Today I’m compiling my ultimate list of the best basketball shoes under 100 bucks. It’s already known that money and spending as little of it as possible to gain the biggest possible benefit is extremely important to us.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- No $200? No Problem
- Are You Missing Out By Spending Less?
- Save Every Penny: 10 Picks
- There Are Always More Shoes To Find!
NO $200? NO PROBLEM
Not everyone can spend $150+ on a single pair of basketball shoes that might or might not survive a few years before it’s needed to get a brand new pair again. Believe it or not, in 2021, you can still pick up some really nice hoop shoes for that price point, and not feel like you’re underperforming next to expensive LeBron’s or KD’s.
From all the shoes I’ve played in over the years, I’ll break down several shoes that still cost under or very close to $100 that excel in comfort, performance, durability, and value for the price aspects.
But first, let’s address the elephant in the room…
ARE YOU MISSING OUT BY SPENDING LESS?
Depends on how you look at things
More expensive, mainstream shoes such as signature models do offer tech that’s not normally found in cheaper models, and they do have generally higher quality, more premium-feeling materials that usually last longer.
However, the margin from a good cheap shoe to a good expensive shoe is actually smaller than you might think. Specs on the brand’s site do not tell the whole story.
I personally played in $100-$120 shoes that single-handedly outperformed some of $150 kicks or even certain $200 ones like some of LeBron’s or Jordan’s.
This is why comprehensive testing and actually playing in a shoe for a long time is needed to properly evaluate if the shoe does stand up to its price tag.
You gotta remember that we pay a lot for these popular, signature models is because it simply costs the brand a good amount of money to make and publish more expensive tech such as Nikey’s Zoom Air, Adidas’s BOOST, or Under Armour’s HOVR.
That’s why it costs more for us too. Cheaper, sometimes older releases usually do not have as beefy specs or are using ones that are not in production anymore, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad.
So, after doing lots of research, testing, and evaluating, you can realistically find a lot of fantastic performance basketball sneakers in the $100+ range.
And since I’ll be doing all the heavy lifting for you, the list is already compiled!
Let’s get started!
SAVE EVERY PENNY – 10 PICKS
In no particular order. Last updated on the 18th of February, 2021
I. ADIDAS D.O.N. Issue #2
Retail Price: $100
Price NOW: $50-$110
Currently the newest out of the list, and one of the best options if you’re going for a budget adidas shoe.
Just as the previous D.O.N. Issue #1, the second shoe doesn’t really do anything spectacular and its tech specs won’t blow you away but for those who need a good shoe to play in safely and efficiently, this one will absolutely get the job done.
Bounce cushion is offered and while it’s nothing amazing, Bounce is a great budget foam compound that gives you court feel & speed while still retaining moderate impact protection along with minimal spring back upon impact. It’s great for low-profile guards but bigger guys should also find these capable on a budget.
The shoe provides solid traction and you won’t have to deal with wiping the outsoles down, support is on-point just as most adidas shoes nowadays, and the lightweight synthetic upper represents the modern qualities brands are aiming for when putting together materials: lighter weight, comfort, and mobility.
Durability will be questionable if you’re considering putting these in your hardcore outdoor rotation. The outsoles don’t have the most durable rubber but at least it’s not among the worst I’ve seen. Also, make sure to give the midsole to break in as the first few runs might feel a little dead at first.
II. AIR JORDAN CP3.12
Retail Price: $100
Price NOW: $50-$150
A complete sleeper for a lot of people and a shoe that pretty much tells you right to our faces: “You don’t need to spend $150+ to get premium materials and solid specs. Just get the CP3.12!”. And hey, for what the 12th Chris Paul’s sneaker offers, I’m more than cool with.
Forefoot Zoom Air + a quality Phylon midsole is what you get for the cushion setup and it’s pretty damn good. Believe me when I say this, there are PLENTY of more expensive setups that feel nothing like this one. The market is severely inconsistent these days.
We’re getting a balanced ride here equipped with solid impact protection, stability, some court feel, and a slight spring back underfoot. And if that’s not enough, the shoe sports Flyknit all over the upper, giving you Nikey’s flagship material for just $100. It’s comfortable in there.
The shoe also underwent some support upgrades from the last model and the modified herringbone traction pattern on these is deadly. Outdoors, indoors, you name it. While the upper might not seem durable for outdoor play as it’s just a knit, it’s actually a very solid build and should last a while.
