How to Pick Basketball Shoes?


Picking out the right pair of basketball shoes can protect you from injuries, improve your manoeuvrability and reduce fatigue during games.

Everyone’s playing style is different. Therefore, the needs of each player may vary depending on their style. For example, a player who cuts into the lanes and changes directions very often may need a shoes that provides multidirectional outsole traction and a mid-cut basketball shoe. However, a player who plays in the post and puts up for rebounds may need a high cut basketball shoe and a more elaborate lacing system for ankle stability.

Low Top

Low top basketball shoes are usually known for their ability to provide agile and quick movements due to its unrestricted structure. Lightweight in nature, low top basketball shoes are usually worn by players who depend on their quickness to get by their opponents.

Zoom Freak 1 is one of the best performing low tops shoes out there. Withstanding the high pressure while maintaining the agility of the Greek Freak, Zoom Freak’s series may be the one for you.
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High Top

High top basketball shoes provide ankle stability, reducing the chances of the player rolling/spraining their ankle. The additional fabric and lacing/straps helps to lock the ankles in place, giving the support that the player needs. Players who grab the rebounds or post up in the paint will benefit from these high top basketball shoes.

Lebron Soldier 13 are a beast in this category. Nailing every single aspect of ankle stability with great lacing systems giving you the support you need.

Mid Top

Mid-top basketball shoes are a balance of the two. Fit for explosive & athletic players who drive directly into the lanes yet require the flexibility to change direction for that crossover.

Kyrie 7s hands down would cover this most efficiently. With his multidirectional plays and creative tempos of the game, Kyrie’s series would be the choice for you.

Lacing System

Lacing system includes a variety of straps, placements of holes for laces and a combination of both. In essence, the tightness of the straps and laces delivers the fit and balance you may need to feel comfortable running the floor.

Mid Sole

This is where the cushioning of the basketball shoes is placed. Cushioning is all about the responsiveness and support.

Responsiveness is the “feedback” you get when you push off the court. Support refers to the amount of impact you feel when you land on your toes or feet.

Everyone will have their own preference on the type of cushioning they are looking for. There is no one-size fit all solution for cushioning.

Cushioning technology ranges from brand to brand. Nike React, Adidas Lightstrike and Under Armour HOVR™. Each technology has their own energy return and movement support.


Outsole is made up of

  • Types of rubber
  • Traction pattern
  • Sidewalls of the shoe

Types of rubber includes

  • Translucent (Indoor)
  • Solid Rubber (Outdoor)

The rubber of the outsoles is heated to a precise temperature over a certain period of time to get the softness/hardness desired. Longer the rubber is heated, the harder the rubber will be.

Translucent outsoles are typically soft and grip better on dust-free indoor courts than other outsoles. However, it may not be as durable as compared to solid rubbers.

Solid rubbers are harder than translucent rubbers and can be used for both indoor and outdoor courts. Usually a preferred choice due to its flexibility of play, solid rubbers with an optimal traction pattern attracts less dust, improving the traction/bite players get.

Traction pattern

There are two main traction patterns. The herringbone pattern and circular patterns. Circular patterns involve pivoting & rotating. Herringbone pattern (V-shaped, fish-bone) is for multidirectional movements.

There may some creative takes on these patterns but it should still revolve around these two patterns. Ideally, players should select traction pattern according to their play style.


In short, this is part of the outsole that rises up to the sides of the shoes. In basketball, more than the bottom of the shoe will be used to stop, move or change direction. The sidewalls allow the player to keep traction during these movements.

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