The 14 Best Basketball Shoes of 2018

Just Before You Check out Our Best Picks for this Year…

Here’s a clip from our new article on increasing your vertical leap – guaranteed!

 

“When I was but a young lad, I had to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow, and I …. okay fine then! Actually, when I was young, no actual jumping aids existed (at least not that I knew of since they were not in most stores and there was no internet!). My basketball buddy found a rudimentary pair of plyometric shoes (not sure how) and to make a long story short, in 3 months, he moved from a vertical leap that was a full 6″ less than mine, to a full 5″ higher than mine! That was frustrating for me, but alas, his shoe size was much smaller than mine, so no shoe-sharing! Plyometric shoes are just one of the great options for training. I’ve laid out a few other awesome options right here! MAN, do I ever wish this existed back in 1963 when I was in …. just kidding! More like 1990 when I was a senior in high school!”     READ MORE …

“Best” is such a subjective term with no definite meaning!  Is it the best looking, or does it last longer than any other shoe, or is the price point so low, you just can’t lose!?  Well, we say “yes”.  Do you want to maximize your potential as a basketball player? Picking the best basketball shoes for your position on the court is a great place to start.  If you are going to master the multifaceted game of basketball you are going to need to get your gear together. Choosing the best pair of basketball shoes for you is a major key to improving your basketball skills.

Every shoe comes with a unique set of pros and cons, as well as different fitting options. Colorways and the aesthetic of the shoe are very important as it will help you feel comfortable.  Like they always say, “look good, feel good.” This guide will help you sort through the enormous catalog of shoes on the market to find which are the best basketball shoes for you.  Be sure to read right to the end of this post to find out about the shoe that is proven in a scientific lab to make you jump 3.5 inches higher!  NO JOKE!

When reading the guide make sure you list what the most important priorities are to you, for example,  traction, comfort, breathability, high top/low top, durability, and much more. This guide should help you find the best combination of these things, as well as the best price.

In this article, we’ll begin by detailing some of the biggest names and releases out there in the world of performance basketball shoes. Then, we’ll rank the shoes by different factors to help you get a better sense of which shoes are best fit for you. Then, there will be a bonus section on how to jump higher with your shoe purchase, as well as a secret shoe not made by NIKE or any other popular brand that may be the key to helping you jump higher. We want you to maximize your knowledge about basketball shoes and make the best decision for the best basketball shoes for you!  Let’s get into it now!

The Best Training System We’ve Ever Found – Seriously!

I’m guessing you’re reading this article because you’re looking to up your ball game!  I have lots of experience with basketball having played college basketball in Iowa (EBC) and spent much of my life developing skills.  After much research, I’ve come across a training system that I think quite highly of.  It is definitely worth the money if you’d like to gain an advantage over a competitor to the extent that you would not be able to without the course.  If you’d like to check it out, there’s a banner you can click just below, and you can also click this link to find out more!  Happy Balling!

thescoringacademy.com

NIKE LEBRON XV CITY SERIES

 

This is one funkadelic, retro-futuristic, eye-catching, stylin’ crazy-shoe!  The question is, does a shoe that appears to be designed for fashion, with a “wool sweater” as a coat, perform as well as any other high-end performance pro basketball shoe on the market?   While the Lebron 15 (XV) has a familiar look, it’s taken existing technologies and ramped them up a notch for excellent performance. Battleknit (a new incarnation of flyknit) and a new combined Zoom and Max Air bag were created specifically with James’ needs in mind.  The shoe has an added structural support (Flywire cables wrap the mid-foot) and feels more snug and firm than other shoes with a similar aesthetic or look. As a neat little trivia piece, this is actually the first time both Nike Zoom Air and Max Air have been used in a basketball shoe.  Woo-Hoo!

