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10 Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: Reviews Of 2017

If you’d like to maximize your potential as a basketball player, you must do what the professional players do- look for the best outdoor basketball shoe.

A great basketball shoe comes with a unique design that helps improve your performance on the court while making you feel comfortable and enjoy the game for longer.

But finding that great shoe isn’t an easy task; you’ll have to find your way through the vast catalog of shoes on the market today to find that fabulous pair that suits your gaming needs.

But things could get easy if you follow our shopping guide on how to select the best shoe for you (or pick from our list of the TEN best shoes in our reviews) below…

In Hurry! Don’t have much time to read the whole article?

Need a Quick Decision? Here's Our 6 Top Picks!

What To Look For Before Buying The Best Outdoor Basketball Shoe

Let me start by taking you through some top factors to keep in mind when buying outdoor basketball shoes:

Type of rubber

Most basketball shoes have rubber soles. The best way to figure out if a shoe is meant for indoor or outdoor play is checking the hardness of the rubber. If you are playing on an indoor court, soft rubber is best.

Outdoor play, on the other hand, requires shoes made of tough and dense rubber. A great way to test for this is rubbing a coin against the traction patterns on the soles of your shoes.

If the patterns move when the coin pushes against them, it’s soft rubber. But if they hardly move, those are the outdoor basketball shoes you’ve been searching for.

Besides, dense and hard rubber holds up better to abrasion. You are more likely to be playing on a pavement when playing outdoors as opposed to indoors. And pavement is abrasive, bad for your soft rubber.

If you make the mistake of purchasing shoes soled with soft rubber, you will find yourself constantly skidding and slipping since the traction patterns will wear out quick, leaving a flat, soft surface.


Indoor basketball has the advantage of shelter from bad the weather. Outdoor basketball, however, is at the mercy of all kinds of weather.

The worst is the sun. Imagine powering at full speed up and down the court under the full blast of the sweltering, summer heat. You will sweat. Your feet will give off an odor.

Outdoor basketball shoes solve this problem with vents. The vents on the shoes allow air to flow in and out. Your feet have a chance to breathe, and there is less chance of your feet producing an overpowering odor when you lift off your shoes.


Without good traction, your shoes will keep sliding as you play. So if you don’t much like the idea of falling flat on your back, ensure you check how good the traction of your new basketball shoe is.

Hard rubber has the best traction. Hard rubber outsoles give you perfect traction for play on a dusty court, which makes them excellent for outdoor basketball.

The trick is to ensure that the outsole is made from solid rubber. You can use the coin test I described earlier: rub a coin against the traction patterns, and if they hardly budge, pick the shoe – it’s perfect for outdoor play.

Watch out for flat traction patterns as well. They are usually thick and wear evenly on rougher surfaces. So you won’t have shoes that have worn out at the corners but are okay at the center, giving you a strange, lopsided look.


Basketball is a vigorous sport. You jump to dunk; you stomp the court; you feint. And if your shoes are not well-cushioned, your feet will break out in blisters after each game. This is especially true for outdoor play, thanks to the hard, rough pavement.

Quality cushioning ensures your sneakers are as comfortable as they can be while you play. The cushioning absorbs the shocks of your hard landings – shocks that would have, otherwise, been absorbed by your feet. Overall, your performance will improve with better cushioning.

Ankle support

With the constant running, the sudden cuts and changes in directions, basketball puts your ankles at high risk of injuries. That’s why the best basketball shoes always have ankle support.

Good basketball shoes tend to have high tops to provide that extra support that your ankles need. The back of the sneaker is extended, reaching just above your ankle bone. The extra lacing provides stability for your ankle joint.

The powerful movements of basketball players, especially on the hard outdoor surfaces, exert extreme pressure on their ankles.

And considering how big basketball players often are, that’s a lot of pressure to place on your ankle joint. If your outdoor basketball shoes lack good ankle support, your ankles will wobble unstably. It ends in injuries and sprains.

High-top basketball shoes may not stop your feet and ankles from moving within your shoes, but they do improve your performance by absorbing shock and giving reliable lateral support and traction.

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoe 2017 Picks:

1. Nike Jordan Men's Air Jordan 1 Outdoor Basketball Shoe Review:

Nike Jordan Men's Air Jordan 1 Retro High Basketball Shoe review,high quality basketball shoes,

Editor's Rating: 4.9/5

The first outdoor basketball shoe in our list comes from Nike- one of the most popular brands for basketball players across the planet. But that’s not the best part.

That the Jordan Men's Air Jordan 1 Basketball Shoe comes with an alluring appearance makes sneakerheads and ballers all over go nuts about it.

The shoe carries on the Air Jordan legacy that dates back to 1985 and has everything you need to improve your outdoor basketball game.

Firstly, it’s designed using premium materials- premium leather to be precise- that makes it extremely durable on the rough outdoor courts.

The shoe is simply an improvement of the earlier version released in 1982, and both share a broad range of similarities.

