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Basketball Shoes vs Sneakers

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

“Sneakers” have come a long way from the late 1800’s when they did not even have a right or left foot, but the term has come to be used as a general term much like Tennis shoes. We all know there are shoes made specifically for tennis given how much abuse the sole takes on the court, but many still use it interchangeably for other shoes with more specific applications. Several websites actually refer to Allen Iverson basketball shoes as “sneakers” and more generally “shoes”, so while we will give you the differences by definition, sneakers is a term used loosely.

Generally, sneakers are more of a jack of all trades; a comfortable shoe with a durable sole that is made to be worn all day. They are relatively light compared to a basketball shoe, usually very well ventilated, and can be worn to the gym, for a walk, or even out for a night on the town.

Basketball shoes are a basketball specific shoe, that can be worn all day, but are typically much heavier, and not as comfortable for casual wear. Today’s fashion has grown to accept them as a statement almost like a Rolex for many with endorsements from NBA players like Jordan and Iverson. Basketball shoes in general have more ankle support, lateral support, heel support, and a softer sole.

  • Ankle support: With all the pivoting and direction changes, the added ankle support improves performance and more importantly the safety of the player helping reduce ankle injuries. Depending on what position or your style of play, you may want more, or less ankle support, so you have improved flexibility.

  • Lateral Support: The lateral forces on the court are tough on a shoe, so reinforcing the side of the shoe improves stability and the life of the shoe.

  • Heel Support: Obviously a lot of jumping means a lot of impact on your heels and everything above (all of you if you are playing right), and the added cushion can make for a more enjoyable game and less pain the next day.

  • Softer Sole: Basketball shoes tend to have softer soles for added grip on the court. This can also be a negative if you are going to wear them as a casual shoe since the soles are made for a smooth surface. You can shop for an outdoor basketball shoe which may last longer on an outdoor court, but they will not grip as well indoors.

Jordan Nike Men's Courtside 23 Basketball Shoe

Skechers Men's Classic Fit-Delson-Camden Sneaker

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