Can Running Shoes Be Used for Basketball? (Explained)- 2023/ featured image

Can Running Shoes Be Used For Basketball? (Explained) – 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • Footwear Matters: The right shoes enhance performance and reduce injury risk.
  • Basketball vs. Running Shoes:
    • Running shoes are lightweight with targeted cushioning.
    • Basketball shoes are durable with overall sole cushioning, better traction, and ankle support.
  • Risks with Running Shoes for Basketball:
    • Increased risk of ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures.
    • Reduced traction and shock absorption on the court.
  • When is Using Running Shoes Okay?: Suitable for casual, short, low-intensity games but with caution.
  • Choosing Basketball Shoes: Prioritize playing style, fit, and durability.
  • Basketball Shoes for Running: Not ideal; if done, start with short runs and ensure comfort.

When it comes to playing sports, the right footwear can make all the difference.

Proper shoes provide support, cushioning, and traction to help you perform your best and reduce the risk of injury.

This brings us to the question of the day, can running shoes be used for basketball? The answer depends on your playing level.

If you are a dedicated player, having a proper pair of basketball shoes is highly recommended.

However, for casual games or playing as a hobby, running shoes may be suitable. 

This article takes an in-depth look at whether running shoes can be used for basketball, examining the key differences between the two types of shoes and the potential risks of using running shoes on the court.

Let’s get started!

Running Shoes vs. Basketball Shoes: Key Differences

Design and Construction

  • Materials: Running shoes are typically made of lightweight materials, with breathable mesh uppers for optimal airflow.

In contrast, basketball shoes are heavy and often feature more durable materials, such as leather or synthetic materials, to withstand the rigors of the game.

  • Support and Cushioning: Running shoes focus on cushioning and shock absorption, particularly in the heel and forefoot, to protect the feet from the repetitive impact of running.

Basketball shoes, on the other hand, require cushioning throughout the sole to handle jumps, cuts, and landings.

Performance Features

  • Traction: Traction is crucial in basketball for quick stops, pivots, and changes of direction.

Basketball shoes have a wide, flat outsole with multidirectional grip patterns to ensure excellent traction.

Running shoes are designed for forward motion, with traction patterns that may not provide adequate grip for lateral movements.

  • Ankle Support: Basketball shoes often feature high or mid-top designs that provide extra ankle support, helping to reduce the risk of sprains.

Running shoes are typically low-top, offering less ankle support and protection.

  • Lateral Stability: Basketball shoes are designed for multidirectional movements, with reinforced side panels and a wider base to provide lateral stability.

Running shoes lack these features, focusing instead on forward motion and heel-to-toe transitions.

Drawbacks of Using Running Shoes for Basketball

Increased Risk of Injury

  • Ankle Sprains: Using running shoes for basketball may increase the risk of ankle sprains, as they don’t provide the same level of support and stability as basketball shoes.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: The lack of adequate shock absorption in running shoes may also increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot.
  • Stress Fractures: Limited support and cushioning in running shoes can contribute to stress fractures, particularly in the feet and lower legs.

Decreased Performance

Limited Traction

Using running shoes on the basketball court may result in limited traction, making it difficult to execute quick stops, pivots, and directional changes.

Insufficient Lateral Support

The lack of lateral support in running shoes can lead to instability during lateral movements, compromising performance and increasing the risk of injury.

Inadequate Shock Absorption

Playing basketball in running shoes may cause insufficient shock absorption during jumps, landings, and other high-impact movements.

Situations Where Running Shoes Is Acceptable 

1. Non-competitive Settings

Running shoes may be suitable for casual basketball play in non-competitive settings, such as pick-up games with friends.

2. Short Durations of Play

If you’re playing for a short time, running shoes might be acceptable, but it’s essential to be aware of their limitations and potential risks.

3. Low-intensity Games

In low-intensity games with less jumping and quick directional changes, running shoes may be suitable for temporary use.

Precautions When Using Running Shoes for Basketball

Take these precautions below into consideration, when you are playing basketball wearing running shoes.

  1. Limit intensity and duration: Stick to casual, low-intensity games and avoid playing for extended periods to reduce the risk of injury and strain caused by the lack of support and cushioning in running shoes.
  2. Be cautious with sudden movements: Since running shoes may not provide optimal lateral stability and traction, be careful when making sudden stops, changes in direction, or quick pivots to minimize the risk of slipping or injury.
  3. Use ankle support: Consider wearing an ankle brace or support to compensate for the lack of ankle protection in running shoes and reduce the risk of ankle sprains.
  4. Choose running shoes with better traction: Opt for running shoes with a more aggressive outsole pattern to improve grip on the basketball court.
  5. Focus on proper landing technique: Pay attention to your landing technique when jumping or making other high-impact movements to minimize the stress on your joints and muscles.
  6. Monitor for signs of discomfort or injury: Be aware of any discomfort, pain, or unusual sensations while playing basketball in running shoes, and stop immediately if any issues arise. Consult a healthcare professional if pain persists.
  7. Consider investing in basketball shoes: If you plan to play basketball regularly, it’s worth investing in a pair of basketball-specific shoes designed to provide the necessary support, cushioning, and traction for optimal performance and injury prevention.

player in a basketball court/can running shoes be used for basketball

Importance of Choosing the Right Footwear for Basketball

Factors to Consider When Selecting Basketball Shoes

1. Playing Style

Different basketball positions and playing styles require specific types of footwear.

