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Are you playing mostly on outdoor concrete with street-style basketball? If you’re one of the people who don’t have access to hardwood floor basketball courts, you might have been searching for great outdoor basketball shoes.
After using your basketball shoes on the concrete court, you might have noticed that the outsole degrades in quality really fast. That’s because most basketball shoes aren’t built for outdoor use. Outdoor and indoor basketball shoes differ a lot.
This article will help you identify and present the best outdoor basketball shoes and why they are on the list.
- The Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes
- Qualities that Make Good Outdoor Basketball Shoes?
- Things to Consider When Buying Basketball Shoes for Outdoors
- The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Basketball Shoes
The Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes
Outdoor basketball shoes weren’t a thing back in the ’90s as almost all basketball shoes were made of durable materials. They were heavy. Today, modern basketball shoes are lightweight. But, they aren’t durable in outdoor courts.
Outdoor basketball shoes are built to last on concrete types of basketball courts. They differ a lot from indoor basketball shoes. You can be sure they will last you a long time if you mostly play on outdoor courts.
A pair of basketball shoes can’t have the best of all qualities we’re looking for. That’s why there are multiple basketball shoes we’ve picked that stand out in their certain qualities.
Read through the whole article to know what to look for in great basketball shoes. Find those qualities which fit your play style.
Adidas Dame 5
The Adidas Dame 5 basketball shoes have superb qualities that you look for in the best outdoor basketball shoes.
The traction on these bad boys uses the herringbone traction pattern from heel to toe. This is a typical pattern from Adidas basketball shoes. Adidas Dame 5 stands out from the rest.
Each line of the herringbone pattern is thick and has a wide gap space. This design helps reduce dust clogging on the outsole on outdoor courts where there is usually dust buildup.
The Adidas Dame 5 also comes in a translucent version. The traction and rubber compound still works the same as the base version.
The outdoor soles are very thick and the traction on outdoor courts is reliable. These basketball shoes are excellent for any outdoor courts.
The Dame 5 basketball shoes also use the “Bounce” technology. They are now thicker compared to the previous model (Dame 4).
Despite its thickness of the midsole, there is still court feel present. That is because of the Bounce technology.
The “Bounce” on the Dame 5 really helps with impact absorption and stability even on longer hours on the court. It also covers the full length of the shoes.
There are two material options: mesh and leather. The materials don’t really affect the performance of the Dame 5 but it affects the premium look.
There isn’t any difference between the two when you play them on the court. You might go for the leather premium look.
When it comes to fit, the best option is to go down half a size on your Dame 5s.
This is a great basketball shoe for people with wide feet. It’s slightly longer at the toe area and there’s space above the toe as well. That’s why going down half a size is best for people with narrow feet.
The lacing system on the Dame 5 is nothing special but gets the job done. It locks down your feet on the shoes and you never feel the extra space near your toe area.
When it comes to support, this one provides it well. There’s a TPU panel on the lateral side that provides extra lateral coverage. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all but the look can be ugly.
- Regular fit; Lace closure
- Suede upper with a textile tongue
- Bounce cushioning provides enhanced comfort and flexibility
The forefoot of the Dame 5 is wide both in the medial and lateral side. The tooling is also extremely flat. The wide coverage gives you a feeling of having a flat base on your feet. The wide width also gives you better balance and flexibility.
This shoe is easily the best overall outdoor basketball shoes right now. The only downside you can say is that it’s not really designed well. If you’re looking for basketball shoes that look cool and can be worn casual, this one is not for you. The basketball shoes may not look cool but their performance on the outdoor court is excellent.
- Textile and synthetic materials for comfort
- Rubber sole that can endure outdoor courts
- Regular fit and lace closure system ensures lockdown on your feet even on hard outdoor courts
- Bounce cushioning provides enhanced comfort and flexibility even on outdoor courts
- Rubber outsole with herringbone pattern provides excellent traction on outdoor courts and can last you longer
Nike Air Max Infuriate Low
When you talk about basketball shoes usually signature lines perform better compared to other alternatives. Until the Nike Air Max Infuriate came out.
These bad boys are one of the best outdoor basketball shoes and they didn’t disappoint when it comes to their features.
