If you’ve been playing basketball, you must be aware of the fact that when it comes to the basketball shoes, there are mainly only two things that matter:
Traction and cushioning!
This is a review of best cushioned basketball shoes, and keeping only one and one main feature in mind, we will discuss how some of them are better than the others.
Wait until you reach the end and read our verdict about the best pair. So, without further ado here is the review.
Table Of Contents
Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes Reviews For 2021
1. Adidas Harden Vol 2 –
We’re starting with Adidas shoes; Adidas is one of the leading basketball brands and its shoes are known for best traction and cushioning.
Here is a breakdown of the important features of this shoe – most definitely including cushioning, traction and some other points.
Synthetic Breathable Material
First and foremost is what you notice about the material of this shoe. It is a synthetic material made for best lockdown and durability.
Internal neoprene and mesh do not only provide flexibility and a better lockdown, but they make the shoe breathable – especially toe which is all mesh. Synthetic + mesh seems to be the best material
In these sneakers Adidas used its trademarked Boost cushioning. So what is boost? Boost is Adidas’ response to Nike’s Zoom Air.
It is their innovative cushioning made of TPU. This material is known for compressing under pressure and then bouncing back to original shape. Due to this action and reaction, a wearer gets a “boost” or much needed launching.
Semi-Burrito Tongue for a Lockdown Fit
Tongue of Adidas Harden Vol. 2 gives the shoe a semi-burrito shape and due to which, and the support provided by the durable synthetic material, the lockdown is really impressive.
Fractal Traction Pattern
Although a few customers are not much impressed by the pattern, the fractal traction pattern provides much needed support for quick and multi-directional movements, and work like a charm on most surfaces.
The pattern is based on how basketball fame James Harden puts pressure on his foot; pattern is based on data gathered from Harden’s foot movement and pressure: hence the name “Harden Vol. 2”.
Innovative Lacing System
Harden Vol. 2 comes with innovative lacing system. There is an adjustable and customizable lacing system with 4 columns of eyelets with 3 to 4 eyelets in each column.
This adaptive lacing system gives you amazing lockdown and really good grip on the sole.
And here are some of the cons.
Traction Works Mostly on Clean Courts
One of the biggest problems reported by the testers is that fractal pattern of this shoe works better only when they play on clean surfaces.
In case of semi-clean and dirty surfaces, the traction does not work as good as it does on clean surfaces.
Outsole Rubber Not Much Flexible
If you notice, the TPU outsole is very thick on the heel side and the external heel cup is also very thick and sturdy.
Not only this makes the shoe slightly heavy, but it also takes away flexibility. As a result, the outer sole is not as flexible as expected
Due to boost cushioning, there remains little to no doubt that this is a shoe made for those who want more cushion than traction. However, the fractal traction pattern also works good – but there are a few reports that it does not work well on dirty courts.
2. Nike Kyrie 5 –
This performer from Nike is named after Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics basketball player. If you are looking forward to getting a show that is superb combination of color, class and quality, this is the shoe to go for.
Here are the most prominent features of Kyrie 5.
Breathable Mesh Upper
While the rest of shoe is mostly synthetic material, the upper of this shoe is made of mesh. Mesh is known for two basic qualities: it is highly breathable so there is little to no chance of accumulation of sweat, also, mesh is a quick dry material which means one would not have to deal with moist or sweat for too long.
Air Zoom Turbo Cushioning
Air Zoom is to Nike what Boost is to Adidas. So what is Air Zoom Turbo cushioning? Air Zoom technology relies on an air pressurized unit that has tensile fibers. Whenever a wearer’s foot applies pressure to the unit, these tensile fibers push back the foot and offer a good bounce.
Rounded Outsole for Better Traction
Testers and athletes who have tried this shoe report that the rounded outsole with spiral eyes pattern on it provide really good traction. It has been noted that this pair of Nike have amazing grip on all type of surfaces.