It still offers the ultimate comfort to basketballs players while incorporating some fresh designs to improve the experience.

The shoe features an air-sole unit that offers you lightweight cushioning- this makes it incredibly easy for you to move around, jump or run across the court as the sole evenly absorb shock. Don’t expect to find this feature in most of the basketball shoes out there.

It also comes with a rubber outsole that has superior durability and provides you with excellent grip on all the outdoor surfaces.

Because of the perforate channels, you’ll never have to deal with extremely sweaty feet inside the shoe, as the holes allow your feet to breathe as they would do outside the shoe.

The high-top design is sure to give you a customized fit and better ankle support.

Did you know that this is one of the most sold Nike shoes?

It’s a truly classic shoe that gives you the real value for your cash- with exceptional durability, comfort and support.

We can only hope for more similar versions in the feature with advanced features. But right now, this is the shoe you need to grab with both hands.

Highlighted Features:

  • Leather made.
  • Rubber sole.
  • The encapsulated air sole unit delivers lightweight cushioning.
  • Jordan wings logo on the upper part.

2. Adidas Performance Men's Isolation 2 Low Basketball Shoe Review:

Adidas Performance Men's Isolation 2 Low Basketball Shoe Review, best low basketball shoes

Editor's Rating: 4.7/5

Adidas never disappoints. And this time, they let you stand out in the court with their Adidas Performance Men's Isolation 2 Low Basketball Shoe- a shoe specially designed to take on any outdoor basketball court.

Crafted using a rich blend of synthetic and leather materials, this shoe promises you the best support, comfort, and durability as you move up and down the court.

The incredibly stylish pair comes with a highly innovative Torsion System that efficiently protects your midfoot by keeping you balanced through the crazy-quick cuts you make around the court.

Besides, it features a non-marking rubber outsole that not only enhances durability, but also gives you a highly versatile traction that works extremely well on just any surface- from the concrete pavements to the driveways, hardwood surface, and so on.

Due to the EVA midsole cushioning, you’ll enjoy the best comfort whenever you’re playing or running in these shoes. And given that the cushioning is lightweight, you can guess that the comfort aspect would only get better.

The perforated color allows your feet to breath as you take on your opponents in the court, preventing sweating that could derail your gaming.

The pair is designed using extremely durable leather, with a synthetic sole and upper. They come in a wide variety of colors, allowing you to match any clothing or your individual preferences.

Highlighted Features:

  • Made of leather/synthetictic.
  • Rubber sole.
  • Shaft measures roughly 2.7" from the arch.
  • Comfortable textile lining.
  • Torsion system promotes midfoot integrity.
  • EVA midsole enhances lightweight cushioning.
  • Non-marking rubber outsole.

3. Nike Men's Lunar Hyperquickness Tb Basketball Shoe

Nike Men's Lunar Hyperquickness Tb Basketball Shoe Review

Editor's Rating: 4.6/5

For the wide-footed players looking for their perfect match, you might want to try the Nike Men's Lunar Hyperquickness Tb Basketball Shoe.

This particular shoe from Nike features a hyperfuse design which makes it suitable for players with wide feet.

The shoe’s forefront features a slightly broad structure while the upper part bears mesh material- all teaming up to comfortably accommodate all shapes of feet.

Looking deeper into this shoe, it comes with a Phylon midsole which offers you lightweight feel as well as the top of the line cushioning whether you’re wearing the shoe indoors or outdoors.

Because the upper section bears mesh design, most players tend to worry about the shoe durability, But given the fact that the shoe features a Hyperfuse upper (with more fusing done on the targeted high wear areas), it remains intact after an extended period of use.

The best part about the shoe is that it comes with a high-top design that offers you excellent ankle design, preventing your ankle from the sudden twisting.

What’s more, the lace-up closure gives you a comfortable fit that helps improve the comfort offered to you by the shoe.

Highlighted Features:

  • Hyperfuse design.
  • Rubber sole.
  • Shaft measures roughly 3.08" from arch.
  • Fuses 3 different material layers with a hot.
  • Melt process-unmatched sturdiness and superior breathability.
  • Zoom Air units promotes deflection impact as well as cushioning the foot.
  • Phylon midsole enhances cushioning and flexibility.

4. Adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Ilation Mid Basketball Shoe

Adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Ilation Mid Basketball Shoe Review,High quality outdoor basketball shoes

After some years of research, Adidas got the idea- many basketball players always complain of not only foot pain but also ankle and knee pain.

And based on that idea, they manufactured the Adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Ilation Mid Basketball Shoe to act as a permanent solution.

The stable mid-cut shoe comes equipped with optimal cushioning to offer you excellent comfort when playing basketball. As a matter of fact, the midsoles come armed with the springy CloudFoam cushioning- specially designed to provide lots of comforts.

They feature a full grain leather upper design for excellent durability while the contrasting 3 stripes logo on its sides completes its beautiful appearance.

