Are basketball shoes good for running?

The short answer to whether you can use basketball shoes for running is: Yes, you can. However, the real question is whether you should still wear it considering factors like comfort, performance and safety.

Choosing the right shoe for a chosen sport is one of the most important decisions before starting a training. Not only does it allow you to move freely and comfortably around but also helps prevent injuries during the game. In this post, we’ll figure out the difference between running shoes and basketball shoes, and figure out whether basketball shoes are good for running.

Basketball shoes vs running shoes

Running shoes are smaller and lighter, while basketball shoes are stiffer, taller and heavier. The soles of basketball shoes are thicker and hard and the ankles are high perfect for changing directions during the game without hurting the feet.

Road running shoes


Running shoes are designed to be light and comfortable. Unlike basketball shoes, these types of shoes are designed to endure long distances rather than short bursts of speed and sudden changes in direction. The most common type of running shoes are known as road running shoes, which are designed for running in concrete pavements. Extremely light and flexible, running shoes are designed to provide support and stabilize the feet especially during long runs.

The Trail Running Shoe

The Trail Running Shoe

Unlike light, airy road running shoes, trail running shoes are designed for off-road running. Their soles are generally more combative and provide more traction to prevent slipping out and injury on running trails that may be wet with mud or covered by other obstacles. Although more heavy-duty than standard road running shoes, trail running shoes are still lighter in comparison to basketball shoes.

The Basketball Shoe

The Basketball Shoe

Basketball shoes are specifically designed for the intensity of the game. Studies revealed that basketball players switch direction every two seconds and run 105 short sprints every game on average. With constant jumping, starting and stopping, basketball shoes are designed to act as shock absorbers and provide ankle stability with the flexibility to allow players to move laterally. As such, basketball shoes are much bulkier and heavier than running shoes.

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Reasons why basketball shoes are good (or not) for running


Basketball involves running, jumping and other movements, but running has only one movement. So is it really okay to run in basketball shoes? If not, then what could be the possible reasons.

Basketball shoes are good for running when…

1. You are overweight

Running in basketball shoes is somehow beneficial for ankle health if you’re back to running after a long time. Basketball shoes offer support and ankle stability, as well as strong traction. All of those things matter if you’re carrying extra weight and haven’t done any workout or exercise routine for quite some time. On the other hand, running shoes are lighter and accordingly offer less stability than basketball shoes.

2. 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 excessive. 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’ll still have more force and energy for the next game later.

3. Your basketball shoes fit you perfectly

We can’t argue and stress enough about how important this is. Basketball shoes are heavier than running shoes, and because of it, they need to be close to feet. Otherwise, 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, just don’t wear them to prevent any injuries and discomfort while running.

4. You’re not running on one of concrete 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 fine, but since it’s harder to run on sand, carrying extra weight on feet could be a problem.

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What about using running shoes for basketball?


With so much movement required in basketball, you can’t risk an injury with any shoe that hasn’t got adequate traction, grip or responsive soles. Running shoes are designed mostly for forwarding movement, and with so much cutting in basketball, ankles just don’t feel safe.

To be honest, it still really depends on the surface you play on. If you’re thinking about basketball indoors, that’s a simple no. Tile is a great option. The hardest surfaces of all like 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 your movements are steady. For a physical game, running shoes are just not supportive enough.

After all, it all comes down to this: wear your running shoe if it fits or if you’re not playing an intense basketball game.

Choosing the right shoe for playing basketball

Basketball and running may have some similarities, but when it comes to whether which is the best shoe or footwear is best for a player depends on the comfort, abilities and skills required for the game or sport. While it is never recommended to use running shoes on a basketball court (they simply do not have the proper ankle support) basketball shoes can be used while running.

Shoe design

Running shoes tend to be lightweight and made of thin material. They’re designed to support the foot when hitting the floor but to be as flexible as possible. The best running shoes feel like you’re wearing hardly anything at all. The only really useful aspect of running shoe design as far as basketball is concerned is the cushioned sole, but even these are usually light and bendable.

Try holding a running shoe and basketball shoe then notice the difference. While the running shoe is small and light, the basketball shoe is tall, heavy and relatively bulky. The sole is rigid and thick and the ankle high. This is to allow you to perform the regular stops and starts in a basketball game without turning your ankle or putting pressure on your feet.

Think about the right size

People that are new to the sport often make the mistake of choosing the wrong shoe size for their feet. Some bring home small shoes that restrict movements while others go too big which obviously lead straight to rolled ankles. So to get the right size, you need to carefully measure your feet, add 1/4 to 1/2 inch to the total and look up the conversion chart.

Look over the traction performance

The last thing you ever want to do on a basketball court is to put on shoes with poor traction. You would end up slipping all over the place if your shoes fail to get a grip of the surfaces. To ascertain how good a model performs when it comes to traction, you should check out the tread pattern thoroughly. Moreover, get a feel of the material while are at it to ensure that the tread would not degrade quickly.

Choose a reputable brand

There are a lot of manufacturers of basketball shoes nowadays but some stand out from the rest due to the commendable quality of their products. Therefore, if you have to buy a pair of basketball here, try to look at models or brands like Nike, Adidas, Air Jordan and Reebok. (although we’re not promoting any of these brands here)

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Final thoughts

Even though there’s running involved in basketball, there are still movements in the game that requires players to wear especially designed basketball shoes. If you find that your basketball shoes are too heavy for you, you may try out another style. Usually forward players choose the bulkier footwear, point guards and faster players go for the lightest basketball footwear options, while the lighter all-around basketball shoes are the best choice for general play.

Always consider safety, comfort and performance features first when choosing any footwear whether for running, basketball or for any other specific sport. The reputable athletic footwear manufacturers put a lot of time designing shoes that meet the requirements of the specific sports activity. Invest in a good quality sport-specific pair of shoes if you train or run on a regular basis.

Getting proper footwear can help prevent sport-related injuries and will help you perform better on the track or the court. Hopefully, this post answers the question whether basketball shoes are good for running (or the other way around).

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