The Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes of 2021

man tying sports shoes in basketball court
Basketball Products

The right pair of shoes can make or break your experience on the court. Finding the best outdoor basketball shoes for your competitions or pickup games is key to making sure your shoes fit your playing preferences.

As a basketball player knows, you need different shoes when you play on outdoor courts than when you play on indoor ones. This is because there are often so many general factors to consider like price, design, performance, etc. Yet, outdoor suitability is also one that is going to be important for many of you.

Outdoor courts are usually constructed with plain concrete, which means the shoes you buy will be different than those made for indoor flooring. Also, the best outdoor basketball shoes prepare for the weather conditions that come with playing outside, like rain, sun, or dust.

This article will list some of the best outdoor basketball shoes available for a wide range of budgets and specified preferences.

1. Nike Air Versatile III

Nike Air Versatile III is one of Nike’s best basketball shoe models and, as the name implies, is one of the most versatile basketball shoes you will find.

It has a sturdy rubber outsole with extra padding around the ankle to protect your Achilles heel. The padding also makes sure your foot stays nice and secure during an intense round of play, and since you regularly play on uneven surfaces in outdoor games, this will come in handy to make sure you do not roll your ankle.

These shoes also have an upper made from a melange of Nubuck and mesh that keeps your feet both comfortable and well-ventilated, so your feet can breathe. The upper’s material also makes the shoe customizable to a variety of different foot sizes.

The shoes also have a mix of bootie and ventilated mesh insoles with the mesh connecting to the tongue, making your foot blend in with the shoe’s inner material. The shoes’ mesh webbing also protects against hard cuts since it wraps itself around your entire foot.

As for the aesthetics, these shoes are uniquely sleek and come with an adjustable lacing set up and many different color options.

2. Adidas Men’s Dame 5

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adidas Men's Dame 5, Bold Gold/Shock red/Black, 8 M US
  • Adidas
  • Mens Shoes
  • Athletic Shoes
  • Yellow
  • Synthetic & Rubber

Adidas’s new Dame 5 model has been designed to adapt to your style. Designed with inspiration from NBA star Damian Lillard’s style of play, these shoes are designed primarily for optimal flexibility and comfort.

The shoe is flexible because its fused mesh upper can be customized to fit your foot size, shape, and movement. As for comfort, the shoes have added players of cushion on the insole that gives you some extra bounce for jumps and ankle support for landing. Also, this is an incredibly lightweight shoe while also providing great traction control that you do not see with other outdoor basketball shoe options.

These shoes also have a nice, fitted treat-pattern rubber sole design that comes with multiple colors and sizing options.

3. Nike Jordan Why Not Zero 0.2

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Nike Why Not Zer0.3 Mens Basketball Shoes Cd3003-006 Size 9
  • Style#: CD3003-006
  • Designed specifically for Russ, the large Air Zoom Turbo unit in the front of the shoe is curved to follow the foot's natural shape. As he charges down the court, the cushioning engages at different points for a continuously responsive sensation.
  • A clear, adjustable midfoot strap fastens in one fluid motion to help keep you stable and locked in over the footbed
  • The split outsole, jagged design lines and clashing mix of materials are distinct to Russ' signature line. Other embellishments include light-shifting accents and an exposed factory size tag visible on the bottom of the shoe.
  • The rubber outsole is split into 2 sections to help reduce weight. Multidirectional traction helps you stay in control while unleashing chaos on the court.

Michael Jordan’s spirit lives on with these high-performance outdoor basketball shoes Russel Westbrook himself uses on the court.

The Why NotZero0.2 shoes provide you with enough support without being too heavy or bulky. The upper material is made from textile and is both lightweight and breathable, which maximizes comfort. Also, this shoe is made with a full-bootie set up to fit many different feet. The shoes also have an interesting “octopus” traction pattern that is great for uneven or slippery outdoor surfaces.

These shoes also come with an added midsole lacing panel that keeps you stable while performing lateral movements like maneuvering around a defender or making room for your fade-away jump shot.

Speaking of jump shots, these shoes also have a cushioned sole with a Forefoot Zoom air unit that keeps you grounded when you land. You get even more support because of the solid rubber outsole that gives you added grip and traction.

The only possible drawback is that the outsole is a bit soft, so it may not be the most durable over a long period of time.

4. Nike Men’s Lebron Soldier 13

Nike Lebron Soldier XIII SFG Tb Mens Cn9809-113 Size 12 White/Black-Black
  • High-top silhouette with extended tongue for support and classic style.
  • Dual straps with Velcro and pull-tab tightening for secure lockdown.
  • Mesh upper breathes, flexes, and lets you trust your feet to stay centered.
  • Zoom Air and foam sole create major lift while cushioning every step.
  • Durable rubber outsole with herringbone tread pattern provides grip on multiple surfaces.

The Lebron Soldier 13 shoes from Nike are some of the best pairs of basketball shoes out there that come with both great design and performance.

One of the most telling features of the Lebron Soldier 12 is likely its laceless design, opting instead for horizontal strapping. This makes it a lot easier to put these shoes on and take them off while also providing you enough secure fitting and stability with its adjustable strap structure. These shoes are also designed for optimal balance and comfort, using Nike Zoom tech to add an inner compression sleeve.

The only main drawback when it comes to the Lebron Soldier 13s is likely its durability. Many users complained that it does tend to wear quickly compared to other high-end models. Also, these shoes are made from more ordinary, rather than premium, materials.

