How to Choose Lightweight Footwear

If your gameplay requires you to make fast actions, or if you like changing positions or running around the court, you want shoes that keep up with your rapid pace – without compromising the durability and comfort you need. Lightweight footwear will help you do just that. 

Lightweight sneakers are the players’ best bet to check all the boxes, especially players who long for footwear that can aid long performing sessions without tiring the feet. However, picking the best lightweight basketball shoe out of hundreds of gigantic and bulky options is quite an exhausting task. 

Nowadays, a basketball shoe is only considered ‘best’ if it’s huge and heavy; consequently, the shoe realm is majorly filled with them. Yet, even if you somehow manage to find the lightest basketball shoes, they’ll not necessarily turn out to be the best lightweight shoe. 

Here’s a complete guide to help you finally reach the perfect lightweight footwear that’s not only the lightest but also strong in other aspects. 

How Light Should Lightweight Shoes be? 

Over the past few years, changes to the built process and the materials used in making basketball shoes have dramatically snipped 2 or 3 ounces off the average weight of shoes. Though this seems like a small amount, trimming this bulk has definitely led players to notice considerable differences in their performances.

That being said, lightweight sneakers will weigh about 10-12 ounces for a man and 8-9 ounces for a woman, depending on each individual’s shoe size.

Are Lightweight Basketball Shoes Less Worthy Than heavy Basketball Shoes? 

Whether you’re a regular basketball player or someone new to this gameplay, this suspicion must have come to your mind; Which basketball shoes are the nicest: Lightweight or heavyweight? The answer is not that easy.

The weight of basketball shoes tends to earn a huge deal of priority. This is mainly because each category has its benefits and caters to the needs of different types of playstyles. Lighter shoes generally translate to increased physical stamina, incredible speed, and enhanced vertical leap.

Though running speed is an important factor for most players, not every athlete has the same priorities. For instance, post players, who mostly grind in the paint zone, require bulky shoes that protect their feet while they jostle around the basket. 

With that being said, it is safe to conclude that no matter if it’s a lightweight or heavy-weight shoe, none is better than the other when utilized for the proper purpose. The table below demonstrates what shoe weight best suits different kinds of basketball play styles. 

Category 

Weight 

Best For: 

Lightweight Shoes

10-12 Ounces For Men, 8-9 Ounces For Women 

a basketball point guard who's more into ball-handling
fluidity in movement
an almost natural feel
improving pace

Average Weight Shoes

12 Ounces For Men, 9.5-12 for Women

all-around players
those seeking versatility
a balance between speed and support

Heavy-weight Shoes 

Above 15 Ounces For Men, Above 12 Ounces For Women 

paint-zone post players
those needing maximum cushioning to protect joints

A Shoe light in weight is also more flexible and breathable than a heavier one, but what makes heavy-weight shoes bulkier also makes them more supportive and comfy. Hence, heavy-weight basketball shoes are the best in situations where a player needs more cushioning and support, especially for the ankles or to aid in jumping. Here’s how lightweight sneakers are different from the bulkier ones:

Lightweight Basketball Shoes

Heavy Basketball Shoes 

Swift and Speedy

Comparatively Slow 

Lesser Cushioning

Sufficient Cushioning

Super-Ventilation

Comparatively Less Ventilation 

Thin Sole, Smooth Heal-to-Toe Slope

Thick Sole, Steeper Heel-To-Toe Slope

Things to Consider: How to Choose the Best Lightweight Footwear 

Choosing the overall best basketball shoe is not a big deal. All you need to do is narrow down what material, cushioning, and support match your requirements and pick the option which has that all. However, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to purchasing lightweight basketball shoes.

To solve those confusions, listed below are some key aspects you should never ignore while choosing the lightest basketball shoes in 2021.

Prioritize Support 

By now, you may have understood that getting super-sufficient support with the lightest sneakers is not possible; however, this doesn’t mean getting any support at all. Be it a typical basketball shoe or the lightest one, enough support is crucial and certainly not an aspect to compromise on. 

Before selecting the best-fit lightweight shoe for yourself, make sure that it offers decent support to the heel, arch, and toe area. If you ever get fortunate to spot an option with ankle support, too, don’t miss it. Keeping that in mind, we suggest you go with high-tops or mid-tops. 

These two types of basketball shoes provide premium support to feet and prevent them from shocks while you dribble and dash around the court. Also, make sure you choose only the options with a good lace-up or webbed lock mechanism, so it keeps the feet tight and intact.

Never Compromise on Durability 

To trim down the weight of basketball shoes, manufacturers mostly use materials that aren’t too bulky. While doing so, the material’s quality is often undermined, resulting in an overall fragile shoe structure that can not bear the harsh conditions of the basketball courts. 

That’s why you should not compromise the shoe’s sturdiness. Always choose basketball sneakers with synthetic or textile construction. Or else leather is a good option too. 

In the aspect of durability, brand consciousness might help as well. Sneakers by Under Armour and Adidas have greater chances of lasting longer in comparison to other big names. 

Enhanced Breathability

Breathability refers to how good the shoe’s inside air circulation is to prevent your feet from sweating. The Breathability aspect within a shoe matters a lot, especially when searching for the lightest basketball shoes.

To ensure that your next lightweight sneakers are breathable enough, look for a mesh upper construction and prioritize visible perforation. This way, you won’t get sweaty even after a long playing session, ultimately playing with more convenience and focus.

