This is my review of the best basketball shoes for dunking.
It’s clear. Not every basketball player can be like Big Shaq or Yao Ming—who were once the tallest NBA players in their time. A slight hop from Big Shaq could stop any small forward from dunking thanks to his size.
We still had guys like Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson who dunked over the heads of Yao Ming and Shaq. So, what was the secret of these players who were merely 6.2” in height?
Simple! They could spring 4 feet above the ground and slam the ball into the net like it was nothing. Today, we see similar basketball players that have developed the skill to spring very high above the ground.
But, here’s the icebreaker: Their basketball shoes are a strong contributing factor.
Oh yeah! With the right skill and perfect basketball shoes for dunking, you’re well on your way to “Slam Jam”–no limits.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to choose the perfect basketball shoes for dunking.
Who Should Get This
Most basketball players have one pipe dream: dunking on a 10-foot net with ease. As sweet as this dream is, there’s only one way to slam it down—with the right basketball shoes.
The right basketball shoes for dunking will give your feet adequate comfort while you play and enhance your performance on the court.
The right basketball shoe also reduces the risk of injury and pressure that comes with the game. The recommendations in this list are perfect for players that have a lot of speed and power.
Plus, you must have a strong will to slam the ring. But, it’s unnecessary if you only hang back and focus on getting back in transition—or have zero zeal for dunking.
Best Basketball Shoes for Dunking: Top Picks
Here are the top four basketball shoes for dunking:
1. Nike Hyperdunk X
These mid-top basketball shoes provide great support, stability, and comfort without hampering the smooth movement of your feet during play. It comes with heel and forefoot Zoom Air units, which makes the shoe responsive in the court.
If you suffer a lot from foot cramps while playing the game, you can smile now. Why? The laces of the shoes have Flywire cables to keep your feet stable while playing.
That’s not all! It comes with an injected Phylon midsole that gives your feet cushion to absorb high impact as you jump around the court.
Nike didn’t compromise with the traction for the Hyperdunk. The rubber sole has a herringbone tread pattern, which is great for playing indoors because of its traction.
What We Like:
- It has a herringbone tread pattern
- The Flywire cables combine with the shoelaces to provide great lockdown
- It’s superb multi-directional movement
- High mesh for ankle protection
What We Don’t Like:
- It can’t withstand dusty courts outdoors
2. Nike Kyrie 7
You can’t help but love these basketball sneakers at first stare. It has a lovely screenprint design that makes it remarkable. Its breathable mesh makes it almost impossible for your feet to sweat while playing.
Also, the shoe’s sole is durable, plus it has a firm grip and bounces on the court. With this shoe, you can jump very high and land smoothly without getting sore. The zoom air heel cushion is responsible for that.
What’s more? The shoes come with a lot of color options to pick from. Not to mention, it can also double as a fashion sneaker. The Nike Kyrie 3 provides comfort—thus, you can slide your feet into it easily. The snag is it doesn’t perform well outdoors.
What We Like:
- It’s highly comfortable
- The sole is sturdy
- It’s affordable compared to other Nike brands
- It comes with a breathable mesh
What We Don’t Like:
- Poor grip outdoors
- The shoes get dirty easily
3. Adidas Harden
One unique feature of the Adidas Harden is its boost, which gives your feet more response and impact protection. This feature contributes a lot to the jumping process of the Harden.
If you’re looking for a basketball shoe with a cushioning that works with a full-length boost, then you should go for the Harden.
What’s so special about the cushion? It’s soft, and it makes you feel low on the ground. Also, the forefoot acts as a fantastic sidewall to prevent your feet from sliding out.
Adidas claims that the Harden is top-notch for responsiveness. The support is excellent and the impact protection is fantastic. Thus, you don’t have to worry when you jump high because you’ll land on the ground safely.
Harden comes with a great lacing system, and it’s easy to personalize. It performs fantastically outdoors because of its reliable traction. They are no limitations to your jumping and running, even in dusty courts.
What We Like:
- It’s great for outdoor
- Provides great response
- Enhances your jump
- Little or no heat inside the shoe because of its material
- Traction is superb both indoor and outdoor
What We Don’t Like:
- If you don’t lace your shoes properly, your heels may slip
- Some extra elements on the shoe are unnecessary
4. Under Armour Curry 8
If you’re a fan of Stephen Curry, you might love this one. Although it doesn’t have a big name like the Nike and Adidas of this world, it entered our top list.
