How to choose the right basketball shoes?

Whether you're pro or play leisurely, we break down how to select the right pair of basketball shoes for ultimate court confidence!

Basketball is a fast paced and exciting game. However, your best performance can only be achieved if you have the right pair of shoes. Firstly, you may need to understand your own playing style and level of activity to choose the right pair.

Read on as we share with you how to look out for the right support, flexibility and fit in order to boost your gameplay.

1. Anatomy of basketball shoes

The first thing to take note of for basketball shoes is the anatomy.

There are three main parts to a basketball shoe: the upper, the midsole and the outsole. Each part plays a different role in the overall performance of a basketball shoe.

How To Choose Your Basketball Shoes


The upper is the first thing to consider when finding the right pair of basketball shoes. You should consider the position you are playing or the amount of ankle support you require. 

Basketball shoes come in three heights:

1. High Top:
Highest ankle support as the upper wraps around the ankle. However, it also comes with extra weight.

2. Mid Top:
The upper sits right at the ankle level and provides mid-ankle support while still providing more flexibility, as compared to high top shoes.

3. Low Top:
Little ankle support, but enables speed and agility.

How To Choose Your Basketball Shoes


The midsole of a basketball shoe is the key component of a shoe’s performance as it is designed to provide cushioning and shock absorption.

Most midsoles consist of various foams: EVA and compressed EVA foam are lighter options, whereas polyurethane midsoles are dense and more durable.

Ultimately, a good midsole provides both comfort and flexibility while cushioning your heels, ankles and arches so that there is less stress on your feet during gameplay.

How To Choose Your Basketball Shoes


The outsole, which is usually made of rubber or synthetic material, provides traction for the shoe.

This is essential as every basketball player will need to pivot, crossover, or even jump without slipping during the game.

Some outsoles will also feature tread patterns that are multidirectional for additional grip.

However, it is also important to consider whether you will be playing indoors or outdoors.

Most basketball shoes are made for indoor play. So if you intend to use it outdoors, find soles that are harder and thicker so that they are durable against the rough courts.

2. Basketball playing positions

While it is essential to understand the anatomy of the basketball shoe, it is also important to consider your position and playing style.

The right basketball shoe can help enhance your on-court performance.

Check out what each playing position requires (swipe right to view all!):

  • How To Choose Your Basketball Shoes


    Guards usually need to be fast and agile as they run the team's offense.

    Low top basketball shoes are ideal as they provide flexibility at the ankle.

    Check out our low top basketball shoes which are lightweight and provide excellent grip thanks to their fast traxxion technology.

  • How To Choose Your Basketball Shoes

    Centres & power forwards

    They usually position themselves near the basket and in the paint as they are often the best rebounder and score on close shots. 

    High top basketball shoes are usually preferred as they are generally heavier and have the most ankle support to provide better stability.

    Check out our high top basketball shoes which provide excellent support, stability and cushioning.

  • How To Choose Your Basketball Shoes

    Small forward & versatile players

    As they can play multiple positions, mid-top basketball shoes will be able to provide them with adequate ankle support without constricting their flexibility and agility.

    If you're a new player who's unsure of your position, consider getting a mid-top shoe as well.

    Check out our mid-top basketball shoes which are equipped with light and rigid anatomic plates for extra dynamism and reactivity.

3. Shoe size

The next factor to look out for is shoe size. This is extremely important because you need to get the right fit in order to play comfortably and ensure zero injuries.

Every brand has a different cutting for each design! So if you are unsure of your size, do measure accordingly before you purchase online.

You might want to allocate an extra ¼ - ½ inches (about a thumb’s width) as you pick your shoe size - this allows for extra room for your feet as you play!

Still unsure on how to choose?

Fret not! You can always head to our nearest Decathlon Experience store to speak to our Basketball Sports Leaders before you decide.

If you are in a rush to get a pair, we highly recommend our Click & Collect (C&C) service where you can order online via our website or Decathlon App and collect it at your nearest C&C store in 2 hours for FREE!


Ellysa jamaludin

Digital sports leader - basketball

I started playing basketball when I was 9 years old and since then sports has always been part of my life.