After my budget guide of quality shoes under 100 bucks – let’s take another step down for those who are looking to spend the least amount of cash for a worthy basketball shoe. I present to you my list of the five best basketball shoes under $50!
Now, before we get into this, I’d like to point out a few things to make sure we’re all on the same page.
TIMES FOR CONSUMERS ARE BETTER THAN EVER
First, it is 2020 today, and performance shoes are getting better by the minute, not to mention that brands are all trying to improve their product while keeping the price competitive.
This is why it’s an awesome opportunity for you guys to save some serious cash and grab a steal you’d normally not be able to get a few years ago. There are plenty of releases in 2015-2019 that were once over $100 and now you can get several options literally for 50 bucks, mostly on Amazon.
However, finding a great all-around shoe that’s both recent in terms of technology and holds up in terms of performance, and priced around $50 is pretty tough. Let’s discuss what exactly you can expect for this price range.
WHAT YOU’LL BE GETTING FOR JUST 50 BUCKS?
This will really depend on the brand but I can tell you right now – I’ve picked five shoes that are still competent in terms of tech offered and that provide competent performance when compared to more expensive mainstream releases. You just have to know what to look for!
The reason why you’ll be getting a solid shoe for that low of a price is because the shoe was once priced much higher and considered almost top of the line. Sure, there are some second-tier models that are meant to be priced cheaply for a specific group of people.
So in result, I’ve compiled a list that accompanies the best of both worlds.
I’ll be quickly breaking down five shoes and their performance, their value for the price, overall build quality, and also note some possible drawbacks.
THE HIDDEN GEMS – TOP 5 SHOES UNDER $50
#5 – Adidas Harden B/E 3
Retail Price: $100
Price NOW: $35-$115
Coming in at number five is Harden’s secondary signature line’s third model – the B/E 3.
No, it’s not the best shoe in the list and the shoe is far from perfect, so I do want to make that clear. Lots of users complained about certain aspects of the shoe, however, some really liked these. As for me – I’ve mixed feelings about them but more to the positive side other than the negative.
If you’d like to try this shoe out – it’s one of those times where I’d recommend trying them on and testing them out before you really commit, if you’re able to.
You’ll be able to find some sizes, including common ones such as size 10 (US) for or very close to $50 on Amazon.
Strong points. Taking that to the side, the shoe does offer some decent specs for the price you can get it for today.
We have full-length Bounce cushion which is nothing spectacular or super bouncy but does get the job done in terms of mild impact protection and some court feel. You won’t feel slow with these, neither you’ll feel like you’re on rocks, so the setup is balanced.
These are also very easy to put on thanks to their intricate sleeve-like design. I know a lot of people won’t exactly be thrilled by their look but hey, on-court performance is what we’re chasing here.
Drawbacks. The shoe’s overall foot support and containment are what threw me off the most in these. The shoe rocks a soft, flimsy type of upper that looks and feels like a thick sock.
Unfortunately, there are no real features to balance this out and provide adequate foot support. My foot was all over the place while playing in these as there’s simply nothing to really hold it in place.
The traction is solid on all courts I’ve tried but it looks pretty unreliable – don’t expect these to last long on an outdoor court.
I’d recommend these for someone who doesn’t rely on speed or quick movements. A spot-up shooter could possibly like these.
#4 – Under Armour Jet 2019
Retail Price: $95
Price NOW: $40-$75
To put things into perspective, I actually really like the UA Jet 2019. It’s one of those shoes that you don’t see too often and chances are, you’ve never even heard about them. But hey, you can grab them for cheap on Amazon and they still hold up pretty well!
Strong points. The shoe has a basic EVA midsole for cushioning but it’s legit one of the most comfortable barebones EVA setups I’ve ever played in.
It’s bouncy, it’s soft, it provides plenty of impact absorption for most players and it doesn’t slow you down too much. Yeah, it’s something you rarely see from a budget foam setup but I welcome it with open arms!
Unlike the Harden B/E 3, the Jet 2019 does provide critical support features to provide strong support and contains your foot pretty well. It’s nothing crazy but will surely get the job done for lighter/medium-weight players.
It has an internal heel counter for ankle and heel lockdown, a midfoot shank for lateral support, the upper is molded with TPU in key areas and the shoe has a one bootie construction which actually works pretty well here and takes care of the containment.
Drawbacks. Traction would be something that could’ve been stronger and more reliable. These aren’t sensitive to dust, so you won’t have to be wiping them constantly.
But it’s the base traction of the shoe that could be stronger – these didn’t bite the floor as well as I would’ve liked in some instances. No, it’s not the worst I’ve tried but something that should be taken into account, especially if you’re someone who plays with a lot of force.
The break-in period of the shoe’s materials is also pretty lengthy, longer than most shoes even with a similar upper. Be prepared for a prominent break-in process. The shoe will feel fine after that’s done though, just have to grind it out!
#3 – Adidas Marquee Boost
Retail Price: $130
Price NOW: $50-$160
Another sleeper that you may or may not have heard about – the Marquees Boost pretty much proves that you can have a new shoe with top-of-the-line specs priced as low as it is at the moment.