A full inner sleeve offers a sock-like fit for a really “locked in” feel.  The high stretch collar not only gives you a bit of ankle support but makes it easy to slide the shoe on and off.  We try our best to get a feel for how the general basketball shoe-buying public sees any given shoe, and the reports on the 15 are pretty good.  There is some degree of optimism and even praise by some, which is an improvement over a number of the previous Lebron models since the Lebron 10.

Overall, we’d call this shoe a bit of a luxury sedan rather than a sports coupe.  As a bigger player, I’d give them a go for sure.  As a point guard, I’d stick to a stripped down shoe meant for serious acceleration and maneuverability like the Kobe A.D

 

 

Nike Lebron XI

“Cushion” is the word to describe this shoe more than any other feature!   The Lebron XI has what some would say is an excessive amount of bounce, which can be a good thing for wear and tear prevention on sore knees, but as with any great advantage, there’s usually an equal and opposite disadvantage.  In this case, court “feel” or responsiveness is sacrificed when the sole is soft and “bouncy”.   The good news is that given a bit of time (approximately 5-10 good, hard practice sessions or scrimmages) they do “break in” to give you a better court responsiveness.

Another cool feature is the full-length zoom along the bottom of the shoe which absorbs a whole lot of the impact of landing and running (works as advertised)!

I’d go out on a limb and say these are one of the very best and most balanced cushions Nike has created to date!  If you decide to grab a pair of these, you’re in the ballpark of one of the best shoes on the market, but as you’d expect, the price tag is no bargain.

The materials are also a notable feature.  The iconic foamposite (material that supports and surrounds much of the exterior of the shoe) has received some new chemistry, and now a newer material called Hyperposite (merging of Nike’s foamposite and Hyperfuse) takes center stage on this shoe.  That brings us to the next feature;  Ventilation.  The ventilation is decent, but the Hyperposite needs heat and moisture to help it mold to your foot’s specific structural features.  Too much ventilation means a longer break-in time, and the Lebron XI has (in my opinion) just the right amount of ventilation.

The shoe’s support score is pretty high given that it’s designed to support a big player.  In this particular case, the designers got it right when they allowed for excellent support AND great mobility range.  Kudos to Nike designers here (or maybe it was just dumb luck!).  The best part about this is that while it supports a big center, this shoe is just as good for a point guard.  You won’t feel like your feet are laced into concrete slabs since they are delightfully ….. well, light!  They look good and perform well on every count.  I’d say you can’t go wrong!  Top marks from us!

 

Nike Lebron Soldier XI

The shoes made for the best player in the world are built for a player with extreme power that needs to move fast and play explosively. The high top style is equipped with a velcro strap that will fasten the foot and prevent ankle sprains as you take off for dunks and contact layups. The shoe is revolutionary because of its shocking lightweight in contrast to its bulky experience. The Lebron XI is the obvious choice for bigger players that like to run and play fast. If you are a shooter, this may not be the shoe for you, but if you attack the basket and like to run up and down the court, this is the shoe for you. Inspired by the greatness of Lebron James, this shoe is one of the greatest performance basketball shoes ever produced.  Is it one of the best basketball shoes on the market today?  Ummm…. well, just maybe!

This shoe is one of the premium high top shoes on the market. If you are looking for a sterling level of ankle support, this is the shoe to buy. In addition to the high top structure, the shoe has a very solid velcro strap that will further fasten your ankle. Having increased ankle mobility like this will help you spin and turn quickly. However, at the cost of this ankle support is a slightly heavier shoe. Although the Lebron Soldier XI is amongst the lightest high top shoes ever created, by NIKE or anyone else.

The consensus is that the shoe has a very nice design and style. The Lebron XI is known for great traction, it is comfortable, and is very breathable. It is very important that the shoe is breathable because this makes sure your feet don’t sweat too much in the shoe. Some people complain that the colors on this shoe bleed. Some have reported that the color bled onto the white after only wearing them a few times. It’s possible for sure, but we’re looking at the bigger picture here.  Hopefully, that won’t be a deal killer issue!

