Basketball is a sport that demands agility, speed, and the ability to reach your peak performance. The right pair of basketball shoes can significantly enhance your game by allowing you to jump higher, run faster, and protect your feet from injuries. However, with the plethora of options out there, selecting the perfect basketball shoes can be quite overwhelming for many players.
For those of us who prioritize vegan-friendly products, the selection process becomes even more challenging, considering that a large portion of basketball shoes in the market feature materials such as suede or leather. But fear not, my friends! I am here to assist you in finding the best vegan basketball shoes that not only meet your ethical values but also deliver exceptional performance on the court.
In this article, I will provide valuable advice and share my personal opinions and a carefully curated updated list of the best vegan basketball shoes in 2023. By considering factors like design, style, cushioning, and price, I aim to make your decision-making process easier and ensure that you make an informed choice.
- List of the Best Vegan Skate Shoes
- The 8 Best Vegan Basketball Shoes of 2023
- Selecting the Right Vegan Basketball Shoes
- Final Thoughts
List of the Best Vegan Skate Shoes
- Nike LeBron 17
- Adidas EQT ADV
- Nike Zoom KD 12
- Adidas Harden Vol. 3
- Nike Kyrie 5
- AND 1 Attack
- New Balance FuelCore Nergize
- PEAK Streetball Master
The 8 Best Vegan Basketball Shoes of 2023
1. Nike LeBron 17
Introducing the Nike LeBron 17 Vegan Basketball Shoes, a footwear option that immediately caught my attention.
First things first, it’s important to note that the LeBron 17s come with a higher price tag due to the association with LeBron James. But let me assure you, they are well worth it if you’re looking for peak performance and responsiveness. The shoes are equipped with maximum volume Zoom Air units that provide excellent cushioning and energy return. When I first tried them on, I could instantly feel the impact protection and responsiveness, allowing me to make explosive moves on the court.
One feature I really appreciate is the foam pod beneath the Zoom Air units. It adds an extra layer of cushioning in the heel, providing optimal comfort and support during intense games. As someone who tends to put a lot of pressure on my heels, this feature made a noticeable difference in my overall comfort and reduced fatigue during long matches.
To further enhance stability, the LeBron 17s feature a plastic clip that wraps around the heel. This clip effectively stabilizes the heel and prevents any unnecessary movements, ensuring a secure and locked-in feel. I found this particularly beneficial when making quick cuts and lateral movements, as it gave me the confidence to push my limits on the court.
However, I must address one concern I had with these shoes—the traction. While the cushioning system and impact protection were exceptional, I found the traction to be somewhat lacking. There were instances where I experienced slight slippage, especially on dusty or worn-out courts. This became a point of frustration for me, as it affected my ability to make quick stops and changes in direction. To overcome this issue, I had to frequently wipe the outsole to maintain optimal grip.
Despite the traction concern, the LeBron 17s excel in providing solid bounce and impact protection. The cushioning system is top-notch, allowing me to confidently attack the rim and absorb landings without worrying about excessive impact on my joints. These shoes are built to handle the demands of larger and heavier players, and they certainly deliver on that front.
2. Adidas EQT ADV
First off, I must mention that while the EQT ADV isn’t explicitly marketed as vegan-friendly, the product description indicates the absence of leather or suede. Instead, the shoes are crafted from polyurethane, synthetic suede, and knit materials, which leads me to confidently assume that they are indeed vegan-friendly. As someone who follows a vegan lifestyle, it’s refreshing to find a basketball shoe that aligns with my values without compromising on style or performance.
The EQT ADV features a molded EVA midsole that provides excellent cushioning and support during gameplay. When I first laced up these vegan basketball shoes, I was impressed by the comfortable and responsive feel they offered. The midsole effectively absorbs impact, allowing me to play with confidence and reduce the strain on my joints.
One standout feature of the EQT ADV is its durable rubber outsole, which delivers exceptional traction on the court. Whether I was making quick cuts or driving to the basket, I felt secure and in control. The outsole’s grip enabled me to maintain stability and execute my moves with precision. It’s worth noting that the traction held up well on various court surfaces, enhancing my performance and giving me an edge during intense matches.