The traction pattern on the Nike Air Max Infuriate was copied from the 2016 HyperRev. It features the diamond pattern along the forefoot and heel. The traction pattern provides the same grip as the HyperRev.
The medial and lateral forefoot part of the outsole also has a herringbone traction pattern which helps with traction when turning or planting your foot. The forefoot part which is the part you plant when doing the first step provides great traction.
The rubber material is harder and thicker compared to typical indoor basketball shoes. This makes these basketball shoes great for outdoor play. These can last you for 3 to 6 months.
The Air Max on these basketball shoes is bottom-loaded for better stability. This is unlike the regular Air Max which is a bit unstable and isn’t comfortable for guard players who are quick.
The rise is low and stable. You may feel compression along the edges but the heel of the shoes is comfortable when you’re playing.
Unlike other models where the foam is harder for durability, the foam on this shoe is on the soft side. It will be still on the first couple of games but it will get softer as you continue using the shoes.
While the low design isn’t great for ankle support, the court feel is great. It makes it easier for you to move around the court quickly.
The Nike Air Max Infuriate is made from mesh with some fuse overlays around the laces. The mesh is soft and comfortable.
The lacing system is composed of a Flywire on the bottom four lace holes. The foam in the ankle fits and keeps the shoes on lockdown. The tongue of the basketball shoes are also comfortable and needs to be pulled tighter for a low-top lockdown and the body is thin for ventilation.
The fit is true to size and will only give you a bit of extra width. The toe box area fits perfectly on true to size with no extra space around it. It won’t cause any problems because the materials used are flexible.
If you have wide feet then you may want to go up half a size. The width is between normal to slightly narrow.
Because of the Flywire the midfoot is locked over the midsole for fit and lockdown. The fuse lace cover under the first 3 laces helps keep the upper part from stretching on feet movements.
The heel on the Air Max Infuriate provides great lockdown, unlike typical low basketball shoes. The last lace hole helps with it as its set back on the collar to help pull your feet into the heel and ankle padding.
You won’t be getting much of quality support on a low-type basketball shoe. It makes up for it with its same height cushioning on its forefoot and heel. It helps with running comfortably around the court.
The Nike Air Max Infuriate Low is a great basketball shoe. It’s a great shoe especially for guards and forwards who want to maximize their quickness and want great traction on outdoor courts without worrying about it wearing down.
- Synthetic and Mesh materials for comfort on the court
- Narrow rubber sole provides stability and balance when running on outdoor courts
- Padded collar and tongue helps keep your shoe lockdown
- Seamless breathable design to keep your feet fresh even on long hours on outdoor courts
- Flywire for dynamic lockdown and support
The Adidas Streetfire is a great model basketball shoe from Adidas. It’s so popular and affordable that most shoe owners buy another pair to use as a backup.
It also looks great aesthetically and can be used for outdoor casual without worrying for the outsoles.
It’s made from textile and synthetic materials. The textile upper makes the shoes breathable and lightweight.
The Adiwear outsoles on the Adidas Streetfire are great for outdoor courts. The rubber on the outsole is thick and helps with durability which can last you for long.
The midsole is made of cloud-foam to provide comfort and great cushion. The padding around the Achilles helps fit your foot on the hoe.
The upper layer is made of durable and breathable mesh. This can help keep your feet dry and comfortable.
The cushion of the shoes absorbs impact well thanks to the heel pull for easy on and off.
- Knit textile upper
- Cloudfoam midsole for step-in comfort and superior cushioning
- Adiwear outsole offers the ultimate in high-wear durability
The insole of the Adidas Streetfire is removable. This can allow for orthotics to be placed inside.
The arch support helps with stability even on outdoor courts.
These shoes fit perfect for wide-footers. If you have narrow or regular foot, go down half a size for great comfort around your foot.
This one doesn’t need break-in time. The first time you wear it, it instantly feels comfortable around your feet.
