by Chris O’Leary/@olearychris

Long after they’ve retired, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash will both have left their own unique footprints on the game.

What’s making those footprints is having an impact right now, says the Wall Street Journal’s David Biderman.

On Wednesday, Biderman looked at how Nash’s and Kobe’s lowcut sneakers are at the forefront of the demise of the hightop.

The evidence has been lurking around the league for the last two seasons. Check the league-wide popularity of the Zoom Kobe IV and the even lower cut Zoom Kobe V and consider that Nash has preferred to wear lowcut sneaks for years.

More than a comfort preference, the article suggests that NBA’ers are going with lower shoes as a method of injury prevention.

Kobe Nash Shoes NBA players missed 64% more games last season because of foot-related injuries than they did twenty years ago, according to NBA statistician Harvey Pollack.

Foot-related injuries are the most common in the league, he says, and the increase in foot injuries is nearly 50% steeper than the jump in games missed because of the next-most-common maladies—back issues and the flu. If this is true, then the average cost per NBA team in missed games because of foot-related injuries last season was about $455,000. “It’s a big issue,” says Greg Campbell, the Memphis Grizzlies’ president of business operations. “As a team, you have to do whatever you can to keep your players on the court.”

The story makes an interesting point when it brings up the notion raised by Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman, that runners may be better suited to not wear sports sneakers at all. The continual impact and cutting that basketball brings about makes going barefoot impossible, in my mind (not to mention the thought of a heel landing on my toes — yikes) but this theory and the premise of the article makes you wonder. Maybe less really is more.

What do you guys think? Is the future of basketball footwear in a lowcut sneaker?