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The best basketball shoes for dunking 2023

The Best Basketball shoes for Dunking in 2023

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Home » blog » Reviews » The Best Basketball shoes for Dunking in 2023

When it comes to soaring high for that perfect slam dunk, the right pair of shoes can make all the difference. Welcome to our roundup of the best dunking shoes on the market, designed to elevate your game and keep you one bounce ahead of the competition.

In basketball, dunking is not just about scoring points, it’s also a display of agility, power, and precision. The right pair of dunking shoes will provide the necessary support, traction, and cushioning required for this explosion. From the advanced sole technology that absorbs shock and propels you upwards, to the snug fitting that ensures stability, every detail matters when selecting the perfect pair.

Navigating through the vast ocean of basketball shoes can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. We’ve sifted through the top brands in the basketball shoe world, including giants like Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, and Puma, and handpicked the best dunking shoes that excel in performance, comfort, and style.

The Game-Changing Role of Shoes for Dunking

The exhilarating rush of a smooth dunk is a basketball player’s dream and the perfect pair of basketball shoes can make that dream a reality. When it comes to the sport of basketball, the right footwear isn’t just a fashion statement – it’s a fundamental component of an athlete’s performance and safety. One of the key elements where this is seen is in the art of dunking.

The Jumping Advantage

Choosing the best shoes for dun king

The design of basketball shoes directly influences a player’s ability to jump. High-quality basketball shoes offer a combination of cushioning, support, and stability, all of which are crucial for enhancing vertical jumps.

For instance, a shoe with a well-cushioned midsole absorbs shock during takeoff and landing, reducing the strain on the player’s feet and legs and allowing for more explosive jumps.

Landing Safely

Dunking doesn’t end with the jump; a safe landing is equally important. Basketball shoes are designed with specific features that ensure a secure and stable landing. The enhanced grip provided by the rubber soles prevents slippage upon landing, while the high-top design offers additional ankle support. This reduces the risk of ankle sprains or other injuries that may occur from awkward landings.

Traction Matters

A great dunk often involves quick, precise movements. To execute these effectively, players need excellent traction. Basketball shoes are equipped with unique tread patterns on the soles that provide a strong grip on the court surface. This allows for swift changes in direction, acceleration, and deceleration – all critical aspects leading up to a successful dunk.

The Ideal Dunking Shoe

So, what makes the best shoes for dunking?

  • needs to offer superior cushioning for shock absorption
  • should provide excellent ankle support to prevent injuries
  • they must provide outstanding traction for control and stability on the court.

In recent years, breakthroughs in shoe technology have led to even better performance. For example, some brands have introduced foam compounds into their shoe designs, which are lighter and offer more bounce than traditional materials.

Dunking Greats and Their Trusted Kicks

Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan & vince Carter in their best shoes for dunking.

Many legendary players have trusted their spectacular dunking performances to their chosen basketball shoes. Michael Jordan’s gravity-defying leaps were aided by his iconic Air Jordans, renowned for their superior cushioning and stability. More recently, NBA star LeBron James has been known for his powerful dunks, achieved in part thanks to his line of Nike shoes designed with maximum comfort and support in mind.

Kobe Bryant changed the game when he created a low cut basketball shoe with Nike.

Here is my list of the best shoes for dunking

Nike Giannis Immortality


  • Pros: These shoes are lightweight, offer excellent traction, and have a responsive cushioning system for explosive jumps. They’re also endorsed by NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, known for his powerful dunks.
  • Cons: Some users have reported that they run narrow, which might not suit players with wider feet.
  • Build Quality: Constructed with a lightweight, breathable mesh upper and a durable rubber outsole.
  • Fit: Fits true to size with a snug, secure feel.
  • Traction: Excellent traction on clean courts but might require frequent wiping on dustier surfaces.
  • Support: Offers good foot lockdown and stability but lacks substantial ankle support due to its low-top design.
  • Cushioning: Features a responsive Zoom Air unit for explosive jumps.
    • Unique Feature: The geometric traction pattern is designed for quick, multidirectional movements.
  • Best for: Players who value speed, responsiveness, and freedom of movement.
Nike Men's Giannis Immortality White/Metallic Gold-Black
$125.00
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02/18/2024 05:07 pm GMT

