Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping

Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping

What is basketball?

No, I know what the sport is, my question is about the core of this game.

We all know that a football game, both of the team, coaches, fans – hell the entire stadium is good for nothing if the striker fails to shoot on goal.

To football that last kick is everything – it is a moment to do or die and to basketball, that same moment is defined by the jump.

When you jump to dunk the hoop, it is either a success or a failure – and basketball shoes with good cushioning can play a decisive role there.

This is a detailed review of basketball shoes for jumping – in this review you will get to know why cushioning is so crucial for dunking, and there is a buyer’s guide for those basketball aficionados who’d like to find ideal basketball sneakers on their own.

Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping/Dunking (2022 Picks)

Nike Kyrie 5Air Zoom TurboTough rubber sole/multi-directional pattern
UA HOVR HavocHOVRTough rubber sole/herringbone pattern
Adidas Harden Vol 2BoostTough rubber sole/fractal pattern
Nike Air Versitile LiAir ZoomTough rubber sole/semi-herringbone pattern
Adidas PrimeKnitBoostTranslucent rubber sole/digitally designed pattern
Adidas Dame 4BounceTough rubber sole/wavy tread pattern
Nike LeBron 12Air Zoom UnitsTough rubber sole/maze-like pattern
UA ClutchFit Drive 3Micro GTough rubber sole/herringbone pattern
Adidas Pro BounceBounceTough rubber sole/spiral pattern
Nike Hyperdunk XAir Zoom UnitsTough rubber sole/wavy tread pattern

Nike Kyrie 5 – Good Jumping basketball Shoes

Nike Kyrie 5 Basketball Shoes nkCN9519 002 (10 M US) Black/WhiteCheck Price on Amazon

We know Kyrie Irving – basketball legend and rookie of the year 2011. This amazing basketball sneaker from Nike was named after him. This is my personal favorite because apparently Nike just picked the best kind of materials and technologies it ever used and combined them in this sneaker.

Take its upper for example; it is made of highly breathable, but durable mesh. Not only mesh is a breathable material, but it also helps the shoe dry quicker once it gets wet.

This shoe offers a dual lockdown just like you get in case of the Venus Fly Trap system. There is a network of underneath the surface cables and these cables are connected to the lower end of the sneaker as well as the laces so when you cinch the laces down you enjoy a 2x lockdown.

The best thing about this sneaker is it’s cushioning; it comes with Air Zoom Turbo cushioning. We know that Air Zoom is an air unit with tensile fibers that compress and then get back into their shape as the player puts pressure on the feet and relieves the pressure.

Air Zoom Turbo is however more advanced and it features a wide forefoot Air unit to provide support and bounce to the forefoot.

What we liked
  • Breathable Upper
  • Air Zoom Turbo Cushioning
  • Tough Rubber Outsole
  • Secondary Lockdown Feature
What We didn't like
  • Hard to Put On
  • Traction Takes Time


Under Armour Dunking Basketball Shoes – HOVR Havoc

Under Armour Men's HOVR Havoc 2 Basketball Shoe, Black (002)/White, 11.5
Check Price on Amazon

Under Armour is one of the big names among top manufacturers of basketball sneakers. I’d even say that when compared with big brands like Nike and Adidas, UA is still underrated.

Take this sneaker, for example, it is equipped with the best traction duo just like in the case of most of the UA basketball sneakers. It has got a tough rubber outsole which is considered the best for a strong grip on any and all sorts of courts.

However, what makes it ideal is the herringbone pattern; trust me, I’ve reviewed simply so many basketball shoes so far that I cannot even recall the count and in terms of strong grip on a slippery surface, no pattern beats herringbone pattern.

This shoe got the word ‘HOVR’ because of Under Armour’s proprietary HOVR cushioning that these shoe features. The whole mantra of HOVR is based on the need for an ‘energy return’ or a bounce – and not just another cushioning that does nothing but absorb the shock.

In case you’re interested in the chemistry of the cushioning, it is a foam-based cushioning – a midsole, made by UA and Dow Chemical. It is mostly foam and some mesh-based ‘energy web’ that boosts the responsiveness and bouncy effect of the cushion.

What we liked
  • Tough Rubber Sole
  • Herringbone Pattern
  • HOVR Cushion
  • Breathable Upper Material
What We didn't like
  • Breaking In Needed
  • Heel Counter Digs into the Skin


Adidas Harden Basketball Jumping Shoes – Vol 2

Adidas Harden VOL.2 Men's Shoes Black f34361 (11 D(M) US)Check Price on Amazon

Adidas is L’Oreal of sports goods, especially sports shoes – and more especially, basketball sneakers. The name of Adidas Harden Vol 2 is a tribute to James Harden who played basketball for Arizona and who was rookie of the year 2009.

