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I’ve been playing basketball for more than 20 years. This is my review of the best basketball shoes to get for 2021.

Over the past years, the question I get most often is, “What is the best basketball shoe to get my game up?” or “What shoe will make me a better player?”

While there is no single answer to this question, I keep a couple of philosophies in what I call ‘The Quest for the Best Performing Shoe.’

One thing to keep in mind is that every basketball player is different, different in their foot, different in how they play the game. This makes finding the best basketball shoes difficult since a certain kind of play wants a particular type of shoe.

OUR BEST PICK

Air Jordan XXXIII

Air Jordan XXXIII

  • Has that distinct Air Jordan “Jays” style that will get you a lot of compliments.
  • Carries an important legacy to basketball as a homage to the basketball king of the 90s, Michael Jordan.

With research getting more intense for consumer products, it’s hard to keep up with dope and wack. I wanted to find the best quality shoes for every kind of person so that you can find the best performing shoe for the way you play.

Who Should Get This?

Since there are so many different kinds of ballers who each play basketball in their way, each shoe is the best at what it was designed for, meant to bring the most out of a certain kind of player.

As it says “best” in the title, these shoes are of severe ballers, the kind of baller with a game every week and practice every morning and afternoon. So these shoes will be seeing a lot of court time. Burning rubber running fast-breaks and suicides, you’re going to get some miles out of these shoes.

I would suggest that you get yourself a backup pair of essential practice to not run these shoes into the ground. We have an article on the Best Basketball Shoes Under $100, which contains some quality shoes that would make ideal back-ups. Having a deep shoe rotation is important for ballers that grind on the.

Here 11 Best Basketball Shoes That Help You Jump Higher In 2021 :

1. Best Overall performance Basketball Shoe: Air Jordan XXXIII

Figuring out the best overall shoe on the market was not easy since every shoe on this list can claim the top spot. I picked this shoe because anyone can play in this shoe and get the most out of it.

  •   Versions: [Men’s] [pre-school]
  • Released: 2018
  • Manufacturer: Jordan | Nike
  • Signature: Michael Jordan

The Air Jordan XXXIIIs (33s) are in a class of their own. This is the summit of basketball shoes if I have any say. No one thing makes this shoe great, the entire shoe, top, and bottom, inside and out, left and right, is pure craftsmanship.

As a symbol of the greatness of Michael Jordan, this shoe does not let down. The materials are world-class, the balance and support are unrivaled, and the look is DOPE. I have never seen a more game-perfect shoe that can benefit every player out there.

Air Jordan XXXIII
Image : Amazon

What I like:

  • Has that distinct Air Jordan “Jays” style that will get you a lot of compliments.
  • Carries an important legacy to basketball as a homage to the basketball king of the 90s, Michael Jordan.
  • Amazing balance and cushion, definitely a scorer’s shoe.
  • The traction is second to none.
  • High-end materials are used all over this shoe.
  • The fly-knit body provides for an amazing lock-down.
  • Shoe molds to your foot once broken in, couldn’t ask for any more comfort during a game.

What I don’t like:

  • Nope.

2. Best Overall Runner-up: Kyrie 4 by Nike

There are a lot of contenders for the spot of the best for the best. I felt it appropriate to give you another shoe to consider as the best shoe on the market today.

  • Versions: [womens] [grade-school] [pre-school]
  • Released: 2017
  • Manufacturer: Nike
  • Signature: Kyrie Irving

If there is such a thing as a performance-enhancing shoe, it’s the Kyrie 4. I don’t believe there is any better quality in textiles or rubber sole compounds invented yet. Nike put everything they know into shoemaking and molded it into this beauty of a shoe.

While everything on this shoe is at its best, I wanted to highlight how well they are geared to scoring. The Kyrie 4s blend a perfect balance, cushion, and support to benefit footwork and your jump shot.

Besides scoring, the Kyrie 4s enable your speed with great traction and a lightweight build. You’ll be able to run to your spot and take the jumper with ease.

