This review covers and analyzes several well-rounded basketball shoes that excel especially when it comes to cushioning and foot support.
In my 20+ years of playing basketball, I have used many different shoes. I took that knowledge and combined it with a large amount of research to properly review all the shoes in this guide.
The Adidas Marquee is my pick for the best-cushioned basketball shoe because of how well it blends high performance with extreme comfort.
They top the list because they have a lot of durability and support, but still manage to pack in a lot of cushion. The comfort is then furthered by their lightweight, breathable construction. They also look great and come in many colors, allowing you to mix and match your style.
If you want to take a deeper dive into the Marquee, or if you want to explore similarly cushioned shoes, I analyze a range of premium shoes in the sections below.
- 1 Who should get it?
- 2 Best cushioned basketball shoes
- 3 Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes: What to Look For
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 Helpful tips and resources
- 6 Final verdict
Who should get it?
While every player at every level can do well with a comfortable, highly cushioned shoe, taller people or bigs need them more than smaller guards. This is because larger bodies put more stress on the joints and they are more prone to injury. A good pillow fights it.
Additionally, those who are particularly prone to both ankle and knee problems can always do with extra padding. Proper padding will never act as a foolproof injury prevention tool, but it can certainly help reduce the wear and tear that comes with each game.
Best cushioned basketball shoes
In this section, I will review the top cushion basketball shoes by studying their aspects, each of their unique characteristics, as well as what they do best.
1. Adidas Marquee
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Lightweight, breathable design. Midsole cushioning and PrimeKnit construction. Many color options. Heel support. Full impact protection.
- Sun: Rubber
- fit: Regular
- Weight: 15.4 oz
Tough, lightweight, and breathable, the Marquee from Adidas is a great shoe that goes far beyond its generous cushioning. While this is undoubtedly a soft, comfortable shoe that helps protect your foot on the court, it also has many premium features.
These include the strong traction that actively adheres to any surface, the excellent heel support, as well as the unique cushioned style. All of these enable you to play ball to the best of your abilities. You will never be held back or experience any discomfort when wearing it for a full game.
As good as they are, the Marquee shoes lose a bit of their premium traction when on smoother surfaces. These are not the best shoes for dusty or dirty courses. However, if you are indoors or in a clean area, they excel.
2. Nike Air Versatile
- Best for support
- Key features: Air-soled heel pocket. Excellent impact protection. Rubber outsole with herringbone pattern. Flywire cables and internal lacing system.
- Sun: Synthetic
- Weight: 15 us
- fit: true to size
Equipped with flywire cables and an internal lacing system, the Air Versatile is a rounded shoe that is extremely comfortable and supportive. This shoe completely encloses your foot to ensure that it does not move around or shift. This is especially important for players who cut a lot.
While the bi-level support goes a long way, this shoe also makes the list because of the modified herringbone pattern and air sole pocket. The tread creates a strong grip that sticks to all lanes, while the bag helps with impact resistance and assists with hard landings.
The downside to this shoe is that, as good as the tread is, you lose a bit of traction when you’re not inside on a track. The pair do well outside, but they are not going to be that tough. The padding also doesn’t have as much long-lasting durability as other popular models.
3. Nike PG 5
- Best for: indoors
- Key features: Mesh top. Flexible construction. Strong outsole and Zoom Air Strobel. Multi-directional traction and side straps for extra support.
- Upper: mesh
- Sun: Rubber
- Weight: 15 us
If you’re someone who spends most of their time in the gym and needs something reliable on the hardwood, the PG 5 is a great choice. These shoes have ample cushioning throughout every part of the design, creating a soft sneaker that feels great to run in.
In addition to the Zoom Air cushioning, they have multi-directional traction on the outsole for excellent traction. It complements all playing styles and allows you to play to the best of your abilities. The mesh construction is soft and the extra support from the straps is a nice bonus.
The biggest knock against these rounded shoes is that they are not the most durable. Although you can get quite a lot of use out of them, they aren’t going to last as long as other shoes. Some people also find the look a bit boxy.
4. Crazy Explosive Primeknit
- Best for: ventilation
- Key features: Boost cushioning system. Light neoprene upper. Highly breathable. Power tread pattern. 4-way ankle collar.
- Sun: Rubber
- Construction: Textile
- Weight: 13.4 oz
The Crazy Explosive is a complete basketball shoe that makes my list because of the special boost cushioning system. That feature not only feels good, but it also allows you to run or jump without landing too hard on your foot. It’s a great combination of comfort and protection.
