The game of basketball has been growing in overall appeal since the late ‘90s. After Michael Jordan retired (for the second time) from the Bulls in 1998, the league hit a phase of a couple of years where the league and fans grew uncertain of the product.
But, with the global rise in the stardom of players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry, basketball has grown into much more than a sport. And, with the internet boom and need to feel connected with all things NBA, the sport has seeped into fashion and pop culture as well.
So, when you buy the newest basketball sneakers, you aren’t just buying shoes to wear during a game. You are buying statement pieces, which don’t always come cheap.
Sure, you can buy a nice pair of basketball sneakers between $75-$100 to get you through the season. Or, you can go all out. This article is for the ones that want to go all out. We will be covering the best basketball sneakers that you can buy for under $200. Let’s not waste any more time!
Who Should Get This
These sneakers are ideal for those who want to look and perform great on the court. And, since all of these shoes are well above $100 a pair, your budget shouldn’t have too low a ceiling.
Nowadays basketball shoes are just as much about style as they are about on-court performance.
I am reviewing each sneaker assuming you will be wearing them to play at a high level, but there is a good chance most may be rocking these in the club and not just the court.
If you want a decent pair of sneakers to play basketball in and nothing else, then this list may not be helpful. But, you never know.
It is always good to see what the best of the best looks like for when you are ready to pull the trigger on your dream sneaker.
What to Consider
Yes, performance is huge when it comes to what sneaker you are selecting to play in. Basketball is no joke, and playing in a poorly reviewed shoe could be the difference between high-level comfort and potential injury.
Style is important, but it is not the only thing when you buy sneakers these expensive.
Comfort should be key in anything athletic-related, especially what you decide to wear on your feet. When you try your sneakers on, you should note how they feel around your heel, when you walk and run in them, and when you move laterally (side-to-side).
The ability to stop on a dime and quickly go in another direction is most of what you do on the basketball court.
The key to getting by your defender is quickness, not speed, and having a sneaker that allows you to stop, remain balanced, and dart another way steps your game up a notch.
You want to feel secure in your sneaker but you also don’t want to feel like you are playing in a pair of walking boots.
Good materials help in ensuring your feet can make the necessary moves on the court while not blowing completely out of your shoes.
So, I said style didn’t matter, but it is a little important.
Our Top Picks
Note that due to COVID-19, some items may be unavailable and prices might slightly change by the time you read this article.
1. Nike Kyrie 6’s
The Kyrie 6’s are a great option when you’re willing to shell out a few extra dollars. You will be getting your money’s worth with these. They look great, and Kyrie’s signature shoes always have a great reputation for high-performance and durability.
Also, the ability to lace these higher up the shoe gives you the option to either add more ankle support or loosen it up on your foot depending on your style of play.
What We Like:
- Beautiful design.
- Built to last.
What We Dislike:
- Could run a bit small. Get your hands on a pair and try them on before buying.
2. Jordan Courtside 23
As a huge fan of (almost) everything the Jordan brand has released for basketball sneaks, this pair doesn’t disappoint. I love their look as it feels like an older version of the Jordan sneaker.
The old-school colors are a perfect combination of style and substance and I have always been a fan of an adjustable strap on my sneaker for extra ankle support.
What We Like:
- The design! It feels like 1989 again!
- The adjustable ankle strap for extra ankle and foot support.
- It is a sturdy shoe in all the right areas, but not restrictive.
What We Dislike:
- Their lack of arch support could be an issue for some athletes.
3. Nike KD 8
KD’s are what I wear and I couldn’t be happier with them. Their height is a big factor in my satisfaction, planted somewhere in the middle right between low-top and high-top but different than any mid sneakers I have ever tried.
They do run a bit small, but that is an easy fix once you are aware. They also contain a patented Nike Zoom air bubble for extra cushion. The other plus of these models is the feeling of complete security for your foot while playing in them.
What We Like:
- The sneaker’s style and color scheme are very sleek.
- The added Zoom air bubble cushion.
- Lightweight with great traction ups your game instantly.
What We Dislike:
- Some complain about tightness initially but it does seem to subside after wearing them.
Useful Tips and Resources
Basketball sneakers have evolved so much over the years with player safety and comfort as the biggest benefactors of modern sneaker improvements.
Even though sneakers are created with foot and ankle support as one of their top priorities, you can never go wrong adding another level of support to your foot. The best way to do this is by investing in a good pair of ankle braces.
These McDavid Ankle Braces outshine all the rest. With thousands of positive experiences documented and the backing of a reputable company like McDavid, you truly can’t go wrong buying these.
Peace of mind can be a wonderful thing to have while playing basketball as it takes the anxiety and concern of injury off your plate, leaving the game as the most important thing on your mind.
The basketball sneaker industry has blossomed into something no one thought was possible during the Converse Chuck Taylor era.
Some are style over substance but, as we covered today, some of the most iconic players of our time have produced stellar quality sneakers for your own enjoyment.
You can’t go wrong with our three picks, so now the only question is: which ones will you ultimately choose?