Table of Content
- 1 3 Types of Vertical Jump Shoes
- 2 1. Strength Shoes
- 3 2. Jumpsoles
- 4 3. Performance Enhancing Vertical Jump Shoes
- 5 How Strength Shoes/Jumpsoles Increase Your Vertical Jump
- 6 Why Strength Shoes & Jumpsoles Don’t Work
- 7 How to Really Increase Your Vertical Jump
- 8 Summary
Strength Shoes and Jumpsoles have been around for decades and are still used to this day.
But are they any good?
Can their unique design really “trick” your body into jumping higher?
Well, that’s what the product’s creators (and a few glowing testimonials) would like you to believe.
But I was always skeptical…
For me, vertical jump training is all about consistent effort and dedication, not gimmicks.
Still, I kept getting asked about vertical jump shoes and saw people discussing them online—they just wouldn’t disappear… so I had to figure out once and for all if they were legit or if it’s just another scam.
Finally, not too long ago, I decided to test them out myself.
Read on, and find out all you need to know about Strength Shoes and Jumpsoles as I reveal to you what they’re all about.
3 Types of Vertical Jump Shoes
Before moving forward with this review, we have to figure out what’s the difference between Strength Shoes and Jumpsoles.
1. Strength Shoes
Strength Shoes are a type of training sneakers that have a platform in the front which forces your legs to rely heavily on the calf muscles.
This puts a heavy strain on the calves and forces them to support the entire body, overloading the muscle and increasing strength and explosiveness in the process.
The shoes are sold together with a range of training programs that should be followed while wearing them.
The principle behind Jumpsoles is similar to that of Strength Shoes. The only difference is that the Jumpsole platforms can attach to any sneakers, while those on Strength Shoes come with the shoe.
Just as Strength Shoes, Jumpsoles also come with training DVD’s (in case you’re still living in the 90s) and promise that once you do the exercises, you’ll be just as fast and explosive as a professional athlete.
Because these two types of shoes are so similar and employ the same principles, I’ll be using the terms Strength Shoes and Jumpsoles interchangeably throughout this article.
3. Performance Enhancing Vertical Jump Shoes
There’s also a third type of vertical jump shoe, the so called shoes that make you jump higher by APL.
These are not really meant for training, but more for wearing on court, and they work by taking the force you apply to the floor and boosting it.
I won’t explore these type of shoes in this article because I’ve already written an extensive review about them which you can checkout in the link above.
How Strength Shoes/Jumpsoles Increase Your Vertical Jump
The principle behind Strength Shoes and Jumpsoles is based on placing a huge amount of stress on your calves.
This is supposed to overload the calves and the Achilles tendon and make them stronger, increasing your jumping ability and quickness.
Basically, that’s all there is to it.
The exercises that come with the shoes aren’t that different from the ones you’d find in a typical vertical jump program.
In fact, I’d say the exercises, even though they’re outdated, are the most reliable part of the program.
They could lead to some increase in your vertical when done regularly.
As a matter of fact, the real reason as to why these shoes are still being sold today, three decades after they came out, is because the exercises that come with them work.
But here’s where things got messy…
People who got results with Strength Shoes started thinking it’s the shoes that increased their vertical, when in reality it was the exercises that got them to jump higher.
As a consequence, more and more people misinterpreted their gains by crediting the shoes, when in fact what they should have been crediting all along is the exercises, since it’s the exercises and the exercises alone that got them to jump higher.
So yes, you could argue that training with Strength Shoes/Jumpsoles works, but the truth is…
the shoes got nothing to do with it.
Why Strength Shoes & Jumpsoles Don’t Work
On first glance, the science behind Strength Shoes kind of makes sense.
The platforms challenge your calves and your entire body by reducing stability. This forces it to adapt and activates the stabilizing muscles.
In fact, many injury-prevention and rehab protocols involve destabilization and working on balance boards to activate the stabilizer muscles.
The problem is, this doesn’t do much for improving your vertical jump.
Not only that, but the Strength Shoe approach can be flat out dangerous.
Here are just a few reasons why Strength Shoes and Jumpsoles don’t work.
1. High Risk of Injury
The number one reason why I can’t recommend Jumpsoles is that they’re unsafe to use – the risk for injury is just too high.
