WearTesters is reader-supported. When you make purchases using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

10+ Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

best outdoor basketball shoes

Back in 2020, due to the global pandemic, most indoor basketball courts were closed. Outdoor basketball, therefore, saw a huge boost in popularity. A lot of people headed out onto the blacktop in their regular hoop shoes and tore them to shreds. There’s often big differences between shoes that are well suited for indoor basketball and those that are better outdoor basketball shoes. It’s important to understand how to find shoes meant for outdoor play so you don’t throw away your hard-earned money on shoe’s that lack durability or don’t have enough cushion to spare your joints from a beating.

How to Choose an Outdoor Basketball Shoe

Admittedly, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing an outdoor basketball shoe. We have a full article on how to choose the perfect outdoor basketball shoe for you, but here are a few quick tips that will help you quickly distinguish a good outdoor basketball shoe:

  • First, let’s talk traction and rubber. Will it grip the surface well? Will it last long enough? Preferably, you want to find a shoe with a tough rubber sole that has its traction pattern recessed into the outsole a bit.
  • You also have to think about cushioning. Playing on concrete for hours on end is a lot to handle for your joints. Shoes with more cushioning will be better suited for outdoor hoops.
  • You will also want a shoe with durable materials along the upper.
  • And, lastly, there’s the price of the shoe. No matter how well built a shoe is, it will break down quicker when playing outdoors. You probably don’t want to wear (and trash) a $200 pair of shoes outdoors.

Last updated 05.18.2022

Outdoor Basketball vs Indoor Basketball

The main difference that affects your footwear for indoor basketball and outdoor basketball is the court itself. There are other differences like court size, types of rims, and even rules of the game that can vary greatly, but none of those directly impacts your shoes.

Outdoor basketball courts can have very different finishes going from the more abrasive, sandpaper-like courts, to the sleekest, concrete style ones. This is why the rubber compound of the sole and the traction pattern are so important. The rubber compound needs to bite the court surface while not wearing down too quickly.

Whereas the surface texture is different, all outdoor basketball courts lack impact absorbent floors like we get indoors with parquet wood floors. Whether the floors are plastic, concrete or asphalt you know that it’s going to be less forgiving than an indoor court.

Abrasive courts will chew through your shoe’s outsole and upper and these harder surfaces don’t absorb any of the impact when you jump, change directions or start sprinting. Your ankles and knees end up absorbing the majority of those impacts. That’s why cushioning is an important feature to take into consideration when choosing a good outdoor basketball shoe.

There’s no question that it’s hard to find a shoe that checks all the boxes. Because of this, and because we end up testing hundreds of basketball shoes every year, we at WearTesters have compiled a list that highlights the best outdoor basketball shoes you can buy today.


Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes Overall

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: nike kd 14

Nike KD 14

The Nike KD 14 is great for outdoor courts for a lot of reasons. First, and most importantly, the cushion set up is ideal to protect your joints against the impact of the blacktop. The full-length Zoom Air strobel in conjunction with the soft, plush Cushlon are more than enough and comfortable. If you get leg soreness playing outdoors, these should help immensely. The rubber compound may not be insanely firm, but there’s a lot of tread to go through, so it should last you a while. Plus, the grip is fantastic. As with any shoe, make sure you get your right size. See the full review. Price: $150

9.7/10
Total Score
Buy Nike KD 14
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: jordan 36

Air Jordan 36

The Air Jordan 36 is the latest flagship model of the Jordan Brand and it doesn’t disappoint. Unlike its predecessor, the Air Jordan 35, this model actually has some nice deep grooves. It isn’t anything crazy, but it will last longer. If you get the XDR version, all the better. The cushion is also a plus with a full-length Zoom Air strobel and an additional forefoot Zoom unit. Don’t be fooled by the upper material made up of leno weave as it’s a lot more durable than it looks. Support is enhanced by the Eclipse Plate. See the full review. Price: $185

9.3/10
Total Score
Buy Air Jordan 36
Best Budget Basketball Shoes: Nike LeBron Witness 6

