Last updated on May 7th, 2021 at 09:41 am
If you’re into basketball or you want to join a club, you must have learned about the debate about high top basketball shoes vs. low top Basketball Sneakers.
This review is all about 7 best high top basketball shoes that you can find in the market. You will not only get to know about those shoes in detail, but there is also a buyer’s guide to help you buy the best high top basketballs sneakers.
But one important thing that you will have to do here is that you will have to check all of the shoes listed here in detail. It will help you conclude and determine which type of shoes are better you and it will also make it easy for you to pick one pair according to your budget and preferences.
Here are some of the reasons why you should get high top basketball shoes:
- Better support and protection to the ankle
- Circular vamp
- Better grip on foot
- More lacing to provide more support
- Better cushioning
Enough with the advantages, here is a review of 7 best basketball shoes with high tops.
Table Of Contents
- 1 7 Best High Top Basketball Shoes Review
- 1.1 1. Under Armour Drive 4 – Best High Top Basketball Shoes Ever
- 1.2 2. NikeHyperdunk 2015 – Best High Top Basketball Shoes For Ankle Support
- 1.3 3. Under Armour UA ClutchFit Drive 3 – Mens High Top Basketball Shoes
- 1.4 4. Adidas Crazy Explosive – High Top Adidas Basketball Shoes
- 1.5 5. Nike LeBron Soldier XI – Nike High Top Basketball Shoes
- 1.6 6. Under ArmourCurry 2.5 – Under Armour High Top Basketball Shoes
- 1.7 7. Adidas Pro Bounce – Adidas High Top Basketball Shoes
- 2 Buyer’s Guide To Buy Best High Top Basketball Sneakers
- 3 Our Verdict
7 Best High Top Basketball Shoes Review
1. Under Armour Drive 4 – Best High Top Basketball Shoes Ever
Here are the pros and cons of Drive 4 basketball shoes for men.
Let us take a look at the cons first:
Well, it will be wrong to think that this shoe lacks cushioning, but the problem is with how tough it is and how narrow is the built of this shoe.
When a shoe leans more towards narrow built and it has a well stuffed cushioning, it will only make your heel feel bad.
Since this shoe has a very firm cushioning and that can be termed as a tough one, you do not really enjoy much cushion there. The material used inside the cushioning could be softer.
Heel Lacks Flexibility
Not only the heel cup’s padding is not enough and it is pretty stiff, but because of the external heel country that the shoemakers adopted while making the backside of the shoe, the shoe might feel like an awkward fit.
It does remain much athletic after all these “executive decisions” – so to speak.
That’s all about cons; here are the praiseworthy features of this product.
Personally, you might not find it much important a pro, but it matters to many people who are tight on budget. This shoe costs from $55 to $168 on Amazon; this depends on size, color and whether you pick a new shoe or an old one.
Really Good Traction
One very good decision that Under Armour made, was to give this comparatively cheap basketball shoes a rubber sole. It is because of this rubber sole that this shoe has an amazing traction
There is a thick and pretty aggressive herringbone pattern on the rubber sole which makes it good for almost any surface. This one piecesolid rubber sole is the reason why traction is so good.
Breathable and Lightweight Upper Material
Upper material of Boys Drive 4 is a breathable, lightweight textile one.
Why breathable? Because not only it would prevent your feet from getting sweaty, it stops accumulation of bacteria and the big plus – this material dries faster than any other material.
What’s the material? A synthetic material customized for better breathability.
Molded Ankle Collar for Support
To support the ankle there is a molded collar made of high quality material. This molded ankle collar, provides immense support to your ankle and stops it from getting dislocated or injured.
Amazon buyers of these men’s high top basketball sneakers gave them 4.1/5-star rating. As far as I understand the buyer’s concerns; they are very happy about the herringbone pattern rubber sole and the traction it provides, but they are not much content with the cushioning – it’s either stiff or insufficient.
2. NikeHyperdunk 2015 – Best High Top Basketball Shoes For Ankle Support
When it comes to men’s sports shoes or basketball sneakers, Nike is one of the names that you cannot ignore. Take this pair of Nike basketball shoes for example; they are known among the most favorite high top basketball shoes.