The first thing that you notice about this sneaker is its innovative lockdown feature. It is sort of a dual lockdown feature using only eyelets and laces. There is a die-cut patch with 4 columns of eyelets. You can either use the eyelets closer to the laces and enjoy a pretty basic lockdown or use the farthest eyelets and enjoy a lockdown similar to what you’d enjoy with a sneaker that has got a Nike FlyWire system.

Another interesting thing is this sneaker’s outsole – it is made of tough rubber. The interesting thing is the unorthodox pattern on the outsole. This shoe has a fractal traction pattern that helps with quick multidirectional movements.

In terms of cushioning too, this sneaker got the best of Adidas. It comes with Boost cushioning which is praised for the bouncy effect. Boost is a type of foam made of TPU –  the whole cushion is made of small pellets of foam that get compressed when the player puts pressure on the cushion.

What we liked
  • Durable Forgefiber Upper
  • Boost Cushioning
  • Tough Rubber Outsole
  • Really Good Lockdown Options
What We didn't like
  • Traction Not So Good on Slippery Courts
  • Heavy


Nike Air Versitile Li – Good Jumping Shoes

Nike Air Versitile III Mens Basketball ShoeShips Directly from Ships Directly fromCheck Price on Amazon

We have just reviewed an Adidas show with exceptional lockdown features – well it is only highly relevant if we brought up a show from Nike that offers really good dual lockdown features.

Nike Versitile Li is one of the shoes that will check most of your boxes if you’re a practical basketball player and not just a basketball fan that needs a basketball sneaker that doubles as an attractive casual shoe.

It has got lacing as its primary lockdown feature and then there is Nike’s famous FlyWire underneath the surface cables that connect the insole with the laces and the wearer enjoys a sandwich like a lockdown when they cinch down the laces.

The word ‘Air’ in the name is definitely for a clear reason – there is a small Air Zoom unit right underneath the heel. While it is not as good as a full-length Air Zoom unit or a pair of two units: one for heel and one for the forefoot, it still makes it easier for the player to dunk.

This shoe has a tough rubber sole which is definitely better than translucent ones – because its edges do not fray. The traction pattern is not 100% herringbone, but most part of it is almost the same as the herringbone pattern.

What we liked
  • Breathable Upper
  • Dual Lockdown
  • Air Zoom Cushioning
  • Tough Leather Outsole
What We didn't like
  • Insufficient Traction on Some Surfaces
  • Back Digs into the Skin


Adidas Crazy Explosive PrimeKnit

Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017 Royal/Silver/Blue 11.5Check Price on Amazon

How’d you like a basketball sneaker with sock-like construction, breathable material, and thick Boost midsole that assures an energy return every time you land on your feet? Adidas Crazy Explosive PrimeKnit gives you the comfort and ease of a sock while you enjoy the support of a proper basketball sneaker.

In terms of traction – unfortunately, this shoe is not that good. It has a translucent rubber outsole which is not considered ideal on slippery courts. However, a digitally designed power traction pattern makes things better for the wearer.

Just like the previously reviewed Adidas shoe, this one has also got a Boost cushion. As I have explained earlier, the Boost cushion is comprised of air-filled pellets of foam that compress and then get back into the previous form as the player lands on the ground and jumps for the next move.

This cushioning is known for the kind of bouncy effect that makes a basketball sneaker good for jumping higher.

In terms of lockdown, you primarily have the laces and secondarily, there is PrimeKnit upper that wraps around the foot so as to provide comfort and support.

The lacing system is also quite unique – the anatomical lacing system provides a good lockdown because laces cover a large area.

What we liked
  • Digitally Designed Pattern
  • Boost Cushion
  • Sock-like construction
  • Breathable Upper
What We didn't like
  • Tough Rubber Sole Could Help
  • Eyelets Come Out


Adidas Dame 4 – Best Dunking Shoes

adidas Men's Dame 4, White/Black/Scarlet, 8 Medium USCheck Price on Amazon

If a researcher’s cognitive bias would have a say in picking the best of the best basketball sneakers, I’d definitely add Adidas Dame 4 to my list of top 5 basketball sneakers. In case you’re someone who thinks of leather or TPU whenever you think of a basketball sneaker, this one is not for you.

However, if you’re someone who prefers breathability to water-proof construction, this shoe is obviously for you. Its upper material is made of lightweight textile. The best thing about picking textiles over mesh is that while it keeps the shoe breathable – there are no durability issues.

For cushioning, this sneaker has got Adidas proprietary cushioning technology known as Bounce. Bounce is also a cushion made of foam – more or less like Boost – but it keeps your feet closer to the ground and thus avails you a low-to-the-ground court feel that is essential for better control.

