Unlike old days, we now have hundreds and hundreds of different basketball shoes from different brands. With so much to choose from, it can be complex to pick what’s right. “What basketball shoes should I get?” is a very common question now.
That’s why we’re here today. So what basketball shoes should I get?
Getting straight to the point, I will talk about how to choose the right thing for YOU. Just straight up everything you need to know. I’ll cover:
- Three main factors to think about
- Other minor factors
- The best basketball shoes
- Some of my recommendations
- Super cheap basketball shoes
THREE MAIN FACTORS: PLAY STYLE, WEIGHT AND COURT CONDITION
When choosing a shoe, these factors should literally be the first three things to consider. When you understand your play style, roughly know your weight and know where you’ll play (indoors or outdoors), then it’s easy to pick a shoe right.
Understanding your playstyle is the #1 step. It all depends on your position first (guard, forward or center). Guards have the biggest shoe variety today and it’s deifintely not hard to find one for them.
Look for lighter shoes (400g. and less), ones with softer uppers (woven, knit, mesh) and responsive cushion setups. Guard’s shoes are always advertised as “made for speed, responsive and low-profile cushioning…”
Forwards also have a pretty good selection. They should choose more versatile shoes that are made for pretty much everyone. They are mostly advertised as “everything you need, smooth ride, comfortable cushioning…” These weigh mostly in between 420-500 grams and are mostly mid tops.
Centers should only look for shoes made FOR centers / big men. Honestly the selection of big men’s shoes is pretty weak as the shift is moving towards guards for some reason. These are the heaviest shoes and usually have high ankle collars, focus on lockdown and sturdy uppers (Fuse, leather…).
After that, your actual play style of that postion needs to be known. Explosive/athletic, shooter, straight-up center, low-profile guard or a versatile player. These are just few examples.
Explosive players that jump and drive a lot need a shoe with proper cushioning. It needs to have impact protection, but also needs to be responsive. Low-profile guards can’t afford any restrictions, need firm cushioning. Big men need shoes with very good impact protection, support and reliability.
This is very simple. If you’re fairly heavy, look for for shoes with great midfoot support, cushioning with impact protection. If you’re light, then you don’t need that much support or cushioning and you won’t have as many restrictions on movements. Simple as that.
INDOORS OR OUTDOORS
Again, this is very simple. If you’ll play only indoors, then literally ALL the shoes are made for that. If you’re an outdoor player, then you’ll need to look for shoes with a very reliable and harsh outsole and a strong upper. If you’re planning on both, then you’ll have to find that sweet spot (which is hard to do) or have several shoes for the job.
So does it all sound very complex? If not, then awesome. If yes, then don’t worry, it all makes sense at the end.
OTHER MINOR FACTORS
Other things to consider are reliability, ankle height and your budget (obviously). These are only minor and I think you shouldn’t look for a shoe while solely looking at these criterias.
Reliability all comes down to the shoe’s upper material and the overall build quality. Materials like HyperFuse, synthetic leather, Foamposite, jacquard or synthetic nubuck are the most durable. They also have the best support, but are pretty restrictive. Any kind of knit, woven or mesh is less durable, but offer more freedom on movements.
Yes, this is only minor since the support comes from the shoe’s construction and not from the ankle collar. Regardless, go with the height you are more comfortable with. It doesn’t impact support the way you probably think it does.
Obviously. There are shoes for $100 and then there are shoes for $220. And the problem is, the most expensive is not always the best. I’ve reviewed shoes that cost $120 and beat $200 Air Jordans. All in all, you should not piece performance and price together.
IS THERE A BEST BASKETBALL SHOE? NO.
I’ve already written an article talking about the phrase ” the best basketball shoes”. So check that out if you’re interested.
But basically there is NO best shoe, it all comes down to your own needs like I talked about above. There are the most popular, the most hyped, the most underrated, but not the BEST.
MY RECOMMENDATIONS, A LOT OF THEM!
Alright, so I won’t name 100 shoes here for every play style out there. I actually wrote several posts talking about the best shoes for different players.
And many many more. You can jus go to the Best Shoes section on the site and all the best shoe spotlights will be there.
After you pick a criteria you are searching for (guard, for example), there will be 5-8 different variants. From there, you can narrow them down to your own play style and other factors.
Simple as that.
CHEAP BASKETBALL SHOES, NOT THE BEST IDEA
One last thing I want to talk with you are very cheap basketball shoes. And I’m talking $50 or even less. And I want to warn you that you shouldn’t search for shoes like that. This should be your VERY last resort when on a tight budget.
That’s because super cheap shoes like that are always poor quality (unreliable), don’t have any relevant today’s tech, outdated and some even potentially dangerous for injuries.
There are SOME exeptions and I’ve listed them in this post:
And if you’d like to find out more about cheap shoes and why you should stay away from them, check this out:
Alright, that’s it! I really hope I helped you in any way. Trust me on this one, it’s NOT hard at all! Way too many people overthink this, even though you can’t go wrong most of the time.
Just follow my advice here (you DON’T have to do it very strictly) and you’ll be fine.