The Best Basketball Shoes For Dunking – Our Expert Picks!

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Dunking is probably one of the skills that most people want to execute well. I mean, who doesn’t? Every great basketball athlete known to man knows how to slam it hard on the hoops! Aspiring basketball players look up to these pros and grind everyday just to get that perfect slam. For tall players, they’re quite lucky enough already which means they don’t need to exert much effort in their jumps.

There’s one thing that players should be focusing on if they want to pull off the most monstrous dunks and that’s working on their vertical jump. While conditioning your body to be able to jump high in order to dunk on hoops is an ideal thing to do, you must also give attention to the type of shoes you wear during practices or matches.

Shoes make a big impact on your vertical jumps which will ultimately affect the way you dunk. The better the shoes, the better the performance. With proper research, you’ll end up owning the best pair of basketball shoes that’ll make you slam on hoops seamlessly.This is why we are gladly introducing you to our list of the best basketball shoes for dunking! You may scroll down further to see a more detailed review of each shoe.

Factors That Determine Great Shoes For Jumping

I’ve previously mentioned that dunking has a lot to do with how you jump, so it’s important to note what factors determine the best type of basketball shoes for jumping.

Tight Fit

Your shoes must have the perfect fit if you want to achieve that high jump.

Nothing is more uncomfortable than having shoes that aren’t snug on your feet. This will ultimately hinder you from jumping any higher and you’ll lose all your momentum and stability. If you think that your shoes aren’t the problem, then you may opt to search and buy performance basketball socks to get a better fit out of your shoes.

You can never go wrong with this first factor. Having a snug fit on your foot is the best! You will make the most out of your jump with tight shoes. Actually, basketball players even go half a size smaller just to achieve that tight fit!


Slippery surfaces are your worst enemy if your shoes aren’t equipped with great traction.

When you’re practicing your vertical jump, you first have to run towards the basket and convert that horizontal speed into vertical speed. Just imagine what kind of catastrophe would take place if you were to slip while attempting that magnificent jump.

Friction is imperative for executing a high jump. It’s really important to have enough traction on your shoes so you can execute that gnarly jump. This is considered as the foundation of having a good jump.


Now I know I’ve mentioned that the fit on your shoes would be better if they are tight, but don’t go too far to the point that there’s no more airflow inside your shoe! Your shoes should have a decent amount of airflow to pass throughout your whole foot. This will make you avoid having sweaty feet and not get that hot feeling in your feet that causes so much discomfort and fatigue.

Responsive Cushioning with a Stiff Sole

I’ll tell you straight away that you don’t want to have a shoe that has too much cushioning because that could ruin your vertical jump. Why? Because the cushioning on the shoes absorbs the energy from your sprints and that affects your jump.


It’s common sense that the lighter your shoes are, the better. Of course, since you’re plummeting into mid-air to dunk on that hoop, more weight on your feet will obviously weigh you down. So take in mind, avoid buying chunky and heavyweight shoes that keep you planted on the ground. Just remember, lightweight shoes are the best choice for jumping.


The durability of your shoes is just as important as its breathability. You should look for the type of material that offers enough airflow and doesn’t wear and tear easily. Some really nice durable materials would be fuse or mesh.

Overview Of The Best Basketball Shoes For Dunking

1.  KD 13 by Nike

  • 5/5 rating
  • Top: Mid
  • Signature: Kevin Durant
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Beige, Pink
  • Released: 2020

2.  LeBron 17 by Nike

  • 4.3/5 rating
  • Top: High
  • Signature: LeBron James
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Purple, Red, White
  • Weight: 324g
  • Released: 2019

3.  PG 3 by Nike

  • 4.5/5 rating
  • Top: Low
  • Signature: Paul George
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Grey, Orange, Red, Silver, White
  • Released: 2018

4.  D.O.N. Issue #1 by Adidas

  • 4.5/5 rating
  • Top: Low
  • Signature: Donovan Mitchell
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Green, Grey, Orange, Red
  • Weight: 426g
  • Released: 2019

5.  Dame 5 by Adidas

  • 4.6/5 rating
  • Top: Mid
  • Signature: Damien Lillard
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Grey, White
  • Released: 2019

Slam Hard With The Best Basketball Shoes For Dunking!

