Best Basketball Shoes for Dunking

Top BBall Shoes for Jumping to Help You Dunk

Height and basketball are almost inseparable concepts. Why is this so? The taller you are, the easier it gets to dunk on a 10-foot high basketball net and slam that ball down. But the fact is that not every baller is a Yao Ming (in terms of his gifted height, of course).

However, we are not saying that you cannot make a good basketball player just because you are not as tall as Yao Ming. Let’s look at Kobe Bryant, for instance. With a height of just 6.2 inches, the guy could jump just as high as Ming. Interesting, right? 

The fact is that every baller often wants to improve their vertical jump so that they can easily get the ball into the net. If you fall in this category, worry no more. Innovation has never disappointed.

Various brands of basketball shoes have emerged, with an aim to maximize your vertical jump and give you that extra bounce. And no, it’s not just one brand or two. They are several.

So, the real task is to find the best available among the many options. More like looking for a needle in a haystack. The good news is that we have done the research on your behalf and assembled a list of the top 5 dunking shoes available.

1. Nike PG 3

 At just 110 US dollars, this 2019 model of low top Nike shoes comes in a variety of colorways depending on your preference. 

The shoes are fitted with zoom Air cushioning in the midsole to cushion your feet and absorb impacts that result from high jumps and landing. In addition, the midsole is fitted with some foam which evenly distributes the impacts.

Further, they have been designed using a strong and comfortable material that does not irritate your feet.

I don’t think you want to purchase shoes that will boost your vertical jump and put your entire game at risk. As such, Nike PG 3 has been designed with a perfect fit which will not destruct you from giving your utmost best.

With the lacing systems, the shoes lockdown your feet perfectly. There is no dead space that is left when wearing the shoe, and neither do you have to worry about your heel slipping out of the shoe when running around the court.

Furthermore, you are guaranteed to get the best grip and traction from these shoes. This is thanks to their traction pattern which has been designed in the form of a ‘moon crater’.

You can be sure that you will get the best support from this brand of Nike.


  • They have good traction
  • They offer the best support
  • Has a great lockdown system


  • The material might look cheap depending on the colorway you choose
  • Outsole not good for outdoor use

2. Nike Lebron 16

If your pockets are heavy enough, you can get this mid top Lebron signature brand from most shops at about 184 US dollars. The quality is great, being an improvement from previous signature shoes.

Wondering whether the shoes can provide the traction that you need to hit that dusty court? Surprise! No traction pattern would be better than the ‘herringbone’ tread pattern that has been used to design the outsoles of these shoes.

You do not have to wipe the shoes each time so as to ensure they give the maximum grip. Neither do you have to break the shoes in, despite the fact that the sole is made from a quality and durable hard rubber material.

As far as cushioning is concerned, this model employs the Zoom Max technology to offer you very forgiving cushioning and a great bounce. This works best with people who have a history of knee injuries or are too heavy.

However, you might want to avoid the shoes if you do not want to lose the court feel, as the zoom cushioning that is high and off the ground takes away this responsiveness.

The Battleknit 2.0 used to manufacture the shoes is less stretchy and thicker, giving the shoes longevity and durability.


  • Made from quality materials
  • Great traction in any court
  • Great cushioning for heavy weight players


  • They are expensive
  • They have low court responsiveness

3. Adidas Dame 5

This mid top brand made by the reputable Adidas Company has a price tag of 115 dollars. They are however worth the price in every aspect, being the latest release from the Damian Lillard’s signature collections. 

Starting from the traction, the outsole of this model has been fitted with a ‘herringbone’ tread pattern which is multi-directional and has thick and widely spaced grooves. This provides the best grip one could need even on dusty courts.

As a disclaimer, however, you will want to avoid the Adidas Dame 5 colorways which have a translucent rubber outsole as they don’t give the best grip on dusty courts. They attract dust very fast and can slip often.

The users of these shoes will be enjoying full-length bounce cushioning as the shoes are springy, thick, and bouncy. Thus, they are good at impact absorption and give an awesome transition from the heel to the toe.

The cushioning is low to the ground and does not take away the court feel and responsiveness. This, therefore, works well with all players. 

The support and stability offered by the Dame shoes are unparalleled. The shoes have an internal heel counter, a wide base, and a TPU cage overlay on the lateral side which lockdown your feet. Their Achilles pillows prevent heel slippage and sliding.

Further, the lacing system and the comfortable internal padding enhance the lockdown and give you a perfect fit.


  • They are comfortable
  • Have a great traction
  • Offer nice cushioning and court responsiveness


  • The translucent rubber outsoles are slippery on dusty courts
  • They leave some dead space in the shoe’s toe box

4. Adidas Harden vol.4

This is a low top model from the various signature collections from James Harden. It has a price tag worth 130 US dollars.

With the shoes, you get to enjoy fairly nice traction and grip. The traction pattern is not very complicated but the shoes perform their job when used on clean courts. For dusty courts, however, you should be ready to do some occasional wiping.

The shoes pick up dust very fast. On the bright side is that they are also wipe friendly and easy to clean.

As far as the cushioning is concerned, the shoes offer minimal impact protection as compared to the earlier models. The brand uses a Lightsrike heel foam cushioning system, a drawback from the earlier version’s Boost cushioning.

However, the cushioning is still perfect, especially for court guards. It is thick and soft in the heel, thin and stiff at the forefoot. As such, there is maximum court responsiveness.

Further, the shoes offer great support and stability thanks to their raised lateral sidewalls, a wide base, and a strong heel counter. The feet are perfectly locked down and there is no heel spillage.


  • The shoes are lighter
  • Have a great lockdown
  • They have a great traction


  • Not perfect for outdoor use
  • The Lightstrike cushioning is less forgiving

5. Nike Kyrie 6

Nike Kyrie uses quality mesh materials that are soft and comfortable as compared to previous models. In addition, they enjoy a touch of leather material that is fitted along the midsole giving the shoes a fancy look.

