Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Nfinity and Beyond?

No, I'm not talking about going to Infinity and Beyond in the Nike Buzz Lightyear shoes.

It's "Nfinity", a company that claims "We Are Women's Sports" and recently got into the women's basketball shoe market.

A while back, I received an e-mail asking if I was familiar with their new shoe and what I thought of their claim that their shoe reduces the risk of ACL injuries.

First I went to their website to learn more.
It's slick and user-friendly and touts the Nfinity basketball shoe (currently priced at $119/pair), which has BioniQ Technology designed to address "the pronounced Q angle(the angle between hip and knee, which increases the likelihood of ACL injuries)."

In a previous blog entry (What Female Basketball Players Kneed to Know), I discussed the problem of ACL injuries in female players and gave a few links to some resources to help girls try and reduce their risk. Could a shoe help as well?

I've long agreed that we need more basketball shoes that are made specifically for girls (better fit in the heel, more streamlined for the female foot) and I applaud this company's attempts to fill that need.

Yet I wonder - How much $$ are they spending on research and how much $$ are they spending on marketing? (They also have a neat commercial on you-tube, featuring Nikki Blue.) It's something you have to ask about any basketball shoe product, whether it's from Nfinity, Nike, Adidas or Reebok.

And most importantly - will it work to reduce the risk of an ACL injury?

To investigate, I asked some of my colleagues who study ACL injuries, sports biomechanics, and orthotics for sports about the Nfinity's basketball product. Some felt the BioniQ idea was just another gimmick to jack up the price of a shoe. Others felt that more research (prospective, randomized) should be done to determine its effectiveness.

The folks at Nfinity, in response to my e-mail, told me that their shoes are currently being tested at the University of Michigan. "As soon as we have conclusive results we can make them available." She also gave me links to several testimonials. While testimonials are nice, and are often used to sell products, they won't sway my vote.

To Nfinity and Beyond?
First, I'd like to hear the results of their research.
Then I'll decide if I'd go there.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Its Gotta Be the Shoes

What's the most important part of every basketball players' uniform? With all due apologies to Mars Blackmon It's Gotta Be The Shoes !

One major problem - There are so many different basketball shoes out there (aside from Carmelo Anthony's collection-above) that it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.

While I can't tell you which brand or type or size to wear, I can tell you that many different factors go into determining what's best for each individual player. Your foot size (and width), your history of ankle injuries, the arch of your foot, the $$ in your wallet, and so much more.

I can also point you towards a potential resource: The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine which, according to their website, "serves to advance the understanding, prevention and management of lower extremity sports and fitness injuries."

One of the resources they offer on their website is a listing of recommended shoes for different sports (including basketball). After examining different types of basketball shoes and grading them with a standardized assessment form , they offer their recommendations here .

Don't know how many of the good (foot) doctors actually played some ball in the shoes they evaluated, but it's a start.