1. KD 13 by Nike

KD 13 by Nike

4.5/5  Overall Rating

These shoes provide supreme comfort once worn
The support and lockdown on the shoe is terrific
The material used for the upper works well with the entire shoe. It hugs the shape of your foot and performs well
Very durable outsole which is perfect for outdoor use
A lot of consumers applaud the traction on these shoes because they are very grippy on any type of surface
Compared to its predecessor, the cushioning on these are notably better

On the forefoot of the shoe, wearers may feel that it is too snug
Some claim that the materials are cheap

What do most people think of this product?

These shoes are definitely one of the best from KD’s shoe line. It just performs really well and adapts to the playing style of the well-known basketball player. These were designed to use minimal materials to give that broken-in feel fresh from the box. You get a lot of responsiveness and comfort thanks to the Air Strobel feature. The shoe also makes use of the ever famous Zoom Air unit which also adds up to the responsiveness of the KD 13.

These shoes are great for players who love the feel they get from very responsive shoes. Also, for those players who value traction and durability, well, this would be the perfect pair for you.

Going back to the famous feature, the Zoom Air unit is used as a cushioning that increases the overall comfort and responsiveness of the KD 13. The neat thing about this particular shoe is an added Zoom Air unit at the forefoot which enhances the explosiveness and makes room for more movement. The genius behind this idea is Nike designer, Ross Klein, and he created this brilliant notion because he believes that the springiness will return twice the amount of energy the wearer puts into it. This is because the double-stacked Zoom Air unit is responsible for making all of that into a reality.

The outsole is made out of solid rubber with circular treads, very durable might I add. Rubber outsoles are known to be of great use when it comes to playing games outdoors. The durable rubber just has the best grip on any type of surface.

The KD 13 is a mid-cut type of shoe that has a lace-up front that keeps the foot securely locked in. The collar is cushioned so that your ankles sit in the shoe nice and comfy, and the tongue provides a snug fit.

As I’ve mentioned, the shoe is constructed from minimal and lightweight materials which give the player a broken-in feel fresh from the box. Thanks to the soft upper of the shoe, it gives lightweight support and enhanced durability to the wearer which I believe are just great qualities to have all together.

In terms of its style, the silhouette is uncanny since it resembles its predecessor’s look. There were minor upgrades with its appearance though and these include the visible cutouts in the midsole in order to enhance flexibility and reduce the overall weight of the shoe. You can also take a closer peek at the Zoom Air technology because of the holes. Let’s not forget the signature details of the athlete himself, Kevin Durant. His name, signature, and jersey number are present in the shoe’s design.

Overall, the changes made on the KD 13 will significantly improve the way you play your game. These are regarded as one of the best basketball shoes that have great performance cushioning and traction, especially among the KD shoe line. Thanks to the double-stacked Nike Zoom Air unit, you get more responsiveness and explosiveness out of the shoe. You get an excellent grip on any type of surface all thanks to the durable rubber outsole with circular treads. You can never go wrong with the KD 13, so I highly recommend you buy one of these!

2. LeBron 17 by Nike

LeBron 17 by Nike

4.3/5  Overall Rating

A lot of users claim these shoes are very excellent
Provide extreme comfort
Despite the look, it’s actually lightweight
Lockdown and support are nearly perfect
Cushioning is excellent. The Zoom and Max Air unit are bouncy and responsive
BattleKnit upper provides excellent containment and broken-in feel
Heel-to-toe transition is very good
Traction on this shoe is excellent

Traction picks up dust
Very pricey
Some have a hard time lacing up the shoes
Due to the thickness of the cushioning, it doesn’t provide any court feel

What do most people think of this product?