Kyrie 4 by Nike
Image : Amazon

These shoes do require a dedicated break-in. The rubber sole needs to be whett by a court before it grips properly. Then the boot is unforgiving till it’s gotten used to your foot. Once it’s all broken in, it will feel better than the best shoe you’ve ever had.

What I like:

  •   It’s a cool-looking shoe, maximum swager and very loud.
  • Once broken in, these shoes will fuse to your foot’s mind.
  • Exceptional materials are used all over.
  • Straight up, this shoe does everything perfectly. Traction, support, lock-in, everything.
  • Very breathable shoe.

What I don’t like:

  • If you skip break-in, your feelings are going to suffer.
  • Materials may be too light for true bugs.
  • Not as good outdoors compared to indoors.

3. Best Basketball Shoe for Point Guards (PG): Curry 2 by Under Armour

Point guards typically want a lighter shoe that helps facilitate their ball-handling skills and smaller frame.

  • Versions: [2.5] [2.5 grade-school] [pre-school]
  • Released: 2015
  • Manufacturer: Under Armour
  • Signature: Stephen Curry

The Holy Grail of Under Armour shoes, the Curry 2s, has to be the most sought-after shoe of the signature collection.

It has been the peak of Under Armour’s research and technology, the company caught lightning with this pair, and no one in the industry has been able to re-create a shoe with so much quality.

Curry 2 by Under Armour
Image : Amazon

From the league’s most prolific 3-point shooter of all time, the Curry 2s give you the best shooting support on the market. The springy cushion for Under Armour’s “Charged” technology is no joke. A point guard can unload their whole bag of moves with these kicks on.

Whatever you do, break these shoes in. They’ll come stiff out of the box.

What I like:

  • Balance and support give you a lot of security while mixing up your handles.
  • No shoe makes you just feel as good.
  • Under Armour “Charged” cushion technology in the sole.
  • Cushion helps you blast off for jump shots and runs great impact protection.
  • Extra light feels like nothing is on your foot.
  • A M A Z I N G traction.
  • Very breathable shoe.
  • Superbe lock-down, laces go up high for extra ankle protection.
  • Does not inhibit movement at the ankles. Lateral movement stays sharp and explosive.

What I don’t like:

  • Not a great outdoor shoe.
  • Take it as a decent break-in cycle to feel right.

4. Best Basketball Shoe for Shooting Guards (SG): Harden Vol. 2 by Adidas

Shooting guards benefit from improved cushion and impact protection when taking jump shots. They will also want good lateral support for explosive cuts and changes in direction to shake their defender when off the ball.

  • Versions: [pre-school]
  • Released: 2018
  • Manufacturer: Adidas
  • Signature: James Harden

The follow-up to James Harden’s premiere shoe, vol. 2, is an all-star of its own. Adidas brought out a brand new kind of lacing system for the Rocket’s scoring phenom. The beard struck gold with this shoe design. A shoe that would be a godsend to any scoring guard. Either at one of the two.

The cushion on the Harden Vol. 2s is the real reason to write home about. Responsiveness, impact resistance, and picture-perfect balance make this an easy shoe to play in.

Harden Vol. 2 by Adidas
Image : Amazon

Pair that with the lightweight nature of the knit boot and the amazing support, you will be exploding into cuts and to the bucket before your match-up can even blink.

What I like:

  • ·    The spectacular cushion forgiving on the feet and legs plays a whole afternoon, and I feel fine after in these shoes.
  • Terrific balance and support make scoring effortless.
  • Brand-new lacing system will make any size foot feel at home.
  • Lightweight and breathable makes for a very comfortable shoe.
  • The whole shoe is designed to facilitate your scoring.

What I don’t like:

  • Traction does NOT hold up on dusty, unclean courts.
  • Best to keep these shoes away from outdoor courts.

5. Best Basketball Shoe for Small Forwards (SF): Air Jordan Retro XIII

There are many kinds of small forwards and ways to play the position. It is the most hybrid of all positions on the court. So an SF needs the speed of a guard shoe and the durability/toughness of a big man shoe.

