Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes to Buy in 2020

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One can never assume that the equipment for outdoor sports is identical to what is used inside. For instance, indoor basketballs lose their grip and become slippery if they are regularly used outdoors. By the same token, indoor basketball shoes do not offer the same kind of stability and support as outdoor basketball shoes.

If you play a lot of outdoor basketball, you probably already recognize this. Most basketball shoes are designed for indoor use. As a result, they don’t last very long on rugged outdoor courts.

So how do you recognize good outdoor basketball shoes? There are many ways to do so. First, look at the outsole of the shoe. It should be made from hard, durable rubber. Next, the traction grooves should be wide and deep. Finally, the upper material needs to be resilient enough to withstand the harsh conditions of the outdoors.

Additionally, good outdoor basketball shoes shouldn’t cost a fortune. No matter how good they are, they won’t last forever.

Features to Consider in Outdoor Basketball Shoes

The Sole

The rubber outsole is the first thing to consider. Make sure that you’re aware of the density and thickness of the rubber. If the rubber is dense, it’ll last longer against the abrasion of rough outdoor surfaces. Softer rubbers will burn out quickly and you’ll be left with a bald outsole before you know it.

The thickness of the pattern is also a key component. This is a feature that can be easily spotted. Aggressive traction patterns work beautifully indoors, but they wear down quickly outdoors.

Look for something that has its traction pattern that is slightly recessed into the outsole. These types of patterns reduce wear and tear while you play outdoors and they tend to last longer in general.

Weight

An outdoor basketball shoe will be slightly heavier than most indoor shoes. This is because the shoe has to cushion your foot against the hard surfaces that you play on. The midsoles of the shoes are a lot thicker than with indoor sneakers.

However, if you need a lighter shoe to improve your flexibility, you can find them almost anywhere. You just need to remember that the heaviness of the shoe is what protects your foot when playing on rough outdoor surfaces. Simply put, the weight of the shoe is what keeps your foot stable on the court.

Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Basketball Shoes

There are many differences between indoor and outdoor basketball shoes. As mentioned, the biggest differences are in the soles and tread patterns. Another important difference is the materials these basketball sneakers are made from.

Indoor courts are controlled environments and do not get as hot as when playing outdoors. On the other hand, you need a breathable shoe to use on outside courts, as the temperature isn’t as consistent. You do not want your feet to be sweating, as this leads to your foot sliding around inside your shoe.

Outdoor basketball shoes are designed to cope with the uneven texture of an outdoor court. Besides thicker soles, their tread pattern is larger to prevent skidding.

This type of sole and tread will give you the best grip and allow you to perform well outdoors. Indoor sneakers are designed to be used on smooth, polished wooden surfaces. As a result, their soles and tread are a lot thinner and finer than those found in outdoor shoes.

The Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes 2020

Now that we’ve covered some basic features to look for in a pair of sneakers, it’s time to take a look at the top 10 best outdoor basketball shoes on the market.

1. Best Overall Basketball Shoes: Nike Men’s Lebron XIII

Why we like it: Zoom Air units under the heel provide you with everything you are looking for in a basketball shoe. For additional comfort, mesh uppers allow for superb airflow, which will keep your feet constantly dry. And rubber soles are always an excellent feature for an outdoor shoe.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: The unusual shape of the sole might turn a few eyes, but it works very well—a blend of leather, modern styling, and excellent cushioning sums up this shoe. The upper material is comfortable and durable, providing a ton of lockdown. This is because the straps do a great job, and they never come undone! This is a great shoe with outstanding traction and no real weaknesses.

Performance: These basketball shoes offer support, comfort, and just the right amount of traction. The rubber used is less sticky than other shoes, but it will still attract some dust. It is a very solid hoop shoe that is suited for players of all positions.

Quality: The structure is solid, and so is the interior padding and materials. The Hexagonal Zoom Units are probably the most impressive thing about this pair of outdoor basketball shoes. The Zoom bags are quite thin, and whether or not that is a bad thing depends on the individual. Some people prefer to have less protrusion so that there is a little more stability.