Not everyone is a fan of the aesthetic and prefer basketball shoes that avoid using a velcro strap. Personally, I think that the velcro is optimized to tighten the grip of the shoe on your ankle, however, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Release date: August 17, 2017

 

 

Nike Kyrie 4

The hottest name on the streetball courts has surged ahead and built on its successful debut of the Kyrie line.  Inspired by the craftiness and speed of superstar guard and NBA Champion Kyrie Irving, these shoes are designed to help players plant and change direction quickly and to take advantage of their exceptional light weight.  In order to execute deadly crossovers and spin moves that leave your defender looking mesmerized, you will need a lightweight shoe with enough support to keep you from tearing your ankle apart. Look no further than the Kyrie 4s if you are after a lightweight shoe and quick changes of direction. The shoe features a mix of Flywire, Zoom Air cushioning and more!

Some users of the Kyrie 4 recommend altering the laces. The laces are very tight by default and cut off circulation. Because of this, some people complain about the breathability of the shoe which is very important when you are going to be playing for a long time and want to avoid fatigue in your feet or want to let your foot breathe in the shoe so you don’t have a nasty odor in the shoe. The Kyrie 4s are also by default very narrow. The Kyrie 4 is a great shoe for playing outside as well. The traction is versatile and will work just as well on the pavement as it does on the hardwood.

B/W colorway release date / December 20th, 2017

 

 

Nike KD 10

he shoes designed for the best scorer on planet earth have not been widely praised for their aesthetic design. However, these shoes are surprisingly lightweight and have a very firm framework. The KD 10s can be a tough transition for players not used to wearing low top basketball shoes. The KD shoes have a very hit or miss review community. Some people praise the KD 10s as the best shoes they have ever owned while others could not hate them more. I think if you are considering this shoe it is very important to try it on and get a feel for it before purchasing. Some have complained about the poor insoles. If you want better performance it would be smart to get a custom orthotic or a high-quality insole to replace the pre-existing KD 10 model. However, the KD 10s are very light and comfortable. The Flyknit technology offers great protection and movement.

It is also very important to know that the KD 10 is one of the proudest models from NIKE’s shoe technology crew. The KD 10 offers the best combination of Nike’s Flyknit technology and Zoom Air technology ever made. The Zoom Air is designed to help the player feel a little taller, which is not only very advantageous for the game of basketball but can double as a great perk for the purposes of a lifestyle shoe. Nike also debuted its Air Bag technology with this shoe.

WARNING: The foot opening has no tongue release and the KD 10s are designed for people with skinnier feet. If you have wide feet think twice before purchasing.  They may not be the best basketball shoes for you!

Release Date: December 7, 2017

 

AIR JORDAN 6 RETRO “LIKE MIKE”

The shoes worn by the most explosive player in the world couldn’t be a more perfect fit. Anytime Jordan releases an AJ model, it is likely to be one of the best basketball shoes on the market (or even THE best shoe in the market) for jumping high and playing very explosively. The shoe is very compact, lightweight, and flexible. The only drawback to this shoe is it’s slightly hefty price and difficulty to order online or find in stores. The shoe is in high demand for a reason, however. If you are looking to jump a little higher to get that windmill dunk you have always dreamed of, this is the best shoe to get. The Jordan 6 (original) marked the year MJ led the Bulls to their first Championship title. This colorway of the Air Jordan 6 Retro Men’s Shoe pays homage to the original ’91 “Like Mike” campaign that captured a generation.  While the shoe is not identical in its construction, it is an “updated” replica of that design.  For those who care about the history, MJ left Coca-Cola to promote Gatorade (thus the Jordan 6 orange and green colorway).  Gatorade’s success exploded worldwide and brought to the mainstream the idea or concept of “sports drinks”.

This incredible shoe features genuine and synthetic leather for comfortable support, foam midsole with visible Nike Air cushioning in the heel, encapsulated Nike Air cushioning in the forefoot and a combination clear and solid rubber outsole.

