How Much Does Cushioning Help in Basketball Shoes?

Sports is all fun and cool when you are using the right gear. Try wearing something uncomfortable and ill-suiting in an intense game of basketball, and see how it impacts your game’s quality. Basketball is among one of the toughest and most popular sports that require extensive stamina and suitable gear. The fact that basketball players are amongst the top paid sportsman around the world explains greatly how hard it is to be a basketball star.

Importance of the Right Basketball Gear


Similar to other tough sports, the performance of the basketball players also heavily relies on the type of sports gear. Now, like baseball, there is no bat or specialized helmet required for basketball. However, the fundamental gear for a basketball player is his shoes. These shoes are a tad bit different than normal sneakers and a lot more expensive.

Basketball is an intense game of sprinting, cutting, jumping, and throwing. The specialized basketball shoes are made to support frequent jumping and withstand extreme foot pressure while also keeping the body upright. These shoes are made with strong sidewalls as they endure an awful lot of pressure from players sprinting. The benefits of a pair of perfectly suitable basketball shoes are:

  1. Aids in enhancing the players’ foot movement while playing.
  2. Improves game skills by providing utmost comfort.
  3. The outer sole of these shoes is designed to help provide traction, which helps in the dribbling of the ball throughout the court.
  4. The upper material of these shoes helps in enabling the foot to breathe. This wards away the tiredness of the feet and helps support long hours of play.
  5. The midsole of the basketball shoes should be cushioned, which helps greatly in absorbing shocks so that the health of the foot is maintained. It also helps lower the chances of injuries in the game.

How Much Does Cushioning Help in Basketball Shoes?

Sports fitness is a rigorous field of study with hundreds of on-going topics that are clearly in dire need of study. Sports injuries are one of the most studied topics. In the context of basketball, ankle support and stabilization are the two hottest topics of research. The right ankle support and stabilization is said to be a strong predictor of fewer foot injuries. Due to this, discussions about how cushioned support is supposed to avoid injuries is usually under discussion.

Sports researches affirm that if cushioning in the basketball is ignored, it can lead to repeated stress on the ankle, resulting in frequent falls and mishaps. Ideally, a cushioned ankle support is said to support your whole body – from the knees, hips, and spine. We have gathered evidence to explain through the following pointers how much does cushioning helps the basketball shoes. Overall, it is claimed that cushioning does more good than harm. Let us explore how.

Prevents Foot Injuries But to Some Extent Only

A randomized controlled study from the Journal of Current Orthopedic Practice reveals that cushioning in basketball shoes helps reduce the risk of injuries by providing more shock absorption. However, there are no long-term positive impacts proven by these cushioned basketball shoes. The research used army recruits as subjects to try out the cushioned basketball shoes for about 14 months. The recruits wearing padded or cushioned shoes showed less overuse of foot injuries than those wearing normal combat boots.

Nevertheless, the catch in the research findings was the timings of the injuries. The army recruits in the experimental or controlled group sustained fewer injuries but sustained them at the same time as the ones who wore the combat boots. Regardless of the footwear choice, the army recruits did develop injuries at some point in their training. Hence, cushioned basketball shoes do decrease the risk of injuries but do not delay the inevitable.

Cushioning Helps as the Last Option

Though, as we read above, cushioning might not delay the injury when the player (or an army recruit in the study) is at high risk of injury, it does help to minimize the risk when the player is least expecting it. In other words, cushioned basketball shoes are best for players as it prevents them from severe spinal shocks and injuries, but you cannot give these specialized shoes to a high-risk player and expect miracles.

Another research from the Journal of Footwear Science highlights the role of cushioned basketball shoes concerning jumps of varying heights. The researchers noted little or no role of the cushioned basketball shoes when they anticipated the jump. This throws the choice of footwear out of the question and leaves a little mark of doubt on whether these specialized shoes do play a role in avoiding injuries or not.

Players experience harmful vibrations speeding through their bones and muscles when they fall. These resultant vibrations were no different when the players wore cushioned shoes when they knew what was coming. The real beneficial impact of cushioning could be seen when the hits and falls were sudden.

Cushioning Does Not Invite Ankle Injuries

If you think a cushioned basketball shoe is equivalent to a soft one that might increase the likelihood of injuries or tamper your gait whatsoever, then you could not be more wrong. Cushioning is a specialized form of technique that the shoemakers use to infuse more absorption of the shocks; thus, preventing sudden shocks to the spines or bones.

However, experts claim that those spring-like columns now being inserted in the heels of the shoes might result in increased chances of lateral ankle injuries. This is still an on-going topic of research in the field of sports as these specialized springs in the shoes help players sprint and jump higher.

So, Which Side of the Coin is it For You?

If you are a seasoned player, you would know the importance of the right basketball shoes. You would also know how cushioning is not the only factor you need to consider before buying a new pair of these shoes. However, if you do get the cushioned ones, be wary of the timing of your purchase and your game. These shoes require time to break in. Therefore, purchase them a few weeks before you have to play in them and wear them daily to break in little by little.