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The type of shoe you choose for your basketball game should reflect the type of player you are. Basketball shoes come in different weights and cushioning, with different heights. Choose the right type to match your playing style, to either help you with your jumps or race across the court at high speed.
Basketball shoes were once made with an all-leather upper to help stabilize the foot. Leather is a durable material, so the shoes lasted a long time. But leather also is heavy, so other materials are working their way into basketball shoe uppers. Synthetic mesh is a durable and lightweight material that still offers foot stability. You can find leather uppers mixed with synthetic mesh or canvas, or basketball shoes with only synthetic mesh on the upper section. The soles are usually made of rubber. There are also several options when looking at closures for basketball shoes, designed to hold your feet securely as you make sudden starts, stops and quick turns. Laces are the traditional closure, with some enhanced by a strap around the ankle of high-top shoes. Zippers and hook-and-loop closures don't offer the same flexibility to loosen or tighten different areas along the top of the shoe for maximum fit.
Low-top basketball shoes resemble standard athletic shoes, but they are designed for speed and traction on the court. These shoes don't offer any ankle support, which most basketball players need; instead, they allow the most ankle flexibility for players who dodge quickly and rely on their agility to reach the goal. These are the lightest type of basketball shoe.
Mid-tops work for players who count on bursts of speed but who aren't afraid to get physical and jump for the ball when needed. These shoes provide some ankle support, which is especially handy when landing from jumps, but they don't restrict the ankle as much as high-tops when executing fast turns on the court.
High-tops are preferred by the power players, or the ones that stay in close quarters with more physical contact than the speedster players. Power players jump for shots and rebounds often, meaning they need extra ankle support and powerful cushioning in their shoes. These shoes are the heaviest type, but the type that offers the most foot and ankle stability.
When shopping for your basketball shoes, go late in the day or immediately after a workout when your feet are most likely to be at their largest. Feet tend to swell after exercise or late in the day, and you want your basketball shoes to remain comfortable throughout practices and games. Wear heavy socks, or the socks you plan to use with the shoes to ensure the best fit. You should be able to place your index finger across the tip of your shoe in front of your toes; if not, the curve of the tip might constrict your toes as you play.