Guards might favor lightweight, low-top shoes for speed and agility, whereas forwards and centers may choose more supportive, high-top shoes for stability.

2. Fit and Comfort

A well-fitted and comfortable shoe is vital for optimal performance.

Make sure there is sufficient space for your toes to move freely, and that the shoe securely grips your heel and midfoot without any slippage.

3. Durability and Budget

Take into account the shoe materials and construction’s durability, as well as your budget.

Investing in a high-quality pair of basketball shoes tailored to your specific needs could save you money in the long run by preventing injuries and minimizing wear and tear.

Tips for Trying On and Purchasing Basketball Shoes

  • Try on shoes in the afternoon or evening since feet tend to swell throughout the day.
  • Wear the socks you intend to use during play to ensure a proper fit.
  • Walk, jog, and perform some lateral movements to assess the shoe’s fit, support, and comfort.
  • Take into consideration the playing surface (indoor vs. outdoor) when selecting shoes, as outsole materials and traction patterns might vary.

Can Basketball Shoes Be Used for Running?

While basketball shoes can technically be used for running, they may not be the ideal choice due to their design and purpose.

As you learned the features of Basketball shoes in the previous section.

Here is a small recap.

They are heavier, have a higher profile, and are constructed for lateral movements, such as dunking and ankle support, rather than the forward motion and heel-to-toe transition of running.

As a result, using basketball shoes for running may lead to reduced comfort, decreased efficiency, and potentially increased risk of injury due to insufficient cushioning and flexibility.

If someone does choose to use basketball shoes for running, take the following precautions to minimize potential issues:

  1. Start with shorter distances: Gradually increase the running distance to allow the body to adapt to the differences in shoe design and minimize the risk of overuse injuries.
  2. Pay attention to comfort and fit: Ensure the basketball shoes fit comfortably and securely, with enough room for toe movement, and no heel slippage during running.
  3. Monitor for signs of discomfort or injury: Be aware of any discomfort, pain, or unusual sensations while running, and stop immediately if any issues arise. Consult a healthcare professional if pain persists.
  4. Choose shoes with adequate cushioning: Opt for basketball shoes with good cushioning and shock absorption, especially in the heel and forefoot, to help reduce the impact on joints and muscles during running.
  5. Prioritize running on softer surfaces: Run on softer surfaces like grass or trails, which can help mitigate the impact forces and reduce the risk of injury compared to running on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt.
  6. Maintain proper running form: Focus on maintaining good running form and posture to help compensate for the differences in shoe design and reduce the risk of injury.
  7. Consider alternating with running shoes: Alternate between basketball shoes and running shoes to allow the body to recover and adapt, especially if running long distances or at high intensities.

Remember that these precautions may help mitigate some risks, but using sport-specific shoes is always the best option for optimal performance and injury prevention.

Watch the video below to find out if you can run in basketball shoes.


While running shoes may be suitable for casual, low-intensity basketball play, they lack the necessary support, cushioning, and traction features required for competitive basketball.

To prevent injury and maximize performance, it’s crucial to select basketball-specific shoes that provide the necessary support, cushioning and traction for the demands of the game.

If you’re serious about basketball, investing in a pair of high-quality basketball shoes tailored to your playing style and needs is a wise decision.

The right footwear will help you perform at your best and reduce the risk of injury, ensuring that you can enjoy the game and perform at your best.


Can we use running shoes as sports shoes?

Yes, running shoes can be used as sports shoes for light activities and casual sports, but they may not provide the necessary support, stability, or durability required for high-intensity sports or specialized athletic activities.
It’s best to choose shoes designed for specific sports for optimal performance and injury prevention.

Are Crocs good for playing basketball?

Crocs are not suitable for playing basketball, as they lack the necessary ankle support, cushioning, and traction needed for the sport.

What running shoes are best for basketball?

Best 5 basketball training shoes
1. Nike Men’s Air Versitile Basketball Shoe
2. Jordan Men’s Trainer ST Training Shoe
3. Adidas Men’s Pro Bounce Low Basketball Shoe
4. Under Armour Men’s Jet Mid Basketball Shoes
5. New Balance Men’s 990v5 Basketball Shoe

Which NBA player has the best shoes?

As of 2022, LeBron James has the biggest shoe deal worth about $90 million, making him one of the NBA’s highest-paid players in terms of endorsements.
His signature shoe line, Nike Air Max LeBron, is one of the most popular shoe brands among basketball fans and athletes alike. 

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