  • Versions: [low] [suede] [leather] [grade-school] [pre-school]
  • Released: 2017
  • Manufacturer: Jordan | Nike
  • Signature: Michael Jordan

When the design team set off to design these shoes, they wanted to set out a game to give these shoes playing qualities deserving MJs legacy. The Retro XIIs are an absolute beast of a pair.

Many care and quality materials went into the soul of these shoes, and a lot of love into the soul. Playing in these shoes can very easily ruin the comfort of other kicks you try on since everything feels great in these shoes.

Air Jordan Retro XIII
Image : Amazon

I would suggest this shoe to any kind of player, but especially hybrid-style players. The Retro XIIIs have the durability, and support bigs are looking for.

While being balanced and light enough for guards. The real star on this shoe is its traction, which every player can appreciate.

What I like:

  •   The best traction you could ask from a pair of shoes.
  • Comes in some amazing colorways, each as dope as the last.
  • Once broken in, it will be the most comfortable pair of shoes you own.
  • Carbon fiber is implemented into the midsole allowing for a more responsive bounce when jumping and impact protection when landing.
  • It could well be the best shoe ever made.
  • Carries an important legacy to basketball as a homage to the basketball king of the 90s, Michael Jordan.
  • High-end materials are used all over this shoe.
  • A lot of thought went into the design process and into this shoe. It is a winner and a critically acclaimed success.

What I don’t like:

  •  It can get hot, especially in the leather version.

6. Best Basketball Shoe for Power Forwards (PF): LeBron XIII by Nike

At the power forward position, the shoe needs to be durable enough to take the power of its player and the damage from an opponent. Since most PF will find themselves fighting for rebounds, they will be near their opponent while battling for position under the basket.

  • Versions: [low grade-school]
  • Released: 2016
  • Manufacturer: Nike
  • Signature: LeBron James

Before LeBron, finding good signature basketball shoes for big men was near impossible. LeBron’s signature line was built for players similar to the King himself.

Big powerful beasts of men that can move mountains with their feet firmly set in the ground. Basketball is played a little bit differently at the 4 and 5 positions. Match-ups tend to get more physical in the paint.

The impact protection on this shoe is through the roof, and landing will be much more forgiving on your knees and ankles. The support on this boot is as good as it gets.

LeBron XIII by Nike
Image : Amazon

A nice and thick, high-quality material is used throughout this boot, dubbed Hyperposite. It will keep you safe from impacts and being landed on.

What I like:

  • The tough, one-piece boot fits snug to the foot.
  • World-Class cushion controls impact like a dream, very forgiving on the knees.
  • Built for big players, it can take a beating like no other.
  • Great support up and down the ankle.
  • Driving power out of these shoes feels great.
  • Offers the most foot security and support I’ve ever seen.
  • A heavy-duty shoe that will contain and focus your power.

What I don’t like:

  • Breaking these things will be a journey.
  • Avoid the low-top version of this shoe, just not the same amount of support in the original.
  • The shoe can run narrow.

7. Best Basketball Shoe for Centers (C): LeBron XIV by Nike

Centers require shoes that can handle the maximum power a basketball player can dish out. The position of giants requires shoes that are the epitome of tough while providing strong ankle support.

  • Versions: [grade-school]
  • Released: 2017
  • Manufacturer: Nike
  • Signature: LeBron James

The successful successor to the LeBron XIIIs (13s), Nike took everything great with the XIIIs and made it tougher and stronger.

This shoe has received much criticism for bulking up and being slower. Yes, this is a heavier shoe, exactly what you want at the Center position.

You will find plenty of support and cushion from these kicks. Take these shoes to the paint and bring your match-up to school. These shoes are built for aggressive, powerful play and plenty of action. As a big man, these shoes will feel perfect on your feet.

LeBron XIV by Nike
Image : Amazon

Just like most big man shoes, take the time to break them in properly. Since the material was meant to take a beating, it should take some convincing to get to mold to your foot.

