Did you know: “The latest Basketball shoes can help you jump higher than normal.”
Yeah, you heard it right. Brands like Nike and Adidas are focused on introducing footwear with responsive cushioning to help the players jump higher.
This will surely make you think, “Could I get the best basketball shoes for jumping and dunking in 2021?”
The answer is YES. I’ve done my homework finding out the best jumping shoes for basketball. Out of 30 different models, I selected my list of 10 top-rated options based on their durability, cushioning, and grip they offered.
Have a look at the top-rated basketball shoes for dunking that increase vertical jump in 2021 as follows:
- Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping – Comparison Chart
- 10 Best Basketball Shoes For Dunking and Jumping
- 1. Nike Men’s Kobe Mamba – Best Overall Jumping and Dunking Shoes 2021
- 2. Adidas Men’s Pro – Offer Superior Comfort and Grip
- 3. Nike Kyrie 6 – Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping Higher
- 4. Nike Men’s Kyrie 3 – Best Basketball Shoes for Vertical Jump
- 5. Nike Men’s AlphaDunk – Best Basketball Shoes for Dunking
- 6. Adidas Men’s Dame 5 – Best Shoes for Vertical Jump
- 7. Adidas Men’s Crazy Explosive – Basketball Jump Shoes 2021
- 8. Nike Men’s Kyrie Flytrap – Nike Jumping Shoes for Basketball
- 9. Adidas Men’s Harden 3 – With Bouncy Cushioning
- 10. Nike Men’s Lebron XVI – Lebron James Signature Basketball Shoes for Jumping
- Choosing the Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping and Dunking: What You Need to Know?
Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping – Comparison Chart
Here’s a quick comparison chart of our 10 hand-picked shoes to dunk in, for those who are in hurry.
|Nike Men's Kobe Mamba||Cushioning: Air Zoom Unit |
Traction: Mamba Inspired
|Adidas Men’s Pro||Cushioning: Cloudfoam |
|Nike Kyrie 6||Cushioning: Air Zoom Turbo Unit|
Traction: Multi-angle blade
|Nike Men’s Kyrie 3||Cushioning: Air Zoom|
Traction: Multidirectional traction
|Nike Men’s AlphaDunk||Cushioning: Largest Air Zoom Unit|
Traction: Flexible rubber traction
|Adidas Men’s Dame 5||Cushioning: Bouncy cushioning |
Traction: Zonal Herringbone
|Adidas Men’s Crazy Explosive||Cushioning: Boost cushioning|
Traction: Flexible rubber traction
|Nike Men’s Kyrie Flytrap||Cushioning: Air Zoom Unit |
Traction: Thick Rubber Traction
|Adidas Men’s Harden 3||Cushioning: Bouncy cushioning |
Traction: Flex Groove
|Nike Men’s Lebron XV||Cushioning: Bouncy Air Zoom Unit |
10 Best Basketball Shoes For Dunking and Jumping
1. Nike Men’s Kobe Mamba – Best Overall Jumping and Dunking Shoes 2021
Men’s Kobe Mamba from Nike tops the list for being the best jumping and dunking basketball sneaker available in the market. Nike’s partnership with the Late Kobe Bryant is bearing fruits for professional athletes. Kobe Mamba features a unique low-top design. Plus, the sneaker is durable and rugged enough. All options included in it enhance the jumping capacity of a player to help him dunk better.
Cutting right to the chase,
The basketball sneakers come with a special embossed upper, which is quite supportive. Not only does it elevates the feet, but it also helps the player to maintain stability while jumping.
Air Zoom Unit for the Win!
The signature cushioning used by Nike is responsive enough. Plus, it offers a great push to the feet to help a player reach new heights while dunking or jumping.
Heel cage maintains lightweight structure!
I specifically loved the molded swoosh-shaped heel cage that enhances the support of the feet. The heel cage also maintains a snug fit to keep your feet in a natural position for a long time.
Mamba-Inspired Traction pattern enhances grip!
The outsole made up of flexible and thick rubber helps improve traction on the ground. I’ve also tried the shoes outdoors and they haven’t disappointed me up till now. The latest Mamba embossed tread pattern ensures a complete lockdown on the surface for superior grip.
Last but not the least, Jackson, one of my basketball buddies has got some views about the sneakers. As per his views, “Yeah, those sneakers look dope. I’m not gonna lie but once I put them on, I instantly felt a push to help me achieve new heights. The grip seems tight and didn’t slip at all. The best $200 I’ve spent up till now for sure.”
