With shoes such a major part of the sport of basketball, as well as pop culture, big brands have placed a huge focus on developing the top basketball shoes possible for a number of decades. This has resulted in some incredible kicks, but which classic bball sneakers should you look to add to your collection? This review will help you to find out by listing a number of the best performance basketball shoes of all time for men, women and children, as well as outlining some of the most important factors to consider in your search.
Reviews of the 9 Best Performance Basketball Shoes, Plus the 3 Worst to Avoid
- Air Jordan 29 Review: Air Jordan’s have for a long time been positioned as one of the best basketball shoe brands out there, and this shoe is one of their best ever products. These shoes are as good as it gets in terms of providing you with plenty of traction and support. The grip will allow you to change directions better than any of your opponents no matter what surface you’re playing on. Players of all types can enjoy this shoe; it provides a high level of responsiveness for those smaller players who rely on explosive movements, while there is also plenty of impact support for the big guys working down low. This is one of the best performance basketball shoes of all time, and there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy wearing them.
- Adidas Men’s Crazy Explosive 2017 Basketball Shoe Review: This is an incredible pair of shoes, and might be the best high performance basketball shoe of recent years. The Crazy Explosive is just that; it provides incredible explosiveness off the mark, allowing you to get around your opponent and attack the rack with authority. They’re also extremely comfortable and provide a huge level of support and cushioning, ensuring that whether you’re running rings around your opponent at point guard, or banging bodies down low, your feet will be looked after. On top of that, they provide plenty of traction, aiding your lateral movement on the floor.
- Nike Men’s LeBron XIII Basketball Shoes Review: LeBron’s line of Nike basketball shoes tend to be pretty high quality, and the XIII might be the best of them all. Perhaps where these shoes excel the most is through their support. To carry around LeBron’s 250 pound frame, you need a pair of pretty solid shoes, and these are obviously made with the heavier player in mind. Support isn’t all they provide though; the LeBron XIII’s also feel extremely comfortable to wear, allowing you to focus on what’s important out on the court. On top of that, they look great, and will last you a very long time, making them one of the best options on the market.
- Nike Women’s Prime Hype DF II Basketball Shoe Review: The Nike Prime Hype is one of the best performance basketball shoes of all time for women. Coming in the high-top style, these provide fantastic support for your ankles, and enable you to crossover your opponent with ease. The decoupled collar ensures that despite the high-top, you’ll still have full-range ankle movement, which can sometimes be a problem with more restrictive high-top shoes. Breathe Tech construction also helps to deliver an element of breathability, meaning your feet will be extremely comfortable out on the floor. On top of all this, they have a whole lot of traction thanks to an anatomical outsole, capping off what is a terrific basketball shoe.
- Under Armour Women’s UA Jet Basketball Shoes Review: Another sensational pair of women’s basketball shoes, with this shoe offering a whole lot of great features and very few drawbacks. The support provided by this shoe is second to none, with synthetic overlays giving you a huge amount of stability both laterally and medially, enabling you to move in any direction with ease. It also has a soft collar foam, which gives you great comfort and support in the ankle area. The full-length molded EVA sockliner wraps up your foot to provide even more comfort, while the multi-directional traction pattern helps you to move laterally far better than your opponent. Overall, a fantastic set of kicks.
- Adidas Women’s CF Superhoops Basketball Shoes Review: These leather, imported shoes are high quality, comfortable and supportive. Perhaps the most noticeable feature of these is their comfort, with the Cloudfoam cushioning technology acting quite literally as it is named, making you feel as though you’re walking on clouds with these shoes on. The rubber cupsole also provides users with a high amount of traction, enabling them to move laterally or stop on a dime more easily. Another great benefit of opting for these shoes is the price. Despite their high quality, this pair of shoes will generally cost you well under $100, meaning you’ll be able to get a great pair of kicks without having to break the bank.
- AND1 Kids Show Out Basketball Shoe Review: This shoe is just about as good as it gets for kids. The AND1 Kids Show Out Shoe is extremely lightweight, enhancing comfort so that your child can maximize his or her enjoyment of the game of basketball. This lightweight nature, created by the EVA midsole, enables their ability to move around the floor easily, and doesn’t lose out on stability like many other similar shoes. Despite weighing next to nothing, this shoe will still provide great support for your child’s young feet and ankles, reducing the risk of suffering an injury, which is always a little higher with children who are still getting used to their growing bodies. On top of all that, it comes in extremely cheap, something that is even more important for children given the pesky tendency of their feet to rapidly outgrow their new shoes. Overall, these might be the best performance basketball shoes of all time for kids.
- Adidas Neo Cloudfoam Kids Casual Footwear Review: One of the most important factors in evaluating whether a shoe is appropriate for kids is comfort. They tend to be more selective about whether they’re comfortable in a pair of shoes, and with that in mind, the Cloudfoam is one of the best options you’ll find. With comfortable textile lining and Adidas’ patented Cloudfoam midsole, putting this shoe on feels like putting your foot into a pillow. Fortunately, unlike a pillow it is also a high performance basketball, and will enable your child to move around the court with ease. Shoes as comfortable as this one will help your child to develop his or her love of the game, so they are definitely a great option, and well worth considering.
