Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best outdoor basketball shoes are, then we recommend the Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive Basketball Shoes as the best pair

Outdoor basketball court

If you play indoor and outdoor basketball, it may seem like overkill to have two pairs of shoes for the same sport. But playing on an outdoor court is vastly different from playing on a smooth indoor surface — and your shoes are going to make a big difference to your performance.

For outdoor basketball, you want to look for shoes with great traction, comfortable fit, and supportive cushioning to support your joints. I’ve reviewed five of the best outdoor basketball shoes and put together some helpful advice so you can find the right pair for you.

My top picks for outdoor basketball shoes are: 

Why Do I Need Outdoor Basketball Shoes?

Most outdoor basketball courts are made from asphalt, which is the material that our roads are made from. This is a rough material that can crack over time, so ordinary shoes aren’t going to withstand it for long.

You want a shoe that has been designed to absorb the shock on your ankles and knees when running and jumping on hard concrete. This will help to prevent injuries in the future.

What to Consider When Buying Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Since outdoor basketball shoes are designed for different surfaces than your regular sneakers, you need to consider durability, comfort, and budget when making your decision.

I’ve learned the hard way of wearing the wrong sneakers for the wrong sport, so it’s best to heed this advice.

Durability

Your shoes are going to see some wear and tear. You’ll be running and jumping on rough outdoor courts, and other players are bound to step on your feet.

The best outdoor basketball shoes are designed with this in mind. Make sure you look for a pair of shoes with a tough rubber outsole. If the rubber is too soft, you risk wearing your shoes out faster.

I also recommend looking for a strong material such as mesh or fuse for the upper part of your shoe. Although this won’t suffer as much damage as the soles, you want to make sure the upper part of your feet is protected from other players’ feet.

If you tend to drag your toes when you play, you’ll definitely want to invest in a durable shell!

Traction

You may notice that outdoor shoes have deeper grooves in the soles than indoor shoes. This is because deep grooves — or wide traction — don’t pick up as much dirt or wear down as fast as shallow grooves.

Although you won’t have to worry about dirt on the basketball court, I still recommend you look for a shoe with wide traction. You’ll thank me when the grooves on your friends’ shoes have worn down and lost their grip while yours are still going strong.

Comfort

Comfy, cushioned shoes are important not only for the comfort of your feet but also for your joints. All that bouncing around on hard surfaces can put added stress on your joints, leading to pain or injury down the line.

A well-cushioned shoe helps reduce this stress. This is particularly important for protecting your knees and ankles, which take a lot of the impact in basketball. If you have a knee or ankle injury, it’s essential you invest in a pair of shoes with quality, supportive cushioning.

Even if you’re young and spritely now, taking care of your joints will help you later in life!

Budget

Outdoor basketball shoes are more durable than indoor shoes, but they’re not going to last forever — especially if you’re taking them out every other day! In my experience, a good pair of outdoor basketball shoes last at least a year before packing it in. 

I recommend balancing quality with expected usage when choosing which shoes to buy. Paying more for better quality is always a good option, but your shoes don’t need to be super expensive to serve you well.

The Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

I remember that when I first wanted a pair of outdoor basketball shoes, all I wanted was a pair of Jordan’s or some Reebok pumps. Although they were both high-quality shoes, I made a bee-line and didn’t do my research.

I’ve learned my lesson this time, and so provide you with the below options.

1. Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive

The Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive basketball shoes are definitely my top pick for style. With a range of colors and a funky pattern, these shoes will suit players who want to look good while scoring big.

The sole is made from translucent rubber and has a digitally designed pattern made up of circles and lines that provide great traction for those tricky maneuvers.

The midsole employs Adidas’ signature cushioning technology, Boost. Boost is made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which compresses under pressure. This leads to excellent shock absorption while giving you enough bounce to take that shot.

The outer shoe is made from neoprene, a material used to make wetsuits. This provides a strong lockdown but not a lot of breathability. That said, the lockdown on this shoe is impressive. The shoe is designed to mold to your foot as you break it in. This gives you a snug fit that follows the natural curves of your feet.

Pros

  • TPU midsole provides excellent shock absorption and launch power.
  • Strong lockdown.
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Stylish.
  • Waterproof outer material — ideal for playing in the rain.

Cons

  • Not breathable — some wearers reported blisters after wearing the shoes for long periods.
  • Laces don’t give a secure lockdown.

2. Nike Air Versitile II Basketball Shoe

The Nike Air Versitile II provides fantastic traction and cushioning that lives up to its brand name. Also, the outer shoe is made from quality breathable mesh, which means you don’t have to worry about your feet overheating during a game.

The rubber sole features a herringbone pattern with a twist. This modified pattern provides excellent traction and reduces the risk of skidding or slipping during a sudden pivot.

