A good pair of basketball sneakers is lot like an ice cream; there is hardly any way to ignore them. The best basketball shoes come in so many different colors and variants. So, it is very difficult for someone to choose a definitive one among them. As far as the history tells, the great Romans and Greeks were used to wear good looking shoes in order to enhance their outfit. Now a days, there are even specific shoes available for specific sports, such as Runners for athletes, spikes for football and cricket, sneakers for basketball and many more…
From the early 90’s, the sneaker culture in basketball began to evolve very quickly. Basketball shoes of new models, technology and designs took the market by storm and year after year, it repeatedly raised the bar higher and higher. The more modern basketball shoes are now incorporated with better technology. But there are some sneakers that just have too much of a classic value to be ignored.
Best Basketball Shoes:
Today, Sporty Ghost has made a list of Top 10 best basketball shoes of all time. Take a look at the list and scroll down to find the best basketball shoe of all time.
10. Nike Air Max LeBron 8
Nike Air Max LeBron 8 sneaker is also known as the “South Beach”. The LeBron 8 is a special basketball shoe in its own because of its close association with basketball legend LeBron James in his early days during LeBron’s free agency bidding war when many did not even know where he could possibly end up. Nike air max is the first LeBron shoe of the Miami era representing the transition from old stars to the modern day basketball legends. The basketball shoe was made by the global brand Nike when Lebron James was transferring from the Cleaveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat.
The famous sneaker is based on South Beach, part of Miami which is known for the show Miami Vice. The colors of the shoe were also taken from the Miami show which are pink, teal and black, and were well received by the public during the initial release. The original version of South Beach 8 was a bit expensive because only a few thousand pairs were released worldwide. The Nike Air Max is on 10th place in our list of top 10 best basketball shoes of all time.
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9. Nike Air Jordan 8
When Nike Air Jordan 8 was released two decades ago, it turned the youngsters crazy despite its $65 price tag. NBA commissioner, David Stern, banned the red-and-black Air Jordan because they did not have any white color scheme. Tinker Hatfield, the best basketball shoes designer ever, designed the perfect shoe for Air Jordan series with white trim during Jordan’s early days. Tinker Hatfield had named this pair of shoes for not only himself, but Jordan as well, as a brand of its own.
The Air Jordan 8 was nicknamed “Aquas”, which played a major role in this as the shoe was the second Jordan not to feature a Nike Swoosh logo. The “Aquas” were first worn by Jordan in the 1993 All-Star Game and considered as one of the best basketball shoes of all time. We put Nike Air Jordan 8 at No. 9 in our list of top 10 best basketball shoes of all time.
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8. Reebok Omni Zone Pump
The Reebok Omni was the basketball shoe that Dee Brown wore during the 1991 slam dunk contest. The shoe was an immediate hit that time and was very much popular in early 90s because of its gorgeous and mature look with a large orange basketball-shaped valve on the tongues to provide locking around the ankle. Reebok Omni was the first shoe that has a feature of an internal inflation mechanism that regulates a unique fitting cushion. The original Reebok Omni Zone Pump was made as a collaboration between Reebok’s Paul Litchfield and industrial design firm named Design Continuum.
The Reebok pump original was first wore by Dominique Wilkins from 1989 on. The original Reebok Pump is now known as the Pump Bringback. After a great success of this basketball sneaker, Reebok designed Omnipump shoes for association football, gridiron football, track and tennis. This awesome shoe takes the No. 8 position in our list of top 10 best basketball shoes of all time.
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7. Nike Air Force 1
Nike Air Force 1 was initially released in 1982, but the shoe was discontinued immediately thereafter because of its extra-thick, rubber sole and ankle-restricting strap. The Nike Air was re-released in 1986 with modern Italic logo on it and with a swoosh on the bottom at the backside of the shoe, although in modern version of it, there is no original stitching on the side panels. Rasheed Wallace was the first basketball player wearing these shoes two decades after its release. The name of the shoe was taken as a reference to Air Force One, the plane that carries the American president.
Nike Air force was released in three different forms- low, mid and high and so far it is one of the biggest hits from Nike. The shoe has an incredible color variations, over 1,700. The Nike Air Force One solely generates an estimated revenue of 800 million USD per year. It is one of the best outdoor basketball shoes in recent world. We have selected the shoe for the No. 7 position in our list of top 10 best basketball shoes of all time.
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6. Reebok The Question.
Reebok has fallen behind in the basketball shoes market in 90s behind Nike and Adidas. The reason behind the reebok down fall is clear. It’s because the several re-release of Nike’s Jordan and the major popularity of Adidas Superstar in the market. After several failed attempts, Reebok the Question came into the market as an immediate hit from Reebok. In this course, they signed Georgetown’s Allen Iverson for an endorsement contract in 1996 for this specific basketball shoe.