What I like:

  • Big shoe for big feet, best shoe for flat-footed friends that need a wider boot.
  • Great lock-down from the strap in the middle of the boot.
  • With high quality and tough material used all around, this shoe can handle a lot of power.
  • Great traction and support to help you back down on offense.
  • Built tough for bumping and bruising down low.

What I don’t like:

  • Sole is a dust eater, so bring something to wipe it down.
  • Take some time to break in.

8. Best Basketball Shoe on Outdoor Courts for Guards: Dame 5 by Adidas

Outdoor courts require shoes with denser, tougher soles. Guards need to be extra aware of their traction while flying around an outdoor court since the stick is much different at treated indoor hardwood.

  • Versions: [pre-school & grade-school]
  • Released: 2019
  • Manufacturer: Adidas
  • Signature: Damien Lillard

This shoe could have very well taken the best shoe at either the point guard or shooting guard spot on this list.

The Dame 5 is here on this list because the other two guard shoes wouldn’t hold up on an outdoor court. The sole on these kicks are deep and stiff. No other guard shoe at the high-end will perform as well as the Dame 5 on concrete.

Just like the other guard shoes we’ve titled as “best.” You can expect great attributes that will sustain peak-level scoring.

Dame 5 by Adidas
Image : Amazon

Amazing balance, support, and lockdown will have you dancing on fools. Low-top and lightweight will have you flying up and down the court with ease.

What I like:

  •   Support and lock-down are on point.
  • Still provides ideal ankle support as a low-top shoe.
  • The lightweight boot will keep you on your toes, flying at full speed.
  • Terrific traction that will hold up to an outdoor court better than anything else on the market.
  • Little to no break-in needed. Feels great right out of the box.
  • Could take the spot for best budget shoe, very affordable price point.

What I don’t like:

  • A shoe can slip on dusty courts.

9. Best Basketball Shoe on Outdoor Courts for Bigs: Kobe Proto 1 by Nike

If big man shoes are susceptible to breakage, it’s doubly true when dealing with an outdoor court. The wear and tear can eat up the wrong shoe in a couple of months.

  • Released: 2018
  • Manufacturer: Nike
  • Signature: Kobe Bryant

The Kobe Proto 1s are a monster unit of a shoe. Perfect in the feet of big men who drive power from the earth. The low ride and minimal cushion keep your weight low for an amazing court feel.

With firm, security offered all around this shoe and a nice dense body, you would not want to take anything else when you’re battling down low.

The thick leather in these kicks will get better with age, especially on an outdoor court. The soles are dense with deep grooves to bite into an outdoor court and give you exemplary traction.

Kobe Proto 1 by Nike
Image : Amazon

If your match-up is not wearing a pair of Kobre Proto 1s, I can guarantee you have an advantage under the basket.

What I like:

  • The weight and low-ride keep you close to the ground, exactly what you want when battling for a position down low.
  • A High-quality leathered body gives you all the protection you can ask for when you have your opponents stepping on your feet.
  • Nike Zoom cushion gives great impact protection when landing.
  • The best court feels you could ask in a shoe.
  • Fresh enough for a Saturday night out.
  • Once broken in, these shoes will fit as if they were tailor-made to your soul.

What I don’t like:

  • Expect this shoe to get hot.
  • It will take some diligence to break in.

10. Shoes That Increase Vertical : D Lillard 2 by Adidas

It’s always important to have a reliable, cost-effective shoe in rotation. One that is ready to pick up the slack in the case your main shoe breaks. A budget shoe should never mean a cheap shoe since there are many reliable quality choices under 100$.

  • Versions: [grade-school]
  • Released: 2017
  • Manufacturer: Adidas
  • Signature: Damien Lillard

The balance and cushion from the sole make this deadly weapon on the feet of a scorer. What makes this shoe stand out is the ankle and full foot support they provide.

The way the shoe can pull itself through your heel and towards the front end of your foot while keeping a low-cut is phenomenal. You’ll benefit from a full range of ankle movement from a low-top while still feeling as secure as a high-top shoe.

