Which designs are you referring to? As you might know, basketball used to be played in “Chuck Taylor’s” (Converse All Stars), which are a staple in today’s pop culture and fashion. The silhouettes of basketball shoes evolved greatly over time, with the advent of Nike’s Air Jordan 1 sneakers, the Nike Air Pippens, adidas’ various offerings for specific players (Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, now Andrew Wiggins, James Harden and Damian Lillard), and many more competing brands.
So today, there are a LOT of different designs out there. High tops, low tops, mid tops — you name it. Each type has certain advantages and disadvantages, and appeal to certain types of players. I’d say the following are some of the most important characteristics of a basketball shoe: support (ankle, foot); ventilation, traction (why you might see some weird patterns on the soles of some shoes) and flexibility. Companies try to create their products so that they can account for factors like these.