Shoes were made to protect the feet from all types of external shocks and prickly dangers. But with time, they were considered to be a fashion statement.
Along with the style quotient, the purpose of the shoes holds significant importance. You cannot expect to wear sports shoes for a meeting, or dress shoes for a basketball match. Sports like basketball requires a heavy-duty yet a flexible shoe structure that allows the weather to move around on the court.
But is it enough to go for the basketball shoes from the best brand? Maybe not. More than credibility or style, you need to focus on their fit. If you are new to the sport or disappointed with your previous shoes, read along and gain an intricate knowledge about its ideal fit.
How to Choose the Perfect Basketball Shoes?
Choosing the best basketball shoes goes way beyond the outer looks. You need to pay attention to its structure and functionality.
If you want to get it right on the first try, make sure that your shoes have the following elements:
The Three-Point Test
What is better than actually putting your shoes for a test? The three-point test will allow you to determine its reliability and overall endurance.
This is how you can do it:
- Squeeze the shoes by placing them between your palms in a toe to heel position. Put adequate pressure while doing so.
- If you see the shoes flexing through the middle, it is best to sit it out.
- In case you see a flex at the ball of the foot, it is a good option.
- The next thing you can try to twist the shoe by grabbing the heel and the toe.
- If it ends up twisting, skip the option.
- If it doesn’t, it has high resistance.
- Put gentle pressure on the back of the heel with your thumb. If the shoe has a built-in plastic cup, it should not move at all.
Basketball players need to have proper traction over the surface to put up their best performance. So, a flat sole is a pre-requisite when it comes to basketball shoes.
An ideal grip is when the flat sole allows maximum contact to the ground. There is a traditional herring-bone tread pattern that is famous for its reliable grip and traction. It has similarities to the zig-zag design.
If you are looking for durability, the tread wrapping to the side of the shoe works wonders. However, if you are worried about the mid-foot twisting, you must go for the shoes that have a wide mid-foot.
Ankle height is a somewhat controversial factor. Some people believe that it affects the overall functionality of the shoes, while others stand on the fact that it is only for mental satisfaction.
It should be noted that the ankle height has no direct correlation with support or stability. The midsole is responsible for the same.
An ankle sprain is a common occurrence in basketball. Most of the players wear ankle braces to avoid or heal their injuries. Hence, in a way, high-top shoes work as an added benefit when it comes to basketball shoes.
The shape of the Foot
No two feet are the same or even identical. There are be differences in terms of width or length. Rather than working on guesswork, it is better to get your feet measured by the professionals before buying basketball shoes.
You cannot wear a size down as it could act as a hurdle in your performance. Wearing loose shoes will not work in your favour either.
As long as the shoes provide a snug fit while also giving the toes some wiggle room, you are good to go.
Basketball players need shoes that can allow them to keep the foot low on the ground. Arch support is crucial for people with high arches. As such people are more susceptible to ankle injuries, reliable arch support is a must!
However, it must be noted that the arch support should not be too intense. In other words, it shouldn’t feel like an additional accessory in the shoe.
Shoes are meant for comfort. This can be emphasised more if the shoes have a little room to wiggle. You must avoid the shoes that cramp up your toes.
Ideally, there should be ½” of the distance between the toes and the front of the shoe. In case there is little to no space, you might end up suffering from corns, calluses, blisters, or toenail issues.
As basketball players have to wear their shoes for hours at a stretch- during a match, or during practices, they require comfort. This can be achieved by opting for the shoes that work well with your feet and toes’ dimensions.
The vamp is the upper part of a shoe covering the top and the centre of the foot. It helps in securing the feet in place. The vamp is an essential part of the shoe as it is made of breathable material. As players tend to sweat during matches, it can be a hassle to deal with it amidst a game. The ventilation of the vamp can effectively solve this.
Make sure that the vamp doesn’t rub against the skin or cause irritation.
How Tight Should Your Basketball Shoes Be?
Knowing about the critical factors gets only half the job done. After that, you must choose those basketball shoes that provide an ideal fit.
If you end up with loose shoes, they might either come off during a match. On the other hand, tight shoes can decrease blood circulation and make your feet numb. So, you must get the perfect fit.
As mentioned earlier, there should be ½” inch of space between the toes and the shoe’s front. The toes shouldn’t touch the shoes as it could lead to heightened levels of discomfort. Moreover, you could suffer from blisters or toe problems. So, allow your toes to move around in the shoes.
Width and Bend
Your feet are the widest in the middle of the foot area, generally known as the midsole. Utmost comfort is necessary at this part of the shoe.
