Do not practice jump shots without having the best basketball shoes for jumping! Of course, a successful dunking movement needs proper techniques and strength, yet a pair of jumping shoes make it safer and more achievable.
About safety, you often have to significantly exert your power into the ground when making a big jump - not to mention, the higher you jump, the harder you will contact the court.
As such, your feet and ankles are at risk of pains and injuries. Proper footwear with its cushioning and grip support helps you care less about the feet and focus more on the jump shots.
Secondly, good basketball shoes for jumping often adopt ultra shock absorption and soles with incorporated air cushions or springs to improve the vertical dunking height.
Check all the products below to get insight into the science of basketball shoes for jumping!
Table of Contents
- 1 Best 10 Basketball Shoes For Jumping: In-Depth Reviews
- 1.1 Air Jordan 35 - Best For Comfort
- 1.2 Adidas Pro Boost - Best For Attack Players
- 1.3 Nike KD 13 - Best For Indoor Courts
- 1.4 Nike Kobe 5 Protro - Good For Outdoor Activities
- 1.5 APL Superfuture - Best For Amateur Players
- 1.6 Nike Hyperdunk X - Best For Every Court
- 1.7 Kyrie 7 - Best Stylish Shoes
- 1.8 Dame 7 - Best For Breathability
- 1.9 Adidas Pro Bounce - Best For Stability
- 1.10 Nike Air Zoom BB NXT - Best Overall
- 2 Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping: What To Look For?
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Final Words
Best 10 Basketball Shoes For Jumping: In-Depth Reviews
If you find yourself interested in any shoes above, feel free to look at their complete reviews below. They are all the best basketball shoes for dunking.
What do the experts think:
Air Jordan shoes are common in NBA matches - yes, partly because the brand has signed endorsements with many superstars like Luka Dončić, Chris Paul, or Russell Westbrook.
A more important fact about the shoes is their support given to players while running and jumping on the courts. Accordingly, the shoes are preferred for two features: Comfortable lightness and the advanced eclipse plate.
The manufacturer has brought back the raw leather and suede to the shoes in combination with modern textile. In doing so, they managed to significantly reduce the overall weight to only 16 oz. Air Jordan 35 will never constrain your jumping movement.
Regarding the eclipse plate, there are two Pebax pieces and a forefoot Zoom Air unit connected to form a cove. As a result, players can be compressing and dunking higher with better stability from midfoot to forefoot with less lateral containment and support.
All in all, the shoes are good at responding to your movement while offering ample cushion and easy transitions at the same time.
Just take notes that Air Jordan 35 is not for playing outdoors; the soft rubber does not hold up well to rugged and rough surfaces like outdoor cement courts.
Adidas Pro Boost - Best For Attack Players
It is not surprising to see several shoes from Adidas on the best dunking shoes list because this brand is well-known for adopting advanced technologies in its sports footwear. Take Adidas Pro Boost, for instance.
What most basketball players love about these shoes is the double cushion technology Boost and Lightstrike. It is ultra-lightweight and responsive so that players will have both speed and comfort.
Mentioning the midsole Lightstrike cushion, it is soft underfoot and upon step-in, resulting in excellent impact absorption.
Also good to know, the Lightstrike covers about 1/4 inch to secure the foot without causing a bulky feeling. As a result, you can expect lateral quickness and explosive movement during the game.
The Lightstrike cushion can reach its limit and start bottoming out, though. To fix, Adidas inserts an additional caged Boost cushion which is stiffer and more stable.
We also appreciate that Adidas Pro Boost’s perfect fit when it comes to jumping, thanks to its innovative cord lacing and elastic bands. The lacing pulls the shoe up and stops movements around the ankle, whereas the band offers a comfortable and secure lockdown.
The only quibble of the shoes is the size range. If your foot is small or thin, you will find the shoe tree somehow too wide.
Nike KD 13 - Best For Indoor Courts
The Nike KD 13 gets our pick for the best jump-enhancing basketball shoes, considering its supportive, lightweight build and dual zoom air attributes.
There is a thin textile in the outer and a woven fabric underneath. The materials together build a durable and stable construction, yet the shoes are ultra-lightweight so that you can jump high without being weighed down. They are also soft and easy to break in.
A full-length cushion with Zoom Air technology is another plus. Two Zoom units available - one in the forefoot and another under the Zoom Strobel.
You will feel a springy and smooth underfoot every time you put the shoes on. In addition, you get extra support while jumping, which comes from a good fit and broad base. On clean indoor courts, they work at their best to assist you in reaching a more effortless, higher jump.
It is worth taking notes that the Nike KD 13 is on the narrow side. This is not a bad thing, but you will want to go true to size and avoid unwanted slopping forefoot, pinching, or restriction.