Jordan Why Not Zer0

  • Pros: They provide excellent ankle support and use an Air Zoom unit for responsive cushioning. Russell Westbrook, famous for his dunking ability, endorses them.
  • Cons: Some users find the shoe’s break-in period to be longer than expected.
  • Build Quality: Made with a mix of synthetic materials and textiles for durability and comfort.
  • Fit: Fits true to size, but some users report it runs narrow.
  • Traction: Solid traction on clean courts, less effective on dusty surfaces.
  • Support: High-top design provides superior ankle support.
  • Cushioning: Features an Air Zoom unit for responsive cushioning.
  • Unique Feature: The strap system enhances lockdown and stability.
  • Best for: Players looking for exceptional ankle support and secure fit.
Nike Jordan WHY NOT Zero
$234.50
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02/18/2024 02:16 pm GMT
Men's Jordan Why Not Zer0.4 University Red/Metallic Gold
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Nike KD 15


  • Pros
    : The Nike KD 15 offers excellent traction, responsive cushioning, and a unique lacing system for a custom fit. It is also endorsed by Kevin Durant, a renowned NBA player known for his dunking skills, adding to the shoe’s credibility.
  • Cons: The shoes may run narrow for some, so it’s something to consider if you have wider feet. Additionally, while the knit upper provides breathability, some players might find them less breathable compared to shoes with mesh uppers.

The Nike KD 15 is a basketball shoe that stands out in the market for its high-quality build and unique design aimed at enhancing a player’s dunking performance.

  • Build Quality: The Nike KD 15 boasts a sturdy yet lightweight construction. The shoe features a knit upper that provides breathability and comfort, while the rubber outsole offers durability and long-lasting wear.
  • Fit: This shoe runs true to size, designed to provide a snug, secure fit. However, they may run a bit narrow, so players with wider feet should consider this.
  • Traction: The Nike KD 15 provides excellent traction on both clean and dusty courts. Its unique tread pattern ensures a solid grip, facilitating quick, precise movements.
  • Support: The shoe offers good foot lockdown which aids in stability when making quick moves or jumps. However, as a mid-top shoe, it might not provide as much ankle support as some high-top models.
  • Cushioning: One of the standout features of the Nike KD 15 is its full-length Zoom Air unit. This feature offers great responsiveness and energy return, making it perfect for players who want to enhance their jumping ability.
  • Unique Feature: The shoe’s unique lacing system wraps around your foot for a personalized, secure fit. This feature enhances overall foot stability and control during explosive movements.

Overall, the Nike KD 15 is a solid choice for anyone looking to improve their dunking performance. Its combination of responsive cushioning, excellent traction, and unique lacing system make it a worthy addition to any player’s basketball gear.

  1. Nike KD 15 Men's Basketball Shoes
    4.7
    $183.99
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    02/18/2024 03:47 am GMT
  2. Nike Mens KD 15 - Light Lemon Twist
    $285.00
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    02/18/2024 03:08 pm GMT
  3. Nike Mens KD 15 - New Beginnings
    $427.00
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    02/18/2024 03:17 pm GMT
Lasso Brag

Nike Air Jordan 36


  • Pros: The Nike Air Jordan 36 offers excellent traction, responsive cushioning, and a unique plate technology for added foot stability. Not to mention, the Jordan brand’s reputation for quality and style is a bonus.
  • Cons: The shoe may run narrow, so wide-footers might need to consider going up half a size. Some users have also reported a slight wobbliness due to the protrusion of the Eclipse Plate, although this is something most get used to quickly.

The Nike Air Jordan 36 is a testament to Jordan’s legacy of creating top-tier basketball sneakers, offering an impressive balance of style and performance.

