The sneaker scene is one of the most confusing communities that you can ever come across. That is true, especially for kids, since it offers countless options that change by the hour. As a young basketball fan, you have a lot of research to do about what the best boys basketball shoes are.
Yes, it can get tricky. While that options list is quite long, you need to focus on what matters most, namely: durability, budget, traction, comfort, and looks. If you happen to check the first two boxes and then like the appearance of the shoe, then hey, you’ve hit the jackpot. Our role now is to fast-track the “hitting the jackpot” part by bringing to you our most recommended boys basketball shoes.
If you want to get back to playing basketball, get our top pick for boys basketball shoes here.
Our Favorites for the Best Boys Basketball Shoes
If you had your way, we are pretty sure you would select a basketball sneaker from the cream of the crop. That’s normal, and we would have done the same if we were in your shoes, no pun intended. That being so, at the very top of the list, we include the latest and the best boys basketball shoes you can find in the market.
Young boys do love superheroes and what better shoes to reflect that than the Adidas D.O.N. Issue #1 . After all, most of the colorways of the D.O.N.s are based on superhero characters such as Spider-man, the Iron Spider, and Venom. But the value of the D.O.N. Issue #1 goes way beyond looks; it’s also one of the best boys basketball shoes out there.
What Makes It Unique:
- It features Bounce, which is easily the cushion of choice for most basketball players since it is more responsive and firmer than Boost.
- It looks bulky and heavy, but they are very lightweight, a feature that we’re sure most kids will love.
- Support is phenomenal with midsole sculpting that renders your foot in place.
The weakest point of the shoe is probably the traction. Some say it’s solid, but many basketball players say it’s too inconsistent. Several youth basketball shoe reviews recommend breaking in the shoe two or three times and bringing in a towel for the soles, especially on dusty courts. The D.O.N.s also run long and wide, so you will have to stay true to size or go half a size down for a snugger fit. Other than that, these bad boys are ready to go!
Why Choose The Adidas D.O.N. Issue #1:
- The Marvel collaboration colorways look incredibly cool.
- The textile and mesh materials featured in most colorways require little to no break-in time.
- Created for versatility so kids of all shapes and sizes could wear them regardless of their position.
- Bounce midsole
- Locked-down feel
- Donovan Mitchell B-ball shoes
For every basketball player’s need, there’s always a Nike shoe for that. And this time around, the second of our most recommended boys basketball shoes is the Nike Zoom KD 12 .
What Makes It Unique:
- Employs a full-length Zoom cushioning that is placed straight under your foot providing ample impact protection
- The Flywire upper makes it very lightweight but not to the point that it sacrifices durability
- Compared to the KD11, many who have tried the KD12 raves about its superior support.
The Nike Zoom KD 12 does not come with a Kids or Boys variation, but it is available in men’s sizes as small as 3.5 US. However, as one of the best basketball shoes on Amazon, most sizes available only go down to about a 7. That means the KD12 may not be available for smaller kids, while the bigger ones can opt to go for the small men’s sizes.
Performance-wise, there isn’t much to complain about the Nike Zoom KD12. It is more expensive than the DONs, but other than that, this is a premium basketball shoe that performs like one.
Why Choose The Nike Zoom KD 12:
- The materials on the upper have the ideal blend of durability, breathability, and flexibility.
- Provides a one-to-one fit that most ballers prefer
- Compared to other KD models, the 12 does not run long and narrow.
- The setup of the bottom-loaded Hex Zoom Air unit and the Phylon midsole brings an excellent, top-of-the-line cushioning system.
Our Runner Ups for the Best Boys Basketball Shoes
It’s hard to argue against something that works, and the Adidas Originals Superstar for kids is one of those. It has been around forever and never loses its appeal to the masses. It’s not in the top tier in the best boys basketball shoes department, but it has something that all other basketball sneakers don’t.
What Makes It Unique:
- The leather upper makes the shoe extremely durable and waterproof.
- The rounded shell material on the toes is tough, and it protects your feet as well as any basketball shoe out there.
