Basketball sneakers aren’t only designed for performance on the court; many of them had to look darn great, too. But there are some of them that are, well… unique and may get a little too overboard (okay, ugly). And because of these sneakers’ weird designs, they are even the ones that turn out to be the most memorable!
Without further ado, let’s get on to the 25 of the most unusual and stylish basketball shoes that we have seen, so far:
1. Nike Air Flight One
Remember when Michael Jordan sported the Nike Air One back in 1995? He appeared on the hard court with his early debut of the legendary Air Jordan Concord 11 during the Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal. But since they were still prototypes and were in the white colorway, Jordan was fined for not adhering to the league’s “black shoes” rule.
So for Game 3, Jordan wore a pair of Nike Air Flight One shoes. These shoes had black colorways, but the funny thing was that those Flight One’s were the signature shoes of his rival Penny Hardaway. He and his team, the Chicago Bulls, lost that game, but he scored 40 points.
2. Nike Kobe 9
Although it is not as controversial as the other basketball shoes, the Nike Kobe 9 still surprised a lot of sneaker fans when it was first launched. After having released a slew of low-top models, NBA star Kobe Bryant and shoe designer Eric Avar came up with the Nike Kobe 9. Its top is so high that it looks like more of a boxing boot than a basketball sneaker.
3. Nike Air Foamposite One
The Nike Air Foamposite One has earned fame (or notoriety) not just for its high performance, but also for its futuristic look which is something that you’d either love or hate. There are lots of these Foamposite Ones which come in metallic colorways. Check out the review of Nike Air Foamposite One “Abalone” edition to see whether or not you will share your passion (or hate) towards this unique shoe.
4. Adidas Kobe 2
Why does the Kobe lineup have some of the worst shoes in history? To date, there’s nothing uglier than the Adidas Kobe 2. They look like space-age versions of traditional wooden clogs. Simply terrible.
5. Air Jordan 2010
In terms of build, silhouette and performance, the Air Jordan 2010 is neither flashy nor dynamic, but other than that it’s a fine sneaker. But wait… what’s the round window in the mid-foot area and why is it there in the first place?
6. Under Armour Charge BB Basketball
This extreme high-top sneaker is said to have an otherwise “low-top feel.” Still, it’s an ugly shoe to wear on the court, but it can be suitable for other uses, e.g., robot costumes for Halloween.
7. Reebok Zig Slash
During that time, Reebok was going through a transitional phase as the basketball sneakers brand to reckon with. Their star endorser, Allen Iverson, retired from the league, and Reebok was looking for a fresh face. It didn’t take long for them to find one – 2010’s number one draft pick overall, John Wall, who eventually got to wear the Zig Slash model whose colorway was designed by one of his fans. But only two years after its launch, Reebok stopped production of this shoe.
8. Nike Kyrie 4 “Confetti”
Aside from its vibrant colorways, the Nike Kyrie 4 “Confetti” is also known for having mismatched left and right shoes. It was inspired by Kyrie Irving’s experience as his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, finally bowed down to the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals. You’d never known that this multi-colored shoe was inspired by a big loss on the court. More details on the interesting kicks here: https://liveforbball.com/nike-kyrie-4-confetti
9. Nike “Be True” (BETRUE) collection
The Nike “Be True”’s iridescent rainbow “Pride” colorways on its collection of sneakers is a celebration and empowerment towards the LGBT community. Aside from being ridiculously stylish, these shoes have won praises for being comfortable. The collection includes the Nike BETRUE Vapormax Plus, Nike BETRUE Air Max 270, Nike BETRUE Zoom Fly and Nike BETRUE Epic React Flyknit. More about these shoes on this link: https://liveforbball.com/nike-be-true-collection
10. Air Jordan 4 Retro x Levi’s “Blue Denim”
Fans of Levi’s legendary denim pants will surely be elated with this product, the result of a collaboration between Air Jordan and Levi’s, the “Blue Denim” edition. The predominantly denim blue colorway is highlighted by tan and red accents. With the type of fabric, this works better as a street fashion than basketball sneakers. More on this shoe: https://liveforbball.com/air-jordan-4-retro-x-levis-blue-denim-edition
11. Nike Kyrie 4 “BHM”
The shoes are a manifestation of Kyrie Irving’s endless personal quest to be the best in everything he does, on and off the court. The shoes are also a celebration and a continuous call for equality (the words “EQUALITY” are all over the shoe’s upper). What a stylish way to become a platform for positive change! More on these sneakers: https://liveforbball.com/nike-kyrie-4-bhm-edition
12. FUBU x Puma Suede Classic “Suede 50”
The collaboration between two of the renowned brands – one American and one German – resulted into this one wonderful sneaker. Puma marked the 50th year of its famous Suede trainers, and it teamed up with FUBU for a 90s-inspired street wear collection – as you may have known, these two brands are strongly associated with the explosion of hip hop culture during the 90s. More on this shoe: https://liveforbball.com/fubu-x-puma-suede-classic-suede-50-edition
13. Air Jordan XV
Although he’s widely regarded as the greatest sneaker designer of all time, Tinker Hatfield has created a handful of not-so-brilliant shoe designs and he regrets having done them. In fact, he himself has named the Air Jordan XV as his worst design. Well, it’s unique on its own as its woven upper reminds one of a straw mat.