They offer great support and stability. Since they have an excellent lacing system, a lateral caging system, and extra padding in the interior, your feet remain tightly locked down and there are no cases of heel slips or side to side movement.

The fitting is just perfect. The shoes leave no dead space in your forefeet. However, they might feel a little too tight at the beginning and some breaking in might be necessary before they fit snugly.

Some feet cushioning is guaranteed. The shoes use pronounced Nike Zoom Turbo cushioning in the forefoot, giving you a nice bounce and some pretty nice court responsiveness. 

Additionally, they have an injected Phylon in the midfoot which further improves the bounce and court feedback. Since they are not too soft or too hard and stiff, the shoes are a perfect choice for players of all positions.

Finally, the shoes have great traction derived from their multi-angle tread patterns. It is essential to mention that the traction works better in clean courts. Some wiping is required for dusty courts so as to maintain the grip.

On the downside, the outsoles are not easy to clean. This, therefore, means that the brand might not be the perfect choice for someone who wants outdoor basketball shoes.


  • Great feet cushioning
  • Made from quality materials
  • Have a good lockdown system


  • Not good for outdoor basketball
  • The shoes run smaller than other models of the brand.

Improving Your Vertical Jump: Things to Look for in Given Shoes

We have seen experienced players spring over 4 feet above the ground (a perfect dunk) then slam that ball into the basketball net without a sweat. Then we wonder how they can do that so effortlessly, yet they are not as tall.

In case you are also wondering, then here is the little secret. The type of shoes that they choose play a critical part in that great vertical jump. So then, how do you settle for the best pair?

There are a number of factors that you must look out for. We outline some of them below.

The fit 

The importance of well-fitting shoes while in the court cannot be overstated. Always ensure that the shoe you want to buy is fitting you tightly and that there is no dead space remaining after you have worn the shoes.

To ensure this, the first thing that you should consider is the lock system. In case the shoes use laces, be sure that those laces are long enough but not too long to make you trample over in case they come out.

You might want to get shoes that have another lock mechanism in addition to the laces just to ensure that the shoes will remain tight throughout the game.

Likewise, check how well the shoes lockdown your feet. Different manufacturers use different mechanisms to ensure this. Just as an example, go for shoes that have an internal heel counter, or a lateral TPU cage overlay.

 Likewise, consider those that have Achilles pillows. These prevent your heels from slipping and from moving side to side when you are attempting to make that vertical jump. 

Slippage will significantly affect your stability and reduce your off-the-ground spring height. Therefore, take all necessary precautions. If your shoes are not tight enough, you can use your basketball socks. They work just fine.


The grip and friction of your shoes will always, I stress always, affect your vertical jump. Are you wondering how?

It is common knowledge that both your horizontal and vertical speed affect how well you can jump. Before you make the dunk, you have to run and get as closer to the hoop as you can. 

Afterward, you have to stick one leg firmly on the surface to act as your support and use the other to jump high (or you could use both as well). Now imagine what happens if you slip when trying to break from your horizontal run.

Even worse, imagine what happens if your leg that is supposed to firmly hold to the surface slips over when you are trying to dunk up and slam your ball into the net. You will end up not jumping at all because you fall, or make a low jump.

So you probably understand why traction is as important. Just to be sure, go for outsoles that are made from rubber and are not translucent. As a top-up, the outsoles should also be broad and flat to increase your balance.

Even better, go for outsoles that have a herringbone or hexagonal tread pattern with wide spaces. These will give the traction that you need and prevent you from sliding when you make sudden sharp cuts or stops.


There are two sides of the coin when it comes to the amount of cushioning that you should look out for in dunking shoes. The first has to do with comfort and impact absorption.

You want to go for shoes that offer relative cushioning especially if you tend to have problems with your knees or if you are well built and heavy weight. Good cushioning will reduce the impact and protect you.

On the other side, however, you want to stay away from shoes that have a lot of cushioning if your goal is to improve your vertical jump. Why is this the case?

The cushioning will reduce your court feel and responsiveness. As you push to the ground, some energy is absorbed by the cushioning and you won’t spring back as fast and high.

The wise thing to do therefore is to check the midsole of the shoes that you are intending to purchase. The materials should not be too soft and neither should they be too stiff. 

The weight 

Finally, the weight of your shoes is another critical aspect that will affect your dunking ability. You don’t want to wear shoes that will weigh you down and stop you from making a high vertical jump. 

In essence, you should watch out for the materials that have been used to design your shoes. This will in most cases be either some leather, fabric material or just some suede material.

 The lighter the materials, the lighter the shoes become. Likewise, the lighter the shoes, the higher the vertical jump you can make off the ground.


While in your quest to get the perfect pair of basketball shoes that will boost your vertical jump, you should never forget that other factors play a crucial role as well. This includes features such as the fit of the shoe, traction, and cushioning.

In this guide, we have gone through the trouble to consider the various brands that are available based on expert reviews as well as customer feedbacks. Having finalized the research, we recommend that you get yourself the Nike PG 3 model.

Besides the affordable price, these shoes will offer your feet great cushioning. Do you know why? They use the latest Nike Zoom Air Cushioning technology which guides your feet a great bounce by absorbing any impact generated.

To boost your game further and give you a better dunk, the manufacturers ensured that the shoes get to fit you perfectly and that your feet remain locked down. The lacing system and the interior cage system has made this possible.

Most importantly, the outsole of the shoes has a great ‘moon crater’ traction pattern. This ensures that you have 360 degrees traction in all directions. Even if you brake abruptly, you wouldn’t slip over.

Grab yourself a pair before the stock runs low.  

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