Top 7 Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes in 2018


Love playing basketball outside? Then we’ve got the Top 7 best outdoor basketball shoes in 2018 for you to play in. These shoes combine the best traction, support, cushion and durability. They’re everything you need to dominate on the court whether it’s inside or out.


Top 5 Outdoor Basketball Shoes 2018 Chart

Here’s a quick overview of the Top 5 out of our full 7 breakdown.



Outdoor Basketball Shoes Reviews


1.  Nike LeBron Soldier 9

There’s really no other way to say it but this: if you are going to war on the outdoor courts, this is your combat boot!

best outdoor basketball shoes

Why Did This Shoe Rank #1?

So we’ve begun 2018 and we here at Dish2Swish re-evaluated our outdoor basketball shoes… And this beast STILL ranks #1!!!

Beyond all other shoes, this shoe has everything (and I mean everything) you need in the best outdoor basketball shoes. Does it have traction? YES!  Does it have support?  YES!  Will it last?  YES!

The Soldier shoe doesn’t lack in any category. It doesn’t necessary have the absolute best rating in every category, but it has no weaknesses. The two best features on this shoe are TRACTION and SUPPORT.

If you want to stop on a dime, even on dusty concrete, these are your shoes. If you want to drive hard to the hoop knowing you’ll get hacked and possibly twist an ankle, these are your shoes to protect you.

What Else Makes This Shoe Good?

The Soldier shoes even have an upper piece made entirely of mesh for improved ventilation. It’s almost like these shoes were made for outdoor ballers!

The cushion is pretty good. Not the best ever, but pretty good for outdoor play. You won’t feel like you’re running on pillows, but you also won’t be thumping on the asphalt.

The lockdown on this shoe is also absoltely amazing. With two straps (one around the ankle and one around the midfoot), this shoe will absolutely lock your foot in place and never move. Nothing is more reassuring than looking at straps designed to stabilize your foot.


Durability: (4.8 / 5)
Traction: (5.0 / 5)
Cushion: (4.5 / 5)
Support: (5.0 / 5)
Ventilation: (4.5 / 5)

You can see more reviews and pricing for the Soldier 9 here.


UPDATE 2018: So a newer version of the LeBron soldier shoes has released. The Soldier XI (11) are available. To be honest, we personally believe the version 9 is still slightly better. We found some small issues with the traction and durability. Here’s our full review. 

Are they terrible issues? No.

But are they enough for us to notice. Yes. So if you’re the type of person who NEEDS the most updated version of a shoe, you can check out the LeBron Soldier XIs here on Amazon. Otherwise, the version 9 is still available and we recommend going with that model if possible.


2.  Adidas D Rose 8

A surprisingly great choice for outdoor basketball is the D Rose 8 shoes. The reviews for this shoe have been a solid choice for nearly every reviewer out there. This shoe shows how great streetball shoes have built lately compared to indoor shoes.

best outdoor basketball shoes 2018


Why Did This Shoe Rank #2?

Well here’s the short and simple. It ranks extremely high in every necessary category for outdoor ball. It’s traction is solid enough (both inside and outside if you’re interested). You will grip the concrete/blacktop very well. This shoe was designed for explosive guards, but actually works just as well for bigger guys too. It’s not the absolute best traction we’ve seen, but it will work well outdoors.

The cushion is absolutely amazing. Adidas has their patented BOOST cushion technology and wow does it work! The cushion is one of the biggest reasons the D Rose beats the others because your feet won’t feel like breaking off after 5 hours of outdoor play.

Honestly, the cushion is what truly rockets this shoe up to the top of our list. There’s very few shoes that have cushion as amazing as the Rose lineup. And we all know how tough concrete can be on our knees and feet.

What Else Makes This Shoe Good?

The support on this shoe will lock you in like a prisoner. But in a good way! Adidas created a StableFrame design for the midsole and the X-Bar system to add more torsional support. Basically it is a fancy way to say “keep your foot in the right position all the time. The straps give it a semi-custom fit which helps you adjust how much lockdown you need.

Just a heads up though about these shoes, they WILL FEEL WEIRD the first time you try them on. That BOOST foam technology is designed to form to your foot. That means the first 2-3 times you wear them, it’ll feel awkward. But after that, these shoes are heaven on your feet!


Durability: (4.5 / 5)
Traction: (4.0 / 5)
Cushion: (5.0 / 5)
Support: (4.8 / 5)
Ventilation: (4.0 / 5)

You can see more reviews and pricing for the Rose 8 here.

