The modern game of basketball has changed, and like it, the world of shoes has also made a big change, especially in the last decade or so. This evolution, because it is more than fair to call it that rather than a mere change, has seen the landscape totally flipped on its head. Whereas basketball shoes were once big, bulky, heavy, and super protective, many of them are now made to be lighter and quicker on your feet. This helps you be faster, obviously, but it also does hold you back in terms of protection. At any rate, today our buying guide will be delving into the world of the lightest basketball shoes on the market. We’ll break down all you need to know, and we’ll also inform you about some of the top pairs available via our reviews. So, let’s get down to it then!
Top Lightest Basketball Shoes Comparison Chart
|Product||Cut Type||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Nike Men’s Kyrie 5 Synthetic Basketball Shoes||Mid top||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|2. Li-Ning Sonic VII Series CJ McCollum Basketball Shoes||Mid top||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|3. Nike Men’s LeBron Witness III RPM Basketball Shoes||Mid top||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|4. Nike KD 8 Men’s Basketball Shoes||Mid top||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|5. Nike Men’s Mamba Rage Basketball Shoes||Low top||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|6. Adidas Performance Men’s Crazylight Boost Low 2016 Basketball Shoes||Low top||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|7. Adidas Men’s Harden B/E 3 Basketball Shoes||Mid top||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|8. Under Armour Men’s UA Curry 6 Low Basketball Shoes||Low top||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
Lightest Basketball Shoes Buying Guide
Why Light is Right (For You)
You might be wondering why light basketball shoes are the way to go. Simply put, it’s because of the way the game has changed in the last few years. If you are not sure of what we mean, you may not be a huge fan of the game. That’s OK if so! Not everyone has the same exact experience, so you can’t be expected to follow it as others would. The modern game has changed tremendously. The way basketball used to be played was by a small guy (the point guard) dribbling the ball up and having plays set. Eventually, it would go to a big man (the center), who was the most vital part of the team. While it didn’t happen overnight by any stretch, this has changed considerably in the last decade to where the big man is almost a dinosaur. No longer are big men going to just stand up the hoop and wait. Instead, the big guys now have to be able to run, jump, and even shoot like a small player would. This means that all of the athleticism you can muster is not only needed but required. To keep up with the demands of the modern player, shoe companies have been lightening the load on them greatly by reducing the size and scope of shoes. This has made them lighter, allowing for more agility and comfort in the process. If you are someone that is tired of wearing super heavy and cumbersome shoes, going with a lighter pair might just be your ticket to getting just that little bit of extra speed you’ve always wanted. It’s not going to make you Steph Curry in the morning, but it can definitely help you push yourself further along!
You Can’t Have It All
One thing we do need to mention before we get too far along in our guide is that you cannot have it all at once. This might seem like an elementary statement to make, but what we want to make clear is that you can’t have supreme comfort, support, protection, and be light all at the same time for a low, reasonable price. You probably could have all of those factors, save the reasonable price, if you paid over $1000 for a pair of shoes, but there are very few people who would ever pay that sum for such a product. As a result, what you end up finding is that you have to make trade offs and choices. When you go with a lighter shoe, what you are doing is making a choice to give up some weight, obviously. When you do this, you’re sacrificing various features that could be equipped within the pair of shoes. Protection and support are two very big words in the game of basketball, and sports in general. If you have tow pairs of shoes, one that is five ounces and another that is ten, you almost always will see that the heavier one has more support in it. This is natural, since it’s heavier and has more capacity to do so. All things being equal, and assuming that shoe is not ‘junk,’ it’s just going to support you better. Now, with that said, the light shoes out there today have rapidly progressed to the point of where they are able to do multiple things at once. They can be light and offer decent support in a ton of cases. But you have to remember that you’re going to give up something. That something could be comfort, it could be padding, or anything else really. There are very few truly ‘perfect’ shoes, so you have to find what you like and can tolerate. To each is truly their own in the realm of shoes, and that’s the case with basketball shoes. You may have to try on and wear a few pairs for quite some time before ultimately settling on the right pair for you. But you can and will get there with some patience!