These are pretty damn tough to get these days, which would be the main drawback. Amazon never had them for a reasonable price and most sports retailers are focusing on the newer stuff, so eBay is your best bet here. I’ve seen people sell these for as low as 50 bucks, even in more common sizes.
III. ANTA RAJON RONDO RR5
Retail Price: $85
Price NOW: $105-$150
If you haven’t been following Rajon Rondo’s signature shoe line with the Chinese-based brand ANTA, you’re missing on some craaaazy deals. The RR5 is probably the strongest shoe out of the lineup for a lot of people, and it also happens to be priced super competitively.
You can still find these at a bunch of retailers mostly for $105 but you can go all-out and get a colorway for $145.
Another one of those nothing special, yet special shoes. Nothing revolutionary is to be found here but the shoe is so well-rounded, you almost forget you’ve got it on while playing. It just works – and not just for guards.
Awesome multi-directional traction that’s durable for regular outdoor use (since Chinese brands are mostly targeting an outdoor-focused audience), A-Shock cushion that feels very reminiscent of Bounce due to its versatility and fantastic support for a low top.
These sport a thick knit upper that’s both comfortable and has enough structure to keep your foot contained. Seriously, you could take all these parts of the shoe and have Nikey/Jordan think of some fancy tech names and it would be completely okay to price these over $140+. Bottom line is, this is a great shoe for a great price.
The main thing of notice would be the sizing. Since it’s a Chinese-made model, you probably won’t find these above size 11. So for the bigger guys of basketball, unfortunately, you’ll have to skip this one.
IV. NIKE LEBRON WITNESS 4
Retail Price: $100
Price NOW: $60-$100
LeBron’s secondary signature line offers cheaper shoes but a lot of them are surprisingly good. I found the 4th Witness shoe to bring the most bang for your buck, even stacked against the Witness 3 or the Witness 5. You can still get these mostly everywhere for retail ($100) but a few places like Amazon have them for even cheaper.
LeBron’s preferred ride is never firm, so if you’d like to try out a bouncier ride that’s still very well-balanced and preserves the components for a lot of different players – just take the Witness 4’s two forefoot Zoom units + a plushy Phylon midsole! It’s a great setup and doesn’t feel like a “budget” so to speak.
The shoe also has plenty of support features packed resulting in a stable, secure ride, yet one that’s not overly restrictive.
You can thank the almost ridiculously thin mesh upper for that. It’s seriously some of the most minimal stuff I’ve seen lately and while it might not be a premium material, it shines in providing mobility, comfort & keeping minimal weight.
The shoe has got the properties of a quick guard’s shoe but the cushion & overall build will make sure other players will find these just as suitable.
Similar to the flagship LeBron 17, the Witness 4 has slightly questionable traction. It’s not all-out bad as it grips all the floors I’m playing in well, just not in a very consistent manner. You can check out the full review for more insight on it.
And touching back on the traction, the rubber compound used on the outsoles reminds us of the usual shenanigans by Nikey. It’s fairly soft and pliable, so don’t expect these to last as long as an outdoor model.
V. ANTA GH1
Retail Price: $100
Price NOW: $90-$145
Another banger from ANTA that a lot of people probably still don’t know about. It’s time for Gordon Hayward to build his shoe and I’m super happy to see that the first shoe in the lineup happened to be a very well-rounded model that’s consumer-friendly.
Similar to the ANTA RR5, you can find these mostly for $90-$105 but you can find options for $145+.
Very similar vibes to the RR5 – no B.S., just good performance and solid value for the price. Solid traction that’s decent for outdoors, A-Shock cushion that’s very quick & low to the ground but does provide a base level of impact protection & minimal bounce upon impact.
Support is also very well-rounded and the upper is synthetic leather at the front, textiles & neoprene at the midfoot and rear. Not a combo you usually see for this price, and I liked it a lot. It’s sturdy but not overly stiff, so I was always comfy in these.
And hey, durability is never an issue with leather, and the toebox area is most likely to get damaged first. A versatile package we’ve got here – and even though it might not deliver everything certain players want, it will surely deliver what they need to play and have some fun.
Just as the Rondo RR5, you won’t find these in sizes above 11. And be aware of the sizing for this one, Chinese shoe models tend to have a wider platform for the build to cater towards wider feet. If you’re a wide footer like me – true to size is the best option. For regular/narrow footers, going down 1/2 a size is also an option for a snug fit.
