Best Basketball Shoes for Kids & Youth

Best Basketball Shoes For Kids And Youth

Would you agree …

Our kids grow up watching us do grown-up things – they have to do the same things in the near future and if basketball is one of those things, why not prepare them today?

Allow them to play basketball from an early age – actually facilitate them.

And what do I mean by facilitating? May be buying a portable hoop, their first set of jersey and shorts, and most definitely a pair of good-quality basketball sneakers.

In this listicle you will get to find a detailed review of each basketball sneaker that we picked based on our criteria.

Best Basketball Shoes for Kids & Youth [Top Picks]

Name Support Comfort Looks
UA Kids’ Pre School Jet Medium padding Medium Good
Adidas Pro Spark Best padding Medium Okay
UA Grade School Jet Low padding Medium Better
Nike Team Hustle D9 Medium padding Medium Okay
UA Micro G Pursuit Low padding High Better
Champion Inferno Best padding Medium Okay
Nike KD 12 Low padding High Better

Let us first start by reviewing the top seven basketball shoes for kids. The main concern that led us to make this list is that kids in our country grow up watching their favorite players and adult family members playing basketball.

Yet, we cannot just pick any basketball shoe for a kid – there are some very special considerations that should be made before every we pick a basketball shoe for a kid.

For example, kids need more ankle support than adults – as a matter of fact, to adult basketball players ankle support is a matter of choice, but we cannot say the same about kids.

Likewise, kids need more cushioning to support their heels during the game. Last, but not least, traction is also important to them.

With this knowledge, read the review of each and every product in this list and pick your kid’s first basketball sneakers wisely.

Under Armour Kids’ Pre School Jet

Under Armour Kids' Pre School Jet 2019 Basketball Shoe, Black (001)/Black, 4
Check Price on Amazon

I bet you were expecting some Nike or Adidas here – how could the first basketball sneaker on my list be a UA one? I know that Nike and Adidas lead the way when it comes to basketball sneakers, but I always pick my best shoes based on their rating on Amazon.

This shoe received a maximum number of positive reviews and the features of this shoe justify the buzz. Besides, I’m a big fan of UA basketball sneakers and simple solutions that they use.

Take this one for example – the upper material is not a fancy 2025 synthetic mix but made of mesh and fabric. Rest assured about breathability and that your kid’s feet would not have bacteria, blisters, and other problems associated with airtight shoes.

Where I love UA shoes the most is in terms of traction – they do not dig fancy experiments and they do not try to reinvent the wheel. Like most of the UA sneakers, this one also has a tough rubber sole and a semi-herringbone pattern that allows lateral movements.

Since it is a mid-top sneaker with really decent padding on the collar and the tongue, it provides ample ankle support to your little one. For cushioning, this shoe has a modest EVA die-cut sockliner.

What we liked
  • Many Beautiful Colorways
  • Mesh and Fabric Upper
  • Good Ankle Support
  • EVA Sockliner Cushion
What We didn't like
  • Cushioning Could be Better
  • Not for Wide-footers

 

Adidas Pro Spark Youth Basketball

adidas Men's Pro Spark 2018 Basketball Shoe, Black/White/Grey, 12 M USCheck Price on Amazon

You cannot make a list of best basketball sneakers for kids without adding Adidas Pro Spark to it. This sneaker has got a really good rating and reviews on Amazon and the features prove that the praise is true.

I’m a big fan of breathable upper materials – not mesh because you end up tearing it apart, but a cool combo of mesh and fabric technologies make a durable and yet breathable (unlike leather and TPU, etc.) upper material.

This shoe has a textile upper – but to make it even more durable, they tried the synthetic material overlay technology in the toe box area. This is what other top-notch basketball sneaker brands also do.

When it comes to traction, things get even more interesting. Unlike many other Adidas sneakers that feature Adidas’ experiments with traction, this one has a tough rubber sole and classic full-length herringbone pattern. I cannot praise enough how easy this duo makes it have a solid grip on any type of court.

In terms of lockdown, it has the classic lacing lockdown system with strong eyelets and laces cover the collar as well. The internal webbing eyelets are considered more durable than the typical eyelets.

