Many styles of shoes have been developed over the years to help athletes improve their vertical jump height. But are there really shoes that make you jump higher? Today we will show you how certain shoes can increase vertical jump height through two specific pathways.
Feature Photo Credit: C-Town Throw Down, by Erik Drost, licensed under CC BY 2.0 (modified from original)
Firstly, there are training shoes that make you jump higher by developing the efficiency of the tendons and musculature of the lower limb.
Other shoes increase vertical jump height through in built shock absorption and force producing technology that essentially springs you into the air.
If you are embarking on your journey to your first dunk you want to do everything you can to quickly add a few inches to your vertical jump height.
When it it comes to dunking EVERY INCH COUNTS!
Wearing a quality shoe designed for jump performance may just be the easiest way to jump higher fast.
Shoe designers of the biggest brands are continuously investing huge amounts of money into the development of innovative jump enhancing features.
In order to optimize vertical jump height the shoes must be relatively light, have an excellent fit and provide a sole that can absorb and store force.
One company named Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) has actually created a shoe to make people jump higher that was so effective that it was banned from the NBA.
After the NBA put these shoes to the test they concluded that these shoes would give the athletes wearing them an unfair advantage.
Essentially their latest APL Concept 3 are closest thing that we have got to basketball shoes with springs.
How Do Athletic Propulsion Labs Shoes Work?Are They The Best Basketball Shoe For Dunking?
Athletic Propulsion Labs Review
APL claims that their shoes will increase your vertical jump by up to 3 inches.
The creators of the APL's claim that it is their patented Load n Launch technology that provides the jump enhancing effects.
"The APL shoes are uniquely designed to capture the maximum amount of energy through the compression caused by exerting pressure on the forefoot and then releasing the energy through the propulsion and lift off stage to increase vertical leap"
It is this cutting edge Load n Launch technologically that makes these the best basketball shoes for jumping currently available.
These shoes also incorporate Propelium which is a material designed to provide enhanced cushioning, shock absorption and energy generation.
Techloom construction is also incorporated to provide a true one-piece upper for an exceptional fit and support.
"Our shoes instantly make you jump higher."-Athletic Propulsion Labs, Ryan Goldston
Do APL Shoes Work?
APL are one of the only companies that specializes in shoes that make you jump higher.
Many people seem to be having great success with the new APL Concept 3's.
People who can generate more force through through their jumps (via correct jumping technique etc) will derive the most benefit from these shoes.
If you have not completed any vertical jump program in the past and have a poor vertical jump then these shoes will not turn you into Zach Levine.
Focus on developing other aspects of vertical jump mastery through training first.
Once you have maxed out your vert through effective vertical jump training then add the APL's to give you those extra few inches.
The Story Of Athletic Propulsion Labs
Where To Buy Athletic Propulsion Labs Shoes?
All APL shoes can be purchased from Amazon.com. Here are a couple of examples (click on image to view more details and real user feedback on Amazon.com)
- Patented Load ‘N Launch technology works in conjunction with the newly...
- Unique FloZone upper provides extreme breathability never before seen in a...
No products found.
If you have had experience with the APL line of basketball shoes we would love to hear your story.
If these basketball shoes helped you jump higher please leave a comment below.
Forget Shoes That Make You Jump Higher! Let's Talk Insoles For One Moment..
There is also a product called Springbak Insoles that has been used by professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB, USA Olympic Teams and top Universities in the USA for over a decade.
Springbak Insoles are made from a highly resilient "bouncy ball" like material.
- SPRINGBAK Springsoles are made from a highly resilient
- An outstanding 80% energy-return is created
"Developers of this innovative product claim that 80% energy-return in the Springsole is created when the wearer’s body weight comes down and compresses this material, then releases the 80% energy-return back onto the wearer at push-off."
Like the APL shoes you will only get significant jump improvements if you can generate significant force.
You must think of these shoes as a complementary device and somewhat of a return on your investment into jump training.
If you think that you will just throw these insoles into your shoes and start dunking you are kidding yourself.
Considering that the average basketball shoe insole is only worth 1-3 cents these springsoles are a significant quality upgrade.
Here is an interesting video outlining the scientific tests and testimonials of the springback insoles.
Are There Any Other Shoes That Will Increase Your Vertical Jump?
Over the past few years the Jordan brand has been developing and incorporating their Flight Plate technology into their basketball shoes.
Essentially it is a small plate with tiny springs that sit under the forefoot.
Check out the video below to see the design for yourself,
The Flight Plate technology is included on popular basketball shoes such as the XX8, XX8 SE and Super Fly 3.
Here are those shoes for sale on Amazon.com:
The Flight Plate slightly raises the level of the forefoot over that of the heel (negative foot inclination).
When you put them on you can feel more tension on the Achilles at all times due to the increased dorsiflexion.
Interestingly, there was a study done by Larkins & Snabb in 1999 that looked at the improvements in jump height when a negative foot inclination was added to a shoe.
Below is a table outlining their findings (source: Positive versus negative foot inclination for maximum height two-leg vertical jumps. Clifford Larkins, Thomas E Snabb )
The researchers found that when the shoe structure caused the toe to sit higher than the rear foot the participants had an average vertical jump increase of 4.8cm which was a 10% increase.