Comfort > Protection
If you are a smaller player, or if you are someone that has never had any injury woes in the past, or maybe just a few minor ones, then you may feel that comfort is the #1 objective to your shoes and will be willing to pick something that has a lot of that over a more protective pair. That is what is at hand with a pair of lighter basketball shoes. Comfort is always a big part of the picture when it comes to footwear, much to no one’s surprise, so you definitely want to make sure that you find something you can tolerate and like for quite a while. If you hate the way something feels on your feet, you are very unlikely to end up wearing them for very long. Either that will occur, or you will be miserable.
High or Low Tops
One of the ways that basketball shoes have become increasingly more comfortable over the years has been due to the changing of the guard in the ‘cut’ of the shoes. The ‘cut’ or ‘top’ refers to the height of the heel in the back. This used to be a very simple process. Everyone would have a high top because that’s just how basketball shoes were made. No matter who you were, you would purchase a high top to play in, if it was a basketball shoe. Unless you bought a running shoe and shot some hoops in them, then you were wearing high tops. However, that trend has really started to change and began to pick up steam over a decade ago. At first, players, especially those at the higher ends of the game, started experimenting with a mid top. A mid top is, as you could probably guess fairly easily, a mixture of a high and low top. It gives you a decent amount of protection but it weighs less on you and allows you to be more flexible. Soon, smaller players pushed the envelope even more with full on low tops. This was previously unheard of. From there, it has not taken long for some of the bigger men in the game, including players like the massive Kevin Durant to wade into the territory of the low top. With technology being what it is now, there are other ways to keep them protected, therefore many are choosing to go to the path of least resistance and weight by going with a low top. Most of the time, if you see a light shoe, it’s going to be a low top, so it was crucial that we make this very clear and known to you!
Don’t Forget Support
If you are here, it’s likely because you are growing tired of the same old same old. You’re sick of being weighed down by your traditional basketball shoes, and you just don’t know where to go. We don’t blame you, and we’ve all been there, whether it was with basketball or another sport. With all of that being said, you must not forget what brought you to the dance in the first place. Support is utterly crucial if you want to have a long happy career, whether it’s going to be in recreational or professional settings. Support is not something that all shoes come with, especially those that are lighter. If you are someone that has suffered in the past with ankle injuries, you really need to consider if going with a low top shoe, that is light, is a good idea or not. It’s probably not a good idea, even if you are craving to be a bit more comfortable and ready to go. Just think about the possibility that you have of turning over your ankles. It’s so much greater of a chance if you have shoes on that are not supportive to you. Even for people that have never had ankle issues, it’s more likely. That’s why you can’t just pick any old lightweight ‘tennis’ shoe that you see. You could do so, and find a great price, but those fashion sneakers aren’t going to be good at all on the long run, or even on the short run, either. So, don’t forget this: your ankles and soles needed support. Please don’t let that slip through your mind!
General Shoe Stuff
As always, there are just some things you are going to need to look over for your shoes. Here’s a look at some of those things that you will need to keep firmly in mind if you are going to have a good, successful time on the court.
Comfort is never something that you want to overlook. This is an essential part of all footwear, and you best not look too far past it if you want to actually get the most- or any use- out of your shoes. Comfort is made up of a lot of components. One of those is the issue of protection and support. If you don’t have support in your shoes, you may feel fine and then suddenly find yourself hurting after a long day of shooting hoops. If that’s the case, you’re low on support, so you may need to take a look at rectifying that by making a change eventually. Probably best to do that sooner rather than later, too. Another aspect of comfort that one must not forget is padding and cushioning. Sometimes, you will find a pair of shoes that look great but just don’t feel good on you. If the padding digs into you, you’ll be left frustrated and unable to wear them for very long. Sometimes, this does take a bit of time to get used to. Maybe the padding just isn’t right to begin with but it may come around. With that said, don’t always assume this is going to take place. ‘Breaking in’ your shoes is not going to fix all the woes you are currently experiencing. It’s just not going to do that, so be aware of that.
A big, big part of making sure you have ultimate comfort is to also make sure that you appropriately size the shoes to your feet. One of the most commonly forgotten things in the world of athletic shoes is that your feet swell. To accommodate for this, you should always make sure to try on shoes- in store or at home after they have been delivered to you- after you have done something active. By doing so, you will be freed up to know how they will feel on you when you are in the heat of the game. If you are not able to move your feet around well once you are playing, then you’ll know you need to make an alteration. Another big tip to keep in mind is that you absolutely must balance the width with the length. It’s too common to see people take one and prioritize it over the other. Most of the time this comes in the form of someone finding a pair to big long enough but not wide enough for their foot. They end up doing one of two things: sticking with it and cramping, essentially, their feet into them, or they go up a size to get the width. This throws the length off, though, which can cause you to have what we call ‘boat feet,’ where the shoes slide up and down. It may not be the most popular response, but the answer might just be that you should look toward another model- or company- that has a better fit to your feet. Not all sizes are going to run ‘standard,’ so trying on shoes is a major part. Also, remember to break in your shoes slowly. You should never wear them for the first time in a game, or even at a practice!