The only concern is about the patterns. They are not herringbone but hollow circular cups, which help maximize grip while moving or stopping. However, durability is questionable, particularly on rough outdoor surfaces.
Nike Kobe 5 Protro - Good For Outdoor Activities
Kobe 5 Protro is another top Nike basketball shoe, but for outdoor activities. This footwear maintains extra lightness and comfort like the KD13, whereas the durability and traction are improved for outdoor matches.
Although the shoes are made of the common synthetic material, the manufacturer uses a heat-bonding process to reduce the weight and improve the flex in the upper.
There is also a ballistic mesh around the heel counter, combined with an additional fuse. As a result, not only are the shoes good to maneuver, but they get strong enough to keep your foot contained while jumping and moving.
Traction is aggressive on challenging and dusty outdoor terrains. More flatline tread patterns are added between original heartbeat patterns. When you play outdoors, the traction is supposed to be great and durable.
Both patterns create thicker grooves, making the shoes more durable. Nonetheless, treads collect more dust, and you will need to clean the shoes more frequently.
It would be better if Nike can add more Zoom Air units in the forefoot like the KD 13 version while still keeping the new Zoom Turbo. Thus, players will get extra comfort and breathability.
APL Superfuture - Best For Amateur Players
Professionals often do not use APL Superfuture, knowing that the shoes are banned from NBA leagues. It does not mean they have bad quality, but the shoes support the extra dunking ability, which is considered an unfair advantage.
If you play basketball for fun and you want to get up in the air, the shoes are recommended to assist your limited skills, though.
The secret lies in the Load ‘N’ Launch technology. There comes an 8-spring system that increases your leaps vertically by 3.5 inches.
Furthermore, a FutureForm midsole and a centralized shank plate are good to maximize energy return, then transfer it from the heel to the forefoot. So, in the end, you can be dunking higher with less effort.
The shoes also offer many thoughtful features. For instance, there is extra material to prevent injuries and add stability. The extensive high top is another plus to protect and support the ankles.
The only complaint is that the shoes are not as lightweight as other Nike’s or Adidas’s products.
Nike Hyperdunk X - Best For Every Court
It’s more than 10 years since the Nike Hyperdunk was first introduced in the Olympics 2008. Since then, the shoes have remained trendy among basketball players, from beginners to professionals and indoor to outdoor courts.
Traction is the one that everyone praises about the shoes. Instead of only common heartbeat or tread patterns, Nike Hyperdunk supports multi-directional sound waves to respond to every movement from any direction.
Do not neglect the Zoom Air cushioning. This is by far the best cushion made by Nike for basketball shoes to achieve court feel, low ride, and response.
In addition, the heel unit is as thick as 14mm, along with a soft Phylon foam carrier to maximize rebound ability. It takes the first landing force until the Zoom Air unit takes over.
The rubber is also stiff and good enough to help players stop quickly and securely after jumping or speeding up - no matter whether it is a fitness floor, clean school court, or rubber one.
The drawback is the only materials from a decade ago - a textile upper and little leather on the cup. Nothing is like the stretchy or breathable mesh.
Kyrie 7 - Best Stylish Shoes
For those who are sneakers fans, Kyrie 7 is the latest in the superstar Kyrie Irving line. The shoes are prominent for their eye-catching and flamboyant iterations that will attract the attention on the court while you are jumping.
Designwise, the manufacturer highlights the shoes with visual standpoints such as the mid-top silhouette or different colorways. Even the stitching on the counter of the heel is premium and sophisticated. It adds an overall neat touch.
All Kyries features come upon a medium level in performance, making the shoes acceptable for basketball.
Take the traction, for example. Nike adopts a 360-degree pattern to remain the bite, as long as the pattern does not collect too much dust. Of course, you will want to use the shoes on a clean court or grip them now and then.
The Zoom Turbo cushion covering the entire forefoot is also highly preferred by basketball players who like dunking frequently. It is improved by a responsive foam midsole to maintain the comfort and court feel.
The shoes are not ideal for big feet, though. So you had better go a half size up unless you want to suffer from a very snug fit.
Dame 7 - Best For Breathability
Dame 7 is from Adidas and for basketball players who have sweaty feet. These shoes have woven-like mesh to circulate airflow for better ventilation. Even after a competitive game, you will not feel your foot uncomfortably soaked inside.
Also, the pair offers a great fit and stability. It comes with nylon on the medical side for lacing. The materials are also a little firmer than others.
The two features result in aesthetic construction and lockdown feel. However, it takes some time for the shoes to break in and wrap comfortably around your foot.
Traction and support are decent, which gets the dunking done, but nothing is too exciting. It lacks leaping ability like the APL Superfuture or the Zoom Air unit of Nike.