Pros
  • 2 Zoom Air units under the heel
  • Flywire cables for lockdown
  • Traction
Cons
  • Price

2. Best Premium Basketball Shoes: Nike Men’s Lebron Soldier IX

Why we like it: Your feet are comfortable and have support at all times, due to the cushioning and the forefoot straps. This is one of the best outdoor basketball shoes from Nike. The full inner sleeve and wedge carrier foam give additional support.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: What these shoes offers are cushioning, which ensures that you are very comfortable during the whole game. These basketball shoes are not heavy, so they will not weigh you down. Additionally, they are partly made out of a mesh of synthetic and nylon. They are also extremely breathable and will keep your feet cool and dry. The shaft measures about 3.15” from arch to offer the best ankle support. The forefoot strap locks the forefoot and midfoot into place.

Performance: Excellent ankle support due to the straps that extend from the base of the shoe up to the ankle area. The traction is absolutely one of the best on clean courts and doesn’t require any wiping on dusty courts either. The synthetic leather breaks in very nicely and provides a comfortable and supportive 1:1 fit.

Quality: This is one of the most supportive basketball shoes around. With a quality rubber sole, these shoes offer some of the best traction for outdoor basketball. Cushioning, containment, and support with a wide, flexible collar and lace-free closure are all top quality.

Pros
  • Lunarlon cushioning
  • Forefoot strap
  • Top Brand
Cons
  • Price

3. Best Budget Basketball Shoes: Under Armour Men’s UA Clutchfit Drive II

Why we like it: Traction and stability are important in every sport, but especially in basketball (and especially outdoors). These shoes will give you excellent support. Going under the hoop won’t be a problem at all.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: The charged cushioning midsole is shock-absorbing, which makes these basketball shoes very responsive. In addition to that, the 3D molded tongue surrounds your foot and ankle to ensure the best fit. Finally, the full-length molded Micro G sock liner will ensure your foot stays locked into the shoes for stability.

Performance: Multi-directional herringbone outsole will make you the “king of the court.” It will give you full control. With a very good rubber sole, this shoe will ensure you get the absolute best traction.

Quality: Materials are top-notch and comfortable. The mid-foot shank, outrigger, and heel counter provide a lot of support and stability. At the end of the day, this is perfectly designed for power guards thanks to the responsive cushioning and flexible support. But it is still appropriate for centers and forwards as well.

Pros
  • 3D molded tongue
  • Rubber sole for superb traction
  • Full-length molded Micro G sock-liner
Cons
  • Not very breathable

4. Best for Point-Guards: Adidas Performance Men’s Crazylight Boost

Why we like it: Comfort, stability, and traction—in fact, everything you need in the best outdoor basketball shoes. Also, considering their traction, they’re quite lightweight.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: These shoes represent a new dimension in comfort. They feature a molded TPU eye-stay piece and a heel cup. Running from the middle of the heel to the middle of the forefoot, the low top supports the shoe and keeps the shoe from bending in on itself. This shoe is of tremendous quality, and the design isn’t bad either.

Performance: Traction, comfort, and support are the three most important things to consider when buying basketball shoes. Adidas Performance Men’s Crazylight Boost shoes won’t disappoint in any of these areas. The boost midsole of these lightweight basketball shoes allows you to move comfortably around the court, offering you stability and support. When playing outdoor basketball, your shoes are the most important aspect of your equipment. These shoes won’t let you down.

Quality: Adidas Performance Men’s Crazylight Boost has a heavy midsole and soft upper materials. This is a low-top shoe, great for point guards, especially with the satin-slick lining in the heel area. The boost midsole of these basketball shoes allows you to move comfortably around the court, offering you stability and support, despite its heavy midsole.

Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Textile lining and back collar
  • Rubber sole for best traction
Cons
  • Heavy midsole

5. Nike Zoom Hyperrev

Why we like it: Excellent fit, the best support for both forefoot and heels, and a very good lockdown system to make sure your foot stays locked to the footbed. Full-length Zoom is one of the things that makes this shoe a favorite of professional players.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: As you may have noticed, rubber soles are the best thing in a basketball shoe. In this case, the sole offers great traction. Combined with all the other features, you are sure to be able to outmaneuver your opponents and score that slam dunk with ease in these shoes. The upper is mesh and fly-wire, which takes some of the pressure off. The Dynamic Fly-wire tightens around your foot so that you can feel the effect of the lockdown. The outside design is quite eye-catching too.