Check Out Our Recommended Outdoor Basketball here

3.  Adidas D Lillard 3

Who would’ve thought Adidas would be so great in the outdoor basketball shoe lineup?! In all fairness, this should could be #2 and no one here would have complained. There was really only one or two small differences between these Adidas shoes which is why we ranked Lillard slightly below.

best outdoor basketball shoes 2018


Why Did This Shoe Rank #3?

Well basically everything we just said about the D Rose shoes apply here. The main difference is the design of the traction. The Lillard shoes have a much closer pattern than the Rose shoes. On hardwood, you’d probably never notice, but on concrete it becomes slightly noticeable.

The pattern is also made of a more meshy rubber which means it’ll likely wear out faster than the Rose shoes.

What Else Makes This Shoe Good?

Although these shoes use a different type of cushion than the D Rose shoes, it’s still a champ. Adidas has definitely stepped up their game on cushion which is why they ranked #2 and #3 on our list.

The one area the Lillard shoe truly outshines the Rose shoe is lockdown and support. The Lillard shoe is going to fit you like a glove. Period. They lace up and lock in the heel and forefoot in the correct spots and you’ll feel solid in them.


Durability: (4.0 / 5)
Traction: (4.5 / 5)
Cushion: (5.0 / 5)
Support: (4.8 / 5)
Ventilation: (4.0 / 5)

You can see more reviews and pricing for the Lillard 3 here.


[2018 ADDITION] Under Armour ClutchFit Drive III

Now that we’re clearly in 2018, we’ve been monitoring the updated version of the ClutchFit from Under Armour and it seems to be just as good (if not better) than the 2nd version. So we’re inserting it here as an update, but keeping the 2nd version just for sentimental reasons haha.

best outdoor basketball shoes 2018

What’s Different About This Shoe From The Drive II?

To be perfectly honest, there’s not a ton different about these two shoes. And that’s a good thing!

The ClutchFit Drive II was a well made shoe and performed solidly outside, and the third generation is also another winner. Traction is still solid here (even though it certainly appears like it would suck). Old reliable herringbone pattern saves the day again.

Cushion is excellent here with a layer of Charged Foam on the bottom for support and response and then a layer of Micro G Foam for that plushy soft feel. Together, these two form a fantastic cushion setup for outdoor play.

Support and ventilation are still solid here and we think ventilation actually got better with version 3. You can see more mesh upper which provides that “cool” feel. So there’s the biggest difference in the shoes.

Overall, the design is a bit cooler for the ClutchFit 3 too, so we would jump over to the new version if we were you.


Durability: (4.5 / 5)
Traction: (4.8 / 5)
Cushion: (4.5 / 5)
Support: (4.8 / 5)
Ventilation: (4.5 / 5)

Click Here to see the ClutchFit Drive III on Amazon.


4.  Under Armour ClutchFit Drive II

Just a solid and well rounded machine. That’s what the name sounds like and that’s how the shoe performs.

best outdoor basketball shoes

Why Did This Shoe Rank #4?

Well, like we already said, it’s just solid in every category except ventilation. The traction is solid with a multi-directional herringbone pattern. Under Armour even wrapped the entire base of the shoe in the traction pattern (aka the midsole of the forefoot) which gives that slight extra grip on super hard cuts.

The cushion is the amazing Charged Foam Under Armour developed. What’s crazy about it is that you probably won’t notice it a bunch on the blacktop, but your body will thank you for it. The cushion is very responsive for the quicker and explosive guards, but provides enough softness to let you play for hours. It’s not the softest cushion on the list, but it will get the job done.

What Else Makes This Shoe Good?

The ClutchFit shoe has more durable materials which should help it last longer on outdoor courts. The fit is also quite snug. They actually advertise this shoe model as a “second skin” for your feet. It’s a little creepy sounding, but it performs well which is all that matters.

The support is where the shoe also shines. With an upgraded heel cup and a sturdier overlay that helps the shoe give s supportive feel. This shoe was built for players who prefer power and quickness over finesse. If that’s you, these shoes are yours!


Durability: (4.5 / 5)
Traction: (4.8 / 5)
Cushion: (4.5 / 5)
Support: (4.8 / 5)
Ventilation: (3.5 / 5)

You can see more reviews and pricing for the ClutchFit here.

Check Out Or Recommended Shoe For Guards and Wings Here.

5.  Nike LeBron 13

The king’s shoe is fantastic, but being the highest price point puts it down a few spots on our list.

best outdoor basketball shoes

Why Did This Shoe Rank #5?

The LeBron lineup has definitely had some up and down times in performance. The LeBron 11 were so bad that the king himself barely wore them. The 13’s make a big comeback though and things are looking up. The high price is the biggest negative because there are many shoes with similar performance for much cheaper.

