The 13 Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping [2023 Edition]

“It’s gotta be the shoes!”

That’s what Mars Blackmon (played by Spike Lee) proclaimed in a legendary 1989 Nike commercial featuring Michael Jordan. The former guessed everything under the sun hoping to figure out why the Chicago Bulls star was the best player on the court.

There was only one conclusion for Blackmon to come to, as Jordan’s vertical leap and dunking ability were on full display in the advertisement.

While we certainly know that MJ had a lot more going for him than just his ability to throw it down, it caused the public to fantasize about how basketball sneakers could make players jump higher. Don’t lie…we’ve all tried to leap as high as we can to touch the top of our doors at home as children.

Certain players are looking to the sky above defenders to dunk, and others want a little extra bounce in order to get a shot off or grab more rebounds.

Regardless of why you want to hang in the air a little bit longer, learning about the best basketball shoes for jumping is the first step in your quest to be more aerodynamic.

How We Came Up With This List

The important thing to keep in mind is that we’re regular people here at Basketball Buckets, just like you. We’re looking to get the best bang for our buck, while also ensuring that the equipment we put on our feet helps elevate our game to the next level.

In conjunction with the topic of this piece, the main consideration for the products on this list is their ability to increase our hops. Footwear inclusive of special or dedicated technology to bolster leaping ability was prioritized.

Jumping out of the gym is always a more pleasant experience when your feet are comfortable, so we also weighed factors like padding significantly as well.

We also took pricing seriously here, since buying new shoes every few months is no one’s idea of fun. Our rundown includes affordable shoes that are great options, as well as more expensive products that we feel are worth the splurge.

Top 13 Basketball Shoes For Jumping

1.    KD 14

The Scoop: If the modern-day Mars Blackmon got a look at the KD 14’s, he’d think that the shoes were absolutely the reason why players were dominating games. This Kevin Durant signature sneaker supports high-flyers as well as any footwear product on the market right now.

There are many sneakers out there that may give players a boost in their jumping ability, but not many(if any) allow ballers to get that lift as instantly and reflexively. Thanks to the responsive cushioning found throughout the shoe, the energy transfer between your foot and the KD 14 promotes quick jumping ability.

The KD’s 14’s cushion material and Zoom Air Strobel will make your feet feel comfortable whether you’re popping into an impromptu pickup game or playing heavy minutes in an important contest. What’s also cool about this shoe is that it doesn’t need a ton of time to break in, thanks to the sock liner over the Zoom Air unit.

The KD 14’s are an elite purchase whether you shoot most of your hoops indoors or outdoors. Just be advised that if you play the majority of your games on outdoor basketball courts, the sole might not last as long.

Total Amazon Reviews: 6

Average Amazon Rating: 4.8

2.    Kyrie 7

The Scoop: Most players dream about catching an alley-oop mid-air and throwing it down with authority. Getting the lift necessary to do that is surely important, but no part of that highlight reel play happens without the ability to change direction firmly and confidently.

In addition to being one of the top shoes available for jumping, the Kyrie 7’s are also a great selection for players who prioritize stopping on a dime. This sneaker has a 360-degree traction pattern, which allows the sneaker to feature an enhanced grip on most playing surfaces.

This product won’t weigh you down as you gear up for takeoff, which is important both physically and mentally for a basketball player.

The only potential downside of the Kyrie 7’s is that it’s not the best option for players with wide feet.

Total Amazon Reviews: 23

Average Amazon Rating: 4.2

3.     Dame 7

The Scoop: Adidas makes its first appearance on this list with a strong signature shoe created on behalf of Portland Trail Blazers superstar guard Damian Lillard. Although Lillard isn’t known as a big-time dunker, his sneakers are a fantastic option for those looking to jump out of the gym.

The Dame 7’s are one of the most comfortable shoes out there, thanks to the Lightstrike cushion it possesses. This also helps the sneakers absorb impact and shock on the way down better than most of their counterparts, which is a major benefit.

Many basketball shoes think about maximizing the experience on the way up, but the Dame 7 considers the load your feet take on the way down as well. It’s also a winner when it comes to the level of ankle support provided.

Similar to some of the other sneakers on this list, the Dame 7’s are best utilized indoors if maximum longevity is a priority for the player.

Total Amazon Reviews: 383

Average Amazon Rating: 4.5

4.    APL Superfuture

The Scoop: Perhaps the most polarizing sneaker on this list is the APL Superfuture. These kicks were literally banned by the NBA.

That sentence alone might drive people to the product, or cause players to run away. Rumor has it that the APL Superfuture sneakers provided so much of a competitive advantage that it would cause an uneven playing field.

The claim to fame for these sneakers is its unique Load and Launch technology, which actually contains springs situated below the forefoot. This might sound a little worrisome, but they are expertly covered in plastic, so comfort isn’t compromised.

Strictly in terms of increased vertical leap, the APL Superfuture might be the best sneaker to achieve this goal. The only downside, in addition to the premier basketball league not accepting them, is its expensive price point.

APL Total Reviews: 5

Average APL Rating: 4.5

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5.    Hyperdunk X

The Scoop: There are no if’s and or buts about what the Hyperdunk X sets out to do for the players that don this shoe. As the name pretty clearly indicates, this Nike product is all about getting hoopers off the ground in a serious way.

It’s been a mainstay in the basketball sneaker landscape for nearly 15 years, and the Hyperdunk X has a few important things going for it. Since it’s got a breathable upper and a sturdy, wavy base, your feet will be able to stay cool after a heavy run and feel supported after countless forays to the basket.

They also lock your heel into place comfortably and reliably, meaning that concerns about slipping and sliding within the shoe are addressed.

Unleash the Hyperdunk X’s on the hardwood inside a gym and you’ll be a force to finish on the fast break every time.