Performance: This shoe offers flexibility and fits perfectly. It has your normal Nike Zoom heel unit, but the forefoot has a rectangular-shaped Zoom, which will provide you some extra stability and comfort. The flywire does exactly what it’s supposed to: It keeps your foot supported and drawn into the footbed.

Quality: The Hyperrev is of excellent quality. Reinforcements throughout the shoe’s upper, which is made of mesh, is the best aspect of these shoes. These pieces of fuse protect the weak mesh material from deforming. As a result, they are quite durable and should last you a long time.

Pros
  • Zoom in heel unit and forefoot
  • Dynamic Flywire for lockdown
  • Lightweight mesh upper
Cons
  • It’s quite narrow and is not suitable for wide feet.

6. Best for Kids: Nike Youth KD 8

Why we like it: Nike Zoom Air Units, as you may have already experienced with some Nike models, provide great support and comfort. Additionally, the shoes are lightweight, which is very important for some positions.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: Flywire cables and a fly weave upper, these are the hallmarks of the Nike KD8, along with superb traction from a multi-directional outsole. You won’t go unnoticed with these shoes since they are very attractive in all of the available colors. Additionally, they are equipped with fantastic features to help you take your game to the next level. The Nike KD8 is produced in honor of the All-Star Game in Toronto, Canada and is part of the Sports Royalty Collection.

Performance: These are ultra-light shoes that are very supportive and flexible, with a fly weave upper that is also breathable. A potential nuisance is the exposed zoom air unit, but there is a support piece in place. This is in order to ensure that the bag won’t fold or collapse when you’re playing. We highly recommend them for outdoor play.

Quality: These are among the best outdoor basketball shoes on the market for 2020. The multi-directional outsole enhances the traction of these basketball shoes. In addition, the look is inspired by the woven upper of the shoes. On top of that, their form-fitting uppers contribute to the quality of the Nike Youth KD 8 models. The only drawback to a woven upper is diminished durability over the long term.

Pros
  • Ultra-lightweight and flexible
  • Flyweave upper
  • Flywire cables
Cons
  • Upper durability
  • Expensive for kid’s shoes

7. Adidas Performance Men’s D Rose 6 Boost

Why we like it: What fascinates us the most about this shoe is the integrated EVA midsole and Boost technology. Along with a midsole cage for lockdown, these shoes provide comfort and amazing support.  Additionally, the Adidas Performance Men’s D Rose 6 Boost has excellent traction.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: The sole is synthetic with a non-marking rubber outsole for superb traction. The rubber outsole is simply the best you can find. The eye-catching design with the upper and asymmetric collar gives these shoes a fantastic look.

Performance: The three mega rules of outdoor basketball shoes are comfort, stability, and traction. These shoes have it all, plus they are very stylish. All around, they will help you take your game to the next level. Playing fast and hard is made easy with these great outdoor basketball shoes from Adidas.

Quality: Any position you take feels good in them. They are a little bottom-heavy, but they don’t feel that way once you wear them because of the boost. Their quality is superb and you will notice this the second you put them on. As a result, they meet all the requirements for one of the best outdoor basketball shoes on the market.

Pros
  • Shaft measures around 5.5” from arch
  • Non-marking outsole
Cons
  • Non-rubber outsole
  • A little heavy on the bottom

8. Adidas Men’s D Lillard 2

Why we like it: A great shoe for outdoor use. The tech-fit engineering, along with the padded collar, four flex zones, and mesh upper, means these are durable and effective basketball shoes.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: The best of the best rubber sole, and Puremotion+ gives you even better traction, flexibility, and speed. Another thing that will do wonders for your support is the Sprint-frame construction. This allows you to move around the court in comfort. A padded collar and Tech-fit engineering ensure the basketball shoe is ultra-comfortable. It takes the shock and allows your feet to rest comfortably in the shoes.

Performance: If you are in need of a serious basketball shoe and need to have it without spending a lot of money, this is the shoe for you. The upper is mesh, which is breathable and flexible, and wraps your foot in comfort. As a result, the shoes perform great on any outdoor surface.

Quality: Adidas Men’s D Lillard 2 offers a very high-quality fit, superb comfort, and great durability. The satisfying lockdown ensures nearly flawless support. On top of that, these shoes are lightweight, making them ideal for speed and maneuvering around the court.

