Are Basketball Shoes Unisex? Can Women Wear Men’s Basketball Shoes

Gone are the days when basketball sneakers were limited to the ball courts. Design and colorways variations of each signature basketball sneaker have increased their popularity among males and females.

Now hoop shoes have adopted the styles and become fashion wear. The younger generation does not care about what a shoe’s size tag says. They wear what they want to. Even women’s shoes are more sought after by men recently for their vibrant colors and style.

But Are Basketball Shoes Unisex? We’ll answer this and lot more, so stay around!

  • Men are bored of their humble white or black basketball sneakers
  • Women want more comfy sneakers than their fancy bejewelled sandals
  • Basketball sneakers are more durable and soft than streetwear sneakers
  • Retailers bring out more sneakers for men than women in each NBA season

Are Basketball Shoes Unisex?

Yes. Most basketball shoes are unisex. The size tag of each sneaker specifies the appropriate fit and size of each shoe for men and women. So you can go and buy the accurate size. Even if a brand does not specify the women’s fit for the specific sneaker, buying one size down of men’s size will be the best way to buy a basketball shoe.

It’s the modern era, and you can wear what you want. Gender-specific accessory discussions seem ages-old. It was not the time when the Nokia phone was just introduced with its heaviest size, and fax was the only reliable way to send and receive a note.

Buying a basketball sneaker of your choice will only add confidence to your steps. If you are a male and eyeing a women’s sneaker, don’t care what the release copy says because it is all good if you find your right size.

Also, check our guide on the best basketball shoes for guards?

Why Traditionally Basketball Shoes Designed for men?

The basketball game was more popular among men. The NBA for men was founded in 1946. In comparison, the women’s wing of the NBA was inaugurated in 1997. That’s why major brands focused on making basketball sneakers for only men. It was in 1995 that Nike signed a women’s basketball player and released the first-ever women’s signature shoe with the name Nike Swoosh. 

There was never a women’s signature basketball sneaker before Sheryl Swoopes. Nike approached her after she took her Texas Tech Lady Raiders to National Championship and won with 47 points. 

She elaborates more about the time she signed her first signature shoe with Nike, saying that they never talked about giving her her signature shoe. Instead, they were only concerned about the shoe release. There was no concept of women’s sneakers back then. 

To give you more relief about the freedom of choice, let me tell you that there were many times when players appeared on the hardwood NBA floor wearing non-basketball sneakers. Here are two factors you need to consider before buying a basketball shoe belonging to the opposite gender.


If you are buying a women’s basketball shoe for a man, remember that women’s shoe sizes are not available in bigger sizes. Such as, in women’s basketball sneakers, the 12 size is equal to the size 10.5 for men. That is an average shoe size for men. If you have a big foot, you may not get the right size in that sneaker.


Women’s basketball shoes are narrow at the heel. That’s the difference in the anatomy of the feet of both genders. The women’s feet are narrower on the forefoot. But basketball shoes are not narrow from the forefoot. So women’s shoes have some dead space in the toe box. 

Related: Do You Need To Buy Basketball Shoes For Basketball?

The Cultural Significance Of Basketball Shoes For Men

When we talk about the incarnation of sneakers and their entry into the fashion world, it s undeniable that basketball sneakers have rocked the world with their marvellous style. 

Streetwear and trainer had never been and could never claim to be equal to a sneaker associated with iconic basketball star Micheal Jordan.

Let’s start with the iconic Adidas Superstar that was released in 1969. It gained popularity outside the basketball court and remained a style icon for many years.

How can we miss Micheal Jordan’s first signature sneaker that heavily impacts sneaker culture? Air Jordan 1 is loved all over the world by sneakerheads. Named after the legendary rookie Micheal Jordan, it is loved by all genders to this date.

Check: How To Plan A Good Basketball Practice

How to know if Basketball Shoes Are Men’s or Womens?

Are Basketball Shoes Unisex? Can Women Wear Men's Basketball Shoes

You can’t find any major and distinguishable difference in sneakers for both genders. They look the same. However, if you look closer, you will find that heel size is a little snug in women’s sneakers, while men’s sneakers have a wider heel cup.

The shoe shape is wider on the forefoot in men’s shoes. Women’s sneakers’ heel area is narrow to support pronation over time. It prevents the ankle from rolling. Also, the changes of wear and tear diminish over time. 

Next up, many men feel more comfortable in women’s basketball shoes. At the same time, women with wider feet feel a lot easier in the wider-size men’s basketball sneakers. So that is the most appropriate reason men like women’s sneakers and women like men’s basketball shoes.

Related: Can You Wear Basketball Shoes Outside Or Outdoors?

What is the difference Between men’s and Womens Basketball Shoes?

Women have a wider Q angle than men. That is the angle our body makes between the foot and knee cap muscles.

Women have wider Q angles. Thus, they exert more force on the lower body and pronate more than men. 

So shoe makers consider this factor and make a shoe that does not disturb the Q angle by increasing lateral force on the patella. Otherwise, it may cause injuries in women athletes over time.

Examples of Unisex Basketball Shoes

All the signature sneakers release several colourways. Some have even more vibrant colours and styles. Some colourways are associated with women basketball stars.

Moolah Kicks are specifically designed for women basketball stars. That has some elite level of comfort and stability. So if you want a specific brand for women, you can buy them.


All basketball shoes are unisex as long as you choose the direct basketball shoe size. If you know the exact size, you should wear all men’s basketball shoes.

Men will face no issue with women’s kicks. But if women want more stability and correct angle plus long-term fitness over the basketball court. Then they should go for women-specific kicks.

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