Basketball is an incredibly popular sport, with most young kids aspiring to slam dunk like one of the Harlem Globetrotters. Unfortunately, a harder surface is a prerequisite of basketball, choosing a softer surface would simply reduce the bounce of the ball. The best basketball insoles will help to minimize the risk of injury on the court and choosing the best for your feet will help you up your game.
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the U.S. with over one million high school athletes playing every year. A study of basketball injuries in high school players found that nearly 40 percent of all cases related to the foot or ankle. It’s not surprising when you consider all that jumping, leaping and running about on a hard surface for extended periods.
The stress impacts on your lower body and feet when playing basketball is unavoidable. The best basketball insoles will supply players with added comfort and stability while reducing the chance of suffering a chronic injury. If you’re a short ass like me, the extra energy return may even help you leap that bit higher.
Let’s look at how basketball can damage your feet before considering which factors you should focus on when choosing the best basketball insoles.
How Playing Basketball May Damage Your Feet
Each time you run or jump on a basketball court, you stretch a ligament at the base of your foot known as the plantar fascia. You’ve probably heard of it before in the condition of plantar fasciitis when you pull or strain this crucial ligament, often through overuse. If you don’t warm up properly before a game, like any other ligament in your body, it can get pulled and result in pain.
Another common injury in basketball is to the ankle. Every time you jump you flex the muscles in your ankle, primarily your Achilles tendon. Basketball can cause pulling your Achilles tendon and continuing to play through an injury may cause Achilles tendonitis or the earlier mentioned plantar fasciitis.
Both foot conditions result in symptoms of swelling, severe pain, discomfort and bruising. Furthermore, the high impact of constant jumping also leads to shin fractures, knee problems and lower leg muscle sprains. Constant overuse of your foot will lead to a weakened support, less arch in the foot and more fatigue of the foot and ankle.
How to Prevent Basketball Foot and Ankle Injuries
Figures from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission state that over five hundred thousand basketball-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year. Most of these can be prevented by preparation for play, better technique and using the correct equipment.
Before playing basketball you should ensure you’re in good physical shape at the beginning of the season. When out of season try to stick to a balanced fitness program that incorporates aerobic exercises, strength training and moves for flexibility. Warm-up and stretches before a game will make the muscles less prone to injury and ankle-strengthening exercises, like in the following YouTube video can offer more support to your feet in the game.
What to Look for in the Best Basketball Insoles
To get the best basketball insoles there are a few key features you should keep in mind.
Since basketball involves a lot of jumping, the best shock absorption is one of the most important things you should look for. The repetitive jumping motion forces players to absorb the shock from harsh landings. This can lead to agitating knee or ankle injuries.
Sports insoles should provide extra padding which acts as a shock absorber and if your heel is compromised, they can provide extra height. Absorbent foam, gel cushions or patented technology can help reduce the impact on your heel. Many insoles also feature forefoot crash pads which offer better energy return as you land.
It doesn’t matter what type of foot you have, you’ll need support for the arch whether flat footed or high arched. This area in the middle of your foot gives you extra balance to prevent tripping and causing pain or discomfort.
The most natural shaped feet feature an arch, so if flat footed you need to contour your foot by using insoles that are cushioned or air supported in the middle of the sole. Arch support will decrease the stress on your joints and tendons in the knee as well as reducing the impact on your feet and ankles. Different types of arch support are available according to your foot type.
When playing basketball your shoes need to be as lightweight as possible to enable you to run more freely around the court and leap without feeling your shoes are weighing you down. Whatever material or technology you choose, ensure they don’t add too much weight or hinderance to your feet. Foam can be a lightweight material that’s good at absorbing shocks but may not be as durable as some other insoles.
Breathability and Moisture Wicking
An additional feature of many insoles is having a perforation which allows your foot to breathe and sweat naturally. The best insoles will use a moisture-wicking technology which helps to keep your foot dry and cool as you play. Antimicrobial or antibacterial treatments can prevent the growth of bacteria which cause that sweaty shoe smell.
Which Are the Best Basketball Insoles?
With a wide choice of insoles available, it can be difficult to know which ones are best for your needs. We’ve checked out many top-selling insoles, considering the factors we looked at earlier to bring you, in our opinion, five of the best basketball insoles.
They often say during a single basketball game, a player can jump, cut, spin, slide and sprint nearly six miles. That’s a lot of wear and tear on your feet which can lead to increased knee, leg, ankle and heel pain. The best basketball insoles help to prevent injuries, straining and bruising that can often occur in basketball—some may even improve your game!
In our opinion, the best basketball insole is the Spenco GRF Basketball Maximum Performance Insoles. Manufactured by a true orthotic insole producing company, they’re recommended by many doctors and sports physicians alike. The patented 3-Pod Ground Reaction Force modulation system promotes a more efficient stride and push off. A perforated base allows the foot to breathe and sweat naturally for longer training sessions and more time on the court.