Specialized athletic footwear is designed and made to provide you with the proper comfort, safety and to enhance your performance at that particular sport. This is why it is advisable to buy shoes which are made for the sport you practice. Getting proper footwear can help prevent sport-related injuries and will help you perform better on the track or the court.

Even though there is quite a bit of running in basketball, there are many other movements in this dynamic game which require players to wear especially designed basketball shoes.

  • Basketball shoes vs Running shoes

Running shoes are made with forward motion in mind, so runners should stick to specialized footwear designed and made for running if they want to be comfortable, have enough support and cushioning and stay safe while running.

There are road and trail running shoes which you can pick from when choosing the best pair for you. Road running sneakers are comfortable and light. They are made to endure long distances, and not for short running bursts and all the sudden changes of direction which is part of the basketball game. Road running shoes provide shock absorption and cushioning needed to keep you safe and comfortable when running on the hard ground. They are designed to keep you stable and cushioned even during the longest runs involving a multitude of repetitive strides and forward motion.

Trail running shoes are made for runners who prefer off-road running. They have sturdy soles with added traction to prevent injury slipping and other accidents on wet and muddy trails. They are more heavy duty than the traditional road running shoes, and yet they are still lighter than shoes for basketball.

On the other hand, basketball footwear is designed especially to meet the requirements of this intensive game. Due to the fact that basketball players switch directions in every two seconds and have to run about 105 short sprints per game on average, as well as because basketball includes a lot of stopping, jumping and abrupt starting, basketball shoes are made to provide ankle stability and proper shock absorption, and yet be flexible and allow lateral movements. They are usually quite heavier and bulkier than running shoes.

Running in basketball shoes may cause increased fatigue and make running much harder due to the bulkiness and added weight, so wearing basketball shoes for running, especially for long-distance running is not a good idea.  Vice versa, if you are a basketball player who chooses to wear running shoes when playing, you may be at a higher risk of injuring yourself due to the lower traction of running shoes. Ankle injuries can occur when you attempt to stop abruptly and change directions in every several seconds when you are wearing running instead of basketball shoes.

  • Are running shoes good for basketball?

Yes, you can play basketball with running sneakers, but are they good for basketball? Not really. You should decide whether your choice of footwear does not impact your performance on the basketball court, as well as hinder your comfort and safety during the game. If you do not want to buy basketball shoes and running shoes separately for both sports you practice, you may want to get a pair of comfortable cross trainers to use for both.

Since running footwear is lighter and made of thinner materials, some of the newest models feel like you are barefoot. They do have cushioning which is good for basketball, but overall it is not safe to wear running shoes when playing basketball. These light and flimsy shoes can lead to injuries when you attempt to stop, start, change directions, jump and land from a rebound.  Also, in the long run, wearing inappropriate shoes can lead to ankle, hip, leg and lower back problems as well.

If you hold a running shoe in one hand and a basketball shoe in the other you will be able to notice the obvious differences right away. Running shoes are smaller and lighter, and basketball shoes are stiffer, taller and heavier. The soles of basketball shoes are much more thick and rigid and the ankles are high in order to help you stop, start and change directions during the game without hurting your ankles while at it.

Statistics show that only 10% of NBA players opt for low style basketball shoes and the rest rely on high-topped basketball shoes. Even though the low top basketball shoes may resemble running shoes, they are designed and made with stiffer and sturdier sides and soles, especially for the specific movements made during a basketball game.

If you find that your basketball shoes are too heavy for you, you may try out another style. Usually forward players choose the bulkier footwear, point guards and faster players go for the lightest basketball footwear options, while the lighter all-around basketball shoes are the best choice for general play.

Always consider your safety, comfort and your performance related goals first when choosing footwear for running, basketball or for any other specific sport or athletic activity. The reputable athletic footwear manufacturers put a lot of money, time and work for designing their shoes in a way as to meet the requirements of the specific sports activity and to provide you with sufficient comfort, safety and enhanced performance, which is why you may want to consider investing in a sport-specific pair of shoes if you train or run on a regular basis.