Here’s our take on pros and cons.
Let’s dissect the cons first.
Uncomfortable for Ankle Bone
Alright, this is more about the high-top and low-top debate and less about a real problem with this shoe.
A few customers find out that the ankle support has a firm grip on ankles that one cannot move them much. And after a day-long exertion and sports, all you find is sore ankles and pain in ankle bone.
This is again something about customers’ personal opinions. Nike’s Zoom Air cushioning is low-profile but responsive cushioning.
It helps you make quick, athletic moves, but some people, especially those who are used to conventional sports shoe’s cushioning do not like the concept and they expect thick padding which Nike passed many years ago.
These were the only two noticeable cons. Here are all the pros that we found shareworthy.
Good Traction Rubber Sole
While a few reviewers considered it a great traction friendly sole, we think that there are many other basketball shoes for men with similar or better rubber sole.
It is a herringbone pattern, solid rubber sole that is made to survive on almost every surface and support multi-directional movements. The two circles: in tow and heel, support the overall purpose of the sole.
Very Strong Ankle Support
Yes, we have discussed this earlier, but in the cons of this product. To some customers, the extraordinarily strong ankle support causes issues, but we know that Nike’s Hyperdunk has got some extreme padding to protect your ankles.
Nike Zoom Air Cushioning
All Nike Zoom Air shoes come with a low-profile, responsive cushioning technology.
The aim of this technology is to help the athlete move forward with full speed. This cushioning is made for fast movements and a push that only tightly stretched tensile fibers can offer.
When a basketball player’s foot presses these fibers, the fibers work like a spring to push back the foot, and in doing so they avail the player a fast, spring-like response.
Flexible and Strong Grip Upper Material
The material used on outside of the shoe: the upper material is actually called Fuse. It is tight, it gets good grip on your feet and it is very durable.
What makes the upper even more special is the Nike FLYWIRE. This is a cable system underneath the upper material and it is connected with the laces. Result? The laces have 2x better grip.
This Nike men’s basketball shoes for sale on Amazon got 270+ happy customers with a 4.3/5-star rating. As far as we can see, it is a mixed bag of everything. The ankle support got more bad reviews than good reviews, and some customers had problems with cushioning. Still, it performs like a magic when it comes to traction and upper material.
3. Under Armour UA ClutchFit Drive 3 – Mens High Top Basketball Shoes
Here is what we think about its pros and cons.
As mentioned above, this is a pair of discounted men’s basketball shoes is cheaper than Drive 4. It could not be cheaper without compromising over some key features.
Here’s the detail about cons/compromised features.
Not Really Breathable Upper
While the description states that this pair of shoes has breathable upper material, the matter of fact is that the ClutchFit material that fits right on your feet is not a breathable one.
If any, it has a very limited amount of breathability. Because of the tight grip and lack of breathability, users end up with very hot feet.
Fabric Sole – Easy to Break & Poor Ventilation
Why this pair of shoes is an affordable one? Because, instead of rubber sole they used fabric sole.
While fabric sole offers good traction on most of the surfaces, it is still not comparable to rubber sole. Apart from that issue, it has poor ventilation and it is easy to break.
Imagine getting your foot roasted from two sides: upper material and sole.
This was all about cons; the pros of this shoe definitely outnumber the cons.
Good Traction on Most of Surfaces
Let us admit that this is not a rubber sole and definitely not as good as that one.
This is still a sole made for athletes and it works pretty well and offers really good traction on many surfaces.
The herringbone sole works great on most of the clean and semi-dusty courts. There are diamond-shaped insets that support the foot and provide great control.
External Heel Counter and Internal Shanks
If we reviewed and rated all athletic shoes and sneakers based on support, this one will be among the top of them.
Not only the shoe has an external heel counter or protector to provide extra protection and support to your heel, but there are internal shanks as well.
What is an internal shank? It is a supportive piece of metal or fiberglass, sewed between insole and outsole. Its job is to reduce the pressure incurred by an athlete’s foot and thus reduce the impact each time a shoe touches the ground.
