Just as I did last summer, I’m gonna rank my favorite sneakers to hoop in for this summer of 2019. Summer ball is a time honored tradition within the basketball community and as usual, I took full advantage of it. I played in four leagues on four different days between the months of May and August. The sneakers below went to battle with me each week and are ranked based on their performance, durability and my overall enjoyment of them. Despite their rank, I would recommend all of these to anyone looking for a good basketball sneaker. Starting off with number 5…
5. Nike Kobe A.D. “Igloo”
- Gliding across the court in these Kobe A.D.’s is like skimming the surface of a frozen sea; like riding waves of snow flurries through defenders; like sprinting down the court breaking through thin sheets of ice. I owned these sneakers for over a year before I finally wore them. When I took them out of the box for the first time they were just way too icy for me to even consider wearing them. BIG MISTAKE on my part. First time I played in these it was a revelation. They were comfy as shit, they moved well with my foot and the traction was amazing. You may ask why I have these at number 5 then? They gave me a huge cut right underneath my ankle. They are low cut and all that sprinting and moving I was doing caused my ankle to rub and eventually, the skin broke. It was quite painful and I couldn’t wear them for a span of games. After awhile though, I put them back on. I just made sure to wear two socks. The materials used are premium and after wearing them all summer, they’ve held up pretty well. I love the color and I think it’s one of these cleanest pairs of basketball sneakers I own.
4. Nike Lebron XV Low “Light Bone”
- This sneaker surprised the shit out of me. I’ve rocked Lebron lows before and I did like them but the Lebron line always feels a bit clunky to me. These however, are very smooth. The flyknit (battleknit?) reminds me of dragon scales or something you would see in Game of Thrones and the grey color goes well with just about anything. Structurally, they hug my foot incredibly well and offer tons of stability. I think my favorite part about these though is the outsole. The light pink is a really interesting color and the traction is fairly unique as well. I like the combination of Zoom and the Air Max bubble and to be honest, it’s a shoe I wear the most when my feet feel sore and I need extra support. I feel 100% comfortable landing hard on my feet when I wear these.
3. Nike Kobe AD NXT 360
- The NXT has 360 degrees of flyknit fabric wrapping around my foot like I’m an evil wizard holding a dark shroud around me. It’s like a cloak of many colors made specifically for my foot. The all over flyknit makes it feel like all I’m wearing is a sock. The Nike Kobe AD 360 NXT is unique in more ways than the upper though. When you take the sole out, the entire sneaker can flip and mold like those gelly shoes from when I was a kid. You might think this would be dangerous… and if not for the react insole, it would be. That insole though packs so much Nike technology that once your foot sits on top of it, you feel secure and safe. This was number 1 on my list for the first couple months of summer but the reason I dropped it was it’s durability. Its falling apart fairly quickly… the best ability is availability.
2. Nike Zoom KD 11 “Gold Splatter”
- The gold paint of the KD11 is splattered like blood across the flyknit upper. A grey camouflage outsole smashes into the hardwood floor while running down the court. This sneaker is by far one of the coolest looking hoop shoes I own. The KD line has been one of my favorite sneakers of the past few years. Sleek, comfortable and made with premium materials; KD and Nike always bring the heat with their newest iterations. The technology in this shoe is off the charts: blending React foam with Zoom Air. It feels like I’m walking on a fucking cloud. The one complaint I have (and the reason it’s not number 1) is the heel. The heel tab (or maybe it’s the support) seems to aggravate my heel and my achilles in the most painful way possible. It doesn’t happen every time but it happens enough to give me pause before wearing them. Overall though, this is one of the best basketball shoes I’ve ever worn. The flyknit has molded to my foot after multiple wears and it’s a shoe that I have 100% confidence in. It helps me perform well and looks good at the same time.
1. Nike PG3 “Oreo
- Oreo’s are without a doubt the best mass market cookie on the market. (COME AT ME BRO!) Much like the Oreo, the PG3’s are the best basketball sneaker I’ve worn this summer. It took 3 times slipping them on for me to realize that. The first time, I liked em but I wasn’t quite sold. They were comfy and they performed well but I expected a little bit more. The second time they performed twice as well. They were more broken in, they began to mold to my foot and the traction was phenomenal. The third time paid for all. I slipped them on in that third game and my feet felt like they were being hugged by a nimbus cloud. The cushion and support felt perfect as I bounced on the balls of my feet warming up before my game. Once the game started though; I completely forgot about them. Which is the best compliment you could ever give to a basketball sneaker. It was like I was a child playing barefoot in the grass. It was like I was Bigfoot stomping through the trees. They fit my feet and I fit with them and it was a match made in heaven. The Nike PG3 is the best basketball sneaker for hoopers, children and even Bigfoot. You should try them out.
Bonus: Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2k4 “UCONN”
- These kicks are special to me. So you don’t get a write-up…. Just bask in their glory.