Adidas Pro Bounce - Best For Stability
The Pro Bounce is in the same line with Pro Boost that we already introduced you to above. As such, the two shoes share many ideas in common.
For example, the mesh is both lightweight and easy-to-break-in on the upper and somehow cheap on foot and in hand. They all have good support despite having a cheap mesh build. It is thanks to the split TPU plates under the forefoot and the vast and flat midsole.
The cushion is the main difference. Instead of the Boost, Adidas dunking shoes use Bounce. For those who might not know, the Boost is good at absorbing impacts so that your foot will feel comfortable.
On laterally moving, the footbed will bound and make jumping effectively while it maintains a good balance when you land on the court.
Nonetheless, it does not react quickly to moves. Bounce is firmer and more responsive. Plus, the Pro Bounce is more expensive than the Pro Boost.
Nike Air Zoom BB NXT - Best Overall
Nike Air Zoom BB NXT is the last on the list, but it is not the least. It is the best basketball shoe for jumping due to its beastly traction.
The difference between this pair and other Nike shoes is the combination between pattern and rubber compound. Both are solid for rough and dusty outdoor surfaces. Often, the manufacturer tends to use soft rubbers for basketball shoes.
Textile in the upper is like most modern basketball shoes. The material is comfortable and easy to break in. In addition, there is an overlay to prevent the soft construction from being thrashed.
The cushion is also supportive for jumping purposes. There are three layers of the midsole - the two large Zoom Air pods and one React insole. You should be ready for dunking high off the ground, but you have a ton of cushion in return.
However, players who get used to lower shoes might feel weird and not comfortable. They even have difficulty setting up the lateral Zoom units, which keep compressing any strong movements.
Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping: What To Look For?
Every basketball player wants to maximize their vertical dunking, and for sure, a pair of shoes cannot be enough to complete that dream. However, proper sports footwear helps you to practice correctly and safely from injuries.
So, what to consider?
Traction means grip to the court and surface. When you run toward the hoop and make a vertical dunking, your shoes must provide a good base rather than slip on the surface. Otherwise, you risk yourself from being seriously hurt.
Rubber traction is a choice. Moreover, you will want to consider different types of patterns that provide traction in different directions, for example, the heartbeat on Adidas shoes or tread patterns on Nike shoes as above.
Jumping requires aggressive and quick movements. To get started, you should ensure solid and good ankle support. The shoes should be loosened sturdy to handle your weight and allow your feet to be at a high level. Simply put, you have to move on defense.
Lockdown And Fit
Nothing is worse than having loose shoes that slip out when you are taking off or snug fits that cause pain on your feet.
It is advisable to choose shoes true to size or half-size up with a lacing lockdown system for a perfect fit. A TPU heel counter is also preferable.
Lying at the bottom is the cushion. A good one is supposed to give a push back when you make a dunking shot. Meanwhile, it provides softness and comfort under your feet.
So far, sports shoe manufacturers keep introducing new technologies of cushions to improve overall performance, such as Zoom Air units of Nike or Boost/Bounce cushions of Adidas.
Weight And Materials
To not weigh down your body, a pair of basketball shoes should be lightweight. They also need to be good at wicking moisture because your feet often sweat a lot doing high-intensity activities. As a result, brands tend to make shoes with synthetic and mesh materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do not miss out on the common questions from basketball players to have more ideas of the best basketball shoes for jumping.
Which Basketball Shoes Make You Jump Higher?
All shoes above are good since they make your dunking higher during the basketball match. You can give each product a try.
Otherwise, if you still do not find any fit or want to go with other brands, you can consider our buying guide to picking up the one for your own needs.
Do Shoes Affect Jumping Height?
Yes, 100% sure. Jumping shoes often provide a solid base for you to bounce. Also, when you make small dunking to prepare, the shoes absorb the shocks and transfer more energy from the ground to your feet.
An improper shoe, on the other hand, causes foot and ankle problems. Even worse, the bad alignment starting under your feet can move up and lead to pains in the leg, hip, and back. They’re sure to hold you back from reaching a high jump.
Do Basketball Shoes Make You Jump Higher?
Yes. Basketball shoes are often built with many purposes based on the function of players, including dunking.
Key to take notes of the shoes are the excellent traction, solid support, perfect fit, responsive cushioning, and lightweight materials. Plus, the shoes help improve the alignment and reduce the stresses put on your body and feet.
Can Insoles Make You Jump Higher?
Good insoles work well by offering cushioning and softness so that your foot will less suffer from pain. When it comes to insoles in baseball shoes, they support advanced technologies like Bounce or Boost to return the energy to generate speed, power, and agility.
These parts might be available with the shoes, or they can be bought quickly from home.
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