If you ask any basketball player what they wished their shoes could do, they’d probably want shoes that make you jump higher.
We all would. That way, we didn’t have to train and still be able to jump and dunk the basketball.
That’s reality now.
Shoes that Make You Jump Higher are Banned by the NBA
A few years ago, a new athletic shoe manufacturer called Athletic Propulsion Labs, or APL, developed the first shoes that were scientifically proven to instantly add inches to your vertical leap.
No jump training, no warm-ups, nothing. Just lace up APL’s shoes and you automatically jump a few extra inches higher than you used to.
- According to their tests, the average player jumped up to 3.5 inches higher when wearing their shoes.
How do they work?
- The basketball shoes developed by Athletic Propulsion Labs use what they call Load N’ Launch Technology.
Essentially, the Load N’ Launch pad is placed in the forefoot of the shoe. This system allows the toes and balls of our feet to push off with more energy off the floor.
Load N’ Launch combines a spring loaded technology along with energy return systems that when compressed (our feet push off) they are able to store then release more energy which helps propel the jumper higher in the air.
For their part, the NBA tested APL’s shoes and did in fact observe that the shoes make players jump higher. For this reason, the NBA bans use of APL’s shoes in their games by its players.
How much are the shoes?
Before you run out thinking of getting a pair, make sure you have some cash saved up, because they’re not cheap. A couple of years ago, they were priced around $300. They’ve come down a bit now but are still quite expensive.
The high top versions cost $175, while the low top models cost $150.
Other Basketball Training Shoes
Aside from the shoes built by Athletic Propulsion Labs, there are a few other jump higher shoes. But they work in a different way.
APL’s shoes instantly make you jump higher, these other shoes however, are used for training to jump higher for basketball.
They are among the ways to jump higher, and they do this by improving calf and leg strength.
This is why they are called jump training shoes.
Do Jump Training Shoes Work?
Jump training shoes differ from APL’s jump higher shoes because you use these for training, not in the game.
The design of jump training shoes is such that the forefoot of the shoe is elevated on a platform. This forces the person wearing the shoes to walk, run, and jump using only the balls of their feet (front of the foot). The heel of the foot does not touch the ground.
This design forces the calf muscles and ankles to work harder. And by training them they help improve jumping ability.
Two of the most popular basketball training shoes for jumping higher are the Strength Shoes and JumpSoles.
Strength Shoes are specially made shoes that have their forefoot section raised from the floor. When you buy them, you get the entire Strength Shoe.
Strength Shoes cost $99.99, and come with a DVD, and other training materials. They are meant to be used while doing plyometric exercises.
The manufacturer says that proper training with them can add between 5 to 10 inches to one’s vertical leap.
We’ve heard a few people say that the strength shoe has worked for them in the past, however, here’s what scientific research says.
According to a study done at the University of Wisconsin, 10 weeks of training with the Strength Shoes compared to regular shoes showed that there was little improvement gained by using the Strength Shoes when it came to 40 yard time, vertical jump and broad jump. They also noted a high rate of injury in the group using the Strength Shoe.
This was verified by another study by the Tulane University School of Medicine:
College athletes were put on an 8 week training program following the methods provided in the DVD accompanying the Strength Shoe. After 8 weeks, they did not see strength, performance or flexibility improvements from those that wore the Strength Shoe.
The study also mentioned that the Strength Shoe cannot be recommended as a safe and effective training method, though proper use of plyometrics does work.
JumpSoles are similar to Strength Shoes. However, unlike Strength Shoes which add a 4 cm. rubber platform to the front part of the shoe, JumpSoles are front forefoot attachments you slip your shoes into.
When you put them on, the JumpSoles act as a platform that raises the front part of your foot. This forces you to use the balls of your feet to do everything since the heels can’t reach the ground.
JumpSoles cost $99.95 and also come with a DVD instructional set. The manufacturer says that they can help you jump 5 to 10 inches higher and cut 40 yard times by 2 seconds.
Based on research by the University of Central Arkansas Department of Physical Therapy:
Thirty five junior high football team players were put on a test to see if the JumpSoles helped cut 40 yard time, improve vertical jump and built up calf size.
The study went on for 6 weeks with one group using JumpSoles and another without JumpSoles. The results showed that plyometric training helped improve vertical jump but the JumpSoles didn’t add any improvements to the plyometrics’ results.
The 40 yard times and calf sizes didn’t change either.
Using shoes is among the ways to jump higher. Athletic Propulsion Labs’ shoes add up to 3.5 inches in your jump. The question remains is will your league allow you to use them or will they ban it from play just like the NBA did.
Jump training shoes seems to have mixed reviews. We’ve heard some people say they work, but research says it’s probably the plyometric training that produces the results not the shoes.
So what to do?
Our suggestion is to go get an effective jump training program instead. They’re cheaper, and you know they work. They’re also permanent once you’ve finished the training, and no league can ban you from using your jumping skills.
This way you don’t spend time getting no results or spend a lot of money and not be able to compete with the shoes.
See our jump training comparison chart here to look at the best jump training programs.