How Should Your Basketball Shoes Fit? Essential Key Points To Consider

The first basketball shoe was invented in 1923 by Marquis Converse who founded the still-extant company Converse All-Star. Very shortly after came the first celebrity endorsement from Chuck Taylor, leading to basketball shoes being known informally as “Chucks”. This quickly led to athletic wear becoming an everyday fashion statement. This was in part due to the fact that the shoes were comfortable enough to wear all day, every day.

At first, basketball shoes were only available in black and white. Also, they looked more like work boots and had little in the way of traction. Gradually, the sole was built to be with better traction and stability. By the Sixties, Converse realized people like a little color in their wardrobe and provided it.

In the Seventies, Puma Clyde brought some functionality to the fashion with a wide sole and a suede upper for an improved stance. In the Eighties, Nike’s Air Force 1 became the most sought-after basketball shoe.

In 1986, the rap group Run DMC accepted a million-dollar endorsement deal from Adidas, cementing basketball shoes as a part of hip hop culture as well as sports culture. In 1989, Reebok came out with the Pump, a line of shoes with inflatable ankle support. Nike rose to even greater popularity in the Nineties due to endorsements by Michael Jordan.

Today, basketball shoes are often made with a synthetic mesh material that is durable, supportive, lightweight and breathable. The sole is made out of a springy rubber for grip, traction, and balance. The modern basketball shoe should feel like an extension of your feet so that your mind is on the game and not your shoes.

how should basketball shoes fit

Are Basketball Shoes Wider Than Normal Shoes?

As mentioned before, Puma Clyde found that a wide sole made for a better stance. A proper basketball shoe should have a flat sole and broad midsole tread. Basketball shoes tend to be stiffer, taller and heavier than running shoes.

The soles of basketball shoes are quite thick and rigid plus the ankles are rather high. This is all to help you when you stop, start or change directions in the course of the game without injuring your ankles while you’re at it.

Do Basketball Shoes Run Big Or Small?

This varies from one brand to another. Read the reviews and try the shoe on before buying. There should be a thumb’s width of space between the end of the shoe and your largest toe. Shoes that are too small are uncomfortable. Shoes that are too big are a rolled ankle waiting to happen.

Should Basketball Shoes Be Tight Or Loose?

Your shoes should have a little wiggle room for the toes. Also, keep in mind that feet swell up a bit when exercising. While the shoe should be somewhat loose in the toe area, the heel should feel a bit snug. While you need comfort, you also need security and stability.

Too tight shoes can lead to blisters. Too loose shoes can mean a rolled ankle. What you should do is wear them tight enough to have correct ankle support but not so much that it restricts the mobility of the joints and blood flow.

Should Basketball Shoes Be A Size Bigger?

Your shoe shout is the right size for your feet. Your toes should have ample room in a broad toe box. Always stand up when you are trying on basketball shoes. Don’t forget that you need a thumbnail’s length of space between the tip of your biggest toe and the end of your shoe. See to it that your heel fits securely yet comfortably with no slippage.

How Should Basketball Shoes Fit Toes?

Basketball shoes should only bend near the ball of the foot and not through the arch. This is where the toes bend. A broad toe box is essential to prevent the toes from being squeezed. Basketball shoes that are too shallow can put pressure on the toes and this can lead to blisters as well as the formation of corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, and possibly bruised toenails.

Should I Go With High Tops Or Low Tops?

That depends on whether you would rather have support or mobility. High top shoes give you plenty of ankle support and stability. Forwards and centers are especially prone to an ankle injury and could benefit from such a shoe. A guard, however, needs to move quickly and might benefit more with a lower top. There are mid-top shoes that try to meet halfway on both mobility and support.

Do Basketball Shoes Stretch Out?

Ideally, basketball shoes should be flexible, but only at key points and firm in others. Typical life hacks for stretching shoes may not work here. However, it can be done with some effort.

How Can I Stretch My Basketball Shoes?

For a pair of basketball shoes, you may want to use a wooden shoe stretcher. With this, you can control how much the shoes are stretched. You can target the problem areas with spot stretching plugs. This tool is simple to use and not messy. It can be used again for any other shoes you acquire that are on the narrow side.

How Tight Should I Tie My Basketball Shoes?