The Reebok attracted many of the fans belong to hip hop culture with its significant designing appeal and superior class of comfort. “The Question” along with its playoff version “The Answer“, both had been re-released several times in many different colors in later days. It was indeed one of the most cherished basketball shoes for men. Reebok the Question was considered for No. 6 spot in our list of top 10 best basketball shoes of all time.
5. Puma Clyde
It was the first signature basketball shoe from Puma which was built to the specifications of Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the All-Star guard for New York Knicks. Puma Clyde was firstly released in 1973 with golden blocked lettering, single color cotton laces and authentic green tongue label and heavily textured seamless midsole transitions to the outsole with no demarcation lines. The first issue of Puma Clyde was an identical of the original shoe where a golden stamp on the sock liner replicates the “Real Leather” ink stamp which was placed on the first Clyde.
To signify the early release of the shoe, an additional city name is stitched onto the outside lateral heel to denote one of the key 2005 launch event cities, New York, Tokyo and London. Puma Clyde is currently ranking at No. 5 in our list of top 10 best basketball shoes of all time.
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4. Adidas KB-8
In 90s, it was Adidas Superstar which was a staple in every basketball player’s closets. Basketball star Kobe Bryant stopped using Adidas Superstar at just 18 years of age when he was given his first signature shoe named “KB-8”. The original Adidas KB-8s were black and white in color with purple and gold accents to match Kobe Bryant’s Lakers jersey. The KB-8 was subsequently released in numerous color combinations by Adidas. When Kobe Bryant left Adidas in 2002, the shoe changed its name from KB-8 to Adidas Crazy 8.
Back in 1997, the KB-8 was a major hit in the market and then the Adidas Crazy 8 made its debut as it brings back in 2005 where the shoe was well received by many fans. In recent times, Adidas’s brand ambassador Derrick Rose wore a new version of this shoe in a highly anticipated game against the Miami Heat. Adidas KB-8 is at No. 4 in our list of top 10 best basketball shoes of all time.
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3. Converse Weapon
The shoe was released in 1986. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were the first endorsers of “The Weapon”. They were prominently featured in a Converse commercial set in Bird’s hometown, Indiana. Later on, The Converse Weapons were also worn by Axl Rose in the Guns N’ Roses music video, ‘Estranged‘. The Converse Weapon was designed in purple and gold for matching Magic Johnson’s Lakers uniform. The weapon with Celtics color scheme was black and white in color which was released prior to the gold and purple version.
Converse re-released ‘the weapon’ series several times from 2001- ‘The Loaded Weapon’ in 2003, ‘The Weapon 86‘ in 2008, ‘The Weapon EVO‘ in 2009, its successor ‘The Star Player EVO’ in 2010. Andre Miller, John Varvatos and most notably Kobe Bryant are some of the basketball superstars who wore it on the field. The Converse Weapon is the 3rd best basketball shoes in our list.
2. Adidas Superstar
The ‘Superstar’ is one of the best basketball shoes manufactured by sports goods company Adidas since 1969. The Adidas Superstar model was originally released as a low-top version of the Pro Model boys’ basketball shoes. The superstar was initially known as “shell shoes” or “shell tops” for its all-leather upper with rubber shell toe piece. The iconic design and the elegant look of this shoe are known as one of the major influences in the sneaker basketball culture.
The Adidas Superstar caught the attention of some of the great player from NCAA and NBA like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, for its non-marking sole and superior toe protection. Within the first few years of its release, the Adidas Superstar was being worn by most of the NBA basketball players. The shoe was advanced from the court to the sidewalk over the years and consequently further into people’s consciousness. It is the real superstar among the best basketball shoes and we have selected it for No. 2 in our list.
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1. Chuck Taylor All Stars
Converse produced their first sneakers in 1917 and named it “All Star“. Converse’s attempt to capture the best basketball shoes market was a great success after the release of All Star. In 1920, Chuck Taylor, at the then basketball player and converse company together improved the shoe’s design and ultimately became the product’s spokesperson. The first All Star shoes were all-black canvas or leather with rubber sole and red, white or blue laces. In 1960s, the Converse began to expand their shoe business and opened more factories and by that time, Converse All Star basketball shoes were being worn by 90% of college and professional basketball players.
Then in Olympics, All Stars were being worn by many athletes and during World War II, American soldiers used to wear All Star shoes while in training. It was Tree Rollins who was the last one to wear Converse All Stars in the professional NBA match when in the 1979-1980 seasons he laced up a modified version of Chuck Taylor All Stars. It is the No. 1 in our list of top 10 best basketball shoes of all time.
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The most of the original versions of these best basketball shoes are not available nowadays. The later versions are much more sophisticated and technologically advanced with superior ergonomics and elegant color schemes. The basketball shoes are not only a must need for any basketball player but also a fashionable wardrobe assessment for all the youngsters around the world.