What Basketball Shoes Should I Get?

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If you’re new to basketball, you’re probably wondering what basketball shoes to get. There are a variety of basketball shoes that are unique and far different from each other. From low-cut lightweight to high-cut, thick, and heavy basketball shoes, each of them features different qualities. 

Choosing the basketball shoes perfect for you is easy. This article will tell you all you need to know about the different type of basketball shoes and help you choose what basketball shoes you should get. 

What Basketball Shoes Should I Get?

The position you play, your playstyle, and the needs of your body dictate what basketball shoes you should get. There are 3 general types of basketball shoes you can choose from: low-cut, mid-cut and high-cut basketball shoes.

  • Low-cut basketball shoes: These are made to maximize your speed and agility by freeing up the muscles on your ankles. However, you won’t have much ankle protection because of this. 
  • Mid-cut basketball shoes: They’re a balance between having enough speed and agility while also having a decent amount of protection on your ankles.
  • High-cut basketball shoes: They provide the best ankle support among the 3. These basketball shoes generally look bulky and are designed for ankle support and cushion as basketball involves a lot of jumping. 
A pair of red, black and white colored basketball shoes

What court you play also affects what basketball you should get. If you’re playing on the rough outdoor basketball court, you should choose basketball shoes that have a hard rubber outsole and durable materials. For indoors, you have more flexibility in choosing your basketball shoes. 

Basketball Shoes for Every Position

Guards who are quick and shifty would suit well with low-cut lightweight basketball shoes. Low-cut basketball shoes provide maximum speed and agility but sacrifice ankle protection. 

Forwards who often cut to the court and move around the court can choose low or mid-cut shoes that still offer a decent increase in speed and agility. There are also forwards who like to work in the paint so mid or high-cut shoes work best for them. 

Centers or big men should have high-cut shoes. Because they are already big and tall, they put a lot of stress on their knees, feet, and ankles. High-cut basketball shoes provide ankle-support and cushion you need to protect you from injuries. 

Basketball Shoes for Your Playstyle

If you like to do flashy quick moves or you mostly rely on your speed and agility, low-cut basketball shoes are great for you. Players like James Harden likes to use low-cut basketball shoes as it makes it easier for him to do step-backs, crossovers, and sideways movements. 

Multiple pairs of basketball shoes lined up

If you play like Lebron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo who like to muscle their way towards the paint, then mid-cut basketball shoes are great for you. You need the speed and agility to shake off the defense while at the same time have the cushion and support you need to safely power your way towards the paint. 

If you’re a power big man like Deandre Jordan or Joel Embiid who average a double double in the NBA, high-cut basketball shoes are perfect for you. They provide you with the best cushion and ankle support to power your way towards the paint. Catching lob passes, rebounding the ball, or blocking a shot should be safe as high-cut basketball shoes will protect your feet. 

What is the Best Shoe for Basketball? 

The best shoe for basketball should have all of the qualities listed below. However, having all of these qualities is near impossible as enhancing one would compromise another quality. 

It’s up to you as a basketball player, what quality you want to prioritize on. 

  • Traction. This is probably the most sought after feature for every basketball player in their basketball shoes. Traction is valued for basketball players because it makes or breaks how you move on the court. Great traction will make your moves fluid and smooth like dribbling the ball and making a crossover effortlessly. 
  • Cushion. Basketball shoes should be breathable and comfortable to wear so the shoes won’t affect your performance. 
  • Materials. The materials should be durable and flexible at the same time. Having added features is a bonus like Flyknit technology. It shouldn’t be made of cheap materials.  
  • Fit. It should fit snug on your feet to avoid foot injuries and blisters. Identify your feet if they are narrow, regular, or wide as this may affect the sizing of your basketball shoes. The right size shouldn’t make your feet uncomfortable. 
  • Support. Basketball shoes should have excellent support as there are frequent contacts and pressure on your feet. 

Are High Tops Better for Basketball?

High-top basketball shoes offer the maximum support for your ankles. We can’t say it’s better but it is more popular for famous basketball players. 

Quick guards like Stephen Curry, Russel Westbrook, and Kyrie Irving uses high-cut basketball shoes. They wear these even though their playstyle rely on speed and agility.   

A man wearing a pair of basketball shoes

NBA is a lot more athletic and physical league compared to local leagues. They put a lot more pressure on their feet compared to a local community basketball league. This is why they prioritize protecting their ankles. 

Basketball is also their livelihood. Avoiding injuries can lengthen their careers. That’s why they prefer using high-cut basketball shoes. 


Now that you know the different type of basketball shoes and what features they contain, you should be able to identify what basketball shoes you should get.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.