Outdoor basketball usually takes place on harder outdoor courts like asphalt or some other pavement surface. However, not every basketball shoe is built for outdoor use. Shoes used for outdoor games will wear more quickly compared to a wood court.
Do you play outdoors a lot? It’s important to find sneakers that will let you deliver your best when playing on harder surfaces and in the elements. An outdoor basketball shoe is engineered for asphalt, withstanding more damage, tear and wear.
We bring you our list of best Nike outdoor shoes that excel in terms of traction, cushion, fit, material, and support.
- Nike Lebron Soldier 13
- Nike KD Trey 5 VII
- Nike Air Versatile 3 Basketball Shoe
- Nike Precision 2
- Nike Air Zoom BB NXT Basketball Shoes for Men
- Nike Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 SE Men’s Basketball Shoe
- Kobe Mamba Rage Men’s Basketball Shoes
- Nike Zoom KD 12
Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Outdoor Reviews
Inspired by Lebron’s devastating skills on the court, the Nike Soldier 13 SFG combines top-notch cushioning, support, and containment.
The herringbone pattern with a multidirectional pattern handles dust pretty well, making it ideal for dirtier or outdoor courts, while the sturdy rubber is outdoor-ready, offering durability.
The Soldier 13 SFG doesn’t offer a crazy amount of cushioning or bounce, but it is secure, shock-absorbing, and not bulky-feeling. With a bottom-loaded heel and forefoot Zoom units, in addition to a Phylon midsole, this Nike Lebron gets the job done.
The upper is made of ripstop style fabric, providing lightweight and breathable performance and less break-in time. Due to the laceless design, the flexible ripstop upper stretches and allows for easy entry while locking you in.
The high-top profile with Velcro cross straps lends a stylish look, while the iconic King James crown logo adds a signature shoe appeal.
In terms of size, the Soldier 13 SFG runs true to size but fits a bit too snug. Wide footers may have to go up half a size to have some breathing room.
- Foam midsole with bottom-loaded heel and forefoot Zoom Air units for responsiveness
- Rubber outsole with a herringbone traction pattern provides multi-surface traction
- Strong and flexible ripstop upper stretches and locks you in
- Flexible inner sleeve expands the collar for easy entry
- Very grippy outsole
- Impressive lockdown and support
- Snug fit
- Easy to put on and off
- Great level of stability and support
- Cushioning is more plush and responsive than the previous model
- Narrow fit not suitable for wide-footers
The Nike Lebron Soldier 13 is a versatile shoe for all types of players. It provides a responsive cushion setup, decent support, and a pretty decent upper material. Buyers have praised the fantastic outdoor-ready traction and extremely secure fit. However, the laceless design and average bounce might be deal breakers for some.
2. Nike KD Trey 5 VII – Nike Unisex Basketball Shoes
The Nike KD Trey 5 VII offers a broken-in feel right out of the box in addition to a supportive fit and bouncy cushioning. With an engineered mesh upper, the KD 5 VII provides breathable comfort, while the low-to-mid-top collar keeps you contained and supported throughout the gaming session.
The KD Trey 5 VII is Nike’s first basketball shoe to feature Renew cushioning with a dual-density foam setup. Users have commended the supported bounce and springy responsiveness of this sneaker. In addition, the rubber outsole delivers impressive traction on a variety of court surfaces and doesn’t pick up dust.
Kevin Durant’s collection is known for its snug fit, and this model is not an exception. It’s long and narrow. So, if you’re wide-footed, you should consider that.
- Nike’s Renew foam cushioning provides a plush feel and springy responsiveness
- Low-to-mid-cut design for enhanced ankle support
- A lace-up closure system for a customized fit
- Padded collar for all-round comfort
- Reinforced toe resists wearing at the forefoot area for durability
- Soft and comfortable cushioning
- Top-notch traction
- Moderate arch support
- True to size
- Extremely lightweight and breathable
- Average stability and support
- Material feels cheap
The Nike KD Trey 5 VII boasts increased durability and a lot of impact protection. Many users have noted how amazing the cushioning feels underfoot. The major drawback, however, is the non-premium materials. However, if you need a responsive shoe that keeps you comfortable game-long and offers above-average traction, the Nike KD Trey 5 VII fits the bill.
The Nike Air III is made for all types of players. Like the Versatile 2, the Versatile 3 offers a foam midsole with an Air-sole unit for increased impact protection. You also get the lace-up closure and a mid-foot containment system for support and lockdown, similar to the Versatile 2. However, the Versatile 3 takes it up a notch with a midfoot saddle for more lockdown.