- Textile and Synthetic materials make the shoes breathable and lightweight
- Rubber sole provides comfort
- Durable and breathable mesh upper
- Heel pull for easy on and off
- Extra padding around the Achilles for ultimate fit along with the comfort of OrthoLite sockliner
- Cloudfoam midsole for step-in comfort and cushioning
- Adiwear outsole offers the ultimate in high-wear durability
Under Armour Drive 4
The ClutchFit Drive is a staple of Under Armour basketball. It was even more popularized when Stephen Curry used them. The ClutchFit Drive now known as just UA Drive has always been among the top basketball shoes every year.
What’s great about the UA Drive is that what works for their shoes they always keep it and improve on other features that lack.
For example, the traction has always been the staple of these signature shoes. The herringbone traction pattern will always provide great traction on any indoor or outdoor court.
The outsole rubber traction is thick and deep. It provides great grip and traction on outdoor courts. The outsole rubber is also thick and hard which helps it last longer for your outdoor court games.
The Micro G foam technology of Under Armour is still the best foam for basketball shoes. Micro G foams are dense, responsive, and comfortable. They’re soft but absorbs impact well, the inside of the foam is harder to provide great stability on outdoor courts. The forefoot has no Micro G and feels like EVA.
The upper part is made up of tightly-woven mesh around the lateral toe, midfoot, and medial midfoot. It’s a bit stiff but the panels flex easily when playing. There’s a bit of space around the toe box and arch.
Neoprene-like materials make up the padded panels which are located under the weave which isn’t much use for comfort at all. The medial side is made up of nylon overlay on the toe box. The ankle collar is mostly made of padded neoprene which is soft and flexible.
The UA Drive 4 isn’t bad in terms lockdown but there’s room for improvement. When lacing up, you can feel the laces and straps wrapping around.
The wide forefoot may feel uncomfortable for people with narrow feet. You occasionally slide on the footbed when making sharp movements like cutting and lateral movements.
The ankle collar has a great fit by pulling the heel laces really tight to prevent your heel from slipping. This might feel uncomfortable to you but it provides a great fit when doing so.
There’s a bit of space around the forefoot. It doesn’t affect your overall gameplay at all.
Even though there are bits of spaces and stiff materials, UA Drive 4 still provides great support. The midsole has a plate that covers from heel to midfoot. This helps keep it from bending even on uneven outdoor court surfaces.
- Breathable, lightweight textile upper
- Full length bootie construction with molded ankle collar for greater structure, extended support & a...
- External heel counter provides additional support & keeps the back of the foot locked in place
The base is wide so stability isn’t an issue. The ankle collar is somewhat problematic. Because you have to lace it up tight and it becomes tight and restricts movement around your ankles. This means there would be a decrease in performance especially in terms of agility around the court.
Overall, these outdoor basketball shoes are great for big man players or players who like to play with strength. It may have issues in restricting movement around the ankles. It also provides it with great protection especially when outdoor courts are sometimes uneven and can be prone to ankle injuries.
- Textile and synthetic materials for durability
- Wide rubber sole maintains the shoe stability
- Breathable, lightweight textile upper for comfort
- Full-length bootie construction with molded ankle collar for greater structure, extended support, and a snug, comfortable fit
- External heel counter provides additional support and keeps the back of the foot locked in place on outdoor courts
- Toe wrap improves forefoot flexibility
- Durable, reinforced lace loops for lockdown
Under Armour Curry 5
If you’re looking for a fit outdoor basketball shoe, the Under Armour Curry 5 is perfect for you. It’s a fantastic lightweight, breathable, and lockdown basketball shoe that’s great for outdoor use.
The outsole is made of a durable rubber compound with an intricate traction pattern. It covers most of the outsole with the exception of the midfoot area which is covered by the medial post. The forefoot of the outsole uses overlapping square and circle traction patterns. This doesn’t give as much traction as expected.
The rubber compound is also durable. It allows you to play on outdoor courts with ease and it’ll last you long.
EVA foam is used on the cushioning and the midsole of the Curry 5. This helps with comfort and protection when playing on outdoor courts.
The OrthoLite sockliner and softer heel cushioning ensure that your ankles are well protected.
The midsole is a bit higher. It reduces the court feels you get due to its thickness.
The upper part of the Curry 5 is snug, knit construction with a traditional lacing system that starts near your toes for better foot lockdown.
