The Best Basketball Shoes For Outdoor Use

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If you’re the type of player who just loves the feel of playing basketball outdoors then of course you’d want to own kicks that perform just as well as you do. It’s obvious that outdoor courts are prone to get dirty and wet so those may damage your shoes, especially if they’re not built for outdoor use. We’re well aware that a lot of players have encountered this kind of problem. They always tend to purchase new shoes every month because their shoes all happen to break easily when used outdoors, probably because they’ve used indoor shoes. You don’t have to worry since this is a common problem and can easily be solved.

Therefore we should acknowledge that there are tons of basketball shoes out on the market and each of those shoes is designed for different types of environment, and usually, it would be either for indoor or outdoor use, sometimes both. It’s imperative to know what factors to consider when purchasing a basketball shoe specifically made for outdoor use so you won’t encounter wear and tear with your shoes.

This is why we are gladly introducing you to our list of the best basketball shoes for outdoor use! You may scroll down further to see a more detailed review of each shoe.

What Makes A Good Outdoor Basketball Shoe?

  1. Outsole. Make sure that the shoe you’re going for is made from hard and durable rubber.
  2. Traction. The groove pattern on the shoes must be wide and deep.
  3. Price. Watch out for shoes that are too expensive, they won’t last too long anyway.
  4. Upper. The material used for the upper must be tough.

This is just a summary of what makes a good outdoor basketball shoe. I’ll be talking about some of these factors in detail so that you can get an idea as to what they actually mean and why you need to make sure that the shoes you’re going to choose have these qualities.

Sole

I’ve mentioned that the outsole must be made of hard and durable rubber, I would also like to add that you choose soles that are dense and thick. This is because dense soles last longer against the rough outdoor surfaces. Thin soles will wear out and you’ll have no choice but to buy another pair of shoes. Moreover, the thickness of the groove pattern must also be closely observed. Aggressive traction patterns are terrific for indoor use, however, the opposite happens when used for outdoors. We suggest you look for shoes with traction patterns that are recessed into the outsole. They last longer and prevent wear and tear so you won’t have to break the bank all the time with brand new shoe purchases every now and then.

Weight

Normally, outdoor shoes weigh more than indoor ones. This makes sense since outdoor basketball shoes have heavier cushions to help push your foot on the hard outdoor surface. You can still use lightweight shoes if you don’t want to jeopardize your flexibility on-court. However, you shouldn’t forget that the heavy weight of your shoe is what protects your foot and keeps it stable when you play outdoors.

Outdoor Shoes VS Indoor Shoes

The biggest difference between the two types of shoes would be treading patterns and soles. The materials used for these shoes also differ. When playing indoors you’d notice at first glance that the environment in indoor courts is clean and the surface of the floor is smooth and polished. The outdoor environment on the other hand is more rough, uneven, and dirty.

When choosing an outdoor shoe, you would want to gear towards shoes that are breathable since the temperature outdoors is n’ consistent compared to an indoor temperature which can be controlled and regulated. Feet tend to sweat when you run around the court, so you have to look for breathable shoes to get some airflow for your foot to prevent slippage when in-game. As previously mentioned, outdoor shoes have thicker soles and larger trad patterns that prevent skidding. These two features allow your shoe to have a better grip on outdoor surfaces. The opposite is present on indoor shoes, thinner soles and tread patterns are more suitable for smooth hardwood floors.

Overview Of The Best Basketball Shoes For Outdoor Use

1. LeBron XIII by Nike

  • 7/5 rating
  • Top: High
  • Signature: LeBron James
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up, Slip-On
  • Colorways: Beige, Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Purple, Red, White
  • Weight: 454g
  • Versions: Low grade-school
  • Released: 2016

2. Lockdown 4 by Under Armour

  • 6/5 rating
  • Top: Mid
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Green, Grey
  • Weight: 374g
  • Released: 2019

3. LeBron 17 by Nike

  • 3/5 rating
  • Top: High
  • Signature: LeBron James
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Purple, Red, White
  • Weight: 324g
  • Released: 2019

4. Zoom KD 12 by Nike

  • 3/5 rating
  • Top: High
  • Signature: Kevin Durant
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Grey, Red, White
  • Weight: 439g
  • Released: 2019

5. Dame 5 by Adidas

  • 6/5 rating
  • Top: Mid
  • Signature: Damien Lillard
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Grey, White
  • Released: 2019

