Every basketball player, regardless of size or position, needs to be able to move around the court. Jumping and running are both integral parts of the game, which is why losing an extra step to heavy footwear can hold you back.
Luckily, there is a range of light footwear models in today’s market.
I have spent more than 20 years playing basketball. In that time I’ve used a wide range of different shoes. Many high-end shoes give support or excellent feedback, only a few have the ability to provide such benefits inside a light package. The following shoes do that with flying colors.
- The Adidas Performance Cloudfoam Ilation is an incredibly comfortable sneaker that prioritizes comfort. The shoe comes with a breathable upper, lightweight construction, and a durable outsole to protect you on hardwood. The air mesh tongue and collar also provide excellent ventilation throughout.
- If you want a shoe that comes with all the bells and whistles, the Under Armour Jet is the choice for you. This shoe doesn’t just keep you moving, it utilizes a strong grip, full-length EVA sockliner, and comfortable midsole to give you extra speed. It is incredibly durable as well.
- If you need lightweight shoes, but also crave stability, go with the Adidas Pro Bounce. This sneaker provides excellent feedback thanks to the bounce cushion system and all mesh upper. However, the special cable lacing system also locks your foot in place to help prevent injuries.
Who Should Get This
Anyone can utilize lightweight basketball shoes. However, they tend to be best suited for guards because of how much they rely on quickness in their game. Heavy shoes give extra stability, but they can also slow you down.
Going light is a great move for players who want an extra step while running or cutting on the court. In addition, they are a perfect choice for those who want to increase their jump height. An extra inch might not feel important, but it goes a long way throughout a game.
People who get tired easily may want lighter shoes as well. Taking off a bit of weight allows you to run with less resistance, which then means you can go harder for longer. You may not notice this change right away, but it is a great benefit during long play sessions.
Top Pick of Best Light Basketball Shoes
The Adidas Performance Cloudfoam is an affordable shoe that combines comfort, support, and stability to create a solid clothing item. The upper is breathable and lightweight, while the higher top works to protect your ankle as you run or cut. The mesh also allows airflow and the Cloudfoam technology keeps your feet comfortable during play.
This shoe utilizes a unique memory foam footbed. That is then complemented by the mesh collar, tongue, and back that work together to provide maximum airflow. As an added bonus, the fully rubber outsole gives excellent traction on every playing surface.
What We Like:
- Breathable upper
- Mesh tongue, collar, and rear quarter
- Special outsole provides excellent traction
- Cloudfoam sockliner and midsole provide comfort to the whole foot
- Memory foam footbed for additional support
What We Don’t Like:
- Not as durable as other similar sneakers
- Leather upper is not as flexible as some would like
The Under Armour Jet is all about durability. The slick shoe comes with a fully synthetic upper backed by a durable rubber sole, full-length EVA sockliner, and comfortable midsole. Add on the sturdy outsole with unique herringbone traction pattern, and you have a lightweight sneaker that is able to withstand quite a bit of indoor and outdoor punishment.
What We Like:
- Mesh tongue helps increase ventilation
- Full-length EVA sockliner
- Molded heel provides extra support
- Extra cushioning around ankle
- Extremely durable
What We Don’t Like:
- Could be more stable in certain areas
- Lack of true lock down can lead to blisters
Adidas continues its excellent reputation with the Men’s Pro Bounce. These shoes, as suggested by the name, are light in a way that helps you run and jump with ease. Their synthetic sole feels great, and the mesh upper adds breathability. The TPU-coated fibers also enhance general durability and support.
To protect you, these sneakers come with a cable lacing system that works with the Geofit construction to provide you with the best possible fit. Add on the bounce cushioning and you get a lightweight sneaker that provides excellent feedback no matter how you play.
What We Like:
- Mesh upper
- Durable across all surfaces
- Rubber outsole with extra traction
- Bounce cushioning gives extra enhanced comfort and flexibility
- Cable lacing system keeps your foot in place
What We Don’t Like:
- Does not have a high amount of ankle support
Best Light Basketball Shoes: What to Consider
When choosing light basketball shoes, it is important to focus on support. Many lighter models trade a bit of comfort and feel in order to cut weight. However, no matter how light your shoes are, you need to keep your feet protected. Always make sure they strap on tight and that there’s no room for movement. Comfortable soles are critical, as are special lacing or locking systems. High ankle support is another fantastic bonus.
Lightweight shoes need to be durable. That is because the less material in lighter models, while good for speed, can cause them to break down quite quickly. It is important to find lightweight brands that prioritize durability. High-quality materials are always a bonus, as are tight construction and built-in support. Hard soles tend to last a while too. When picking your lightweight sneaker always pay attention to the areas around the padding.
Breathability is the final aspect to analyze when considering a lightweight basketball shoe. Many models provide a decent amount of ventilation, but that does not mean they will keep you dry during longer games. Always give priority to shoes with special breathing materials, as well as brands that utilize moisture-wicking technology. Also, pay attention to where a company places ventilation. Lesser quality sneakers typically focus on one area, while premium footwear allows all areas to breathe equally.
Move at Your Own Pace
Lightweight basketball shoes all seem similar on the surface, but there are many subtle differences you need to watch out for when making a purchase. Some are better at protection, some focus on comfort, while others are all about look and feel.
It does not matter if you’re a guard looking for more speed, or if you simply want a sneaker that won’t hold you back, the above options will help advance your game to the next level.
Do you have your own favorite lightweight sneaker? If so, let us know in the comments below!