Most aspiring basketball players aspire to be just like the famous NBA stars, and who doesn’t want to be as great as LeBron himself, right? You can actually improve your style of play with one of his signature shoes, the LeBron 17. This shoe features an updated Max Air unit and an all-new Knitposite upper. The Knitposite upper allows the player to take full control of the court with the help of excellent support and containment. The Zoom Air unit provides continuous responsiveness and the Max Air unit protects your foot from impacts.

The designer of this shoe, Jason Petrie, has stated that LeBron loved the cushioning on the previous models, with the evolution of the shoe line, the Max Air cushioning just keeps on improving and is able to provide LeBron with the support and stabilization he needs on-court. The Lebron 17 also features two Zoom Air pods at the forefoot. The pods located on the forefoot helps with responsiveness and comfort after a high jump or dunking. Basically, the player will have a secure landing. The Max and Zoom Air cushioning play an important role, the Max Air provides shock absorption while the Zoom Air responds to the player’s speed.

This shoe features a durable rubber outsole, which is perfect for outdoor use, and with it is a modified traction pattern that increases flexibility and grip. The collar on this shoe is wide and the tongue securely locks-in the foot. The lace-up closure is customizable to your preferred fit.

The use of innovative materials was used for this shoe such as the Knitposite. This material combines Flyknit threads with heat-molded yarns for that added structure and support. They combined materials from both the LeBron 15 and 16 and came up with an incredible shoe.

In terms of style, there are signature details that represent the star himself, statements like “I’m King”, “LJ”, the iconic number 23 are all located on the tongue. This shoe also has a staggering 15 colorways! So every player has the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of mixed colors that represent their team or whatever preference they have.

Overall, this shoe has superior cushioning, incredible traction, containment, support, and a semi-perfect lockdown. Almost every feature you want a shoe to have can be found on the LeBron 17. If you aspire to be just like the king himself and have the budget to afford this expensive model, then go ahead and try these out ASAP!

3. PG 3 by Nike

PG 3 by Nike

4.5/5  Overall Rating

A The circular patterns on the outsole provide excellent traction
Suitable for outdoor use
Shoes are comfortable to wear.
Very breathable and lightweight.
Lockdown and support on this shoe is very good. Feet will not slip off of the shoe easily
Foam on the midsole is lighter and softer compared to its predecessor
Heel provides excellent impact protection
The material for the upper is really soft and provides ample support
Zoom unit feels bouncier than the PG 2

Materials look and feel cheap
Some complain about the shoe’s look, looks cheap
Foam is prone to wear and tear
Snug fit on the forefoot

What do most people think of this product?

Paul George is a veteran All-Star who wants to become a more efficient athlete. He still wants to perform at his elite level without having to waste extra energy. That’s where the shoe designer, Tony Hardman, came into the picture and designed the perfect shoe that will meet the needs of George. Tony and his team adhere to three principles in making the PG 3: Shed What Is Unnecessary, Make Every Step Matter and Remember Where You Came From.

The shoe features a ½ bootie construction, a lighter foam midsole, a ripstop collar, and a circular traction pattern that are known to have a very nice grip. The designer explains the function of each feature: the shoe being lightweight suits his style of play which means George can easily maneuver on-court and make quick movements both defensively and offensively. Then the soft foam on the midsole and the Zoom Bag will help George become faster and generate more speed.

To further talk about the cushioning and its function, the light foam midsole is paired with the Zoom Air bag which was also used in the previous PG model. According to the veteran player, he received more response from the new cushioning. Moving on to the traction, it was stated that the circular traction on the outsole was inspired by Moon craters. This has an increased multidirectional grip on any type of surface.

The fit on these shoes are true to size but some have claimed the forefoot area has a snug fit. We suggest that wide-foot wearers try these shoes in their local shoe store to get a better and more accurate fit. The ½ bootie construction helps with the lockdown of the foot. If you take a close look across the forefoot you’ll see free-floating synthetic wings that further lock in the foot.