 

Under Armour Curry 3

The shoes created for the reigning MVP are centered around comfort. These are going to be amongst the most comfortable and best basketball shoes on the market. The style of Steph Curry requires him to be comfortable doing all sorts of things. Because he is not the most explosive player, these shoes are not really suited for explosive jumping and if you are a very strong player, you may rip these shoes after a couple months of ownership.

The Under Armour Curry 3 features Under Armour’s unique shoe technology called the Threadborne. The Threadborne is a lightweight and robust material that helps with breathability in the shoe.  It features high tensile threads along the sides to reinforce lateral integrity.  The shoe is composed of lightweight and supportive material that is designed to adapt to your foot. Under Armour is an up and coming basketball shoe brand and these shoes may just be what sets Under Armour off into elite status as a basketball shoe company. Many reviewers and my friends who play basketball are worried about the durability of the Under Armour Curry 3. They must not have read about the purpose of the Threadborne technology from Under Armour!

We like the herringbone traction in the sole, and the Curry 3 has a slightly more “tacky” texture compared to the Curry 2.  That’s a point for The 3’s!  The rubber is also tough enough to be viable as an outdoor sole, so the versatility of these shoes is excellent!  The carbon fiber shank in the Curry 3 allows for true torsion support – bonus!

The Curry 4 was just released this past December and we’re excited to give them a try!  We base our reviews on the experience of others rather than just our own opinion, so we’ll wait until more users give us feedback before we post that review.  We do know the Curry 4 has a translucent rubber in much of its construction and that comes with a whole host of advantages (nice and grippy) and disadvantages (attracts dust like crazy), but preliminary feedback suggests this shoe is a big hit!  Stay tuned!

 

 

Nike Kobe A.D.

The Kobe AD continues the legacy of one the greatest players of all time. The first thing that is important to note about this shoe is that it is low cut. If you have traditionally played in high top basketball shoes, these may not be the best basketball shoes for you.  Actually, it looks a lot more like a tennis shoe than any other basketball shoe we’ve seen. Granted that it is a super low top shoe, it has very poor ankle support. On the other hand, the Kobe XI is incredibly lightweight and is one of the best basketball shoes for heavier players who want to jump higher and run a little bit faster. However, it is very important to keep in mind that the risk of spraining your ankle skyrockets when you play in these shoes.

However, they are very heavily praised for their comfortability and lightweight though some have complained that these shoes are about the “middle-of-the-road” when it comes to comfort. These shoes would be perfect for someone who is just looking to do drills and shoot around by themselves. The Kobe AD’s come in some very interesting colorways. It is very rare for a performance shoe to have so many designer-inspired color options and combinations!  The construction is fairly durable with the textile mesh, and our reviewers reported that traction performance was above average across the board.

In addition to the many signature Kobe AD models such as the Mighty I.T. and the Black Mamba, you have the option of further customization on NikeID. NikeID lets you choose between many different color combinations as well as embed a personal logo or ID onto the shoe.

Overall, we’d suggest that because the cushioning is not as generous as it could be on these shoes, larger players might prefer a LeBron Soldier model while small guards would be better suited to the Kobe A.D.

 

 

Nike Hyperdunk 2017

Comes in 40 colors, Nike ID customizable

Lightweight, Responsive, Supportive

The Hyperdunk has been a very popular performance option since 2008. The Hyperdunk is one of the most versatile shoes made by Nike and is branded by its Lightweight, Responsiveness, and Support. The Hyperdunk 2017 continues the tradition of Flyknit technology and stellar performance. The Hyperdunk 2017 is a shoe technology beast featuring herringbone patterns to offer traction for multidirectional movement. The high-top design is sure to keep your ankle stable as you cross over and euro step your way to bucket paradise.