Nike uses its custom Zoom Air technology in the midsole to provide ultimate support and comfort.

On top of this, the phylon midsole is knitted into one of Nike’s innovative Air units. When your foot hits the ground, the phylon compresses, absorbing the shock of impact. It then springs back, helping you launch yourself off the ground and towards the hoop.

The thing that really makes this shoe stand out, though, is its lace-up system, which provides excellent lockdown. The laces stretch from the toe box to the collar and — thanks to the internal cables attached to them — provide a firm yet comfortable fit.

Pros

  • Breathable outer material.
  • Modified herringbone pattern provides great traction.
  • Strong lace-up system leads to a secure fit.
  • Zoom Air technology provides shock absorption and bounce.

Cons

  • Some users found the back of the shoe dug into their Achilles tendon.
  • Upper material wears out quickly.

3. Under Armour ClutchFit Drive 2

True to its name, the Under Armour ClutchFit Drive 2 grips your foot, providing a secure fit with little wiggle room. 

The fit comes from a combination of mesh and synthetic leather. The mesh gives some breathability to the shoe, while the synthetic leather protects and supports the foot and ankle.

This makes it ideal for people who don’t like to play in shoes with loose toe boxes. It also provides good lockdown, meaning you don’t have to worry about your shoe moving independently when you make sudden movements. If you prefer a looser fit, you can always size-up.

The sole features a multi-direction herringbone pattern, which provides excellent traction. While the grooves aren’t particularly deep, the traction holds up well on outdoor courts and helps prevent slipping during quick pivots or movements.

The foam midsole provides excellent support while the soft Micro G insole gives a nice layer of comfort. This combination makes it easy to bounce around on the court with little stress to the joints.

Pros

  • Excellent traction — allows you to make quick movements safely.
  • Snug fit gives the shoe great lockdown.
  • Comfortable and supportive foam insole.
  • Made from durable synthetic leather and mesh.

Cons

  • Not breathable — some customers report their feet getting hot after only a few hours.
  • Narrow toe box — players with wider feet found the shoes too tight.

4. Nike Air Overplay IX Basketball Shoe

The Nike Air Overplay IX employs some of Nike’s signature technology to make yet another fantastic basketball sneaker. This is a comfortable shoe that I think will hold up well for several hours of playing time.

Made from synthetic leather and mesh, the outer layer is breathable and durable. Mesh covers most of the upper portion of the shoe, and there are small perforations in the synthetic leather for extra breathability.

The modified herringbone pattern in the rubber sole has wide grooves that provide great traction, making it ideal for multi-directional movements on the court.

Also, there’s a Zoom Air unit under the heel that provides optimal shock absorption and bounce for landing and launching.

The laces on this shoe don’t have the same internal cables as the Versitilie II, but they still go all the way up and provide decent lockdown. The shoe has a comfortable raised and padded tongue to make the fit even more secure.

Pros

  • Uses Zoom Air technology for shock absorption and bounce.
  • Good lockdown — extensive laces, raised tongue, and synthetic leather outer provides a snug fit.
  • Breathable mesh upper.
  • Wide grooves provide fantastic traction.

Cons

  • Some wearers reported their sole wore off sooner than expected.
  • Narrow toe box — not suitable for people with wide feet.

5. Adidas NEO Cloudfoam Ilation Basketball Shoe

You may have noticed that many of the shoes on this list provide a tight fit, making them less than ideal for players with wider feet.

These shoes, on the other hand, are wide and extremely comfortable. The foam midsole provides impeccable comfort and support for your ankles and knees. Despite their bigger size, they’re lightweight — making them ideal for springing around the court and dunking.

The outer shoe is made from perforated leather with a mesh collar for breathability. This makes for a comfortable fit throughout the game.

Some players found their shoes wore out quickly when used often. For this reason, I find this sneaker ideal for players who only play on weekends or less than once a week.

If you plan on being on the court several days a week, you might be better off with one of the other options I’ve mentioned.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Comfortable foam midsole.
  • Lightweight.
  • Ideal for wide feet.

Cons

  • Not that durable — some players reported the sole peeling away from the rest of the shoe.

The Results Are In

Shooting hoops outside

When choosing outdoor basketball shoes, it’s important to consider durability, comfort, and traction.

If you prefer a super tight fit, the Under Armour ClutchFit Drive 2 shoes are the obvious choice. But if you hate feeling confined, opt for something a bit more breathable such as the Nike Air Versitile II Basketball Shoe.

For me, the best outdoor basketball shoes are the Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive. I love the comfortable fit, strong lockdown, and fantastic shock absorption. Plus, they’re ideal for wet weather, meaning you don’t have to give up on your game if it starts raining. They’re also easy on the eye, which I know is important for many.

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