5 Best Basketball Shoes For Outdoor Use

1. LeBron XIII by Nike

LeBron XIII by Nike

4.7/5  Overall Rating

Pros:
The cushioning on this shoe is better than its predecessor
The Zoom Air cushioning provides smooth flexing for the foot
Built for big players
Heavy-duty shoe
Padded upper conforms well on the foot after a couple of wears
The height of the collar does not hinder mobility
Phylon foam compliments the Zoom units
Performs great for both indoor and outdoor courts, be it clean or dirty

Cons:
Some people find this shoe to be uncomfortable
For those who have wide feet, the shoe may feel tight and pinch on the nerves because of the Hyperposite sitting on top of the midfoot
For those who have narrow feet, the shoe may not be so snug on the feet
The Hyperposite materials make it hard to tie or change the laces of the shoe
Shoe design is too excessive (too many layers, collar is high)
Bulky shoe


What do most people think of this product?

The LeBron 13 by Nike features a multidirectional linear traction pattern located on the outsole, a hexagonal Zoom Air cushioning at the midsole, and a Hyperposite mesh with fuse overlays in the upper.

This is the 13th shoe in LeBron’s signature line and it features a hexagonal Zoom Air system which is similar to its predecessors. One of Nike’s best cushioning technology has got to be the Zoom Air system because it gives wearers a better court feel while providing a responsive base. This model differs from the LeBron 12s because instead of having six hexagonal Zoom Air pods in the forefoot, the designers made four smaller units around the bigger hexagonal pod. This bigger pod is located underneath the ball of the foot. It was placed here since the ball of the foot and the heel are the main zones that need protection from impacts. The sole does not lay flat as the hexagonal pods protrude. This assures the players that the Zoom Air units are the one that comes in contact with the ground.

What makes up the traction for this shoe is the thick bar-like patterns. This pattern makes sure that landings made on other areas of the foot will be supported by a sticky grip. While these shoes are advertised to fit true to size, this is a different case when it comes to wide-foot players though. This is because the Hyperposite mesh material can cause the shoe to feel narrow. Keep in mind though that every player has different foot sizes so if you want to make sure that this shoe will fit you or not then it’s best to try them on personally. The Flywire mesh with fuse overlays and the Hyperposite material laid on specific areas keeps the foot contained.

The LeBron 13s upper has an inner one-piece cleatie and a top layer of mesh and fuse. In between these layers are Flywire cables that greatly help with the overall lockdown of the shoe. Non-fused areas provide breathability and ventilation while fused areas add durability to high-wear areas such as the midfoot and toe rand. The Hyperposite materials can be seen on the medial and lateral sides. They’re more than just designs, they protect the wearer’s foot and the mesh upper. Lastly, the midsole uses Phylon to house the Zoom Air units and support the weight of the player.

The style of this shoe is more focused on being a bulky one rather than sleek. It gives a futuristic vibe because of its bulkiness and the way it’s designed with geometrical shapes. The high-cut and Hyperposite pieces on the upper contribute to the bulky look.

Overall, this shoe has great features, the hexagonal Zoom Air cushioning and the Hyperposite upper being the highlight of the shoe. Players who aren’t fond of bulky and excessively designed shoes won’t like this one. However, for those who like this kind of shoe plus the bulkiness, this pair of shoes would be a match made in heaven!

2. Lockdown 4 by Under Armour

Lockdown 4 by Under Armour

4.6/5  Overall Rating

Pros:
The shoe has excellent ankle support and heel lockdown
Cushioning is very responsive
Players compliment the silhouette of the shoe
Shoes are comfortable to play in
  Traction is amazing, performs very well and does not attract dirt
Works well with both indoor and outdoor use
The fit is wide-foot friendly

Cons:
Some have complained about the materials being very stiff
Cushioning is firm and lacks impact protection


What do most people think of this product?

Another shoe from the brand Under Armour is the Lockdown 4. This shoe features a synthetic upper that has a responsive fit. It’s also very breathable and the sockliner provides support and cushioning. Another feature would be the injection-molded midsole which makes your foot feel lightweight and responsive. The outsole is made out of rubber, which is great for outdoor use, along with it is an adaptive traction pattern that grips very well on any surface, be it indoors or outdoors.

Going back to the cushioning, I’ve mentioned that it has an injection-molded EVA midsole. This allows for lightweight feel and a responsive ride for the players as they dash to and fro on-court. The outsole boasts a durable rubber material with multi-level traction pattern. The adaptive traction pattern allows the shoe to grip on any type of court surface which prevents the player from skidding.

