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Men’s Basketball Shoes Buying Guide
From slam dunks to layups, when you hit the court, you need men’s basketball shoes that can keep up with all your moves. The basketball footwear you choose can impact your play, from your ability to move around the court to how your feet feel while you play. Whether you buy basketball shoes online or in a store, understanding the features and differences in shoes helps you find a pair that fits your needs. Our basketball shoes buying guide answers all of your questions, from, “Where can I buy basketball shoes?” to, “What do I look for in the best basketball shoes?”
Why Do Shoes Matter?
When figuring out how to buy basketball shoes, you may wonder if you really need to buy specific shoes designed for the sport. The answer is yes. Why? Here are some reasons:
- Minimizes stress on the foot: Think about your typical basketball games. You’re constantly running, jumping, changing directions and twisting. It’s non-stop action, and your feet take the brunt of the force. You need shoes designed to handle that force to protect your feet.
- Prevents ankle injuries: Your ankles do a lot of work on the court. Basketball shoes are designed to keep the ankles stable, minimizing the risk of rollovers. Proper support in a basketball shoe can prevent injuries to your ankles and to other parts of the body.
- Allows for quick direction changes: To be an effective basketball player, you need to change direction quickly to keep up with play. Soles made especially for basketball players support those quick direction changes on the court.
- Provides stability: A stable base on the basketball court gives you a solid stance that can help you perform to your highest abilities.
- Handles basketball demands: Basketball shoes are specifically designed to handle the wear and tear placed on them based on the demands of the sport. Shoes designed for other physical activities often have different features and a different structure. Those shoes may not hold up to the fast pace and sudden direction changes of basketball, resulting in damage to the shoe itself.
Shoes designed especially for basketball won’t make you run faster, jump higher or perform skills you don’t already have, but they can help you maximize your performance by removing potential barriers.
Anatomy of Basketball Shoes
Like other athletic shoes, basketball shoes feature an upper, midsole and outsole to make up the shoe. Special design features in each of these areas make the shoes perfect for basketball. While each part of the shoe plays a separate function and has different features, it’s important to find a shoe that fits your needs in all areas for the most comfortable and supportive fit.
The upper portion of any shoe is the top section that covers the upper portion of your foot. It is typically a soft fabric or material and curves down to connect to the sole. The material impacts how the shoe feels and performs while playing basketball. Here are some examples and tips for choosing upper material:
- Leather: Shoes used to consist mainly of leather uppers. Leather is very durable, but it can be heavy and lack breathability. All-leather uppers aren’t common these days, but leather does stretch somewhat as you break in the shoes, giving you a comfortable fit that matches your foot.
- Combination: A more modern approach is a mix of leather and synthetic material. This allows you to keep the structure, support and durability of leather with a breathable, flexible synthetic portion. This lightens the overall feel of the shoe, eliminating the potential slow down of heavier shoes.
- Synthetic: Some shoes skip the leather completely, instead relying completely on synthetic materials for the lightest possible shoes. Many synthetic materials are durable just like leather, but without the weight.
The closure on the basketball shoe is another factor when considering the upper construction. Several options are available, each with different benefits and drawbacks. The closure system matters because you need a secure fit to prevent your foot from sliding around while you shoot hoops. Explore the following basketball shoe closure options and the pros and cons of each:
- Laces: The traditional shoe closure is the shoelace. Many players choose lace-up basketball shoes because they allow for more control over how tight your shoes feel. You can pull the laces tight to keep your shoe from moving. The dangling laces can become a tripping hazard, however, especially if they come untied while you play.
- Velcro: This type of closure is often found on kid’s shoes, but some adult shoes may offer Velcro closures on their own or with another type of closure. While easy to use, Velcro may not stay closed and tight as well as other closure options.
- Zippers: Another easy closure system is the zipper. These types of basketball shoes are newer and often feature a cover over the zipper for protection.
- Straps: Shoes with straps wrapping around the top shoe arch provide extra support to prevent ankle rollovers. Some straps are used just for support, while others replace or supplement the shoelaces to increase security.
The outsole of the basketball shoe is the rubber on the bottom of the shoe. This is the portion that touches the ground, so it needs to be stable and durable. Consider these features of a good basketball shoe outsole:
- Flat and wide: A flat, wide outsole supports your entire body by creating a stable foundation for all of your quick moves and direction changes on the court. Keeping your feet stable reduces the risk of ankle injury.
- Sole pattern: The usual pattern on the outsole of a basketball shoe is the herringbone pattern. This design offers traction so you can start and stop quickly without sliding. Some basketball shoes now use a hexagonal pattern for efficient traction on the court.
- Court type: Most basketball shoes are designed either for indoor play or outdoor play. Choose a type of insole that matches your typical playing environment. Shoes designed for outdoor play typically have a heavier, more durable outsole, while indoor basketball shoes tend to have softer soles.