Pros
  • Techfit engineering for comfort
  • Highly flexible with four flex zones
  • Puremotion+ for superb traction
Cons
  • Some issues with the product’s customer service

9. Nike Men’s Zoom KD 9

Why we like it: Nike Zoom Air cushioning implemented in the Nike Men’s Zoom KD 9 is best-in-class. In combination with the great flexibility and fly-knit forefoot and lace loops, these shoes are definitely deserving to be on this list.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: By combining solid traction, a fantastic cushion, and great materials, you get the Nike Men’s Zoom KD 9. These shoes are a great fit and have good support. The multi-directional tread pattern is excellent for any surface, but it works especially well outdoors. The rubber outsole that surrounds every side brings out stability and durability. The design is very eye-catching and will grab people’s attention.

Performance: These outdoor basketball shoes take comfort, control, and support to the next level, and they have amazing traction. The mesh and foam upper around the heel assure easy movement and are very responsive.

Quality: Nike has once again provided a great pair of outdoor basketball shoes. They paid careful attention to outdoor conditions and created a model that will satisfy all your needs, even while playing in the wind.  The synthetic leather upper provides you with ankle support, as well as the best comfort and cushioning possible. On top of that, the shoes are highly durable. Don’t be fooled by their slim and vulnerable appearance. These shoes are of high quality and they will fulfill all of your needs on the court.

Pros
  • Multi-directional tread pattern
  • Nike Zoom Air Cushioning system
  • Flyknit forefoot and lace loops to lock the foot into the shoe
Cons
  • The cleats tend to loosen while in use

10. Nike Jordan Men’s Jordan CP3.X

Why we like it: Every time you purchase a Nike Jordan, you know exactly what you are getting. As always, this sneaker model possesses everything you might need to succeed on the court: comfort, stability, flexibility, support, and great traction.

Editor’s Rating:

Design: The Flywire cables integrate with the laces for great lockdown support, keeping your foot stable and supported at all times. The wave pattern ties in well with the outsole of the shoe. The famous Jumpman logo engraved on the sides makes this a very iconic shoe.

Performance: The upper has a high-quality performance weave, which feels great on the foot. It is very soft and provides just the right amount of support while wrapping around your foot. This outdoor basketball shoe offers a great traction pattern on the rubber sole. As a result, it is able to cope with virtually any surface.

Quality: Fast, stable, and flexible. The one-piece woven upper is both lightweight and durable. It allows for great airflow through the shoes, in order to keep your foot cool and dry. Air Jordans are always great quality, but the soles on these shoes are not as well attached as we’d like.

Pros
  • Multi-directional tread pattern
  • Nike Zoom Air Cushioning system
  • Flyknit forefoot and lace loops to lock the foot into the shoe
Cons
  • The soles aren’t attached well to the shoes.

A Guide to Buying the Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

If you are looking to buy quality outdoor basketball shoes, then all the technical jargon can be overwhelming. However, buying basketball shoes isn’t as complicated as you might think. Here are some things you should look for when upgrading your sneakers and getting yourself a pair of basketball shoes that will help you play your best and look awesome doing it.

Good Ankle Support

Basketball involves a lot of foot and ankle movement during a game, so it is important to provide maximum support for your ankles. Shoes with a high top—which goes above the ankles—are your best bet for sturdy ankle support and maximum shock absorption.

For example, post players generally stay near the basket during a game (for defending, rebounding, and shooting). This increases the likelihood of stepping on another player (or getting stepped on) and turning their ankle. Thus, post players stand to benefit the most from a high-topped shoe.

Durability

This is an essential factor to consider when choosing outdoor basketball shoes. You will play on uneven outdoor courts that contain stone, dust, and many other impurities. As a result, you need shoes that are highly durable.

The durability of basketball shoes depends on many factors. These include, but aren’t limited to, the material the shoes are made of, the thickness of the rubber outsole, the overall build, etc.

Speaking of rubber outsoles, herein lies the biggest difference between indoor and outdoor basketball shoes. Since indoor shoes are made for fast movement and flexibility, their rubber tends to be softer and more lightweight.

On the other hand, soles for good outdoor basketball shoes are made solely for the purpose of durability. As a result, they are quite heavy, and the outsole rubber is much harder. This is because they have to cope with the unevenness and different textures of an outside court.

As for the material of the shoes, you can’t beat leather and synthetic leather. While they might be a bit pricier, leather basketball shoes are the absolute best for outdoor play. In addition, look for shoes that are reinforced in key areas. Not only will this improve the overall durability of the sneakers, but it will also help prevent injuries.