The Top 8 Lightest Basketball Shoes of 2019 Reviews
Nike Men’s Kyrie 5 Synthetic Basketball Shoes
Leading off our list today is this pair of Kyrie Irving shoes from Nike. Made for one of the most dynamic guards in the NBA, these shoes are built for total speed. With that being said, they offer a lot more protection and support than many of the others you’ll see in the ‘light’ category, making them very much desirable to wear in order to maximize your time on the court. In addition to being supportive, with a mid top that’s higher than most, they also are very comfortable, leading many to want to wear them well after they have gotten done working on their game for the day. They do have a new look to the lacing on the upper, so that’s something you should be aware of. This makes them a little harder to get on, so just be ready to account for that.
- Light but protective
- Mid top
- Very comfortable
- Hard for some to lace up
Li-Ning Sonic VII Series CJ McCollum Basketball Shoes
Up next is a bit of an apparition of sorts on the list, as these are not from one of the big companies we all know too well. These shoes come from Li-Ning, a Chinese brand, but are great for anyone that’s look to emphasize his or her speed on the court. Coming in a number of very nice colors, you’ll be sure to make yourself or anyone you are buying for happy with them. With a one piece upper to them, they will be much harder to see tearing on, no doubt a big positive to anyone stumping up the cash to purchase them. With a light foam in the midsole, these are on par- or close thereto- the newer technology being pushed by the other big names, allowing them to be light and giving you a ton of agility while also giving you a mid top for protection. If you want something a bit different and outside of the box, these are not a bad way to go about getting it at all!
- Very nice, flashy color choices
- One piece upper makes durability better
- Very light thanks to foam midsole
- Unknown brand to some
Nike Men’s LeBron Witness III RPM Basketball Shoes
One look at LeBron James might have you believing, especially with his advancing age, that he would want a pair of higher profile shoes. However, that’s not the case, as these are made for pure speed, and to get that you’ve got to have lightweight beneath you. These certainly do that, but they don’t just do that. With a mid top design, you’ll have more ankle protection than many of the low tops, all the while you get Nike’s famous Air Sole unit that will help you become more explosive by running through the entirety of the shoes. With a light, yet very well done midsole to them, they will help you get the support you desperately need without holding you back. The traction compound is very deserving of a mention as well, as its been engineered to be super durable, helping you to worry less about that and concentrate more on playing the game itself.
- Mid top for ankle protection
- Extremely durable traction compound
- Light yet explosive
Nike KD 8 Men’s Basketball Shoes
Kevin Durant’s case study is an interesting one that just goes to prove what we’ve been saying here. Having come into the league as a regular ‘high top’ guy, KD’s shoes have transformed into lightweight, unobtrusive wonders of technology in recent years. These shoes are no different, offering less resistance while still allowing him to push the limits. Made with Nike’s flyweave technology, these are able to bring you lock down all the while doing so while being plenty flexible and super light all at the same time. With phylon for the midsole, the weight is cut down, while maneuverability is increased thanks to a much less aggressive heel and ankle area. With a Zoom Air unit, which has been around for a minute or two now, you’ll get plenty of take off as well. Not to mention that they look great, which is never something that should be totally glanced over for a young hoopster.
- Super comfy and flexible
- Light thanks to advanced tech
- Great looks and very breathable
Nike Men’s Mamba Rage Basketball Shoes
One of the first truly low tops to hit the business and the court, these shoes made for Kobe Bryant’s brand have continued on a legacy set by the ‘Mamba’ years ago. These shoes are low tops, meaning you’ll have full freedom of movement and flexibility while having them on. On top of that, they have the Zoom Air unit beneath them to help you get the most from you game by providing you with unmatched responsiveness. Despite how light they are, they are aided tremendously by a TPU shank in them, which has helped them to give more rigidity when you twist and turn toward the hoop. This helps gives the ankles much more stability than normal low tops would do, which is very much needed as more and more of the game’s shoes get smaller and less heavy. With superb looks, these are going to be the kind of gift that makes any player or fan of the game extremely happy.