Rolling your eyes around the shoe exterior, you’ll also note the perforations around it. These play a huge role in helping your feet breath freely, preventing sweating that could make your feet feel uncomfortable inside the shoe.

The rubber outsole offers you maximum grip, which increases your speed at the court (giving you an advantage over your opponent).

Overall, the Adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Ilation enjoys unwavering popularity from most basketball players.

This can be attributed to its unique features- like durability, stability, and comfortable wear. With the lace-up closure design, you’ll feel and enjoy a snug fit.

Highlighted Features:

  • Leather/fabric design.
  • Rubber sole-High.
  • Top basketball sneaker; features 3 stripes logo at the sides.
  • Perforations for ventilation.
  • Air mesh color, tongue and rear quarter.
  • CLOUDFOAM sock liner and midsole ensures lightweight cushioning.
  • Grippy rubber outsole.

5. Reebok Men's Royal BB4500 Hi Basketball Shoe Review

 Reebok Men's Royal BB4500 Hi Basketball Shoe Review, outdoor basketball shoe guide, rebook shoes,

Here’s a pair of classic outdoor basketball sneakers that gives you a rare opportunity to mingle with the vassals and nobles of the land!

Crafted by the highly reputable Reebok manufacturers, the high top shoe offers you excellent ankle support so that you don’t have to worry about your ankles getting twisted as you move across the pitch.

The classic shoe also scores high when it comes to durability, as it’s made from quality leather as well as synthetic.

Needless to say, this gives your shoes the power to survive the rough outdoor surfaces for many years, even under regular use.

Don’t forget that the upper leather and synthetic part of the shoe is breathable, preventing your feet from sweating too much when inside the shoes and affecting your overall performance out there.

Because the stylish shoes come with a removable Ortholite insole, it allows you to easily use a personal orthotic- a feature lacking in most of the outdoor basketball shoes out there.

With the lace-up closure design of this shoe, get ready for a customized fit that further enhances your comfort.

Moreover, you’ll have the feel of the abrasion-resistant rubber sole that delivers a highly reliable traction on a variety of outdoor surfaces.

If you fancy classic style while playing the hoops game, then this is the right pair of basketball shoes for you. With reliable comfort and durability, the shoe is sure to improve your game performance, and you’ll definitely love it!

Highlighted Features:

  • Leather and textile.
  • Rubber sole.
  • removable, anti-microbial Ortholite foam sock liner that accommodates orthotics.
  • Padded color and tongue.
  • Lace-up closure with high-top design for enhanced ankle support.

6. Nike Kids Team Hustle D 7 (GS) Basketball Shoe

best basketball shoes for kids, Nike Kids Team Hustle D 7 (GS) Basketball Shoe Review

Have got kids who love playing basketball?

The best way to mold his/her talent and made him grow to become one of the legends in this game is by buying him the Nike Kids Team Hustle D 7 (GS) Basketball Shoe.

Ranking among the best kids basketball shoe, this is an ultra-durable shoe with supportive, comfortable fit to give your child the best experience.

Right out of the box, you’ll be quick to notice the three-quarter shoe design that helps fully protect your ankle- reducing the chances if ankle twisting associated with the cheaply designed basketball shoes out there.

Limitless motion- an ingredient for better game performance- couldn’t get any better with this shoe! In other terms, it features flex grooves on the outsole which offers your kid an excellent motion range around the court.

Looking around the nicely designed shoe, you’ll also notice the perforated panels. These enhance breathability, preventing too much sweating of your feet inside the shoe (making you feel even more comfortable).

The rubber outsole features herringbone pattern which takes its durability levels a notch higher- you can utilize these shoes on the toughest of the outdoor basketball surfaces as many times as you can and for many years to come.

There’s no perfect gift for your young basketball player kid in 2017 than the Nike Kids Team Hustle D 7 (GS) Basketball Shoe.

As long as you pick the right size for them, they’ll never complain about their feet being hurt as it’s the case with other shoes. Your kid will sleep in this fantastic pair if you allow them.

Highlighted Features:

  • Synthetic and mesh.
  • Rubber sole.
  • Phylon midsole for cushioning.
  • Deep flex grooves ensures natural motion range and better flexibility.
  • Herringbone pattern for improved traction.

7. Nike Men's Air Visi Pro VI NBK Basketball Shoe

. Nike Men's Air Visi Pro VI NBK Basketball Shoe Review, nike outdoor basketball shoe review,

Don’t get surprised that the Nike shoes keep repairing on our list of the most preferred outdoor basketball shoes. It’s one of the best sports shoes brands on the entire planet.

At this point, they offer you the Men's Air Visi Pro VI NBK Basketball Shoe- one of their best products- defined by excellent durability and comfort.

Specially designed for men, these shoes have only one goal- to improve your gaming performance. This explains why it features a lightweight synthetic upper.

With the lace up design, it ensures you enjoy a snug fit. Furthermore, it comes with a padded tongue collar which allows you to get your feet inside and outside the shoe without developing any blisters.

Whether your feet will feel comfortable while in there?