Since this is also a mid-top sneaker (with adequate padding on tongue and collars), kids enjoy adequate ankle support too.

What we liked
  • Textile and Synthetic Toe Overlay Upper
  • Decent Ankle Support
  • Tough Rubber Outsole and Herringbone Pattern
  • Cloudfoam Midsole Cushion
What We didn't like
  • Not Adidas’ Best Cushioning
  • Breaking In Required

 

Under Armour Grade Kids School Jet

Under Armour Kids' Pre School Jet 2019 Basketball Shoe, Red (601)/Black, 6
Check Price on Amazon

Another amazing basketball sneaker from UA. This one also comes with a handful of colorful and attractive colorways.

Just like the previously reviewed UA basketball sneaker for kids, this one also has a breathable upper. The upper is made of high-quality ventilated mesh with a leather overlay on the toe (definitely for protection and durability).

While this sneaker’s outsole is made of tough rubber, the traction pattern is not UA’s usual: herringbone pattern. It has a unique traction pattern consisted of deep grooves and basic shapes – this allows easy and fast lateral movements.

As for cushioning, it features UA’s standard die-cut EVA sockliner cushioning – while it is definitely not as good as Micro G cushioning or Charged foam, it does a pretty decent job protecting the heel, providing the shock absorption and helping the wearer with a bounce.

As far as ankle support is concerned, do know that this sneaker is also a mid-top sneaker with really good padding on collar and tongue. This is not comparable to the kind of padding you enjoy with Adidas Pro Spark, but it is enough to provide ample ankle support.

Although the lockdown system that this sneaker comes with is lacing, it covers a big area and thus offers considerably strong lockdown.

What we liked
  • Mesh & Fabric Upper
  • Tough Rubber Outsole
  • Die-cut EVA Sockliner Cushioning
  • Decent Ankle Support
What We didn't like
  • Cushioning Could be Better
  • Breaking In Required

 

Nike Team Hustle D9

Nike Unisex-Kid's Team Hustle D 9 (GS) Sneaker, University red/Black - White, 7Y Regular US Big KidCheck Price on Amazon

Nike Team Hustle D9 (as a matter of fact the entire series) is pretty famous among kids/teenagers who love to play basketball or who love Nike’s attractive colorways because of the whole casual/urban look and feel to them.

Take this sneaker for example – it has a slick and sleek outlook. One of the most noticeable things about this sneaker is its dual-lockdown style. There are Nike sneakers that have lacing as their primary lockdown feature and there are those that come with Velcro straps and no lacing at all.

This one has a hook and loop strap that provides amazing lockdown in the tongue and collar area, and for the rest of the sneaker, we have a standard lacing system.

It has a tough rubber sole and a circular pattern. While this pattern does not replace the herringbone pattern, we have to admit that it is good for lateral movements and deep grooves provide a somewhat similar grip.

It has a foam midsole for cushioning – which is good, but definitely not even close to Nike’s proprietary cushioning technologies such as Zoom Air and React, etc. However, considering how kids’ basketball sneakers cannot cross a certain price barrier, proprietary cushioning technologies appear to be an overkill.

What we liked
  • Textile Upper and Leather Overlay
  • Tough Rubber Outsole
  • Dual Lockdown Option
  • Nice Ankle Support
What We didn't like
  • Cushioning Needs Improvement
  • Not for Wide Footers

 

Under Armour Micro G Pursuit

Under Armour Men's Micro G Pursuit Running Shoe, Academy (402)/Black, 11Check Price on Amazon

There is something special about this sneaker from UA. First of all, you must have noticed that this is a Micro G cushioning sneaker; Micro G is a UA’s proprietary cushioning technology that is considered equivalent to Adidas and Nike’s proprietary cushioning technologies.

However, this is not the only special thing about this shoe. In case you want to enjoy the breathability and quick-drying features of the mesh without having to compromise on the protection and durability of leather/faux leather, you’d love this shoe.

This shoes upper is made of engineered mesh, while there are engineered perforations in the faux leather that covers the toe box.

The outsole of this shoe is made of tough rubber – however, the pattern is not what UA usually uses. Instead of using a full-length herringbone pattern, they decided to go with a tire-inspired pattern with deep grooves. Amazingly, this outsole delivers equally well on all sorts of courts.

