Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Mobility consequences of basketball shoes that don’t flex

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    • #70863

      Hello all. I wear basketball shoes that have great cushioning, durable uppers etc but one big drawback – the sole does not flex (clunky Max Zoom unit prevents this). What are the mobility consequences of this for the foot, lower leg and possibly higher up? Kaitlin, can you weigh in on this? 

      Thinking of selling these kicks but I’d like to know what mobility havoc they’re potentially wreaking on my body first. 

    • #74393

      lack of toe splay:  Your toes should be spread out, not really touching each other.  So the toe box on the shoe is very tight causing things like bunions. 

      raised heel:  Your body is off balanced — essentially you are tilted forward.  This changes your gait or the way you walk. You are wearing high heels.  This also  shortens the heel chord apparently.
      Arch: The shoe does the arching FOR you Instead of having your own arch.  With out your own arch you have no stability and control.  Without an arch you have knees collapsing inwards.  
      Overall you lose strength in your foot.  
    • #74394
      AvatarL K

      After hearing about the negative consequences of wearing high heel shoes from KStarr,etc, I’ve always wondered what basketball players should do. Basically all of the players, including pro, wear these types of shoes. Do you know of any particular shoe for ball or have any other insights about this?

    • #74399

      Lucas, there’s another post in the forum (just look for the “shoes” tag) that touts the benefits of the Kobe line. I might try to cop the Kobe 9 low this weekend, even though they’re ludicrously overpriced and the colorway (yellow, nice!) is ugly. 

      Any other (cheaper) suggestions, MobilityWOD’ers?
    • #74400
      AvatarNathan Richer

      Changing shoes is a tough endeavor, especially if you’ve been wearing the typical type of shoes that are out there today. Practically all of them have heels which tip you forward and way too narrow toe boxes which mash your feet together.  Then the cushioning aspect means that you lose some natural ability to absorb force and rely on the cushion to do it.  All of the stuff that Daniel Matrone has said appears.

      However, to retrain yourself back can take a ton of time.  Remember that if you’ve been doing something for years, it could take that long to get yourself back to better situation.  This is similar to transition to barefoot running. Going from a heavily cushioned, heeled running shoe to a flat shoe with minimal cushion could lead to a host of transitional problems in your feet and lower legs.  This is something that should be approached slowly and carefully. It could mean that you need to limit your sport until you adapt.
      If you are impatient and still want to play bball, it is likely that you may not be able to transition to such kinds of shoes quickly. It may be that you will still need to play in traditional shoes while you work on the other 23 hours of the day in low/no heel and low/no cushion situation to help with adaptation.
    • #74401
      AvatarNathan Richer

      here is a great resource on feet problems and their product Correct Toes is excellent. I fixed my problems with them and they are so simple:

      they also recommend shoes with wider toe boxes to help facilitate getting your feet back to a healthier state.
    • #74473

      I sold the old shoes on eBay and splashed on a pair of the new Kobe 9 EMs. What a difference! I think the true sign of a good shoe is one that you forget you’re wearing – this is what I’m getting with the new shoes, vs the feeling of lugging around two lumps of concrete. Probably didn’t hurt that I mobilized quads, gastroc, hamstrings etc over the previous 24 hours before the wear test. As I typically wear Converse All Stars and Merrell Barefoot shoes the transition was easy. I highly recommend people who play hoops to find a shoe that allows the foot to be the foot, not a pivot point for a clunky piece of leather or plastic. 

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