Total Amazon Reviews: 9

Average Amazon Rating: 4.6

6.    LeBron 18

The Scoop: Even though he never appeared in an NBA Slam Dunk contest, anything sporting LeBron James’ name can intuitively be trusted to get players into the air in a significant way. As the Los Angeles Lakers star chases down the all-time scoring record, set your sights on a classic LeBron chase-down block in a pair of LeBron 18’s.

Undoubtedly, the most impressive part of the shoe is its midsole, which provides a remarkable amount of spring. It has a pillowy cushion, a Zoom Strobel unit as well as Air Max cushioning.

This combination of multiple technologies was viewed as somewhat ambitious but has received rave reviews for its comfort and practical support. There won’t be any second thoughts about clearing for liftoff in the LeBron 18’s with the softness buoying the middle of your foot.

Total Amazon Reviews: 94

Average Amazon Rating: 4.5

7.    PG 5

The Scoop: Throughout his career in the NBA, Paul George has thrown down some vicious slams over shot blockers looking to deter him. The PG 5’s are an attractive purchase for players looking to throw it down with gusto.

There are undoubtedly other sneakers on the market and on this list that have more complexity and nuance to them than the PG 5’s. Some might call them a little basic, but they’re focused on getting the job done at the rim for players who don’t have wide feet.

These shoes provide good stability and essentially feel like part of your own foot with its lightweight appeal.

Total Amazon Reviews: 59

Average Amazon Rating: 4.3

8.    AlphaDunk

The Scoop: It has a cool name and a futuristic design, but AlphaDunk focuses on core tenets of what it takes to bring out the best in an athlete. It concentrates on creating superior balance, which is the basis that allows basketball players to generate the type of lift that can block a shot at the rim.

The AlphaDunk has a commendable heel counter which promotes the type of balance needed to reach your maximum vertical leap. Inner collars with sufficient padding are also present to this end, which provides the continued leverage you’ll need to get things done in the air.

The foam material in the midsole allows players additional support, and the AlphaDunk’s can be used with confidence inside or outside.

Total Amazon Reviews: 1

Average Amazon Rating: 5

9.    LeBron Soldier 14

The Scoop: Another pair of kicks inspired by the second-leading scorer in NBA history makes the cut on our list. The LeBron Soldier 14 may not be as unique per se as the 18’s covered above, but cushioning in these sneakers are well regarded too.

Certain basketball shoes fit pretty well, or fit exceptionally well in certain areas but not in others. The LeBron Soldier 14 alleviates that concern, as it will surround the contour of your foot in a comfortable manner.

This sneaker might be better served for forwards or centers who spend most of their time in the paint. The LeBron Soldier 14’s provide good traction but aren’t necessarily made for players who feature a lot of starting and stopping in their game.

Total Amazon Reviews: 33

Average Amazon Rating: 3.8

10. Air Jordan Westbrook One Take 3

The Scoop: With the introduction of this piece featuring Michael Jordan in his heyday, there was no way that the list would be complete without one of His Airness’ kicks. The Jordan One Take 3 pair would serve anyone well, but especially players who play with a lot of torque and power.

Think about Russell Westbrook in his prime with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who played with a level of explosion and force, and needed sneakers to compliment that style. The Jordan One Take 3’s do just that with its herringbone pattern that provides superior traction in the steps leading up to takeoff.

Especially when considering how much this shoe goes for and the brand name recognition it receives, there aren’t many reasons to hesitate with this option.

Finish Line Total Reviews: 59

Average Finish Line Rating: 4.6

11. Giannis Immortality

The Scoop: There are few things more exciting in the NBA today than watching Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo rumble down the lane before finishing a play with a ferocious jam. One minute he’s at the three-point line, and the next, he’s hanging on the rim.

As one might expect, the Giannis Immortality sneakers give players the agility necessary to get to the basket at will. They’ve got solid traction, and make players feel like they can take the long strides that Giannis has made so popular in the last decade or so.

Another positive is that this shoe caters to players with narrow and wide feet, which a lot of shoes can’t claim. For its price and its many perks, the Giannis Immortality is a worthwhile investment this holiday season.

Total Amazon Reviews: 24

Average Finish Line Rating: 4.1

12. D Rose 11

The Scoop: Younger fans are used to Derrick Rose coming off the bench as a role player with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, and New York Knicks. He’s still a talented scorer, but when he was a young player with the Chicago Bulls, he used to finish plays above the rim on a regular basis.

The D Rose 11’s provide a comfortable landing for players that are going up high and coming down hard, to quote TNT basketball announcer Kevin Harlan. These sneakers will bear the brunt of the force that you’re descending with, so you can strictly focus on finishing the play with emphasis.

The D Rose 11’s are a strong choice when thinking vertically, but may come up a bit short laterally, as their ankle support grades have been a little shoddy.

Total Amazon Reviews: 75

Average Amazon Rating: 4.3

13. KD Trey 5 VIII

The Scoop: We started our list with Kevin Durant’s footwear, and we’re going to wrap things up in the same fashion. The KD Trey 5 VIII’s have a solid foam pod system working for it, which helps from a comfort and shock absorption perspective.

Your forefoot is also well guarded in the KD Trey 5 VIII’s, as the shoe comes with a cushioned tongue.

It’s a pretty well-rounded shoe that should primarily be deployed indoors.  

Total Amazon Reviews: 7

Average Amazon Rating: 4.4

 

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Andrew Pistone

Andrew has gravitated towards basketball ever since he was a child. Whether it was spending hours in his parents' backyard practicing shots from various angles, participating in spirited CYO games, or playing pickup at the park, he has always had an affinity for the sport. That passion for the game persisted as he got older, playing at the high school level, and coaching via instructional programs that promoted fundamental skill development.