are running shoes good for basketball: 5 Differences

Are you a basketball fan tired of switching between running and basketball shoes? Or, you might simply wonder, are running shoes good for basketball?

The truth is, you can play basketball in running shoes, but it is not recommended. Both shoes serve different purposes and have different construction. However, sometimes playing basketball in running shoes is fine.

If you are still confused, let’s discuss running and basketball shoes in detail. We will also discuss why and why you should not wear running shoes for basketball.

When you can use running shoes for basketball, and when you can’t?

Although running and basketball shoes have different dynamics, you can use one as an alternative to another.

However, the frequency at which you should wear these shoes alternatively is a concern. 

We already know that running shoes are not made for basketball. Running shoes have cushioning and allow for movement and support. But playing basketball comes with a higher level of lateral movements. Running shoes are not capable of serving this purpose.

So, you should seldom wear running shoes for basketball. We only recommend wearing running shoes while playing basketball at a light pace. This usually means practicing a bit on your own. Still, it’s better to ensure you do not make sharp moves that can hurt the feet.

On the other hand, you should not wear running shoes while playing a basketball match. In this case, you play in a competitive mood, and your body has to handle a lot of lateral movements and jumps. Running shoes have lightweight cushioning, and they cannot provide enough support.

Thus, if you are a professional basketball player and play regularly, you should consider buying basketball shoes.

are running shoes good for basketbal

Pros and cons of using running shoes for basketball

While you can use running shoes for basketball, they have their cons. However, the problems you face will depend on how frequently you use these shoes for basketball.

So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using running shoes for basketball. Then, you can also determine whether this decision is good for you.


  • Cushioning

Running shoes have a layer of cushion in the sole and other parts of the shoes. This cushioning is also beneficial while playing basketball. It is because you have to jump and need support at the bottom of your foot.

Thus, the cushioning of running shoes provides support and comfort while playing basketball.

  • Speed

Running shoes tend to provide speed to runners. That is why you can expect to run faster while playing basketball in them.

The unique design of running shoes equips the foot and provides comfort for a longer run.

  • Lightweight feel

Running shoes are lightweight and barely make you feel like you are wearing something. This lightweight design is beneficial for all sports, especially basketball.

  • Good for seldom wear

Running shoes keep your feet equipped and provide cushioning. Thus, you can wear them sometimes. Playing a light basketball game in running shoes will not cause much harm.


  • No lateral movements

While playing basketball, your feet make lateral movements. The design of running shoes does not serve this purpose. These shoes have minimum padding on the sides.

If you still wear running shoes for competitive games, it can pose risks. During lateral movements, your feet can hurt, increasing the chances of rolling over.

  • Increased back and ankle pain

Regularly playing basketball in running shoes can increase the chances of health issues. Apart from hurting your feet, you can develop problems in the back, hips, and ankles.

Studies also indicate that podiatrists recommend buying basketball shoes to reduce the risk of injuries.

  • Increased chances of falling

As running shoes cannot provide extra support, they increase your chances of falling. The bottom of your feet has to bear more pain. Also, your feet can roll over, making you fall during lateral movements.

  • Excessive wear and tear

Running shoes consist of lightweight material. This material can easily get torn during extreme sports.

Thus, wearing running shoes for basketball is another way of decreasing the life of these shoes.

are running shoes good for basketbal

Differences between running shoes and basketball shoes

Putting a running shoe next to a basketball shoe will tell you the obvious differences. But, there are far more differences in their performance than we can see.

Carefully looking at the construction of these shoes can help us determine what suits our needs the best.

So, let’s get to know more about the differences between running and basketball shoes.

1. Cushioning

Cushioning is among the only factors common to both kinds of shoes. However, it still differs in both.

Running shoes tend to have less lightweight cushioning. While it is ideal for running, it cannot absorb shocks while playing basketball. This cushioning is easily torn and damages the feet too.

2. Construction

Running shoes have a slightly different construction from basketball shoes. We can also see this difference in the design.

Basketball shoes are taller than running shoes. Also, basketball shoes tend to be more stiff. But, running shoes are lighter and more flexible.

The stiff shape of basketball shoes helps them provide support. Also, the higher ankle design provides support during lateral movements.

3. Weight

Running shoes have a lightweight design. It is because these shoes have less cushioning. The purpose of running shoes is to give a lightweight feel. Thus, runners do not feel the weight on their feet while running.

But basketball shoes are heavier than running shoes. They use different materials in the construction. The sole comprises thick and stiff material to keep it rigid. In this way, basketball shoes can absorb shock.

4. Comfort

While running shoes have their own levels of comfort, they are not suitable for regular basketball players.

The cushioning of running shoes is great. But basketball shoes have extra cushioning to absorb shock. Also, the padding on the ankles and other parts allows easy lateral movements.