- Off the chart looks
- Massive freedom and range of motion
- Reinforced to be more rigid
Adidas Performance Men’s Crazylight Boost Low 2016 Basketball Shoes
These shoes have been around a little while now, yet they keep on being extremely useful, so they make our list here. These are not only extremely nice looking, but they also serve a major purpose. They are light and will allow you to roam around at will easily and efficiently, all the while being grippy in both the wet and dry. Traction is not great for many shoes on dusty courts, let alone when moisture is in the picture, so this is a very welcome sight to see. With Adidas’ boost technology incorporated you get the support and explosive properties you need without the additional weight of others on the market. That’s a win-win if we’ve ever seen one. With a synthetic upper, they will flex and move to wherever you need them to do so, giving you tons of comfort and durability at the same time.
- Comfortable and durable
- Brilliant traction
- Tried and true for a great price
Adidas Men’s Harden B/E 3 Basketball Shoes
If you want to be more like the ‘Beard’ James Harden and you are looking for a futuristic looking shoe for a relatively low price, then look no further than these. With a hook and strap closure that covers up the laces completely, these offer a fresh take on the basketball shoe we’ve all come to know and love. All the while, these are made to be low profile and to keep the weight down, allowing a ton of movement as you try to put up 30 every night just like Harden does. Whether you want to get to the lane and draw a foul like him, or pull up and swish a three-pointer, it’s doable thanks to the super lightweight textiles used to construct these shoes. On top of all of that, they have also done a very nice job with the traction on these, utilizing flexible rubber grooves to give you the utmost anatomically speaking.
- Good price
- Very futuristic look that stands out
- Flexes well and is lightweight
Under Armour Men’s UA Curry 6 Low Basketball Shoes
Rounding out our list today is this pair of shoes from Under Armour, which works very well for Steph Curry as he looks to sink three after three in games of the Warriors. These low tops are made for maximum maneuverability, and they have just hit the market recently, coming with a number of improvements over previous iterations. One of those changes has been to incorporate a thicker material in the toes to help curtail toe injuries from occurring. Despite that change, they are still very light, allowing you to be fully agile, thanks to the use of EVA and other materials that help reduce the overall weight greatly. Coming in a number of colors, there is something for everyone to be happy with. Lastly, it’s worth noting that the combination of synthetic materials makes these shoes very flexible, helping you to have maximum comfort while you try and make history just like the Warriors’ point guard so regularly does.
- Reinforced toe area
- Very, very flexible
- Tons of great colors
Conclusion And Final Lightest Basketball Shoes Recommendations
Finding basketball shoes today has never been easier. But then again, it’s also extremely difficult to narrow it down and get into specifics when you have the internet before you. You might sit down and hope to look at a few pair only to eventually find out that you can’t even come close to cutting them all down. You may not even know what the ‘in’ style is today, and online shopping can confuse you and make it impossible to even figure that out. With our guide today, we have not only given you all you need to know about the lightest basketball shoes on the market, but we have also offered up examples of them to you. By doing so, you’ve only had to come to one place, which is great since you don’t want to be scurrying from page to page desperately. So, get to shopping and finding the right pair to take your game up to the next level!
FAQ’s About Lightest Basketball Shoes
What Should I Look For to Find a Light Basketball Shoe?
First and foremost, a good place to start is with the top. If the heels come up to the back of your ankles, they probably will be clunky compared to those that aren’t. Next, you need to make sure there is some mechanism of support. No support will leave you feeling worn out and sore after playing, neither of which will be conducive to you having a long career in the game. Also, the total weight, if you can come up with the number, is very useful in helping decipher if a shoe is indeed light or heavy.
Which Brands Are Best?
Honestly, brand names are going to be very subjective in this particular area, but one thing is very clear. For the most part, the bigger the name brand is and the more well known it is on the marketplace, the lighter the shoe has the potential to be. The big companies, like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are in an arms race right now to try and come up with the best, most supportive, and lightest shoes they can. Their athletes are pushing them to do this, so it’s becoming a race. Because they have such massive development and technology wings to them, they are able to make their shoes lighter than most of the ‘others’ out there, which accounts for why so many of the shoes on our list today come from those ‘big three’ companies.