14. Adidas Dame 4
Damian Lillard’s fourth signature sneaker may not have a flashy upper. It does not even have Adidas’ renowned Boost sole, but these reasons make this shoe particularly special. The mesh upper makes it look like it’s a sleek and premium kind of shoe (when in fact it was priced at $115 a pair when first launched). The “Rip City” edition features colors that are an obvious nod to Lillard’s own team, the Portland Trail Blazers. It’s easy on the eye, and more importantly, on the feet.
15. Nike LeBron 15
Despite having the looks of a sock sneaker, the Nike LeBron 15 feels surprisingly sturdy, making it definitely court-ready – thanks to the new Nike Flyknit upper called Battleknit. Its one-knit upper is a minimal contrast to previous LeBron designs, making it ready for street wear fashion too.
16. Reebok Ice Cream
Reeobk’s Ice Cream sneakers found a fleeting popularity when they were endorsed and worn by the likes of Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. The colors may be too bright and unsophisticated that they won’t be considered seriously as basketball shoes, but they may work well in casual wear.
17. Adidas x Jeremy Scott Totem
The silhouette and colorways of this shoe are bold, vibrant… and ugly. The animal elements make one to feel creeped out. Plus, the idea of taking the images of totem poles and putting them into this sneaker also denotes a glaring lack of respect for religious icons. But at least, its big style and the wings make the Adidas x Jeremy Scott Totem definitely notorious and truly unique.
18. Converse All-Star Classic High Top
People tend to forget about the ubiquitous Converse All-Star’s original purpose. First and foremost, it is a basketball shoe. But over the years it has also transitioned into being a fashion statement. But you can’t blame them, right?
19. Under Armour Anatomix Spawn Low
One of the best from Under Armour, the Anatomix Spawn Low is known for being excellent at protecting the ankles and for its overall stability. And these look great not just for wearing on the court, but off the court as well.
20. Air Jordan III
No doubt, this is a classic pair of kicks. The Air Jordans have produced some of the most iconic low-top basketball sneakers in footwear history, and this is one of them. You can rock these shoes either along with your jerseys or your favorite pair of trousers.
21. Nike Lebron 13 DB December
NBA star LeBron James is one of Nike’s most prized endorsers. The explosive colors of this edition illustrate his dynamism on the court. The Nike Flywire threads on the upper provide awesome support for the foot, not to mention it looks definitely sleek.
22. Reebok Question
Reebok Question has produced a number of interesting colorways, and because of them it rose to become one of the most popular non-Nike/Air Jordan sneakers to hit the court. It is mostly known for its colored toe boxes. For its 20th anniversary, the Question’s iconic retro shape was updated with a look that was inspired by Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers uniform.
23. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG
In 2018, the Air Jordan 1 Retro High makes a big comeback of the iconic Air Jordan 1. There have been a lot of colorways for this sneaker. More on this shoe: https://liveforbball.com/air-jordan-1-retro-high-og-2018
24. Air Jordan XI
Air Jordan again! Michael Jordan’s 11th signature sneaker debuted in 1995, and since then it has become one of the most recognizable basketball sneaker silhouettes just yet. And it continues to be quite popular, judging from the several retro releases with a wide range of colorways.
25. Reebok Shaqnosis
The zebra stripes of the shoe may make you literally hypnotized the longer you stare at them. Released in 1995, the shoe originally featured a design which was created to fit Shaquille O’Neal’s crazy on-and off-court personality. Since then it has released several colorways.