There are so many controversial claims out there today that just keep people from progressing in basketball and life in general. This is one of those. For many years people have been running in any footwear they had available, and running shoes were not always there.
Ex-ballers who took some time off the court are usually wondering how good are the basketball shoes they used to use for pick up basketball. And because they took some time off the court, they’re out of shape. So the logical choice to get back in shape would be – running.
Since the subject of discussion isn’t how good running is actually, especially if you’re totally out of shape, I’ll stay out of that lane this time. But just as a reminder: running can be bad for your knees and ankles if you’re too heavy for your standard weight (50 pounds and over your normal weight).
Now, let’s first look at the obvious. Basketball consists of plays like run, move, start, stop, jump, but running has only one movement. So what’s the problem in wearing basketball shoes for running?
We’ll get on to that, but first, let’s see the reasons for running in basketball shoes.
Basketball shoes are good for running when…
1. You are overweight
Running in basketball shoes can be somehow beneficial for ankle health if you’re back to running after a long time. Just think about what the basketball shoe offers; great support and ankle stability, as well as strong traction. All of those things matter if you’re carrying extra weight and haven’t done anything worthy of your physical condition in the last few years. On the other hand, running shoes are lighter and accordingly offer less stability.
2. You have basketball shoes with excellent cushioning
When we’re running, with every step our body experiences some kind of shock. Because of the gravity force, every time your heels touch the ground, it’s like some object with a weight of 2.5 times your body weight hit you in heels. Except in this case – the floor is that object, and you’re kicking it. Imagine you’re kicking the wall, would it hurt your fist? The same’s with feet and running.
3. You are running short distances
Don’t even think about basketball shoes for running if you’re a passionate runner. Running over 10 miles a week is already too much. Since basketball shoes are bit heavier, it’s awesome to run straight forward track where you don’t need to change directions so often. That way you’d have more force for pick up game(s) later.
4. You’re not using the same shoes for playing indoors
This is clear enough. If you’re playing gym hoops and you’re out of cash to buy running shoes for running, don’t you think about using these. I went for a run with Kobe 8’s twice, and the traction later wasn’t recognizable. I mean, you could play in them, but you just feel the sliding after the crossover.
5. Your basketball shoes fit you perfectly
I can’t stress enough about how important this is. They are heavier than running shoes, and because of it, they need to be close to feet. If not, you’re risking an ankle injury, and your knees will suffer. Also, be sure to tighten the laces well. If your shoes don’t fit you at least 80%, don’t wear them for running.
6. You’re not running on one of these surfaces
Avoid concrete, snow, and sand. Concrete is ten times harder than asphalt which is a death on heels. Not to mention colliding with pedestrians can also lead to an injury. Snow can be slippery and easily turned into the ice making it unpredictable. Sand is actually ok, but since it’s harder to run on sand, carrying extra weight on feet could be a problem.
If you go for a short run under 3 miles a few times a week, you won’t have any problems using basketball shoes for running. But if you’re thinking seriously about running and plan to make it your primary sports activity, you should probably buy running shoes right now. Sometimes even running shorter distances can be a problem. If you ever feel your knees, ankles or hip pain, stop running immediately. This also applies when using running shoes.
Problems using basketball shoes for running
The main problem is the heel cushioning. It’s flat and hard – to help with landing from a jump. When running, it’s only an extra load that you don’t need and stronger hits on your heels. The traction is also much more pronounced because of the quick movements which are also an extra load and doesn’t add much value to running.
The second is the flexibility running shoe offers. Basketball shoes though need to be pretty tight because of direction changes that are happening every few seconds for a player. When you’re an experienced runner, the flexibility becomes the number one priority.
And finally, running shoes are more comfortable, that’s a fact. But comfortability is important only if you’re running every day, or doing a 5k. Jogging around the block is something basketball shoes will do easily. Plus we shouldn’t forget that the most of basketball shoes today are actually pretty comfortable!
So that’s the case for buying new running shoes. Now let’s see when should you use basketball shoes for running.
Tip for running: Forefoot Strike Running
We already know that the number one reason why people are afraid of running in basketball shoes is heel safety. What most people don’t know is that their running biomechanics could be better, and then they wouldn’t mind it at all. With forefoot strike running, you’ll get a lighter step, reduce the stress on the heels, and run easier.
Most people are running: rolling foot heel to toe, putting too much stress on the heels and letting the bones take the shock.
And with Forefoot strike running, you’re:
– Landing on the sides of feet, rolling back to the heel,
– Putting the stress on muscles,
– Keeping your bones from suffering too much stress.
It’s definitely worth to check it out. It may feel strange at first, but then you’ll get used to it.
Wearing basketball shoes casually or just for walking
Basketball shoes are more than suitable for casual use. With cool looks and acceptable comfortability, it’s no wonder many high school and college players use them for going out. You even see dudes wearing them in offices and looking like a boss.
If the style is your number one priority, there’s no reason not to wear them casually. Basketball shoes also make you taller, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. Those under 6ft will relate to this. If you’re recovering from the ankle sprain, strong basketball shoe can keep it safer than a regular casual shoe.
After all, NBA players are earning so much money because people wear basketball shoes casually. Unlike some other sports like soccer, baseball, or football, fashion on and off the court relates in many aspects.
Just one tip! It’s not recommendable to wear them every single day. It would be best if you’d had more than one pair, but if not, just keep this in mind.
And what about running shoes for basketball?
With so much movement going on in basketball pick up games, you can’t risk an injury with any shoe that hasn’t got adequate traction, grip or responsive soles. Running shoes are built mostly for forwarding movement, and with so much cutting in basketball, ankles just don’t feel safe.
But the truth is, it really depends on the surface you play on. If you’re thinking about basketball indoors, that’s a simple no. Tartan is a great option, as well as tile. The hardest surfaces of all – concrete and asphalt – are good options when dry but too dangerous for ankles, and put too much stress on heels.
It also depends on the intensity and your playing style. It would be ideal if you’re a more static type of player whose most reliable weapon is shooting 3’s. For a physical game, running shoes are just not supportive enough.
In the end, it all comes down to this: if your running shoe fits over 90% if you’re playing on one of the surfaces I’ve listed, or you’re not playing an intensive pick up basketball – go for it.