However, where this sneaker delivers much better than other UA sneakers reviewed in this – as a matter of fact, almost all other sneakers reviewed in this list – is in terms of cushioning. It has a combo of die-cut EVA sockliner and Micro G foam. While former helps with shock absorption and provided support to the heel, the latter is the reason why wearer feels a rebound effect right after landing on the ground.

What we liked
  • Breathable and Durable Upper Material
  • Tough Rubber Outsole
  • Dual Cushioning
  • Decent Ankle Support
What We didn't like
  • Inadequate Padding on the Collar
  • Breaking In Required

 

Champion Inferno Kids Shoes

Champion Boys' Grey Boys' Inferno Basketball Shoe 10.5 RegularCheck Price on Amazon

In case you’re a basketball aficionado – especially the specimen that is deeply interested in basketball sneakers – and you haven’t yet heard of Champion basketball sneakers, I would not blame you because this company is not as famous as leading brands such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Reebok, etc.

However, tides are turning – and this sneaker is an example of this. It received tremendous response from the target market –,, especially on Amazon. Let us take a look at its features.

The upper of this shoe is a mix of mesh and fabric – this is my favorite combo because while mesh keeps the shoe extremely breathable, the fabric keeps it from being as vulnerable as a mesh-only upper.

This is a mid-top sneaker and when compared with mid-top sneakers like UA Micro G Pursuit and a few others on this list, I cannot help but praise the extremely well-padded collar and tongue. Rest assured your kid would enjoy more than ample ankle support.

As far as traction is considered – this features a tough rubber outsole and full-length herringbone pattern. I cannot praise this combo enough – but do know that if you to save your kids from slipping on the court, there is nothing better than this.

What we liked
  • Mesh and Fabric Upper
  • Decent Cushioning
  • Tough Rubber Outsole
  • Good Ankle Support
What We didn't like
  • Tongue Slides Down
  • Not for Rough Wear

 

Nike KD 12 Kids Basketball Shoes

Nike Zoom KD 12 Basketball Shoes (M11.5/W13, Black/Black/White)Check Price on Amazon

Last, but not the least, if you consider buying basketball shoes for your young ones, you must add Nike’s KD 12 to your list of shoes to be considered.

There are more than a few good reasons why kids would love these sneakers. First of all, there are a handful of colorways to choose from.

Secondly, the look and feel of these sneakers are that of an urban/casual shoe that you can wear anywhere. Thirdly, traction-wise it is a con, but these sneakers come with translucent outsoles that young souls tend to like a lot.

However, there are other features too that make this sneaker worth your consideration – feature more related to the game. First of all, the shoe is made with light-weight and multi-layer mesh. Due to this construction, while this shoe remains highly breathable, it is still very durable.

The most promising thing about this shoe is it’s cushioning. It features a full-length Nike Zoom Air unit – something that no other Nike sneaker on this list comes with. The disparity is so obvious: all of them have Nike’s inferior cushioning options and this one has the best of them.

What we liked
  • Multi-layer Mesh Material
  • Flyknit Padded Tongue
  • Full-length Zoom Air Unit
  • Internal Sockliner for Shock Absorption
What We didn't like
  • Needs Tough Outsole and Better Pattern
  • Not for Wide Footers

 

How to Choose Good Kids / Youth Basketball Shoes

There are 3 most important factors that should dictate such a decision and there are some general factors that you cannot afford to ignore if you’re out there buying a basketball shoe.

Let us start with the three most important features:

Ankle Support

So, we’re talking about kids, right? And the last thing that you’d like to happen to your kid is strained or fractured ankles. Ankle support is a contradictory feature because there are experts who believe that actually ankle support is against the purpose that ankles serve.

However, there is no doubt that when we talk about kids’ sports shoes, ankle support is a much-needed feature. So, what do we mean by ankle support? Well, there are two factors that amount to what we know as ankle support.

First of all, the collar’s arch should be higher than any other shoe and it must cover the player’s ankles. In case you get a mid-top shoe, but the collar does not cover the ankles, you would not enjoy ankle support.

