How to Pick the Perfect Pair of Basketball Shoes for Your Style of Play

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Looking for that perfect pair for your style of play is easier than is sounds. Each playing style requires a certain attribute or two in order to aid you in your on-court adventures – allowing you to do what you do to the best of your capabilities.

How do you know which attributes you need to be on the lookout for? Read through to find out How to Pick the Perfect Pair of Basketball Shoes for Your Style of Play.

Nightwing2303 is the owner / publisher of KicksOnCourt and contributor to Sneaker Report. He hoops on the regular and loves sneaker tech as much as he loves food, and he really loves his food. You can keep up with Nightwing2303′s on and off court adventures on Twitter and Instagram

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Style of Play: Distributors / Facilitators
Key Attributes: Fit / Lockdown, Comfort & Traction

Running the floor isn’t easy, when it looks easy that means you’re doing it right. The main thing to keep in mind is that when you are the floor general, you are literally running the floor nonstop for the entire 48 minutes (or night if you play pickup). Fit and lockdown will be key as you’ll need to be able to keep it moving without thinking about anything other than the task at hand– feeding your teammates. A perfect fit will give you the 1 to 1 feeling you’re after so you can spend less time worrying about your feet and more time focusing on the game.

Comfort or cushion is pretty much a no brainer since you’ll be running around the entire time (move without the ball – basic fundamental) so whichever cushion you prefer so go with that.
Traction is as equally as important as the fit and lockdown.  What’s the one thing you never see a good PG do? Run in a straight line. Constantly cutting, running off screens and pick and rolls will require you to stay planted. Find a shoe with great traction and all you’ll be doing is racking up assists.


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Style of Play: Slasher / Scorer / High Flyer
Key Attributes: Traction, Fit / Lockdown, Support & Cushion

The all-around player needs an all-around shoe, something that will cater to every move you can thing of while you’re on the floor.

Traction and fit or lockdown are the two most important aspects to look at. Will the shoe allow you to start and stop and quickly change direction on a dime and when doing so, will they keep you locked in so you can enjoy the ride? Find a shoe that can take care of that so the rest is easy.

Arch support and lateral support are what a slasher will need while cutting through opponents while driving into the paint. Find a shoe that keeps your foot onto the footbed and keeps the heel in place while in motion. These tie into the fit and lockdown but support also comes from the materials applied so playing in something really thin might work out but a shoe with a little more substance will make things even better.

Once again, cushion is a no brainer and this depends on what you are looking for. Riding high off the ground can sometimes cause instability (Air Max) so maybe you want something low and responsive (Zoom Air). Perhaps you just want to feel the floor beneath you while receiving the greatest and most even amount of impact protection available, a good foam will take care of this. Plenty to choose from as well: Micro G, Cushlon, Lunarlon, BounSe, CushioN and EVA.


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Style of Play: Power Player / All-Around Player
Key Attribute: Fit / Lockdown, Support, Cushion & Traction

The best way to describe a power player is by simply looking at LeBron James. LeBron is a monster on the court and he can do pretty much everything on the floor: distribute / facilitate, slash, score and fly, he does all of this while standing at 6’8” and weighing in at 250lbs.

Fit and lockdown are extremely important as well as support which is closely followed by cushion and traction.  To put it simply, if you’re a combo player then you’re going to need a combo style shoe, something that offers practically everything you can imagine and then some. Think of the shoe in the same fashion as you’d think of your game, if you can do everything then your shoe needs to handle everything.


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Style of Play: Post Player
Key Attribute: Fit / Lockdown, Support and Cushion

Backing down opponents, crashing the boards and blocking shots. At least, that’s what you’re supposed to be doing as a Post Player.

Having a shoe with the perfect fit and lockdown will be important as pushed or backing players up will require that the shoe stay firmly in place. You don’t want dead-space or any loose ends while playing in the post or your shoe will come off. Support is equally as important since you’ll be making quick and powerful moves in a confined space. Lateral and heel support will be important as will torsional support, you wouldn’t want to overextend your arch as that’s pretty uncomfortable. Cushion is another property that is typically sought after when playing down low. There are two types of setups for post players: heel-only cushion and heel and forefoot cushion. If you want heel and forefoot cushion but still want court-feel and responsiveness, then you'll want something that features Max Air in the heel and Zoom Air up front. The LeBron 9, Air Penny 1-4 or any shoe similar to that type of setup. If you’re only after heel cushion then anything Air Max will work. You can also go the full length 360 Degree Air Max route for max cushion from heel to toe.

Hopefully these tips help you know what to look for when it comes to your style of play. Of course, nothing is ever set in stone and you should choose based on your personal wants and needs. Just remember, there are a lot of shoes out there and there is something for everyone.

RELATED: The Best Basketball Shoes for Point Guards
RELATED: The 10 Best Basketball Shoes for Power Forwards
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