I am 100% sure that every single soul that has something to do with basketball has heard of certain basketball shoes that make you jump higher.
Lots of you heard this phenomenon. This outrageous idea. This revolutionary concept.
All jokes aside, I think there’s nothing revolutionary about a good quality basketball sneaker that has a profound cushion set up and makes you feel bouncy.
Makes you feel that you’re a spring now.
So do basketball shoes make you jump higher?
Well, as you probably already thought from the start of the article, they do not.
But I will give my personal take on this, I will explain as to why some people think that how effective marketing has proposed this idea and also give you some practical recommendations on shoes you should look for if you aim for a pleasant, bouncy experience.
Let’s do this!
WHERE DID ALL THIS COME FROM?
I know a lot of ballers heard of this “story” and know about these shoes but for all the people, the brand that mainly started marketing this “jump higher with these” idea is APL – Athletic Propulsion Labs.
They claim their revolutionary design basketball sneakers provide the technology to increase your vertical and assist you in reaching new heights of jumping.
Yeah, pretty outrageous.
Let’s take a popular and the latest model out of their sneaker lineup – the APL Boomer.
APL Boomer – A Shoe Banned from the NBA
A modern, pretty nice looking shoe. Nothing out of the ordinary that would stand out the pack.
The technology behind it is what APL lays it all about.
The Boomer is the brand’s most advanced and ambitious take on an athletic shoe to date.
The Load N’ Launch cushion technology in the midsole is the core of it all – as the brand states, this set up is banned by the NBA and provides an increase to the player’s vertical jump.
Of course, we see all the standard and proven to work concepts to make a pretty well-rounded shoe: a flexible mesh sock-like fit upper in a one-piece inner bootie design, a molded heel counter for heel lockdown, a TPU cage for overall foot support and a toecap for extra durability.
It’s a high top and it doesn’t feel like it, which is good. I’ve put some minutes with these shoes and I really did not hate them – they felt good.
However, what obviously stands out is the aggressive claim that the shoe’s cushion system actually increases your vertical.
Let’s Separate the Real from the Claimed
The upper feels really nice, my wide foot was surprisingly well accommodated and the whole experience was pretty seamless. I’ll surely give them that.
But it does not increase your vertical.
I mean, come on. It’s a good cushion setup – yes. It absorbs impact well – yes. It’s a comfortable ride and even though it’s not my favorite cushion to bounce around with, it’s pretty good. But that’s all it is – a good cushion setup.
A basketball shoe’s cushion is not supposed to increase your vertical – it’s supposed to supplement your jumps, cuts, drives, and landings for a more comfortable experience and it absorbs impact to preserve your joints and feet.
A good cushion setup puts you into a position to jump and land comfortably but it does not increase your shear ability to jump.
How in the world could it increase your vertical? You’d probably have to put springs the size of the whole shoe to force your vertical higher. But that’s not the case here – 10mm or so cushion foam is not going to make you leap skyscrapers.
Foam Won’t Make You Leap Higher
I know lots of people already know this but I simply want to shed some light and explain to those who are hyped and intend to buy APL’s stuff just because they think it will increase their vertical.
It will not. I don’t want you spending money on a false concept. Now, what it will do is provide a good experience if you want to comfortably play basketball. It’s a quality shoe with all the elements that make a solid, well-rounded competitor.
It’s a good choice for a versatile player and especially for those who want bounce in their cushion.
If you’re looking for a good basketball shoe – their stuff is definitely solid.
If you’re looking for increasing your vertical jump – I’m afraid you’re in the wrong here. Training and jump mechanics are what you’re after.
Why Do People Give in?
I personally believe that there are two reasons for this.
The first one is APL’s beautiful marketing. No one has ever seen a basketball shoe claim that it increases your vertical, that it’s banned from the NBA and also no one has even come close to the success this buzz has made, and how many people were interested.
The second is a bit interesting but I think it’s the case for soooo many players, especially the more casual ones.
And it’s simple – some of them have never had a good cushion basketball sneaker to play in.
It’s one thing to run around in 2009 And-One’s and it’s a totally different experience in an Adidas Crazy Explosive.
Making a transition from an older or cheaper shoe to a high-quality model is always going to feel night and day. And APL’s footwear is definitely high-quality. So it makes sense.
Of course, this is just my take. That’s what I think based on the responses and reviews of people across the world and also based on my experience with these shoes.
PROVEN SHOES THAT WORK
I think reading this won’t do you any good if I wouldn’t recommend something that transitions on the court. Something you can take away from this.
So let’s have a look at a few of my all-time favorite models to play in that are all-around solid picks and especially shine in terms of cushioning and impact absorption.
These ones will make you feel bouncy and comfortable, which is what most people are aiming for when they are looking for a good cushion sneaker, realistically.
I. Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017
An amazing all-around sneaker that I think would supplement any player, for the most part.
Adidas’s most ambitious and still unbeaten cushion setup king, full-length BOOST technology makes any other shoe feel like bricks on your foot.
It’s responsive, does not sacrifice speed too much and I love how it feels on jumps and especially on landings.
Older players, heavier guys or someone who has knee issues will love these, and they will still feel fast.
Full-length ZOOM AIR is Nike’s king of cushioning in parallel with Adidas’s BOOST.
And that is exactly what the KD 12 packs – a full-length ZOOM AIR foam that is placed directly under the foot with nothing really in between, and it’s done extremely precisely which feels amazing.
It’s responsive, not too high to the ground which is something unexpected out of this setup and it feels really damn springy.
I love it! Not a big fan of the narrow construction of the frame since I’m a wide footer but taking that away, it’s a banger. Click here for my in-depth review of the shoe!
III. Nike LeBron 15
This is a model I like to play purely for fun since the ride with these is soooooo soft and smooth. This one’s all-out cushioning and you will feel bouncy and plushy, like on a pillow.
Every jump feels awesome but these won’t be your go-to sneaker for quickness since you will sink in a bit to the outsole.
If you’re someone who’s a center or someone who needs all-out impact protection – these are really fun. And solid overall as well, so you can’t go wrong here.
INCREASE YOUR VERTICAL, FOR REAL THIS TIME
APL won’t cut it here. Increasing your vertical jump is a huge topic and I would need to cover dozens of factors that go into it.
However, a combination of a sophisticated training regimen, proper jump mechanics, and quality nutrition will get you there – that is a fact.
I’ve put a lot of time and did a lot of research in this and trained for vertical jump & overall athleticism for about 2 years consistently.
The training & nutrition program I love the most is hands down Paul Fabritz’s PJF Explosiveness training routines.
Paul is a world-class NBA performance trainer that regularly trains NBA players, including superstars like James Harden, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and others.
He put out a program available for the world to purchase that caters towards progressively increasing your vertical jump and unleashing your athleticism capabilities.
It’s built with science and countless hours of actual research of what works and what does not.
Being a 6 footer, I’ve never really put much hope into being able to confidently dunk – this program changed all that and is still making me eat my words to this day.
If you’re interested, you can check it out on his website, where he recently put out a new, re-worked program called the Vert Code.
I hope I answered some questions that some of you had and also cleared up some misconceptions.
Be sure to check out my ultimate guide on how to choose a basketball shoe here as well!
If you got any questions, concerns, maybe you feel like there’s still something to add here or just want to talk,