Nike LeBron Witness 6

The Nike LeBron Witness 6 is a great outdoor option. The shoe features full-length Air and a durable outsole for just $100. On top of that, the Nike LeBron Witness 6 offers some beefy support features which will help you feel confident cutting and changing directions out on the blacktop. This shoe is proof of how much budget models have evolved and improved over the years. Read the full review. Price: $100

9/10
Total Score
Buy Nike LeBron Witness 6
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: new balance two WXY

New Balance TWO WXY

The New Balance TWO WXY has all the makings of a great outdoor basketball shoe. First is the tread. The tread is very thick and though it’s coral pattern is unconventional, it works well. The brand opted to use their FuelCell foam for the main source of cushioning. It isn’t bad, but the impact protection leaves something to be desired. The upper is durable and breathable at the same time. The fit is also very accommodating, especially considering that there are wide options available. See the full review. Price: $140

9.3/10
Total Score
Buy New Balance TWO WXY
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: 361°-Zen-3

361° Zen 3

The 361° Zen 3 is one of those shoes that not a lot of people will be interested in because of the brand, but that’s honestly a mistake. There’s so much to love about this shoe, especially for outdoors. The traction is thick and beefy and will last you a while, definitely a lot longer than many other shoes on the market. Plus, the cushion is plush and forgiving for the hard concrete with the brand’s Quikfoam Lite. It feels like Nike’s Cushlon, but on steroids. That’s how comfortable they are underfoot. This is a serious outdoor shoe. See the full review. Price: $80

9/10
Total Score
Buy 361° Zen 3
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: under armour embiid 1 no background

Under Armour Embiid 1

The Under Armour Embiid 1 is a solid performer for outdoor hooping. The outsole isn’t anything crazy durable. However, it will grip any outdoor surface without a problem. Better than most, even. The foam UA used for the midsole is full-length MicroG and they included a HOVR puck in the heel for extra impact protection. Although the main foam has had its hits and misses, this time around, it’s a definite hit. The materials are basic and to be expected, but that makes for a breathable and comfortable feel when playing outside. Overall it’s a great option. See the full review. Price: $120

9.3/10
Total Score
Buy Under Armour Embiid 1
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: adidas Dame 8

adidas Dame 8

The adidas Dame 8 is the latest in the signature line of the brand and it packs a punch, albeit a balanced one. You definitely won’t feel like you’re jumping out of the gym with the Bounce Pro setup but you won’t feel like you’re walking on bricks either. It’s just right. The traction is also durable enough, especially the solid rubber sections. The materials are durable where they need to be and breathable where they need to be. Some may look at it and say that it looks basic, but we think it’s one of the best out there. Plus, the price isn’t out of reach. See the full review. Price: $120

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy adidas Dame 8
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: Puma Clyde All Pro Kuzma Low

Puma Clyde All-Pro Kuzma Low

The Puma Clyde All-Pro Kuzma Low is the tougher version of the Puma Clyde All-Pro. Tougher in the sense that the materials are more durable. The rear section is a synthetic leather and there’s also a toe rand that looks to protect the knitted upper. The rubber is durable and grippy when it comes to the blacktop and concrete. The same great ProFoam+ is used as the main cushioning setup with a Pebax puck at the heel for added impact protection. The fit is true to size, similar to the Nike Kobe 9. See the full review. Price: $130

9.7/10
Total Score
Buy Puma Clyde All-Pro Kuzma Low
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: adidas Pro Boost Low

adidas Pro Boost Low

The adidas Pro Boost Low combines the brand’s two most often used foam cushioning systems: Boost and Lightstrike. The Boost isn’t as boost-y as you’ve come to expect. It’s muted, even though it’s housed in the plush Lightstrike midsole. Traction is great because of the herringbone pattern (an adidas staple these days) and the rubber compound. It won’t last nearly as long as some of the others shoes on the list, but it will grip well while it does. Just make sure to get a half size down. See the full review. Price: $110

