I have heard it a countless times that manufacturers produce different models for women only for the purpose of making more business through introducing new models. I am not quite sure if this claim is true for other products, but as far as basketball shoes or any sport shoes for that matter is concerned I can guarantee you that a separate design is indeed needed, because men and women have different foot structures which require different types of shoes. It is not about design; at least all of it is not. Basketball is a game which puts a lot of stress on the foot. So if professional basketball players do not have the right shoe on then injuries may occur frequently.
A significant difference is found in the stress limit of the ligaments for women. Women foot can take significantly less amount of stress on their ligaments and so they are more injury prone. While most of the top end shoes are designed specifically to protect the ligaments, women’s basketball shoes are to be designed to put less stress on the ligaments than men.
Size is indeed a big concern. Most of us think that the only difference is that women’s shoes need to be smaller than the male’s ones. Well, this is only partially true. Yes they need to be smaller but there are more intricate details to look into. Male feet are usually wider and their toe to ball length is longer. The ball circumference is significantly smaller for women as well.
I guess at this point you have started yawning at this article and thinking it’s all the same- men have larger feet than women. But hey, this is not true from all aspects. Women have a larger forefoot while compared with men. Toe region area, instep, medial and lateral malleoli (I know you don’t know what this means so take a look at the picture) are significantly larger in female foot than male foot. All this means- in short- that males have a wider foot structure while females feet are more in height.