It’s pretty crazy knowing the fact that you can find these for $50 on Amazon, for some sizes and/or colors. adidas.com also tends to put these at a discount quite often, so be on the lookout for that as well.
Strong points. Full-length Boost sports the shoe’s cushion setup and it’s just as amazing as you’d expect from a Boost model. The heel area is springy as hell, tons of impact protection that’s also quick and doesn’t slow you down.
The forefoot area isn’t as soft but it’s intentionally designed to stabilize Boost and make sure you’re still as fast and responsive as possible. This is a $150 shoe setup that you can now get for $50. Damn!
Overall support and security of the shoe are also solid. Nothing tank-like you’d see on a LeBron shoe but not all players need that. The Marquee Boost has an internal heel counter, external outriggers for lateral protection, torsional stability is also solid and the shoe’s platform is nice and wide, further enhancing the shoe’s stability.
Drawbacks. Being a wide footer, I suppose it does have an effect but generally speaking, I didn’t like the extra dead space in the forefoot area. I’m not sure how a regular footer will feel in these while going true to size, but I’d also recommend trying these on if you’re able to, as the fit might be a bit tricky to nail.
Also, the rubber used on the outsole is pretty shallow and thin, which means this won’t be in your outdoor rotation for a long time. Due to the dense pattern of the outsole, these are also very prone to collecting dust, so be prepared to wipe them off constantly.
#2 – Adidas Pro Bounce 2019
Retail Price: $110
Price NOW: $35-180
One of 2019’s budget models from Adidas proves to be a fantastic option for those looking to save cash and also get a versatile package.
Strong points. The shoe features full-length Bounce cushion and if you’ve had experience with Bounce before, such as on the Dame 5 – you already know it provides one of the most balanced rides EVER.
It’s quick, it’s responsive, it’s fairly low to the ground but it’s not firm or dead feeling by any means. You still get impact protection both in the heel and forefoot and the energy return is almost as good and quick as on some Boost models.
The shoe is also supportive. Most essential features are all there and I never felt insecure while playing in these. I also liked the traction – never once I’ve slipped or slid out in a major way, and the outsole isn’t too prone to dust so wiping often won’t be something you need to worry about.
As for durability outdoors, I wouldn’t put these into my outdoor rotation but I think they would last a while, unlike certain indoor models released today.
Drawbacks. I didn’t particularly like the upper choice in terms of performance. It’s all mesh with an overlay of Fuse around the laces. It’s not flexible, it’s not the most comfortable in the world and it took a while to break them in, not to mention the break-in process itself was no picnic.
Of course, I don’t think it’s logical to expect something substantially more premium than this for a price like this but if you hate cheaper, stiffer uppers – this one might not impress you too much.
#1 PICK – Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017
Retail Price: $150
Price NOW: $40-$150
An onslaught of new releases from Adidas is claiming to offer some of the best Boost and Bounce variations, along with superb all-around performance to go along with it. Sure, there are some great models to choose from in 2020, but yet here we are.
The Crazy Explosive 2017 was released three years ago, I’ve been playing in them ever since and can confidently say they still kick several new “top of the line” shoes’ butt. And the best part, you can find these for dirt cheap at Amazon.
Listen, if you see them for less than $100 for your size, it’s already a steal. But if you see them at $50 – I don’t think you should be asking more questions at that point.
Strong points. This is one of the three shoes from Adidas (the other two being the Dame 3 and the D Rose 6) that I’m still playing in ’till this day and loving it. And for good reason – they scream all-around performance, versatility, and balance.
Full-length Boost cushion at its finest, tank-like support that’s achieved in a very comfortable and lightweight manner, so you’re not slowed down by any means. Traction is phenomenal and also durable for outdoor use, and the upper comes in two options: mesh or Primeknit.
Primeknit will be the king in terms of comfort and the premium feel but it will be more realistic for you to find the shoe for $50 in the regular mesh version since it’s priced lower. Doesn’t matter though, it’s still comfortable, secure, and better than lots of “cheaper” material options released today.
Drawbacks. It’s really tough to find drawbacks in a shoe that ticks all the boxes in terms of performance and versatility. The only thing I could point out is the shoe’s outsole tends to collect dust fairly easily. It’s fine on a good condition court but outdoors or on a dusty surface, you’ll have to wipe them off occasionally to preserve optimal grip.
That is it for today’s list! I hope you found it useful, and now realize that it’s not all about the price tag! Sure, there are plenty of mainstream releases that are great and plenty of terrible shoes that are cheap but it’s always possible to find the in-between options!
I STRONGLY recommend you to check out my review of the Crazy Explosive 2017, as it’s one of the best shoes despite being three years old. I’ll be mainly talking about the Primeknit version of the shoe in the review but don’t worry – the regular mesh version is still great and doesn’t have any major culprits you should know about.
Perhaps you’re ready to take things up one notch? If you’re still looking for a budget shoe option but can afford to spend a little bit more, check out the other budget ranges below!
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, want to share your experience, or just want to have a chat,