7 Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes, 50+ Shoes Tested in 2023

Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic on
7 Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes, 50+ Shoes Tested in 2023

Basketball is largely an indoor sport. Officially, it is played on well-maintained hardwood courts. Because of this, brands like Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas often produce basketball shoes that are designed for indoor action.

With that, we consider it already a huge plus when we find out that a shoe is actually good for outdoor use. This only means that the manufacturer went out of their way to add more durability to the shoe. 

In this article, we present the shoes that are most suitable for the harsher conditions of the outdoors. We are able to pick them up after testing a little more than 400 basketball shoes from various brands and signature labels.

How we test basketball shoes

To keep our opinions as objective as possible, we do the following:

  • Steer clear from sponsorships

While freebies are nice to have, we’re afraid that they may color our judgments. We see it fit to purchase the outdoor basketball shoes that we were to test using our own cash. 

  • Test the shoes in realistic outdoor courts

Just because we played in it outside doesn’t really mean that a basketball shoe is already fit for outdoor use. They must still be played on surfaces that’s typical of outdoor courts: rough, dusty, and made of solid concrete with asphalt on top. 

In addition to our qualitative descriptions, we also give a CoreScore for each outdoor basketball shoe. This numerical rating is an aggregate of all the scores given by expert reviewers and regular hoopers all over the web, not just here at RunRepeat.

Best outdoor basketball shoes overall

Jordan Zion 2
Jordan Zion 2

CoreScore

89
Great!
4.7 / 5 from 80 users
82 / 100 from 10 experts

Pros

  • Strong side-to-side grip
  • Tremendous support
  • Very pronounced court feel
  • Reliable energy return
  • True-to-size fit
  • Breathable
  • Good for bigger men
  • OK for outdoors
  • Casual style

Cons

  • Dust-prone outsole
  • Lacks impact protection
  • Seriously needs breaking in

Verdict

Zion Williamson is a really big and powerful player, and his second signature shoe is built for players like him. Its design and overall structure contain so much force and high levels of aggression on the court. It's all about powerful cuts, forceful offenses, and determined sprints to the basket. It's as if the Jordan Zion 2 is saying: "give it your all or not play at all!"
Jordan Zion 2 full review

Best Nike outdoor basketball shoes

Nike Cosmic Unity 2
Nike Cosmic Unity 2

CoreScore

89
Great!
5.0 / 5 from 7 users
87 / 100 from 8 experts

Pros

  • Reliable grip
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • Excellent impact protection
  • Good court feel
  • Pretty bouncy
  • Comfortable upper
  • Good quality for the price
  • Pretty light
  • OK for outdoors

Cons

  • Not for wide-footers
  • So-so support
  • Still has to be broken in

Verdict

The Nike Cosmic Unity 2 does not disappoint even those who have been so impressed with the original Cosmic Unity from the previous year. Experts state that it is of the same level as top performers like the Nike KD 15. Given all this, it is not a surprise that this basketball shoe has become a solid contender for the best shoe of the year title.
Nike Cosmic Unity 2 full review

Best Jordan outdoor basketball shoes

Jordan One Take 3
Jordan One Take 3

CoreScore

84
Good!
4.5 / 5 from 220 users
80 / 100 from 2 experts

Pros

  • Surprisingly great traction
  • Pronounced court feel
  • Minimal-feeling materials
  • Reliable support and lockdown
  • Extreme lightness
  • Affordable price
  • Aesthetics

Cons

  • Not much impact protection
  • Plasticky cheap-feeling materials

Verdict

Russell Westbrook's third budget release is a well-loved shoe, though it's really not for everyone performance-wise. Its features seem to be geared toward shiftier guards, so big men might feel that the Jordan One Take 3 leaves a lot to be desired. But hey, this shoe looks great, and this is still one good reason to get this!
Jordan One Take 3 full review

Best Adidas outdoor basketball shoes

Adidas Harden Vol. 6
Adidas Harden Vol. 6

CoreScore

92
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 1,573 users
86 / 100 from 10 experts

Pros

  • Dependable grip on different court types
  • Plush and comfortable cushioning
  • Built for agile movements
  • Lateral stability
  • Great ankle lockdown without the bulk
  • Great for outdoor games
  • Doubles as a lifestyle sneaker

Cons

  • Has to be broken in
  • Cheap-feeling materials

Verdict

The Adidas Harden Vol. 6 is an awesome basketball shoe: its outsole is the true definition of versatility, biting different types of floors even when they are wet. James Harden is a guard, so it is not a surprise that this shoe is designed for quick movements: its cushioning gives off so much energy and the shoe structure just ensures a secure lockdown.
Adidas Harden Vol. 6 full review

Best high top outdoor basketball shoes

Reebok Shaqnosis
Reebok Shaqnosis

CoreScore

86
Great!
4.6 / 5 from 467 users
80 / 100 from 3 experts

Pros

  • Responsive
  • No break-in
  • Durable on rough outdoor courts
  • Secure fit
  • Great traction
  • Excellent lockdown
  • Good for running & hiking
  • Not a dust collector
  • Fits true to size

Cons

  • Lacks ventilation
  • Stiff footbed

Verdict

The Reebok Shaqnosis is a basketball shoe loved by athletes and shoe collectors. The pair is still loved by many wearers decades after its first release. The responsiveness, support, and comfort that the shoe provides are designed for players doing a lot of low post moves, but can also meet the demands of a center. Grab this favorite pair of Shaquille O’Neal and let it bring you memories from the 90s.
Reebok Shaqnosis full review

Best value outdoor basketball shoes

Nike Lebron Witness 6
Nike Lebron Witness 6

CoreScore

89
Great!
4.7 / 5 from 885 users
79 / 100 from 7 experts

Pros

  • Side-to-side containment
  • True to size
  • Thin but durable materials
  • Comfortably padded tongue
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • OK for outdoors
  • Easy on-off
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Dust-prone outsole
  • Lacking impact protection
  • Barely there court feel
  • Break-in needed

Verdict

The Nike LeBron Witness 6 can now cease to exist to restore the LeBron Witness line to its former glory. Sure, this shoe is not a lot like the Witness 5, but the updates did not do it any good. Too many serious flaws, this shoe is great only as a collector's item on a lighted glass-enclosed shelf. If you want a safe game shoe, take your money somewhere else. We recommend the Nike Mamba Rage.
Nike Lebron Witness 6 full review
Author
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic

Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.