Owners of the Hyperdunk 2016 who have moved on to the 2017 edition are raving about the improvements from the previous model. However, the Hyperdunk 2017 does have its flaws. Many people disregard the Hyperdunk 2017 as an elite performance shoe because of its somewhat cheap looking or dare we say “grandma’s sweater” materials. The Flywire and Flyknit material can make the shoe feel uncomfortable for some. This is an example of a shoe that really needs to be broken in in order for you to be able to comfortably play in them. One of the major drawbacks of this shoe is the price. Since the Hyperdunk is already priced in the upper stratosphere, it might make sense to just spend the same money and get a higher quality shoe such as a signature player shoe or a Jordan edition. However, there is an appeal to making a name for yourself and wearing a shoe that doesn’t already have somebody else’s name on it.

With this cool grey edition, you can grab your own very clean and sleek-looking shoe which (contrary to the views of those who jump to conclusions) performs as well as any other pro shoe on the market.  The colorway of this model is understated and contrasts with those looking to “show off” or grab the spotlight.  This is OUR KIND of SHOE!

Release date: October 2017

 

 

NIKE Lebron XII SE 

The Shoe made famous by Lebron James and his triumphant NBA Finals campaign over the Golden State Warriors. These shoes are viewed to be of excellent caliber by even the most adamant shoe critics. This shoe can be quite pricey and a little heavy for a performance shoe.  However, these shoes can be worn in many different ways and as a performance shoe offers a unique blend of talents.

The Lebron XIII is most known for having elite traction and durability. These shoes are made of very high-quality material and therefore do not degrade or wear down as fast as the typical shoe. The traction has a unique pattern that is apparently very revolutionary. This shoe is also known for having very high-quality ventilation.

As is the case with many luxury items, the Lebron XIII comes with a hefty price tag. The Lebron XIII has sold out of many of its best colorways and can be very difficult to track down in stores or on the internet. The best options for buying this shoe may be to search Flight Club or eBay. Keep in mind that buying basketball shoes this way can be very expensive and you are likely to pay far more than their originally listed price.

If you can get your hands on it and have the extra cash these shoes are great for explosive movement and will last you a very long time.

Oh, and FEAR NOT the price.  We’ve featured a fairly pricey model here, but the price ranges are HUGE and you can get a pair for half of what these cost!  See them HERE!

 

 

 

Jordan Retro Editions

Jordan 7,11,12, 13

If you are looking to stun everyone on the court with impressive fashion, the best way to turn heads will be the retro Jordan collection.  These are definitely on the top of any list of best basketball shoes for pure style!  There are many different Jordans most popularly ranging from the first model to the fourteenth. Here are the best options to wear for real basketball style and performance.

Jordan 7s

The Design inspired by Western African “afro-pop”, the very popular Air Jordan is widely regarded as the best performance shoe of the early Jordan releases. These shoes are sure to make you look like a hardcore hoop fan who has a fat wallet and incredible sense of basketball style. These shoes are highly praised for their traction, cushion and comfort, and support. This shoe does share many problems with old shoes, however.  You can expect very poor ventilation and this shoe is likely to have a somewhat weird fit. These shoes can also be very pricey and difficult to even find an outlet with these in stock. Finding these types of shoes can be viewed as somewhat of a networking masterpiece. There are shoe groups on facebook to join that can help you locate these shoes. While you can find them on eBay, expect a bogus markup.

 

Jordan 11

Widely regarded as one of the coolest basketball shoes of all time. Jordan 11 models such as the cool greys, concords, and breds are all famous colorways closely associated with basketball prestige. These shoes aren’t just one of the most impressively designed basketball shoes of all time, but they can also make quite an excellent performance shoe. Many sneakerheads may cringe seeing these played in on the court but they can be very good for basketball playing purposes as well. The ventilation in the Jordan 11s was game-changing for its time and remains today to be in the upper category of breathable shoes. The 11s are known for their supportive material and their mid-high top design will be very supportive for your ankle and also light enough to avoid robbing you of that explosiveness you have been hitting the gym so hard to acquire. The 11s have a very supportive material and good traction. Obviously, these shoes are going to be very, very expensive. Good luck finding these in a store or anywhere else, seriously.