The Lockdown 4s fit perfectly to any type of foot, however, there have been some complaints about the fit being too narrow. The shoe has a mid-top collar that provides comfortable support so you won’t feel any uneasiness during your game. Another addition to the overall lockdown of the shoe would be the lace-up closure that secures your foot and keeps it locked-in, this gives the player assurance that the foot won’t just slip off the shoe easily.

The materials that make up this shoe are a molded synthetic upper, for that supportive and responsive fit, and perforated leather panels designed for increased breathability. The silhouette on this shoe is praised by many because it provides a sleek and fast look. The Lockdown 4 also comes in four different hues so you have a variety to choose from that match your overall look when you play. You can pair these shoes up with an NBA jersey to amp up your drive as you play with passion.

Overall, tons of players are satisfied with copping these pairs of shoes. They are very pleased with the support and containment of the Lockdown 4. These affordable shoes sure do pack a punch when it comes to delivering excellent performance in-court!

3. LeBron 17 by Nike

LeBron 17 by Nike

4.3/5  Overall Rating

Pros:
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

Cons:
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 help 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 were 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!

4. Zoom KD 12 by Nike

Zoom KD 12 by Nike

4.3/5  Overall Rating

Pros:
Outsole offers excellent grip and on-court and multi-directional traction
This shoe has more support compared to its predecessor
Does not require any break-in time
Lightweight feel on the feet
Excellent containment and lockdown
Fits true to size (materials are very snug on the fit)
Zoom Air cushioning is super bouncy and responsive
Extremely comfortable shoes

Cons:
Outsole attracts dust but doesn’t affect the grip of the shoe
Some stated that the materials could’ve been better
Some say that the look on the KD 12 does not come up to par with the KD 11
Some players claim that the shoe runs narrow at the forefoot


What do most people think of this product?

Kevin Durant is a name that is widely known in the industry of the NBA. An explosive player who’s difficult to rival on-court. A factor that contributes to his greatness would have to be his shoes which are designed to fit his style of play. The KD 12 by Nike features a broken-in comfort, excellent lockdown, highly responsive cushioning, and lightweight flexibility.

The highlight of the KD 12 would probably be the ultra-responsive cushioning. Usually, Nike’s basketball shoes use conventional strobel boards. For those of you who may not know what a strobel board is, it’s basically a fabric or non-woven material used to finish the bottom of a shoe upper. Now, they used a Zoom Air unit in place of the strobel boards and this has drastically improved the bounce of the shoe. This would make players soar high and reach the 10-foot hoops in courts. The full-length Zoom Air unit follows the shape of the foot and delivers better heel-to-toe transition.

In terms of the traction, this shoe features a translucent rubber outsole that comes with a fingerprint-like pattern. This rubber outsole was designed as it is to deliver sufficient traction on-court.

The shoe fits true to size, despite it looking a bit narrow on the forefoot. We suggest you order this pair with the actual size of your foot. The lockdown uses Quad Axial Flywire cables. These provide excellent lockdown and containment, so you don’t need to worry about your feet slipping off the shoe. Another thing about this shoe is it doesn’t run low, this is because Kevin Durant himself has experienced slippage with low-top shoes according to Leo Chang, the Nike Basketball Senior Creative Director. That’s why the shoe was designed to have a mid-to-high top cut.

Compared to the previous models in Durant’s shoe line that have low-tops, this model is different because he wanted to change them to have better performance on-court. The new aesthetic equates to better performance overall. Other details that this shoe has are a large iconic Swoosh on the lateral side and KD branding on the heel and tongue tab.

Overall, this is a well-rounded shoe that is adored by its performance and comfort. It features a new-found cushioning and snug materials that boost performance. Needless to say, KD 12 is superior to its predecessors and is regarded as one of the best basketball shoes in 2019.

5. Dame 5 by Adidas

Dame 5 by Adidas

4.6/5  Overall Rating

Pros:
Dame 5 has the best Bounce cushioning out of all the other models in the shoe line
Sleek design and stylish
Fit of the shoe is enjoyed by many
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

Cons:
Mesh upper material feels cheap
Wearers don’t like the colorways
Some have experiences 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 highlight. The traction still performs at its best on whatever surface the player is on, be it clean or dirty, there’s no hindrance to 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 personat 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!

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

My name is Aaron and I am the owner of Make Shots. On this site, I discuss the most frequently asked basketball questions and give my opinions. My love for basketball started in 2010 and ever since I have fallen in love with the sport.
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