Traction

Another important feature to look for when choosing outdoor basketball shoes is traction. Even if you are an amateur player, shoes with great traction are crucial. If the outsole of the shoes doesn’t grip well, you will slip around the court more often.

The traction pattern and grooves on the pattern greatly affect the overall traction of the shoe. If the grooves are spaced out wider, then the dust will accumulate between the slots. This results in reduced traction.

Additionally, the traction pattern of the shoe should cover almost every area of the shoe. If that’s the case, the shoes should grip well on virtually any surface.

To sum up, the groves on the pattern should be widely spread and should grip on dusty courts. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at high risk for injury.

Stability and Support

As previously mentioned, stability is crucial if you want to improve your game and prevent injuries. During a game of basketball, players jump a lot and make quick changes in their movements. As a result, their feet need the stability and support to back that up.

In order to achieve that, your selected outdoor basketball shoes should have some basic support and stability features. However, keep in mind that your playing style may influence what type you need. All the shoes on our list offer great stability.

There are three types of basketball shoes. Low Top, Mid Top, and High Top. Generally speaking, High Top shoes provide the best ankle support, but they are a bit heavier because of it. As a result, players that rely on speed tend to avoid them. Our best overall pick is a great high-top shoe

On the other hand, Low Top shoes are more lightweight and flexible. If you tend to play as a point guard, you would probably want Low Top basketball shoes. They are practically made for speed. The Crazylights are a good choice if you want a low top shoe.

Keep in mind that, even though High Tops provide better stability and ankle support, Low Tops aren’t a bad choice. However, if you opt for Low Top shoes, maybe consider investing in ankle braces or other alternative ways to make up for the lack of ankle support. Both are a good option, it just depends on which is right for you.

Price

Of course, getting the right shoes is important for multiple reasons. But that doesn’t mean that you need to break the bank for a good pair of shoes.

A lot of people think that the more expensive the shoes are, the better they are. That is not always true. Keep in mind that you are sometimes paying for the brand of the shoes, but not the quality.

That is not to say that great outdoor basketball shoes are cheap. If you want a pair of shoes made from premium materials, you’ll have to pay a premium price. However, if you have a budget in mind, you will surely find a pair that fits your needs. The best budget pick is a good shoe for the price you pay.

Fit

This one is a no-brainer; the shoes should fit you perfectly. No amount of ankle support, durability, or low price can make up for shoes that don’t fit. You can choose a size that suits you. Although most manufacturers vary slightly, in general, they correlate to standard shoe sizes.

Comfort

Don’t sacrifice comfort due to fit. Yes, the shoes should fit you perfectly. However, you also need to feel comfortable wearing them.

The shoe should contain a lot of padding at the forefoot, so your foot won’t slam at the toebox. Additionally, the foot needs to be locked in perfectly, restricting any internal movements. Remember, you need to keep your head in the game, and uncomfortable shoes are extremely distracting.

Material

Leather basketball shoes are generally more durable and have a longer life expectancy. High quality leather athletic shoes will offer your ankles more support. This is due to the fact that the material is stronger and less likely to sag or stretch after an extended length of time.

Some brands incorporate a mesh and synthetic leather material into their shoe uppers, which gives a certain degree of support. However, they tend to stretch or crack. A good and solid rubber sole is the best way to support the arches of your feet when executing jumps, fast turns, and sudden stops on the court.

Raw materials feel better around your foot, and they break in nicely. However, they can show signs of wear much faster than most modern synthetics. If you wish to avoid having your shoe look worn out too quickly, consider builds comprised of TPU (plastic) as they typically last longer.

Final Thoughts

Basketball is a demanding game. The constant stress on the shoes as you pivot, swivel, and accelerate across the court means that a good pair will certainly help you achieve your maximum on the court. Good basketball shoes are going to be expensive, as the best brands on the market charge a premium for their product. Even so, the options on our list offer outstanding quality and durability for the price. The key is to get a shoe that has a rubber outsole, and a premium build that can handle the outdoor environment. If you’re setting up a court in your backyard, you may also be looking for an outdoor basketball and great basketball hoop to go with it so you can perfect your practice, show up in your new shoes and dominate your local pick-up game. Happy dunking!