How Kobe Killed Hightops
Once-dominant fashion has gone by the wayside
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2010 10:19 AM CDT
Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant's basketball shoes are shown in the game against the Miami Heat in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Friday, Dec. 19, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

(Newser) – In case you hadn't noticed, hightop sneakers are on death's door. You can thank big stars like Steve Nash, who's worn low-tops all his life, and Kobe Bryant, whose switch to low-tops last year prompted four of his Lakers teammates to follow suit. Of course, they're not alone. Eighty percent of NBA players wore hightops in the late '80s, but these days, that number's shrunk to just 8%, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Part of the reason is that studies suggest that hightops don't actually do a very good job protecting your foot, and may, according to some, reduce your speed and vertical leap. “These shoemakers are good at selling shoes,” says one researcher, “science, not so much.” And if there's any chance the shoes increase injury, teams are going to encourage players to wear low-tops. The average NBA team lost $455,000 in missed games because of foot injuries last season.