Why Don’t Basketball Players Wear High Tops Anymore?

Why Don’t Basketball Players Wear High-tops Anymore?

why don’t basketball players wear high tops anymore? The fact is, if an unfortunate ankle injury is about to happen, no high-top or low-top shoe can protect you from it. 

That said, conventional wisdom stands firm with the opinion that wearing a high-top shoe would prevent a player’s ankle from rolling. But in fact, most of the time, ankle injury occurs when an athlete lands on another player’s foot and ends up with a twisted ankle. 

  • But is it a proven fact backed by some scientific research?
  • Do players actually get better performance wearing low-top shoes compared to high-top ones?
  • What benefits do basketball players get by wearing low-top shoes?
  • Do wrapping tape around the ankle or wearing braces give better protection?
  • How LaMello Ball and Anthony Devis got ankle injuries, and what shoes were they wearing?

I will explain all the answers using expert basketball players and coaches’ opinions. So read till the end of the article.

why don’t basketball players wear high tops anymore

Why Don’t Basketball Players Wear High-tops Anymore?

Low-top basketball shoes are very restrictive of freer ankle mobility. They provide better support than a low-top basketball shoe, but it’s not necessary that a player won’t get injured in a high-top shoe. So most players are wearing low-top shoes for quicker turns and smooth pivots. It is also less bulky than high-top basketball shoes

Moreover, there is no evidence that a high-top shoe would save them from injury. But they are sure that wearing a low-top shoe that would add speed and flexibility to their game would definitely help them score better.

Check our Guide about: Are Basketball Shoes Good for Walking?

What Shoes LaMello Ball and Anthony Devis Wearing When They Got Injured?

We know that Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball switch between his first and second signature shoes. He has not fully embraced the MB02 shoes. 

Recently, he got a severe ankle injury on his left ankle when he was hooping in MB.02. But is it the shoe that caused him injury?

Foot Doctor Zach contradicted this theory. He explained that anyone could get an ankle sprain if he stepped on another player’s foot.

LaMello Ball stepped on Washington’s Anthony Gill’s left foot, and it bent very badly that Bal could not stand up for the next few minutes.

The MB.02 shoe is excellent in stability and is a bottom-heavy shoe that does not bend in every direction. Hence it gives solid torsional rigidity.

Moreover, the wide base gives a lot of lateral containment. So it’s only a bad angle that when you play hard on a basketball court, such injuries can happen whether it s a low-top or a high-top shoe.

Now let’s jump to how Anthony Devis got his ankle injuries over and over again. But before that, I tell you that he always wears Kobe shoes and is an explosive guard.

Athlete Training Center’s research says that the lack of knowledge of cross-training techniques causes injuries

For example, injuries happen when an athlete land on one foot. It’s the most common cause of anterior cruciate injuries.

The same happened with Anthony Devis. He is the one who never put his muscles to rest and constantly played basketball after his one college year.

So Arch-USA insists that when you repeatedly use one muscle without taking care of your body’s motor mechanics, such injuries are bound to happen.

These are not the shoe; it’s the wrong landing that caused injuries to Anthony Devis.

Check out: What Basketball Shoes Should I Get?

Advantages of Low-Top Basketball Shoes Over High-Top Basketball Shoes

Why Don’t Basketball Players Wear High-tops Anymore?

High-top basketball shoes use more material than low-top basketball shoes. That said, when you have a look at basketball shoes, the majority of them are cheaper in low-top versions.

  1. The high-top ones use more material, adding more grams to their weight, making the bulkier than low-top shoes. 

As a general rule of thumb, a lighter basketball shoe is more beneficial for an explosive guard. The bulkier and bottom-heavy basketball shoes reduce speed and quickness.

  1. While weight is a significant point, we cant overlook the ankle inversion angles. Which is significantly better when you wear low-top shoes, giving you more freedom of movement. 

According to a study, a Low top shoe gives 4.5 degrees more ankle inversion. Hence it aids in better agility and quicker movements.

The only benefit that high-top carries over low-top basketball shoes is that this kind of shoe benefits players who are less agile around the court. Such as bigger centres or forwards.

So the old study conducted in 1973 leveraging the theory that high-top basketball shoes are more protective of ankles is not considered true anymore. 

The protection of the ankles is more related to the body mechanics, player landing position and the time a player takes to rest their muscles between yearly game schedules.

Better Alternatives for Ankle Support

Why Don’t Basketball Players Wear High-tops Anymore?

A basketball player’s performance depends on his fitness and ankles, and the Achilles  area is the major area that bears most of the pressure during the game. 

Coaches and players no longer prefer high-top basketball shoes. Especially guards and positionless players, like shoes that increase ground contact and do not hinder ankle mobility. 

That said, they prefer to use alternative ways to fix their ankle position. That’s how it will not bend in bad directions. 

Stephen curry, who has faced many ankle injuries, wears ankle braces and uses ankle tapes.

You should know that ankle braces are a more supportive way to restrict ankle mobility. Tapping your ankle just before a basketball game will lose its rigidity around the centre of the game. 

So wearing a good medical-grade ankle brace is a better way to protect the ankles from any injury in a basketball game.


There was a maximalist era in basketball history where Jordans were the pioneer basketball sneakers. All high-top sneakers were a mix of trend and stability. Nostalgia is there, but the love for high-tops is gone, knowing there is no extra benefit in using them over low-tops on the basketball court.

That said, it is now well known and, backed by the opinions of many experienced basketball coaches, that ankle injury is not a result of wearing low-top basketball shoes. So you can hoop in your favourite low-top basketball shoe. Just have good intermittent resting periods and proper training to avoid accidents.

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