  • Build Quality: The Air Jordan 36 is built to last with its high-quality materials. It features a lightweight, breathable upper mesh and a durable rubber outsole that can withstand intense play.
  • Fit: The shoe offers a snug fit, true to size. However, it might not be the best option for wide-footers as it tends to run narrow.
  • Traction: The herringbone traction pattern provides excellent grip on various court surfaces, ensuring quick cuts and sudden direction changes can be performed with confidence.
  • Support: The shoe provides good overall support, with a solid heel counter for stability and a lacing system that ensures secure foot lockdown.
  • Cushioning: The Air Jordan 36 features the Zoom Air cushioning in the forefoot and heel, which offers responsive and bouncy cushioning, perfect for explosive jumps and safe landings.
  • Unique Feature: One standout feature is the Eclipse Plate 3.0 technology, designed to provide stability and support for the foot during high-intensity play.
  1. Nike Men's Air Jordan 36 Basketball Shoe - Black/Violet
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  2. Jordan Brand Air Jordan 36 – Infrared
    $178.98
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    02/18/2024 11:52 pm GMT
  3. Air Jordan Taco Jay XXXVI Nitro
    $240.00
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    02/18/2024 09:57 pm GMT
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Puma MB.01 Lo

  • Pros: The Puma MB.01 Lo offers excellent traction, responsive cushioning, and a unique heel counter for added foot stability. It’s also a more budget-friendly option compared to other high-end basketball shoes.
  • Cons: The shoe may take some time to break in due to the less flexible mesh upper. Also, the lower ankle support might not suit players prone to ankle injuries.
  • Build Quality: The Puma MB.01 Lo boasts a sturdy mono mesh upper that ensures both durability and breathability. The rubber outsole is robust and designed for long-lasting wear.
  • Fit: This shoe offers a snug fit, true to size. However, the mesh upper might not be very flexible initially and may require some break-in time.
  • Traction: Its aggressive traction pattern provides excellent grip on a variety of court surfaces, allowing players to make quick cuts and sudden direction changes with confidence.
  • Support: The shoe offers good overall support, although being a low-top model, it might not provide as much ankle support as some players prefer.
  • Cushioning: The MB.01 Lo features Puma’s Nitro Foam midsole, offering comfortable and responsive cushioning that aids in high jumps and soft landings.
  • Unique Feature: One standout feature is the heel counter, which provides enhanced stability and support during explosive movements.

the Puma MB.01 Lo is a solid choice for anyone looking to improve their dunking performance. Its combination of responsive cushioning, excellent traction, and unique heel counter makes it a worthy consideration, especially for those seeking quality performance on a budget.

  1. PUMA Mens MB.01 Low]
    $175.00
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    02/18/2024 11:47 pm GMT
  2. PUMA Mens MB.01 LaMelo Ball
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Under Armour Embiid 1

  • Pros: The Under Armour Embiid 1 offers excellent traction, responsive cushioning, and unique lateral stability thanks to the TPU wing. It’s also endorsed by NBA star Joel Embiid, adding to its credibility.
  • Cons: Some players might find the shoe slightly heavy due to its robust construction. Additionally, while the upper materials perform well, they may not be as premium-feeling as some competitors.
  • Build Quality: The Embiid 1 features a combination of textile and synthetic materials for its upper, ensuring breathability and durability. The robust rubber outsole provides long-lasting wear.
  • Fit: This shoe offers a snug fit, true to size. It’s designed with ample space in the toe box, accommodating players with wider feet comfortably.
  • Traction: Its herringbone traction pattern provides superb grip on both clean and dusty courts, allowing for confident movements and direction changes.
  • Support: The shoe provides excellent overall support, with a solid heel counter for stability and a lacing system that ensures secure foot lockdown.
  • Cushioning: The Embiid 1 features Micro G cushioning in the forefoot and a responsive HOVR foam in the heel, providing a great balance between comfort and energy return for explosive jumps.
  • Unique Feature: One standout feature is the TPU wing, which provides enhanced lateral stability during high-intensity play.
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