Categories: Basketball Reviews

how many inches do basketball shoes add?

Basketball shoes, often thought of as just marketing stunts by companies, have practically changed the landscape of overall performance. While most companies claim their shoes are ground-breaking, they are often misleading at best especially when it comes to increasing the height!

So, how many inches do basketball shoes add?

On average, you can get 1-2 inches of height increase with basketball shoes. However, some performance-centric shoes can sometimes push the envelope up to 2.5 inches. Still, the average elevation does not exceed the 2-inches mark.

Now that you have got a preview of the total picture, it’s time to understand more about how basketball shoes affect your jumping and performance!

Why Is Height Important For Basketball Players?

Very few sports rely on sheer height as much as basketball. Height is one of the most prominent contributors to making you the absolute best in the game. Take Karim-Abdul Jabbar or Micheal Jordan as examples. These two legends had heights that go above and beyond the average height of this sport.

Not only that, an above-average height gives you more jumping force, extended time in the air, and the ability to block crucial attacks. Whether you’re on the defense, offense, or rebound, all of these require height advantage. Otherwise, it’s really tough to win the battles against taller players than you.

Another crucial importance of height is the court vision you can get. If you have an average level of height, then it’s not easy to cover the full court visually. However, if you can view all of your players and opponents from an inclined angle, then it’s much easier to understand the course of play.

That’s why height plays a vital role in the competitive basketball scene more than any other indoor sport!

What are the Most Common Features of Basketball Shoes to Elevate Height?

Have you ever looked at your basketball shoes and thought, “How do basketball shoes achieve an increased elevation?” Well, to answer your question, the next segment is curated and explained in full detail! Read through to know more-

Sole Material

It’s of most significance what is the sole made of. Because the sole is the only platform that gives you an instant height boost. Then comes the mid cushioning and elevated inclination. Nike Zoom Air is a prime example of offering a great midsole with a noticeable height boost.

Heel Height

There are mainly 3 types of heel height available currently which are high-tops, mid-tops, and low-tops. As the name suggests, high-tops basketball shoes offer the most height of the 3. So, try to pick up shoes with a high-top heel.

Brand Variations

There are already many big players in the basketball shoe category such as Nike, Adidas, NB, and so on. All of these brands have several contracts with star players and make incredible shoes. However, some shoes are made specifically to add some extra inches to your feet!

Try to look for elevated soles, and maximum cushioning in the product description to understand which shoes are best to increase your height!

Do Basketball Shoes Make You Look Taller?

The short answer is yes, basketball shoes definitely make you look taller because of how they are built. Compared to your regular running shoes, basketball shoes have thicker soles and more pronounced cushioning. Moreover, they have better traction and grip which gives you a competitive edge.

So, overall, basketball shoes can heighten both your gameplay and how you look on the ground.

What Are Basketball Shoes Soles Made From?

There are three parts of a basketball shoe sole. The outsole, midsole, and lastly, the insole. Here’s how they are layered together to create the ultimate sporting device-

The Outsole

Whatever lives outside of the shoe and is visible after you wear it, is the outsole. Basically, it is that part of the sole which makes direct contact with the ground. Usually, outsoles are made of polyurethane, a synthetic material that is mode grippy and rugged to the touch.

The function of the outsole is to deliver maximum traction and agility while maintaining proper balance on the ground. More importantly, a special type of tread such as herringbone is used to offer that extended gripping quality.

The Midsole

Made out of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or polyurethane (PU), the midsole sits inside the outer and inner shell to support your ankle. It is basically a foam structure to provide cushioning to your feet and absorb the twists and shocks from jumping.

That’s why if you play in the attacking position, it’s crucial to choose shoes that have good cushioning. Otherwise, knee and ankle injuries will haunt you!

The Insole

Finally, the insole is the portion that lies directly beneath your feet. Again, it is made out of synthetic foam which comforts you whenever you move. For better positioning and structural integrity, insoles are as important as any other part of the shoe.

What Are The Pros Vs. Cons Of Basketball Shoes That Make You Taller?

Want to know the most mind-shattering benefits and limitations of your stylish basketball shoes? Here are the pros and cons of using basketball shoes on the ground-


Better Comfort & Traction

With basketball shoes, you get to enjoy more all-around comfort due to the thick midsole. Similarly, the traction under your feet also stabilizes your ground and makes you steady in quick turns.

Improved Protection & Cushioning 

Because of the solidly made sole and cushioning, the wearers of basketball shoes can be assured of complete protection. That’s why basketball shoes are recommended to protect your heel as well as ankles.

Increased Height

Obviously, you already know this but basketball shoes are usually taller than your regular shoes. So, you can enjoy an elevated feel on the court due to a rise in height.