They should be fairly tight for support, just not uncomfortably so. Basketball shoes that are loosely laced not only look sloppy but are an accident waiting to happen. You don’t want to be benched because you tripped over your shoelaces! Do you have high arches or wide feet? Here are two lacing methods that could help you out.

If you have high arches, do the following:

  • Start by lacing the shoes in a crisscross pattern up to the bottom group of holes.
  • Thread the left shoelace and the right shoelace straight up both sides of each shoe in order to create higher arches that have more stability.
  • Crisscross these laces once more when you reach the very final set of holes near the top of the shoe. Tie the shoes at the top just as you usually would.

If you have wide feet, you may find this lacing method works better for you:

  • Thread the laces through the first pair of eyelets at the bottom of the shoe.
  • Lace the shoelaces directly up the shoe for the few next sets of holes. Do not crisscross the laces. Keep on lacing in this method until the shoelace comes to the upper part of the foot. This will allow for the shoe to be tightened without putting too much pressure on the foot.
  • Crisscross the laces on the rest of the eyelets and then tie the shoe as usual.

Why Do My Feet Hurt In Basketball Shoes?

First, ask yourself if you got the right size. If you are a young teenager, your feet may still be growing. If you are an older person (good on you for staying active) your feet may just be spreading out a little. Arthritis and type 2 diabetes can cause swelling.

Perhaps you need more arch support or better shock absorption. Were you swayed more on the looks of the shoe rather than anything practical? Perhaps you need insoles. Wearing thicker socks can help but it’s possible that you just need to break your shoes in.

How Do You Break In Basketball Shoes?

You want your shoes broken in long before you hit the court. If you are buying your basketball shoes to play basketball and not just as a fashion statement, buy them well in advance of the season. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to break them in.

Wear them at home for ten minutes at a time while wearing thick socks. Gradually increase the time you spend wearing them. Keep this up until your shoes are comfortable enough to wear for an hour at a time.

Next, you should get your feet accustomed to the shoes by taking them for a light job, about fifteen to twenty minutes. Occasionally do some of the sudden starting, stopping and jumping you might do in a basketball game. After a while, you can wear them to practice. Take note of how the shoes fit and adjust the laces accordingly.

How Do You Prevent Injuries?

If you wear old, worn-out basketball shoes, this can lead to overuse injuries in the foot. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine suggests that high school and college basketball players replace their shoes at least once a month.

The everyday utilization of the shoes for both practices and games gradually wears down the shoe material. This can severely reduce their ability to deliver the cushioning and supportive needs required to protect the foot.

How To Choose The Right Basketball Shoe?

You could try the standard three-point test. This will help you test the flexibility and heel counter of the shoe:

  • First, take up the shoe, and put it toe to heel between your palms. Squeeze the shoe by pushing your palms together. The shoe should bend only at the ball of the foot (around three-quarters of the way to the front). If it bends throughout the middle, yeet that sucker!
  • Next, get a good grip on the heel and the toe and try to twist the shoe like wringing out a rag. You want the shoe to give some resistance. Should it twist more than a quarter of a turn, yeet that sucker!
  • Last but certainly not least, you need to push into the back of the heel with your thumb. The more the resistance the better. The best quality shoes have a plastic cup (known as a heel counter) built-in and there should be no movement at all. Be wary if there is a little movement. If you can flatten or push it in a good deal…you guessed it! Yeet! That! Sucker!

Do not become a label shill! You need to focus more on the performance and the results more than the appearance and the brand names. So, you’re hard of hearing grandma bought you Mikey’s. They might still be good shoes.

You should choose your shoe based on your playing style and where it is you play. A lightweight shoe with moderate cushion plus flexibility and support is ideal for fast and all-around players.

A somewhat heavier shoe with the greatest stability and cushion is a must for the power players. Do you play in a gymnasium or outdoor court? There are shoes designed specifically for outdoor play with heavier soles. A rubber sole provides sufficient traction for an indoor court.


Some basketball players think it’s good luck to wipe the soles of your shoes before hitting the court. This is a superstition that may have some sense behind it. A clean treat, after all, is less slippery. (A regular rise with soapy water is best but the odd spit shine will work in a pinch.) If you want real good luck on the court you make sure the shoes fit properly and are laced up well.

Basketball shoes tend to be a bit on the broad side but they should fit comfortably. While feet are of importance in a game of basketball, it’s really your head that needs to be in the game. Get your feet handled first and quickly and your mind will be free to concentrate on the game.


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