A great pair of basketball shoes is essential if you want to dominate on the court. Yet when you’re trying to pick the best basketball shoes, what are the key features that you should look for? 

In this guide on how to choose basketball shoes, we’ll show you how to decide between low-tops and high-tops, as well as the key differences between these shoes and other kinds of sports shoes.

With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to pick a great pair of fantastic basketball shoes that will serve you well for years to come. Are you ready to learn more and find the right basketball shoes for you? Then read on!

1. Choosing Your Upper

The first decision that you need to make is choosing between low-top basketball shoes and high-top basketball shoes. Both of these have their own distinct pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look.

Pros and Cons of High-Top Basketball Shoes

If you’re thinking of buying high-top basketball shoes, there are a few factors that immediately stand out. The high-top adds some serious support and stability to your shoe. It wraps around your ankle and could help you stay upright.

The larger upper also adds some protection for your ankle. If someone runs into you, this little layer of protection could help protect your bones.

The main cons that come with high-top basketball shoes are the increased weight and the added restrictiveness. While you’re unlikely to really notice the weight, it may slow you down a little bit when compared to low-top basketball shoes. The larger upper can also restrict your movement, which may make some actions more difficult.

Pros and Cons of Low-Top Basketball Shoes

Low-top basketball shoes are a firm favorite for those looking for a little added speed and maneuverability. Their lighter weight is conducive for fast movements, while the lack of an ankle wrap means that your ankle has a little more motion than it does in high-tops.

They’re also a little cooler to wear. More of your skin will be exposed to the air than if you were wearing high-tops.

However, that’s not to say that low-tops are better than high-tops in every way. The lack of ankle protection and support means that your balance may be a bit weaker than if you wore high-tops and your ankles are more exposed to injuries.

2. What Kind of Midsole Are You Looking for?

It might not be the first thing that you think of when buying basketball shoes, but choosing the right midsole is very important. These vary a lot from company to company, with some offering midsoles that feature lightweight pressurized air midsoles, others that feature foam, and more heavyweight options that feature polyurethane. 

There’s no single right option for the right midsole. As with the choice between low-top and high-top shoes, it comes down to protection and cushioning vs weight. If you want to move as fast as possible, a lightweight midsole is the best option.

3. Get a Grippy Outsole

When it comes to the outsole, grip is absolutely vital. Basketball courts can be slippy, which means that you need to find an outsole with a chunky grip that will keep your feet stuck to the court. 

Grip and traction don’t only help with staying upright, they can also help you make quick turns and perform other tactical maneuvers that are essential in basketball. Make sure that it doesn’t have a weak grip or you’ll be sliding all over the court and slipping when you want to make turns.

4. Consider Your Position

Each basketball position will have its own unique requirements for basketball shoes. In this section, we’ll look at the different positions on a basketball team and what each of them should look for in their shoes.


When you play as a guard, you need to handle the ball a whole lot. This means that you need to be light on your feet and move as fast as possible. For this reason, guards are usually best suited to low-top basketball shoes.

Power Forwards and Centers

In these positions, you’re going to be a rebounder and spend a lot of time near the basket on the paint. Speed isn’t such an important factor for these positions, and you may need to jostle with other players. For this reason, high-tops are a very good choice for these two positions.

Other Positions

If you’re a versatile player, you’re probably going to be moving around the court a whole lot. This means that speed is of the essence and you should look for low-top sneakers. The exception to this rule is if you ever need to play a defensive role which will bring you into conflict with other players.

If you do play a defensive role, the added protection of a high-top is a very good option.

5. Choose Shoes You Like

Finally, beyond all the athletic concerns, you need to choose shoes that you’ll love looking at. If you love playing basketball, you’re going to be wearing these shoes for several hours per week. 

If you don’t like how they look then it’s going to bring you down. If you love the look of Adidas basketball shoes, for instance, go with Adidas basketball shoes. As long as you pick shoes that are made by a reputable manufacturer, you can’t really go wrong.

Now You Know How to Pick the Best Basketball Shoes

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide about how to pick the best basketball shoes. No matter what kind of shoes you’re looking for, we’ve got a pair that will suit you perfectly.

If you’d like to check out a wide range of basketball shoes, then check out our listings. If you’re looking for a particular model or have any other questions, contact us today!

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