Now let’s talk about the design. The EQT ADV embraces a retro-inspired aesthetic that pays homage to the basketball shoes of the ’90s. I found this unique blend of modern and vintage design elements to be quite appealing. The shoe’s versatility allowed me to pair it effortlessly with my casual apparel off the court, making it a great choice for both on and off-court style.
However, it’s important to note that the EQT ADV comes in lighter color options, particularly white. While the light-colored design adds to the shoe’s aesthetic appeal, it does require regular cleaning to maintain its pristine appearance. As someone who likes to keep my shoes in top condition, I found myself dedicating some time to keeping them clean and free from scuffs and dirt.
3. Nike Zoom KD 12
These shoes deliver exceptional performance across the board, making them a top recommendation for versatile players who want to do it all on the court. From the moment I slipped them on, I knew they were something special.
Nike’s upgraded Air Zoom cushioning is a game-changer with the Zoom KD 12. The cushioning system provides the perfect balance of court feel, responsiveness, and incredible bounce. I could feel the impact protection and energy return with every step and jump. Whether I was making quick cuts, driving to the hoop, or pulling up for a jumper, these shoes provided the ideal combination of comfort and performance.
In my opinion, the Nike Zoom KD 12 is an impressive vegan basketball shoe in every sense of the word. However, there is one minor concern worth mentioning—their performance on dusty courts. I noticed that they tended to attract dust due to the soft rubber outsole designed for flexibility. This sometimes affected the traction, requiring me to wipe the outsole more frequently during gameplay. However, it didn’t significantly impact my overall experience with the shoes, and I still found them to be highly reliable and effective on various court surfaces.
Putting the traction issue aside, there are no other negatives that stood out to me. The Nike Zoom KD 12 is a great basketball shoe overall, excelling in comfort, cushioning, responsiveness, and support. The materials used in the construction are of high quality, providing durability and a secure fit. These shoes have become one of my go-to options for both practice sessions and competitive games, and they have never let me down.
4. Adidas Harden Vol. 3
I’m excited to share my personal experience on the Adidas Harden Vol. 3 vegan basketball shoes. These kicks pay homage to the incredible James Harden Jr., and let me tell you what makes them stand out from the crowd.
First off, the traction on the Harden Vol. 3s is simply exceptional. The herringbone traction pattern provides outstanding stability and grip on any court surface. As a player who relies heavily on quick cuts and changes of direction, I was impressed by the shoe’s ability to keep me firmly planted and in control. It felt like my feet were glued to the court, allowing me to make those explosive moves with confidence.
Moving on to the cushioning, the Harden Vol. 3s feature a low-to-the-ground design that emphasizes responsiveness and court feel. This characteristic was a game-changer for me. I could feel every subtle movement and nuance of the court beneath my feet, giving me a heightened sense of control and precision. The cushioning system provided a great balance between impact protection and court connection, ensuring I could absorb landings comfortably while maintaining a responsive feel.
When it comes to lockdown and control, the Harden Vol. 3s excel. These shoes are built with Harden’s style of play in mind, and it shows. The added lockdown features and support kept my feet secure during intense movements, preventing any unnecessary slippage and allowing me to make quick and precise cuts. This enhanced control translated into improved performance and confidence on the court.
The Harden Vol. 3s offer a wide range of colors to choose from, allowing you to showcase your personal style while balling out. I loved having the option to rock a colorway that matched my personality and made a statement on and off the court.
5. Nike Kyrie 5
Nike Kyrie 5 basketball shoes are synthetic sneakers specifically designed for ultra-mobile players, offering exceptional on-court movement and versatility.
When it comes to cushioning, I must admit that the Kyrie 5s are not as densely cushioned as some of the other options on my list. However, I quickly realized that this was intentional. These shoes are designed to prioritize maximum flexibility and fluid on-court motion. While the cushioning may not provide the same level of plushness, I found that it offered a perfect balance between responsiveness and court feel. It allowed me to make quick and explosive movements without feeling weighed down by excessive cushioning.