- Comes in as many as 40 different styles and varieties
While there are many advantages to opting for the Adidas Superstar, it will be for your betterment to be aware of its drawbacks. These shoes are durable and built to last, that’s a given, but it may not be as breathable as some would like. It also runs large, so it may be best to order half a size down to get that right fit. Still, the Superstar is a no-nonsense shoe that deserves your attention.
Why Choose The Adidas Originals Kids Superstar:
- Also suitable for casual and urban settings
- It’s not just a basketball shoe as it can also be worn for any activity.
- It provides bang for the buck in terms of its price to longevity ratio.
- Regular fit
- OrthoLite sockliner
- Leather upper
Boys often prefer wearing shoes from their idols, and few in the NBA have endeared himself to young players more than Steph Curry. With that in mind, we bring you an excellent Curry sneaker as an option: the Under Armour Curry 3 Kids .
What Makes It Unique:
- Beastly traction that allows you to stop on a dime and change direction
- Made for players that want court feel over impact protection
- The carbon fiber shanks offer excellent support
Many that have used the Under Armour Curry 3 Kids as part of their rotation claims that its materials could wear quickly over extended use. Since it’s using Charged over Micro G as its cushioning system, you may experience little to no impact protection. That would also mean that the SC3s are not designed for wings and bigs; instead, they’re made for speedy guards that continuously run around the perimeter.
Why Choose The Under Armour Curry 3 Kids:
- Like the other Steph Curry shoes, the SC3s has superior step-in comfort
- Its traction, as mentioned above, is not only one of the best; it can also withstand semi-dusty courts.
Unfortunately, we can’t include the Under Armour UA Clutchfit Drive 3 in any of our tiers. Since it was released sometime in 2016, you don’t see the shoe lying around much anymore. And if it did, it may only be available in one size. That shouldn’t be much of an issue, though, because we still have a lot of shoes to choose from.
Our Value Picks for the Best Boys Basketball Shoes
What Makes It Unique:
- It has a leather upper, but the perforations allow the shoes to be still breathable.
- The Torsion System provides a high degree of stability and support.
- Has sizes for the Little Kids and the Big Kids
One of the main issues of Adidas shoes is that their sizing can be all over the place compared to Nikes. That should be considered when buying any Adidas shoes, including the Adidas Performance Isolation 2.
Why Choose The Adidas Performance Isolation 2 Kids Basketball Shoe:
- It requires little to no break-in time.
- Some kids say that it is one of the best youth basketball shoes for ankle support.
- Comes in six colorways each for the little and big kids sizes
- Lace-up basketball shoe featuring signature stripes at sides and perforations for added breathability
- Padded tongue and collar
- Torsion system for improved mobility and midfoot stability
It’s a good thing that Nike makes budget models of their signature shoes and believe it or not, the cheaper versions of the upscale models do work. Sure, they don’t have the swag and materials of their top-of-the-line siblings, but it is often enough, especially for hoops beginners.
What Makes It Unique:
- Excellent traction even when playing on dusty courts
- Textile upper is an amalgam of versatility and durability while being lightweight
Since they cost much less than the other models here, expect some significant shortcomings here for the Nike Kyrie Flytrap II. A couple of these drawbacks would be its lack of cushioning and a narrower-than-usual fit. However, since the boys do not need as much cushioning as the aching knees of adults do, some lighter kids can go and hoop with the Flytrap II with no problem.
Why Choose The Nike Kids’ Grade School Kyrie Flytrap II Basketball Shoes:
- It comes in as many as seven colorways, including combinations of grey and purple, black and pink, and blue and white.
- Comfortable, breathable, and lightweight.
- Since it is designed for mobility rather than stability, it is perfect as a boys shoe.
Why You Should Invest in Quality Boys Basketball Shoes
Lacing up a good pair of sneakers is as essential to a young basketball player as a paintbrush is to an artist. Many people don’t understand that about basketball shoes — they are definitely not created equal.
Basketball shoes are specifically designed to withstand the rigors and intensity of the game. In one basketball game alone, a player may run north of four miles total, and then jump, sprint, stop on a dime, move laterally, and so forth. Your feet won’t survive long without wearing shoes specifically for these activities.
