Basketball players can improve their jump height and maneuverability with stiffer soles under their shoes. The weight of the shoe has no influence on these outcome measures. This is the result of research among recreational basketball players who have tested shoes with different characteristics.
In advertisements for basketball shoes, well-known basketball players recommend shoes that would make everyone perform better. The question is, however, which characteristics of basketball shoes influence the performance of basketball players. Researchers from Canada have investigated whether the skid resistance of the sole, the weight of the shoe and the stiffness of the forefoot of basketball shoes influence the test performance of basketball players.
20 recreational basketball players participated in this study. These basketball players performed a 10-meter sprint, a short sprint followed by the highest possible jump and a maneuverability trail with different basketball shoes. The basketball players received 3 attempts for each test. The basketball shoes varied in 3 characteristics, namely, the traction (skid resistance) of the sole, the stiffness of the forefoot and the weight of the shoe. The shoe “Nike Zoom Kobe V” was taken as the basis. This shoe has average traction, high stiffness of the forefoot and low weight.
The researchers have reduced shoe traction by 20% by sticking sports tape on the sole of the shoe and increased by 20% by stapling rubber band on the sole. Because the basic shoe already has a high stiffness of the forefoot, it has been reduced by 20% (this is the reference) by cutting thin strips out of the sole and then again reduced by 20%. The low weight of the shoe has been increased twice by 20%. After 1 increase, the reference is created. This results in 9 different pairs of shoes, all with a -20% category, a reference and a + 20% category. The basketball players could not tell which category it was from the shoes.
In the comparison between the reference shoes and the shoes with increased traction (+ 20%), basketball players jumped 1 cm higher and performed 4% better on the maneuverability course. The weight of the shoe has no influence on the outcome measures. An increased stiffness (+ 20%) of the forefoot improves the sprint by 1.0% and the performance on the maneuverability course by 1.7%. This only applies when the stiffest shoe (+ 20%) is compared to the least stiff shoe (-20%).
This study shows in particular that the maneuverability of a basketball player is improved by wearing shoes with a non-slip sole. In addition, it appears that a stiff forefoot of the shoe can make a very small contribution to the sprinting time and maneuverability. The weight of the shoe appears not to be important for the performance. Although the method of shoe processing is somewhat unconventional, these techniques are common when testing sports shoes.
When purchasing indoor shoes, it is advisable to initially pay attention to a stiff sole and possibly also to a stiff forefoot of the shoe. A rough shoe is perhaps better for the test performance, but the effect of this on the risk of injury has not been determined.
Journal Sports Biomech #14. Writers Worobets J, Wannop JW.