What the Kyrie 5s may lack in cushioning, they more than make up for in other aspects. One standout feature is the exceptional lockdown they provide. Once I laced up these shoes, my foot felt securely planted in place. The lockdown enhanced my stability and allowed me to confidently execute aggressive moves on the court. Additionally, the aggressive traction of the Kyrie 5s ensured outstanding stability on all types of basketball courts. I never had to worry about slipping or losing my footing, even during intense gameplay.
Aesthetically, I appreciate that the cushioning is aligned with the shoe’s curvature. This design element not only adds to its visual appeal but also enhances the overall performance. It felt like the shoe was custom-made to match the natural contours of my foot, providing a snug and supportive fit that contributed to my on-court confidence.
Lastly, these vegan basketball shoes are incredibly lightweight, which was a game-changer for me as an ultra-mobile player. The lightness allowed me to move with agility and ease, facilitating quick cuts, sharp changes in direction, and explosive bursts of speed. I felt like I had an extra spring in my step, giving me a competitive edge on the court.
6. AND 1 Attack
As a casual basketball player who values both reliability and affordability, I was thrilled to come across the AND 1 Attack Vegan basketball shoes. These kicks offer a great option without breaking the bank. I was delighted to discover that the AND 1 Attack is made entirely of textile and synthetic materials, making them vegan-friendly.
The low-top design of the Attack immediately caught my attention. It offers a perfect balance of mobility and flexibility without any unnecessary bulk. When I first laced up these vegan basketball shoes, I felt an immediate sense of freedom in my movements on the court. Whether I was driving to the basket or making quick lateral cuts, the low-top design allowed me to move with agility and responsiveness.
It’s worth noting that due to the low-top design, the AND 1 Attack doesn’t provide the same level of foot protection as its high-top counterparts. As a result, it may not be the best choice for larger players who require additional support and stability. However, for casual players like myself, the level of protection provided was more than sufficient for my needs.
One standout feature of the Attack is its micromesh upper, which incorporates substrate chop-outs for enhanced breathability. During gameplay, I noticed that my feet remained cool and comfortable, even during intense moments on the court. The nylon ghillie eyelets also deserve praise for providing secure lockdown. I never had to worry about my foot slipping inside the shoe, allowing me to maneuver with confidence and focus on my game.
7. New Balance FuelCore Nergize
Introducing the New Balance FuelCore Nergize, a top-notch basketball shoe designed specifically for women. With its REVlite midsole, this shoe delivers exceptional responsiveness and lightweight cushioning, enhancing your performance on the court.
Not only does it excel in basketball, but the FuelCore Nergize is also versatile for various activities. It features the NB Memory Sole Comfort Insert, offering plush cushioning and ensuring comfort with every step you take.
The bootie upper of these shoes adapts to your foot, providing a supportive and snug fit. Crafted with synthetic materials, the FuelCore Nergize boasts a lightweight construction, enabling swift and effortless footwork.
To top it off, these shoes come in a wide range of stylish color patterns, allowing you to express your personal taste while staying comfortable and fashionable. The New Balance FuelCore Nergize is a winning choice for any woman looking to elevate her game and style on the basketball court.
8. PEAK Streetball Master
PEAK may not be as prominent of a brand as the above-mentioned competitors, but their vegan basketball shoes offer a great deal of value for the price, and they just look fabulous, aesthetically speaking.
One of the standout features of the Streetball Master is its seamlessly integrated weaving. This innovative construction ensures both durability and comfort. As someone who values long-lasting performance, I was thrilled to find that these shoes held up well, even during intense gameplay.
The thick and solid synthetic sole of the Streetball Master provides exceptional stability on the court. Its deep traction pattern offers a reliable grip, allowing me to make quick cuts, explosive movements, and swift changes in direction without any worries of slipping or losing my footing. The traction held up impressively on various surfaces, giving me the confidence to perform at my best.