 

Jordan 12

The Jordan 12s are known for having great traction as well as a very supportive high top. These shoes are dripping in style and the design is very, very nice. These shoes are likely to be very expensive, as is the case with any retro Jordan. Users of these shoes on the court complain about their poor breathability.

 

 Jordan 13

These shoes are insanely stylish and offer great high top support. They are very comfortable, although not very lightweight. Sneakerheads will cringe if you test the durability of these shoes, but they are very likely to last you for a long time. These shoes are not very breathable compared to newer models.  Colorways are extensive, and we’ve featured a “not-so-common” wheat color model.

 

 

 

Cheaper Shoes (Under $75)

 

Nike Air Ring Leader

If you are looking to save money on your basketball shoes, the Nike Air Ring Leader is currently the cheapest basketball shoe featured. These shoes are very durable and comfortable for their price. These shoes are not very expensive and are likely to last you for a long time.  It’s one of the best basketball shoes for versatility since it can be used comfortably for other purposes.  The material of the shoe also makes it very easy to clean. Many users of the shoe agree that it runs true to size and is lightweight. It is also worth keeping in mind that these are low top shoes, meaning that you are sacrificing a lot of ankle support in favor of lighter weight.

As with any shoe, it does have some drawbacks. The major drawback to buying these shoes has to be the aesthetic. If you wear these shoes in a pickup game, odds are nobody will want to play with you unless you happen to be 6’10 with a Ray Allen-esque jump shot. These shoes scream that you are a new player. Users of the shoe also complain that it is weirdly proportioned. The toe area is disproportionately wider than the rest of the shoe. The insole of the shoe is also non-removable which makes it hard to slip in orthotics if need be. These shoes only come in one color, white, which can be hard to keep clean. These can be great shoes for playing in and exercising in, and they are very affordable.  They offer a great option as a starter shoe if you are not yet sure how passionate you are about the game of basketball. The Nike Air Ring Leader Low is a great place to also test try low top shoes and see if you can handle the lack of ankle support.

 

Under Armour Jet


If you are looking to make a more financially sound decision as well as avoid sacrificing your court style, the Under Armour Jet model is a great option. The shoe has a very sleek design and comes in 4 different color combos. This is a high top shoe so you won’t have to worry about snapping your ankle on a vicious crossover in these bad boys. The Jet is widely acclaimed for it’s comfort, cool colors, traction, and breathability. The breathability is especially interesting as it will help you avoid fatigue and keep your shoes smelling fresh.

Some people complain that these shoes run small, so be cautious when ordering them online. It might be best advised to go to a local house of hoops or dick’s sporting goods to try them on before purchasing.

 

 

Under Armour Lockdown

Priced very reasonably these are one of the best basketball shoes that still offer good performance on a low budget. They have a nice design that doesn’t instantly reveal its status on the lower end of the price range. They have a nice high top design to keep your ankle together. This rating is very impressive for a shoe at this price. Reviewers of the Under Armour Lockdown rave about its style and comfort. This shoe is without a doubt a great blend of price and comfortability. However, these shoes are not very lightweight and they do not have the same mesh and flexibility of a higher ranking performance shoe. The material of the shoe has many customers worried about the durability of the shoe. It is likely that cheaper shoes are more likely to break down fast.

 

Finding the Right Shoe by Focus

We hope we’ve given you some food for thought, but in case you’re still looking for more, here are some great factors to consider when looking for the best basketball shoes for you.

Lightweight

The importance of having a lightweight shoe is unquestionable. Being lighter will help you run faster, jump higher, and turn quicker. When adidas first debuted the crazy light model, the basketball world went bananas over it’s shocking lightweight.

Comfortability

For most people, style comes from how you feel. In order to feel good and play at your maximized potential, you need to feel comfortable. Sometimes the comfort of the shoes heavily varies amongst users.