8.3/10
Total Score
Buy adidas Pro Boost Low

Most Comfortable Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: nike kd 14

Nike KD 14

Of all the best outdoor basketball shoes, the Nike KD 14 is easily the most comfortable among them. The full-length Zoom Air strobel plus the Cushlon midsole is hard to beat. The KD 14 is so good all around that it’s one of our top overall picks for the year. See the full review. Price: $150

9.7/10
Total Score
Buy Nike KD 14

Best High Top Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: jordan 36

Air Jordan 36

If you are into high tops and are looking for a great outdoor basketball shoe, the Air Jordan 36 is the shoe for you. The shoe is an awesome on-court performer, whether it be indoor or outdoor, and it’s higher cut makes it a must if you don’t trust low-tops. See the full review. Price: $185

9.3/10
Total Score
Buy Air Jordan 36

Best Low Top Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: Puma Clyde All Pro Kuzma Low

Puma Clyde All-Pro Kuzma Low

The Puma Clyde All-Pro is/was an amazing performance shoe. The Kuzma version is just a slightly more beefy version of the shoe, and it just happens to be a low top. If you love low-tops and need an outdoor basketball shoe, scoop these up. See the full review. Price: $130

9.7/10
Total Score
Buy Puma Clyde All-Pro Kuzma Low

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: new balance two WXY

New Balance TWO WXY

The New Balance TWO WXY is really close to being the best outdoor basketball shoe available. If you want a little bit of extra ankle support/protection, then look no further. The KD 14 might have more cushion, but the New Balance TWO WXY is the shoe to beat in the support category. See the full review. Price: $140

9.3/10
Total Score
Buy New Balance TWO WXY

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes for Wide Feet

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: 361°-Zen-3

361° Zen 3

The 361° Zen 3 is a great all-around outdoor option, but if you need a wide-foot option, this is our top pick. 361º is a Chinese brand, and Chinese brands usually build their shoes on wider lasts. Wide footers that want to be able to play outdoors for hours, this is the shoe for you. See the full review. Price: $80

9/10
Total Score
Buy 361° Zen 3

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes for Flat Feet

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: Anta Shock the Game 5.0

Anta Shock the Game 5.0

The Anta Shock the Game 5.0 looks to be a mix of the old and the new. Which is great because older sneakers tend to be more durable. The old part comes with all the overlays and even a vent on the upper. The newness comes from the cushion, which is the brand’s very bouncy and plush A-Flash Edge foam. They added a stabilizer so you don’t roll your ankle and get injured. Even with all the thick overlays, the main build is still textile mesh which means it will be comfortable and flexible. See the full review. Price: $100

9.3/10
Total Score
Buy Anta Shock the Game 5.0

Best Budget Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: Nike Air Max Impact 3

Nike Air Max Impact 3

The Nike Air Max Impact 3 is one of the cheapest Nike basketball shoes out there. But don’t be fooled by the price. Cheap does not equal cheap performance. Although the cushion is just basic Phylon, it’s way more plush than other shoes such as the Nike Giannis Immortality. The rubber outsole is one of the thickest and most durable we’ll ever get from the brand. The heel Air Max unit gives great impact protection without sacrificing stability due to its not-over-the-top volume. We don’t think there’s any shoe that performs better at this price point. See the full review. Price: $90

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy Nike Air Max Impact 3

Best Retro Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: Air Jordan 12 Playoff 2022

Air Jordan 12 Playoff 2022

The Air Jordan 12 Playoff 2022 is one the best retro Air Jordans for basketball and just one of the best retro basketball shoes out there period. They have very durable materials with an all-leather upper. It will get scuffed and all, but it won’t rip like knits and meshes. The cushion is full-length Zoom Air, which was not seen again in the main Air Jordan line until the Air Jordan 18. The rubber outsole is extremely thick and durable and will grip any surface, much like most of the shoes from that era. There’s little to complain about here. See the full review. Price: $200

9/10
Total Score
Buy Air Jordan 12 Playoff 2022

Add a Comment

Related Posts