This is my review of the best outdoor basketball shoes in 2021.

Can it be any worse than this? Losing to your friends in a game of 12? Majorly, because you felt so uncomfortable playing with those crappy basketball shoes of yours.

Crappy, you say? At least that’s what you thought since your shoes weren’t tough enough to face the test of the outdoor rigors.

But here’s the kicker.

Shoe quality is nothing compared to having the right type of shoes for the right environment.

The tricky part is that both indoor and outdoor basketball shoes may look alike and get you confused. But, they vary in their weight, style, and construction.

The good news! We have taken the time to select some of the best outdoor basketball shoes available in the market. You’ll also be getting more information that’ll help you make the choice that best suits you.

Quick Summary

We carried out extensive research to check the different outdoor basketball shoes in the market. Our yardsticks were clear.

To pick the best, we looked for shoes with the following features—durability, elasticity, flexibility, as well as support and comfort. Interestingly, three were able to meet our standard.

We’ll be talking extensively about them later in this post.

  • If you’re a point guard or a player who moves around the court more often, then the Nike LeBron Soldier XI would be a remarkable choice for you. Fortunately, the engineers created the footwear to endure repeated wear and tear from the game.
  • At first stare, you may be tempted to fall in love with the Clutchfit Drive 2 by Under Armour. It’s even harder to resist the temptation if you’re not an ardent fan of Addidas or Nike.
  • If you do a lot of layups, then the Crazy Explosive by Adidas might cut it for you. The name itself says it all.

Who Should Get This?

What is a great outdoor basketball game without the right shoes? You guessed right—a not so interesting performance. In other words, you need the perfect shoes if you play outdoor basketball.

Let’s face it. A great outdoor basketball shoe should be breathable.
So, you shouldn’t be worrying about your feet sliding in the shoe due to sweat or moisture.

The shoes usually have a large tread pattern that prevents skidding on outdoor surfaces. A thick sole is another exciting feature that enhances comfort—as they absorb the impact of your feet on hard surfaces of the outside courts.

As remarkable as an outdoor basketball shoe seems, it’s not ideal for an indoor basketball player.

The reason is that indoor courts are usually in controlled environments. Thus, indoor shoes are quite different from outdoor shoes in terms of their design.

With this in mind, you must consider a few things before going on to buy one.

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: What to Consider?

It could get challenging to pick out the best outdoor basketball shoes that match your stability, comfort, support, and playing style. To ease the process, you can consider the following:

The Durability of the Rubber

When it comes to playing on rough outdoor courts, the rubber of the outsole suffers most. So what does that imply?

It’s simple. You should avoid shoes with a soft rubber compound because you may end up with holes in your shoe pretty fast. While you’re at it, there are two things you should look out for in outsoles:

  1. A Solid and Thick Rubber. You can opt for a regular shoe model that has a firm rubber compound like the Nike Lebron Soldier XI. You can also go for shoes specifically designed for outdoor use. Customizing your favorite Nike shoe with an extra durable rubber outsole using NikeID is a good option—if you can afford to spend a little more money.
  2. An Extensive Traction Pattern. Since narrow traction patterns attract a lot of dirt and lose grip quickly, wide traction soles with deep grooves is a better option. A sole with wide traction last longer on rough surfaces and doesn’t lose grip quickly.


Outdoor courts are less forgiving when it comes to your joints. So, the best thing is to go for shoes with more comfortable cushioning—especially if you have recurring knee problems.

Good cushioning helps reduce the stress you put on your joints. But, extra cushioning is not essential if you’re a younger and lighter player.

The Durability of the Upper Material

No doubt, the upper material of your basketball shoe doesn’t come in contact with the surface of the court often.

But, what if other players step on your feet all the time or you toe-drag?

It’s enough reason to look for an outdoor basketball shoe with a more durable upper material like mesh or fuse.

The Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes: Our Picks

1. Nike Lebron Soldier XI Mens Basketball Shoes

The Nike LeBron Soldier XI is a mid-top shoe with a snug fit. It also comes with velcro straps—which gives you a tight and comfortable fit during play.

That’s not all.

The basketball shoes have got a durable build that’s able to stand up to rough terrains while elevating your game level. Its synthetic material and solid rubber outsole makes it an excellent choice for outdoor balling.

With the LeBron Soldier XI, you can be sure to enjoy some ankle support during the play, without hampering your ankle movement.

What We Like:

  • Great cushioning
  • Full inner sleeve
  • Rubber sole
  • The heel straps provide support

What We Don’t Like:

  • The tractions are sometimes inconsistent
  • A little bit weighty

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2. Clutchfit Drive 2 by Under Armour

Just like Pepsi is to Coca-cola, the Clutchfit Drive 2 is a remarkable substitute to the Nike Lebron Soldier XI. The Clutchfit is another mid-top basketball shoe that’s pretty durable for outdoor basketball games.

The manufacturer, Under Armour, designed the shoes to have a herringbone traction pattern on its sole. This feature enables it to have a minimal slip and maximum grip while you’re playing outdoors.

The lightness of the shoe contributes a great deal to your comfort while playing.

What We Like:

  • Good Cushioning
  • Comfortable upper padding with excellent ankle support
  • Its grip is reliable and consistent
  • There are a ton of color choices to pick from

What We Don’t Like:

  • The footwear gets hot after a few hours of playing because of its thick material

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3. Adidas’s Performance Crazy Explosive

One feature that makes the Crazy Explosive outdoor basketball shoes unique is its boost technology. It gives the footwear an improved cushioning effect to every jump impact.

Here’s the deal.

It’s not affiliated to any famous basketball player. But, Adidas claimed that it took them a few years of research to develop the Crazy Explosive—which is an excellent choice for shooting layups.

You’ll hardly experience wear and tear with this footwear because of its lace distribution—which is pretty innovative. The exterior of the Crazy Explosive comes with a durable synthetic material.

What We Like:

  • It has a great traction
  • The footwear is ultralight
  • The boost technology delivers an impressive cushioning
  • It has great support

What We Don’t Like:

  • The traction isn’t good enough for dusty areas

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Additional Tips

Here are tips to help you keep your basketball shoes clean and in shape longer:

Store Your Shoes Properly. After a game, avoid stuffing your shoes deep into your gym bag. It’s best to store your shoes in a closet with airflow.

It helps your shoes to dry out before your next use. After this, you can place your shoes in its original box to keep it safe.

Avoid Wearing Your Shoes outside the Court. The best way to keep your basketball shoes from losing their grip or color is NEVER to wear them outside the court.

That way, your shoes stay clean. And you reduce the wear and tear.

Keep Them Clean. Regular cleaning is crucial if you want your basketball shoes in good shape. Avoid a washer or dryer. Instead, you can do the following:

  • Use a soft-bristled shoe brush to clean the sole of your shoe
  • Apply a small amount of laundry detergent alongside a soft cloth to clean
  • dirty areas of your shoe
  • Clean excess soap off the shoe with only water on a second sponge
  • Air dry your shoes at room temperature

The Bottom Line

To enjoy the game of basketball outdoors, you’ll need the perfect outdoor basketball shoes to make the right impression.

Flexibility, breathable material, thick rubber sole, traction, and comfort are features you should consider. That’s the reason we reviewed some of the best outdoor basketball shoes to help your decision making easy.