Referee Basketball Shoes You Gotta Have!

Best Referee Basketball Shoes for 2021! – Our Expert Picks

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For some of you who may not know, NBA referees actually have a difficult time searching for the right pair of basketball shoes. Why? This is because they have to strictly adhere to the NBA’s color rules when it comes to referee shoes. This is also similar to the rule they once had that the basketball shoes that athletes use must be covered with mostly white colors. Going back to the referee basketball shoes, the color they must follow is an all-black colored shoe.

The brands that referees get to choose from are Nike, New Balance, Asics, and Adidas. Although the majority of the NBA’s official sportswear comes from Nike and not only for the athletes but for the referees as well, still, not every referee actually chooses the Nike brand. Sadly, despite having a wide variety of brands in the sports industry, there are still no specific shoes made for referees yet.

This makes it difficult for referees to purchase basketball shoes that they can use in-court. With that being said, we will be listing out some basketball shoes that referees may want to take a look at.

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

NBA Referees: Uniform Basketball Shoes

As I’ve said, referees do indeed have a difficult time whenever they go on a search for the basketball shoes that work for them. Other than searching for the right fit, performance, durability, and comfort of a shoe, they must also adhere to the “color rules” of the NBA which is that referees must only have all-black basketball shoes.

During the year 1995, which is around the time where Michael Jordan was at his prime and at the peak of his career, a referee-friendly basketball shoe was released. I call this referee-friendly since the majority of the shoe’s color is black. This shoe was called the Air Jordan XI, and it was exclusively for referee-use only. Moreover, these shoes were only given to the NBA officiating staff.

While NBA referees do have the freedom to choose among three pairs of sneakers per season as per the agreement made between the NBA with its referees, they aren’t forced to choose Nike, and actually, not a lot of referees choose the Swoosh brand. Over the years, New Balance seemed to be the popular choice for referees because it had shoes in all-black colors and were readily available. Plus, they have good cushioning on their shoes as well. Then there’s also a shoe line from Nike that has also been a favorite and it’s the Air Max line.

When referees decide which shoe to pick, it all boils down to their own preference. Do they prefer running shoes because it helps them go back and forth on the court easily or do they prefer basketball shoes that replicate the performance that athletes have so that they can perform swift movements better? With all that in mind, the shoes must only be black as well.

Overview Of The Best Referee Basketball Shoes

1.  ASICS GT 1000 8

  • 4.6/5 rating
  • Terrain: Road
  • Weight: Men 289g/Women 258g
  • Drop: 10mm
  • Arch Support: Stability
  • Pronation: Overpronation
  • Distance: Daily running, Long distance, Marathon
  • Width: Normal, Wide, X-Wide
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Gray, Pink

2.  Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer by Nike    

  • 4.3/5 rating
  • Use: Workout, Gym, Cross-training
  • Weight: 425g
  • Width: Narrow, Normal, Wide, X-Wide
  • Features: High drop
  • Colorways: Black, White

3.  ASICS Men’s GT-1000 7

  • 4.6/5 rating
  • Terrain: Road
  • Weight: Men 290g/Women 239g
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Arch Support: Stability
  • Pronation: Overpronation
  • Distance: Daily running, Long distance, Marathon
  • Width: Normal, Wide, X-Wide
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Gray

4.  New Balance Men’s 623 v3

  • 4.5/5 rating
  • Use: All-day wear, Work, City
  • Arch Support: Normal
  • Closure: Lace-up
  • Material: Leather upper
  • Features: Orthotic friendly
  • Weight: Men 365g, Women 283g
  • Colorways: Black, White

Referee Basketball Shoes You Gotta Have!

1. ASICS GT 1000 8

ASICS GT 1000 8

4.6/5  Overall Rating

The aesthetics of this shoe are adored by a lot
The stable underfoot and cushioning enable wearers to easily do their physical activities with ease
These are very lightweight
A lot have claimed that the outsole can perform well on both dry and wet surfaces
The upper is breathable and keeps the feet cool and dry

The shoelaces are too short. Wearers can’t really customize their fit with short laces
Some complain that the forefoot section is unresponsive and stiff
There’s a tendency that the foot can slide towards the front of the shoe

What do most people think of this product?

This model is one of the latest in ASICS stability shoe line. This shoe line is known for providing wearers with optimum support and prevention of fatigue. The difference between this model and its predecessors is the updated durability and breathability of its upper.

The sizing on these are standard so you can purchase the ASICS GT 1000 8 with your size expectation in mind. However, if you’re not completely sure with your size, it’s advisable that you try out the shoes in physical stores to get a more precise fit.

AHAR or Asics High Abrasion Rubber is the outsole used for this model. This protects the base of the cushioning from the surface of the ground. This is also responsible for providing traction, which is obviously an important thing to have on any shoe. The flex grooves on the forefoot area makes room for more flexibility and makes the tendons and joints of the foot to bend more. The heel area is decoupled and what this does is it prevents any discomfort caused by the force from taking a step.