2. Adidas Men’s Pro – Offer Superior Comfort and Grip
Adidas simply cannot leave behind Nike when it comes to the basketball shoes that make you jump higher. That said, Men’s Pro features a smooth, sophisticated, and sleek design. Along with that, the b-ball shoes are all about comfort and grip. With the latest cushioning technology, Adidas has made sure that athletes could get their desired push to dunk better. Men’s Pro seems to help the players jump higher than expected in 2021.
Getting into some of its basics:
The shoes are all synthetic. This material ensures longevity along with proper support and maintains breathability. You can, therefore, expect the sneakers to improve your gameplay for sure.
Mid-Top design keeps the ankle protected!
But the story doesn’t end here. Mid-top shaft also ensures that the ankle remains independent enough. Hence, you can rely on it to jump vertically higher for an improved dunk respectively.
Signature Cloudfoam midsole helps in elevation!
Adidas has been using the Cloudfoam cushioning in its latest dunking basketball sneakers. It’s responsive, charged, and comfortable enough to ensure proper elevation. So, you can experience an improved jumping interface for sure.
If you take a closer look at the upper of the shoes, you’ll see visible pores there. These pores are there to maintain the dryness on the inside. You’ll not have to worry about sweat while playing the game.
Herringbone Rubber Outsole Offers Superb Traction!
Thick rubber outsole with a herringbone traction pattern helps the athletes to maintain their posture after a long jump. Not only that, but you could also enhance your footwork with these sneakers.
I recently got my hands on the adidas Men’s Pro and to be honest they are one of the lightest basketball shoes I’ve ever worn. Plus, I was dunking at an improved rate with the Men’s Pro compared to other basketball sneakers. I consider them a perfect fit for those who struggle to jump higher in the court.
3. Nike Kyrie 6 – Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping Higher
Kyrie Irving who is known as one of the best NBA basketball players in recent times has collaborated with Nike. In this aspect, we get to see Kyrie 6 as an absolute footwear option for athletes who want to dunk more often. The sneakers, therefore, feature an aesthetic design combined with latest technologies to help players jump higher.
The dunking basketball shoes feature a textile and synthetic construction. It’s durable and long-lasting. Plus, the upper is supportive enough to help you maintain a good posture on the court.
Nike uses Air Zoom Turbo Unit as its primary cushioning!
Adding to that, the lightweight midsole is there to maintain the responsiveness and comfort of the feet. Air Zoom Turbo Unit is also curved under the ball of the foot. So, it surely helps in elevation which improves jumping as a result.
Adjustable Strap locks in the footbed!
The upper part of the feet remains locked in, thanks to the adjustable strap that you can tighten or loosen as per your will and wish. It enhances the balance and comfort while you are trying to jump higher either to dunk or slam.
Multi-angle blade traction pattern!
Nike uses the special thick rubber outsole along with the multi-angle blade traction pattern. It enhances grip on different surfaces in almost every direction and ensures a perfect gameplay experience for sure.
Jack, one of my academy students uses Kyrie 6 as he struggled a little bit with dunking. As per his views, “As soon as I got the Kyrie 6, my dunking ability improved significantly. The sneakers also helped me maintain my footwork, thanks to their superior grip.”
4. Nike Men’s Kyrie 3 – Best Basketball Shoes for Vertical Jump
Kyrie 3 offers a snug fit and features a simple yet unique enough design. One of the best basketball shoes for jumping make sure that you can run riots on the court with all the agility and strength. Be it reverse dribbles, 3 pointers, straight dribbles, or dunks, the sneakers will help you maintain your grip on the ground for a long time period.
Starting with some basics:
The shoes that increase vertical jump have got a durable textile and mesh upper. Breathability and support is well up to the mark to help your feet remain relaxed enough.
Adding to that, Nike uses Air zoom cushioning in the midsole of Kyrie 3. Not only does it absorb extra shock, but the midsole also helps in elevation. This allows the athletes to gain height while dunking.
A high-top design means that the ankle is fully locked and protected from any injuries. Plus, you can move it more than enough to increase your vertical jump in the court.
The shoes on one hand are ideal for jumping and, on the other hand, offer superior traction on the ground as well. Thanks to the multidirectional traction pattern, you can enjoy quick runs and dribble past your opponents without any hassle.