VI. UNDER ARMOUR JET 2019
Retail Price: $75
Price NOW: $60-$70
One of the lesser-known releases by UA in the basketball world. Despite the low price tag, this one’s no slouch, for real. They currently retail at 60 euros at underarmour.eu which is about $73. You can also find them on Amazon for similar prices.
I’ve happened to play in them for a bit just when they released and was extremely surprised by some things.
Even though the shoe’s midsole offers a basic EVA foam for cushioning, it’s one of the softest and nicest EVA midsoles I’ve ever played in. They feel like a proper Zoom setup, which is amazing and a bit strange but who we are to complain about that?
You’ll actually get plenty of impact protection throughout the whole foot, and the setup feels pretty versatile, meaning it’s not complete barebones, but not too much to slow you down either. Anyone in positions 1-3 could rock these I feel like.
In terms of support, the shoe features a standard TPU heel counter for heel containment, a midfoot shank for lateral support, an internal bootie construction for a more secure fit, and the upper is molded with TPU for extra coverage.
Once again, nothing crazy but nothing bad either. I wouldn’t give these to a heavy center but someone who’s on the lighter-medium side will find these supportive.
Things I didn’t like as much were the traction and the fit. Traction didn’t completely fail on me but I’ve definitely experienced better traction before, especially on poorer condition courts. This is the area where you can feel the budget pricing kick in, but it all comes with the territory.
I also wasn’t the biggest fan of how the shoe felt the first few weeks. A break-in process is normal for most shoes but if I had to nitpick, lots of shoes nowadays have a much shorter and smoother break-in period than these. After a couple of weeks, they’re fine though.
VII. UNDER ARMOUR SC 3ZER0 III
Retail Price: $90
Price NOW: $60-$100
One of the older Curry models, this one being an alternative version to the original Curry 3, and it comes with certain changes. Importantly, the price tag is chopped down a bit, which is what we’re looking for here. You can still find them for under $90 on Amazon and I believe they still have them at retail over on underarmour.eu.
The shoe features MicroG cushioning in the forefoot and Charged in the heel. Even though MicroG is known to be extremely bouncy and fun on older models, this wasn’t the case on the Curry shoes.
Despite that though, the shoe’s cushioning is very responsive, it’s low profile, it’s speedy, but not to a point where you’re running on bricks, like the Kyrie 2 for example.
The shoe’s support and containment are excellent for a low top. The Curry 3Zer0.III has a midfoot shank, a nice heel counter, and a half bootie construction for improved containment. Curry’s shoes never fail in terms of support & security and this one’s absolutely no exception.
One of the best low tops at that time of release, and still very good now. I’m an explosive guard and I definitely don’t always stay below the rim as Curry does, and these still didn’t fail me once during play.
The traction on these is great, though I wouldn’t take these outdoors as the rubber seems to chip away very quickly, they’re also pretty sensitive to dust, so if you’re not used to wiping the outsoles every few plays, you might face some slight issues during play.
I also didn’t like the tricky fit too much, as the shoe’s length felt a bit weird despite going true to size. I recommend trying these in store if you can still find ’em somewhere. If you’re not able to do so, I recommend going down half a size for pretty much all foot shapes.
VIII. NIKE HYPERDUNK 2017
Retail Price: $140
Price NOW: $80-$100
The last Hyperdunk model by Nike, and it was a true beast. You won’t find them anywhere on Nike.com, but I still see a few colors being sold on Amazon, which is nice. They originally retailed at $140 but you’ll mostly find them under, or very close to $100 at the moment.
If you’re looking for a fantastic, durable, and trustworthy performer that’s for lower-profile players who need maximum mobility and speed, this one’s for you.
They got the REACT cushioning setup throughout the midsole, which goes all for mobility and court feel. This will be a niche-specific shoe, so if you’re looking for very springy, bouncy, and impact protection-heavy shoes, this one’s not for you.
I suppose you could get yourself a quality performance insole that would add a bit of cushion if you really like the shoe but feel its lackluster cushioning. I have a list of the best insoles for basketball right here!
However, opposite of the spectrum, it’s a near-perfect shoe in terms of how the cushioning is implemented and how fast it feels for a guard. I also loved the traction and support. Both are killer – traction is extremely well-done, and these should last a while outdoors.
