Why Are Basketball Shoes High Tops?

high top basketball shoes

Basketball shoes have been around for over a hundred years. The first high-top basketball shoe was created in 1917. The extra material helps to absorb impact when landing and jumping. High tops are not required for every player, but they are often preferred by those who want extra protection.

Why Wear High-Tops In Basketball?

Ankle Support

Benefits of High Top Basketball Shoes
Improved Ankle Support

When playing basketball, there is a lot of cutting and jumping involved. This puts a lot of stress on the ankles, so having a shoe that supports the ankles is essential. The high-top design provides support and stability around the ankle, which is vulnerable to sprains and other injuries.


Benefits of High Top Basketball Shoes
Best Traction Basketball Shoes

High-top basketball shoes provide good traction so players can stop and start quickly without slipping.


StyleBenefits of High Top Basketball Shoes
Style High Top Basketball Shoes

High-top basketball shoes have been around for a long time and are considered classic.

High-Top Basketball Shoes Pros

While the low-top shoe is gaining popularity, the high-top is still the preferred choice of many professional players. There are several reasons for this:

Soft Cushioning For Impact Protection

Soft Cushioning Basketball Shoes
Soft Cushioning For Impact Protection

High-top shoes tend to have more padding and cushioning than low-tops, which can help protect your feet and ankles from impact when you land after a jump shot or make a hard-court cut.

Stronger, Providing Higher Durability

Higher Durability
Higher Durability Basketball Shoes

High tops also tend to be more durable than lower-cut shoes. This is because they have less material exposed to wear and tear. When playing on a hardwood court, it’s essential to have a shoe that can withstand all the banging around. Lower-cut shoes are more likely to tear or develop holes at the seams over time.

Cons Of High-Top Basketball Shoes

High-top basketball shoes also have some drawbacks, which are listed below.

Reduced Ankle Movement

They reduce ankle movement. Bending and turning are huge parts of basketball, and high tops restrict your ankle. This is important to note because it will affect the way you play. You’ll need to compensate by relying on other skills, such as your footwork or your jump shot (if you’re a post player).

Heavy Construction

High-top basketball shoes can be heavy, and construction can be difficult, making them less desirable for recreational players.

Which Positions Suits High-Top Basketball Shoes?

Power Forward

The power forward position is the most suited to high-top shoes, as it requires a lot of mobility and explosiveness. The high-top shoes allow players to move easily without restriction, giving them more room to show off their skills. This makes power forwards the most likely to wear high tops.


The center is also a good position for high-top shoes, as they provide more protection from the ground. The center needs to stay mobile and agile with the ball, which is difficult when wearing low-top shoes. The high-top shoe allows them to move freely, giving them more time on the court.

High-Top basketball Shoes vs Low-Top

When comparing high top basketball shoes to low top ones, several factors can influence the decision, such as playing style, position, comfort, and personal preferences. Here’s a comparison:

Ankle Support: High tops are known for providing superior ankle support, making them a popular choice for players who require extra stability and injury prevention, especially those with a history of ankle sprains. Conversely, low tops do not provide as much support, but modern design and technologies have improved their overall stability.

Mobility: Low tops tend to be lighter and allow for more agility and quick lateral movements. They’re often chosen by players like guards, who need to maintain high speed and agility on the court. High tops, while offering more support, can be heavier and might restrict movements slightly due to their design.

Comfort and Fit: This is very subjective and depends on individual preferences. Some players find high tops more comfortable because of the additional padding and support, while others prefer low tops due to their lightweight and less restrictive design.

Injury Prevention: A common belief is that high tops help prevent ankle injuries due to their extra support. However, some studies suggest that high tops may not necessarily reduce the risk of ankle sprains, and proper conditioning and strengthening exercises are more critical.

Style: From a style perspective, both high tops and low tops have their unique appeal. High tops often give a classic basketball look, while low tops have a more modern and sleek design.

Which Is Better: High-Top, Low-Top, Or Mid-Top?

High-tops are the most popular basketball shoe worn by players all over the world. They offer good ankle support and a snug fit. Low tops are less common but can be just as effective. They have a lower profile and offer more flexibility, making them better for players with smaller feet. Mid-tops are the least popular but offer the best balance between ankle support and flexibility.


Do high tops prevent ankle sprains?

High-top shoes provide additional support for the ankle which can help to prevent injuries, including sprains. This support can help stabilize the ankle, reducing the chance of a twist or roll, especially during high-impact activities like basketball where quick turns and jumps are common.


In conclusion, basketball shoes are typically high tops because they provide better ankle support and a tighter fit. This result in a more stable platform for players when jumping and landing, which can help them avoid injury.