Basketball shoes vs running shoes

In this article, we will take a close look at two kinds of sports shoes:  Basketball shoes VS Running shoes. Both are specifically designed by many different labels and teams of researchers to give the maximum support to the wearer in the specified area of sport. We can break down and analyse the technology put into them and the ways in which this benefits either Basketball or Running.

A Bit About basketball Shoes

Basketball shoes are most often recognised by their high top design. They often feature a lot of ankle support and a lightweight material body. There a few things to really look out for when buying a pair of basketball shoes and knowing them could mean the difference between a great pair and a pair that simply do not perform on the court.

  • High-Grade Traction Pads – keeping the grip on the court is essential for making those higher jumps and switching direction during play.
  • Correct ‘Top’ for your play style – Knowing where and how you play in a game determined what kind of ‘top’ you will choose. The height provides different levels of ankle support but can also limit rapid movement.
  • Arch Support and Cushioning – This come in to play very heavily in a basketball game as a lot of stress is put on the arches of the foot and on the shock absorbers in the legs and feet. Constant jumping, pivoting and sudden bursts of speed will put a huge strain on the body. Many trainer companies have put vast amounts of research into specially designed air cushioning, arch support and padding in their shoes.

What To Look for in Running Shoes

Running shoes are designed to keep your feet comfortable and secure whilst providing the rest of your body with support over many miles of running on multiple terrains. Unlike basketball shoes, they are not designed for the court or for rapid direction change and jumping. They feature lightweight materials, a lot of breathability and enough flex to meet the needs of the foot. There are some particular aspects to look for in a good pair of running shoes that will ensure you have the best for your feet.

  • Flex – Unlike a lot of other types of sports shoe, the flex in the sole is an essential part of ensuring a good shoe. The flex of the shoe, which can be tested by holding the heel and pushing down in the toe, should match that of your own feet as closely as possible. There should be no heel lift and as little resistance as possible.
  • Arch support – Like Basketball shoes, the arch support is a key factor when looking to buy a pair of running shoes. The arch of the foot will be in constant use whilst running and getting a fit right for you will allow you to run much further. Unlike Basketball shoes, the arch supports aren’t for quick bursts and jump strain. It provides a much more subtle moulding to your foot. It is much softer and should flex with the individual’s contours.
  • Shaping – A very important part of buying a running shoe is ensuring the shape fits the foot. Swelling and movement all have to be taken into account so there a few things to look out for. Make sure the toe box, the part where your toes sit, is big enough. Allow about an inch between your big toe and the end. The width also comes into play, if you buy shoes too narrow, as your foot inevitably swells your shoes will rub and cause a huge amount of pain. Last but not least is the Achilles support. This is a groove in the back of the shoe and comes with different stiffnesses. As the name suggests, it gives support to the heel and stops pulling and tearing.

Why Not Wear Basketball Shoe for Running and Vice Versa?

To put it simply, it just wouldn’t be comfortable. After just a short amount of time, the reasons would become glaringly obvious. Wearing a pair of basketball shoes to run in would not give the necessary support between the ground and the sole of the foot, the high top would inevitably start to rub on the ankle and the lack of flexibility would make running uncomfortable on the arch and the shoe would feel clunky. On the flip side, wearing a pair of running shoes to a basketball court would give little to no ankle support for quick movements, the flex in the shoe would greatly lower jumping and the soft materials the shoe would typically be made of would give little resistance to rolling.

Types of Basketball Shoe

Basketball shoes come in three main styles: High-tops, Mid-tops and Low-tops. Each has their own specific purpose on the court. The High-top variety of shoe, often seen worn by Michael Jordan and other high profile players give the support to the forward aggressive player. The high ankle support translates the jumps and solid movements of a forward player into higher and bolder movements. They are not made for rapid turns but plant a player right in the court and spring them into the air. Mid-top basketball shoes are for the mid-court player, the hybrid between low and high allows a jack-of-all-trades play style. Good jumping and ankle support are there but if a sprint is needed the shoe won’t hold you back. Low tops are much more for the rapid and quick turning player. The low ankle allows massive amounts of movement and speed bursts but doesn’t lend itself to stability.

Running Shoe Types

Like Basketball shoes, Running shoes come in three main categories: Maximum Support, Stability and Cushioned. They are each designed for different running styles and the individuals need for specific support. The Maximum support shoes often feature medial posts which support the insides of the shoe to prevent rolling. These shoes are made very stiff and heavier than the others but provide the most strength in the shoe. They also provide the most traction control. They are made for the heavier runner or runners with weaker feet. The Stability shoes give a great blend of lightweight shoe and structured support. They are not as rigid as the previous style but still give a good level of support, traction and cushioning. They are the most popular category. Lastly are the cushioned shoes. They are incredibly lightweight and flexible giving very little support but a lot of cushioning. They are designed for the runner under 13 stone.

In Conclusion

It is possible to see from studying both styles of sports shoe the necessity of buying the correct piece of equipment for the right sport. Buying the wrong one can result in a lot of pain, inadequate support and in the long run some lasting damage. Knowing what you are looking for when buying a new pair of shoes can result in enjoying the sport far more than you would when worrying about your footwear.


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