No need to worry about this as the shoe features a fabric lining plus unique Phylon footbed in its midsole to offer you a comfortable feeling.

For your court performance, the shoe comes with an outsole with Air-sole unit to offer you support on your stepping.

This translates to exceptional traction on any surface- whether it’s on asphalt or hardwood.

With all these features, you don’t need any more proof that this is the ideal shoe for your outdoor basketball gaming needs.

It will offer you a cool style and lasting comfort- all in a stylish design that makes its rivals fade in comparison.

Highlighted Features:

  • Nubuck design.
  • Rubber sole.
  • Shaft measures around 3.4 inches from the arch.
  • Visible air heel in the shoe heel offers excellent impact cushioning when coming down with rebounds.
  • Collar design upper enhances proper fitting.
  • Herringbone pattern outsole provides traction plus grip to prevent accidental slipping

8. Adidas Performance Men's Pro Model Basketball Shoe

The Adidas Performance Men's Pro Model Basketball Shoe perfectly fits the definition of a classic return!

Let me take you back in 1972 when the pro model-m debuted as a professional basketball shoe and soon become a popular streetwear.

Adidas gives you the opportunity to gear up in this iconic style pair of shoes as you take on your next outdoor game.

This particular would be the undeniable pick to represent the basketball sneakers when it comes to durability. Ever since it hit the streets in the 1970s, the shoe has acted as the durability icon for its manufacturers- the Adidas.

It utilizes synthetic materials to create a shell-like covering around your feet to give you optimal performance on the court. T features a sturdy rubber toe cap which offers unmatched protection to your forefront- this is an underrated aspect to have in your sports shoe.

With its injection molded EVA midsole, this shoe will offer you incredibly form-fitting cushioning support.

The fact that it comes with a rubber means it will not subject you to sliding when playing on the court. Being an extremely lightweight shoe, it allows you to easily optimize your performance- when moving or running.

Adidas Performance Men's Pro Model Basketball Shoe is an elegant-looking outdoor basketball that enjoys huge popularity, even among the professional basketball players. With leather material construction, never shed a doubt of durability and comfort offered by this shoe.

Highlighted Features:

  • Leather make.
  • Rubber sole.
  • Throwback mid.
  • High shoe design with textured rubber shell toe and Adidas 3-stripes overlays (with pinking trim).

9. Adidas Performance Men's Crazy 8 Basketball Shoe

Adidas Performance Men's Crazy 8 Basketball Shoe Review

It's Adidas again! The Adidas Performance Men's Crazy 8 Basketball Shoe has been specially designed to add speed and precision to very step you make on the court, improving your overall game performance.

Equipped with the most advanced torsion system, this shoe will give you a unique experience from the first day you put it on.

Among the most notable features of this shoe, we’ve got the PUREMOTION midsole that perfectly mimics the natural efficiency, stability, and rapid reaction time associated with your bare foot, to give you proper footwork as you move around the court, a feature not present in any other shoe.

It’s also a highly comfortable shoe, thanks to the synthetic and textile construction. Besides comfort, the two materials team up to make the shoe highly flexible.

You’ll also get to like the shoe’s upper that are made from mixing synthetic materials to offer you tons of high performance as well as mobility.

With the Torsion system integrated into this shoe, you’ll never have to worry about undue flexing of your arch during movements or when taking strides.

The only feature lacking in this particular shoes is maximum ankle support, but that’s a non-issue, given that the average support it offers is more than enough for you.

Highlighted Features:

  • Made from a synthetic and textile combo.
  • Rubber sole.
  • Shaft measurements: approx. 0.5” from arch.
  • Synthetic material mix upper enhances lightweight and durability.
  • Textile insole- comfortable textile lining.
  • Torsion system promotes midfoot integrity.
  • PureMotion midsole mimic natural efficiency, stability, and rapid reaction time of your bare foot.
  • Molded Adidas brand mark on the collar.
  • Tongue and heel pull tabs.
  • Non-marking rubber outsole.

10. Adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Ilation Basketball Shoe

Adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Ilation Basketball Shoe Review, outdoor basketball shoes reviews

Hey! Time to catch a ride in Adidas faux nubuck shoes. The Adidas Performance Men's Cloudfoam Ilation Basketball Shoe has been specially designed to meet the needs of all men who can’t go a day without thinking of the hoops game.

The shoe speaks the language of durability and comfort, with plenty of remarkable features to suit your expectations.

It comes with a highly reliable textile lining that adds to your comfort. Talking about the rubber sole, it provided you with a never-ending traction that further enhances the comfort level of this shoe.

The shoe’s rear quarter part features a comfortable mesh, with a padded collar to ensure that you wear and remove the shoes without hurting your fingers.

Because the shoe is made from quality leather and textile combo, it ranks among the most reliable, rugged shoes that will serve you for an extended period.

The perforated details at the shoe’s upper part offer you lots of breathabilities to eliminate the heavy sweating of feet associated with the cheaply designed basketball shoes.

