The athletic shoe is having a rough few years. From best-selling Born to Run, Harvard professor Dan Lieberman’s work on barefoot running in Nature, to the success of Vibram Five Fingers. And now, the NBA: players are moving away from hightops that allegedly provide more ankle support.
"One of the reasons hightops are going out of vogue, players and injury experts say, is that there’s some research that suggests they aren’t very good at protecting your feet. NBA players missed 64% more games last season because of foot-related injuries than they did twenty years ago, according to NBA statistician Harvey Pollack."
There are multiple reasons why foot injuries could be going up:
"Players have gotten taller and heavier, the pace of the game is faster and the NBA postseason has gotten longer."
But for a piece of conventional athletic wisdom, "ankle support" has surprising little support.
"Craig Richards, a researcher at Australia’s University of Newcastle, published a 2008 article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that catalogued academic studies in athletics and found no evidence that sneakers limited injuries. His research actually found that hightop basketball sneakers make players run slower and jump lower."
(Thanks to Cheryl for the pointer.)