choosing a pair that you genuinely like will make you feel like a million bucks whenever you put them on.