You’ll also get to enjoy the cloudfoam technology integrated into this shoe- and does a great job at keeping each of your steps highly cushioned.

Highlighted Features:

  • Made of leather and textile.
  • Rubber sole.
  • Shaft measures about 2.41-inch from arch.
  • Leather and synthetic nubuck upper with perforations.
  • Mesh rear quarter.
  • Comfortable textile lining.
  • Cloudfoam sock liner and midsole ensures lightweight cushioning as well as step-in comfort.
  • Debossed and printed 3-stripes.
  • Grippy rubber outsole.

How To Clean and Take Care Of Your Basketball Shoe?

Most of us take our basketball shoes – our Nikes, our Air Jordans – pretty seriously. We want to take good care of them.

But just what is the proper way of cleaning and taking care of your basketball shoes?

The cleaning process in steps:

  • Step One

Use a stiff brush, rubbing it back and forth over the soles of your shoes. This will get rid of any dirt that might have dried and stuck in the grooves of the soles of your basketball shoes.

If you are using your shoes for outdoor play, you know how annoying it is when you step on mud, and the mud cakes into the soles, drying, and hardening.

  • Step Two

Have some water and a piece of cloth with you when you are cleaning the shoes. Dampen the piece of cloth with the water and rub it over the soles to completely clean out the dirt residues.

When the cloth gets too dirty, rinse it with clear water, and carry on this process until you have washed out all the dirt.

  • Step Three

Now that the soles are clean, you can wash the rest of the shoes. With the same damp cloth, gently wipe the sides and tops of your shoes. Any dirt that has built in these places will steadily decrease.

To ensure the shoes are truly spick and span, squirt some dish soap onto the piece of cloth. The soap will help get rid of hard to remove stains.

  • Step Four

Take out the inner soles of your basketball shoes. Repeat the procedure above for the inner soles. Brush the soles gently, if any dirt got into the shoes and dried. Lightly brushing will cause the dirt to blow away as dust.

After that, use your damp rag or piece of cloth with dish soap to thoroughly clean the inner soles. When you finish, dip the rag in the clear water to rinse the inner soles Finally, prop them against a wall to air-dry. Cleaning your inner soles regularly helps tackle shoe odor.

  • Step Five

Get a melamine foam sponge at your local supermarket. After you have cleaned the basketball shoes with water and some soap, it’s time to use the melamine foam sponge. Dip it in some clean water, and gently rub it over the exterior of your shoes. The sponge gets rid of nasty grease or tar stains.

  • Step Six

Finally, use a dry, soft cloth to dry your sneakers. After that, leave them be in a warm place. Let them air-dry. Make sure the shoes dry completely. Damp shoes are a fertile ground for fungi growth.

It’s also worth noting that the shoes should dry at room temperature. Don’t put them next to a radiator or any other direct heat. You may mean well, wanting the shoes to dry faster, but all it will do is affect the shape of your shoes. Air-drying is the best way to ensure your shoes retain their natural fit.

And as an extra touch, apply some shoe polish to them to give them ample protection against wear and tear. It also helps to wipe your shoes with a piece of cloth dipped in olive oil – makes your shoes gleam.

A few things you should remember about taking care of your basketball shoes

1. Air them out. Often.

What happens if you don’t air out your basketball shoes? An odor develops, building up into a powerful smell.

New shoe odor is kind like new car smell – we all love it. It comes from the glue and other materials used in the shoe-making process. But once you begin to use them, they begin to mingle with sweat.

Undoubtedly, you will sweat when playing basketball. That’s why you need to air out your shoes often. Because shoes damp with sweat breed bacteria which further aggravate the strength of the odor.

So take out the insoles often and allow them as well as the shoes to dry out in the fresh air outdoors.

Another hack is to sprinkle some baking soda underneath the soles. It will help counteract the powerful odor.

And, please, keep your socks on. Running around in your basketball shoes sockless is a direct recipe for shoe stench. You see, having nothing to trap it, the sweat will interact directly with the insoles.

The insoles are the smelliest part of your shoes. If your insoles are too far gone to be salvaged by cleaning or airing out, buy a replacement pair. They are cheap.

2. Don’t dry your shoes in the clothes dryer

We have all been there. Game coming around in a few hours. Shoes dirty like a bad nightmare. Have to clean them, dry them, and have them ready in time for the game.

But since you don’t have time to air dry them, you think it’s smart to use a clothes dryer instead. Saves time, right?

Basketball shoes cannot handle the fast, hot drying conditions of a clothes dryer. The heat of the dryer will compromise the glue that holds together your shoes’ midsoles and outsoles. It could also cause your shoes to weaken and crack.

3. Avoid the washing machine too

According To JCER that The washing machine is not good for your basketball shoes either. Don’t pop them in for a quick wash, no matter how strapped for time you are.

Find time to wash them the right way because your washing machine’s detergents are not good for the glue in your shoes. You do want your sneakers to last a bit longer, right?