Aside from preventing common foot and ankle injuries, basketball shoes also give a player confidence upon stepping onto the court. They say the game is 90% mental, and knowing that you have a pair of quality sneakers that can suitably protect your feet may be all the edge that you need over your opponents.
FAQ on Boys Basketball Shoes
What Features Should You Look for Boys Basketball Shoes?
It is more or less the same with men’s basketball shoes but with more emphasis on material and less on cushioning. Since kids and young boys are, more often than not, playing a low-to-the-ground type of basketball, you don’t need to prioritize shoes with superior cushioning systems, although it wouldn’t hurt if you have the capacity to buy them. Speaking of material, go for something that you can grow out of instead of something that looks like it might be replaced after a couple of months.
Lastly, you should not forget to live within your means, that is, do not pull the trigger on the latest pair just for the heck of it. There may be some top-performing shoes that were released two or three years ago that are on sale. The latest does not always mean the best. Keep in mind that in about a year, you are still going to replace your shoes, regardless.
What is the Best Design for Ankle Support?
In terms of ankle support, many basketball players swear on the Nike Men’s Hyperdunk 2015. Unfortunately, you can’t find these shoes anymore online, although if you come across a pair, it is definitely worth checking your time.
As you already know, the Nike Men's Hyperdunk is a high-top basketball shoe that provides high lacing that adds another layer of ankle support. You can definitely go the high-top route when prioritizing ankle support. However, scientific evidence suggests it may not be about the shoe after all. In that case, you may need to brace your ankles or tape them instead of worrying about the best shoe design for ankle support.
Should Basketball Shoes for Kids be Tight?
As for how tight basketball shoes for kids should be, it depends on personal preference. Some like it snug and tight while others prefer loose and comfy. Keep in mind that the feet swell during exercise, so it will help if the shoes allow room for joint mobility and blood flow. Otherwise, it could be disastrous.
In any case, experts suggest that you should wear shoes that allow the toes to spread in a comfortable manner. Your shoes should also be comfortable at the widest part of your feet. And in most cases, the heel area should be tight and snug that your foot doesn’t have sliding motions upwards and sideways.
How to Choose the Best Boys Basketball Shoes for You
Our experience tells us that you don’t need to focus on a lot of things in choosing the best boys basketball shoes. If you have already checked durability and pricing (two of the most significant criteria in selecting the best boys basketball shoes, in our opinion), then you can also inspect it for traction, cushion, and support.
It doesn’t always have to be excellent in all areas because, to be quite honest, even the top tier shoes don’t also check all the boxes. You have to confirm these attributes only to a reasonable degree after you verified that you could use it for a long time, and it won’t hurt your budget.
Wrapping Things Up: The Best Boys Basketball Shoes
In closing, here is a table of the best boys basketball shoes we went over today:
In our favorites for the best boys basketball shoes, we feel that the Adidas D.O.N. Issue #1 meet all the requirements in pricing, durability, cushion, support, fit, and aesthetics. And while the Nike KD12 has a suggested retail price that is out of reach for many, it makes up for it with superior support and cushioning. With its features, we recommend the KD12 for more advanced and more explosive players.
First in the runner ups department is the Adidas Originals Kids Superstar . Its durability, by virtue of its leather material, is top-notch while also doubling as a lifestyle and all-around shoe. It’s followed by the Under Armour Curry 3 Kids , an often underrated shoe that has no apparent weaknesses.
Ultimately, our value picks for the best basketball shoes include the Adidas Performance Isolation 2 Kids Basketball Shoe and the Nike Kids' Grade School Kyrie Flytrap II Basketball Shoes. As in the case of many budget Adidas performance sneakers, the Isolation 2 is a basic basketball shoe that falls short on the design department. On the other hand, the Kyrie Flytrap II has one of the best looks, especially at its price, but is a minor letdown in terms of cushioning and support.
We completely understand how crucial it is for young athletes like yourself to find the right shoes to play in. If it’s possible, we advise you to buy more than one pair of shoes just in case the need arises. Of course, your choice will be up to your needs and circumstances, whether that’s two pairs of the same model or one pair from the favorites and the runner-ups, or whatever works for you.
Looking for more basketball gear reviews? We got loads of comprehensive guides here.