Can You Use Basketball Shoes for Running?

You might be asking yourself – are basketball shoes good for running?

Most people will say it is and you’re be fine to do so.

But I disagree. I say it’s not a good idea and you should avoid doing it.

And here’s why.

How running shoes are made

Running shoes are made for the SOLE purpose of forward motion.

The upper is stiff because less range of motion is required, they’re lightweight, and they have lots of cushioning.

Running shoes are designed to keep the wearer running for long distances.

They protect your foot for the activity; “running”.

Whereas basketball shoes protect your feet in other areas because they require a different movement pattern.

Running shoes are also far more comfortable.

How basketball shoes are made

Basketball shoes are made entirely different.

They’re made for to go forward, back, side-to-side and diagonally.

They have ankle support to keep you in check.

They have more stability in all directions.

They even have a different tread pattern.

Basketball shoes keep you safe while you jump, start, stop, and maneuver in and out of players.

Even though their low-top designs are lighter, they are still heavier than the average running sneaker.

They also have different heel cushioning.

Basketball shoes offer dense padding for shock-absorption, while running shoes is more soft to add extra comfort.

This can cause all sorts of pains and injuries when using basketball shoes for running, but more on that in a second.

Why it’s not a good idea to use basketball shoes for running

Think of it this way.

Basketball shoes offer as much support as possible.

Running shoes are made to be as light as possible.

When you think of it like that it’s easier to understand the differences.

Running shoes need to be as lightweight as possible so that you can run longer.

Now try and use a bulky basketball shoe that’s not as lightweight.

You’ll quickly get burnt out and you might even have pains from all the extra work from lifting a heavy shoe.

For short distances it’ll be okay and you will probably get away with doing so.

But if you’re trying to go the distance, you want to train frequently (at least 2x a week), and you’re trying to become the best runner you can be, you’re much better off investing in some running shoes.

They don’t have to be fancy or expensive. You can get a solid pair of Nike’s for about 70 bucks.

The answer

Heavy basketball shoes, or high-top designs, should never ever be used for running, period. Unless it’s running on the court then that is okay.

Light basketball shoes can be used for short distances, but it is never recommended for long distances.

If you want to jump on the treadmill after shooting hoops or lifting weights, you are find to do so.

It becomes a problem when you’re trying to use basketball shoes for long distance daily running.

Fatigue kicks in faster, you are more likely to cause an injury, experience pain, and develop foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, etc.

Unpopular Opinion: Basketball shoes are good for heavy runners

Some say that basketball shoes are good for heavy runners that are new to the running game.

And that might be the case, but there are still huge risks involved.

Yes the added ankle protection is good (for stabilization) and the shock absorption softens the impact rather than the bones, tendons, joints, etc.

But in my opinion if you are on the heavy side, you are in too much danger of causing damage.

I would rather you stick to a diet and just move.

Walking, biking, weightlifting, these are all low impact activities that’ll get you to your ideal weight without damaging your joints and causing permanent damage.


While basketball shoes can work for heavy runners, they are in danger of damaging joints.

Opt for the right footwear instead.

Use the right footwear for the right activity

At the end of the day there is a shoe for everything.

Heck, there is even a shoe for boating, they are called crocs.

There are much more options for us in this day and age, and they don’t even cost that much.

You can cop a pair of decent shoes for under 100 bucks.

I would rather you use the right shoe for the right activity instead of putting yourself in danger just to save some money.

Do the right thing. Your feet will thank you for it. I promise.

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