The SpEVA topsole prevents the feeling of fatigue. The FlyteFoam, which is located at the bottom of the midsole, bolsters the structure of the shoe’s platform. The DuoMax Support System is positioned on the medial midfoot side and it acts as a prevention of bucking. Lastly, the Gel is placed on the rear area of the midsole. The job of this feature is for reducing impact shock, thus, it results in smoother transitions.

The upper is made out of engineered mesh and this material is lightweight, breathable, and stretchy. Moreover, it adheres to the motion and shape of the foot as well. Printed overlays are located on the heel, toe box, and the sides. These reinforce the upper and help the lacing system in securing the feet inside the shoe. The collar and tongue are padded and these cushion the topmost areas of the foot so as to prevent accidental slippage.

Overall, reviews about the ASICS GT 1000 8 are mostly positive. A lot of wearers vouch for the performance of this shoe when they take part in their daily activities. The only downside would have to be the lockdown and unresponsive forefoot section.

2. Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer by Nike

Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer by Nike

4.3/5  Overall Rating

A lot of users have claimed that these are very comfortable training shoes that can be used for daily wear
Consumers have bought this shoe over and over again because they trust its durability
Some consumers love the appearance of the shoe
A lot are happy with the variety of width options
Great shoe at a decent price
The fit is true to size, which numerous people love

After some time, the midsole produces a squeaky sound and oftentimes this becomes an annoyance for users
Some have complained about the outsole peeling off just after weeks of use

What do most people think of this product?

Nike is a brand a lot of people can rely on since they cater to a wide variety of people who are involved with different kinds of activities. From professional athletes to everyday fitness and casual wearers. The shoe we’re going to be talking about sort of has all of those things combined. Introducing the Air Monarch IV. It’s stylish and it performs well too. This iconic workout shoe has been hailed as the “king of all dad shoes” in the sneakerhead community, simply because of its design and retro appeal. So if you’re a fan of morning walks, jogs, and exercises, these shoes can provide you with superb support and comfort. For the sneakerheads out there, they’ll love to sport these shoes and flaunt them as they strut in the streets.

The solid rubber outsole of the Air Monarch IV is a type of material that won’t leave marks or residue on floors whether it’d be gym floors or polished floors. For added protection, the outsole stretches to the toe box. The outsole sports multi-patterns that perform well on any type of surface, be it indoors (gyms) and outdoors (pavements). On the ball of the foot is a pivot ball that aids a person when they execute quick transitions and swiftly changing directions. It also features flex grooves so that the player can freely move around without fear of having their foot bent.

The midsole makes use of full-length Phylon, which is known to be lightweight and responsive. The Phylon midsole is made out of EVA foam and in order for this material to get its shape, it’s compressed, treated with heat to expand, and cooled. The EVA foam is widely used in various shoes because of its reputation for having good durability. Of course, being an Air Nike shoe, it features an Air-Sole Technology. This is embedded onto the Phylon midsole in order to absorb impact better, return to its original state after absorbing impact, then it’s ready to strike once more.

Depending on the color option that you would be choosing, the materials that make up the shoe will vary. Two versions such as all-black and white/metallic silver are only made up of synthetic leather. The other two colors would be made up of synthetic leather with a mix of mesh on its quarter panels. The Air Monarch is different compared to other running/training shoes since it’s upper is made out of synthetic leather and not the traditional mesh material.

As for the lockdown, it uses a standard lacing system and rounded laces as well. The lacing secures the padded tongue to prevent slippage. Then there’s the ever-convenient heel pull tab that makes it easier for everyone to take off the shoe.

Overall, a lot of previous buyers have praised this shoe and vouch for its comfort when doing various physical activities. They also loved the variety of width the shoe came with. The only notable downside the shoe has is the squeaky noise it makes after weeks of use.

3. ASICS GT 1000 7

4.6/5  Overall Rating

The construction of the ASICS GT 1000 7 is absolutely superb. It’s sound and sturdy and will definitely last for a long time
Despite its many prevailing features, the shoe is actually lightweight
It’s not really a bulky shoe
The aesthetic of the shoe is praised by many
The cushioning is consistent during and after physical activities
The shoe’s stability is another thing that is praised by many who have tried the shoes for themselves

Some have complained that the toe box is too tight and makes it hard for them to run
The stability mechanisms of the shoe aren’t noticeable
Despite having width options, the shoe was actually more narrow than expected

What do most people think of this product?

This running shoe has been a popular choice in the running shoe category and here’s why. The cloth-like exterior it has gives the wearer a feeling as if they’re only wearing a sock once they put the shoes on. Then there are printed overlays that boost the shoe’s structure without making it seem and feel too bulky.