Recommended Products: Best Lightweight Basketball Shoes 

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Adidas Performance Cloudfoam Ilation
Under Armour Men's Jet
Adidas Men's DAME 5
ON Women's Cloud Sneaker 
Under Armour Men's Lockdown 5


1. Adidas Performance Cloudfoam Ilation


While Cloudfoam Ilation's body and design make for a lightweight structure, the durable construction, sleek look, and unique finish enhance overall performance. The design is specially built to suit the wearer's natural foot posture, allowing the shoes to keep your feet fatigue-free. 

Thanks to the 100% leather construction, this best lightweight shoe offers great sturdiness and superior balance and support. To make breathability top-notch, air circulation is kept intact via visible perforations.  

Wearers will especially love the Cloudfoam sockliner midsole that, with even lightweight cushioning, offers enough uplift on every jump. It's also superb in resisting shocks. The rubber shoe outsole carries solid tractions but seems to lack in quality. 

PROS



  • Perfect for Guards who have to make quick cuts.

  • Lightest shoes, weigh 0.45 ounces only.

  • High-top design protects the ankle area.

  • Durable and breathable upper

  • Air-Mesh tongue and leather ensure longevity 


CONS 



  • Outsole might peel off with regular play. 



2. Under Armour Men's Jet


Wearing this extremely lightweight footwear, you will feel like walking barefoot around the court while the synthetic textile upper keeps you balanced. Also, the mesh material will ensure your feet remain sweat-free no matter how long you play. 

The shoe's mid-top design is great as well that neither restricts your playstyle and provides the right amount of support and comfort your feet require. One more thing, the rubber outsole is pretty durable and eligible to do wonders in indoor courts but might lack on rugged landscapes.

However, what really makes this Under Armour shoe different from others is the adequate cushioning on offer despite its lightweight design. In a nutshell, we will give this shoe a straight 9 out of 10 for maintaining the compactness and still delivering premium cushioning.   

PROS



  • Favorable for professional-level gameplay.

  • Mid-top design with ankle collar cushioning

  • Aesthetic Black-Red look

  • Durable and sturdy enough.

  • Great cushioning despite weighing 12 ounces only


CONS



  • Not recommended for outdoor courts. 



3. Adidas Men's DAME 5


Not so high-priced like most lightweight basketball shoes, but they have all of the best qualities found in costly ones. The DANE 5 shoes consist of unique cuts on their outer sole, specially designed to maximize support and grip on indoor and outdoor courts. 

This means that the shoes won't slip and neither let you fall after high jumps. The shoe back arch along the elevated heel is also very supportive, while the counter aids in running fast. The front box is also tall, holding enough space to splay your toes easily. 

However, players will most likely get frustrated with the counter collar that's too tight around the ankle. Otherwise, nothing can stop players from achieving their dream speed with the Adidas Men's Dame 5 basketball shoes. 

PROS



  • Available at a reasonable price

  • Made of pure synthetic fiber 

  • Bounce midsole is comfy and responsive

  • Decent heal support

  • Wide Toe Box

  • Comes in 12 amazing designs 


CONS 



  • Very tight counter collar



4. ON Women's Cloud Sneaker 


As the name suggests, this best lightweight basketball shoe for women is made of cloud mesh, synthetic, and rubber. What makes this shoe so attractive is the unique blend of its upper cover and stylish sole, together manifesting a charming blue, white, and grey color combination. 

The synthetic and mesh fiber not only proves great for protecting the wearer's feet from injuries but also prevents them from sweating. The manufacturer has ensured that the shoe maintains decent inside air circulation, which never lets perspiration stay. 

Cloud Sneakers also house a fantastic rubber sole with massive tread patterns on them. Everything combined results in the overall good performance of the Cloud-Mesh ON shoes. It is a perfect footwear choice for basketball, running, and football; however, be mindful that the options lack a little in giving support to the foot's arch.. 

PROS



  • Unique built combination 

  • Versatile sports shoe

  • Trendy appearance

  • Awesome tread pattern, great for concrete courts 


CONS



  • Not enough arch support 



5. Under Armour Men's Lockdown 5


The Under Armour Lockdown 5 is a basketball shoe every player should try at least once in life. You get six different color choices with the Lockdown 5. It houses all top-tier elements compared to its reasonable cost. A mesh-made breathable upper coupled with a leather cover enhances durability. 

Also, ventilation holes and anti-odor technology are used throughout the shoe surface to offer coolness to the feet inside. Such strong is the ventilation that you will face no sweat even if Lockdown 5 is put on for an entire day.

To offer good bounce, Under Armour has let sit an EVA base on the shoe midsole. On the other hand, the outsole is made of rubber with a herringbone spine pattern underneath, making Lockdown 5 an ideal outdoor basketball shoe. These shoes also ace in the comfort sector; however, they are slightly tight from the ankle zone.  

PROS



  • Herringbone traction grip the floor exceptionally well

  • Great ventilation 

  • Solid construction 

  • Affordable 


CONS



  • The ankle part is a bit tight



Conclusion 

The swiftness of a player’s feet is crucial in basketball, and having enormous, bulky shoes only shrinks the pace down. If you’re an aggressive player who doesn’t require too much cushioning but craves excellent pace, a lightweight basketball shoe is what you need. 

As said before, choosing the lightest basketball shoe in town, keeping in mind that it fulfills all important aspects, is a dilemma. However, we hope this post has helped you get out of this chaos. Additionally, the recommendations mentioned above are the lightest options you can get right now. 

All of them are great shoes that are not less than the traditional ones despite being light in weight. The overall best, however, is the Adidas Cloud Illation. If that doesn’t suit you, then the Lockdown 5 ain’t bad either. In fact, it is one of the lightest outdoor basketball shoes in town.