Whether you're a point guard or centre, you've probably wondered 'what basketball shoes are best for jumping?'
With the best basketball shoes now featuring more advanced technology than ever, finding the best pair to give you extra spring off the ground isn't necessarily easy, but don't worry, we're here to guide you through some of the key features to look out for which might just help your leap.
Let's begin by looking at low and high tops...
Best Basketball Shoes For Jumping - Low Or High Tops?
We have covered whether low tops or high tops are better for overall performance, but what about in terms of jumping specifically?
It could be argued that because high tops tend to be slightly heavier trainers, like the Lebron 18's, they may have an adverse effect on your leaping capabilities to reach your top basketball hoop, however, the difference is so small, you're unlikely to see a drastic disparity.
In fact, a 2017 study found shoe collar height did not affect performance during realistic jumping so the shoe height shouldn't be a factor in your decision.
Best Basketball Shoes For Jumping - The Sole
As mentioned in our guide on how basketball shoes should fit, they're designed primarily for protection but, with recent advances in technology, some manufacturers have implemented additional features like springs or air cushions in the soles which may help with your vertical leap.
Brands like Athletic Propulsion Labs, or APL for short, include 10 coil springs between the top and bottom sole plates of its shoes which are designed to store energy during the 'loading' phase of a jump to, hopefully, give you a better launch off your forefoot.
Moreover, shoes like the Air Jordan XXXVI's come with Nike's own Zoom Air technology in the midsole for added protection upon landing, but also could benefit your leap by transferring more energy on the recoil into your jump.
Best Basketball Shoes For Jumping - Lightness
As previously mentioned, a trainer made out of the lightest materials possible may counteract the feeling of being 'weighed down' compared to heavier shoes.
If you look at some of the more premium sneakers like the KD14's, you'll find most of the outer layer being made from a synthetic mesh to keep the weight to a minimum.
Although the results may be minimal, a 2018 study has found that wearing light shoes in basketball has a 2.1% and 1.6% positive effect on both jumping and sprint performance so, if you really want to squeeze every last inch out of your vertical leap, keep an eye out for light sneakers.
Best Basketball Shoes For Jumping - Practice
The most important element for improving your jump is practice.
Making sure you nail your technique is the key to getting the best vertical leap possible.
With that being said, there are some shoes out there that are designed to develop the muscles associated with jumping such as strength shoes.
With strength shoes, your heels are kept off the ground and the calves are used to support the body, forcing immense pressure on them.
However, we'd recommend sticking to working out in your best gym shoes and focusing your training on building your leg muscles in order to give you more explosive power when it comes to jumping.
What Basketball Shoes Are Best For Jumping?
As previously stated, we believe the first thing to think about in terms of improving your jump is practice - if your technique isn't perfect then you already have a way of developing your vertical leap before you start looking for shoes to help you.
You may find some sneakers, like the Air Jordan XXXVI's, to be better than others if you've got the main technique nailed, however, the improvements may only be a matter of centimeters.
The majority of top basketball shoe brands like Nike and Under Armour realise this and, instead, focus on creating the best trainers possible for protection and comfort, especially for your ankles.