Got a young baller who’s looking to get a quality pair of shoes? Life isn’t as simple for an upcoming kind as it is for a grown athlete in the basketball shoe word.
Children’s feet are constantly growing, some kids often got some orthopedic issues that need to be corrected and everyone’s physiological progress is different.
Plus, the variety of kid’s hoop kicks isn’t as huge as men’s. Let’s knock out all those birds with one stone – today, I’ll give you my list of the 6 best basketball shoes for kids.
I tried to really slim down the list to only the most worthwhile picks to not over confuse you – all of them will be a bit different, so I believe every kid player will likely find something they like here!
Let’s jump right in starting in at number six…
#6 UNDER ARMOUR KIDS JET
One of UA’s lesser-known releases but I think one of the most surprising performers, both for kids and men. These got your typical Under Armour’s modern upper material combo: a synthetic overlay with a layer of synthetic leather for additional support and durability. The midsole features standard EVA foam. These also got a midfoot shank along with an internal heel counter for optimal lockdown for your foot.
Strong points. The biggest draw to these was easily the fit and how secure but still comfortable they feel, without weighing down the shoe or getting any distractions in the way. The construction offers a pretty roomy but secure fit which I think will work well for a kid for a foot that’s not yet clear how fast or present the foot growth will be.
I also liked the traction which is a bit sensitive to dirty courts at times but not a big deal at all.
Drawbacks. A very mediocre EVA foam setup for impact protection. Of course, there’s not much to expect at this price tag but for a kind who’s looking for good impact absorption and is naturally drawn to a more athletic playstyle – you might want to skip these. Also, the outsole’s pattern isn’t of the most durable so I’d recommend keeping outdoor games with these to a minimum.
#5 UNDER ARMOUR KIDS CURRY 7
The latest iteration to the Curry line packs awesome performance and improved features. These got a MicroG & HOVR cushion setup combination for the midsole. The upper is, again, something from the new world and consists of a textile & synthetic blend. Standard features such as an internal heel cup and outrigger are in place as well for foot stability and support.
Strong points. On-court grip is always something out of this world in the Curry line and this one’s no exception. Your kid will NEVER slide all over the place with these.
The shoe’s support is brilliant, along with maintaining stability but keeping you feeling agile – something critical to allow the young gun maximum freedom to play but to also protect him from unneeded injuries. The shoe feels superb overall.
Drawbacks. Like the Jet, this one isn’t a cushioning beast either. I did expect more from MicroG with HOVR but hey, it’s a Curry shoe – agility, court feel and 100% focus on freedom of movement are what’s the biggest focus here.
If you or your kid’s a spot-up shooter, a lighter player, or a generally quick & low to the ground guy – this is your shoe. Get it. Don’t think about it.
Perhaps you’re looking for how to choose the best shoe for men instead? Check my men’s basketball shoes buying guide here.
#4 NIKE KIDS LEBRON 17
The LeBron 17 for kids packs ZOOM AIR with Phylon midsole for a smooth ride and a Knitposite upper, which is essentially a knit with some synthetic layer sports in key areas for protection and durability.
Strong points. A complete opposite from the two UA kicks above in the list – the 17th LeBron will have your kid feeling like he’s running on freaking clouds. Literally. One of the bounciest, softest, and most fun to play in midsoles a person can play in for sure.
Along with that, all that bounce and sinking-in won’t make you unstable – there are plenty of implementations in the support department which will ensure any kind will feel stable, secure, and ready to rock at 100%. A great option for someone who’s experiencing rapid foot growth at the moment or with wide feet in general – the stretchy upper adapts to any foot quickly and seamlessly.
Drawbacks. Having this kind of crazy cushion will result in not feeling the court as good and quickness/change of direction will suffer a tiny bit. So if you’re looking for something a bit more versatile – this one’s a no-go. Also, one of the priciest models in the list.
#3: NIKE KIDS KD 12
The Nikey KD 12 features full-length ZOOM AIR cushion, a translucent outsole, a classic mesh & Fuse upper, and your standard lockdown tech.
Strong points. These ones are no joke. I think it’s the best-optimized shoe for kids to play in for long amounts of time. The full-length ZOOM cushion setup is so brilliant here – it’s bouncy, soft, and pleasant to play in but it’s contained and constructed so well that you really don’t feel like you’re high off the ground – you are still quick, agile and precise with your movements.
Despite the outsole being translucent, I’ve found these to be brilliantly grippy and durable both indoors and outdoors. Support along with lockdown and foot stability is amazing. Pair that with the comfiness ZOOM offers here and you got yourself a winner.
Drawbacks. Kevin Durant’s kicks are known to be narrow, so for a kid who’s got wide feet or they’re currently growing fast, you might want to consider going up half a size.
#2 NIKE KIDS KYRIE 6
The latest Kyrie’s masterpiece comes with Zoom Turbo cushioning, the upper is a premium blend of genuine leather and soft textile. A midfoot strap, forefoot nylon cables, an internal lacing system, and a heel counter makes sure the support and stability are literally unbreakable.
Strong points. Three things. The cushion setup is single-handedly the most versatile we’ve ever had on a Kyrie. The traction is outstanding as usual – outdoors or indoors. The overall stability, lockdown, and support are nothing less of phenomenal – if your kid’s having foot issues such as constant ankle rolling – get these. Period.
Overall, it’s a premium shoe with premium materials and features that I think most children will find awesome.
Drawbacks. Just as most people that played in these, I have also found these to be very tight and snug. I got wide and high arched feet (I know, a nightmare combo), I went up half a size and still felt like I’d like more free space inside. Something a regular footer likely will find more forgiving than me but I’d advise not going with these if the kid prefers a nice, smooth fit, not a very snug one.
#1 PICK: NIKE KIDS PG3
Paul George’s signature line is constantly going strong so far and the third model has a ZOOM AIR midsole, a synthetic & mesh upper along with the standard support and lockdown implementations.
Strong points. This is one of those models that are really versatile and most kids will find it awesome. The cushion setup is nice and smooth but still contained and stable, amazing traction and the fit is near-perfect, even for a wide footer, as long as he/she gives it time to break in.
Drawbacks. The shoe’s upper isn’t one of the more durable ones as the mesh can pretty quickly wear out, so you might want to reconsider if you’ll be rocking these on asphalt.
Also, from other reviews and people’s feedback I’ve heard that the fit is pretty mystical and had mixed feelings whether you should go true to size or not. So this is one of those models where you’re gonna want to try them on first.
WHAT’S YOUR KID’S FAVORITE SHOE?
I hope you found this list useful! I got a question though – does your kid has a current favorite shoe at the moment? If he does, perhaps he needs a refresh?
Also, I’ve made a similar guide to break down the best shoes for teenagers. Check it out!
If you got any questions, suggestions, or just want to have a chat…