This review covers the best 90’s basketball shoes and explains the various traits that helped them stand the test of time.

I have only worn basketball shoes, both retro and modern, in my thirty years of life. Taking that experience and backing it up with research, as well as first hand reviews, allowed me to properly analyze the footwear below.

I believe the Air Jordan V is the best 90’s basketball shoe out there because of its iconic look and durable construction.

Where many older sneakers don’t have what it takes to stand the test of time, the V is incredibly well-made. The leather body and rubber sole work well to provide comfort and support. On top of that, the various colors and available styles give it an extremely unique appearance.

If you want a more in-depth look at the V, or if you’re curious about other excellent 90’s basketball shoes, check out the following sections.

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This?

While shoes made in the 90’s may not be court ready, their retro style, unique look, and crazy features make them perfect for collectors and basketball fans all around the world. If you want to add some new shoes to your collection or get a pair that only a few people have, they’re perfect.

Those that plan to wear them should be aware that most shoes made back then are a bit heavier and bulkier than modern models. If you want cool high top style footwear that you can take out around the town, good 90’s

Top 90’s Basketball Shoes: Our Picks

Here, I break down each of the best basketball shoes from the 90’s and go over why they rise above the pack.

1. Air Jordan V

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key Features: Comfortable, cushioned fit. Slick, iconic look. Leather construction. Tough rubber sole. Many available styles.
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: True to Size
  • Weight: 16.5 ounces

When it comes to throwback shoes, few embrace the 90’s like Air Jordans. The V is a particularly unique shoe that both perfectly embodies the period and is still available today. It looks straight out of the era, comes with a tough sole, and has a durable leather construction.

Another bonus is that the shoes, being one of the most iconic pieces of footwear from the era, come in a wide range of colors, looks, and styles. There’s even a Pro Stars version. As such, this model gives you a certain flare that many similar retro shoes can’t quite match.

Just be aware that the shoe, due to its great look and long-lasting durability, is on the more expensive side. There’s a lot of collector value here, and it’s popular. If you want a shoe that screams 90’s, however, you won’t find anything as perfect as the Air Jordan V.

2. Reebok Kamikaze

  • Best for: Fit
  • Key Features: Leather and suede construction. Superior lockdown. Stable. Durable outsole and powerful base.
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: Narrow
  • Weight: 15 ounces

Big men looking for a powerful retro shoe will enjoy the Kamikaze. This model, which Reebok recently brought back, came from Shawn Kemp during the 90’s. It matches his play style, utilizing a special EVA midsole, tight fit, and mid-cut design to deliver power to your game.

To back that up, the shoe comes with a durable rubber sole as well as a leather and suede upper. The entire model is well made and will last a long time regardless of how often you play in it. There’s a lot of stability as well.

The only downside here is that the shoe is a bit bulky. That’s not a deal breaker for those who are used to larger gear, but players who enjoy the slimmer design of more modern shoes might have some issues with the additional material. 

3. Nike Air More Uptempo

  • Best for: Lightweight
  • Key Features: Easy to put on and take off. Breathable and light. Nubuck construction. Stylish design.
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: True to Size
  • Weight: 2.65 pounds

Shoes have cut weight over time, but there were still some lighter options during the 90’s. The Air More Uptempo from Nike is one such model, mixing a retro look with a breathable design. The shoe has excellent ventilation and allows you to run or jump to the best of your abilities.

Despite that, the shoes are well-made and have the durability needed to withstand both inside and outdoor use. That makes these shoes especially useful for casual everyday use. Many people will also enjoy their overstated, bold branding. 

Few models, both modern and retro, have such a striking appearance. That look may put some people off, especially players who value a more minimalist approach, but those that enjoy it will be able to make a statement. 

4. Air Force Max

  • Best for: Durability
  • Key Features: Air-sole heel unit. Full-grain leather upper. Molded panels offer added support. Midfoot strap. 
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: Small
  • Weight: 4 pounds

Originally worn by Charles Barkley, the Nike Air Force Max is one of the strongest models from the 90’s. It has a unique look and utilizes a powerful full-grain leather upper alongside a midfoot strap and rubber outsole to create a strong, cohesive piece of footwear.

The shoes deliver power and give you a stable base to push off from. The Air-sole heel unit is especially useful in that regard, enabling you to make power moves without losing a beat. 

Just note that, with durability comes weight. Being a 90’s shoe, they are on the heavy side. That shouldn’t bother a lot of big men, but guards who need to make a lot of cute or quick movements might have some issues with the added weight. 

5. Grant Hill Fila 96

  • Best for: Comfort
  • Key Features: Wide, roomy interior. Comfortable cushion. Good traction. Extra padding. Springy, responsive sole.
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: True to Size
  • Weight: 13 ounces

The Grant Hill Fila 96 is one of the most comfortable 90’s shoes money can buy. The model, while a bit odd in appearance, has a snug fit and plenty of interior padding. It feels great as a base, and holds your foot tightly without ever being too stuffy.

The only downside some people might see with this model is that it doesn’t have the best traction. You shouldn’t have any issues with the grip right out of the box, but that will definitely wear down over time. That’s especially true if you’re someone who plays outside.

Best 90’s Basketball Shoes: What to Look For

All of the traits in this section will help you find the specific 90’s basketball shoes for you.

Style

One of the biggest reasons to get retro sneakers is for their look. The 90’s were a time of bold styles, and that’s reflected in the shoes from that era. You want to pick something with a fun or more unique pattern, as that will get people interested in your footwear.

However, you aren’t just getting the shoes for other people. You’re getting the shoes for you (or your personal collection). Always find ones that best match your own style or preferences, especially if you’re only adding them as a collector’s item that you never plan on wearing.

Budget

Many 90’s shoes are rare or serve as collector’s items. That’s not always the case, but it comes up enough that you want to keep your budget in mind when picking out a pair. You can easily get carried away and drop a ton of money, but you don’t have to when getting a throwback item.

The general rule when getting retro sneakers is to stick to your budget. There are several excellent items that might make you drool when looking at them, but those items can add up pretty quickly. Only pay what you can afford, no matter how much you want something.

Comfort

Though many people see 90s shoes as pure collector items, there’s nothing wrong with wearing them out. You can take them onto the court if you really want to show them off, or you can simply wear them around town. If you’re planning to use them, comfort is extremely important.

Look for shoes that have plenty of padding, as well as ones with strong soles backed by special cushioning. As 90’s shoes are quite old, it’s also important to pick ones that are still in excellent condition. The more support and padding you get, the better off you’ll be.

Useful Tips

Even though the above shoes come highly recommended, there are many other options to look at as well. The 90s were a decade full of a steady supply of shoes and styles. Check out the ones here for more awesome shoes from the decade.

My Verdict

The Air Jordan V is the best 90’s shoe you can still get today. While it’s pricey, it has a great blend of cushion, feel, and style. It looks great, has great durability thanks to the leather construction, and can be worn both casually or during a game.