Less Court Feel

Because of the thick midsole, you don’t get the same energy return that you can get from a thin midsole. Basketball shoes are surely made for comfort but you have to sacrifice the explosiveness a bit. So, that’s definitely something to consider while buying basketball kicks!

What are the Common Misconceptions about Basketball Shoes?

Compared to the actual benefits, there are some decade-old myths about basketball shoes. These are almost believable because of the strategic marketing and brand-building copies. However, here are some myths that you should not believe blindly from now on-

Myth 1: Basketball Shoes Make You Jump Higher

While basketball shoes help you to gain a marginal amount of height, they can’t miraculously provide you with more vertical. On top of that, there are no credible scientific studies on the actual elevation due to jumps using basketball kicks!

Myth 2: All Basketball Shoes Provide the Same Height Increase

Another common misconception about basketball shoes is that you can gain almost the same amount of height with all of the shoes available. It is actually not true as some shoes have thicker soles which can add almost 2.5 inches of height in some cases.

Myth 3: You Need to Break-in the Shoes Before Proper Use

You actually don’t need to break-in the performance or modern shoes nowadays. Because those shoes are perfect to use whether you use them right after buying them or not. So, this is again a common myth about basketball shoes!

Does The NBA Measure Height With Shoes?

Before the 2019 NBA era, the official height measurement for all pro players used to be in terms of “shoe height”. That mainly translates into the height you have after wearing your regular shoes.

However, after 2020, the NBA introduced an additional provision that also factors in barefoot height. So, currently, the NBA measures the height of all the players in the league. Know how much does a basketball weigh?

What Are Shoe Lifts?

Shoe lifts are inserts that lift your height from the shoe to give you an extra edge. They are usually made for patients with flatfoot or similar foot conditions and need to maintain a certain posture. Shoe lifts are not meant for basketball or any other explosive sports which require constant running.

They are not only one of the major causes of ankle injuries, but they can bring discomfort while playing. There are no players in the NBA as of this moment who are really on shoe lifts because they don’t provide any significant improvement to their game.

More importantly, heel or shoe lifts are not recommended by health professionals to use in the games.

Are Shoe Lifts Safe For Basketball?

No, shoe lifts are not safe to use in any basketball games in any capacity. Not only that but shoe lifts don’t have any substantial benefit in the actual games in a way where professionals would be inclined to use them.

The only benefit of shoe lifts is the extra height boost. Other than that, there is no significant improvement but only drawbacks associated with them. 

First of all, agility and stability are compromised because of the discomfort you feel during the game. Secondly, the quick turns can easily bring misfortune to your ankle and foot. Lastly, players can miss the whole season because of the injury!

So, there is no need to rely on shoe lifts as they are not safe.

What are Jump Training Shoes?

Jump training shoes are exactly what the name suggests, they are shoes that train you to jump higher. The clamping force of these shoes is stronger so they feel more robust when you try to jump. Due to the heavier feel of the shoes, when you switch to regular shoes, you can achieve a better vertical.

The actual benefit of jump training shoes is significant and that’s why many NBA players train with these shoes. However, not all of the players rely on an extra pair of shoes because you can get more vertical with more calf and muscle training as well.

Wearing a jump training shoe might even be detrimental for some players who neglect their cramps or injuries. Moreover, any kind of shoes that offer an uncomfortable feel in long-term usage is not recommended and only allowed for in some conditions.

So, unless you actually need jump training shoes for some muscle practice, it is best to avoid those types of shoes.

What Basketball Shoes Add The Most Height?

The notable basketball shoes that add the most amount of height are definitely the LeBron series, the KD series, and Zoom Airs. Some also consider the Curry shoes from Under Armour. If you are looking for specific models, then Nike Lebron 17, Nike Lebron 15, Nike Hyperdunk, Nike Kyrie Flytrap 4, Nike KD 11, and so on.

All of these shoes offer at least 18mm of height and the most height offered is by the LeBron 17 series. Those are absolute top-tier basketball shoes that you can get right now.

How Much Height Do Basketball Shoes Add? How many inches do basketball shoes add?

If you want to look at a direct side-by-side comparison of basketball shoe height addition, then look no further! Here’s a comprehensive chart to understand more about basketball shoes-

Shoe Type

Height Gain (Inches)



High-Top (Standard)

1 – 1.25

Nike LeBron Soldier 15, Adidas Crazy Boost 360 X

Most common style, good balance of height and performance

High-Top (Elevated)

1.25 – 1.5

Nike LeBron 18, Under Armour Curry Flow 10

Thicker midsoles or hidden platforms offer extra boost


0.75 – 1

Nike Kyrie Low 5, Adidas D.O.N. Issue 3

Good compromise between height and agility


0.5 – 0.75

Nike Kyrie Flytrap 8, Adidas Dame 8

Prioritize agility and court feel, minimal height gain

Platform Shoes

1.5 – 2+


Significant height boost but compromise stability and performance

Considering all of the available shoes out there, you can get good enough performance from any of them. However, the ideal shoes for you might need proper research and investigation. So, don’t just buy shoes depending on the extra height boost that they offer.