The midsole falls between the shoe upper and the outsole. It is the layer of support under your foot and above the rubber outsole. This layer absorbs shock, making it an important part of a basketball shoe, since your body takes a lot of impact from running and jumping. The midsole affects the amount of cushioning a shoe provides and the amount of stability you get. A thin layer is generally best, as this keeps you low for greater stability.
Common materials for basketball shoe midsoles include:
- EVA: EVA is a lightweight option for basketball shoes, which keeps you light on your feet and able to move around the court easier. EVA sometimes lacks stability and durability compared to other midsole materials.
- Compressed EVA: A compressed EVA midsole creates greater durability for your basketball shoes. It provides the same advantages of EVA but with a bit more density to keep your foot from moving around too much.
- Polyurethane: Sometimes called PU, this midsole material adds a little more weight, but also offers dense, durable stability.
- Proprietary cushioning: Some basketball shoes have special cushioning in the heel or forefoot. An example is an air cushion to help absorb some of the impact. These technologies often add little or no weight while increasing the cushioning.
- Sockliner: Certain modern basketball shoes include a sockliner, which is a type of textile liner that helps you get a better fit while absorbing some of the shock and wicking moisture away from your feet for a dry feeling.
Some basketball shoes include additional features to increase stability on the court. Stiff material along the inner edge helps the foot resist rolling inward. Other shoes use greater density midsole materials in that inner area. These types of basketball shoes are good if you tend to roll your foot inward while playing basketball.
Profiles of Men’s Basketball Shoes
When it comes to men’s shoes, basketball shoes come in three basic profiles: high-tops, mid-tops and low-tops. Each profile has a unique feel on the foot and offers different advantages.
Here are the basics of each type:
- High-tops: As the name suggests, these basketball men’s shoes hit higher on the leg, just above the ankle. The collars often include padding around the ankle for a comfortable fit. This higher profile supports the ankle, giving you stability on the court while minimizing the risk of an ankle injury. One drawback: That extra height means extra material, which can feel bulky and heavy compared to shoes with lower profiles. Some people also don’t like a restrictive feeling around the ankle.
- Mid-tops: This profile hits right at the ankle, providing some support without restricting movement as much as high-tops. The style offers a good middle ground, balancing support and functionality, which makes it a popular option for basketball players.
- Low-tops: The low-top profile, such as the style of Under Armour low basketball shoes, looks similar to other athletic shoes, stopping lower on the ankle. For this reason, the shoe doesn’t provide much, if any, ankle support. Some basketball players prefer this style to allow for more freedom of movement to maximize speed and agility.
Influence of Your Position
Your position on the basketball court affects the men’s basketball shoe style that best fits your needs. Think about your usual job in the game. Are you a power player? Do you rely on your speed? Can you do it all? When looking for basketball shoes on sale for men, keep your usual style on the court in mind to get the best style of shoe on your feet.
Consider these types of players and positions and the best footwear for each when you order basketball shoes:
- Power players: These basketball players spend a lot of time in low post, jumping in tight spaces and getting physical. If this describes your basketball style, the best men’s basketball shoes for you provide stability. This makes mid-top or high-top shoes the best option for you. Look for basketball shoes online or in stores with plenty of cushioning.
- Speed players: When you rely on your speed in a game, you need a lightweight shoe that lets you move around easily. Low-top shoes that still offer support and cushioning are best. Mid-top or high-top shoes may be too heavy and bulky.
- All-around players: You do it all with ease, providing your team with just the right support. Your shoe should give you that same support, along with flexibility and cushioning. Look for a mid-top shoe to minimize bulkiness while still getting the support you need.
Getting the Perfect Fit
No matter what great features a pair of shoes for men’s basketball offers, the shoe won’t help your game if it doesn’t fit properly. Measuring your feet before you buy basketball shoes online or in stores helps you get the appropriate size to comfortably fit your foot. Even if you think you know your size, it’s a good idea to re-measure every time you buy shoes, as your feet can change over time due to age, injuries or weight gain or loss.
When measuring at a basketball shoe store or at home, measure both feet. One foot may be larger than the other, so it’s best to go with the larger foot. Measure your feet while standing up to get the most accurate measurement. Check the width of your shoe instead of just the length. Matching the width of the shoe to your fit is an important part of getting a good fit. Some basketball shoes come in narrow, medium and wide widths, letting you get a better fit. If your preferred brand doesn’t carry the best width for your foot, consider trying a different brand.
