If you play a lot of outdoor basketball you are probably familiar with this problem: Most basketball shoes are designed for indoor use and won't last very long on rugged outdoor courts. So, unless you want to buy a new pair of shoes every other month, it is important to find shoes that can take the beating of playing on blacktop.
In this article, I am going to show you some great outdoor basketball shoes and talk about what differentiates them from regular indoor sneakers. But let's start with a quick overview of the best outdoor basketball shoes out right now.
I have read and watched literally hundreds of shoe reviews on sneaker blogs or youtube channels and recorded (among many other things) whether critics would recommend the reviewed basketball shoes for outdoor use. As a result, I came up with this list of shoes that feature durable rubber, sturdy upper materials and, therefore, work well on outdoor courts:
Before you start to search for your next pair of outdoor basketball shoes, you should be clear about what you are actually looking for. What differentiates a great outdoor sneaker from a regular indoor performer? Let's find out!
The rubber of the outsole suffers the most from playing on rougher outdoor courts. If your shoes feature a soft rubber compound you will probably end up with a completely slick outsole, or even worse, holes in your shoes, pretty fast! Overall, there are two things you want to look for when it comes to outsoles:
Solid and hard rubber:
You can either go with regular shoe models that come with a firmer rubber compound out of the box like the Adidas D Rose or the Nike Lebron Soldier line. Or you look for shoes that are specifically made for outdoor use. Especially Chinese brands produce a lot of outdoor models like the Anta KT Outdoor Low as indoor courts are much harder to find compared to the US.
Wide traction pattern:
A very narrow traction pattern will attract a lot of dirt and rubble and lose grip quickly. Make sure to get a wide traction pattern that will last a lot longer on dirty blacktop.
The upper material usually suffers less from outdoor play as it shouldn't be in contact with the surface of the court all that often. But if you tend to toe-drag a lot, or if other players are stepping on your feet all the time you might want to look into more durable upper materials like fuse or mesh.
Indoor courts are much easier on the joints than less-forgiving outdoor courts. Especially, if you have recurring knee problems, you shoud look for shoes with more comfortable cushioning that reduce the stress you put on your joints. If you are a younger and lighter player, additional cushioning is probably not as important, but firm shoes can still lead to sore legs after a day of playing outdoors.
Inevitably, shoes that you use outdoors will have a shorter lifespan than shoes that are only used on pristine hardwood courts. Therefore, it might make sense to look for cheaper shoes that you can replace more often. Playing in $200 Air Jordan outdoors could become expensive really quickly!
Let’s take a look at shoes that work very well on outdoor courts. This list is automatically created by filtering the complete list of reviewed shoes for recommended outdoor sneakers that have at least decent cushioning. This list was last updated on Dec 16, 2017 and shoes are sorted by average overall rating.
If you have any questions about this list let me know in the comments and I'll try to answer as soon as possible.
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