Thomas Uses A Special Shoe That Increases His Height

Speaking of all the notions about basketball shoes, Thomas, a lover of basketball, has been using special shoes just to make him taller! It’s quite rare to see an up-and-rising player investing in a specialty shoe from the early stages of his career.

His coach even helped him to get the proper fit for his shoes and maintain a steady growth of his height. That way, he achieved elevated gameplay in his sporting career.

Harrell Keeps Pieces Of Paper Under His Feet To Increase His Height

On the flip side, Harell always brought an element of surprise and mystery to his character. He always used a thin piece of paper under his feet to make him look taller. Funnily enough, this technique worked as many interviewers and players used to be confused by his actual height!

While that insignificant amount of height won’t really mean much in the actual game, it’s still a fun way to add new dynamics to the height-increase conversation!

Do Nike Dunks Make You Taller?

Yes, some iterations of Nike Dunks do make you taller. However, the feeling of being taller is only applicable for the time when you’re wearing them. There is no proof or actual research on these particular shoes and whether they make you taller in the long run.

Nike Dunks offers many different versions and models. As they generally fall into the sneakers category, they can be almost 2 inches tall while on their feet. One of the main reasons for getting those additional inches is the air bladder technology used by Nike in their soles.

These basketball shoes are also comfortable to wear and easy to move around. However, because of the heightened elevation in some models, they don’t offer as much stability and traction as other Nike sneakers.

So, even though Nike Dunks are surely one of the best sneakers you can buy, it might not be the best for you. 

How Can I Choose The Right Basketball Shoes?

To choose the right basketball shoes, you need to consider several factors in hand. Let’s get to the bottom of this detailed discussion-

Your Natural Playing Style

Before anything, you need to understand that the most important thing to consider is your playing style. Defensive and attacking players don’t wear the same type of shoes on the court as they have different roles.

For example, low-tops or mid-tops might be ideal for you if you are an offensive player. Mid-tops offer a balanced performance for maximum agility and explosiveness.

On the other hand, high tops offer better protection and cushioning to your feet for better impact absorption. So, for the defensive players who prioritize jumping and rebounding, these shoes are the best option.

Fit & Comfort

Now that you understand the basics about playing style and positions on the ground, it’s time to be focused on the fit of your basketball shoes. Not all basketball kicks are made equal and you can surely feel that when you try them on! So, how should you choose your shoes?

Suppose you are a center forward and looking for a good shoe with a pronounced collar. However, you find the shoes to be a bit restricting without any room to move. You should reconsider the shoe size and look for a bigger size for that particular shoe.

On top of that, after the shoe feels fit enough, it should feel comfortable as well when you’re jumping and running. So, checking both the fit and the comfort should be another priority when you’re thinking of buying basketball shoes.

Build & Technology

All the renowned brands have been investing heavily in creating the ultimate sportswear for a while now. So, you should always follow the brands to know which ones offer the most improved and enhanced technologies to elevate both your height and games!

How Added Height Impacts the Game?

Added height to increased height in your feet can totally be the outcome of your basketball career without you realizing it! Some great players and even legends of basketball have used their overgrown height to their advantage.

With an increased height gain, you can move more freely within the court. The reach of your limbs will increase and ensure more refined and impactful jumps. Consequently, you can overpower your opponents both in the attacking and defensive positions.

Additionally, added height can increase the field of vision and court feel of your overall games. You can observe more and strategize what should be the ideal play in any position. Some players have also admitted the psychological impact of an increased height.

Because of the elevated height, you will feel more confident and chances of missing shots or making fouls will decrease. So, added height can impact both your mental and on-field game tenfold.

Can Players Adjust to the Height Change?

Yes, in most cases, players can adjust and manage small height changes without any complications. Small height changes from shoes, like 1-2 inches, are usually okay. Players can get used to them with some practice. They might feel a bit clumsy at first, like wearing new shoes, but they’ll soon find their balance again.

Big height changes, like suddenly growing several inches or wearing super-high shoes, are tough. It’s like learning to walk all over again! Players might trip, miss shots, and have trouble moving smoothly. It takes a lot of practice and training to adjust to such a big difference.

So, depending on the magnitude of the height change, players can adjust or not adjust at all!


In the end, all that’s left to say is basketball shoes are surely important if you want to go pro. Height in basketball is one factor that is highly prioritized. However, with sheer determination and strong will, anyone can achieve that podium of the NBA without any of those!

So, be yourself and fight your way to the top!


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