And it’s not just my opinion.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that the stress put on the calf, the Achilles tendon, and the tibia greatly increases the chances of injury, especially among non-professional athletes like you and me.
The science is pretty much settled on both Strength Shoes and Jumpsoles increasing the likelihood of injuries when doing plyometric exercises.
But how exactly are they dangerous?
Well, the entire mechanism of Strength Shoes is based on putting an unnatural strain on the calves and the Achilles tendon.
While overload might result in increased strength, the instability of the shoes also means that it’s very easy to land awkwardly and injure yourself.
What’s more, the exercises aren’t a walk in the park either. By the end of the workout, you’re likely to be tired, which means your muscles and tendons become even more susceptible to injury.
2. Calf Training Is Not That Important
The second reason why I don’t vouch for Strength Shoes is the fact that their entire premise is not based on sound vertical jump training principles.
When jumping, most of the force is generated by the quads, with hamstrings and glutes being the two other prime movers. Only then the calves, core muscles, and other muscle groups come into play.
Meanwhile, Strength Shoes have built their entire product around the idea that if you get your calf muscles strong enough, it will turn you into an explosive leaper.
And that’s just not true.
Just look at Jordan Kilganon’s vertical, one of the greatest jumpers to have ever walked the earth, and you’ll see that his training regime hardly includes any calf exercises.
Furthermore, his official training program, Bounce Kit, contains ZERO calf exercises.
Now before you tag me as the “anti-calf” guy and rush to the comment section to tell me how wrong I am, let me clarify myself…
I’m not saying calves don’t matter… I’m just saying they’re not as important as most people think.
And sure, if you do the exercises while wearing the shoes and manage to avoid injury, you will see some improvement… because like I said, the exercises themselves aren’t bad, but their application with the shoes just isn’t effective nor safe.
In fact, you’d be better off following the exercises without the shoes. This way, you’d at least be performing jumping movements that actually translate to the court.
And this brings me to my final point…
3. Unnatural Jumping Movements
The number one rule for any athletic program to be effective is for it to use sport-specific movements that mimic the ones you’d be doing in real time.
It’s easy to see that’s just not the case with Jumpsoles.
The shoes force you to perform difficult jumping movements in a very unnatural and awkward stance, placing all of your body weight on the front of your feet.
Because of that, the only thing you’d be achieving when training with Jumpsoles is improving your ability to jump with an uncomfortable platform.
Now if that’s something you want to learn, by all means, grab yourself a pair of Strength Shoes and start abusing your Achilles tendon until shin splints sideline you.
If, however, you’re looking to improve your vertical and become a better athlete on the court (where regular sneakers are worn), it makes sense to train in similar conditions.
And luckily, this isn’t the 90s anymore, and today there are proven and science-based ways to learn how to dunk.
How to Really Increase Your Vertical Jump
These days, young aspiring dunkers have a long list of choices to increase their vertical.
There are dozens of courses and programs out there that promise the same thing – to turn you into a ferocious dunker who strikes fear into the hearts of his opponents.
But even today, many of these programs are extremely flawed.
That’s why when someone asks me what programs I think are the best for dunking, I always recommend two that stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Each of these programs has its strengths, but if followed, they will both help you make steady gains on your vertical.
Vert Shock is the hottest program that’s available today, hands down. Since its release a few years back, the program has quickly gathered a loyal following of fans that swear by its effectiveness.
And it’s not surprising. Vert Shock works, plain and simple.
What’s more, it brings incredible results without requiring any equipment or access to a gym.
All you need is a sturdy chair, and you’re ready to go.
The program uses cutting-edge plyometric training and rewires your fast twitch muscle fibers to explode at full capacity.
The workouts can be done in under an hour and don’t leave you completely drained, so you can do Vert Shock during the season, even if you have practice on the same day.
But why is Vert Shock so effective?
There are countless other programs out there such as BoingVert, Bounce Kit, Jump Bible or even the infamous Air Alert. So why choose Vert Shock?
Well, it all comes down to efficiency.
You see, Vert Shock was developed by two of the most renowned jumpers and trainers in the world.
Adam Folker is a former pro basketball player turned pro trainer, and Justin Darlington is a world-class dunker who was named the best in the world on multiple occasions.