Venus Flytrap Lockdown
The lockdown of this shoe is similar to a Venus Flytrap lockdown. Due to the specific type of shape of Venus Flytrap this shoe enjoys a very strict lockdown. However, this containment system has its own problems.
Outdoor Friendly Shoes
From its design to color and shape, Nike Kyrie 5 is an outdoor friendly shoe; you can use them apart from sports – because of its cool urban style.
And here is all what you need to know about cons.
Hard to Put On
The Venus Flytrap style definitely provides a good lockdown, but as per some reports, it also makes it very difficult for the user to put on these sneakers.
The Venus Flytrap style lockdown definitely kicks to the curb whatever benefits a mesh upper can offer. Due to this containment system there is accumulation of sweat all around the wearer’s foot – which makes this shoe odorous.
This is yet another shoe made for greater cushioning and good traction. While there is no doubt that Air Zoom cushioning is a successful innovation, there are concerns about Venus Flytrap lockdown. It makes a show hard to put on and it take a toll on mesh upper.
While Under Armour is not a name that made it to the walk of fame – just like its counterparts Nike and Adidas, it is still one of the few American basketball shoe brands with huge fan following and loyal customers.
Here are the most noticeable features of this shoe.
The 2-tone mesh upper of this shoe makes it one of the most breathable sneakers. Having mesh on the top means that not only sweat and bacteria accumulation will not happen, but on the off chance if you get your shoes wet, they will dry real quick.
Awesome Traction with Herringbone Solid Rubber Outsole
Under Armour’s key choice in terms of soles has always been a rubber sole with a Herringbone pattern.
However, on and off, they have been trying other soles and patterns. Luckily, in this case they used the classic herringbone pattern rubble sole. This material and this pattern is known for strong grip on almost all type of surfaces.
HOVR Technology Cushioning
HOVR is Under Armour’s response to Air Zoom and Boost. This is a new technology that UA is now developing further to make sure that they do not lose their market to Air Zoom and Boost.
The technology mainly relies on a mesh fabric that encapsulates the lower cushioning and thus boosts overall responsiveness and energy return.
Lockdown Lacing System
The lacing system of this shoe allows the wearer to further adjust as to how tight or loose should be the lockdown. When you further adjust the fit with the lacing system, it avails you a better lockdown with every move.
TPU Hot Melt Film on Toe
While most of upper of this shoe is made of mesh, the toe is covered with a hot melt film of toe. It provides the wearer extra protection against toe wear and tear, and adds to overall durability.
And here are some of the problems that wearers and testers noticed.
Breaking In Needed
We all know that we need breaking in with almost every good leather shoe. While this shoe is not made of leather, it still needs breaking in and for the same reason a leather shoe requires it.
The shoe has a pretty strict lockdown and with a stiff and highly protective heel counter, it takes time to open up to one’s foot.
Problems on Unclean Surfaces
The herringbone pattern on the outsole works like a magic on most of the surfaces, but a few testers have reported that it does not work equally good on unclean or semi-clean surfaces.
UA’s HOVR Havoc is an extraordinary shoe when it comes to cushioning. Not only it exhibits really good cushioning, but that very cushioning is a new innovation. In terms of traction, this is one of the best boots apart from certain disagreements from a few testers.
Adidas Crazy Explosive is one of the most preferred shoes when it comes to cushioning. Just like other Adidas shoes, they also come with boost cushioning and this is enough to prove the case for these shoes.
Here are some of the most prominent features.
Neoprene Upper – Lightweight Material
Where this basketball shoe beats others, is in terms of upper material. It has got a neoprene upper material. Not only neoprene (synthetic rubber) is very lightweight and sturdy, but it also allows room for air.
It means that these shoes are breathable. Why, because open-cell form neoprene is somewhat breathable as compared to close-cell one (which is waterproof).