In terms of support, the Hyperdunk series was known for this, and the 2017 version still destroys some of today’s releases for a similar price.
The cushion setup is built for a quicker guard but the support & containment areas would do well for just about anyone, which is always a very welcome touch.
The fit is something I had some slight issues with, part of that is due to the fact I’m a wide footer. Sure, that explains it but even after breaking these in, I felt a bit too stiff for my liking. Nothing too crazy, but wide footers should go up half a size here.
These are also a bit tough to find anywhere now, so if Amazon doesn’t have your size, you might need to do some research on where to get them.
IX. ADIDAS DAME 5
Retail Price: $115
Price NOW: $80-$115
The most recent model on this list, the Dame line simply never ceases to amaze me. The fifth model is actually only one model behind the latest Dame 6, and surprisingly, you can find the Dame 5 on Amazon, as well as in some sports retailers.
Despite retailing at $115, Dame’s shoe prices drop down rather quickly, so expect to find these mostly under 100 bucks.
Right of the bat, this is one of my favorite shoes to play ball in EVER. For real. There’s just something about the Dame line – all the components of the shoe work really well, and there’s no culprit or something to be distracted by, never.
The cushioning setup is a full-length BOUNCE midsole, and if you’ve read my Dame 5 review, you already know I love it. It’s springy, it’s responsive, it’s versatile – it’s for everyone. The traction is also phenomenal, and also holds up well outdoors, as I was playing in these mostly in a park.
Support is also fantastic, with all the major features covered. I like to play with a lot of physicality and I find the Dame 5 to be among the best in withstanding that.
It’s honestly really tough to cover any issues with these as I didn’t feel like these had any real ones. I’d say ventilation would be something several shoes did better, but that’s something very small.
If you’re really going for a shoe with maximum breathability, the Dame 5 doesn’t lead in that category, but I reckon a lot of you don’t care much about that, just like myself.
X. ADIDAS CRAZY EXPLOSIVE 2017
Retail Price: $150
Price NOW: $40-$150
Yes, you read that right. For a shoe that originally retailed at $150 back in 2017, you can grab these for as low as 40 bucks at a few places (mainly Amazon). Is that the case for ALL sizes? No, of course not.
But grabbing these for anything under $150 is already a bargain since the shoe is so damn good. You’ll mostly find these hanging around the $100 mark though, if we’re talking common sizes.
If I had to pick the top 3 best basketball shoes ever, this one would STILL be among the other two. That’s how good the CE 2017 was when it came out, and since it’s not priced at retail anymore, you can find it for cheap on Amazon. Congratulations, you did yourself a favor by waiting 3 years to get this beast.
Similar to the Dame 5, the shoe screams versatility and pure performance. Full-length BOOST cushion is present here, and I absolutely love this version of it. This will be just a tad bit more on the springy side when compared to a completely balanced BOUNCE on the Dame 5, but it’s still a very versatile setup.
This is one of the most fun, explosive, and straight-up effective cushion setups you can play in. Impact protection is off the charts, and mobility is sacrificed almost at all. That’s a rare combination these days.
Traction is also great on all floors. I’d take these outdoors with no issues as well. Adidas has never been lacking in the support department, and the CE 2017 pretty much shows that in full display.
We got a TPU roll cage your foot sits into, there’s a torsional shank implemented for stability, and the shoe’s made up of a sock-like bootie construction for proper lockdown. Another tank built for tanks, nothing better than that.
Pair that with superb comfort and you got yourself a true winner. I never truly understood why Adidas didn’t shoot for a proper continuation of the Crazy Explosive line but hey, they got all the new lines and signatures now so their hands are full I guess.
Note, this shoe has 4 versions: there’s a low-top and a mid-top, and both versions can come either in a mesh upper or the premium Primeknit upper.
I really can’t say anything bad about these as every single box is checked, and for just about any player. If I REALLY had to nitpick, I’d say be prepared to wipe occasionally on poorer condition courts as dust tends to be picked up by the rubber.
THERE ARE ALWAYS MORE SHOES TO FIND!
Check out more lists & budget guides!
That will be it for today’s list! I truly hope you enjoyed it and perhaps I helped you out to spend as little as possible, while still getting a great performer.
While you’re still here, make sure to check out my lists of other budget ranges, you’ll be surprised!
Maybe you guys have your own personal favorite cheap shoe you still play in and love? Maybe you got a question or want to give a suggestion?