Achilles Pillow – Additional Padding for Heel
There is a pillow like padding right underneath a wearer’s heel; that padding provides extra support and comfort.
Innovative Bear Trap Lacing System
Talking of the systems and technologies that Under Armour introduced to these cheap basketball shoes on sale on Amazon, one cannot ignore the innovative bear-trap lacing system.
It connects laces to the tongue of the shoe and provides real tight grip.
Like every other shoe, this pair of shoes is also not perfect. While it is safe to say that it clearly misses out on a good traction, clearly because of the outer sole, in terms of cushioning, better lacing system and other features, it deserved the 4.5/5-star rating on Amazon.
4. Adidas Crazy Explosive – High Top Adidas Basketball Shoes
You were missing Adidas, the second biggest sports shoes brands, left behind by none other by Nike.
Well, you are not wrong to have a lot of expectations from this shoe. Here is how we gauged the features and here are the pros and cons.
So we basically have two major problems when it comes to cons. Let us take a detailed look at these issues.
Problems with Lacing Innovation
The lacing innovation has more than one problem.
First of all, the unconventional lacing system makes it less likely for the athlete to have a better grip on the feet. It is open, it does not engage the tongue and it has a poor grip.
Secondly, the eyelets which laces go through are not very durable; more than one customer have reported that they end up breaking those all open and exposed eyelets.
Problems with Fitting
A few customers think that their shoe did not have a perfect fitting. The objection is mainly because of the lacing system.
However, this is not all about it. There are customers who complain about the shape and making of the shoe; somehow their feet manage to slide outward, hitting the toe box and stretching the external fabric.
Here is all you need to know about the pros that outshine the cons.
100% Textile and Synthetic Material
The best thing about these Adidas basketball shoes is their material. They used 100% textile and synthetic material to make these shoes.
The upper layer is made of neoprene; not only neoprene is one of the most lightweight fabrics, but its breathable membranes make it breathable and quick dry as well.
Rubber Sole for Great Traction
The Adidas Crazy Explosive comes with a rubber sole. Rubber soles, as we know, offer the best traction, but the digitally designed Power Traction pattern on the sole boosts better grip and traction.
It is on par with herringbone pattern which most of other high top basketball sneakers have. It’s a multi-directional pattern that enables the player to move quickly in any direction.
Boost Cushioning is Adidas’ reply to Nike Air. What is boost? Well it was an innovative cushioning material made by Adidas in collaboration with a famous chemical company known as BASF.
The TPU was formulated and reshaped into very small energy capsules that together madeStyrofoam-esquemidsole. In simple words, these energy capsules multiply the pressure and give the wearer a boost that they need with each step.
4 Dimensional Ankle Support
While almost all high top basketball sneakers give proper support to ankles, and they are either praised or hated for the firm grip on the same, but Adidas Crazy Explosive offers a 4 dimensional support, with elevated curves on all 4 sides of ankle.
Adidas Crazy Explosive got a 4.4/5-star rating on Amazon. The product is great when it comes to traction and great when it comes to cushioning. However, traction cannot help one much if the lacing system is flawed. We won’t say that it is flawed in this case, but it is far from perfect.
5. Nike LeBron Soldier XI – Nike High Top Basketball Shoes
Let us start with the cons.
Problem With One Traction Pattern
Well, do not get us wrong. The traction of a Nike shoe is never wrong. They basically and mostly follow herringbone pattern in their soles and the traction is one par with big brands like Adidas and Reebok etc.
But with this shoe they added slightly different pattern in the middle of the shoe, which, according to some users, causes slippage during the game.
Not Fully Breathable
Another point contradicting the pros. The Nike LeBron Soldier 11 upper material is highly breathable, but it is because of the mesh that covers roughly 60% of shoe’s face.
The other 40% is a material that is either less breathable or not breathable at all.
And this was all about cons, here is everything that you want to know about the pros.
We’d call it good, because the pattern in the middle of the sole makes it something less than perfect.
