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.
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.
Since the Clyde Court Disrupt, Puma Hoops's Clyde line has been dishing out worthy alternatives to the usually pricier and more popular Adidas and Nike kicks that flood the market. The Puma Clyde All-Pro is assessed to be even better than, or at least comparable to, the Nike Kobe 9, which critics say is among the greatest basketball shoes. The All-Pro's bad points are either easy to remedy or just because of personal preference.
Consistent traction both on clean and dusty surfaces
Supportive once broken in
Wide feet friendly
OK for outdoor use
Soft, snug fit
Break-in period needed
Not so breathable
At $150, the Nike Cosmic Unity is on the pricier end for basketball shoes, but reasonable because of the top-notch cushioning setup, reliable containment, and elusive recycled materials build. If you are a player who loves a supportive, plush cushioning setup that still feels relatively low to the ground, this is a basketball shoe that fits that mold well. Plus the benefit of being a more sustainable purchase choice!
Players with aggressive playing styles will love the Kyrie 7. Wearing this shoe equips anyone playing with an advantage when playing aggressively. Having an upper that hugs the contour of your foot, a bouncy cushion and an elite tread pattern that will provide control is a winner. The Kyrie 7 is recommended for everyday and competitive basketball players.
The Zoom Freak 2 is a decent performer for me due to its amazing fit, lockdown, and traction, but is weighed down by its minimal cushion. The other minor area of warning is ventilation and midfoot support, where the lack of any midfoot shank may cause some pain for those with prior midfoot pain. The Zoom Freak 2 was very close to being a great performer if the cushioning was upgraded!
The Dame 7 has “no serious weaknesses,” but experts can’t stop comparing it to others that are better. Although a “very solid shoe” and a “jack of all trades,” the Dame 7 is still “master of none;” and it still doesn’t make it as the players’ favorite.
Highly rated: The second Donovan Mitchell basketball shoe is well-received by the market; it has got a lot of five-star ratings from wearers.
Stylish: A good number of wearers just loves the DON Issue #2's aesthetics.
Comfortable: Many reviewers report that they don't feel any discomfort even if they wear these Adidas basketball shoes for a long time.
Materials: A number of wearers share that the Adidas DON Issue 2 feels great.
Supportive: A good number of wearers have really good words for the type of lockdown that this shoe provides.
Price: Several reviewers are happy with the quality that they're getting for a relatively low price.
Traction: A few commenters say that these basketball shoes really have a nice grip.
Need break-in. A few wearers say that the Adidas D.O.N. Issue #2 has fit problems initially, but these issues go away once the shoes are broken in.
The Adidas D.O.N. Issue #2 is a good follow-up to the successful #1. Still priced at a fairly affordable $100, this basketball shoe delivers in terms of comfort, support, and style. There are issues, but they seem like ones that disappear once the shoe gets broken in. Compared to other basketball shoes, this basketball sneaker is already a good catch.
These Nike high-tops are hard to put on, some buyers complain.
According to one tester, the Nike Air Force Max has terrible grip on the court. The traction pattern just doesn't provide good stopping power.
The thick Max Air cushion feels unstable and lacks court feel, a reviewer complains.
The Nike Air Force Max is a stylish high-top that offers comfortable support on the court. Owners appreciate the plushness of the full-length Max Air cushion. They are also impressed at the supportive fit brought about by the ripstop upper and midfoot strap. Big men looking for a stylish, secure, and comfortable basketball sneaker can give these a go on the court. However, there are much better options out there for a fraction of the Air Force Max's price.
The Corescore is a score from 0-100 that summarizes opinions from users and
experts. Below shows the distribution of scores for all basketball shoes.
This shoe has a 8% penalty on its user ratings because it has fewer than 50 ratings. It
also has a 8% penalty on its expert reviews because it has fewer than 5 reviews. This is
to avoid that shoes with few ratings unjustly receives high scores.
The Adidas N3XT L3V3L 2020 successfully builds on the success of the inaugural 2019 version. Aside from the premium feel, the upper materials also deliver comfort and reliable support. Traction isn't so bad either. Generally, this Adidas high-top shoe is going to be worth the $150 that buyers are going to pay for it.
The Nike PG 4 is a good basketball shoe, with a snug boot-like fit that felt faster in transition and had me feeling more balanced on my mid-foot. It felt bouncy and stable enough lateral movements. The PG 4 also has a nice look and comfortable design that makes it suitable for casual wear.
Durable: At least one reviewer shares that this shoe is so durable it's even OK to use it outdoors.
Few reviews: Not a lot of users write reviews of this product. Any assessment is therefore not conclusive.
Firm: At least one reviewer shares that the Renew cushion feels firmer than expected.
The Nike Renew Elevate reportedly gets the job done. It offers comfort, durability, and style. However, this is only according to a handful of commenters and reviewers. Assessments can still chance once more reviews start rolling in.
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.