The midsole of the ASICS GT 1000 7 is composed of stability and cushioning technologies that will surely help the wearer by providing enough responsiveness. This full-length foam serves as a platform in protecting the feet from impact. The features of the shoe that prevents the arch from collapsing are the Guidance Trusstic System and DuoMax Support System. Another cool thing to like about this shoe is its ability to resist abrasion, thanks to its external pad made out of rubber.

The size and fit on the ASICS GT 1000 7 is standard, and it’ll be up to the buyer to choose which width suits their feet. The cushioning, SpevaFoam 45, adds comfort to the underfoot. This is the layer that comes in between the midsole and the upper.

The outsole is called the Asics High Abrasion Rubber or AHAR for short. This serves as a shield to the midsole and also preserves the function of said midsole. These are pretty grippy too, whatever the surface may be. The outsole sports flex grooves which enables the underfoot to move freely. Going back to the midsole, the SpEVA is a full-length cushioning that carries the foot and provides both durability and responsiveness to the wearer. Then there’s a foam on the heel area as well, and it’s called the FlyteFoam. The purpose of this foam is to add energy for every step a person takes while improving durability as well. The materials that make up the heel are environment-friendly compounds, which is an absolute plus! The heel area is able to absorb impact very well thanks to the Gel cushioning unit (silicon-based gel). In order to prevent overpronation, the DuoMax Support System acts as the foundation of the arch of the foot. Lastly, the Guidance Trusstic System supports the muscles and tendons of the underfoot, and what this does is it prevents buckling.

In terms of the upper, it’s made out of engineered mesh which is a cloth-like material that conforms to the shape of the wearers feet. There are also ventilation holes for breathability. Overlays are placed on the facade of the shoe which mainly acts as an aesthetic-booster. Then the overlay is lined with reflective material which makes it easier and safer for people to run during nighttime.

Moving on to the lockdown of the shoe, it makes use of a traditional lacing system with round laces. Wearers are able to customize the fit of the shoe according to their preference. The padded collar and tongue helps with keeping the feet in place.

Overall, the general feedback for the ASICS GT 1000 7 is positive. The materials are of quality and very durable. Others seem to love the look on this shoe and its lightweight build. When it comes to the stability and fit of the shoe, that portion received mixed reviews.

4. New Balance 623 v3

New Balance 623 v3

4.5/5  Overall Rating

A lot of wearers claim that the midsole is very supportive
The fit on these are perfect according to plenty of consumers
Affordable price
The shoes are very comfortable to wear
Wearers are pleased that because of the removable orthotics
The style and colorways of the shoes are nice
Several foot issues are alleviated when this shoe is worn, according to some testers

After a few months of use, some say that the sole has detached from the upper. This goes to show that the durability of the shoe is questionable
The upper gets stretched out after a few weeks of use


What do most people think of this product?

Like its predecessor, it inherited the features that made it such a good shoe. The non-marking outsole, ABZORB heel for impact protection, and a full-length EVA midsole. But what makes this model different is the QUIX technology, and what this does is it allows the wearer to execute lateral cuts much more smoother. Another difference between this shoe and its predecessor is the upper. The old model used mesh while the new one uses perforations on the leather material which helps keep the feet fresh.

The non-marking rubber outsole is a good thing for a shoe to have so that it doesn’t leave annoying scuff marks on the floor. This extends to the front of the upper and it does a pretty good job of protecting the toes from abrasion and impact during physical activities. It sports flex grooves in the forefoot area that increases flexibility. The tread patterns integrated onto the outsole serve as the main source of traction. Now let’s move on to the new feature of the shoe, the QUIX technology. This is the smooth part on the outsole which makes it easier for the wearer to perform lateral cuts easier, smoother, and faster.

The insole of the New Balance 623 v3 is removable, which is a relief for many people out there. Moreover, this ethylene-vinyl acetate insole is durable, lightweight, and can protect your feet from shock while providing comfort. The full-length injection-molded EVA midsole serves as a stable platform and flexibility that adjusts to a person’s natural foot movement. Then there’s this internal shank placed between the midsole and the insole located in the midfoot area. What this does is it stiffens the part of the sole and it forces the feet to bend. This prevents injuries and discomfort on the foot. Apart from the cushioning on the midfoot area, the heel also has one called the ABZORB. This foam technology absorbs shock which can ultimately eliminate any form of discomfort.

The upper of the New Balance 623 v3 varies in terms of the colorway that the wearer would be choosing. The upper can either be leather or suede. There are perforations installed in the forefoot and heel area which prevents the foot from getting too hot.

The shoe makes use of a traditional lacing system that secures the foot and prevents any slippage from happening. The tongue is lightly padded and this ensures that no discomfort will be felt once the laces are tightened. The collar is also padded and prevents chafing on the ankle. Then a counter keeps the heel area stable.

Overall, these shoes are very supportive and provide enough comfort to the wearer when doing various physical activities. For those who may have foot issues, the New Balance 623 v3 can help alleviate that. The only downside of this shoe is its durability. Then again, with its affordability, we can’t really complain.

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