Originally designed to help prevent injuries in basketball players, the humble high top has become a fashionable item across the globe. High tops are especially popular with kids, as they have a rather high cool factor, but it turns out that these shoes can actually cause injury and are quite dangerous when not used for what they were designed for!
High tops were intended to protect basketball players ankles from the fast turns and sudden stops that are characteristic of the game, but with the rise of sneaker culture they soon became a must-have for fashion-savvy kids and adults alike.
The issue arises in the way that high tops are designed. They protect the ankle when under athletic stress, but they are not ideal for walking around all day in as the protection for this is minimal. In fact, low top shoes are far better, as they serve to strengthen ankle muscles and ligaments and don’t provide an external support. Weak ankles can be a big issue, and the stronger the ankle, the better a child’s stability, agility and balance. Having weak ankles in childhood can lead to further problems during growth and into adulthood.
Decreasing Mobility and Flexibility
Just as you’d wear Adidas Football Kits such as those available when playing football, you should wear the correct shoes for walking around in. According to studies, 80% of performance sports shoes are not worn the way they are meant to be, and high tops fall into this category.
High tops not only reduce the ankle function, they also limit mobility and flexibility. A stable joint has less chance of developing if it’s being locked in place, and this is what high tops do to kids’ legs when they wear them constantly and for long periods of time whilst they are walking and running around. Tendons and ligaments are not worked as they should be when walking, and this can lead to knee and ankle injuries and a decrease in sports performance. Exercising in high tops is not recommended as they restrict flexibility, and this can lead to greater problems as children grow and develop.
A Vicious Cycle
With weakened ankles and knees come an assortment of problems, and many children will wear high tops thinking they are protecting themselves and reducing the chance of pain or injury. This starts a vicious circle, as tendons, muscles and ligaments become even weaker and are then more susceptible to damage. High tops may seem harmless, but they can cause issues with long-term effects.