The materials of the shoe are responsible for reducing its overall weight. A combination of mesh and synthetics were used for the shoe’s upper. The tongue is integrated into the rip-stop collar which makes room for support without jeopardizing agility.

When it comes to the style of signature shoes it’s always the most fun part to talk about since it often talks about the athlete’s past or the journey they had to go through to become who they are today. For Paul George, the several numbers seen on the outsole trace back to his past. It symbolizes his birthday, jersey numbers, number of tattoos are some of the things that represent his life and these are located on the inside of the circular traction pattern of the PG.

Overall, the shoe performs really well despite criticisms on its look and cheap build. This lightweight shoe is perfect for all types of players out there and it will definitely be great for kids to have a kick-start on basketball shoes. Some kids may be overwhelmed with the heaviness of some shoes, so PG 3 is the perfect choice for a lightweight shoe. Traction is great and cushioning is light and responsive.

4. D.O.N. by Adidas

D.O.N. by Adidas

4.7/5  Overall Rating

The majority of consumers claim these are a great pair of basketball shoes at an affordable price
Offer great comfort
Great for outdoor use
A lot has claimed that the traction performs well in clean courts
Kids love the colorways of these shoes
The materials give great performance and sport a really nice look
The Bounce cushioning is excellent. It provides impact protection, court feel, responsiveness, and bounciness
Despite being a low-top shoe, the lockdown is excellent

Some users have experienced slippage during the break-in period
Heel cushioning feels chunky
Midfoot is a bit tight
A lot are disappointed with the traction.
Wearers need to constantly clean the outsole when playing on dusty courts
Does not really provide too much grip

What do most people think of this product?

Donovan Mitchell named these shoes the D.O.N and this is based on his positive outlook in his career. These three letters mean “Determination Over Negativity”. We believe that that has a really big impact on aspiring players, especially kids. He specifically stated that he wants D.O.N. to be a symbol on his sneakers that relay an important message to people who love to play the sport and the message is he wants people to believe that they can do anything, no matter who they are or where they came from.

This shoe features a Bounce cushioning, a herringbone pattern on the outsole, and a lateral propulsion clip. Another feature that stands out with this shoe is its price point which is arguably one of the cheapest basketball shoes in the market. Donovan specifically worked with Adidas to make the price tag on these shoes as affordable as possible. This is because he wants the majority of people to have the opportunity to purchase a basketball shoe. Goes to show how Donovan truly cares about those who can’t afford $200 dollar shoes. Accessibility of these shoes is a major thing for most consumers.

The cushioning on the D.O.N. Issue #1 is called Bounce and this is placed on the midsole of the shoe. It provides decent responsiveness, bounce, impact protection. Also, the wearer will feel comfortable once they slip their feet inside the shoe. As for the traction, the outsole has this multidirectional herringbone pattern that offers increased grip when quick movements are made on-court. However, the traction on these shoes is not all that great. Wearers have to constantly clean their outsoles because it attracts dirt easily. To lock-in the foot securely inside the shoe it makes use of a lace-up closure and a propulsion clip for lateral stability.

The fit is true to size and is a comfortable fit on most feet according to consumers. The material that makes up the shoe is textile for the upper and this is a lightweight mesh that offers breathability inside the shoe.

The interesting thing about the style of this shoe is its Spiderman-esque theme. The tongue and toe box have this spider web stitching on it which is why it sort of resembles Spiderman’s theme. There are also custom codings on the shoe that symbolizes Donovan’s journey to becoming a successful NBA star.

Overall, we love Donovan’s concern for people who can’t afford expensive basketball shoes. The accessibility of the D.O.N. Issue #1 is a pro that lots of consumers will absolutely love. We assure you that the affordability does not sacrifice the shoe’s performance. The features are decent and the overall performance is great. Kids would definitely love the Spiderman-ish theme that this shoe has and without a doubt, the colorways will attract the attention of children.