- Nike Kids’ Team Hustle Quick Basketball Shoe Review: The Nike Kids’ Team Hustle is the quintessential all-rounder, excelling in virtually every category and presenting very few flaws. It provides a huge amount of support, with the leather and mesh upper combining with the reinforced stitching to give your child extra lateral stability, and minimize the chances of them injuring an ankle. It also allows ease of movement thanks to the deep flex grooves, while the synthetic sole ensures that these shoes will last a long time, regardless of what surface they’re being used on. On top of that, they’re extremely comfortable, making them an ideal all-round option for your child.
- Nike Kobe Mamba Instinct Mens Basketball Shoes Review: Some of Nike’s Kobe edition shoes are worth a look, but this certainly isn’t one of them. This shoe is very uncomfortable, seemingly designed for a foot shape that very few people actually have. The shoe will fit nicely everywhere except in the midsole, where it suddenly becomes very tight. So problematic is this section that some users have complained they could barely walk in the shoes. The support provided by the shoes is reasonable enough, but the discomfort that results from this midsection makes them one of the worst performance basketball shoes of all time. Regardless of how much you love Kobe, you should avoid these performance basketball shoes.
- 66 Town Women’s Shock Absorption Running Shoes Review: Put simply, these shoes aren’t good quality at all. It’s clear from the moment you see them that the materials used aren’t good ones, and the result is that they often barely last a month if they see continual use. The stitching comes apart very easily, and the insole has been reported by some users as wearing entirely away within a matter of weeks. They also don’t fit well, making them uncomfortable as well as not at all durable. There are a whole lot of problems with this shoe, and overall it is one of the worst performance basketball shoes for women on the market.
- Adidas Performance Boys Cross ‘Em up Review: Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to justify purchasing these shoes for one simple reason; they aren’t comfortable. A pair of shoes can provide all the support and all the innovative technology they can find, but at the end of the day, if they don’t also provide comfort, they aren’t worth buying. This is particularly the case with kids shoes, and this pair will have your kid itching to take them off. They are very narrow, and even the option to purchase a ‘wide’ size doesn’t negate this fact. Unless your child has an extremely narrow foot, these won’t be comfortable to wear, making them one of the worst performance basketball shoes of all time for kids.
2020 Buyers Guide to the Best Performance Basketball Shoes of All Time
With so many high performance basketball shoes being released over the years, it isn’t easy to settle on a single pair to buy. Identifying a few of the most important factors that you need to consider, however, can often make the process that little bit easier. Below, we’ve listed the three most important factors you need to think about before buying a pair.
3 Main Factors to Consider
- Comfort: If you’re not going to be comfortable in your new pair of kicks, then what’s the point of buying them? Of course, comfort in isolation isn’t necessarily enough reason to justify buying a pair, but its absence is certainly ample reason to not buy it. When you’re out on the floor, you want to be focussed on one thing: beating your opponent, and winning the game. An uncomfortable pair of shoes can detract from this, and force you to think about the blisters forming on your heels, or the lack of air getting to your feet while you play. This can have a tangible impact on your performance, and is definitely something you want to avoid. A comfortable pair of shoes will feel great when you put them on, but once you’re into the swing of a game, you probably won’t even notice them, which is exactly what you want in a pair of best basketball shoes.
- Support: Just as important as comfort is support. Shoes are one of the most important pieces of equipment to protect you from injury, if not the most important, so make sure you look for a pair that is going to provide adequate support to your ankles and feet. The support should come from the entire shoe; the soles should be looking after everything, cushioning the impact that comes with landing after a big dunk. The areas around the ankle should keep this vulnerable part of your body stable, lowering the risk of you rolling over on it as you cross up your opponent. The body of the shoe should be keeping your foot firmly in place, minimizing the discomfort of rubbing as well as the possibility of injury that accompanies an ill-fitting shoe.
- Style: Let’s be honest – this is a big factor for most people. Many will claim that they don’t care what their shoes look like, and they’re more concerned with performance. Maybe this is true, and comfort and support should certainly take precedence. Wearing a pair of shoes that look great, however, is something that most people strongly consider when buying new kicks, and this is for good reason. As the old adage goes; look good, feel good, play good. If you feel confident in your new shoes then you’ll feel confident in your game, and we all know what a huge impact that can have on your performance.
How have performance basketball sneakers evolved over the decades?
As with most things, performance basketball sneakers have continually incorporated new technology to ensure each edition of a shoe is more comfortable and more supportive than the last. Things like extra cushioning in important areas and greater traction are just a couple of things that consistently make shoes better. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a version of a shoe from 20 years ago that is able to provide these things as well as modern day shoes, though there is a certain charm to the retro style of some of the older pairs.
Dr. J at Harlem’s famed Rucker Park (Video):
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Performance Basketball Shoes
If you’re looking for the best pair of kicks for basketball you can find, you’re going to have a lot of research to do. There are seemingly endless options out there, but by considering just what are the most important factors in your search, you’ll be able to make things much easier. This article has offered up some suggestions as to what they might be, as well as listing some of the best performance basketball shoes of all time, to help you with the process.