Speaking of control, I must mention that this shoe has a tough rubber sole. While the traction pattern is not herringbone – it is sort of similar to that. It is a wavy tread pattern and all waves are asymmetrical. While the kind of grip that player enjoys with this pattern is not the same as what they’d get with the herringbone pattern, it is still very good on all types of surfaces.

What we liked
  • Breathable Upper
  • Dual Lockdown
  • Tough Rubber Sole
  • Bounce Cushion
What We didn't like
  • Not Good for Dry Courts
  • The cushion is not much Bouncy


Nike LeBron Soldier 12 – Good Dunking Basketball Shoes

Nike Mens Lebron Soldier XII 12 TB Basketball Shoes Black/Silver Size 10 USCheck Price on Amazon

Do you really love laces? I know that I love my moccasins mainly because they’re slip-on shoes and I do not have to untie and tie the laces every time getting in and out of them.

However, due to some reason (maybe because laces offer a real good grip) in the sports and outdoor industry, shoes still come with laces and there is nothing that you can do about them.

Yet, LeBron Soldier 12 from Nike gives you a chance to try an innovative hook and loop lockdown setup that is a perfect alternative of lacing. These dynamic straps go all the way from the ankle to the toe-box and provide amazing lockdown.

One of the reasons why lockdown is so good is a loop through which the straps go from on both sides and due to this, the type of lockdown that the wearer enjoys is pretty much similar to that of Nike FlyWire + laces lockdown.

The upper material of this shoe is a mix of BattleKnit construction and the toecap is made of a tough material like leather or canvas (depending on the colorway that you pick). This shoe is definitely for those who are bent on durability and protection.

The cushioning of this shoe is a combo of Air Zoom unit for the heel, Phylon midsole, and bottom-loaded forefoot Air Zoom unit – so it is definitely made for dunking.

What we liked
  • Best Cushioning Combo
  • Hook and Loop Straps Lockdown
  • Tough Rubber Sole
  • Highly Durable
What We didn't like
  • Not Breathable
  • Hook that holds the straps is substandard


UA ClutchFit Drive 3

Under Armour Men's UA ClutchFit Drive 3 Low Basketball Shoes Black - 8.5Check Price on Amazon

ClutchFit Drive serious from UA is one of the most successful and bestselling series of shoes made by the company. It is a decent basketball sneaker made by Under Armour and it features UA’s proprietary Micro G foam cushioning technology.

Micro G is another foam-based cushioning technology and it is known for exceptional shock absorption and return energy. It is a unique mix of rubber and traditional EVA foam. While foam is the source of all shock-absorption, it is because of the elasticity of rubber that the wearer enjoys a bouncy feeling upon landing on the ground.

The upper material of this sneaker is a combo of mesh and textile fabric. I personally love this combo and prefer it to fabric only upper. While it makes the shoe more breathable – you know that it is still more durable than a mesh-only upper.

Another quality of this shoe is its innovative lacing system or lockdown. They call it a bear-trap lacing system. It is connected with the tongue so it provides a stronger grip.

As for traction, this sneaker features the best duo that UA uses for most of the basketball sneakers made by this company: a tough rubber sole and a semi-herringbone pattern.

What we liked
  • Breathable Upper
  • Micro G Cushion
  • Tough Rubber Sole
  • Well-Padded Tongue & Collar
What We didn't like


Adidas Pro Bounce

adidas Men's Pro Bounce 2018 Basketball Shoe, Black/White/Grey, 11 M USCheck Price on Amazon

If you love high-top basketball sneakers with optimum padding in tongue and collar – and if ankle support is your mantra, you’d love Adidas Pro Bounce. It comes in many different colorways, it has a sleek, stylish, and colorful outlook and you can wear this shoe to a casual/urban setting without any fear of judgment.

Coming towards its practical merits, let us first talk about cushioning. This sneaker features Adidas’ patented Bounce cushioning technology. A lot of users have confirmed that Bounce feels a lot like Boost, the former is firmer than the latter. A firmer construction allows this cushion to create a court feel and a good amount of bounciness that you need for jumping.

Another amazing thing about this sneaker is how Adidas created a masterpiece of an upper to please the two largest groups of customers: those who love mesh/fabric uppers for breathability and those who prefer TPU/leather for durability. What Adidas did is mixed Forgefiber with mesh and created an upper that is breathable as well as durable.

Pro Bounce comes with a tough rubber sole with a spiral pattern – while this type of pattern does not supersede the herringbone pattern, it still delivers amazingly well on almost all types of courts.