5. Dame 5 by Adidas

4.6/5  Overall Rating

Dame 5 has the best
Bounce cushioning out of all the other models in the shoe line
Sleek design and stylish
The fit of the shoe is enjoyed by many
The herringbone pattern for traction works perfectly. Works well on both clean and dusty courts
Does not require break-in
Full tongue and knit collar allows players to wear ankle braces

Mesh upper material feels cheap
Wearers don’t like the colorways
Some have experienced minor slips on dusty courts

What do most people think of this product?

This shoe has been branded as the best model out of Damien’s signature line. The way the designers came up with this design is based on the combined attributes of the Dame 2, 3, and 4. For those who highly regard responsiveness, you will get the most out of this shoe, thanks to the full-length Bounce cushion. The herringbone pattern on the outsole is actually the first Dame model to have such a pattern. Traction works great, regardless of how clean or dirty the court is, and just gives a really nice grip on the floor. As for the upper, it’s made from either mesh or suede, or full-length leather.

Similar to its predecessors, the Dame 5 boasts its full-length bounce cushion. There are lots of benefits you can get from this type of cushioning such as responsiveness, energy return, and impact protection. No wonder the shoe has received a lot of praise, the way this cushioning performs are loved by both normal players and Damien himself.

The outsole depends on what colorway the shoe has, it can either be a light gum, gum, or solid rubber. Now the interesting part about its pattern is it’s the first Dame model to actually have it. The famous multidirectional herringbone pattern is one of the shoe’s highlights. The traction still performs at its best on whatever surface the player is on, be it clean or dirty, there’s no hindrance to the excellent traction it provides.

The fit on these shoes come in the standard Adidas sizing, however, there are actually mixed reviews regarding the fit. Some say that it fits true to size, others claim that the shoe runs too long and wide. The best way to know about your size is to visit your local sports store and do a personal fitting there. The thermo polyurethane panel is the one responsible for keeping your foot in place.

The upper’s material will vary and depends on what colorway you’re planning to get. You have the choice to choose between mesh and suede combo or full leather. For added comfort, the tongue, ankle, collar, and inner walls of the shoe are padded. In addition, the outriggers of the shoe will help in preventing ankle rolls. The Dame 5 sports a mid-top silhouette and comes with a wide variety of nine colorways.

Overall, the features that the Dame 5 boasts lives up to its name. It performs really well when worn in-court. The only downside is the sizing of the shoe, but once you have that figured out then you’re all set!

Factors That Make Up A Great Dunking Shoe


You can freely choose among the three heights whether it be low, mid, or high. The majority of people that play recommend that players opt for high-top basketball shoes because they provide more stability and ankle support. Aggressive players (like forwards and centers) usually go for shoes that have this kind of upper since they need the coverage and support the most.

For the other two variants, the low provides little support but it’s great for agility and speed. The mid-top on the other hand provides medium ankle support and is great for flexibility. You can purchase ankle braces separately if you want to have more stability and support with low or mid-top shoes.


In terms of material, you should focus on looking for a shoe that has great breathability, flexibility, and has a soft upper. These types of materials provide the player with comfort, mobility, and speed.

For those players who take importance when it comes to durability, you can choose hard uppers (these are usually made out of synthetic materials which may not be wide-feet friendly). Straps and zippers give the feet protection and support, while this is not really essential, it may be for some players. But there are also other people who find this quite annoying and ruins the aesthetic of their shoe.


This has got to be one of the most important things to consider when looking for the right shoes for dunking because this gives you that extra boost in your jumps. The cushioning varies from brand to brand and each of them has their own unique twist.

There are stiff midsoles then there are soft ones. The stiff ones increase protection against inward rolling of the foot and it also adds stability. The latter is more geared towards comfort.


When it comes to the outsole, it’s best to choose the ones that are broad and flat because this gives great balance to the player. Now for those who want to know what shoes have excellent grip, I suggest you search for shoes that have a herringbone or hexagonal pattern. This avoids slippage during your matches.

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