The Anafoam, which covers the external shell, is stiffer than we wanted. It greatly affects the flexibility of the shoes.
The back of the collar is padded to enhance the heel lockdown. It also has a wide pull tab for easy on and off.
The knit upper construction provides airflow even when the shoes are snug tightly.
If you’re looking for comfort outdoor basketball shoes, this might not be for you. Players have mixed opinions about the comfort this shoe provides.
Some players find that the medial side of the shoe digs into the arch and causes blisters. Even when on true to size it fits perfect. You may feel tightness around the midfoot and forefoot no matter the width of your feet.
Overall, Curry 5 isn’t for everyone when it comes to comfort. Some players find it great after the break-in period while others couldn’t last during the break-in period and experienced blisters.
The midfoot TPU shank help with support. It raises the arch of the foot and keeps it locked and elevated.
- Lightweight for optimum speed & agility
- Full knit construction & lockdown lacing for a precise, 36° fit & feel
- Built with Anafoam containment zones in the forefoot lateral wall & around the heel to lock in the...
This is also the downside as the positioning of the TPU shank is what’s causing most players’ blisters and discomfort. Players with high arch shouldn’t have any problems with these basketball shoes.
Overall, Curry 5 is the best outdoor basketball shoes for lockdown because of the fit it provides and the support for your ankles. However, these basketball shoes aren’t for everyone as the tight fit can cause blisters. We’d recommend these shoes for people who have high arches.
- Durable rubber outsole great for outdoor courts
- Overlapping square and circle traction pattern for quick guard movements
- EVA midsole with OrthoLite sockliner for ankle support
- Lightweight for optimum speed and agility
- Full-knit construction and lockdown lacing for precise fit and feel
- Built with Anafoam containment zones in the forefoot lateral wall and around the heel to lock in the foot
- All-court grip system for instant stops and quick cuts on any surface
Adidas Performance Cloudfoam Ilation Mid
The Adidas Performance Cloudfoam Ilation is a basketball shoe that combines lightweight speed and quality performance with the help of Adidas’ basketball technology.
The outsole is made of durable rubber. It provides excellent traction with herringbone traction pattern combined with a curve traction pattern.
The midsole is made of lightweight EVA foam complete with Adidas Cloudfoam technology. It delivers support around your feet while providing light and springy movements from the Cloudfoam technology.
The midsole also provides great cushioning. It helps with absorbing impact from jumps and movements.
They also feature Cloudfoam sockliner. This is made from molded foam which provides added cushioning and support in the heel and ankle area.
The upper part of the shoes is made up of different types of materials. The mid-cut design provides a balance between ankle support and quickness on the court.
Most of the upper part is made of leather with perforations in the forefoot, side, and heel areas. This helps breathability on the shoes.
The tongue, collar, and heel area are covered with breathable mesh fabric. It is comfortable and enhanced the airflow from the shoes.
The collar and tongue also have extra padding to help with stability and support. The Cloudfoam cushioning in the midsole and sockliner helps with absorbing the shock from impact as well as provide a supportive cushion.
The lace-up system is standard and provides good lockdown and fit.
Because of the upper leather and rubber outsoles, these basketball shoes are sure to last you for a long time on outdoor courts. However, the leather may feel stiff around your feet and may require a break-in period before you get used to it or feel comfortable.
- High-top basketball sneaker featuring 3-Stripes logo at sides and perforations for ventilation
- Air mesh tongue, collar and rear quarter
- CLOUDFOAM sockliner and midsole for lightweight cushioning
In terms of stability, the Performance Cloudfoam Ilation is great. The midsole offers a general court feel and isn’t too thick while providing support and comfort, keeping your heels in place.
The mid-cut, padded collar, tongue, along with the lacing system helps the shoe wrap around your feet snug and comfortable. This provides a stable and balanced feel on the court.
- Durable rubber outsoles with herringbone and curve pattern combination designed for traction on outdoor courts
- Cloudfoam cushion technology in the midsole provides protection from impacts especially on rough outdoor courts
- Cloudfoam sockliner provides support in the ankle area
- Durable leather upper with perforations for airflow
- Mesh fabric on the tongue, heel, and collar for breathability
- Soft fabric lining for a comfortable and breathable in-shoe feeling
Qualities that Make Good Outdoor Basketball Shoes?
