Worn during both games and practice, basketball shoes are an essential part of the game. Four members of the boys basketball team talked us through their main priorities when looking for shoes.
Sophomore Akshay Gopalkrishnan used to not care what his shoes looked like. But after buying a pair of LeBrons for his AAU basketball team a couple years ago, all that changed.
“I wanted something that could perform well but also matched with our team colors, so I looked online and I found [the LeBron Soldier], and I was like ‘Oh wow this is a really nice shoe’,” Gopalkrishnan said.
Now, he considers aesthetics just as important as performance when buying shoes. This appreciation for style has not been limited to what he wears on the court, but it has also translated into his casual shoes and clothes. He finds himself revamping his personal style often, but still sticks true to sports-inspired street wear.
“I saw the basketball aspect of shoes and it definitely got me into stuff like NMDs and Ultra Boosts and all that kinda stuff,” Gopalkrishnan said. He now likes brands like Undefeated, Obey, and Nike.
Gopalkrishnan currently rotates through three different pairs of basketball shoes: Kobe A.Ds, Damian Lillard 2s and Crazylight Boosts. Although they all fit his standards in terms of aesthetics, the sneakers all vary in comfort: The Crazylight Boosts are light with a lot of cushioning, the Damian Lillards have good cushioning and are very comfortable, while the Kobes are stiffer and harder to break in. Regardless, he appreciates how all the shoes both perform and stand out both on and off the court.
Junior Ryan Lee’s main problems with generic shoes were quality and comfort rather than aesthetics. However, due the significantly higher price, he waited until he was sure he would continue with the sport to pick up branded shoes.
“Nike shoes are usually better quality, the traction on the shoes are better and they’re usually more comfortable,” Lee said, “but they are quite a bit more expensive than just generic shoes, which is why I kind of waited until I was more into basketball before I invested that money.”
He now plays in either his Kobe 9s or a new pair of Adidas Crazylight Boosts, although he finds himself reaching for the Crazylight Boosts more often because they have better traction and support. Lee finds comfort to be the number one priority when it comes to basketball shoes, since he plays so much in practices and games that uncomfortable shoes can cause blisters. In the end, Lee considers shoes just a means to play the game; they hold no sentimental significance for him, and serve a functional purpose.
Despite playing in a league where 6 feet 7 inches is the average height, 6 feet 3 inch tall Stephen Curry has still managed to become one of the greatest basketball players of our time, and has revolutionized the way the game is played. He has also served as a role model for countless players around the world, including junior Kevin Yang, who at 5 foot 6 inches is the shortest player on the boys varsity basketball team. He tries to emulate Curry’s playing style and uses Curry’s shoes as well. They fit well and feel good while Yang plays but, best of all, they are also an inspiration.
“I’ve been wearing them since his first ones came out. Since he’s become more of an iconic role model in the NBA, I’ve been continuing to wear his shoes,” Yang said. He rotates between two pairs of Curry 2s, a pair of Curry 2½s, and one pair of Curry 3s.
Having sneakers with good traction helps junior Joshua Chang move smoothly on the court, something that he finds helpful in games. However, this role of shoes in the game wasn’t always apparent to him.
“When I first started, basketball shoes didn’t really matter to me that much, but as I played more and more, I realized that having good traction… really is important for the game, so I researched more … I realized which shoes were better,” Chang said.
He has no particular brand preference, and uses both Curry 2s which are by Under Armour and Kobe 11s, which are Nike shoes. He likes the traction and durability of the newer Kobes, but says the Currys are still very comfortable.