Do Basketball Shoes Make You Taller? [The answer may surprise you!]

If you're a regular basketball player, you know a few inches of extra height can give you an advantage on the court. If you're looking for a good pair of shoes to provide you with a little boost, you might be wondering how much you can increase your height. We've researched basketball shoes and compiled the answers for you.

It depends on the shoe, but most basketball shoes provide 0.5 to 2 inches in additional standing height. This increase may not seem like much, but it's a crucial balance between height and performance capability.  

Most basketball shoes provide an inch or two in standing height because of the thick sole used to absorb impact. Keep reading to learn which basketball shoes offer the most height and why height is important in basketball.

Pair of basketball shoes on a court next to a basketball, Do Basketball Shoes Make You Taller? [The answer may surprise you!]

Height Matters For Basketball Players

For several reasons, being tall helps you become a better basketball player. First of all, a more extended reach makes it easier to get the ball over opponents trying to block you from the basket. People with longer legs have longer strides, which is helpful when racing back and forth across the court. When it comes to dunking, height gives you an advantage because you don't have to propel yourself through the air as far.

What are the soles of basketball shoes made of?

Most basketball shoes have a rubber sole that provides good traction and grip against the court. Rubber also helps absorb the impact of landing so you can keep on playing all night. Some shoes, like Nike's Kyrie 6s, feature lightweight foam in the midsole to provide additional comfort and boosted lift when you push off of the ground. Other sole designs utilize an air cushion under the heel for a more comfortable feel. Companies are always looking to improve design features and create added comfort for performance capability.

Does the NBA measure height with shoes?

Until recently, the NBA didn't have a standard with which to measure players' heights. Many players listed heights with basketball shoes, while others measured themselves without shoes. In 2019, the NBA officially declared players' heights were to be reported without shoes.

Do basketball shoes make you jump higher?

While your height in basketball shoes may not count to the NBA, an additional height boost in your shoes may help you jump higher. Most basketball shoes provide an additional 2 to 2.5 inches in jumping height. It may not seem like much, but even an inch can help you get over an opponent trying to block the net.

Can you jump higher with or without shoes?

Because basketball shoes feature soft padding to absorb stress impact, wearing shoes actually decreases the height you can jump. New technology has produced shoes that boost higher and higher jumps, but it's all mainly compensating for what the padding takes away.

Which basketball shoes have the most cushion?

Cushion helps absorb landing impact, and it's important to prevent injuries. If you have knee pain, the cushioning will be your top priority when selecting a pair of shoes. Here are the five basketball shoes with some of the highest-rated cushioning:

1. Nike Air Max

Nike Air Max comes in both women's and men's shoes to provide revolutionary, all-day comfort. They feature heel-to-toe rubber sole coverage, light woven fabric on the top, and an all-around good fit. Nike uses soft, resilient foam that provides long-lasting comfort. See the foam from a window in the rubber sole. They have padded collars around the heel that provide additional support, and there are 18 different color options for women and 17 color options for men.

Purchase a pair of Nike Air Max from Amazon here.

2. Nike KD

These shoes are built particularly for Kevin Durant, a basketball legend who plays for the Brooklyn Nets. KDs connect the cushioned sole directly to the upper part of the shoe instead of setting it in foam. This position lets your feet rest directly onto the sole and helps when it comes to both comfort and jumping ability. The top is surrounded by lightweight mesh that allows your feet to breathe, and only the best materials are used to provide comfort but maintain peak performance.

Buy a pair of Nike KDs at Amazon here. 

3. Air Jordan

Air Jordans are named after the iconic basketball player Michael Jordan. They feature a solid rubber sole for good traction, an Air-Sole light cushioning, and a mix of real and synthetic leather. Air Jordans are not only popular because of their name, but because of the all-day comfort they provide.

Click here to buy Air Jordans on Amazon.

4. Adidas Marquee Boost

These shoes are built for speed and agility on the court. They have a molded ankle collar for additional ankle support and a well-cushioned heel to provide maximum comfort. The unique collar design is especially helpful to anyone with weak or compromised ankles. Adidas says this shoe helps players stop on a dime due to its herringbone-patterned rubber sole.

You can purchase a pair from Amazon here. 

5. Nike LeBron

These shoes are incredibly comfortable, according to both Nike designers and basketball players. They are named after LeBron James and feature powerful cushioning to absorb impact. The top is made of woven knit and features an almost scale-like pattern along the side. There is a soft foam pad in the heel to add further comfort. Because of its comfort-centered design, these shoes can impede jumping height, but they make up for it in impact absorption.

Click here to purchase a pair of Nike LeBrons on Amazon. 

Do Air Max make you taller?

Ranking as the most cushioned basketball shoe, Air Max shoes have superior comfort and increase height. They give you a boost of 1 to 1.5 inches in standing height and 1 to 3 inches in jumping height. They provide good grip and are great for use on the basketball court, but they don't do much for ordinary height. If you're looking for something to boost your standing height, there are other height-boosting options to consider, such as the options we've provided below:

Jump-Training Shoes

Some shoes don't increase your jumping height, but rather train your muscles to do it for you. Also called jump soles, jump-training shoes are special shoes that force you to put your weight toward the front of your foot. Repositioning weight shifts the force to your calves and quickly builds up those muscles, which you later use for pushing off the floor in a vertical jump.

Elevator Shoes

Elevator shoes have the sole purpose of increasing your height. Most pairs give you an additional 2 to 5 inches. More practical pairs can still act as basketball shoes, but it's good to note that your jumping game might be compromised. You can, however, lift weights, bike, and even run short distances in them.

Shoe Lifts

Shoe lifts are inserts that sit at the heel and raise where your foot rests in relation to the ground. While there are many comfortable shoe lifts to choose from, it is not recommended to wear them to play sports. Because they are not attached to the shoe, the rigorous activity can dislodge them and wear on your feet.


There are several reasons you might want to increase your height on the court. The extra height gives you an edge over shorter opponents, and it's easier to dunk a ball if you don't have as much air to cover. Most basketball shoes feature thicker soles that give you an increase anywhere from 0.5 to 2 inches, the perfect height to provide you with a boost but not impede your performance.

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