Basketball shoes have come a long way since the sport has become more and more mainstream, both in the USA and worldwide. Sporting goods and equipment continue to grow and evolve as our understanding of science and athleticism grows – they offer better support, more comfort and of course they look cool. Nowadays we have so much variation and loads of choice when we are looking to purchase a set of basketball shoes, it can be tough to know which ones to buy, which is why I’ve created this guide all about the best basketball shoes on the market.
A Brief History of Basketball Shoes
If we asked our grandparents to remember basketball shoes from the past they would probably instantly think about Converse and their range, who bossed the world of Basketball shoes for many a year. In the modern age we associate them more with fashion than as a piece of sporting apparel, but for over 40 years you would see converse on almost every basketball pro out there.
In the 1970s more brands entered the market with Puma and Nike entered the market and shot to prominence in the market, and although Converse were still popular, Nike were beginning to push their ‘air’ technology to make their shoes more popular and technologically advanced, now dominating the market. Brands such as Adidas also entered the scene in the 80s and 90s and these three makes of basketball shoe now dominate the market, along with more recent contender Under Armour who manufactures a lot of top end sporting gear and apparel.
How to Choose Basketball Shoes
Picking the best basketball shoes for you depends on a few different factors:
Looks – you shouldn’t make this your top priority unless you’re buying them purely for fashion purposes, but even though other aspects are far more important, you don’t want to wear ugly shoes I’m sure and it is worth getting a pair you are going to fall in love with the look of.
Price – In an ideal world the money would be no object but realistically most people have a budget and you may well be looking for the best shoes in your price range not just the best full stop. Affordability is key for many of us.
Comfort – You need to be comfortable in your shoes to perform at your best!
Fit – This ties in with comfort, if your shoes fit properly then you’re going to be more comfortable and they’re not going to slow you up or slip where they shouldn’t, find the right fit and you’re much more likely to love your shoes.
Performance – The spring that your shoes put in your step, their reliability and the range that they give you on the court to perform at 100% all of the time.
Hi Top, Mid Top or Low Top
The “top” of the shoes you buy depends a lot on your style of play, if you’re a small and fast guard you may well prefer to go with a low cut or possibly a mid top because they’re a lot lighter, whereas a taller player might well be looking for more support, which is where the high tops come in. If you’re jumping all the time and trying to protect the basket then you’re much more likely to be impacting the court and the last thing you want is to roll your ankle.
Recommended Makes and Models of Basketball Shoes
Men’s UA Charge BB Basketball Shoes
Under Armour may be a relative newcomer when it comes to manufacturing basketball shoes, but that doesn’t mean they cant compete. If you want to make a statement on the court then these could well be for you, available in a variety of colors including some very bright ones! They don’t just look great, though, they’re designed with bulky foam on the heel to help put the spring in your step and jump as well as foam cushions for the ultimate in comfort, ankle supporting section that still allows for the utmost flexibility and an awesome Heatgear design to keep the sweat from your foot, leaving you with a dry and uninterrupted basketball experience.
Nike Lunar Hyperdunk
This Nike Model is now on its fifth generation, but it isn’t an iPod, and all you need to know is that it is an amazing basketball shoe, and the first Nike to make the list. Designed with Bball in mind, it is cushioned in all the right places and does provide good comfort and flexibility within its mesh and “Glass-reinforced composite midfoot shank to improve stability and responsiveness “. The design is more subtle than the Under Armours on the list but Nike bring years of experience and excellent shoes to the table, and cannot be ignored. The reviews on Amazon are incredibly good with many paying tribute to their durability and comfort even in the longest wearing sessions. These definitely get my recommendation.
Adidas Crazy Shadow
crazyshadowTime for an Adidas to make the list too with their Crazy Shadow model. These are a slick but subtle design of basketball shoe and really are among the best, not to mention exceptionally affordable considering just how good they are. A welded frame and mesh design give the ultimate in comfort and allow your foot to breathe, no clammy foot syndrome with these bad boys. They are flexible and the frame also provides excellent support and plenty of traction, as well as claiming to be non-mark rubber souled too. If you’re looking for something under $100 then look no further than the Crazy Shadow.
Nike Air Jordan Men’s Fly Wade 2
The list just wouldn’t be complete without some Jordan’s, with the iconic image of the man himself on the side, you could be fooled into thinking it was all just a big sponsorship deal to make you buy shoes, but trust me these really live up to the reputation and feel great, as well as having an excellent grip and great durability. The Jordan range are some of Nike’s best basketball shoes, and the Fly Wade 2′s are not an exception.
Basketball Shoes for Fashion
I’ve approached the shoes from a purely sporting point of view so far, but lets not forget that lots of people love to wear them (or at least old models, say converse) as a fashion statement. In fact I’m wearing some retro chuck taylor converse as I type this! They look great both on women and men and are designed for comfort and support, so shouldn’t let you down in this department at all. The model I’ve linked to below are just one example, and there are loads of other basketball shoes you can wear as part of your outfits.
That’s Great…So Where Do I Get Mine?
Well, fortunately for us there are loads of options when it comes to shopping these days, you can get your shoes in so many different ways. Personally, I like to buy the majority of my equipment for sports (and anything else for that matter) on the internet, but this is a bit of a different proposition. Everybody has slightly different feet and often the only way to find out what suits you is to physically try them on. It can be impossible to know exactly what size you’re going to take without being in a store and getting some sneakers on! Sports shops in the USA will provide a great outlet to go and find shoes that suit your foot, however in other parts of the world this might not be such an easy option with the high street struggling and of course Basketball Shoes not even being the most popular item bought from the sports stores.
The really cheeky way to buy them is to go and try on in store, and then come online and look at a price comparison, which will help you to find the cheapest model. If you go and find that some awesome Adidas shoes in a certain size are what you want, make a note of it, come online and see if you can find them on the cheap, this will usually save you quite a bit of cash compared to the prices on the high street.
Lots of online retailers will be specialists in shoes and other sports equipment, but when it comes to price, lets be honest, there’s usually no beating Amazon’s marketplace, which will probably even have the stores you would buy from as sellers.
To call any of these the best model of basketball shoe would perhaps be unfair, and it is subjective depending on your own personal taste, and the criteria outlined. You won’t go far wrong with the models listed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment, and don’t forget that once you get your hands (or feet) on your shoes, and get used to them, you may just fall in love with your new shoes. Pick the best, improve your game and never look back! Don’t forget to check out this awesome video featuring 10 more of the best basketball shoes available in 2018