Low-cut vs. High-cut Shoes

As an avid basketball player, ankle sprains have always been a common injury. Many people wonder if the ankle height of their shoe could play a role in preventing ankle sprains. I personally believed early on that higher cut shoes have a protective effect on ankle sprains. But I still continued to sprain my ankle!

This led me to research whether there have been any studies that support this popular belief. Long and behold there was a study by Barret et al. (1993)[1] that compared the prevalence of ankle sprains from individuals wearing high cut vs. low cut shoes while playing intramural basketball in college. Surprisingly, the study found that there was actually no difference on the height of shoe that you wear and ankle sprains!

What’s even more interesting was that another study found that wearing high-cut shoes may actually be detrimental in promoting ankle stability and could increase the risk of ankle sprains!   Fu et al. (2014) found that wearing high-cut shoes decreased the activation of ankle stabilizers during a jumping and landing task.[2]

Although more research still needs to be done, these two studies show that the myth of high cut shoes preventing ankle sprains may not actually prove to be true.  

Written by Timothy Ma, BSc, BEd, MScPT
Registered Physiotherapist 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8368420

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3943374/

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