D Lillard 2 by Adidas
Image : Amazon

I would not suggest these shoes for big men. Guards, you will feel especially at home in the D Lillard 2s. This shoe will bring out the best of your offensive skill set while still keeping you locked in on defense.

It’s lightweight with good indoor traction, but don’t expect a great performance outdoors.

What I like:

  •   Adidas Bounce, cushion, and benchmark balance make this a dangerous weapon for shooters.
  • A low-top with perfect ankle support, meaning you’ll be cutting and changing direction at full speed, making these shoes even more deadly for scorers.
  • ·    As good as traction gets (in-doors).
  • ·    Premium material quality, similar to the textiles seen in high-end Jordans.
  • ·    Just like the Crazy Explosive, the competitive price point on these spectacular kicks gives you all the reasons to add to your shoe rotation.
  • ·    Looks hold up as a great casual shoe.

What I don’t like:

  • Extremely susceptible to dust, bring something to wipe these kicks down if you expect a dusty court.

11. Best Sleeper Basketball Shoe: Crazy Explosive by Adidas

Basketball shoe culture today has kicks looking wild as ever. Big colors, patterns, and textiles have us sneakerheads looking like we’re from the future. Sometimes a basic-looking dad shoe is a dope when you want to stomp on fools while dressed like your middle-school gym history teacher.

  • Versions: [primeknit] [low] [primeknit low] [grade-school]
  • Released: 2017
  • Manufacturer: Adidas

Adidas has this habit of making some amazing game-ready shoes quietly. While these kicks may come off as un-expressive in the oh-so-loud basketball culture, we are in, and you are going to be straight slaying opponents all season long in these dad shoes.

Looks aside, these kicks could be very well the best performance shoes out of 2016. Top-marks in all categories: traction ; support ; comfort ; lock-down ; ventilation ; materials ; cushion. If it helps you during game time, the Crazy Explosive will have it.

Crazy Explosive by Adidas
Image : Amazon

Any player can find the value out in these Adidas workhorses. For guards that want something lighter, I would suggest the primeknit regular version. Bigs will need extra protection from the regular models.

What I like:

  •  The affordability of this amazing shoe makes it a no-brainer. Add this shoe to your rotation as a high-quality backup.
  • Amazing sole, with responsive Boost cushioning, feels great when sprinting down the lane.
  • As far as in-door shoes go, this is the top 3 easy.
  • Unconventional lock-down works with the mesh body to give tight lockdown.
  • As comfortable as you can expect from a shoe, primeknit hugs snug to your foot.
  • The best-ventilated shoe at this quality and playability.
  • The ankle support could be an industry benchmark.

What I don’t like:

  • Sole is built for in-door courts and would expect a lot of wear from outdoor courts.
  • It is a Sleeper shoe that doesn’t look like much.
  • Lock-down is very tight and can make the shoe difficult to put on.

What to Consider?

Its in-game performance solely defines a shoe of quality, and no matter what kind of player you are, certain qualities hold.

Traction

As explosive and high-flying basketball is, it all starts at the ground. Or at your feet specifically. The grip on your soul to the court is a big factor in your performance during the game.

Traction dictates the level of your explosiveness, quickness in cuts, and your acceleration to your top speed, as well as your stability in your stance, which is where your power comes from when holding your position down low. So basically, no traction means no speed, agility, or power.

Support

The more intense a game is, the more explosive and physical it can get. Think of a nuclear reaction reaching meltdown. All of that energy needs to be contained. The same goes for you and your shoes. Support comes at the ankle, and the whole foot, in general, is a must for big men, where getting stepped on is a guarantee.

Durability

Games are intense. They require your body to output a lot of power and energy, much of which will come from and through your feet, which are in your shoes. A game-ready pair of kicks need to be tough enough to withstand wear.

Yes, some basketball shoes look nice, dripping in swag, but never forget that basketball shoes are a weapon, a tool. Any shoe made of sub-par materials wouldn’t last half a season on the feet of serious ballers.

