Are high-top shoes losing their footing?

Guard Steve Nash, #13 of the Phoenix Suns, looks to shoot the ball as guard Kobe Bryant, #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers, defends in game one of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers play the Phoenix Suns in game two Western Conference NBA Finals. The Lakers are up in the series one to nothing. The Wall Street Journal's David Biderman will be keeping an eye on the floor while everyone else is keeping an eye on the ball. He's with us live right now from New York to tell us why. Good morning, David.

David Biderman: Hey, how are you? Thank you for having me.

Chiotakis: Doing well. Thanks for being here. Something tells me you're not going to be admiring the fine hardwood.

Biderman: No, you know what, we're going to be watching the shoes actually. The top players on both of the teams, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, they're wearing low-tops now and a lot of NBA players are starting to do that. And it's a trend that's pretty different than, say, just 10 years ago when most of the league was wearing big, flashy high-top sneakers.

Chiotakis: Yeah, I remember the Air Jordans. There was this assumption that the high-tops would give your ankle more support. Why are players switching to low-tops?

Biderman: Well, there are some studies that are showing not only do high-tops not really do anything as far as protection goes, some studies go so far as to say that you could run and play sports without shoes in general and not get hurt. Some players -- Steve Nash, who grew up playing soccer in low-cut cleats -- they say that they just have more mobility in these low-top shoes and there's no reason to wear high-tops.

Chiotakis: Yeah, barefoot. You're going to start a new trend there, David. How popular are low-top shoes?

Biderman: They're about as popular as they have been in at least two decades. NPD Group, which does market research in fields like this, says that 29 percent of the shoe market now is low-tops and that's up from about 11 percent just 8 years ago. And almost all of the high-top market has given in to the low-tops. About 8 years ago, high-tops were about 20 percent of the market, and now they're 8 percent, so it's a big swing.

Chiotakis: David Biderman from the Wall Street Journal, thanks for being here. And we hope you keep a good eye on the floor.

Biderman: Yeah, thank you for having me.

Chiotakis: You got it.

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