Though both shoes provide breathable support with their lightweight upper, Nike has changed the material. While the previous model uses premium mesh and a woven fabric with synthetic overlays, the Versatile III features a heathered textile material, providing flexibility and breathability. The visible Air unit adds style and function.
In terms of traction, the Versatile III offers circular traction that lets you take sharp turns seamlessly.
- Foam midsole with an Air-sole unit for increased responsiveness and impact protection
- Cushioned footbed for enhanced comfort
- Rubber outsole and circular traction pattern for multi-directional movement
- Midtop design for ankle support and mobility
- Midfoot saddle for stability
- Step-in comfort
- Value for money
- Stylish design
- Narrow fit
- Stiff midsole
Thanks to its lightweight construction, the Air Versatile 3 offers speed for guards and players at all positions. Users love the step-in comfort provided by the Air-sole unit and heathered. However, the foam midsole feels a bit stiff, according to some users.
Looking for an affordable shoe that just performs well on the court? The Precision II is a huge improvement over its predecessor in terms of comfort and stability.
In terms of material, the Air Precision 2 offers a budget setup. You get a Flynit mesh upper with foam that feels extremely soft and lightweight. The minimalist full-length foam midsole provides responsiveness not expected in a budget model. It’s bouncy, soft, and provides a low-to-the-ground feel.
Traction on the Precision 2 is pretty decent, thanks to the durable rubber outsole with herringbone patterns. You get good traction on clean courts, and the multidirectional narrow pattern lets you perform quick cuts. However, the outsoles pick up dust easily and require constant wiping. Users have also noted that the outsole wears out easily on outdoor courts.
A major convenience feature of the Nike Air Precision 2 is the dual-strap lockdown system or what Nike refers to as ‘FlyEase’. For extra support, this Precision 2 has a thick pad around the ankle area.
An Air unit is embedded in the heel for lightweight impact protection, and the internal midfoot shank provides torsional rigidity. Completing the cushion setup is a thick phylon midsole for extreme comfort. Not to mention the padded collar that makes the shoe feel extra snug and comfy.
- Flynit mesh upper with foam for lightweight comfort
- Full-length foam midsole
- Dual-strap lockdown
- Internal midfoot shank
- Air Unit in the heel
- Supportive and comfortable
- High-performing Nike Air sole
- Nice looking silhouette
- Easy to wear and remove
- Comfortable ankle padding
- Secure and powerful traction
- Stiff and requires a breaking period
- The outsole wears out quickly
- Picks up dust easily
- Small and narrow fit
The Nike Air Precision 2 is versatile for any type of player, whether you need impact protection or responsiveness. It also works great as an everyday shoe for work, running, taking walks, or going to the gym. The best part of the Precision ii is the value for money.
5. Nike Air Zoom BB NXT Basketball Shoes for Men
From a first glimpse, the Zoom BB NXT looks like an elevated sleek shoe. But it offers more than the raised midsole. Structured like those Adidas EQT basketball models, it’s made to help players feel light, responsive, and secure.
There’s nothing fancy about the NXT’s material. The textile upper is comfy and breaks in seamlessly, while the additional overlays lend a sturdy feel. However, some buyers note that the material is too thick and not breathable.
The major selling point of the NXT is its plush cushioning. You get a double-stacked React insole and two Forefoot Zoom Units for that extreme off-the-ground feel. If you usually play in low-to-the-ground shoes, it’d take a while to get used to the NXT. Also, the support is subpar at times due to the plush cushioning and high ride. Some wearers indicate a lack of stability when making lateral cuts.
Besides the cushioning, the Nike Zoom BB NXT offers impressive traction. Wearers are impressed by the durability of the outsole on both outdoor and indoor courts. It delivers a solid grip while holding up to wear.
This Nike Zoom NXT is supportive, thanks to the upper that fits like glove. The rear sculpting and the internal heel counter provide extra support. It also has a moderator plate that acts as both a torsion plate and a cushion.
- Double-Stacked React foam
- 2 large volume forefoot Zoom pods
- Internal heel counter
- Textile upper
- TPU moderator/shank
- Heel-to-toe cushioning
- Impressive traction
- Bouncy and responsive
- Lacks stability on lateral cuts
- Non-premium upper material
The NXT delivers in areas of impact protection, comfort, bounce back, and responsiveness. Wearers are impressed by the extreme cushioning and impressive traction. The performance makes up for the non-premium construction and average aesthetics.