Angela, one of my close relatives recently got Kyrie 3 for her husband. She says that “At first I was skeptical of choosing Kyrie 3 due to size issues. Thank God! They fitted my husband quite well and he seems happy while wearing them to the outdoor court. Good Job Kyrie!”
5. Nike Men’s AlphaDunk – Best Basketball Shoes for Dunking
AlphaDunk as the name itself suggests the basketball shoes are specifically made for hardcore dunking. The brand has used some new technologies in AlphaDunk to make sure that you can jump higher for pitch-perfect dunks. Other than that, I loved the overall shape of the shoes, which gives off premium vibes when one puts them on.
The best basketball shoes to dunk in have got a special padded inner collar. It helps support the Achilles tendon to keep your feet as comfy as possible during the jobs.
More than that, Nike uses the largest forefoot Air Zoom cushioning in AlphaDunk basketball sneakers. Not only does it maintain comfort, but it’s bouncy enough. Turns out you can jump higher vertically while wearing them out.
Special Flyknit upper also maintains the support and balance of the upper foot. It specifically helps spreading shock in all directions when you land after dunking the ball into the hoop.
Thanks to the thick rubber flexible outsole, players can move around freely in the court without facing any issues. On top of that, the special deep traction pattern is also there to keep the grip as superior as possible.
Carlos Camron, a professional basketball player in my local academy has got a say about AlphaDunk. According to him, “The shoes arrived on time and they’ve got the drip. I tried some regular slams and dunks in them and so far they are quite supportive. The ‘too good to be true’ theory from Nike seems legit here as the shoes are quite durable and rugged at the same time.”
6. Adidas Men’s Dame 5 – Best Shoes for Vertical Jump
Dame 5 are the special basketball shoes introduced for Damian Lillard, a professional NBA athlete playing as a Point Guard. As far as the sneakers are concerned, they’ve got an aesthetic look. Durability and comfort go side by side along with an improved jumping interface. The shoes are, in fact, a perfect choice for those who want to improve their dunking skills.
Starting with some basics,
The bounciest basketball shoes have got a 100% synthetic construction. The upper also being made up of synthetic and textile ensures support and breathability.
Adding to that, we have the latest Bounce Cushioning from adidas available in Dame 5. This allows enough bounce to the athletes, hence, ensuring enough elevation and jump.
Along with some other features, the b-ball shoes have got a regular snug fit. It will keep your foot intact and locked in. More than that, the soft cushioned feel is also there for immense comfort and support.
One of the best shoes for a vertical jump with its zonal herringbone traction pattern allows the players to avoid injuries after they land on the court. Herringbone rubber outsole also improves dribbling and quick movements inside the court.
One of my students, Trager, is a great fan of Damian Lillard so he bought the Dame 5 shoes. According to him “They offer a plush and cushioned feel. I love wearing them to the court as the shoes improve my traction and help me to jump higher than normal.”
7. Adidas Men’s Crazy Explosive – Basketball Jump Shoes 2021
Crazy Explosive from Adidas features a high-top design. To put that into perspective, your ankle will remain safe and protective from unwanted strains while you are trying to jump higher with the shoes. Moreover, the shoes offer immense comfort and support. With lightweight yet soft cushioning, you can go all EXPLOSIVE while wearing these sneakers and no I’m not kidding at all.
The best basketball shoes for jumping are 100% synthetic made. Along with that the textile upper improves balance and stability of the feet. You can also enjoy playing the game without any sweat, thanks to the breathable pores included in the upper.
Adidas, on the other hand, uses boost cushioning which is shock absorptive and responsive at the same time. The lightweight yet comfortable cushioning could help you reach the heights without any hassle.
On top of that, Crazy Explosive sneakers also feature a special anatomical lace up system. It completely wraps up the feet, thus making sure that it remains relieved of any pressure or stress.
Moving along, the rubber outsole is there to improve your grip both indoors and outdoors. Thanks to the multidirectional traction pattern, you’d enjoy quick reflexes, movements, and dribbles with complete stability.
Alex D. Kidd, a regular basketball player has shown his love for the adidas Crazy Explosive. He states that “I always wait for a new pair of Jordans every year and keep a budget of $200-$300 saved for them. Lately, I’ve tried the adidas Crazy Explosive and they’ve given me a run for the money for sure. The fit is great and I feel more comfy and elevated while playing in them.”
