The Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping

Do you need hops? Are you looking to jump out of a stadium and throw down some monster dunks? Or have you developed your jump shot to come off at such a high release point, no defenders have a prayer at blocking your step-back? Maybe you’re on the quest of achieving dunk ability.

Whatever the case, we’re here to get you the best kicks to get your head in the clouds and your head above the rim. I’ve said it many times before, basketball shoes are built for certain styles of play. Some shoes are better for speed, some are better for defense, and the shoes on this list are the best shoes to give you major hops.

What you want is a shoe that can contain the explosion of energy your legs generate and focus it in a force downward, propelling you to the stratosphere and highlight videos.

Quick Summary

  • The Nike KD 12s offer great movement and support and a full-length Zoom cushion, they feel great around the foot and off the ground. You’ll feel good scoring in these kicks.
  • Kobe Bryant is a human highlight reel, every play he had was exciting and explosive. The Kobe AD NXT 360s is all that hype in a shoe. Faster than light, lighter than air, and will get you up.
  • If you’re a bigger guy that wants to fly, then the LeBron XVI (16) is your shoe. These shoes were built for the King to fly across his domain. If Hermes needed kicks I’d suggest him these.
  • For a more all-around shoe, I’d suggest the Adidas Dame 4. The amazing cushion in the Dame 4 is overshadowed by the great support and lock-down. This is a scorer’s shoe, that will unlock the full offensive toolbox.

Who Should Get This?

If you’re looking to jump then most likely you are looking to dunk. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to dunk. It’s the best thing in the world, you can quote me on that. So being able to dunk must feel like what the monks call Nirvana, if only for the few moments you fly through the air.

Honestly, all of these shoes can be made useful to any play, since you could classify each shoe on the list as lightweight with good mechanics. And hops will assist any player no matter the position. Everything you do when scoring, rebounding, and blocking all need exceptional air walking skills.

As a shooter, developing a high release point can also come in handy when trying to shoot over defenders. If you can pair it with a quick gather and release, you will be a deadly shooter, well feared and respected across your league.

Also DUNKS, if you’ve forgotten how hype dunks are, take a look at this:

Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping: What to Consider

Cushion

The cushion literally means the material at the bottom of the feet, in the sole of the shoe. Most manufacturers have their own “technology” they use in the cushion of the shoe.

Nike started with their air and now they have zoom, Adidas also has their own kind of single word cushion name. All you need to know is that the cushion is where the bounce is located. And you want the special zoom (or whatever) feature to be throughout the whole sole.

Support & Lock-Down

Just like any shoe, you are going to need sturdy support, with nice tight laces, and lock-downs. Especially if you’re going to be flying high, exploding for lift-off every play. All the energy you’re blasting through that shoe needs to be focused properly through the shoe.

Weight

Typically you will want a lighter shoe, something with knit boots for the materials. A lighter boot means a lighter foot. And just like basic physics taught you, less weight at the same force will get you more hops.

Impact Protection

After jumping through the roof you’re going to have to land back down on the hard-top. Since what goes up must come down, and the same force you put into your feet is going to come back in it when you head down. The good news is that quality cushions also have quality impact protection.

Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping: Our Picks

1. KD XII (12) by Nike


Release Date: 2019
Manufacturer: Nike
Signature: Kevin Durant

These shoes have a great spring in the step with the full-length Zoom cushion by Nike. The 12 will keep you balanced and secure going whatever direction you need. Especially up, then protect you when you’re on the way down.

What we like:

  • Full-length Zoom cushion.
  • Lightweight boot, that feels comfortable on the foot.
  • High collar offers great support and lockdown when you’re maximizing your energy output.
  • Has a smooth forward to back run, float through the lane and into the basket.

What we don’t like:

  • The traction is not perfect.
  • Shoe looks meh, has a shot of being a top 10 dad shoe if it was duller.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

2. Kobe AD NXT 360 by Nike


Release Date: 2018
Manufacturer: Nike
Signature: Kobe Bryant

The Kobe AD NXT 360 looks like some shoes given to us by a high intelligent lifeform for the sole purpose for us to reach the stars. Seriously these shoes look like they run off of Radium, built for explosive hops. The trippy traction pattern is hiding some sort of high-tech cushioning system. The boot and lock-down don’t slouch either, you’ll be getting full foot support in these shoes.

What we like:

  • Multilevel cushioning systems sounds like it was designed by Tony Stark.
  • Knit body offers terrific lock-down, support and security.
  • Body is also very breathable and comfortable to play in.
  • Lightweight and very responsive, I see hops in your future.

What we don’t like:

  • This shoe is as light as it can get, don’t expect much protection from being stepped on.
  • Won’t want to use these shoes outdoors, not very durable.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

3. LeBron XVI (16) by Nike


Release Date: 2018
Manufacturer: Nike
Signature: LeBron James

When it comes to dunking LeBron James ain’t no stranger to the rim. He is known for some earth-shattering slams, so this late into his career you can be sure he knows a thing or two of what needs to go into dunking shoes. Unlike the last two shoes on this list, the LeBron 16s offer a respectable option for centers and power forwards. Everything on this shoe is first-class.

What we like:

  • Big strong shoe without being too bulky for big guys.
  • Intense cushion, built for impact control and lift off.
  • Battleknit is stronger and more durable than flyknit, you can expect some great support and protection.

What we don’t like:

  • Takes some time for the cushion to break in.
  • Not the shoe for smaller guards.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

4. Dame 4 by Adidas


Release Date: 2017
Manufacturer: Adidas
Signature: Damian Lilard

Do you know what’s my favorite time of the day? Dame Time, but really these Adidas shoes are amazing. Balance and agility are put to a test in these kicks. Of course, the cushion on these shoes is why you’re going to want these on. You will be getting a lot of kick-off off the ground and even better support at the ankle. Dunk to your heart’s content with these on.

What we like:

  • Very secure all around the boot.
  • Great court feel and impact protection.
  • Comfortable and low-cut makes these shoes a dangerous weapon with ball-handlers.
  • Perfect balance that gives you everything you need to score.

What we don’t like:

  • Try not to use these shoes on outdoor courts.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Useful Tips and Resources

Once you got the shoes, you need to put in the miles on those things. Since the shoes are just the cannon and your legs are the gunpowder. If you want to reach the roof with your hops you’re going to need to put in the hard work to do so.

Through a series of drills, ranging from powerlifting to repetitive hops, you will be baking the energy and power into your legs. Building it up, so when game time comes along you can shock the stand with your monstrous hops.

To help you get the right work-out going we’ve found a couple of videos to get you to dunk status:

Final Words

Flying ain’t easy, and the same can be said about dunking. But with the right kicks and some hard work you can bring down the slam like your favorite NBA star. Even if you have to lower the rim an inch or 8.

If you’re the kind of player that needs to get up in the air, for whatever reason you can trust any of the shoes on the list. Though, I’d suggest the LeBron XVI (16s) for the bigger guys and the Kobes for smaller, more agile guards.

Are there any other basketball shoes good for jumping? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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