Choosing the best outdoor basketball shoes is different for everyone. Each player has a different playstyle, preference, and needs. There are qualities you need to take into consideration when choosing what’s the best outdoor basketball shoes for you.
Outdoor courts are usually made of rough materials like cement. This means you’ll be using your basketball shoes on rough and hard surfaces. A good outdoor basketball shoe should be durable. It needs to endure the harsh court for long periods of time.
The first part of the shoe to consider for durability is the outsole. The outsole is the part of the shoe that’s going to be rubbed frequently on the rough and hard outdoor courts.
Make sure the outsole is made of high-quality rubber or hard and thick rubbers. You’ll be guaranteed that your basketball shoes will last for months maybe even years.
There’s also what we call the XDR outsoles which is prevalent in Asian countries. XDR stands for extra durable rubber. They’re usually found as tags on basketball shoes. This type of shoes are built specifically for outdoor basketball and can last for a longer time.
Traction is also important for outdoor basketball shoes. Unlike hardwood courts, generating grip and traction on rough outdoor surfaces are hard.
Traction and durability go hand in hand. In general, hard rubber outsoles can generate traction even on rough outdoor courts.
That’s why looking for the best outdoor basketball shoes, you have to look for shoes with hard rubber outsoles.
The traction pattern is also crucial. What really works the best is a herringbone traction pattern especially on outdoor courts. It’s been proven and tested and you can never go wrong with it.
Some other traction patterns also provide great traction. They don’t compare with the herringbone pattern.
Depending on your playstyle and condition you can be flexible with support. If you’re a guard or a player who thrives on agility and quickness around the court then you’d have to sacrifice on support.
Mid-cut and high-cut basketball shoes provide great ankle support at the cost of restricting the movement of your ankles. This means that you won’t be as quick and agile as you want to be. But, you’re feet and ankle will be well protected.
Low-cut shoes are built for speed but sacrifice on ankle support. You’d want to wear low-cut basketball shoes if you rely on quickness. Also using low-cut shoes help strengthen the muscles around your ankles. This reduces the risk of injuries as it also helps support your ankle in other ways.
This is also the same consideration as support does. Every player may differ in preference of their cushioning.
If you’re a bulky or heavy player, you should opt to go for bouncy and soft cushioning. This will help absorb the impact of landing on your feet.
If you’re light and quick, go for basketball shoes with a firm and tight cushioning. These types of cushions respond better to quick movements.
A cushion should also not cause discomfort around your feet.
Basketball shoes should fit your feet perfectly. Too tight and it may cause swelling and tightness on your feet. Too loose and it may cause blisters and trip on the court.
Basketball shoes should fit your feet perfectly. Too tight and it may cause swelling and tightness on your feet. Too loose and it may cause blisters and trip on the court.
Great outdoor basketball shoes should be the right fit for you. Outdoor courts are rough and the last thing we want is for you to trip over on the rough surface and have wounds.
Basketball shoes that don’t fit your feet cause injuries. They also affect your performance due to discomfort around your feet.
Make sure you know your shoe size. Read reviews about how the shoes fit on different types of feet width.
Nowadays, most basketball players prefer wearing lightweight shoes. Outdoor basketball shoes are slightly heavier compared to indoor shoes. This is because the outsoles and cushions are made thicker to support your feet on hard rough outdoor surfaces.
However, outdoor basketball shoes aren’t that heavy. Your performance won’t be affected that much. Heavy shoes also have their perks. They help keep your feet stable especially on the rough and uneven outdoor court surface.
Things to Consider When Buying Basketball Shoes for Outdoors
Most outdoor basketball shoe outsoles are made from rubber. Look for outsoles that are made of thick and hard rubber.
XDR (Extra Durable Rubber) shoes are a good indication that the outsoles are very sturdy and durable. These are for use on outdoor courts.
The rubber compound also has to be denser and with high abrasion. Various debris can be picked up from outdoor courts shortening the lifespan of your basketball shoes.
