Jump higher by choosing the right shoe. Fact or fiction?
Can the right shoe really make you jump higher?
Let’s start by saying, that the right shoe can make a difference in your performance. However, the benefits of the correct shoe are very limited, so don’t get your hope too high.
A shoe is not going to allow you to jump higher or run faster than your muscles are capable.
The idea of enhancing performance with the right shoe, is better put in perspective by trying not to impair performance with the wrong shoe!
The shoe definitely does not make the player. We have all seen pitiful athletes sporting Jordan’s shoes. The following benefits can be considered when purchasing a pair of shoes.
1. How they feel and how they make you feel.
If it ain’t comfortable just forget about it. A comfortable shoe is probably the most important consideration when purchasing a shoe. If the shoe is uncomfortable and not shaped to your foot, or even the wrong size it is going to be nothing but a distraction.
You want the shoe to be tight fitting, but not smothering and constraining. The shoe should feel like just an extension of the foot.
Also consider how a shoe makes you feel. This is definitely an “intangible” but if the shoe makes you feel like an all start, the placebo effect (which is very real) is is going to give you a confidence boost. If you feel like a dope in the shoe, it’s certainly not going to help.
TIP: Insoles can go a long way to add comfort to the shoe. I would recommend a firm but padded insole, preferable one that you can customize to form your foot. Stay away form the super cushy insoles made of gel. They will just make your shoe slide all around. Some soles you can heat in the oven and form fit to your foot.
2. High tops for ankle stability?
If you like high tops fine, but don’t choose them for the “stability.” A high top is not going to prevent your ankle from rolling. If you have ankle problems get an ankle brace like this one:
You should also strengthen your ankle, as well as retrain with unstable surface training. A strong and reactive ankle is your best bet at ankle health… not high tops. Which will only give you a false sense of security.
3. Will a light shoe make you run faster or jump higher?
Most shoes are 11 – 20 oz. (.6 – 1.2 pounds). Frankly the weight here is not going to make a significant difference on your performance. You lose more weight if you go to the bathroom before you play!
The new Koby 5 is 11 oz and the lightest shoe available. You may be able to feel the slight difference in weight, which may make you feel lighter and induce a nice placebo effect, but as far as physics are concerned, the additional few ounces is not going to make any significant difference. But if the shoe make’s you feel light and fluffy I say go for it!
4. Springs, special insoles, rubber, lunar foam etc…
This type of feature in a shoe has gotten a lot of athletes pretty excited for “instant” results. Obviously it doesn’t deliver or we would all be seeing the results.
The reactivity of a jumper or sprinter does not come from their shoe. It comes through the entire muscle/tendon complex of the involved muscles which most definitely can be improved through proper training. Even if a shoe were capable (which they are not), if your body is not capable of support the extra boost it won’t do you any good anyways.
There is no shoe that will turn you into a bouncy ball.
5. Carbon fiber shank plate in the sole
Some companies tote a fiber plate in the sole so that your “toe off” isn’t weak. This supposedly allows you to push with your entire foot and not have to worry about your toes.
This is a great concept, but shoes already have a large slab of padding and support on the bottom. The idea of additional support aside from the soles that all shoes have, is a marketing tactic.
I don’t mean to sound negative here. I love a great pair of shoes. But I have also seen hundreds of gimmicks come and go as far as shoes are concerned. We should realize that the benefits from shoes are very limited, and turn to a sound training program to make serious improvements.
A shoes ability to “inspire” a player, as well as the comfort, and fit of a shoe are most important.
Let me know what you like to see in a shoe.