Durability

What is the point in buying the best pair of basketball shoes you can afford if they can only last for a couple weeks? There is nothing more annoying as a basketball player than coming home and noticing that you’ve ripped a hole through the toe of your shoe, or that the precious nike logo has been creased in half and now looks like a weird white line glued together on the back of your shoe.

Traction

How can you possibly expect to crossover like Kyrie Irving or Allen Iverson if your shoes are slipping and sliding all over the court? There are many different factors that determine the traction quality of a basketball shoe such as whether you are playing outside or inside.

Style

Look good, play good. One of the most important things to being a basketball player is looking like you are one hell of a player. There are certain shoes that warrant a head nod of respect from all basketball players. Having your style together can make the difference between getting picked up on a team or watching the game from the sideline. Whether your style comes from developing your own look or being inspired by the look of an NBA superstar, we’ve reviewed some of the best basketball shoes out there with the most prestige and style.

Ankle Support

One of the most important factors to making the right decision about your best basketball shoes, is guaranteeing that you are avoiding the risk of injury. Spraining ankles is the most common injury amongst basketball players and it is very important that you do your research so you can stay off the long list of players who sprain their ankle every day. One of the most important qualities in ankle support is the difference between high and low top shoes. However, there are many models of low top shoes that offer a surprising amount of ankle support.

Price

It is always a smart idea to make sure you are getting the most out of your money. Maybe you or your family member is a newer player, just looking to try basketball out and see how it goes. Buying a cheap pair of basketball shoes can be difficult, but this list will comb out the lowest priced shoes and help you see which ones are not only the cheapest but a good value for their price.

SO YOU WANT TO JUMP HIGHER?

We all have dreams of jumping higher and higher, eventually getting over the rim and smashing down a ferocious two-hand dunk. There are many rumors that shoes are everything when it comes to jumping higher.  Although shoes alone probably won’t be the difference between barely touching the rim and taking off from the free throw line, putting the ball between your legs, and shattering the backboard into a million pieces, having the right pair of shoes can definitely be the difference between skimming the rim and grabbing it. Here are some suggestions that will help you throw down a powerful enough dunk to get the guy from the front desk to come into the basketball gym and threaten to kick you out because of your intimidating aerial showcase.

There are two kinds of jumpers in basketball, one leg dominant jumpers, and two leg dominant jumpers, (I know Harvard stuff right). You are a one leg jumper if you like to run and take off of one foot to dunk, you are a two-foot jumper if you gather yourself by putting both feet on the ground and then powering up to dunk. As such, the best basketball shoes will be different, for different jumpers.

One Leg Jumper

If you are a one leg jumper it is going to be important to have enough support to support transferring the momentum of your sprint into your jump. Here are three best basketball shoes I recommend: 1. Nike Lebron Soldier 10 2. Nike Hyperdunk 2016 3. Jordan AJ XXXI

Two Leg Jumper

If you are a two-leg jumper then support won’t be quite as important because you probably already have pretty good balance. The most important things for a two-leg jumper will be two have a lightweight shoe that won’t cause any additional resistance. Here are three shoes I recommend: 1. Nike Kobe 11 Low 2. Jordan AJ XXXI 3. Nike Kyrie 2

SECRET WEAPONS TO JUMPING HIGHER WITH YOUR SHOES ALONE

In this section, I will show you a top secret shoe banned by the NBA that, although not a traditional basketball shoe produced by a blue chip company like NIKE or Under Armour, is very likely to help you jump higher. I will also show you an insole that is nearly guaranteed to add an inch or two to your vertical jump.

Athletic Propulsion Labs

The APL basketball shoes are famous for their “load-n-launch” technology that is designed to help you jump higher. This is truly one of the best basketball shoes to get you airborne.  The insole is supposed to be more responsive to your jump and will spring you up to that rim. The shoes tend to have better reviews from people who jump higher, if you jump high already, these shoes will likely work better for you. The higher you jump, the more you get out of them.