The new hexpod cushion design is where these shoes really shine. The 12’s introduced the hexpods which activate specific cushion in certain areas of the foot. The 13’s improve the hexpod placement on the shoe and dramatically improve the cushion response.

Tracion is also another bright spot for these LeBron’s. Solid and strong herringbone patterns mixed in different directions provide great grip going all directions.

What Else Makes This Shoe Good?

The support is strong in this one. (That’s a Star Wars joke) It isn’t the greatest thing on the list, but very very close. The only thing keeping the support from being perfect is the little bit of extra space near the front foot. Some players make like it, and some won’t. But it does slightly decrease our desired support.

The LeBron 13’s are also made with very durable material so they should last quite a while outdoors.

The only negative that has been somewhat consistent is the ankle collar height being too high. A few people have talked about how it’s more of an inconvenience, but it doesn’t affect performance. Just be aware that you’ll want to wear high socks with these shoes. That should minimize the collar rubbing on your ankles/legs.


Durability: (4.5 / 5)
Traction: (5.0 / 5)
Cushion: (4.8 / 5)
Support: (4.5 / 5)
Ventilation: (4.3 / 5)

You can see more reviews and pricing for the LeBron’s here.


6.  Under Armour Anatomix Spawn 2 – Limited Availability

[UPDATE 2018]  The Anatomix is starting to phase out since it’s an older shoe. There’s only limited availability right now so be warned in case you don’t find the size you want.

Probably the coolest named outdoor basketball shoe. This shoe will make you feel like a demon on the court (but no guarantees you’ll play like one).

best indoor outdoor basketball shoes

Why Did This Shoe Rank #6?

This shoe is a little older and may be tougher to find in your size. If you can find it though, it’s a solid performer outside and you won’t regret it. The best parts about this shoe are the cushion and fit.

Under Armour continues to knock it out of the park with their Mico G cushion system they invented. It will impress you if you’ve never worn a pair before. This Spawn shoe has the stability and comfort to last all day on the courts.

The fit is basically flawless. It feels like the shoes were designed to form fit your exact size foot inside and cradle them like a baby. That’s odd to say, but honestly that’s what it feels like. You’ll love how they fit!

What Else Makes This Shoe Good?

The traction pattern is definitely solid. Nothing revolutionary like the LeBron shoes, but it’s solid and will stop on a dime. It might not have the most durability since the pattern is a little shallow, but we think it will last a good while outdoors. But if you play outside every day, and you play hard, then these might not last a full outdoor season.

The support is very good here. The Spawn shoe was built with a cage to wrap around your foot and provide that torsional support to prevent rolling ankles. But the main reason support is solid is because the fit is so darn perfect.

The only two drawbacks on this shoe are that it’s a little older (and thus somewhat difficult to find sizes) and may have a shorter lifespan than some other shoes on this list. Ventilation is alright in this shoe. Not great, but alright.


Durability: (4.0 / 5)
Traction: (4.8 / 5)
Cushion: (5.0 / 5)
Support: (4.5 / 5)
Ventilation: (4.0 / 5)

You can see more reviews and pricing for the Anatomix here.

Check Out Our Recommended Knee Sleeves Here

7.  Nike Kobe Mentality II

It has everything you need…except great support. So if you wear solid ankle braces already, these are a great performance shoe for cheap.

good outdoor basketball shoes

Why Did This Shoe Rank #7?

Mostly everything about this shoe performs well, but given the lack of support we felt it couldn’t be ranked any higher. To be the best outdoor basketball shoes, support is a critical feature in rough outside play.

The traction though is out of this world good. Whether it’s indoor or outdoors, these shoes will stick to the ground like gum does on your shoe. They’ve got a unique mix of herringbone and directional patterns to give grip every way you move.

The fit is also pretty good on this shoe. It may run slightly small if you are a snug fit in your current size shoe. It depends on how you like the shoe to feel.

What Else Makes This Shoe Good?

Cushion is solid but not incredible on the Mentality shoes. It’ll get the job done, but you may be interested in swapping out the insole for another option that provides more plush. If you choose to keep the original, you’ll be just fine, but know there are options.

The support is what has us slightly worried for outdoor ballers. We all know things can get rough on the asphalt with physical play and sometimes uneven surfaces. The Mentality shoes only have basic support for ankle twisting, but it does have a “mold-to-your-foot” type midsole which will help support the foot. We just truly think that if you love Kobe shoes and want these, it’s recommended to wear an ankle brace.