When in doubt, the herringbone traction pattern is the go-to for any player. This is the best when it comes to basketball shoes traction pattern.
The herringbone traction pattern has worked to provide players with solid traction.
There are also square like patterns and spiral and curve-like patterns. They also offer decent traction.
Nowadays, shoe companies use intricate traction pattern designs to make basketball shoes look cooler. The traction wasn’t as great as expected.
If you’re interested in a pair of basketball shoes but unsure if the traction is great because it’s not herringbone, your best option is to look at reviews. You’ll find plenty of data when it comes to the traction of basketball shoes.
In the early years of basketball, leather was a popular material for basketball shoes. It is durable but heavy and stiff at the same time.
Today, basketball shoes are made of a combination of leather and synthetic mesh. This offers lightweight and durable shoes.
Look for materials that help with comfort and breathability in your basketball shoes.
The materials should also be flexible. You want your feet to fit in and move around in comfort.
The materials should provide airflow and breathability. Playing outdoors can get hot.
Another alternative for leather and synthetic mesh is TPU plastic. It’s durable and ensures your basketball shoes will last longer.
Other materials aren’t really recommended but are workable. Make sure that there is an overlay on the toe and heel area for it to last longer because these have the highest abrasion areas on a basketball shoe.
The style of your shoes is based on your playstyle and needs. If you’re prone to ankle injuries, then go for high-cut or mid-cut shoes. They offer great ankle support at the cost of reducing your quickness in movement.
Low-cut shoes are perfect for guard types of players as they don’t cover the ankle allowing it to move freely.
Low-cut shoes are for guards and players who value speed and agility.
Mid-cut shoes are for slashers, forwards, and players who want a balance of ankle support. These offer a little bit of extra movement.
High-cut shoes are for big men and players who want to protect their ankles and knees from high impact jumps.
Is it Bad to Wear Basketball Shoes Outside?
If your basketball shoes are made for indoor courts then it’s bad if you wear them outside. The outsoles are easily damaged from rough surfaces.
Outdoor basketball shoes, on the other hand, are built for outside use. They are made of hard rubber on the outsole to withstand the rough and hard outdoor surface.
How to Know if Basketball Shoes are for Outdoors?
For Nike basketball shoes, any model of basketball shoes with the name “EP” at the end is designed for outdoor use.
For example, the Kyrie 5 EP is a basketball shoe designed for outdoor use. When you compare it with a Kyrie 5 on the internet you won’t notice much difference from looks alone.
EP stands for engineered performance. This means the basketball shoes are engineered to be played for unconventional courts.
There are also basketball shoes that have XDR label tags on them which means “Extra Durable Rubber”. These basketball shoes are built for rough and hard outdoor courts. This is most prevalent in Asian countries that frequently play on hard outdoor courts.
If the site you’re buying from doesn’t provide any information on whether the basketball shoes are for outdoor use, you can always see if there is any feedback about the shoes.
Why Buy Outdoor Basketball Shoes?
You never know when you’ll be playing on a hard outdoor surface. If you only have indoor basketball shoes and you’re in a league or group of friends who play outdoors your basketball shoes are gonna get shredded.
It’s good to have outdoor basketball shoes as backup in-case of these types of events. Outdoor basketball shoes are more affordable compared to indoor.
Plus, you can wear them outside casually even on work without worrying about damaging the outsoles.
The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Basketball Shoes
It’s all about the outsoles and cushions. Indoor basketball shoes have soft rubber which provides great traction on hardwood court surfaces. Outdoor basketball shoes have hard rubber so it can be durable on rough and hard court surfaces.
Although outdoor basketball shoes also provide traction on indoor courts it’s not as great as those of indoor basketball shoes. They’re also a lot thicker to last you longer.
The cushion on outdoor basketball shoes is also a lot thicker. Hard outdoor courts are more punishing compared to hardwood.
When playing outdoors make sure you’re wearing the best outdoor basketball shoes that fit you best. Each player has different preferences on their shoes. It’s up to you to pick which is the best. This article is a guide for you. Gain insight into what are the best outdoor basketball shoes and what qualities they have that make them one of the best.