Do High-Top Basketball Shoes Help Reduce the Risk of Injury?
Updated February 13, 2023.
The research shows that high-top basketball shoes reduce ankle inversion (roll) when performing the basketball-specific movement. However, it did not link the wearing of this footwear and the prevention of ankle sprains.
What Does the Research Say?
The research only uses six athletes as participants and, therefore, we have to be careful in drawing too large a conclusion from their findings. However, the study did find that the high-top basketball shoes did reduce the amount of ankle inversion when compared to the low-cut equivalent shoe. This should make sense to anyone who has ever worn a high-top boot as it makes your ankle feel more supported and stable.
We know that this particular measure of ankle movement in a shoe is not related to the incidence of ankle inversion sprain injuries when playing basketball.
» Read more about the benefits of orthotics for basketball shoes
So, Why Do We Feel More Supported in These Shoes?
Our body can ‘sense’ where it is using a mechanism called proprioception. This generalized system involves a combination of factors that allows the body to know how it is working in relation to its surroundings.
A system more specific to the ankle works via mechanoreceptors. These specialized sensory receptors are located in skin and hair and give extremely detailed information about forces and location back to the brain. Due to their location in the skin, they are directly affected by external stimuli such as shoes.
High-top boots act on the mechanoreceptors around the ankle to allow extra information about the foot, especially abnormal movement such as excessive ankle inversion, to be reported and then acted upon by the brain via muscle coordination.
» Need extra support for your basketball shoes? Opt for the best inserts to prevent pronation