Why is fit so important? If you buy basketball shoes online or in a store, and they don’t fit properly, you may experience:
- Blisters due to rubbing
- Toenail problems when toes are crammed into small shoes
- Foot pain
- Pain in the legs, hips and back because of a poor base
- Poor control
- Increased injury risk
Fit and comfort go hand-in-hand when choosing the best basketball shoes for you. A shoe that fits your foot well is more likely to feel comfortable. When a shoe feels comfortable on your foot, you are better able to put forth your full effort on the court.
A properly fitting comfortable basketball shoe should check the following points:
- Roomy toe box: If your toes feel cramped or crowded, your shoes won’t feel comfortable. Your toes need wiggle room to prevent issues such as corns, calluses and blisters. Look for a wide toe box that accommodates tour toes plus gives extra room. You need about ¼ to ½ inch of space beyond your longest toe for a good fit.
- Midsole cushioning: Cushioning in the midsole is essential for shock absorption with all the impact your feet endure on the court.
- Flexible forefoot: A forefoot with some bend gives you the flexibility to move around the court easily.
- Arch support: The arch is an area you don’t want bend. Choose a basketball shoe with arch support to keep your foot stable.
- Snug heel: While the toes need wiggle room, you want the heel to fit snugly to keep the shoe from shifting.
- Minimal twist: The best basketball shoes for sale have minimal torsion, or twisting motion, because you want stability to support your foot.
- Low heel height: Stick with basketball shoes with a low heel between 4 and 5 millimeters for a stable fit.
- Breathable fabric: The constant motion of a basketball player works up quite a sweat. Choose breathable fabrics to let your feet air out while you play.
- Lightweight: A lightweight design keeps your basketball shoes comfortable and easy to wear without interfering with your game.
Basketball Shoe Style Considerations
The looks of the shoe shouldn’t play as big of a role as the support and feel, but the style can be a deciding factor when narrowing down the options. The color and design elements let you express your own personality on the court. Narrow your choices down to shoes that offer the support and cushioning you need for your game. Then, compare the looks of the shoes that fit your criteria to make your final selection.
Brands of Basketball Shoes
When it comes to shoes for sale, basketball footwear comes in many name brands. If you’re partial to a particular brand, chances are you can find a basketball shoe in that brand. Some common brands include:
- Adidas men’s basketball shoes
- Under Armour men’s basketball shoes
- Nike men’s basketball shoes
- Reebok men’s basketball shoes
The best basketball shoe store offers several brand options for easy comparison shopping. When online shopping, basketball shoes from well-known manufacturers give you peace of mind regarding the quality of the footwear.
General Basketball Shoe Shopping Tips
When looking for basketball shoes, buy a pair that fits your physical needs first. Looks may be important, but if the shoe doesn’t provide you with the support and comfort you need, your feet will pay the price.
Keep these tips in mind as you look for basketball shoes to buy:
- Shop online: When looking for basketball shoes, shop online for a wide selection in one spot. You can easily compare the different brands, styles and features to identify the men’s basketball shoes for sale that best fit your needs. Basketball shoes come in all different brands with multiple options.
- Consider different brands: You may have your heart set on Under Armour team basketball shoes or men’s Reebok basketball shoes, but those shoes may not fit your needs. Each person has a slightly different foot and different preferences. Before placing an online basketball shoes order, explore and consider all of the options to choose one that provides your foot the best support.
- Put function over looks: It’s natural to be drawn to the flashy colors and design features of basketball shoes, but remember a stylish shoe does not guarantee quality performance in the big game. The functionality of the shoe is much more important than how it looks. Choose a stable, supportive basketball shoe that matches your style of play for the best results on the court.
- Try on the shoes: When you shop in stores, trying on shoes is easy. If you order online, try your new basketball shoes on as soon as they arrive. Don’t remove any tags or wear them outside. Most online shoe retailers allow you to return or exchange shoe within a certain time frame as long as they are in the same condition as they arrived. This gives you a chance to try on the shoes for fit.
- Beware of unbelievable technology: Many shoes claim to make you better at a particular sport or skill. Some basketball shoes may boast the latest technology in footwear. These features usually aren’t worth the money for the average player, and you don’t need to buy the newest model to get a quality basketball shoe.
- Stick to a budget: A quality basketball shoe will require somewhat of an investment, but more money doesn’t always mean a better shoe. Decide how much you want to spend on your new basketball shoes before you start shopping. You can get quality basketball shoes in almost any price range from under $100 to several hundred dollars.
Where to Buy Basketball Shoes
Are you wondering, “Where can I buy basketball shoes online?” When looking for basketball shoes for sale online, Schuylkill Valley Sports is a smart choice. We offer a wide selection of footwear, letting you compare basketball shoe prices and features online. Whether you’re looking for Nike, Adidas, Under Armour or Reebok basketball shoes online, we can help you find basketball footwear that offers the perfect amount of support and comfort for your needs.