Best Basketball Shoes Of All Time And How To Wear Them
Technology Making Basketball Shoes More Effective and Safe for Top Athletes
In-game sneakers have evolved considerably over the years. From the earlier years where Converse Chuck Taylor and Nike Blazers were the norm and laid the blueprint for sneakers to now where Air Jordans and others offer more variety.
With the use of modern technology designers are able to create footwear the adheres to individual players based on foot structure, on-court movement, and impact of movement. This personalization adds more control, strength, and power to already freakishly gifted athletes.
Basketball researchers use data collected to compile an understanding of a player’s on-court movement in order to create sneakers that are lighter, stronger, and safer. Designers, in partnership with researchers, use high-tech fabric that is both lightweight and durable when designing sneakers that give the players effective footwear.
As a result of this design we have the 9.8 ounce Adidas AdiZero Crazy Light, which is the lightest basketball shoe on the market. Many shoe designers are steering away from using leather as it is heavier and does not serve a useful purpose.
Adidas produces lightweight and comfortable sneakers by mimicking an automobile manufacturing processes to heat-stem individual pea-size thermoplastic polyurethane foam capsules together to offer more cushioning and energy return versus traditional EVA foam. The process is detailed in a video by HoopKIX: Technology Behind The Hyperfuse Basketball Shoe. NikeBasketball released a video of the shoe science used in designing the Lebron X and how it effects his play:
Another way to monitor performance comes from NikeFuel/Nike +. NikeFuel is a single, universal way to measure all kinds of activities—from your morning workout to your big night out. Uniquely designed to measure whole-body movement no matter your age, weight or gender, NikeFuel tracks your active life. The date collected from Nike+, which has sensors inside shoes to monitor pinpoint movements of players, is an example of the data researchers collect.
Nike’s “Elite” series, a limited edition playoff design, first offered carbon fiber in 2012, giving the shoe a stronger support plate in a thinner, lighter material that offers better response than any other material, says Leo Chang, Nike basketball design director.
“It supports the foot, dissipating pressure and offering more return than a standard foam unit”, says Justin Taylor, a Jordan Brand designer, regarding Pebax, another high-tech fabric.
More often we are seeing a player’s career shortened or damaged due to the misfortune of foot and ankle problems. This unfortunate trend may be due to a popular style amongst several players: lightweight, low-top sneakers. Low-top sneakers have been mentioned as a factor of ankle and foot injuries. Although there is no concrete evidence to prove that low-top sneakers result in ankle injuries it does suggest that it is more common because of a lack of support. Foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and Achilles are sometimes the result of exposed feet.
Many notable stars, including Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, and Rajon Rondo have switched to low-top sneakers. They mention that low-top sneakers are less restrictive when they run. Other players who wear low-top sneakers are aware that it may increase their chances of an injury but feel that the pros outweigh the cons.
In a 2013 article on Livestrong.com, basketball podiatrist Dr. Michael Lowe says that the lesser stability offered by low top is likely to lead to ankle injuries. However, further information suggests that the number of injuries between players who wear high-top and low-top sneakers are the same, but there tends to be more severity in the injuries by players who wear low-top sneakers.
That, along with players being faster, larger, and physically stressed during an 82-game season and playoffs, causes much concern for team physicians.
The trend has also appeared in the sale of sneakers as low-top sneakers grew to 29 percent over a 10 year span while high-tops decreased by 12 percent.