I was particularly impressed by the stabilization module incorporated into these shoes. Positioned on the lateral side of the forefoot, it significantly improved support and reduced the risk of spraining. This feature proved invaluable during fast-paced and dynamic gameplay, keeping my feet secure and stable.
Durability is essential for basketball shoes, and the Streetball Master doesn’t disappoint. The rubber outsole is highly durable and water-resistant, making it capable of withstanding the demands of different playing conditions. Whether I was playing indoors or outdoors, these shoes stood up to the test.
Considering the affordable price point, the Streetball Master delivers an outstanding combination of protection, stability, and traction. They are ideal for recreational players like myself who want reliable performance without breaking the bank. I found myself enjoying the game with these shoes, knowing they provided the necessary support and grip for a competitive edge.
Selecting the Right Vegan Basketball Shoes
While the above-reviewed basketball shoes are of the highest quality, it doesn’t mean that every single one of them is well-suited for you. There are factors that you must take into consideration before making a buying decision, from shoe style and cushioning to traction and support. These factors will be explained in detail in the following sections to ensure a sound buying decision.
Before deciding on a pair of basketball shoes, you need to understand that there are three main styles of basketball shoes, namely high-top, low-top, and mid-top. High-tops were always the most popular because they offered incredible ankle protection, but they were the heaviest of the three. Nowadays, low-tops are the go-to shoes, as they’re lighter and much more flexible.
As you might have guessed, mid-top basketball shoes are right in the middle. They offer enough ankle protection while maintaining manageable weight and flexibility. Does that mean they’re the best of the three styles of shoes? Not necessarily. It all boils down to the player and their style. The following paragraphs shed light on what each of these shoe styles has to offer.
If you like to stay under the rim and you’re always on the lookout for rebounds, high-tops are an excellent choice for you, as they provide a great deal of stability and protection, enabling you to charge with complete confidence. They’re also well-cushioned to ensure maximum comfort. We wouldn’t recommend this style of basketball shoes for players who are light and ultra-mobile.
Contrary to high-top basketball shoes, low-tops are the ideal choice for players who are fast on their feet, as they feature remarkable mobility and flexibility. They’re usually made from stretchy, lightweight materials with no unnecessary bulk. If you’re on the heavier side, this style of shoes will compromise your playing, as it doesn’t provide as much protection as high-top.
As mentioned earlier, mid-top shoes are somewhere between high-tops and low-tops. You can say that they’re pretty well-rounded, but they don’t have a characterizing feature. They provide ample ankle protection, and they’re fairly flexible as well. If you’re a player that doesn’t need an enormous deal of flexibility or bulk, like a wing or forward, mid-top shoes are your best bet.
If this post was dedicated to pinpointing the best non-vegan basketball shoes, we wouldn’t have talked much about construction, but since we’re talking about vegan options, we’re required to speak about the materials used in the construction of basketball shoes. It’s important that you steer clear of shoes that utilize suede or leather in their build, as they’re not vegan.
You should stick to shoes that feature synthetic materials like synthetic suede and rubber. We’re actually very pleased to see big-name manufacturers like Adidas and Nike constantly innovating and bettering their use of synthetic materials and coming up with new high-tech textile materials that appeal to the vegan lifestyle and don’t compromise the player’s performance at all.
If you’re on the lighter end of the scale as far as weight, you may not be completely aware of the significance of proper cushioning because not a whole lot of pressure is put on your joints. If you weigh a great deal, however, the pressure that’s falling on your joints increases, especially when jumping, which entails wearing shoes that provide enough cushioning to protect your joints.
Cushioning technologies are pretty extensive nowadays, from Adidas Bounce to Nike Zoom Air to UnderArmour MicroG. The way these means of protection work is they distribute the force that’s created upon impact evenly across your foot so that the base is protected.
Cushioning units tend to be located in the mid-section of a shoe. It’s worth mentioning that most cushioning technologies are foam-based.
If you’re an ultra-mobile basketball player that champions responsiveness, you must steer clear of shoes that feature soft cushioning technologies like the Nike Zoom Air, as they tend to limit a player’s mobility quite notably. Since you move and jump a lot, your feet are subjected to more impact, which entails wearing shoes that flaunt a firm cushioning setup.
