If you are planning to start basketball regularly, or want to join college team, you might be wondering whether do you need basketball shoes or your regular sneakers will do the job well?
I have played basketball all my life and now coach kids, so I have been into this situation myself and have helped many kids as well. Trust me basketball is a game where you should never ignore one piece of equipment to play safe and savage. And that is basketball shoes.
You should be well aware of the potential consequences (injuries) of wearing inadequate pair of shoes for basketball. So here’s the answer to your question.
1- Do you need basketball shoes for basketball?
Yes, you need basketball shoes for playing basketball because the games involves sprints, quick lateral moves, cuts, and jumps that exert extra pressure on ankle and foot . Ordinary shoes can’t provide ankle support, traction, stability and performance.
A basketball shoe will give stability and confidence over pivoting moves and cuts. It grips like glue, making it non-slip for any surface. Similarly, you need specialized shoes for indoors and outdoors.
You can check our guide on best outdoor basketball shoes.
Another important consideration is to choose shoes according to your game and role. Guards and small forwards can go with low-top shoes while Center Power forward should invest in high-top shoes.
You can check our guide on best basketball shoes for guards.
2-Benefits of Basketball Shoes
Basketball shoes are much better than the ordinary running shoes or lifestyle sneakers. Especially, these are according to the players need on the basketball court.
A performance basketball sneaker stands pretty high on a budget scale. Because the engineering involved in their making is backed by immense research and brand development.
Yes you absolutely need to buy basketball shoes because you cannot get the following benefits with an ordinary sneaker.
Security and Protection
There are about 20-30 % of people have flat feet. More often than not, this condition remains unidentified.
The basketball shoes have a special cushion under the midfoot area, which supports the arches. That limit the foot’s excessive movements when they play basketball.
If you have flat feet, high arch, or low arch, your Achilles tendon can get pulled when you force excessively on them by bending and twisting the feet.
It leads to tendonitis. Ultimately player gets unfit for a long time. So it’s unsuitable if you do not wear proper basketball shoes whether you are flat feet or not.
Moreover, the special caging and shape around the basketball shoe add stability. So when a player makes quick turns, the caging protects the player from losing his balance.
One of the most important factors you can only see in a performance basketball shoe is its Torsional rigidity.
Ordinary shoes can bend whichever way you want. But the basketball shoes have a Torsional plate under the midfoot. Which prevents the foot from bending when you make quick, sideways moves, torqueing, and turns.
Confidence and Stability
Confidence is the most important element of your game. It’s the piece of mind that a basketball shoe gives you when you wear it by sending a message to the brain that you will never slip or trip on any reckless move.
Only a basketball shoe has special outsole traction patterns, which can make quick stops. They have a solid grip on the floor.
Herringbone patterns, racing tire traction patterns, and radial and wavy traction patterns are very reliable for a strong grip.
Moreover, the shape of the shoe and outriggers on the lateral and medial sides of the shoes are added to make it more stable.
You must have come across many runner shoes with so much padding to absorb impact.
That’s right, but they can’t beat a basketball shoe because it is made with special cushioning, which absorbs impact but does not hinder the player’s mobility by putting a lot of padding under his feet as cushioning.
A basketball shoe has just enough cushioning that adds responsiveness to the shoe. Some basketball sneakers give a good amount of bounce with a nice court feel.
Additionally, the basketball shoes have specially engineered cushions, like Zoom Strobel, Air zoom, Adidas Bounce, etc., which are very lightweight but responsive. Moreover, they place them in strategic places under the feet. For example, a Nike Zoom unit under the floorball will protect you when you land on the forefoot.
Similarly, a Cushion under the heel will ensure a safe landing on heel strikes.
These are lightweight, breathable, and responsive. At the same time, you need help finding these qualities in ordinary sneakers.
3-Can You Wear Normal Shoes for basketball?
Ordinary shoes are not good alternatives for basketball shoes. But if you play basketball once in a blue moon, running shoes can temporarily be an option for you. So Yes, you can use them. They can not be potential alternatives for regular use. But they can serve the need for a couple of games.
These can give them responsiveness and fit. But it will affect their performance, comfort, and safety. so it would be best to get a suitable pair of basketball shoes for regular practice.
Viable Alternative for Basketball Shoes
Switching to ordinary shoes as a professional basketball player is not an effective solution. However, we can suggest a few suitable options within your budget.
Additionally, they would not be as harmful to your feet and joints as other ordinary shoes.
1- Tennis Shoes
The most suitable alternative to basketball shoes is tennis shoes. Tennis shoes give the best lateral containment. A tennis player moves quickly on the lateral sides. So these are made to be supportive of giving the best lateral containment and lateral stability to the shoe.
Additionally, they are cheaper and more durable than other shoes. They will last longer if you plan to wear them on rough outdoor concrete surfaces.
2- Cross Trainer & Running Shoes
The second option in the line of basketball shoe alternatives is Running shoes. They can give you plush and soft feelings. These shoes have so much cushioning to absorb impact.
The cushion is more for basketball shoes playing point. Because that makes the shoes heavy. And it will eventually be a hindrance in the way of your quick play style.
Note: If you have budget issues, you can check our recommendation for budget basketball shoes.
Do you need to buy basketball shoes? The answer is yes. As for your long-term safety and fitness, buying the most important gear of this game is essential.
It would only cost a couple of bucks, but it will strengthen your game and help you perform better. No potential alternative can prevent you from injuries that occur from sprinting at high speed, and torqueing like a dedicated basketball shoe would do. So it’s worth buying.