New Brand Ektio Releases Sneakers That Prevent Ankle Injuries
Former Knick John Starks behind idea
by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
Ektio, a new brand of basketball shoes designed specifically to prevent ankle injuries, held a press conference on Tuesday to kick-off the release of its shoes and explain the technology behind the new products.
Held at the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York City, Dr. Barry Katz, the creator of Ektio shoes, was on hand alongside former Knicks guard John Starks, as well as, Dr. Sorin Seigler and Dr. Howard Hillstrom, both of whom did extensive research on the shoe.
Katz, who developed the idea after ankle injuries he suffered playing basketball, believes that a shoe like this is necessary in the NBA right now.
“Almost every day you see another ankle injury in the NBA,” Katz said. “It’s that common.”
A study done by NBA statistician Harvey Pollack reported that ankles sprains have been the No. 1 or No. 2 injury in the NBA for the last 46 years.
Starks, who was one of those who suffered ankle injuries during his career, is one of the product’s biggest supporters.
“No ankle sprains, not even close,” Starks said. “Normally an ankle sprain happens when you come down in the lane on some one’s foot. Guys with these have been coming down on their teammate’s foot and nothing happens. That’s what this shoe is good for.”
The shoe has two models, the Wraptor, which is the high-top model, and the Post Up, which is the three quarter top model. Both of those went on sale on November 15th and can be purchased at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
In the past, the best solutions to prevent ankle injuries have been tape and braces. However, tape’s effectiveness wears off quickly and braces restrict mobility. Ektio prides itself on having neither effect.
“What I love about this shoe is that it gives you the ability to play without restrictions,” Starks said.
The biggest difference between these and other shoes on the market is that Ektio, after several tests, has made such improvements including support straps and side bumpers to the outer sole. These will ensure the ankle does not roll no matter what.
“If the shoe doesn’t roll, the ankle doesn’t roll, and if the ankle doesn’t roll, you prevent ligament injuries,” Katz said.
Ektio is very new to the basketball market and currently only Centenary College in New Jersey wears the shoes. The feedback from the players there has been positive, and no one has reported any ankle injuries.
The biggest challenge, though, will be infiltrating the NBA market. Although Ektio’s shoes could prevent countless ankle injuries, as of now players are choosing style and endorsement deals over taking precautions. Starks knows that this will be an obstacle for the brand to overcome but does think that health will win out in the end.
“The most important thing with guys is that they have to feel that the product works,” Starks said. “You can pay guys to wear your product because it’s about the money sometimes. If you have a product like this that really enhances their playing ability and protects their health, then guys are going to take a hard look at that.”