6. Nike Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 SE Men’s Basketball Shoe
Made for explosive players like Russel Westbrook, the Why Not Zer0.2 is an all-rounder that combines extravagant design with a well-balanced cushioning and impressive support.
In terms of traction, the Jordan Why Not Zero.2 offers a rubber outsole with a cored-out traction pattern for secure traction and lightweight flexibility. Many users noted how grippy the solid rubber grabs, even on dusty courts. However, the rubber is on the softer side and may wear out quickly when used on outdoor courts.
In addition, the curved outsole design helps smooth the heel-to-toe transition as you maneuver on the court. The support and lockdown are generally decent. No heel slippage. No side-to-side movement.
The cushioning setup is a perfect balance of stiffness and bounce. With a large volume Zoom Air unit in the forefoot, you get a lot of impact protection. And while the heel is just regular phylon, it delivers a nice compression. Though the court feel could be better, the Zero.2 feels good underfoot from the get-go.
The material of these Nike Jordan is a blend of mesh and knit materials, which according to users, feels more premium than most shoes in its price range. In terms of style, the Why NotZer0.2 boasts a deconstructed upper with a translucent midfoot saddle
- Rubber outsole with cored-out traction pattern
- Curved outsole for smooth heel-to-toe transition
- Forefoot Zoom Air unit delivers a lightweight and responsive ride
- Lightweight upper material provides flexibility, support, and breathability
- Beefy internal heel counter enhance stability
- Great all-rounder
- Well-balanced cushioning
- Superb traction and fit
- Comfortable in the heel
- Breaks in quickly
- Pretty bulky
- One-bootie construction takes a while to break-in
- Poor traction outdoors
- Fits a bit long and wide
Overall, the Why Not Zer0.2 delivers impressive traction. And though the cushioning is not full-length Zoom like its predecessor, the forefoot Zoom Air performs extremely well and the Phylon heel is super comfy. Another advantage of this sneaker is the support and lockdown. The flashy design notwithstanding, the Why Not Zero.2 has no major weakness. However, it doesn’t stand out in any aspect.
Celebrating Kobe Bryant’s relentless tenacity, the Mamba Rage offers a tough construction, top-notch traction, and high-end performance. This versatile sneaker is a great option for all levels of players.
The Lunarlonfoam midsole and Flyweave upper material deliver targeted support and comfort. The cushion is minimal but plush and low to the ground.
For top-grade underfoot performance, the Mamba Rage features a rubber outsole with micro-tread traction. However, some wearers have noted that the traction is inconsistent. At times, it grips; other times, it needs constant wiping due to dust accumulation. In addition, the rubber outsole is soft and might burn out quickly when playing outdoors.
The Mamba Rage fits true to size, and the wide fit makes it ideal for wide footers. And though the Flyweave upper material feels stiff, it delivers impressive lockdown and containment. Users reported not having any unexpected sliding around.
- Rubber outsole with micro-tread traction
- Thin Lunarlon foam for a low-to-the-ground feel
- Flyweave upper for a lightweight and sturdy support
- Low to the ground feel
- Excellent lockdown
- True to size
- Lateral outriggers
- Flexible and lightweight
- Full-length Lunarlon cushion
- Value for money
- Extended break-in time
- A bit tight around the midfoot
- Stiff upper
- Not breathable
- Outdoor performance could be improved
- Upper material could be more durable
The Nike Mamba is an excellent option for guards who need a light shoe and more support. However, the inflexible upper and inconsistent traction are major drawbacks. Though it’s not a top performer on the court, the Nike Mamba Rage is great as an everyday shoe for work, gym, or lifestyle wear.
The KD 12 offers the basic textile Fuse and screen mesh. However, the minimal design gets the job done right out of the box and buyers have verified that it’s durable. The full-length Zoom Air offers maximum impact protection while delivering a low-to-the-ground feel. You get the speed you need without sacrificing protection.
Another aspect where the KD 12 excels is the snug fit. It has a half-booty construction, while the tongue is made of fly knit material for a comfy hug around your ankle. However, it’s a bit snug at the forefoot. The overall fit and lockdown of the KD 12 are great. For incredible torsional support, most of the TPU cage wraps the midsole, preventing over-flexing of the foot.
For extra support, the midsole also cups the heel and the forefoot a bit to keep your feet contained, and the translucent rubber outsole provides a solid grip. However, the outsole is soft and doesn’t stand up to wear on hard flooring.