Where many high-cushioned shoes tend to be stuffy or overbearing, the PrimeKnits offer exceptional ventilation. The lightweight neoprene upper is breathable no matter how hard you work. They provide adequate ankle support and look great too.
That said, these are not perfect shoes. The eyes could be better. Additionally, as comfortable and padded as they are, the shoes don’t offer the best support. You’ll feel locked in and secure, but the lockdown isn’t at the same level as you’ll see in other padded shoes.
5. HOVR Havoc 3
- Best for: traction
- Key features: Flexible synthetic construction. Molded textile upper. Web bed lacing system. Mesh tongue increases airflow. UA HOVR technology. Excellent energy yield.
- fit: Narrow
- Sun: Rubber
- Weight: 1.72 pounds
The HOVR Havoc 3 is an extremely comfortable shoe that goes a long way to ensure you stay comfortable. It comes with a cut EVA sock liner, as well as a half boot liner and a woven lacing system. All three improve the fit while generating extra support.
In addition to the cushioning, these shoes have exceptional grip created by the herringbone traction pattern on the rubber outsole. If you are looking for a tough model for better control, this is it. The HOVR foam is responsive and the midfoot TPU shock provides plenty of added stability.
Just know that these shoes have a tighter fit than you may be used to. They are not uncomfortable at all, but those with wider feet may want to get a size up. It’s worth it, but they will take a little extra time to fully break in.
Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes: What to Look For
This section breaks down several important features to consider when purchasing any high-end basketball shoe.
Comfort is an extremely important part of any basketball shoe, and a big part of comfort is fit. No matter how much cushioning a model has, it won’t work properly if it doesn’t sit or rub against your foot in a way that causes extreme discomfort.
Understand what size you are, as well as whether your foot is narrow or wide. Such measurements will allow you to choose the right fit, no matter what type of cushioned shoe you go with. Always check the fit of a particular shoe as this will allow you to know if you need a larger or smaller size.
Protection and Support
Cushioning is a great form of protection, ensuring your feet stay safe when you run hard or jump. However, most modern shoes have many other forms of support that reduce injury or pain. Look for ones with a strong heel or front protection in addition to their padding.
It is also important to find shoes that lock in your foot. Limiting slippage and ensuring your heel stays in place as you move reduces the friction that causes blisters and prevents more serious injuries such as twisted ankles or knees. The more secure the fit, the better off you are.
Traction and grip
Although it’s easy to overlook when choosing a cushioned shoe, grip is extremely important. As with support, all the cushioning in the world won’t matter if your shoes can’t grip the court properly. Good traction improves your game, prevents injuries, and keeps you moving fast.
Look for special patterns made to offer better grip, unique rubber, as well as interesting soles. All three of these will enable you to play to the best of your abilities. Such upgrades are especially important for those who ball on different surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
When choosing a cushioned basketball shoes, it is important to understand which one you want. However, if you have more questions, some of the most popular ones are covered in this section.
What is cushioning in basketball shoes?
Most basketball shoes use special foam, often called a series of different names, throughout the sole. This gives them extra padding and helps support your foot while you play.
Will cushioned basketball shoes make you jump higher?
While they won’t give you half a foot, shoes with a good amount of cushioning can give you a little more spring. The extra support and solid base help you jump, usually allowing you to stand up an inch or so more than you would with flatter shoes.
How can I make my basketball shoes more comfortable?
There are two ways. First, you can wear two layers of socks when you first use them to help break it in. In addition, you can also buy second-hand soles or padding to add another layer to your shoes.
Helpful tips and resources
When purchasing basketball shoes, cushioned or not, it always helps to understand the different options on the market. This article covers sneaker types and allows you to make an informed decision about which one might be best for your personal needs.
In addition, it also helps to understand the different pillow options on the market. This guide breaks each one down and will help you make a much more informed purchase when you go out and get your next shoe.
I believe that no cushioned basketball shoes have more impressive qualities than the Adidas Men’s Marquee. The shoe manages to be incredibly lightweight without giving away any durability and comes with a breathable design that actively cuts and reduces sweat.
You will never overheat with the shoes, nor will you experience any discomfort. They offer plenty of cushions that are soft on your feet. The impact protection is also top-notch. If you need stylish sneakers for all types of basketball, the Marquee will deliver on many different levels.