4. Don’t immerse them in water

If you immerse the shoes completely in water, cleaning will be much easier and faster,


Sure, but so will the demise of your sneakers. Immersion puts your shoes at risk of shrinkage and damage to the material. Follow the steps I gave you earlier: use a damp piece of cloth to wash away the dirt from your shoes.

5. Protective spray

If you are using your basketball shoes for outdoor play, they are at a greater risk of wear and tear. Spraying fabric protector on them creates a layer of protection against water and stains. If your shoes have leather parts, spray leather protector solution on the leather.

Why Use a Basketball Shoe instead of a Random One?

Why should you bother getting a pair of basketball shoes?

Wouldn’t it be simpler to grab the closest sports shoes or trainers and go out to play?

You do need basketball shoes, and I will tell you why in the next few seconds…


Basketball, more than any other sport, is deeply entwined with footwear. So important are shoes to basketball that certain players like Jordan have shoe lines named after them. That’s because basketball sneakers are specially designed to suit the game.

There is a stark difference between a player wearing basketball shoes and one wearing tennis shoes, running shoes, or any other random shoes.

For instance, running shoes are lightweight and comprise thin material. They cannot provide the cushioning or ankle support your feet need when playing basketball.

Unique shoes for different types of players

Basketball shoes do not come in one encompassing design or function. For different types of players, shoe companies have provided specialized sneakers.

If you are a power player, one of those players who jumps a lot for shots, you should buy high-tops – basketball shoes that give good ankle support and cushioning.

These are the heavy sneakers which reach above the ankle and are the most popular with professional basketball players. They offer stability for when you make your jump shots.

And if you are a speedster, the kind of player who thrives on speed, you need to be as light and as quick as a gazelle. In this case, you should go for a pair of low-tops.

Unlike the high-tops, these shoes do not restrict your ankles. And they are light. They give you the ankle flexibility you need to be agile and to dodge opponents before they can blink.

And for the player in the middle of these two extremes, who relies on speed but who still jumps for the ball, you should buy mid-tops.

They give you the ankle support you crave for cushioning your landings, but without the ankle restrictions of high-tops.

Unlike basketball shoes, random ones don’t add any edge to your performance.


According to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, playing basketball with the wrong shoes can cause harm to your ankles, hip, leg, and back.

They observe that the average high school player changes his shoes once every season. According to them, it should be more like monthly during the season.

Doing this, they say, significantly reduces the injury rate of professional players – some of them change shoes after every couple of games.

The AAPSM categorizes basketball injuries into two. The acute injury you get from a sudden blow; or the chronic injury which creeps up on you, worsening as time passes.

Common acute injuries include torn ligaments, tendon ruptures, muscle pulls, ankle sprains and fractures.

Using the correct shoe gear, the AAPSM explains, strongly impacts on a player’s performance and the stability of their foot movement within the shoes. Basketball shoes are designed to provide flexibility, stability, and shock absorption.


Basketball shoes are designed to suit the particular kind of court you are playing in. Some shoes are perfect for hardwood courts, and some are good for playing outdoors on the pavement.

Unlike random shoes, basketball footwear comes with traction patterns on the outsoles.

As a result, basketball shoes have the traction you need to play on specific courts. They will prevent you from sliding and slipping during a game.

Hard rubber soles provide superior traction, enabling you to play on dusty, outdoor basketball courts. The hard rubber is good for playing on abrasive surfaces, and won’t wear out quickly.

The soles of random shoes will wear out after several games and become smooth and slippery, causing you to skid and slip constantly.

But for indoor play, soft rubber is best.

Quality Cushioning

The sport of basketball is characterized by a broad range of high-impact movements. These include running, jumping, stopping, cutting, and shooting. These movements exert tremendous pressure on your feet.

Other than causing you discomfort and injuries, playing basketball in random shoes could bring out blisters on your feet after every game.

Basketball shoes give your feet what random ones cannot: quality cushioning. Different basketball shoes have different cushioning systems.

The benefits you will gain from good cushioning include bounciness, impact protection, and responsiveness.

Good cushioning gives you a comfortable basketball experience. They spare your joints from the excessive impact pressure you would suffer if you used random shoes instead. Impact protection also means that your legs do not suffer excessive fatigue, knee issues, or shin splints.

Good cushioning also gives you that bounciness that makes you feel like you are flying when you jump. With good basketball shoes, you can react with nimble speed. While a good pair of shoes won’t transform a bad player into a good player, they can significantly impact on a good player’s performance.

Ankle support

Why do 68% of players in the NBA wear high-top shoes, with only 15% using mid-tops, and 10% wearing low-tops?

Ankle support is an important issue for most basketball players. So much so that when Kobe Bryant endorsed low-cut basketball shoes in 2008, it was big news in the world of basketball.

High-topped basketball shoes give the best ankle support. If your usual repertoire of moves includes high jumps, you should get yourself a pair of high-topped basketball shoes rather than wear any random footwear.