8. Nike Men’s Kyrie Flytrap – Nike Jumping Shoes for Basketball
Another Kyrie Irving’s signature basketball sneakers, the Flytrap are made to help you dunk better. The shoes, first of all, feature a stylish design with lightweight construction. Plus, the durability remains up to the mark as Nike doesn’t compromise on it at any cost. On top of that, Kyrie Flytrap is comparatively affordable than other Nike sneakers available on our market. You can get them without spending a large sum of money.
Air Zoom Unit cushioning in Kyrie Flytrap supports the athlete’s will to jump higher. The cushioning also keeps the feet in a natural position, thus supporting heel, arch, and toe areas perfectly.
Nike also uses special Flywire cables technology to get your feet all locked in. It means more support and balance as you try to jump higher to make a perfect dunk.
Apart from other features, a thick rubber outsole with a deep traction pattern is there to improve your grip. It could help you land safely after you jump higher than normal.
The best shoes for rebounding with a mid-top design not only keep the ankle protected, but also has enough freedom. You could, therefore, enjoy making long jumps without facing any ankle strain.
Brittany, a colleague of mine recently got Kyrie Flytrap for her boyfriend. According to her, “James is loving this footwear and he wears them all day long. Probably the only gift that made him extremely happy.”
9. Adidas Men’s Harden 3 – With Bouncy Cushioning
Specifically made for James Harden, Men’s Harden 3 are taking the basketball market by a storm. The shoes with a unique shape, adjustable strap, lightweight midsole cushioning, and a solid rubber grip could help you fly in the court. You wanna make pitch perfect dunks or jump higher? Simply get yourself Harden 3 and you won’t get disappointed at all.
Featuring an adjustable strap, it helps wrapping and locking in the foot, hence making sure that you can play with agility as well as support and balance.
Adding to that, construction of the shoes is 100% fabric. The textile upper also offers stability and keeps the feet as breathable as possible.
Apart from other features, adidas jumping shoes for basketball also feature a lightweight bouncy cushioned midsole. That said, the midsole offers enough response and bounce to help you take a large leap in the air.
Excellent traction is what Harden 3 offers the best. Thanks to the thick rubber outsole with an anatomical flex groove, every step you take will be protected from any slip. The rubber outsole also helps landing with complete safety after you make a dunk.
Carlos, a basketball coach at my academy is a big fan of Harden 3. According to him, “I feel relieved whenever I play in these shoes. The adjustable strap helped my feet remain in a locked in position. Plus, I was able to perform some quick movements inside the court as well.”
10. Nike Men’s Lebron XVI – Lebron James Signature Basketball Shoes for Jumping
Specifically designed for Lebron James, one of the legends of the game, Nike Men’s Lebron XVI are what you need if you want to jump like him. The sneakers offer an attractive design and are comfortable enough. More than that, you’d surely enjoy making quick runs and dribbles across your opponents, thanks to the superior grip that the shoes offer.
The best basketball shoes for jumping, first of all, feature a textile and synthetic upper for immense support and balance. The shoes also offer proper air ventilation to keep the feet as dry as possible.
Bouncy Air Zoom cushioning offers impact, response, and shock absorption. Comfort remains the same as the midsole offers proper support to toes, arch, and heel area.
Lebron XVI also features a padded collar along with internal Achilles supports to keep the athlete away from unwanted injuries while jumping.
Last but not the least, the sneakers offer strong traction both indoors and outdoors. Special Herringbone rubber outsole ensures a firm grip on the surface, thus allowing the players to dunk like never before.
I also own a pair of Lebron XVI. Have been using them since January 2021 and they haven’t shown any downgrade up till now. As long as I’m wearing them, there’s this premium feeling that’s always available while I try to make some dunks, slams, or point shots.
Choosing the Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping and Dunking: What You Need to Know?
While choosing the right jumping shoes for basketball, it’s important to keep knowledge of certain things.
Mind you that jumping or dunking sneakers are supposed to offer you a thrust or elevate you to an extent that you can jump higher than normal.
For that purpose, there are certain features that you should never overlook in a basketball sneaker.
Have a look at them one by one:
Not too thick nor too light.
Midsole plays the most important role when we talk about jumping basketball sneakers.
That said, shoes with thick cushioning are not suitable for dunking as they absorb most of the impact. However, you cannot expect a good push from such shoes.
Contrary to that, lightweight cushioning is more responsive. Plus, it offers an improved elevation to make sure that athletes can jump higher.
It’s, therefore, necessary to go for the sneakers that offer lightweight cushioning with technologies like Air Zoom Unit or Cloudfoam.