It is a rubber sole with a triangular traction pattern all over it. Apart from the translucent part in the middle, this triangular pattern does a great job keeping a firm grip on any type of surface: clean or dirty.
Zoom Air is something special that Nike presents to counter Adidas’s Boost cushioning.
We have explained Nike’s Zoom Air technology before; it is enough to say here that this shoe also comes with same technology. An air pressurized Nike unit with tensile fibers, pushes back a wearer’s shoe and thus offers a quick move.
Very Breathable and Quick Dry Upper
We have already discussed this, but in terms of cons. However, at least 60% of this shoe’s upper material is made of mesh.
Nylon mesh is not only highly breathable, but it is a quick dry material as well. This is the kind of material that trekkers and hikers use a lot, because they want their everyday use articles to dry quick.
4 Hook and Loop Straps
We are done talking about “innovative lacing systems”; if there is something innovative, it is hook and loop straps on this shoe.
These straps go from toe box to ankles and provide a really strong lockdown. You can adjust the strength to get the required snugness. Since it is all about Velcro, you can choose from very loose to very tight level of lockdown.
Nike LeBron Soldier 11 got a 4.2/5-star rating on Amazon. It is one of the two or more basketball shoes on Amazon that gave us a tough time while we tried to find some mention worthy cons. Zoom Air technology and straps instead of laces, make it one of the best basketball gym shoes to recommend.
6. Under ArmourCurry 2.5 – Under Armour High Top Basketball Shoes
Here are the pros and cons.
So, first let us explain the rather perplexing cons.
Unbreathable Upper Fabric
With PU rubber overlays and molded synthetic fiber on top of this shoe, there remains little to no space for breathability.
The burrito shape demanded a strong and sturdy fabric, but perhaps there could be a better option that two different materials known for everything other than breathability.
Burrito Construction – Hard to Put On
The other problem associated with the built of this shoe is that there is no tongue (because it is burrito), and because of this unique built, the shoe is hard to put on.
Yes, it is one of the best lockdowns, but the same feature makes it very hard for one to put on the shoe.
And this is all about the cons. Here is the detail about very promising pros of these men high top basketball shoes.
High Traction Rubber Sole
Thanks to Under Armour for not destroying these shoes with a cheap fabric sole. This shoe has one of the best rubber soles.
With a multidirectional herringbone pattern, this rubber sole is exactly what a basketball player needs for immediate multidirectional moves and a quick push; speaking of which you must mention OrthoLite insole that offers a better impact protection.
Very Durable Upper Material
You can definitely argue about the breathability of the fabric used in making this shoe, but that PU rubber and synthetic fiber mix is doing well in terms of durability and sturdiness.
Call it grip or longevity, but these shoes not only have a better grip on your feet and provide better support, but they are not like that expensive Adidas or Nike that will soon have some tear and wear because of your fingers.
Burrito Wrap Construction – Better Lockdown
Speaking of good grip and longevity, we must give the credit where it is due.
This great grip, support and exceptional lockdown could not be possible without a typical type of shoe construction known as burrito wrap.
From toe to ankle collars, your feet feel like wrapped like a burrito; except the material is very sturdy and strong. This leads to what you feel when you enjoy a better lockdown on your feet.
Thick PU Insole Cushioning
Since a lot of Amazon customers of these shoes have mentioned how good is the cushioning of these shoes, we considered it mention worthy.
It is because of a thick PU insole; the insole added to the overall cushioning of this pair of shoes.
So what makes these shoes so good? Well, that is mainly the rubber sole, the burrito wrap construction and its overall durability. However, on Amazon, UA Curry failed to get anything better than an average or slightly above average rating. 4.2/5-star rating makes it worthy of attention, but definitely not close to Drive 3 or Nike Hyperdunk or the Adidas shoes mentioned in the review.
7. Adidas Pro Bounce – Adidas High Top Basketball Shoes
Adidas Pro Bounce is one of the best basketball sneakers made by German giant. From its stylish looks to its promising features, this is one of the best outdoor basketball sneakers of all time.
Here is our synopsis of its pros and cons.
The problems with this shoe are clearly linked with the built of this shoe – the design, and not the materials used in making it. Let us take a look.
