Low Top vs High Top Basketball Shoes – Which One Should You Pick?

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Key Takeaway: When choosing between low top and high top basketball shoes, consider factors like ankle movement, athletic performance, price, weight, and flexibility to find the best fit for your playing style and position on the court. Ultimately, the decision should prioritize your comfort and specific needs during gameplay.

You need the best pieces of equipment to realize your optimum performance and feel comfortable while playing.

And that brings us to the comparison between the low top and high top basketball shoes.

So which one is the better option?

Quick research produces diverse opinions on low top vs high top basketball shoes.

After far-reaching research and consultations from experts, here is the guide to help you make an informed choice about the two.

High Top Basketball Shoes

Another name for high-top basketball shoes is high-cut basketball shoes. And they get the name from the high collar design. These shoes normally fit players who need less movement on the court.

What We Like About High Top Basketball Shoes:

  • Admirable ankle lockdown ability
  • Great cushioning during impact
  • Sturdy and more durable

What We Didn’t Like About High Top Shoes:

  • Slightly heavy
  • Ankle collar and thick material restricts movement of the feet
  • Less flexible

Low Top Basketball Design

Unlike their high-top counterparts, the low-top shoes have a relatively shorter collar. The collar extends slightly below the ankle joint.

What We Like About Low Top Shoes:

  • Lightweight
  • Very flexible
  • Less restrictive on the foot

What We Didn’t Like About Low Top Shoes:

  • Minimal cushioning and thus less damping ability
  • Poor lockdown of the ankle

However, note that the difference between the low-top and high-top basketball shoes goes far beyond the collar height.

The design of the two shoes differs and involves a lot of technology that changes their performance greatly.

So let’s compare the two types of basketball shoes under different tittles.

Comparison Between Low Top vs High Top Basketball Shoes

Movement of the Ankle

When it comes to the freedom of ankle movement there is a significant difference between the two. A recent study suggests that low-top basketball shoes give more room for ankle movement.

The difference between the two concerning the inflection angle is about 5 degrees. On the other hand, high tops shoes offer more ankle lockdown. And so it restricts the movement of the ankle.

So if you are recovering from an ankle injury and want to take on a match, the ankle-lock-down ability of the high cut shoes comes to your aid.

Athletic Performance

One of the key features that players consider is how any of the two basketball shoes affects athletic performance. That is how it influences your ability to jump and down.

Interestingly several scientific studies report that collar height doesn’t affect the athletic performance of basketball players.

But the key features that affect athletic performance include the fit, shape, and style of the shoes. Also, a springy insole does bring significant differences.


High-cut basketball requires slightly more materials than its low-cut counterparts. On that basis, low-top shoes attract a higher price tag than low-top shoes.

Though the price of the two types of shoes still differs from brand to brand and the level of technology used.

Weight and Flexibility

Another significant difference between the two is in their weight and flexibility. Besides the extra material in the high collar, high-top shoes target big (heavy weight) players. So the footwear are generally heavier and have more cushioning ability.

On the other hand, the low-top shoes are normally light, less restrictive to movement, and very flexible. That’s why guards find them ideal for the sport.

Ankle Sprains

It’s a popular belief that high collar basketball shoes offer greater ankle support when you compare them to low cut shoes. But how true is it?

Except for a sturdy carried way back in 1973, no other scientific study supports that belief. A study published in the National Library of Medicine suggests there isn’t any link between wearing a high top or lop shoes and ankle sprain.

Note that ankle sprain occurs when you stretch the ankle ligaments beyond their usual range. And that normally happens when you land on uneven ground, for instance, on another player’s feet.

Therefore Which Shoe is Good for Basketball? Low or High Top?

As explained before the design and performance of the two types of shoes vary greatly. And so in choosing the right pair for basketball, your position in the court plays a key role;

Point Guard

A point guard plays a crucial role in playing or passing the ball. And so he has to display swiftness and hence low top shoe is a viable choice.

Shooting Guard

These players need to cut across the court often and change direction fast. Wearing low tops gives them the light feeling and hence swift attacking play.

Small Forward

The player should display an all-around ability, ball handling, and dribbling skills. It thus makes sense to have low-top shoes.

Power Forward

A power forward player takes the center position and is hence, instrumental in scoring. Most often, you’ll find the players are strong and heavily built. For that reason, high-cut shoes seem a good fit.


The center dwells more around the baseline (near the basket) and so has to possess a towering height. However, center players don’t crisscross the court often. As such high-top shoes would make a better choice.


Remember you are the one to make the ultimate choice on what to wear between a high top and low top basketball shoes. It all depends on what gives you comfort most and what you want from the shoe.

When you need swift movement and less restriction of the feet, most players prefer low-top basketball shoes as the better choice.

On the contrary, the heavily built players such as power forward may get more satisfaction from high-top shoes.

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