In this guide, I will analyze a series of excellent basketball shoes that improve both your on-court and jumping performance.
I’ve spent nearly two decades playing basketball at numerous levels. That experience, combined with my first-hand knowledge of the game, enabled me to break down the best jumping shoes based on their characteristics and individual niches.
The KD 13 gets my pick for the best jump-enhancing basketball shoe as a result of its lightweight build and premium attributes.
The model comes packed with many traits that enhance the way you play. The midsole cutouts help reduce weight, and there’s plenty of support. That’s then perfectly complemented by the full-length Zoom cushion that manages to be both comfortable and secure.
There are many other awesome models to pick from as well. I’ll take a deep dive into all of them below.
Who Should Get This?
Most players who want to jump higher are looking to dunk. If you fall into that category, the shoes in this guide are perfect for you. They will give you a few extra inches, which is what most people looking for that extra boost needed to achieve their ultimate goal.
However, all players at all levels can stand to jump a bit higher. Even if dunking isn’t your main priority, being able to get up in the air can be the difference between a made layup or a blocked shot. More inches also translates to a higher release point, which can improve your shooting.
Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping
Here, I’ll review each shoe in detail and go over the various characteristics that make them perfect for those who want to add extra inches to their vertical.
1. KD 13
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Dual zoom air unit. Extremely lightweight design and unistrusive feel. Soft upper. Midsole cutouts help reduce weight. Superior energy output.
- Weight: 3.15 pounds
- Cushioning: Air Zoom
If you’re looking to get some serious air out on the court, the KD 13’s go a long way. Outfitted with a full-length Zoom cushion and made by one of the most reliable brands in the business, the shoes have a ton of performance-related traits that improve your performance as you play.
As with any good jumping shoe, the pair are quite lightweight. Not only does that enable you to jump without being weighed down, but it also ensures every step is comfortable and easy to take. The high collar is also nice, delivering great support for protection and premium energy output.
As great as these shoes are, they don’t look as slick as similar models. That’s not a deal-breaker if you’re only looking for performance, but players who care about style might be put off. The traction is another weak point. It’s serviceable, but other shoes do it better.
2. Nike Hyperdunk X
- Best for: Performance
- Key Features: Easy to put on and take off. Exceptional traction. Durable. Tough construction. True to size. Strong look with excellent spring.
- Sole: Synthetic
- Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Upper: Textile
The Hyperdunk is a well-known shoe that has had true staying power since it first appeared on the market in 2008. Equipped with a breathable upper and strong base, the model comes with a special 3/4-bootie design that allows for easy access and a more secure fit.
Another reason these shoes help with jumping is their wavy traction that gives you a better grip and enables you to take off. Even beyond the bouncy nature, the pair is durable and able to last quite a while. They are also comfortable and come with almost zero heel slippage.
The only downside to this pair is that they come with a soft rubber outsole. That doesn’t hurt the shoe at all when you’re playing in a gym, but it can cause issues if you like to ball outdoors. These are best used inside under ideal conditions rather than on the blacktop.
3. Kyrie 7
- Best for: Versatility
- Key Features: Comfortable cushion. 360-degree traction pattern. Extremely responsive. Large forefront Air Zoom Turbo unit. Clean look.
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Fit: True to size
- Style: Rubber
If you want a shoe that helps you jump in addition to improving all of your other on-court skills, the Kyrie 3’s will not disappoint. These are specifically designed to complement rapid or fluid movements as you play, ensuring all parts of your game (including your vertical) get better.
The reason these make my list is their responsive cushioning system that helps propel you when you take off. You also get a 360-degree traction pattern for better grip as well as a large forefront Air Zoom Turbo unit that gives you enhanced flexibility. The shoes are stylish as well.
The biggest issue with this pair is that they are on the smaller side when it comes to fit. Though they are true to size, the narrow design can be a bit difficult for people with particularly wide feet. Those with slender ones, however, will have no issues.
4. Dame 7
- Best for: Comfort
- Key Features: Extremely secure fit with good support. Solid court feel. Stellar impact protection. Well-rounded, attractive design. Strong balance.
- Weight: 15 ounces
- Sole: Rubber
- Upper: Textile
If you want a comfortable shoe that also helps you jump, the Dame 7 is worth a long look. These shoes not only help you on balance front, but they come with an exceptional cushion that feels great and provides you with some of the best impact protection on the market.