Insufficient Ankle Support
Having a look at the built of this shoe, one can easily tell that while it is eligibleto be called a high top basketball shoe, the matter of fact is that high top is not totally there.
There is a slight slope from front to backside, and one the backside, where your Achilles tendon needs the maximum support, you notice that there is looks more like a medium top basketball sneaker.
This is perhaps the reason why a few customers had sore Achilles tendon or injuries, after they used Adidas Pro Bounce.
Inadequate Court Feel
The bounce technology in midsole relies on court feel. What is court feel? It is a distraction free shoe built that depends on using minimal materials so the athlete’s feet stay closer to earth. More gravity – more control!
Well, the problem is that this basketball shoe made by Adidas has a bouncy technology that basically relies on court feel and with a thick outer sole, the court feel is not fully there.
*Sigh* That was all about cons and here is all the detail about this product’s amazing features.
Bounce Technology in Midsole
As it has been explained briefly in the cons, the bounce technology is Adidas’s revolution in midsole.
Basically, this shoe brings a basketball player’s foot closer to the ground, offering more gravity and control to them, and in a result they get the court feel. However, the beauty of this thing is that you get court feel without having to compromise over impact absorption.
How do they do this? Well, they tried less stitching and minimal materials, while using EVA foam. This enabled them to reduce the difference between feet and ground, which is mostly the material. Result? An easy running system with a better grip on ground.
Solid Rubber Outsole with Spiral Pattern
Traction is one of the most important factors to gauge the performance of a good athletic shoe. This high top basketball sneaker comes with a solid rubber outsole with spiral pattern.
It is needless to say that not only it can handle each and every court surface, but it is a durable sole as well.
Breathable and Comfortable Upper
To make this shoe a lightweight one, the manufacturers added to the shoe a lightweight mesh upper.
This serves more than one purpose. First of all, you get a lightweight, but good quality sneaker for faster moves, secondly, mesh makes it 100% breathable which is super important, and lastly, mesh is a quick dry material so rest assured that your feet will remain dry.
Cable Lacing System
We have discussed this before in this blogpost. Lockdown is one of the most prominent features of a good sports shoe; the cable lacing system is linked with external laces, and due to that one enjoys a much better lockdown and grip on one’s feet.
This basketball sneaker from Adidas got a 4.7/5-star rating on Amazon while is not very common. The traction is simply the best; although court feel (Bounce) is not totally there, a very good rubber sole compensates for that. However, cushioning seems to be a sore subject.
Buyer’s Guide To Buy Best High Top Basketball Sneakers
So, we are done with 7 best high top basketball shoes, but let us admit this that in a world where companies like Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Under Armour and Air Jordan etc., one cannot cover all awesome basketball sneakers.
This is why we devise a very authentic and extensive buyer’s guide. Follow the most highly sought after featuresof a good basketball shoe, and do not buy one unless you find all or most of them in that shoe.
1. Traction/Outer Sole
You must have noticed this word a lot in this review and guide. So what is traction? In simple words, traction means grip on the surface.
Why a basketball player needs good grip? Because it helps them have control on the surface, while they move fast and that too in many directions.
Traction is another word for outer sole. Here are some important points to remember:
- Herringbone, triangular and spiral are among the most famous patterns.
- Rubber sole is the best, but some of the shoes also use fabric or PU materials.
After traction the other most important feature of a good basketball shoe is cushioning. What is cushioning? It is the padding on or underneath the inner sole.
If we extend it, it is the cushion around feet that provide the ankle support and basically anywhere in the shoe. The main purpose of this cushion is to reduce the impact when a wearer’s foot comes back to the surface.
- Boost Cushioning by Adidas
- Zoom Air by Nike
- Achilles Pillow
This is one interesting feature or a combination of many interesting features that we found in the reviewed best outdoor basketball shoes for 2021. Here are some innovations that we noticed.
- Internal Lacing – It is basically a system of underneath cables that are connected to the external laces and offer a better grip on the shoe.