As far as credentials go, it doesn’t get much better than that.
These guys can walk the walk and have developed a method that not only works, but is accessible to anyone who’s willing to put in the work.
So if you want the fastest proven method for becoming an explosive leaper, Vert Shock is the way to go.
You can find my full review of the program below.
The Jump Manual
The Jump Manual took the vertical jump community by storm when it first came out more than a decade ago.
It was the first vertical leap training program that provided a clear, science-based approach for increasing your jumping ability.
In fact, it was so far ahead of everything else available at the time that it created an entire new generation of dunkers all on its own.
The brains behind the program, Jacob Hiller, spent years studying everything he could find on vertical jump training.
After scouring through thousands of research papers, studies, books, training methods, interviews, and testing all the theories for himself, he developed a program that provides all one needs to know for going from barely touching the net to slamming it down hard.
In its nine chapters, you learn about jumping mechanics, how to train, nutrition, injury prevention, and much more.
But if The Jump Manual is so great, why is Vert Shock superior?
Well, the answer is not that simple.
For many people, The Jump Manual is still the number one choice as it’s the most comprehensive training program ever created.
The problem is, not everyone can reap its benefits.
The Jump Manual requires such a huge commitment of time, resources, and money that for many folks, it’s simply not an option.
In order to reap the full benefits of the manual, you will have to schedule your life around the program, which includes going through rigorous workouts, carefully planning out each meal, and spending money on gym memberships and sports equipment.
So while I have huge respect for Jacob Hiller and know for a fact that his program works (since I tried it), I still recommend Vert Shock to most people who ask for my opinion.
Vert Shock can deliver results that are just as good without requiring such a big commitment, both financially and time-wise.
But if you want a program that will push you like a pro athlete and completely transform your body, then The Jump Manual is the right choice.
You can read my full review of The Jump Manual below.
As basketball players, we all have a universal desire to dunk and we’ll often go to great lengths to achieve this dream.
That’s why even after thirty years, companies producing Strength Shoes and Jumpsoles are still making sales, despite the fact that they don’t work and are flat out dangerous.
I cannot stress enough that you should under no circumstances use these products.
Not only do they not work, but they may even cut your basketball career short.
Instead, take on a proven and safe training program such as Vert Shock or The Jump Manual. This way, the work you put in will pay off and, with time, you will realize your dream of dunking.
In the end, if you work hard enough, the only thing you’ll need from your shoes is for them to look good when you posterize your opponents 🙂
Other Programs Mentioned
Bounce Kit – Jordan Kilganon’s Official Jump Program – https://www.basketballworkouttips.com/bounce-kit-review/
BoingVert – A Review of the 7 Month Program – https://www.basketballworkouttips.com/boingvert-review/
Air Alert – Analysis of Air Alert (All Versions) and Why All Athletes Should Stay Away from This Program – https://www.basketballworkouttips.com/air-alert-review/
Vertical Jump Bible – A Review and Comparison of Kelly Baggett’s Vertical Jump Development Bible to Modern Day Programs – https://www.basketballworkouttips.com/vertical-jump-bible-review/
Born and raised in sunny Florida, Jesse Parker grew up spending most of his days outdoors playing hoops and honing his basketball skills. He has a huge love for the game and is always striving to get better at it. His latest obsession is the subject of vertical jumping and dunking.
I have to agree with you, the jump soles are not that effective. The calf is not the muscle group that really increases your ability to gain inches on your vertical. I was able to find success with vertical exercises and training, and I’m the closest I’ve ever been to throwing one down.
Great article! Vert Shock is an effective training manual developed by actual basketball players. People have actually gained up to 8 inches in 4 weeks. But, then again, not every player body is the same. Some athletes like these shoes for grip and support.
True. Everyone’s different when it comes to body composition and muscle composition. Some guys have more fast twitch muscles than others, and some see gains quicker than others. But in my experience, most people gain something with Vert Shock.
Either way, it’s important to try different things and not get too fixated on one method because, like I said, everyone responds differently.
Good thing Vert Shock comes with a 60 day money back guarantee though… ’cause if the worst thing happened and it didn’t work for you, you could still take your money and invest in another program that might work better.