Many buyers have commended the extra support delivered by the mid-to-high-top cut of the KD 12. A large Swoosh on the lateral side in combination with the KD branding on the heel and tongue tab adds a sporty vibe.
- A full-length Zoom Air unit follows for a smooth heel-to-toe transition
- Additional Zoom Air unit at the heel provides extra bounce on the court
- Perforated midsole reduces the shoes’ overall weight
- Translucent rubber outsole with a fingerprint-like traction pattern
- 4-way directional Flywire cables deliver multidirectional containment
- Quad Axial Flywire cables for targeted support
- Bouncy and responsive
- Extremely comfortable
- Great all-rounder
- Impressive on-court grip
- No break-in time
- Excellent lockdown and containment
- Flexible and breathable
- Full-length Zoom for extreme comfort
- Runs a bit narrow at the forefoot
- Not as good-looking as the KD 11
- Non-premium materials
- Not for the outdoors
Nike KD 12 delivers a solid fit, consistent traction, and decent materials that get the job done. The cushion is responsive and low, and the lockdown and support are impressive. It’s an upgrade to the KD 11 in terms of lockdown, containment, and overall performance.
We alos have reviewed the best nike mid top basketball shoes.
How to Choose the Best Nike Outdoor Basketball Shoes
Most basketball shoes are designed for indoor play. If you’ll be playing regularly outdoors, you need a basketball shoe with a thicker, sturdy outsole and tread that can stand up to asphalt.
The soles of an outdoor basketball shoe should improve your performance while holding up to wear on hard surfaces.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing an outdoor basketball shoe:
The first thing to consider is the material of your outdoor basketball shoe. Most high-quality basketball shoes feature to rubber. The soles of indoor basketball shoes are made with thinner rubber for speed and lightweight responsiveness. Outdoor basketball shoes, on the other hand, are sturdier and thicker.
Your primary outdoor basketball shoe should have dense rubber to withstand the abrasions from rough outdoor. If the outsole is soft, it’ll burn out quickly.
Pattern of Traction
For solid traction, the soles of basketball shoes have a herringbone pattern. This enhances stability and traction for stops, improved starts, and pivots. However, while aggressive traction patterns may work well for indoor courts, they tend to wear out quickly outdoors.
It’s advisable to go for flat patterns. They withstand the rough floorings of outdoor courts better, picking up less dust while wearing out uniformly. Another great option is the recessed traction patterned soles. They are generally more durable on hard surfaces and aid uniform wear and tear.
When it comes to durability, outsoles made of modern synthetics such as TPU plastics are generally long-lasting than those constructed with raw materials.
However, if you’re going for raw materials, look for basketball shoes that have multiple overlays at high-wear areas such as the toe and the heel.
Outdoor basketball shoes need a lot of impact protection due to the harsh nature of the blacktop. As a result, you can’t afford to overlook cushioning.
Experts recommend shoes with full-length Zoom Air. If you must compromise, ensure the shoes have a well-balanced cushion at the heel at the forefoot to keep your feet comfortable game long.
Avoid Nike Air shoes with visible Air units when playing outdoors. Though they provide impact absorption, the Air units tend to pop faster than when used indoors.
Unlike indoor hardwood flooring, outdoor courts are less forgiving when it comes to your shoe’s outsole. A sturdy and durable rubber outsole, wide and deep traction grooves, tough, and resilient upper material are some things to look out for. Also, it should be affordable. Because, no matter how long it lasts, it won’t last forever.
Can You Wear Your Basketball Shoes Outside?
Unless your basketball shoe has a dense rubber sole with flat or recessed patterns, it won’t withstand the rough surfaces. It’s either you buy a basketball shoe made for the outdoors or use one of your old indoor basketball shoes. You won’t want your new indoor basketball shoes to wear off on outdoor courts.
Is Kyrie 6 Good for the Outdoors?
The traction on the Kyrie 6 is impressive. However, the rubber is a bit soft and might not stand up to the outdoors.
Is LeBron 4 Good for the Outdoors?
The traction on the Lebron 4 doesn’t bite hard and the performance on outdoor courts is average.
Is LeBron Soldier 12 Good for the Outdoors?
The outsole rubber of the Lebron 12 Soldier has a multidirectional traction pattern for both linear and lateral footwork. But the rubber is too soft and not sturdy enough for outdoor use.
Is KD 13 Good for Outdoor?
The rubber outsole of the KD 13 is pretty thick and durable. It works well outdoors and withstands rough surfaces. However, you don’t want to play in it outdoors all the time to prevent wear.