Digitally Designed Power Traction Pattern
This shoe has a great rubber outsole that makes it a traction-friendly shoe. However, what really boosts traction is the digitally designed power traction pattern on this shoe. It looks a lot of like finger prints and the unfinished circles and spiral movements make the sole so good.
Boost Midsole Cushioning
We have explained boost earlier. However, in case of Crazy Explosive, this is important to discuss because Adidas used a full-length Boost midsole in this shoe.
This means the wearers will get enhanced boost, bounce, impact protection, comfort and energy return.
Good Ankle Support
This shoe has been reported to provide really good ankle support. And there are different reasons for that.
First of all, it comes with a 4 directional ankle collar. With a 4 directional support you definitely leave very little room for the ankle to move freely and get displaced.
The second reason is the way how foam wraps around the foot. It goes all the way from mid-foot to heel to ankle collar. Good padding always adds to overall comfort and support.
Outdoor Friendly Shoes
Just like its competitor above, this shoe is also a good looking one; one can wear it anywhere because it is an outdoor and urban-style friendly shoe
And here are some of the most mention worthy problems of this shoe.
Problem with Lace Eyelets
A few of the wearers and testers have reported that the eyelets start coming off after a few weeks or a couple of months.
While this has not been reported but only by a few people, the reason is unenforced and exposed fabric eyelets.
Difficult to Get a Good Lockdown
Because of the way this shoe’s lacing system works, it does not offer a really good lockdown. The laces do not engage the tongue and the grip is only average.
Starting with cushioning one must admit that this shoe’s cushioning is super awesome because of the full length Boost mid-sole. When it comes to traction, most of the reports are good; however, a few of the testers do not find it good on unclean surfaces. The only real problem is weak and exposed eyelets.
As the name suggests, Nike’s Air Versitile is actually a versatile basketball shoe that can be used almost in every casual setting.
Here is our take on the most important features.
Mesh and Woven Fabric Material
For starters, this is a very breathable shoe, because the upper material is made of mesh and woven fabric.
Woven fabric is breathable up to a certain level, but mesh I 100% breathable and a great antidote to sweat and bacteria accumulation.
Modified Herringbone Pattern on Rubber Sole
The outer sole of this shoe is a rubber sole and it has a modified herringbone pattern on it. With Nike logo and little fidget spinner pattern, this rubble soles works like a magic on most of the surfaces.
It is important to notice that irrespective of the brands, rubber + herringbone has been a winning combination.
Air-Sole Pocket at Heel
We have talked enough about Nike Air Zoom that it does not need to be explained anymore. However, with this shoe Nike did something little different.
In this shoe they delivered a light-weight and compact cushioning through an Air capsule that they placed right underneath the heal.
This is why both: energy return and impact protection are good.
Internal Lacing System
Nike FlyWire lacing system is used in these boots. The system is an internal lacing system with cables underneath the fabric, directly linked with laces.
Apart from the choices made in terms of material and the construction, it is Nike FlyWire which makes this shoe one of the best shoes with best lockdown.
It does not let your foot roam freely, provides a real strong grip and
And here is the detail of the most important cons.
Poor Traction on Dirty Courts
Some users have reported that “new and innovative” herringbone pattern does not work better on dirty or semi-clean surfaces.
There are some testers and wearers who believe that the reason why they felt an overall lack of comfort is the lack of good padding – for toe to heel.
What makes this shoe worthy of your attention is Nike Air Zoom unit that is placed right under the heel. The success of this cushioning system makes the case for compact, but effective energy return solution. However, in terms of traction, this shoe is only slightly better than average.
6. Adidas Dame 4 –
Here are all the important features that you need to know.
Lightweight Textile Upper
The upper material of this shoe is a lightweight textile. Textile is amazing material when you need to make a shoe breathability.
Breathability means that not only there will be no accumulation of sweat, but your feet will remain safe from bacteria.
This shoe comes with Adidas’ Bounce cushioning. What is Bounce? Bounce technology brings a player’s feet closer to the ground, which ensure more gravity and more control.