APL’s most famous model out right now is called the Vision. It has a very nice design, but it comes at a very steep price. If jumping higher is very important to you and you aren’t looking for a traditional basketball shoe, these may be the shoes for you.  With all the nice sales stuff out of the way, let me REALLY honest.  Over the years, APL has had different models on the market with some really great feedback.  Head to head tests gave us some indication that they DO in fact improve your vertical if only slightly.  However, in recent months, we’ve received some feedback APL’s latest offering (the Vision) has some issues with a squeaking sole after some use.  With that information, what would we suggest?  Okay, I’ll be totally upfront (and personal) with you at the risk of sounding “sales-ee”.  If I were an 18-year old hot shot getting ready to go play U.S. College ball (like I was in 1987), and there was some hope of improving my vertical (if only by 1 inch) I would buy these shoes in a heartbeat – in spite of some technical concerns – like the squeak.  However, if I was a 35-year old dude looking to stay in shape for the next 20 years, I’d stick with a nice, safe shoe like something that helps with ankle support – like the Adidas DeRose 7.  It’s a proven shoe that’s virtually guaranteed to perform and keep me as safe as any shoe possibly can!

So that’s the skinny.  I love the shoe, but don’t freak on me if it squeaks.  All shoes are prone to squeakage (I have a pair of Nike running shoes that do that NOW!), so it’s a matter of trust (and a bit of gambling!).

Springbak Insoles

These insoles are used by world class athletes across the world. In addition to helping you run faster and jump higher with a more responsive insole, they can also greatly help alleviate shin splint pain. These are priced between cheaply on Amazon and can fit into any shoe. They are not likely to stack well with the APL shoes however.

Conclusion

In Conclusion, there are many different basketball shoes to choose from. Choosing the right pair is completely dependent on your needs as a basketball player and the design/colorway that best suits you. One of the biggest differences between shoes to note is the low top vs. mid vs. high top. High top shoes will give you much better ankle support whereas low top will usually be much lighter, mid being a blend in between. If you are looking for upper echelon style, you can’t go wrong with the Air Jordan retro collection. However, if you are looking for the best basketball shoes for performance, you are probably best going with the Nike Hyperdunks, Jordan AJ XXXI, or a signature player collection. Rocking your favorite players’ kicks may help you become inspired and add their flare to your game. It is also very important to see if the shoe is durable and versatile between indoor and outdoor courts. Also, keep in mind that buying white shoes may be problematic to keep clean and maintain that fresh white color. Good luck with your decision, and hopefully, this guide helped you gain some insight on the best basketball shoes to get for YOU! Thank you for reading!

P.S. Looking for women’s basketball shoes? Check out my Best Basketball Shoes for Women Guide!

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6 Comments

  1. Justin

    Very detailed review, I already have a pair of the Adidas Crazy Explosives and love them. What other shoe do you recommend that fits most similarly to the Explosives?

    Reply
    1. Pete (Post author)

      Thanks for the comment! The Adidas Crazylight Boosts or Crazy 8’s would the most similar in my opinion.

      Reply
  2. Hunter

    Are the Crazy Explosives or the Kyrie 2’s better for someone with wide, flat feet?

    Reply
    1. Pete (Post author)

      I would say the Crazy Explosives. For more details check out the articles regarding b-ball shoes for wide and flat feet. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  3. Atost

    Which basketball shoe would you recommend for a heavier player that needs good shock absorbing and help improve quickness…

    Reply
    1. Pete (Post author)

      That’s a loaded question, but my short answer would be to check out the D Rose 6 PrimeKnit on our review page; https://sportconsumer.com/best-basketball-shoes-for-wide-feet/
      they’re light, and have lots of width for a bigger guy. Otherwise, we have a longer list of basketball shoes for wider feet (heavier players) which have all passed the test to make it to our top 10 list.
      Thanks for your question, and feel free to check out our pages for best basketball shoes for flat feet and also for ankle support.

      Reply

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