Verify that the shoes do not bend at the midsole. An excellent and qualitative pair of basketball shoes will only bend at the ball of the feet. If it bends in any other region, the tight-fitting is off in the shoe.
Men vs Women
There are specific subtle differences when it comes to shoes for men and women. Not only do they differ in terms of style and appearance, but also the functions and structure.
There are distinctive shoes made for men and women when it comes to basketball shoes, and they cannot be used interchangeably. Generally, women have narrower feet while the men have wider ones.
Such a distinction makes it necessary to get the shoes according to the respective genders.
When it comes to the heels of the shoes, there should be a snug feel and fit. This allows you to stabilise the foot during the entire usage. The heel should move according to the movements of the foot. But it shouldn’t be of a wide range that there is too much space left in the foot area.
Why is Fit Important?
This is a common question that turns up in everybody’s mind. Well, to give a conscience answer, the fit is vital for enhanced comfort and better performance. But besides that, other factors are positive consequences of getting the ideal fit for shoes, like the following:
This is a foremost factor that justifies having the ideal fit for basketball shoes. As the basketball players go through several intense practice sessions and matches, comfortable shoes are a must-have.
Not only should the material be comfortable and soft on the skin, but they shouldn’t stress over the skin. Rather than removing the shoes and wearing them again, it is better to invest inconvenient shoes that could be worn for hours.
The next best factor is support. There should be an adequate amount of support provided around the heels and the arches. The ankles should be secured to avoid any ankle injuries or joint sprains. The feet should be held intact in the shoes. But at the same time, it should not be too tight or too loose.
The primary intention of basketball shoes is to enhance your performance. This is only possible if the shoes are comfortable and supportive enough for the wearer to focus on his/her performance.
A right fitting shoe is an essential step in that direction as it permits the player to move around as per requirement. Make sure that the boots are reliable, strong, and flexible for better accomplishment in the game.
How Can I Stretch My Basketball Shoes?
Despite adhering to all the precautions and factors, you could still end up with tight-fitted shoes. But do not worry, there are ways through which you can loosen them up a bit.
Wear them out
This is the easiest way out and doesn’t cost a dime. The best way to stretch basketball shoes is to wear them all day. Even though it might be uncomfortable in the beginning, you will soon break-in the boots. Eventually, the material will loosen up, allowing you to have a snug fit.
The next best alternative way is to freeze the boots. Place your basketball shoes in the freezer. Fill plastic bags (or, a Ziploc bags) with water and keep it inside the shoes. Let it sit overnight.
Once the water starts to freeze, it will occupy more space in the shoes, pushing the material to stretch out.
Note: If there is a particular place where the tightness is felt, make sure you keep the bags in the same area.
Place two-three socks in the interior of your boots. Blow on to the areas with a blow dryer. This trick has proven time and again about its relevance and usability. But make sure that you blow the heat in 20-30 second interval.
How Should Basketball Shoes Fit Toes?
A snug fit is an ideal fit when it comes to basketball shoes. If the shoes are too tight, it will hinder your performance. On the other hand, if the shoes are too loose, they might distract you in your match or game. So, make sure that the boots fit all the contours of your feet while giving a little wiggle room to your toes.
Should I Go With High Tops Or Low Tops
Both- high tops and low tops have their set of merits and demerits. When it comes to style, low tops go great with pants. But coming to sports shoes, high-tops can delay the muscle’s reaction. So, if you do not wish to suffer from ankle sprains or joint pains, you must go for low tops.
Do Basketball Shoes Stretch Out?
Some of the basketball shoes are made of flexible material that can be stretched out with use. So, if you have some tight shoes, you can stretch it out with numerous techniques as well as professional boot stretcher.
Why Do My Feet Hurt In Basketball Shoes?
On average, a basketball match can last up to 2.5 hours. This can take a toll on the feet as the players have to be on their toes. Not only do they have to continually move around, but also jump and flex for a slam dunk. This can make the feet hurt or possible cause ankle injuries and sprains.
How Do You Break In Basketball Shoes?
Breaking-in in basketball shoes isn’t a difficult task. If you feel that your shoes are too tight, the easiest thing that you can try is to wear them every day. This will stretch out the material without spending a dollar.
The bottom line
As we are coming to the end of the article, we hope you better understand basketball shoes’ structure and functionality. Try not to go by the brand, and prioritise your comfort and support.
Choose the shoes that have a snug-fitting so that you could out your best performance in the court!
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.