Very impressive indeed!
Perhaps this research was incorporated into the design of the flightplate system or maybe not.
The team here at Vertical Jump World believe that more basketball shoe companies should take a serious look at the aforementioned research and if possible incorporate the findings into their future designs.
Personally, I believe that the Flight Plate's decline setup preloads and lengthens the achilles allowing for more potential force activation upon stretch and release.
If you are looking for a pair of quality basketball shoes that will help you jump higher then definitely consider one of the new era Jordan Basketball Shoes with Flight Plate technology.
What To Look For When Buying Basketball Shoes For Dunking or Jumping?
- Choose Lightweight Shoes To Jump Higher
In order to jump higher we must optimise our strength/power to weight ratio.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to choose a pair of lightweight basketball shoes.
- Choose "Low Cut" Shoes To Jump Higher
Choose low cut shoes over high cut basketball shoes to enhance jumping performance. A study by Brizuela, et al. (1997) discovered that the increased ankle support reduces jumping performance quite significantly.
We have found that the Asics Volleyball Shoes can also be great for basketball and other jumping activities. Asics shoes are extremely well designed and super lightweight.
Unfortunately they don't look as cool as the big name basketball shoes... But hey, it's what's on the inside that counts!
- Choose Shoes With A Secure Fit To Jump Higher
if you want a pair of shoes to help you jump higher you must choose a pair that offers a secure fit.
Most popular basketball shoes incorporate the latest technology in non stretch materials.
Remember any loss of stability when landing or jumping caused by poor fitting shoes will result in loss of total force output at jump takeoff.
- Choose The Correct Size Shoes To Jump Higher
Choose the correct size by leaving around 1/3 inch gap at the big toe.
If the shoes are too big your foot will slide around on foot plant. If this happens you will lose valuable energy and ultimately inches on your vertical jump.
- Choose Shoes With Excellent Traction To Jump Higher
Always ensure that the soles of the shoes you purchase for jumping activities provide excellent traction.
To jump at your highest you must be able to convert horizontal momentum into vertically directed power.
Any slippage on approach or takeoff will lead to a sub par jumping effort.
Most quality basketball shoes have excellent traction.
- Choose A Pair Of Shoes With A Stiff Sole To Jump Higher
Finally, always choose a pair of basketball shoes with a "stiff" sole as opposed to highly cushioned.
Remember how we were talking earlier about the APL shoes and Springsoles ability to absorb force that can then be used to propel the athlete upward?
Well the same principle applies to the sole of the shoe.
The right amount of stiffness will provide flex and spring that can add valuable inches to your jump.
The Current 2 Most Popular Jump Programs
Jacob Hiller's Jump Manual
Adam Folker's VertShock
Training Shoes That Increase Vertical Jump Height
When it comes to training shoes that increase vertical jump there are really only 2 options to consider.
1) Using Jumpsoles To Improve Vertical Jump Height
Jumpsoles are a plastic attachment with velcro straps that wrap around the foot. This raises the heel of the ground.
When wearing Jumpsoles and undertaking plyometric exercises the achilles tendon and calf muscles are stimulated to adapt to the extra demands.
Jumpsoles are quite a controversial topic, yet deserve to have a place in one's vertical jump training regime.
However these interesting jump shoes come with a high risk to reward ratio. So use them at your own risk.
We recently completed an in depth Jumpsoles review so be sure to check it out if you want to learn more about these polarizing jump training shoes.
2) Using Strength Shoes To Improve Vertical Jump Height
The second jump training shoe that has been proven to help people jump higher are known as Strength Shoes.
Here is a funny video of when Strength Shoes were featured on an episode of Seinfeld.
They essentially work in the same way as Jumpsoles except Strength Shoes are basketball style shoe with a moulded platform that raises the heel off the ground.
Each pair comes with a training DVD, laminated training card, and stretch strap for pre/post workout stretching.
Here are a couple of examples of Strength Shoes for sale on Amazon.com:
- Increase Vertical Jump by 5-10 inches - Light weight shoes to help you increase...
- Increase Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers for Explosive Power
Shoes That Make You Jump Really High. Instantly!
Now you won't be able to wear these on the hardwood basketball court but we thought that these Jumping Stilt Shoes are just too fun to not mention.
Check out the video below to see them in action.
So Can Shoes Make You Jump Higher? They Sure Can!
After reading this article hopefully you have a better understanding of just how shoes can help you jump higher.
Training shoes such as Jumpsoles can be incorporated into a quality vertical jump program to help develop power and re-activeness in the lower limbs.
Be sure to choose a comfortable, lightweight and tight fitting pair of shoes for training/game days.
And if you really want to gain those last few inches on your jump test out some of the latest and greatest vertical jump enhancement technology that has been incorporated into shoes such as the Athletic Propulsion Labs Concept 3 or the Jordan brand Flight Plate technology.
We hope that you enjoyed our roundup of the best shoes that we believe can help make you jump higher.
If you have any questions about any of these jumping shoes please don’t hesitate to ask.
If you have had any experience with the aforementioned shoes and whether or not that they can increase your vertical we would love to hear your story.
I’m sure our community would appreciate your feedback too.
- Checkout the best vertical jump training equipment of the year