- Burrito Wrap Construction – A shoe that looks like a burrito wrap i.e. Under Armour UA Curry 2.5
- Boost Cushioning
- Bounce Midsole
- Zoom Air Cushioning
- Bear-trap Lacing System – gives you better grip on the tongue of the shoe
- ClutchFit Technology – or something like that which will make your shoes more breathable and stretchable with the passage of time.
- Achilles Pillow – A much better cushioning provided to Achilles tendon
- Hook & Loop Straps – or any Velcro straps that go from toe box to ankle support
Material is one of the most important features of a good sports shoe. Why? Because there are so many of them and each of them represents a choice and a reason behind choosing it.
Here is a list of materials and their benefits for the athlete.
- Rubber sole – best known for amazing traction and grip
- Fabric sole – best known for affordability and limited grip
- Textile & synthetic – mostly used for moderate grip and better breathability
- Mesh or its hybrids – best known for extreme breathability, lightweight and quick-drying
- Rubberized synthetic – best known for durability, being waterproof and having better lockdown
5. Ankle Support
Ankle support is the reason why running shoes are high top. The purpose of making them high top is to provide proper and enough cushioning, support and restriction to ankles.
Here are different shapes of ankle support that you can choose from:
- Slight slope from very high tongue to lower pull tab
- Near medium-top ankle support on both sides
- Slope from very high tongue to very low pull tab
- 4 dimensional ankle support with equal sized and curvy tongue and pull tab
- Slight slope from near medium-top tongue to considerably low pull tab
6. Innersole & Midsole
A lot of people that we talk to, end up confusing innersole with midsole. In this part we are going to talk about different types of inner sole and mid soles, and their purposes.
Here you go:
- EVA midsole reduces impact and makes it comfortable
- Midsole with shanks also reduce the impact
- Minimum midsole provides courtfeel
- PU insole adds to cushioning
- Midsole with Zoom or Boost is best
- Midsole with TPU roll cage boosts protection from impact
What is lockdown? A sports shoe’s capacity to have a very firm, strong and yet comfortable grip on your feet. This is a much needed feature, especially when you’re a basketball player.
Here are some lockdown options:
- Burrito Wrap Construction – It has been discussed earlier, just imaging your foot wrapped firmly in a burrito wrap made of sturdy material.
- Bear trap lacing – when your laces connect to the tongue and make sure that your foot feels snugged underneath it.
- Internal lacing – It is a lacing system of under the material cables, that is connected with external lacing and thus provides better grip from toe box to the top.
- Hook & Loop Straps – or any Velcro straps that provide you better lockdown and rids you off of the laces.
In terms of style, there are many big and small details that entirely change the looks of a sports shoe. Here are some of the styles that we have noticed during our review:
- High top ankle support is not the same in case of all 7 reviewed sneakers. Some of them have 4 dimensional support, while most of them have a smaller pull tab as compared to higher tongue. A few of them have equally high or low ankle support.
- In terms of shape, burrito wrap style and external lacing with exposed eyelets stand out of the crowd.
- Most of the shoes have their style in terms of lockdown. From open lacing and eyelets, to straps to internal lacing and bear-trap lacing, many options are available.
- Another sharp observation was in terms of heel counter; while some of the shoes had rubberized heel counters, others preferred rubber, plastic, strengthened silicone and Styrofoam.
The wait is over and here is our verdict about which of the three basketball sneakers performed better than others, and which of them came first, second and third.
Adidas Pro Bounce – because of the best rubber sole, internal lacing system and a mesh upper
Nike LeBron Soldier 11 – because it has one of the most innovative feature: hook and loop Velcro straps that go from toe box to the top, apart from a unique sole
UnderArmourDrive 4 – because of high quality herringbone rubber sole, breathable upper material and external heel counter for additional support and protection
You can pick up any other shoe from the list or follow the buyer’s guide features, and go wild with the top basketball shoes brands. As we all have different likings and preferences, we cannot really force you to pick any of the three mentioned in this verdict. You can go for any of the pair mentioned in the list to fulfill your needs and get on the court to showcase your skills.
We bet you that whichever shoe you will pick, following the buyer’s guide, will not fail you.
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.