In the 2002 movie Like Mike starring Lil’ Bow Wow, the main character finds an old pair of basketball shoes once worn by Michael Jordan. When he puts them on, he magically acquires MJ’s skills on the basketball court and is signed to play for the fictional Los Angeles Knights NBA team. Kids like to think that their shoes can increase their ability to play the game - that if they wear the same shoes as their favorite NBA players, they’ll play more like them. In reality, good basketball coaching and training are what make good basketball players and take athletes to another level. While basketball shoes won’t provide any magic abilities, young players should be aware of what to look for when choosing a pair of shoes. Here are a few tips to follow when picking out a pair of basketball shoes.

Style

There are three basic styles of basketball shoes: high tops, mid tops, and low tops. These styles refer to the height of the shoe top relative to the ankle. High tops go above the ankles and thus provide more ankle support than mid or low tops. They are also usually heavy and might slow a player down. The mid top is typically the most popular choice since it combines the best features of the other two styles. Mid tops go up to ankle level, providing solid ankle support but less so than the high top. They are also easier to run in since they aren’t as bulky and heavy. Low tops are below the ankle and provide the least amount of ankle support, but they are also the lightest. The low top can be beneficial to faster basketball players with quick footwork who want to use their speed.

Size

Basketball players should get their feet measured when picking out a new pair of shoes. Stores that sell shoes typically have an area where feet can be measured, so it’s a good idea to do this before trying on any shoes. Basketball shoes that are too loose or tight can lead to foot problems like blisters and toenail issues. It might take some time to break in a new pair of shoes, but if they still cause blisters or hurt every time they're used, then they’re probably not the right size.

Comfort

Basketball players should be comfortable in their shoes. How fashionable the shoes are shouldn’t matter. What matters is that a player can run and jump on the court comfortably. Players should find the proper amount of cushioning for their position. For example, centers’ feet and legs can take a greater amount of shock than other players since they have to jump for more rebounds and make more plays in the post. Therefore, they should have more cushioning in their shoes than a typical player in another position.

A basketball player looking for a new pair of basketball shoes should do a lot of research. There are plenty of options out there claiming to be the best shoe. It can be a difficult decision to make, but following these tips will at least make it a little easier.

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