School’s letting out, the sun is staying out longer and the girls are wearing less clothes. This could mean only one thing…outdoor basketball is back. There’s nothing like hooping outdoors but the problem that many ballers face every year is picking the right shoes for the blacktop. I play outside a lot so I know how difficult it can be to find a pair of shoes that hold up through the summer or even longer. If you haven’t watched my video on the difference between indoor and outdoor basketball shoes, check that out and come back here for my personal recommendations of outdoor basketball shoes 2016 edition.
First off, the three most important things an outdoor basketball should have in my opinion is as follows:
- durable outsole
- breathable upper
- comfortable cushioning
You’ll need the durable outsole for the shoes to last when constantly scraping against outdoor surfaces, the breathable upper so your feet aren’t sweating a ton which could cause blisters and a loss of support and the cushioning will save you some body aches from jumping up and down on concrete.
A durable outsole, good ankle protection and adequate breathability make the back-to-back MVP’s second signature shoe a top pick for guards this summer.
Kevin Durant’s secondary shoe with Nike, the ‘Trey 5’ line, has always been a good performer on-court and these are no different. Guards can save a few bucks while still having a shoe with a durable outsole, Nike zoom unit in the forefoot and multiple colorways.
In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past 2 years, you know that Adidas’ boost technology has changed the game. In my opinion, there isn’t another cushion even remotely as comfortable as Boost and these D Rose shoes have it under your entire foot. They won’t last you years, but they’re a great option for guards, especially jump-shooters or players with a history of ankle problems.
Cushioning is vital for a big man, especially when playing on concrete. The Ultra.Fly 2 has a Nike Zoom air unit in the sole and an extremely durable upper. LaMarcus Aldridge is the lead endorser of this shoe for Jordan so if it’s good enough for him, it should be good enough for us!
A lower option budget for bigs, this ’90s retro has all the support and durability a power forward or center can ask for. If you’re looking for a shoe you can comfortably play in for 2-3 years, look no further.
The only reason this isn’t the clear-cut number 1 option for big men is because of the zoom air bags on the bottom of the shoe. While they’re extremely comfortable, I’m not sure how long they’d hold up outdoors, especially with a translucent outsole. The LeBron 13 is an absolute monster in every category so if you’re interested, I’d recommend getting a colorway with a solid-color outsole.
Draymond Green’s weapon of choice, the HyperRev is lightweight but still has the durability and cushioning one looks for when balling outside. It’s not as breathable as some of the other options on this list but if your feet don’t sweat too much when you play then this is a solid option.
Being a die-hard Carmelo Anthony fan myself, it’s hard for me to put not only one, but two LeBron’s on this list (the Melo M12 wasn’t featured because the traction isn’t suitable for outdoor play). It’s no coincidence that shooting guards and center both rock these in the NBA, they’re extremely versatile.
Although the 2015 Hyperdunk wasn’t as great as a performer as its predecessors, it still gets the job done without breaking the bank. The traction is always solid on Hyperdunks and these moon shoes are sure to turn heads at the local park, whether it’s in a bad or good way.
Reebok’s failed experiment with John Wall unofficially started the end of their basketball era, so much of their kicks come with a deep discount. This Pump Rise shoe is comfortable, but difficult to put your foot into. They’re made with outdoor ballers in mind, so it’s worth a few dozen dollars if you’re on a tight budget.
Definitely not the most breathable option, but it takes care of my other two factors in outdoor basketball shoes: durability and comfort. The zoom air units provide cushion while the outsole is durable enough to endure win-by-2 games to 21. I actually hate the way these look but if you can get past it, your feet and game will thank you.
Derrick Rose’s secondary model with Adidas, the 773 IV is a lesser version of the D Rose 6. The main difference? No boost…bummer. That’s why it’s on my bargain buys list as it could easily get you through a summer of outdoor hooping.
Don’t see anything you like? Check out Finish Line’s selection of basketball shoes here.
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