Best Basketball Shoes for Youth Players (2021 Ultimate Guide)

Basketball is a sport for individuals of all ages. And whether it is a large court or a small one in the backyard, there is always enough space to play this game.

All you need is a ball and the right pair of sports shoes and the player will be ready for a knockout tournament. That’s right.

There are some great options in the market for young players today and wear and tear is not a concern at all because, for the right price, you can get a pair that will last you a long time.

Our Top 5 Recommendations

But it is important to pick the right shoe because their feet are still tender. So, here is a look at some of the best options in the market for young players. Depending on your priorities and budget, it is quite easy to pick one of these.

  1. Nike Air Force 1 Low Sneaker

This one, as you know, is named after the US Air Force One and is made for Nike’s younger customers. So it is definitely fashionable but durable too. It has a very good traction and the shoes are made to be comfortable on the court.

But the best part is that the heel and forefoot have pivot points which make moving in different directions very easy. So it has uses beyond basketball. And agility is an important asset.

It is a bit expensive but still affordable.


  • Made of leather and synthetic materials which makes it waterproof and easy to clean
  • Equipped with a very good ventilation system which means the player’s feet will be dry through the game
  • Has a soft and bouncy cushion that allows the players to jump and run all-day
  • No markings on the rubber outsole make it a good shoe for grip on every type of court


  • Has good traction and support
  • Comes in many colors and sizes
  • Great quality
  • Excellent performance
  • Good cushioning
  • Very good gripping indoors and outdoors
  • Better design


  • A bit more expensive than usual
  • Can be a little heavy
  1. Adidas Dame 7 Shoe

This is a 100 percent synthetic shoe with a rubber sole from Adidas. It is designed by Damian Lillard and has a rubber outsole. The shoe is lightweight and equipped with good ventilation.

The cushioning in this shoe is also very light, which is in the midsole. It helps the player cover the whole court with impressive speed. The outsoles have very good grip and the overall traction is great too. Try to move in different directions and you will see for yourself.


  • Made of 100 percent synthetic materials but the sole is made of rubber
  • Comes in regular fit and is lightweight and made of breathable materials
  • Equipped with super-light light strike cushioning which makes movement during the game quite easy
  • Available in sizes 4 to 16


  • Value for money
  • Lightweight cushioning
  • Impressive traction


  • Some find it not so comfortable
  • Narrow opening makes it a bit time-taking to put wear
  1. Nike Kids KD

This is another hot favorite from the house of Nike. It is labeled for kids but works well for young adults too. The best thing about these shoes is the traction they offer. They are made of fly weave material and have a full Air Zoom unit. You can feel the ground quite well without compromising on cushioning.

You will have to figure out the fit properly which is often the case with Nike shoes but it has plenty of other perks.


  • Outsole has great traction thanks to the full-length Air Zoom unit
  • Made of fly weave material
  • The Zoom unit is quite close to the ground allowing court feel
  • One of the lightest shoes, it comes in many colors
  • Very stable because of the form-fitting upper


  • Lightweight shoe
  • Made of durable materials
  • Excellent traction
  • Great grip to the court


  • Expensive
  • Heel is a bit much
  • Fit is tricky
  1. Under Armour Curry 3ZERO

Our penultimate choice is one from Under Armor. This is a lightweight shoe with a snug fit and it is easy to adjust too. The mesh tongue gives it good ventilation and great support.

The textile lining makes the shoe comfortable and the heels are locked in which 

keeps them stable. The midsole is designed well enough for speed and quick motion. The traction on the rubber outsole is pretty great too on the court.

It also has charged cushioning which helps the player with speed and makes it easy to change directions.


  • Made of textile lining and the sole is made of synthetic rubber
  • Has reinforced mesh on the upper side of the shoe
  • Equipped with lace-up closure
  • Locked in heels make it more stable 
  • Herringbone traction makes the outsole deliver no matter what kind of surface the player is on
  • Uses Anafoam technology to offer extra support
  • Comes with customized fit which adds to its appeal


  • Excellent size options
  • Very good grip on the court
  • Traction pattern and the rubber sole are a great match
  • Innovative lockdown mechanism


  • Durable but a bit pricey
  1. Jordan Kids’ Nike Air 10 Retro Gs

This is another one from Nike and it is often called one of the classiest basketball shoes for young people. It has a Jumpman logo on it and the air sole is actually visible.

This model has been re-released a few times and it comes in different colors every time. It has stripes on the sole and it is good for those who want to improve their lateral movement.

This one is on top of a lot of lists apart from young athletes. A lot of sneakerheads want a piece of this action since it was originally released in 1988. Back in the day, it had elephant print and was famous for it. This Air Jordan III is known to be the first one with a visible air sole unit, by the way, and was designed by Tinker Hatfield.


  • Comfortable shoe with good cushioning and a Zoom air-sole unit which makes it very responsive
  • Made of 100 percent leather on the outside and has a durable and thick rubber sole
  • Available in size 4 to 6.5


  • Very good cushioning
  • Rubber sole is thick and gives good traction
  • Grip is reliable
  • Very comfortable
  • Value for money


  • Durable but expensive

Buyer’s Guide: How to Buy Basketball Shoes for Youth Players

There is a certain age bracket when kids tend to outgrow a pair of shoes very quickly. So buying basketball shoes for them is not easy.

But if you take the right factors into account, you might be able to shop smarter and circumvent the problem altogether. Let’s take a look.

Factors to Consider When Buying Basketball Shoes for Youth Players


Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are buying shoes for players who have not yet reached the big leagues. It is important to take care of their ability to move while protecting their knees and ankles.

These are the things that will decide whether or not they will end up with an injury after the game.

  1. Ankle Collar

The ankle collar length is a critical part of buying basketball shoes. Depending on the position of the player and the style of their game, preferences change. But in the market, you will find three types of ankle collars.

High-ankle shoes have reinforced collars which make the shoe heavier. But it has more cushioning and support. It offers impact and ankle protection to facilitate long periods of jumping. It also offers protection from injuries.

The mid-ankle shoes just about cover the ankles. They protect the ankle and are very responsive. So the player is able to be agile and jump quite easily.

Low-ankle shoes work very well for players who are agile and want more responsiveness. These shoes are lightweight which makes both these things possible.

  1. Cushioning

Good cushioning is all about the right kind of fit and how long the shoes will last. You will find many types of them depending on usage.

The height of the cushion will help you decide the gap between your foot and the court. So, you need to stay away from extreme measurements here.

If the cushion is too much, the player will be unstable and might lead to injuries. They will also not get enough of the court feel which will impact their responsiveness.

On the other hand, if it is too low, there won’t be enough protection from the impact. So, you need to find the kind of foam that can give enough of both and be bouncy at the same time.

On that note, if the cushion is too soft, it won’t be good for responsiveness. Which means it doesn’t work for guards. And if it is too stiff, it will hurt the feet and won’t support jumping either, which is bad for players like forwards.

  1. Traction

This is the shoe’s bottom part which helps the player grip the floor. It also lets them be agile and shifty. Traction also makes a show durable while gripping the floor well.

Traction pattern, on the other hand, is about how much grip the shoe can offer. On a good shoe, this is a rubber pattern and it is ideally multi-directional. This means the pattern extends to all sides of the shoe.

The Bottom Line

Sure, they are not the cheapest in the market, but these are the best basketball shoes for youth players (2021 Ultimate Guide).

If you’re picking Nike, be careful with the size. Otherwise, you now know what factors to watch for before making your pick.