The shoes are not only sleek, but they have a unique asymmetrical lacing system and better ankle stability than most of the big names listed here. Plus, it has fantastic support from its burrito tongue that keeps your feet from slipping while you play.
The combination of performance and prime comfort are part of the features that make the Curry 8 stand out. Not to mention the traction and cushion effect of the shoe that’s beyond par. The sole is sturdy too. The only snag about this shoe is that it doesn’t have enough arch support. Thus, you’re likely to wriggle in pain, if you’ve high arches.
What We Like:
- It has excellent superior ankle support
- Fantastic traction
- It has a burrito tongue
- It’s slip-resistant
What We Don’t Like:
- Poor ventilation
- It has no arch support
How to Choose Basketball Shoes for Dunking
Before you conclude on any shoe, understand your playing style and capability. Ask yourself questions like “how much power and agility do I put into every game I play?” or “is my contest for the rebound hard?” Do you have answers to the questions? Then, consider the following factors before getting one.
The first thing you should look for in a basketball shoe is the upper. The shoes usually come in low, high, or mid heights. The high top basketball shoes come with an upper wrap. The upper wrap around your ankle provides support and stability.
These shoes are popular among more aggressive players like forward and centers—because they require added support and coverage.
The low height has little support. It’s perfect for guards that love to race up and down the court. And above, it’s built for agility and speed.
Mid-height provides medium ankle support. It’s ideal for players that aren’t sure of their basketball position because it allows you to gain increased flexibility.
Once you know the upper that best suits your needs, it’s crucial to consider the material of the shoes. If you love breathable shoes, flexible soft uppers are fantastic. They provide exceptional mobility, comfort, and speed.
If you prefer a more durable and supportive option, hard uppers made of synthetic materials may be your best call. It’s also crucial to look out for basketball shoes with straps, zippers, or hook-and-loop closure—which will give your feet more support and protection.
If you want to know how much cushioning your footwear has, check the midsole. Some basketball shoes come with branded technology that adds extra cushioning in pressure points.
While some, feature stiffer materials on the medial part of the foot—which increases protection against inward rolling and stability. It’s best to opt for a moderate to thin layer of cushioning to stay comfortable.
Oh yes! The aesthetics of your basketball shoes are also important. But, it all boils down to the statement you plan to make on the court. You can choose profiles and color schemes that blend with your personality and appeal to your taste. It’s a thing of choice!
The outsole is the outer part of your shoe that hits the ground. And it’s the point of traction for your shoes—made from rubber. If you want maximum balance while playing, choose basketball shoes with relatively broad and flat outsoles.
For added grip, your outsoles should have a hexagonal or herringbone pattern—to secure your feet and protect you from sliding up and down the court.
How to Clean Your Basketball Shoes (5 Amazing Tips)
It’s easy for your basketball shoes to get dirty after every game. But, how do you show them some love and ensure that they meet your needs all the time? The answer is simple. CLEAN the shoes after every game. Here are quick five tips you can apply to keep your shoes tidy after each match.
- First, take out any mud or debris on the surface of your basketball shoes. A soft-bristled brush will remove the dirt effectively. But, if the dirt is moist, use a soft and slightly dampened cloth.
- Next, prepare a mixture of warm water, when the surface of the shoe is dirt-free. Add some drops of mild detergent or dish soap to the water and dip in a soft cloth. Use the soft cloth to wipe your shoes thoroughly. Note; It’s crucial to avoid abrasive detergents or harsh cleaners because they can degrade your shoe quality.
- Remove the insoles and wash them with the previous mixture. For odor control, sprinkle a bit of baking soda on your insoles.
- Take another piece of soft cloth and dip it in plain water. Use the fabric to clean excess soap off your insoles and shoe surface.
- Place your shoes in a warm, airy spot to air dry. Avoid drying your shoes with a hairdryer, cloth dryer, or under direct sunlight—as it makes your shoes shrink, crack, and lose shape.
It’s basic. Every basketball player must be able to do the following amongst others:
- Engage in vertical jumping to get the rebound
- Make layups
- Block the ball
- Make a steal
In fact, with an excellent vertical jumping skill, you can become a fantastic team player—playing a significant role in your team. That’s why you need the right basketball shoes for dunking combined with your jumping skills to produce effective results in the court.
Are you considering a great place to start? Check out Nike Hyperdunk X as it’s our best overall choice. Also, go through the things to consider again. By doing this, you’ll streamline your choice to the perfect shoe that best suits you.