Basketball Shoes vs Running Shoes

Basketball Shoes vs Running Shoes

Can I use my shoes interchangeably? It is a question that haunts most of us. Suppose you have a pair of running shoes and you want to wear them on court sport or particularly on the basketball court, then this question may tickle you from time to time.

Being an amateur basketball enthusiastic, I also had this same question in my mind just a few days ago. I did some research and finally got to know what shoe is perfect for which purpose. And why we shouldn’t wear our shoes interchangeably. 

In this article, we will try to clear up the confusion you have about Basketball shoes and Running shoes.

Let’s dig deep into the differences between Running and Basketball shoes.

Difference between Basketball shoes and Running shoes

Before diving into the differences between the two types of shoes, you should first understand what kind of movements you perform when you play basketball and when you run. 

When you run, you only do the forward movement. You pound the ground with more impact than your actual body weight when you move forward. 

Whereas, when you play basketball, you have to perform many intense movements such as quick sprint, jumping, stop, quick changing of direction. 

So, manufacturers offer you shoes, whether running shoes or basketball shoes, depending on these movements. 

Most of the basketball courts have wooden floors. A basketball court is a 28 meters long rectangular court with a basket generally at the height of 3.05 meters. 

Basketball Shoes vs Running Shoes

According to sports scientists, a basketball player has to change directions more often than a football player. A player changes direction 30 times in a minute that counts one in every 2 seconds. A basketball player also runs at least 105 short sprints in every game. 

I provided these stats just to let you know that how intense a basketball game is! You have to dribble, run, and escalate the speed in just a 28-meter long court. Because the space in a basketball court is constrained, you have to stop your escalated pace and change directions in quick succession. 

Outsole Difference:

The high intensity of the Basketball game is the reason why you need a pair of dedicated basketball shoes if you want to play basketball because basketball shoes have much ankle support for you. Basketball shoes have soles made of rubber and are more or less flat. Your basketball shoe’s sole provides enough traction to keep your balance on a basketball court. And the flexibility of a basketball shoe’s sole is also a bit compromised as it doesn’t need to be much flexible.

Basketball shoes have to have much traction because a basketball player has to do intense footwork. High-intensity movement is kept in mind when a pair of shoes are manufactured. 

In running shoes, the sole is more flexible, and it also follows a rug pattern to allow you to run on and off the track. 

So the fundamental differences of soles between basketball shoes and running shoes are their materials and flexibility. Basketball shoes’ sole is made of rubber and is flat to provide you stability and proper traction on the wooden basketball court. On the contrary, running shoes’ sole is made of textured material and is more flexible. Some of the running shoes have stiffer soles to make them more effective on rough terrain.

Basketball Shoes vs Running Shoes


Running shoes come with tons of cushioning. Running shoes’ cushioning support your direct impact on the ground that you generate when you run. Cushioning is the prime material of running shoes. Cushioning prevents your ankle injury and also keeps your heel protected. 

Basketball shoes have less cushioning than running shoes. The intensity and complexity of a basketball match need you to feel the court. If you can’t feel the court during the game because of too much cushioning, then there are possibilities that you might miscalculate your movement and even may slip on the wooden court. 


Basketball shoes are designed in a way that can withstand the immense pressure you generate when running on the track. Also, you can surpass the pressure of the intense and complex movement on the court.

On the other hand, running shoes provide you stability and safety while you run on a different solid track. 

Though the upper of both the shoes are made of the same components such as synthetic leather, mesh, some basketball shoes’ upper comes with a mixture of Canvas and Leather. Running shoes’ upper are made of more synthetic mesh for offering you perfect breathability. So when you run a long distance, it keeps your legs cool and comfortable inside the shoes. 

Can I play Basketball wearing Running shoes? 

Basketball Shoes vs Running Shoes

Yes, you can if you are not Michael Jordan of your town. But you shouldn’t. Basketball shoes are heavier and bulkier than running shoes. Because of the intensity of the game, you need a bit heavier shoes than running shoes. Running shoes are very lightweight and come with tons of cushioning. Running shoes are designed to keep you safe when you run a long distance. Heavy shoes prevent you from many injuries and also help you provide optimum performance on the court. 

