Run into more customer service bots lately? Let Marketplace Tech know. More info
News In Brief

The end of high-top sneakers?

Daryl Paranada May 19, 2010

Game one of the Western Conference Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers went to the Lakers. The series features two of the most talented guards of this era – Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant.

They have collected a combined 17 all-star nominations and 19 trips to the playoffs in just the past decade. But according to this article in the Wall Street Journal, the two NBA players also share something else in common: they’ve helped hasten the demise of the high-top sneaker.

From the Journal:

After playing his whole career in bulky high-top and mid-top shoes, the Lakers’ Mr. Bryant asked Nike to make him low tops for the start of last season. The reason: He thought they’d help him move around better. Soon after he started wearing them, teammates Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Shannon Brown and Josh Powell switched too. Mr. Nash said he has always preferred low-tops, probably because he grew up playing soccer in low-cut cleats. On the rare occasions when he’s worn high-tops on the court, he says he wasn’t impressed. “I just felt less mobile,” he said.

Check out our interview with the article’s author, David Biderman, where he discusses why more NBA players are switching to low-tops

The Journal says players, team officials and shoe companies say high-top sneakers peaked about eight years ago. They’ve been losing ground ever since. From the Journal:

At their highest point, according to market-research firm NPD Group, hightops accounted for about 20% of the U.S. market for basketball shoes. Today, that number has sunk to about 8% while lowtops–the kind that Mr. Nash and Mr. Bryant wear–have grown to 29% of the market from just 11% in 2002.

Low-tops/high-tops – Does it matter? Who are you picking to win the series?

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.