Otherwise, improper landing from your jump will cause you twist your ankle joints, resulting in sprains and other injuries.

With the back of the shoe extending above the ankle bone, the high-top provides stability to your ankle joint.

The average basketball player is about 220 pounds; weight which is added to the force of impact at the player's jump shot landing.

Playing basketball in random shoes will cause your ankle to wobble due to the lack of stability. You will end up hurting yourself more often than you would if you wore basketball shoes. With a random shoe, most of the shock impact of your movements will be absorbed by your foot rather than by the shoe itself.

What Makes an Outdoor Basketball Shoe Slip Resistant?

Due to the frequent skidding and slipping of basketball players, sports shoe companies have done their best to create basketball shoes less prone to slips. And if you play on pavement courts, what makes outdoor basketball shoes slip resistant?

Let’s find out.


Slip-resistance is the goal and benefit of providing traction to a pair of basketball shoes. If your shoes don’t have good traction, your performance will drastically reduce as you will skid and slip at inopportune moments during the game.

Dwayne Wade, who is currently a shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls, once said (he was then playing for the Miami Heat): “My game is all about traction – all about change of direction. When I step on a dusty court, I feel like I can’t make the moves I want to make. Plus, I’m more at risk of injury.”

Traction is relevant in all sports, but in basketball especially. You see, basketball involves a wider range of movements than most sports. Consider the sprint starts, the sprinting, shuffling, stopping, back-pedaling, and the jumping.

To ensure you execute this variety of movements flawlessly, shoe companies design shoes with a higher traction level than ordinary shoes.

Outdoor basketballs are often dusty, which increases the risk of slipping and falling. Because of their high traction, outdoor basketball shoes have an easier time on the dusty courts.

Traction is such an important quality that professional players obsess about it. You can see them wipe their shoes in the middle of the game, trying to get rid of the dirt that is interfering with the traction.

Companies have also capitalized on this competitive quality of traction by developing products like traction sticky mats and mission court grip.

All the attempts a shoe company or player makes to prevent slippage are primarily attempts to improve traction. Slipping not only causes injuries for players, it negatively affects performance. Slips also lead to fouls and breakdowns in defensive rotations.

To quote Kevin Durant, small forward of the Golden State Warriors: “Traction plays a huge role in the performance of a quality shoe. It’s something that doesn’t necessarily visually stand out, but it can make a big difference in my game.”

Hard rubber soles

If you are playing basketball on an indoor court, you need basketball shoes with soft rubber soles. They are more slip resistant to water and oil.

They work well on the slick hardwood floor of an indoor court. Also, on linoleum flooring or quarry tile. But they won’t be as effective when you are playing on an outdoor court.

A soft rubber outsole will not perform well on the rough asphalt courts used for outdoor basketballs. The abrasive surface of the court will wear down the soft outsole rapidly.

The worn out rubber surface will become smoothly flat, increasing the risk of slippage. The best outdoor basketball shoes have harder rubber outsoles.

If you go shopping for outdoor basketball shoes, and you find yourself in a dilemma between two pairs which you think are both great, try this hack. Find a coin. Rub it gently against the traction patterns on the outsole.

If it’s an indoor shoe, the rubber will move as the coin presses it forward. Choose the shoe with the rubber that barely budges. Something thick and solid.

The rubber composition of a basketball shoe depends on how long the rubber material was heated and at what temperature.

The temperature and the time are both precise, and the baking process determines the hardness and firmness of the rubber. The rubber material of outdoor basketball shoes will be heated longer as this makes it harder.

Design of traction patterns

Outdoor basketball shoes have traction patterns forming part of their outsoles. The traction patterns are what keep you from slipping when you play.

Over the years, companies have experimented with many traction patterns. But the basic herringbone pattern continues to provide superior traction for basketball shoes.

The herringbone pattern is an arrangement of rectangles, which looks the way child would draw the waves of the sea – a zigzagging pattern. The pattern goes back to the days of ancient Egypt.

This pattern, with its stacking of diagonal grooves across a horizontal plane, works well with the multidirectional footwork demands of basketball.

When designing the traction pattern for a new line of basketball shoes, designers have to consider the following three factors: impact, biomechanics, and multidirectional movement.

While designers often play around with the traction patterns, in a bid to flex their creative muscles, the herringbone pattern still works at the scientific level. I mean the science/mechanics of traction.

Other design patterns include concentric circles, which were popular in the 1980s. Over the years, concentric patterns have been integrated with the herringbone pattern.

Other patterns that have come and gone include horizontal and diamond patterns. Of all these, herringbone has survived, with designers giving it modern makeovers.

Surface ratio

According to experts, there should be contact between at least half of the shoe’s outsole surface area and the court surface at any given time.

Basketball shoe designers factor this knowledge in their deliberations when creating outdoor basketball shoes.

They design the shoe, finding a balance between multidimensional movement and surface ratio. For example, when a player is accelerating movement on the court, only the front third of the shoe’s outsole will be in contact with the court; the heel and mid-foot will be in mid-air.