Bouncy cushioned midsole also works like a charm when we talk about basketball shoes for dunking.
Jumping in shoes with no traction is a confirmed injury.
Never think of jumping in shoes with low traction else you’d hurt yourself real bad.
What you need to do is to find out a sneaker that has a thick rubber outsole.
On top of that, it must offer a multidirectional traction pattern.
Shoes with a strong grip will keep your feet away from slipping. This way, even if you jump higher, your landing would become safe enough.
Look out for sneakers that offer special herringbone rubber outsoles as I’ve never seen anything superior to them up till now.
The upper has to support and keep the feet as balanced as possible.
Shoes with synthetic or textile upper tend to remain flexible when you land on the ground after jumping.
Plus such materials also maintain durability, therefore, making sure that you can use a single pair for a long time.
Along with support and balance, make sure that the upper of a sneaker is breathable enough.
Proper air ventilation will keep your feet away from wetness and will ensure proper blood circulation at the same time.
Keep these things in mind when you consider the upper of a basketball shoe.
You’d never want to jump higher with weights on your feet, right?
The jumping basketball shoe you are about to choose has to be lighter than typical sneakers.
This would make it easier for you to jump without feeling any weight on your feet. Plus, you’ll completely focus on dunking rather than keeping track of how weighty the shoes are.
In terms of jumping and dunking, you should either get a low-top sneaker or a mid-top sneaker.
Low-top or mid-top sneakers offer enough protection to the ankle. However, such shoes won’t limit the freedom of the ankle, which actually plays a pivotal role in jumping.
High-top shoes, however, can completely protect the ankles from unwanted strains. But, your ankle’s movement will get limited.
It’s, therefore, better to invest your money either in a low-top basketball sneaker or a mid-top one to avoid any hurdles while jumping higher.
That was all about the features that you should not overlook while purchasing the best basketball shoes for dunking.
Have a look at some of the frequently asked questions and their answers as follows:
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s
- What is the best basketball shoe for jumping?
I prefer Nike Men’s Kobe Mamba over all other basketball sneakers when it comes to jumping higher. The sneakers feature special Air Zoom Unit cushioning which ensures proper elevation. Heel cage also maintains the lightweight structure of the shoes. Along with that, special Mamba Inspired traction is there to ensure a strong grip. So, it’s an ultimate winner when I talk about the best jumping basketball shoes.
- What is the best basketball shoe for dunking?
For dunking, however, I prefer Nike Men’s AlphaDunk. It consists of the largest air zoom unit cushioning combined with a flexible rubber outsole for a strong grip. Furthermore, the shoes also feature Flyknit upper along with Flywire cables to keep the feet locked in. I’d definitely suggest them if you want a pair specifically for dunking.
- Do different basketball shoes make you jump higher?
Almost all the sneakers I’ve listed above could improve your jumping skills. However, on the other side, you must know that it all depends upon your willpower, practice, and hard work to achieve new heights. A pair of Jordans or Lebrons will only help you when you decide to become a better version of yourself in terms of jumping and dunking.
- What basketball shoes increase your vertical?
All the shoes with a thick enough outsole can increase your vertical. Take a look at Nike Men’s Kobe Mamba, adidas Men’s Pro, or Nike Men’s AlphaDunk, for instance. All these shoes are capable of increasing your vertical without any problem.
- Do Jordans make You Jump Higher?
Although I haven’t listed any Jordan on my list, it’d be unfair to say that such types won’t make you jump higher. I suggest getting Jordans with a lightweight design and extra cushioning to work better improving your jumping skills.
Jumping higher depends upon one’s own willpower, hard work, and practice as compared to the sneakers.
There are some useful YouTube video links that I’d want you to watch especially if you want to jump higher or ace the art of dunking.
Give them a watch and let me know if these exercises have helped you or not in the comment box mentioned below:
- How to Jump Higher in Basketball: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I2N7zp0F_w
- Essential Leg Exercises for Basketball Players: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB8pFvtZdgY
- Best Exercises to Help You Dunk Professionally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmwLg84ll1k
I’m done with discussing the best basketball shoes for jumping available in the market.
However, a sneaker won’t be of much help, if you don’t hustle enough to jump higher than normal.
Try different dunking and vertical jumping workouts at gym or home, practice different basketball drills on the court and improve your skills.
Then get hold of either Nike Men’s Kobe Mamba or Nike Men’s AlphaDunk and explode yourself in front of the opponents.