Comfort

You need to focus while you’re in the game. While your shoes are an important tool during the game, they also need to be an afterthought so that you can focus on your jumper or defense.

Your mind needs to be locked into the game and your awareness at max. Uncomfortable shoes are a quick way to lose your focus, so breaking in your shoes is a must.

Lock-down

Lockdown is a mix of both support and comfort. Specifically, lock-down is how the shoe can cling onto your foot. Certain lacing systems allow for different levels of lock-down, but the best shoe just seems always to get it right.

Needless to say, if your shoes are not locked into your feet properly, you are not going to get any performance out of yourself or the shoe.

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Useful Tips and Resources

Break-in is a MUST

The most important thing to do with these shoes is to break them in properly. Most high-performance shoes are designed to form around your foot to some extent, and they will not feel game-ready directly out of the box.

So you’re going to need a couple of practices to get them accustomed to your foot. Some shoes can take up to a week of break-in, which can be a hassle, but it will be well worth the work by the end of it.

I would not suggest taking any shortcuts into breaking in a pair of high-end kicks. You will want to go through the process diligently so that the shoe forms correctly at its peak comfortability and performance.

However, I cannot stress enough how bad it will be for you to try to play in a high-end pair of shoes right out of the box. You will have a bad time and be a liability to your teammates.

Sizing up Adidas

Some Adidas shoes are known to be a little bigger than your true fit. In the case you do order an Adidas pair, I suggest you order the pair in size smaller or be ready to wear an extra pair of socks during game time.

Buying Basketball Shoes as Women

Not a lot of basketball shoes are manufactured with the idea of a “women’s shoe.” The thing is, shoes are gender-neutral, feet are just feet, of course.

To get the proper sizing for women, you just need some quick maths. That the women’s shoe size and subtract 2. So a size 8 for women is a size 6 for men.Check out our how to get tar off shoes?

Final Words

When you’re in the market for the best basketball shoes that fit, do what you can to be self-aware of the kind of player you are. There are many different ways to play basketball, so you’ll need to find the shoe in line with your game. Whether you’re a captain, role-player, or starter, you need the necessary tools to keep your game locked in.

These are the best-rated shoes which are well-suited for jumping (as of Apr 02, 2021) in the list of aggregated shoe reviews I have created in my recent blogpost. Follow the link and find out which shoes are the overall top-rated basketball sneakers according to the most well-respected shoe reviewers out there.

FAQs for basketball shoes that help you jump higher

Do basketball shoes make you jump higher?

Your standard basketball shoes are made to provide a responsive and safe experience to the player. Obviously, it’s easier to jump with these shoes than bare-footed (captain obvious) because the cushion is made to be soft, springy and responsive. But it’s not made to make you jump inches and inches higher.

What basketball shoes make you jump the highest?

If you want to have a chance to dunk, you need to find shoes that maximize your vertical jump.

The Top 5 Basketball Shoes For Dunking (2021)

1.    Nike Air Zoom BB NXT. 

2.    Air Jordan 35.

3.    Adidas Pro Boost. 

4.    Nike KD 13. 

5.    Nike Kobe 5 Prothro.

Is Kyrie 6 good for jumping?

Not too soft, not too hard, a good bit of bounce and feedback make this a great shoe for any position. The Phylon feels a little softer than we are used to from other Kyrie shoes. The Nike Zoom Turbo in the forefoot feels really nice and bouncy and gives you a lot of court feel.

Can you wear outdoor basketball shoes indoors?

You should try to keep dirt off of the courts as much as possible. Of course, wearing basketball shoes for style is fine, but I wouldn’t wear outdoor shoes on an indoor court. Maybe once you’re done with them casually, you can clean them really well and then wear them on the courts.

Are kyries comfortable?

The Kyrie 4 is the best overall performer of the Kyrie signature line and works well across all categories. The cushioning is much more comfortable than in previous models and provides great impact protection while still offering a responsive court feel.

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