Keeping this movement in mind, the designers must create each region of the outsole with pinpoint precision, constantly factoring in the ratio of contact between rubber and court.

A good example of this principle is the Nike Air Raid, which has a loose zigzagging pattern. That’s because the shoe is mean for outdoor use. The abrasive surface of a pavement requires sneakers that have fewer grooves.

Having fewer grooves ensures that the sneaker maintains the proper surface ratio for outdoor play.

A Proper surface ratio is crucial in determining the amount of traction an outdoor basketball shoe will have. As a result, you will have less slippage while playing outdoor basketball.

Frequently Asked Questions About Basketball Shoes

1. Are basketball shoes suitable for everyday use?

Yes, it’s perfectly cool to wear your basketball shoes when hitting the streets or running. In fact, one of the reasons why most basketball shoe manufacturers enjoy big endorsements is the fact that their shoes are perfect for daily wear, enabling them to sell as many pairs as possible.

Another reason to rock in your basketball shoes is that they look cool and you’ll feel comfortable in them the whole day.

That being said, it’s always advisable not to wear them day after day; they’re not meant for daily wear. And if you must wear them each day, then you might co sider buying two pairs so that you can rotate them.

2. Do basketball shoes make you play better?

Basketball shoes give the players the confidence to move, run or jump on the court, making their performance much better that usual. However, you ought to keep in mind the fact that no basketball shoe will make you the best player on the planet, no matter how much you spend on it.

Rather, you’ll need to invest your time in intense training and skills practice- the ultimate solution to poor performance.

And oh! Not every shoe will enhance your court performance; picking the best basketball shoe will:

  • Offer you ankle support to keep off ankle injuries or twisted ankles that can derail your performance.
  • Give you the right cushioning which equates to lots of comforts and longer practicing, training and game time without hurting your feet.
  • Dependable traction and excellent grip support that helps get rid of slipping that could bring up injuries.

3. Do basketball shoes prevent ankle injuries?

In the October-December 2002 issue of “Journal of Athletic Training,” a study was conducted to show the correlation between basketball shoes and ankle sprain.

In the study, ankle injury cases were compared among basketball players wearing various types of shoes randomly- the low-top, high-top, and high-top with the inflatable air chamber.

The high-top shoe designs displayed some degree of ankle support that could help prevent ankle strain compared to the other shoes.

If you’d like to decrease the risk of the ankle injury while wearing basketball shoes, I’d advise you to consider wearing a lace-up style or semi-rigid style braces to offer you additional ankle support.

4. Do basketball shoes make you jump higher?

Some basketball shoe manufacturers claim that they design unique basketball shoes that allow the players to jump around 3 ½ inches higher compared to the height they could jump when not wearing these shoes.

Although such shoes may integrate technologies that enhance higher jumping, the higher doesn’t always depend on the shoes. To achieve maximum jumping height, you should use your body structure correctly.

You need to have calves and upper legs muscle strength that will help thrust your body upwards.

With muscle elasticity, you can also achieve higher height by storing and releasing energy.

5. How have basketball shoes changed over the years?

The history of basketball shoe dates close to almost the same year the game itself was discovered. While the first basketball game was played in 1891, the first basketball shoe was introduced in 1917- when Converse released the All-star shoe.

Right after the All-star shoe hit the market, basketball superstar Chuck Tylor joined the manufacturers and loaned his name to their new products (around 1920s).

Before long, the shoe became known as Chuck Taylors or “Chucks” and rose to become the sneaker of choice for all basketball players as well as the rockers, teens, skaters, etc.

After the converse, there came signature shoes, with Walt “Clyde” Frazier as one of the first NBA stars to have signature shoes. In 1973, he was approached by Puma, a sneaker company and this brought forward the “The Puma Clyde.”

By mid-1980s, Nike was the top leader in the production of basketball shoes. They got a breakthrough when they partnered with Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball superstar, and together they introduced the Air Jordan shoe. This became the top basketball shoe of the times.

Note that all these basketball shoes have been designed as high-to[s, all-purpose sneakers until in the 1970s when Nike changed the norms. The brand became more high-tech and scientific in their shoe design.

The materials and design employed in these shoes provided better support and flexibility while offering players extra springs when jumping on the court. Such shoes set the standard for the modern basketball shoes you’ll find on the market today.

Final Verdict

That’s all about the best outdoor basketball shoes. So much information to run about your outdoor basketball shoe, right?

With our expert buying guide, trust me, you’ll never make a mistake when looking for the perfect shoe for you.

Alternatively, you can pick the right shoe for you from our top 10 shoes reviews above. In our list, we’ve only included products from reputable brands to ensure you get a high-quality, durable, comfortable and reliable shoe for your next outdoor basketball game.

Go through the above reviews, comparing the features offered by each shoe with your needs and you’ll end with one great shoe that will help you realize your basketball gaming potential from today.

About the Author Mackenzie Grove

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