However, there is less cushioning in a basketball shoe because when you play on the court, you need to feel the court. Otherwise, you may miscalculate your movement and slip on the court.

The sole of a basketball shoe is flat and made of rubber so that it can provide you enough grip on the wooden basketball grip. The soft rubber sole would allow you to withstand immense pressure and the intensity of the aggressive movement you do on the basketball court. 

Wearing inappropriate shoes may lead you to severe physical injuries. The possible injuries that you may find yourself in-

  • Hamstring Issues
  • Plantar Fasciitis 
  • Shin Splints 
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome 
  • Achilles Tendinitis 
  • Stress Fracture 

I recommend you to buy sports-specific shoes because shoe manufacturers know their game well. They have sponsored players, top sports scientists, and researchers. They provide top-quality products for the players. Most of the top-ranked shoe manufacturers are NBA-oriented, so they produce quality products for professional players and also for amateur players.

However, if you are short in budget or unwilling to buy two pairs of shoes, you can buy a quality pair of cross-training shoes. They are suitable for both these sports. 

Are Basketball shoes good for walking? 

Definitely, they are good for walking and daily uses. If you like the design of the shoe and you find it comfortable, then definitely you should wear it. 

For Casual occasions and parties, Basketball shoes can be a top-notch choice. But wearing or not wearing basketball shoes is your personal preference. If you like wearing them daily, you should go for them. Basketball shoes are not only comfortable but also cool looking.

For walking a long distance, basketball shoes will not come in handy. Instead, it may cause you injury. But if you like small strolling, tend to walk one or two miles, then wearing a pair of basketball shoes won’t be an issue.

Basketball Shoes vs Running Shoes

Please note that basketball shoes are heavy and bulky. So, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing bulky shoes, then you better avoid basketball shoes. 

Are Basketball shoes good for Running? 

Basketball game involves a lot of running, so you may assume it wrong that you can run long distances wearing basketball shoes. It is not as such.

Running shoes are designed for running long distances. Though basketball game allows you a lot of running, they are a short distance run or short sprint. Basketball shoes provide you proper ankle support. Due to the intensity of the basketball game and many complex movements such as short sprints, jumping, changing quick direction, and abrupt stopping, your ankles need proper support. Basketball shoes are designed to provide you that ankle support.

Running shoes are designed to help you to take heavy mileage. They come with tons of cushioning to protect your heel. When you run, you impact the ground with more pressure. So, a pair of shoes with proper cushioning can help you prevent your legs from injury.

Basketball shoes are heavy and bulky. It’s not as such that you cannot wear heavy shoes at the time of running. But it’s not appropriate in the sense that your legs will fatigue if you run a long distance wearing heavy shoes. Running shoes are very lightweight, and their upper part has breathability. Mesh used in the upper construction of your running shoe can keep your legs aerated and provide perfect comfort when you run. 

Basketball Shoes vs Running Shoes

Final Words

You already know that running and playing basketball are two different kinds of activities. When we run, we only do the forward movement. Running shoe manufacturers designed their shoes, keeping this sole in mind that their shoes will help you moving forward. Running shoes are very lightweight, have very firm soles for gripping on different tracks.

The most important aspect of a pair of running shoes is their cushioning. When you run, you impact the ground three times more than your body weight. Cushioning in your shoes helps you prevent any possible injury and keeps your legs safe. 

Unlike running, playing basketball involve you in different movements. You have to run, jump, stop, changing direction instantly, and dribble. Basketball shoes are designed keeping all these movements in mind. As you change your direction rapidly on a basketball court to beat the defenders of your opponents, your ankles get a huge load. So you need shoes that offer you high-rise ankle supports. 

However, running shoes don’t come up with ankle support as the forward movement doesn’t need much ankle support. Basketball shoes provide support when you need lateral movement, stopping, running, dribbling.

Going through this article, we hope that your misconceptions are cleared now about the differences between basketball shoes and running shoes. 

Manufacturers are producing different sorts of shoes for different sports for a long time. With the advancement of technology, manufacturers are collaborating with sports scientists and players. They produce sports-specific shoes so that you can get optimum performance wearing that particular pair of shoes. 

If you wear sports-specific shoes, it will boost your performance as well as lessen your risk of injuring yourself. So, the decision is yours to make.

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