Secondly, the collar (and the tongue) should be well-padded. The last thing you need is collars of your kid’s basketball sneakers digging into the skin of their ankles. A well-padded tongue does not touch the ankle, but it provides support but keeping the ankle from moving freely.

Comfort

Speaking of padding, what we must think next is nothing, but comfort. If your show is well-padded it is comfortable, and in case it is not well-padded and cushioning is not totally there, your kid would not enjoy the game.

There would be pain and discomfort instead of a comfortable, cushy, and easy feeling. So, what assures comfort? Well, your shoe should be well-padded. Not only the tongue and collar should be well-padded, but the padding in the rest of the area also matters.

Insole matters a lot – because that is the part of the shoe that comes into direct contact with your foot. The toe box should be big enough to house and provide comfort to any/all types of feet (wide feet).

The heel is the area that needs maximum comfort and this is where mid-sole technologies come into play. Not only there should be good shock absorption, but support for the heel bone too.

Then there is cushioning, but we will discuss that later.

Looks

Let us admit … We’re talking about kids and teenagers here. We know that while men mostly buy stuff because of its practical value, they too buy products that look beautiful.

And women and kids … well, we know how much looks matter to them. So, you cannot buy an all-grey, big, sloppy, and heavy sneaker for a kid. You have to take their emotions into considerations and pick colorful, vibrant, stylish, and sleek design shoes that would naturally attract a kid.

This is the reason why most of the sneakers that I picked for this list are available in vibrant colors and have amazing design features e.g. translucent outsole. Your kids will love the basketball sneakers with stylish design and beautiful colors because they’re made for urban/casual lifestyle.

Cushioning

As I said, apart from these 3 special considerations, there are some good old factors that determine whether a particular basketball sneaker is worth one’s money or not.

One of the most important of them all is cushioning. Cushioning is mainly made of the midsole – insole contributes to it, but mainly its midsole where a company employs its proprietary cushioning technology and takes care of two most important purposes.

The first purpose of cushioning is to serve as a shock absorber – when you jump to dunk the hoop, you eventually land on the ground and there should be ample cushion to protect your heel bone from the impact.

Secondly, once you have landed, you know that you have to make the next move – may be another jump and for that, you need rebound energy. All midsole cushioning technologies cater to this need – a classic example is Zoom Air.

So, it is important for you to do your research, learn about the proprietary cushioning technologies that big brands use and then buy your sneaker wisely.

Some big technologies that you must read about are Nike Zoom Air, Adidas Boost, Adidas Bounce and Under Armour Micro G, etc.

It is important to know how each technology works and what specific purpose it is designed for – for example, Boost gives you a low-to-the-ground court feel while Bounce is more for rebound energy.

Traction

Other than cushions, the most important feature is traction. Traction or grip on a court is not only essential for your success in the game, but it also keeps you from slipping and thus injuring yourself.

Traction is linked mostly with two important things – your shoe’s outsole and the design pattern on it. The experts are unanimous in their opinion that a tough rubber sole is the best outsole that you can get to ensure maximum grip on all types of courts.

The other type of outsole that you most commonly notice is a translucent outsole – while it looks beautiful, the problem with

However, when it comes to the traction pattern, there is no consensus, but most of them believe that a multi-directional pattern – more specifically, herringbone pattern, is better than all other outsole patterns.

Conclusion

Now, here is a brief table to help you have a look at the bigger picture:

Name Support Comfort Looks
UA Kids’ Pre School Jet Medium padding Medium Good
Adidas Pro Spark Best padding Medium Okay
UA Grade School Jet Low padding Medium Better
Nike Team Hustle D9 Medium padding Medium Okay
UA Micro G Pursuit Low padding High Better
Champion Inferno Best padding Medium Okay
Nike KD 12 Low padding High Better

As you can see, UA’s Kids’ Pre School Jet seems to be the best basketball sneaker and thus we would recommend it to you.

Not only, it is the bestseller kids sneaker on Amazon (got more positive reviews than any other sneaker on our list), but also presents a combination of best qualities that one must look for when buying a kids’ sneaker.

However, you’ve read the buyer’s guide – you can make a checklist based on the recommendations of that guide and pick a sneaker that checks all the boxes.

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