A Buyer’s Guide to Basketball Shoes in 2019

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2019 is shaping up to be an unbelievable year for performance basketball shoes.

From what’s been announced so far we’re poised to see new signature shoes, new technologies and remakes of past favorites. Each major brand has something new to bring to the table ensuring everyone has something fresh to rock on the court. Our wallets might hate us but here’s a rundown of hoop shoes you can buy now or be on the watch for this season.

Air Jordan 12

The 12 still holds up as a hoops shoe, one of the few OGs that do.

Believe it or not, the Air Jordan 12 is one of the few classic Jays that are still viable on the court. The full-length internal Zoom Air units provide responsive cushioning and the uppers are just as protective in 2019 as they were in ’96.

A carbon fiber mid foot shank helps shed weight from the overall heavy shoes. Fit wise, 12s snugly hug the feet when tied tight and the herringbone traction paired proves that sometimes older techniques still work.

Buy the Air Jordan 12 here

Nike LeBron 16

Last year’s LeBron Watch entertained fans with fresh takes on classic LeBron and Nike designs of the past.

In 2019, Team LeBron seeks to keep building momentum with a new wave of hot LeBron 16s. If the SuperBron joints are an indication of what’s to come, then we’re ecstatic to see what Nike’s cooking up.

Don’t get too wrapped up in the 16’s looks because it’s a beast on the court, too. Nike refined the BattleKnit and Air Max Zoom units for a shoe that’s business on the top and a party on the bottom.

Buy the Nike LeBron 16 here

adidas Marquee BOOST Low

Brandon Ingram has been rocking with the Marquee Boost Low, but we common folk finally got our hands on them earlier this month.

The Marquee Boost Mid brought a fresh new design to Adidas Hoops, and the Low iteration offers the same great look in a smaller package.

The Boost-loaded heel delivers stellar cushioning and the padded synthetic ankle provides plush support. The Ingram PE pictured above is one of many Team Adidas colorways we should expect to see in the near future.

Buy the adidas Marquee BOOST Low here

Under Armour Anatomix Spawn Low

Under Armour has been trying to catch fire with a performance hoops shoe without Steph Curry’s name for some time.

So, in a surprising move UA is bringing back the Anatomix Spawn line in 2019 with a brand new look reminiscent of the Curry 5.

The Anatomix Spawn was first made famous by Brandon Jennings and Curry back in 2013.

Buy the Under Armour Anatomix Spawn Low here

adidas Dame 5

Credit must be given to Adidas for developing signature shoes for Dame Lillard that look completely different each and every year.

On round five, the Adidas Basketball team has created a silhouette suited for Dame’s game. This low profile, low-to-the-court monster utilizes a sock-like attached bootie construction for a snug, secure fit.

The Dame 5 features a prominent lateral TPU counter for stability and looks, and Bounce cushioning for a springy effect. It looks like synthetic leather and mesh version will be available which is becoming extremely rare in the performance basketball category.

Keep your eyes open for a February release.

Buy the adidas Dame 5 here

adidas N3XT L3V3L

When the adidas N3XT L3V3L isn’t throwing shade at the Nike HyperAdapt BB it’s defying traditional logic by simply working as a viable laceless hoops shoe.

There’s no straps, no motors, nothing… just a Primeknit sock-like upper that hugs the wearer’s foot.

The high-cut design helps secure in-shoe lockdown, but they’re hard to get on at first. With each wear the N3XT L3V3L loosens up (in all the right ways) providing a unique performance platform for a unique shoe.

Adidas rounds out this gaudy shoe with its new Lightstrike platform that provides responsive cushioning above a solid herringbone traction pattern.

Buy the adidas N3XT L3V3L here

Nike PG3

The PG series is a very, very popular line. If our inclinations are right, people are gonna be wearing the Nike PG3 just as much as the first two takes, ranging all the way from middle schoolers to the pros.

Each PG iteration has been a low top with a Zoom Air heel. Dynamite comes in small packages though as this heavy weight that packs a ton of tech at a (relatively) low price point.

The PG 3 contains the same Zoom Air bag from the PG 2 but features new elements like a higher ankle collar made of neoprene, a variable lacing system, lighter midsole foam, and improved traction.

There’s no doubt in our mind that the PG 3 will continue to evolve with neck breaking colorways to go along with the shoe’s neck breaking quickness on the court.

Buy the Nike PG3 here

Jordan Why Not Zer0.2.

The Jordan Why Not Zer0.2: a looker, performer, and most certainly an inventive signature that screams Russ.

Never underestimate the power of shape as the Why Not Zer0.2 perfectly nails the way a modern shoe should curve and contour. With a design style reminiscent of high-end fashion, the Zer0.2 sheds the overall bulk of the 0.1 and opts into a sleeker, more dynamic look.

Chaotic best describes the upper, and that’s intentional. Much like Westbrook’s play style, the Zer0.2 pushes the limit with multiple overlays. Zoom Air and a dynamic collar provide basketball substance to these fashionable hoopers.

Oddly (and awesomely) the shoe’s info tag is located on the outsole and not the inner tongue too.

Buy the Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 here

 Nike Adapt BB

The HyperAdapt line transitions from running to basketball with the impending release of the Adapt BB.

For those of you unfamiliar with the HyperAdapt concept it replaces traditional laces to a self contained, internal, motor that securely fastens each shoe for a truly 1-1 fit.

A lot of the traditional elements are present like a Phylon foam midsole and a fused upper making these a viable hoops option – not a gimmick. We’re loving the Swoosh on Swoosh branding action too.

Pick up a pair of your own on ASG Weekend.

Buy pre-sale pairs of the Nike Adapt BB here

Nike Kobe 4 Protro

A select group of contemporary basketball shoes (from 2008 – now) changed the game, but none quite like the Nike Zoom Kobe 4.

Sure, others did the low-top thing before the Kobe 4 (the Adidas Gil.Zero comes to mind) but no other shoe did low as well as Kobe’s fourth signature shoe. So ever since images leaked of a ZK4 Protro (aka retooled retro) back in fall ’18, our mouths have been salivating. The Kobe 4 checks all the boxes:

  • Low-profile design for free range of movement, check.
  • Springy Zoom Air for explosive quickness, yup.
  • Phenomenal fit, aesthetic and heritage, triple check.

We don’t know the exact details of what modifications Nike will make to the 4 – it might be weight reduction or a newer Zoom Air unit; but either way we’re beyond gassed for the 4’s long-awaited return.

Buy OG Nike Kobe IVs here

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