That is then backed by solid ankle support and strong security. Both work well to strap your foot into the shoe and ensure you get a lot of kick-offs when you jump. The low cut provides you with extra flexibility, making the shoe perfect for ball handlers or people who need to turn on a dime.
Just know that, as with the Hyperdunks, these shoes aren’t suited for outdoor courts. If you play outside a lot, or if you’re someone who spends their time on asphalt, you might want to go with something a little more durable. If you stick to inside, these are a guard’s best friend.
5. Adidas Pro Bounce
- Best for: Style
- Key Features: Excellent ventilation. Lightweight build and soft, supportive upper. Reliable Achilles security. Comfortable padding.
- Weight: 15.4 ounces
- Sole: Synthetic
- Fit: True to Size
As the name suggests, the Pro Bounce from Adidas is a great shoe for players who want to jump a little bit higher. It’s lightweight and comes with a breathable upper that’s secure and offers reliable ventilation. The Forgefiber material is also durable and long-lasting.
Another bonus here is that the shoes are extremely stylish. They come with a wide range of different color options that all look great. These easily stand in as a pair of everyday shoes if you want to wear them around town. That’s made even better by their quick break-in time.
As these shoes put an emphasis on the cushion, they don’t have the strongest ankle support. Most players won’t notice that, but if you have weaker ankles it’s something to keep in mind. Besides that, they are well-rounded and will give you a good base to jump from when you play.
Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping: What to Look For
Paying attention to these traits is vital when looking for shoes that help you jump a little bit higher.
Just about every manufacturer utilizes a different cushion in the sole of their shoe. Whatever you end up going with, your goal should be to get something that adequately protects and propels your feet as you jump. Comfort is essential with any shoe. Find the softest you can.
When looking at the cushion, it’s also important to pay attention to impact protection. The higher you jump, the more help you need when crashing back down on the hard-top. A high-quality cushion fixes that issue and enables you to jump as much as you want without any discomfort.
No matter how high you jump or how often, it’s important to get a shoe with solid support. That typically means a powerful base, tight laces, as well as lockdowns. That trifecta serves two purposes. One, it cuts down on injury. Two, it helps you launch yourself into the air.
A lot of high jumps come from having a proper base. If your shoe is loose or doesn’t strap your foot in, you aren’t going to get the same energy transfer that you would with something more supportive. That’s why strap systems are so important.
Nobody wants to jump with weights on their feet. That goes double for players looking to add a few extra inches to their vertical. You always want to get lighter shoes or ones with breathable, mesh construction to ensure you can move without being weighed down.
This is all about balance. Get the lightest shoes you can that still have the two above traits. Less weight goes a long way, but you want footwear that keeps you comfortable and safe. If your shoes don’t have a solid platform or durable construction, they won’t let you jump.
You may still have some questions about basketball shoes that pertain to jumping. I’ll answer some of the more popular ones here.
Will Basketball Shoes Make You Jump Higher?
No shoe will give you four or five extra inches or make you able to suddenly dunk out of nowhere. However, lighter ones with proper cushions will enable you to get up higher than you would with other models.
Is the Kyrie 7 Good for Jumping?
The Kyrie 7 is a more well-rounded performance shoe than a jumping option. They won’t hinder your effort to get up in the air, but they aren’t going to propel you in the same way as the ones on this list.
Do Jordans Make You Jump Higher?
There are many Jordans on the market, and some can definitely help you get a little more on your jump. Lighter models or ones with extra cushion support all work toward that end.
Useful Tips and Resources
Remember, your shoes aren’t going to magically help you jump higher overnight. They might give you better performance, but getting to your goal takes work. If you want to improve your vertical or get stronger legs, you need to work out quite a bit and play whenever you can.
There are many drills out there, ranging from powerlifting to repetitive hops, that will improve your general leg strength and bring another element to your game.
To help you get the right work out I’ve found a couple of videos that will improve your hops.
- How to Jump Higher (Step by Step Guide)
- 5’8” Dunker Full Leg Workout
- 10 Vertical Jump Exercises For Basketball Players
I believe that no basketball shoe will help you jump like the KD 13. The shoes are not just great basketball shoes, they have all of the traits needed to help you get higher when you take off. That includes a superior cushion, a lightweight build, and excellent support.
The shoes aren’t the best looking around, but if you can forgive them for that you’ll get a strong pair that will help you jump to the best of your abilities. The comfort and support are nice to have when you’re running or playing defense too. Few jumping shoes are as well-rounded.