The purpose of this shoe is to help you reach court-feel without sacrificing impact absorption. Adidas did this by using EVA foam and introducing minimal stitching and materials between an athlete’s foot and ground.
Rubber Outsole with Wavy Tread Pattern
That is a new pattern, which some people believe is based on the flow of time. This is a wavy tread pattern and they made sure that all waves are asymmetric. The traction provided by this pattern is definitely good.
Good Support and Lockdown
Due to the lacing system and overall built of this shoe, it provides really good support and lockdown.
Properly Reinforced Eyelets
For once Adidas got this right and not only there are properly reinforced eyelets, but there are metal circles to provide more strength.
And here is everything you need to know about the cons of this product.
Needs Breaking In
The shoe fit pretty tight and they are, at times, very difficult to put on; definitely they need breaking in.
Not Good for Dirty Courts
This shoe does not perform really well on dirty courts.
Due to Bounce technology, these shoes definitely have really great cushioning and impact control features. However, traction is not on par with the standard of cushioning.
7. Adidas Harden Vol. 3 –
Harden is one of the most famous line for outdoor, made by Adidas.
Let us see what this shoe has to offer to us.
Comfortable FlyKnit Upper
The FlyKnitmaterial was used as upper while making this shoe. Apart from the fact that this material known as “FlyKnit” makes a good lockdown shoe, it is somewhat breathable as well.
Full-length Boost in Midsole
In case you wonder about the cushioning of this shoe, it is Boost cushioning. They used a full-length Boost in the mid-sole and this makes the shoe even bouncier on the heal.
Herringbone Pattern Rubber Outsole
Time-tested and proven herringbone pattern rubber outsole is what you find at the bottom of this shoe. Depending on your choice you may get a translucent one or a solid one.
A Snug Fit
As per the reports of many testers and wearers, Adidas Harden Vol. 3 shoes give a very snug fit. Which means there is a good lockdown. However, pretty soon the material stretches and wearers feel easy to use it
Easier to Put On
As mentioned above, this shoe reaches the break-in state pretty soon; this is the time you can feel its true flexibility and see how easy it is to put on.
And here is all the detail about the problems.
Not a Good Lockdown
One of the few complaints about these shoes is that it has a conventional lacing system and construction. Due to this the shoe does not provide a good lockdown, which may even lead to injuries.
Not Really an Outdoor Shoe
Most of the wearers and testers are of the opinion that these shoes are not made for outdoor and they cannot withstand the wear and tear that a shoe must undergo in outdoor.
As it has been stated above, in terms of cushioning this is an amazing shoe. Why? Because of the full-length midsole boost. However, traction does not work well in outdoor or dirty courts.
If you have great control over your feet, and you can easily move even in the dusty courts, these shoes won’t create any problem for you. But if you want premium support that can make your movement easy while playing outside, then you might have to look for a different pair. Other than that, these shoes can work really well in inside courts without any problem with traction.
Here is our verdict about basketball shoes with best cushioning.
- Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – because it has one of the best cushions, hybrid material for different purposes and it is easier to put on
- Under Armour HOVR Havoc – because it has innovative HOVR cushioning technology, full breathable upper and top protection heel counter
- Nike Versitile ii – because it has unique pattern rubber sole, full mesh upper and Air-sole cell for heel that provides awesome cushioning
These are our top three choices that you can pick. But it certainly does not mean that the other ones mentioned above are not good and reliable. You can pick any of them without a doubt because your perspective is what matters here. These three are the ones that we would pick because of our likings and preferences.
I have been playing basketball for more than a decade now, and my passion and enthusiasm for it drove me to write about it. I am Ahmed, a professional basketball player and a fan who has now become a writer to help fellow basketball players and enthusiasts to opt for the best possible basketball accessories and essentials. Stay tuned to feast yourself with the content you might not have seen anywhere else.