What we liked
  • Bounce Cushion
  • Tough Rubber Sole
  • Breathable and Durable Upper
  • Cable Lacing Lockdown
What We didn't like
  • Substandard Eyelets
  • Takes Time to Break-In


Nike Hyperdunk X Jumping Basketball Shoes

Nike Men's Hyperdunk X Low Team Basketball Shoe Black/White Size 13 M USCheck Price on Amazon

Last, but not the least, we have Nike Hyperdunk X (Team) and I included this sneaker in my top ten list of basketball shoes for jumping, because it is a perfect sneaker with a combination of great features such as material, cushioning and traction etc.

Let us talk about cushioning first – it has two Air Zoom units. One of them is right underneath the heel and the other one is for the forefoot. Both of these units (I wished Nike included a full-length unit instead of two, but the difference is not that much) are of almost the same size and thickness. Thickness is 14 mm and it is good for the rebound effect – but what takes that rebound effect to a new level is the phylon.

When it comes to traction, this shoe is almost as good as any UA sneaker with a tough sole and herringbone pattern. The only difference is that the pattern on this shoe is a wavy (or I would say rotated herringbone) pattern. With deep grooves and this pattern, this sneaker will not disappoint you on any court.

What we liked
  • Breathable Upper
  • Air Zoom Units
  • Tough Rubber Sole
  • Dynamic Lacing System
What We didn't like
  • Not for Wide Feet
  • Insufficient Arch Support


How to Choose Best Basketball Shoes that Makes You Jump Higher

As promised …

In case you’re not satisfied with the 10 good jumping basketball shoes that I’ve reviewed in this piece or you want to pick your sneaker on your own here is a buyer’s guide to help you.


Jumping is cushioning … I cannot say it is better than this.

In case you want a shoe that comes packing a great rebounding force that you need for every jump, you should pick a shoe with great cushioning.

And what type of shoe has great cushioning? Well, you can pick any sneakers from any of the giant brands like Adidas, Nike or UA, etc., but make sure that the cushion it has is one of its best and latest technologies.


Traction or grip refers to how well your shoes behave on different types of surfaces and courts. There are different types of courts – indoor courts and outdoor courts can be dirty, semi-dirty/clean, or clean.

A clean indoor court can be slippery and you might lose your balance at a crucial moment. So, in order to have a solid grip on any type of court, you need a) an outsole that guarantees good grip and b) a traction pattern on that outsole that will help you move in any direction without losing your grip.

The best type of outsoles is a tough rubber outsole – there are some translucent rubber soles that deliver good results because of traction pattern, but mostly they are vulnerable.

The best type of traction pattern is the herringbone pattern or other patterns like this (wavy pattern) – however, remember that the depth and distance between the grooves also play a role.

Upper Material

Last, but not least, the upper material of the sneaker matters a lot because once you wear these shoes, you cannot remove them or do anything about them until the end of the game.

So, what type of upper material is better? This depends on what you expect from your shoe. For those who prefer breathable and quick-dry shoes, mesh, fabric or similar material is perfect.

And for those who expect their shoes to last for at least a few years and protect the feet from water, they should get a shoe with leather or TPU upper material.



What Makes a Shoe Good that Makes You Jump Higher?

In other words, how to pick a basketball sneak based on one clear and visible quality that can be linked with jumping?

A basketball shoe is made of different kinds of materials – what helps a player jumps higher? Is it the outsole? Is it the upper material or something else?

We all know cushioning is one of the most crucial qualities of a basketball sneaker and it is cushioning that gives the player the much-needed bounce that they require to jump higher.

So, now we know what to look for when buying good basketball shoes for dunking. A basketball shoe good for jumping can be only and only one with thick and advanced cushioning technology.



Before I give my verdict, let us take a look at this table:

Nike Kyrie 5Air Zoom TurboTough rubber sole/multi-directional pattern
UA HOVR HavocHOVRTough rubber sole/herringbone pattern
Adidas Harden Vol 2BoostTough rubber sole/fractal pattern
Nike Air Versitile LiAir ZoomTough rubber sole/semi-herringbone pattern
Adidas PrimeKnitBoostTranslucent rubber sole/digitally designed pattern
Adidas Dame 4BounceTough rubber sole/wavy tread pattern
Nike LeBron 12Air Zoom UnitsTough rubber sole/maze-like pattern
UA ClutchFit Drive 3Micro GTough rubber sole/herringbone pattern
Adidas Pro BounceBounceTough rubber sole/spiral pattern
Nike Hyperdunk XAir Zoom UnitsTough rubber sole/wavy tread pattern

And here is the verdict:

  • Nike LeBron Soldier 12
  • Adidas Harden Vol 2
  • Under Armour HOVR Havoc

Get any of these performers and I bet that nothing will go wrong.

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