The rigid sole and cushioning help distribute the body weight equally as you land while playing basketball. Thus, you feel less stress on the feet or other body parts. This equal weight distribution is also necessary to prevent pain in the lower back, hips, and ankles.

5. Arch support

We already know that basketball shoes have a higher ankle and are taller. 

Basketball shoes also provide extra support on the arches. Most running shoes lag in this feature. Less arch support means that your weight will not get distributed equally on landing.

Thus, the shape of the sole in basketball shoes is better aligned compared to running shoes. You can get better support in basketball shoes, which will keep the whole body aligned.

running shoes

How to choose shoes for basketball

Basketball shoes come in various designs and styles. So, it is better to pick the shoes that suit your foot type.

If you’re buying basketball shoes for the first time, you would probably be confused. So, let’s discuss some tips on how to choose shoes for basketball.

1. Ankle support

The ankle support of basketball shoes will depend on the height of the ankle collar.

In general, basketball shoes come with three types of ankle collars. These include high ankle collar, mid ankle collar, and low ankle collar.

Shoes with high ankle collars are best for competitive games. They provide the most support and protection to ankles. The extra side support also allows for lateral movements, jumps, and blocking shots.

Mid-ankle shoes provide support but also give a comfortable run. Apart from providing support, these shoes are great for mobility.

Low-ankle shoes are great for running fast. They have less support on the sides but work well for running and quick turns.

2. Grip

The traction pattern can determine the grip of your basketball shoes. In general, a multi-directional traction pattern is best. It can provide a great grip on rough courts.

However, you also need to consider whether you are playing indoors or outdoors. Indoor basketball courts are smooth. Shoes with soft soles can go well. 

However, outdoor basketball courts have a rough surface. You should opt for a sturdy sole with a rigid traction pattern in this case.

Basketball shoes already have good traction. But, you should still check them for increased durability.

3. Playing style

Your role in the basketball team and playing style play a crucial role in the type of shoes you should wear.

Players with more lateral movements and jumps should opt for extra support and high ankles. High-top shoes are also ideal for centers and power forwards.

But, mid-tops are best for versatile players. These shoes are great for moving in different directions and changing positions quickly.

4. Cushioning

Cushioning is an important factor when looking for basketball shoes. Although running shoes have cushioning, it is much less than required.

Basketball shoes tend to come with different types of cushioning. More cushioning is beneficial for jumps and movements. However, it also makes your feet move away from the ground. Thus, it can make you more prone to falling due to excessive support and less contact with the ground.

However, less cushioning can also put pressure on your feet while landing during jumps.

Apart from this, the bounce of the cushion is important to consider. You should opt for a higher bounce if your playing style involves jumping. 

However, moderate cushioning is suitable for seasonal and light-hearted players.

5. Comfort

Your basketball shoes should feel comfortable upon wearing.

For this, you should only buy shoes that keep your feet caged. Ensure the shoes are not loose enough to slip from the feet. Also, they should be tight.

Also, the shoes should keep your body aligned as you walk and run. You can check this feature on the first trial. The support and cushioning of the shoes should be just enough to match your playing style.

If you do not consider the comfort factor, your feet can feel pain. You can develop pain in the lower back and ankles with time. Uncomfortable shoes can also make you lose balance and fall while playing.

Thus, your basketball shoes should be comfortable enough. In this way, you can play with full spirit without getting injured.

running shoes

Is it possible to improve ankle support in running shoes for basketball?

High-top basketball shoes can improve ankle support. 

However, running shoes usually do not come with a high top that covers the ankle. With such shoes, the support to the ankle is reduced, and your feet can bend while playing.

Basketball shoes come with high, medium, and low tops. The kind of ankle support you choose will depend on your playing style. If you have fewer lateral movements and jumps, you can use low top shoes.

If your running shoes do not already have ankle support, you can opt for bracing or taping. Both methods can help prevent ankle sprains. You can buy shoes with better cushioning. Apart from this, ankle sleeves are a great combination with running shoes. 

All these options can help you improve ankle support in running shoes while playing basketball.

Are basketball shoes good for running?

Basketball shoes can be a good alternative for running. Still, we recommend wearing running shoes if you are a regular runner.

When you don’t wear specific shoes for a specific purpose, they can harm you in the long run. They might feel safe and comfortable in the beginning. But basketball shoes can make you develop pain in the muscles.

Whether basketball shoes are good for running depends on the features. If these shoes match your foot type and running style, you can use them. If you run regularly, you should switch to your running shoes.

People already suffering from muscle pain or injuries should also avoid using basketball shoes for running.


It’s true that running shoes can be a good alternative for playing basketball. But, the best idea is to opt for the right shoes while playing specific sports.  

Regularly wearing running shoes for basketball is not safe. You can develop pain in your lower back and ankles. Also, running shoes are not designed to bear the wear and tear of basketball.

So, use the right shoes to make your basketball game the best!

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