Basketball is a sport that involves swift footwork and speedy crossovers, which is why traction is an essential factor to take into consideration when in search of basketball shoes. Without proper traction, you’ll find yourself slipping all across the court. One peracute slip can result in a lifelong injury, preventing you from playing basketball ever again, so you must take this factor seriously.
There are two main constituents of traction that vary from one pair of shoes to the other, namely the pattern of traction and the outsole’s rubber compound. The herringbone pattern is by far the most popular traction pattern amongst basketball shoes. What’s a herringbone pattern? Well, it’s zig-zag lines of rubber that offer players traction in all directions and prevent the sticking of dust.
Now, the herringbone pattern isn’t the only traction pattern available for basketball shoes, but it’s the only one that’s tried and true. The problem with other traction patterns is that they’re devised merely for brands to stand out from the rest and be labeled as innovative. But why try to fix what isn’t broken? The herringbone pattern is guaranteed to work, so don’t bother with other ones.
When it comes to evaluating the rubber compound utilized for basketball shoes, things can get a little bit tricky, as it’s not that easy to distinguish good rubber from poor rubber. You want to keep in mind that hard rubber is ideal if you seek maximum durability, but it doesn’t really provide a lot of traction, whereas soft rubber is excellent in terms of traction, but it attracts a whole lot of dust.
So, which type of rubber should you pick? Well, basketball shoes aren’t the most budget-friendly type of footwear out there, and so you want to ensure maximum longevity by opting for the most durable type of rubber. If you champion aesthetics and you don’t mind spending hundred-dollar bills on basketball shoes every so often, you can opt for soft rubber, as it looks sleeker.
Back in the day, proper support was associated with high-top basketball shoes. This is no longer the case nowadays, thanks to the technological breakthroughs the industry is always making. In fact, most basketball players today are wearing low-tops to make use of their ideal flexibility and responsiveness. Nowadays, low-tops are equipped with features that ensure good support.
One of the most prominent support features is the outrigger. It’s a component that’s often found on the lateral side of a basketball shoe, serving as an outsole extension. It increases the base of the shoe, which, in turn, increases support without making the shoe look bulky. Another popular support feature is midfoot shanks, which help provide the player with great torsional support.
Heel counters are another supportive component that’s found in most modern basketball shoes. These elements help lock the player’s foot into the shoe so that it doesn’t move abnormally and result in an injury. We’re confident that more supportive features are on the way, but you should keep in mind that supportive features are secondary compared to selecting the proper fit.
Getting the proper fit is arguably the most important factor when it comes to choosing shoes for all sorts of activities, not only basketball. You want your shoes to offer a fit that will lock your feet in place, preventing them from moving all over the place. Preferably, you want to try your shoes in store so that you buy them with utter confidence that they’re suitable for your feet.
But since we live in a digital world where everything is done online, we recommend ordering your ideal shoe in two sizes since most shoes tend to run a bit smaller or bigger than their advertised size. Upon figuring out which of the two sizes fits you the most, you can simply return the other. Just make sure the brand’s return policy guarantees a full refund upon returning products.
You also want to keep in mind that most shoes require a break-in period. So, even if you buy a pair of shoes that is exactly your size, they might feel a little tight in the beginning. Don’t rush to return them right away. Give them some time to loosen up and adapt to your feet, and then they’ll become as comfortable as you’d like them to be. If not, simply return the shoes and size up.
Selecting the right vegan basketball shoes requires careful consideration of style, materials, cushioning, traction, support, and fit. By understanding these factors and applying personal experience, I have been able to make informed choices that align with my values and enhance my performance on the court. I hope my insights help you make a confident and ethical decision when choosing your next pair of vegan basketball shoes.
Now it’s your turn! Which basketball shoe appeals to you the most and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Personally, if I were to pick a winner, the Nike Zoom KD 12 stands out to me as the most well-rounded option. Its performance, style, and overall appeal make it my top choice in the lineup.