The last great point about the Mentality II shoes is the price. These shoes are priced very low compared to some higher end shoes. And they keep nearly all the best qualities without a sacrifice. You won’t be disappointed with what the Mamba is putting out.


Durability: (4.0 / 5)
Traction: (5.0 / 5)
Cushion: (4.5 / 5)
Support: (4.0 / 5)
Ventilation: (4.5 / 5)

You can see more reviews and pricing for the Mentality 2 here.


Best Indoor Outdoor Basketball Shoes

If you’re looking for the perfect mix between indoor and outdoor, this is what you need. And even here in 2018, these shoes still are amazing to rock both inside and outside.

Nike LeBron Soldier 9

It was truly a tough choice to only pick one for this category. Several shoes (including the CluthFit, D Rose 6, and LeBron 13’s) could have been in this position.

best outdoor basketball shoes

Why Did We Pick The Soldier?

Because it is named as perfectly of a shoe as you can get. This shoe is just a workhorse. Period.

It has the tough materials to last a long time switching between indoor and outdoor play. It has the traction to dominate any type of court whether its dusty hardwood or slippery blacktop.

The Soldier fits like a glove and supports your foot with those built in straps. Honestly, it is the basketball equivalent of a marine boot. Just designed to handle everything!

Lastly, they have a decent price. There are some cheaper options, but you won’t get the same level of support. There are more expensive options, but you don’t need to break the bank. This Soldier 9 shoe is just right.


How To Choose Good Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Several things come to mind, but these are the top 4 factors when picking the best outdoor basketball shoes:

1.  Durability

I put durability number one because how much fun would it be to have to keep buying shoes every month? You want a shoe that performs well, but will also LAST a few months. That honestly was the biggest reason we left off some big brands of shoes from this list (i.e. the Curry shoes, KD shoes, Melo shoes, etc.). The traction for outdoor basketball is extremely different than indoor ball.

Shoes like the Curry and Melos are extremely great shoes for indoor play. No question about it. But their traction pattern is made up of a softer rubber designed to grip hardwood floors. That isn’t going to last on outdoor courts and you’ll likely be paying $130 every month to keep the performance you want.

In all honesty, most great indoor basketball shoes will work very well outdoors too. But they won’t last long and you’ll need to replace them. It’s your choice in the matter, but we value durability along with performance.

2.  Traction

Why do we even play basketball if we can’t cut and drive the way we want? Nothing is more embarrassing than putting on a show with your handle but then slipping when you make the big crossover….

If you’ve experienced that outside, you know what I mean….

Outdoors, the shoes need to have a tougher outsole to deal with the harsh environment. They traction pattern needs deep grooves and multi-directional support.

3.  Support

Have you ever been dominating on the court and step on someone’s foot only to sprain your ankle?

I have far too many times. And it sucks.

Support is crucial in the outdoor game since it’s usually played on smaller courts, but with more aggression. Many courts I played on even had some cracks in the ground which was always fun to navigate.

The shoes we’ve picked have good or better support for your feet on those (sometimes uneven) outdoor surfaces. You’ll rarely have to worry about how your feet and ankles will hold up in these best outdoor basketball shoes.

4.  Cushion

Streetball can be rough on your feet. The concrete, blacktop or whatever you’re playing on will destroy your feet without good cushion. Plus it always feels better to dominate your opponent with pillow-like cushion surrounding your feet!

Having good cushion makes the difference when you jump and cut on those hard surfaces outside. These shoes all have been reviewed to have good enough cushion to help you play for hours on tough courts.

Don’t forget that socks make a huge difference in reducing blisters on your feet! The right socks can make or break your feet for the next game. We love the Under Armour Heat Gear socks because they perform just as well as the famous Nike brand but for half the price!

5.  Ventilation

Playing outside usually means one thing: it’s hot out. Which means your feet will get hot and sweaty (at least if you’re anything like me you will). Ventilation for shoes can really help keep your feel cooler and dryer so you can play longer.

The cooler your feet are, the less they sweat. The less they sweat, the longer you can play. That’s why we’ve taken it into consideration. However, we’ve made it the last item because with those Under Armour Heat Gear socks we mentioned, you can play a lot even with shoes that don’t vent heat as well.



Let’s Lace Em Up

Hope you’ve liked the list of best outdoor basketball shoes in 2018! We put a lot of time into analyzing the market and believe we’ve done some solid due diligence. But that doesn’t mean this is a guarantee that these will be perfect for you. Feel free to ask around with players you know. Finding a good outdoor basketball shoe takes time if you play a lot. Now go out and dominate on that blacktop and asphalt and concrete!


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