5. Under Armour Men’s Lockdown 4

Under Armour Men's Lockdown 4 Basketball Shoe, Black (005)/Black, 10.5
  • Molded synthetic upper for a responsive fit & fast look
  • Perforated leather delivers enhanced breathability
  • Lightweight, super-breathable sockliner provides underfoot cushioning & support
  • Injection molded EVA midsole delivers a lightweight & responsive ride
  • Rubber outsole with multi-level adaptive traction patterns to provide exceptional on-court movement & control that won't wear down

Under Armour’s Lockdown model has the perfect melange of optimal performance and aesthetics. These shoes are some of the best, specifically for outdoor basketball play.

Firstly, these shoes are very well-ventilated and made from flexible materials that allow you to move along the court. This means that your feet feel both free and dry, which will be a tremendous asset during high-intensity games.

Also, while comfortable, the shoes provide excellent balance and support for your feet, which can be helpful while playing on uneven concrete. The shoes also come with a secure lacing pattern that keeps your feet nice and snug as you play.

Also, unlike other flexible shoes, Lockdown model shoes are incredibly stable due to an outer heel counter for rocky surfaces and a small cushion for your Achilles heel.

As for the design, it comes with a sleep aesthetic with many different color options that will keep you looking fresh on the basketball court too.

The only drawback for these shoes is that they tend to wear pretty easily compared to other high-end basketball shoes, so you may need to replace them quicker than you expect.

6. Nike Men’s Zoom KD 12

Nike improved on some of their older KD models with the KD 12 made for both adaptable fitting and durability. As such, these shoes come with a more reliable dynamic lacing setup that feels like you are not wearing shoes at all.

These shoes also come with a nice mix of lightweight materials and increased durability, rarely found with other models. They are also equipped with zonal breathability, which makes sure your feet can breathe during high-intensity games.

The KD 12 model also comes with excellent traction control that gives you grip whenever you want to swift away from an opposing team player or moving across different angles for taking a shot.

These shoes are some of the best shoes for outdoor play because of their foothold, breathability, and reliable traction.  Most users claim that the only main drawback is that Nike did not use more high-quality materials for this model. However, it does not seem to have affected its durability.

7. Nike Air Jordan 49

These newer Air Jordans are some of the more high-end basketball shoes on the market with newly added technology combined with the retro Air Jordan aesthetic that many basketball shoe aficionados will be used to.

Some of its trademark features include its knit forefoot pattern that keeps your feet agile and can perform flexible movements. It does this using high-tenacity yarn that also makes sure your feet feel nice and snug.

As for performance, these shoes are equipped with flight speed tech and zoom air units that provide your feet with additional ankle support during jump shots and layups.  They also come with great and responsive cushioning, so your feet do not feel too sore during constant landing on harder outdoor basketball court surfaces.

8. Adidas Men’s Pro Next

This new model from Adidas is one of the sleeker models on the market with a great aesthetic and comfortable fit that provides great grip and traction on an outdoor basketball court.

This Adidas basketball shoe is constructed with a mix of leather and textile materials that make it more resilient against adverse weather conditions, which is common during outdoor games. Speaking of weather, the added herringbone pattern gives you a strong grip and more traction on wetter surfaces that help you zoom past your opponents with lateral movements without slipping on the concrete.

At the same time, this men’s basketball shoe also has a Cloudfoam midsole that provides optimal and responsive cushioning and shock absorption every time you jump and land on hard concrete. The combination of support with lightweight materials is something you do not see in some other models. These shoes also make sure your feet feel nice and dry inside the shoe due to superior ventilation from its breathable mesh upper.

Overall, these shoes are some of the most comfortable and high-performance shoes you will find for playing basketball. The only drawback is the lack of diverse sizing options.

Buyer’s Guide

The things you value in an outdoor basketball shoe will ultimately differ depending on your own personal preferences. Still, in general, these are some factors to think about before you purchase a new pair of durable outdoor basketball shoes.

Durability

When it comes to an outdoor shoe, durability is one of the most important features. Outdoor courts are often hard on your shoes, especially in adverse weather conditions, so your shoes must be constructed with some premium materials that will not degrade over time.

Rubber, leather, and flexible mesh are all excellent durable materials that you should look out for when finding a new outdoor shoe. Also, check reviews to see how long the shoes lasted before they started to degrade.

Comfort

Of course, during a long basketball game, it is vital that you feel comfortable in your shoes. Outdoor play often involves a lot of harder, rougher, surfaces so having padded insoles and cushioned midsoles may be critical for each and every layup, jump shot, or fight for the ball. It also helps to have supportive shoes and those with shock absorption capabilities and heel support for more impact protection from jumps and lands.

Breathability

As any basketball player can tell you, basketball is a high-energy sport that often makes you sweat over time. As such, it is key that your shoes can breathe. As such, you should look for shoes made from mesh or other lightweight shoe materials, so you do not overheat during your basketball game. Anything too stuffy may hinder your performance during a longer game, especially if it’s hot outside.

Traction

Most outdoor courts are uneven, rough, or slippery, so you should purchase shoes with excellent traction and grip. As such, look at the shoe’s traction pattern and the reviews as well to see if it holds up on uneven or patchy surfaces.

Aesthetics

Like a shirt or a pair of pants, shoes are also a fashion statement. The coloring scheme or pattern will make a huge difference whenever you buy shoes, and you will want to find one that fits your own style preferences.

man tying sports shoes in basketball court

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I wear basketball shoes outside?

Not all shoes are designed specifically for outdoor play, but virtually any basketball sneaker will work fine on most outdoor courts. However, you may want to purchase shoes designed specifically for outdoor play if that is where you play your games regularly.

How long do basketball shoes last?

This depends on how often you play. If you play regularly, expect them to last 6-8 months and if you play seriously, expect to purchase new shoes 2-3 times per year.

Should I clean my basketball shoes?

Particularly if you play outdoors, you should clean them regularly. Make sure that you clean your uppers separately from your midsoles since the washing process does differ. Also, make sure you never stick them in the washing machine as this tends to degrade the materials.

Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API