Very Cheap Basketball Shoes: Is It a Good Idea?

So the topic for today is a very subtle one. We are going to discuss if it’s a good idea to buy very cheap basketball shoes. I’m talking under $50 type shoes.

Not everyone is willing to spend $150+ on just a pair of basketball shoes. The sneaker market today has THOUSANDS of models to choose from, including your super star NBA player signatures, premium Air Jordans or lesser known, but still great models from Under Amour or even Brandblack.

So before we start, I want you to know what kind of shoes you are getting for about 50 bucks to get an understanding. Check this out: best basketball shoes under 50 dollars.


  • Small selection of good performers

  • Most of the shoes are 2-3 years old

  • Offers minimal amount of tech for performance

  • Most of the time not durable

  • Not a lot of trusted brand shoes (adidas, Nike, Air Jordan)


Comparing to how huge and varied today’s market of mainstream basketball shoes is, these kind of low budget shoes are hard to find. Especially when you’re looking for something cheap AND performance friendly.

Most major retailers don’t sell old/super cheap shoes anymore. I had a hard time looking for shoes that are really cheap ($50-60) but also at least SOMEWHAT performance friendly.

If you’re on a lookout for them however, browse around Amazon’s bestsellers in shoes and you’ll find some options. Stay away from AND 1’s stuff, because they are not worth your time and will break down really quickly. There are still a couple of decent models which are listed in my other article though.

A few of the shoes that I found to be still usable are the adidas Isolation 2, Nike Overplay VIII and Nike Air Ring Leader.

Again, check out my article here if you want to pick the best shoes for very cheap.


You will not be able to get a 2015 or 2016 shoe for cheap. Sure, there are some exeptions, but most of the time, it is a no-brainer.

What’s worst about it, is if the shoe is 2 years old, that means the tech and materials featured in it are also 2 years old. This results in outdated, many times already improved tech or materials. They probably were pretty decent that time ago, but now, the standards are simply different and having some standard foam instead of, say, boost cushion feels MILES worse.

As the years pass, brands try to make their shoes more comfortable, light and responsive. That kind of thing wasn’t developed as much a couple of years ago, especially on budget shoes. I had a pair of adidas kicks that were about 4 years old. And believe me, that was a pretty uncomfortable and unsatisfying experience.

One of my recommendations for the latest AND cheap shoe would be the adidas 3 Series 2015.


With revolutionary technologies like BOOST, FLYWIRE, FlightPlate, it’s hard to find a shoe that doesn’t have any of these technologies featured. After all, without them, there isn’t much of a shoe left.

Well, I guess it’s not that hard when you’re looking for 50 dollar kicks. That’s right, those kind of shoes don’t have much to offer in terms of tech, so your legs have to make up for it. Technologies are just as expensive in electronics as in shoes. That’s why brands save a lot of money by making “underdogs”.

Some of the tech could still be seen in some low budget models. adidas’s adiPrene+ is still being used, as well as TORSION SYSTEM, which is actually a great arch support technology.

You’re not going to break in two when using shoes with minimal tech, but the experience could be very annoying, especially when there’s no mainstream cushioning system (boost, ZOOM AIR…).

Some of the shoes that still offer good tech for their price are, again, the adidas 3 Series 2015 or adidas Court Fury.


You’re not going to get high quality materials like Flyknit, HyperFuse or Performance Woven on a $50 shoe. It’s as simple as that. It costs A LOT to make a shoe with a high quality mesh upper mixed with Fuse for durability (example – LeBron 13). In result you get flexibility and performance, but also durability.

Not the case for cheap models. Most of the uppers are made of textile (which is light and loose but REALLY unreliable) or some cheap mesh that peels off quickly, especially when you try to play with them outdoors.

Best case scenario, there are some shoes with a synthetic leather upper, which is actually a good and trustworthy material. So if you’re on a look for cheap shoes, look for leather uppers because that’s the best thing you’re gonna get.

The shoes I will recommend for better materials are the AND 1 Rocket 4.0 and adidas Isolation 2.


What, you’re trying to get a pair of Jordans for twenty bucks? Stick to AND 1’s.

If you haven’t noticed already, when you look at the cheapest shoes online, all you find is AND 1, some adidas and bunch of other weird no-name stuff. Most people would hesitate buying stuff they haven’t even heard about. And who can blame them? I wouldn’t do that myself.

But when money’s a problem, you have to do it. That’s why you should ONLY look at adidas’s, Nike’s or in the worst case, AND 1’s sneakers. There are hidden gems out there, but for this amount of money you definitely should not be looking for them.

If you could crank up you budget up to ~70-80 bucks, you could definitely get something that’s pretty good. I think that’s a story for another day though. Stay tuned for that!

Since all of my recommendations were for adidas’s or Nikey’s shoes, I could only recommend the same stuff.



I’m being completely honest here. Unless you’re buying used shoes, I don’t think looking for $50 kicks is a good idea. HOWEVER, since budget is a problem, there is no choice. So the answer could be both yes and no. Okay, that sounded weird.

But for the most part, looking for those type of shoes should be your very last resort.

What you SHOULD do, is wait for a big sale on a premium shoe or buy used shoes. Again, that’s a story for another day.

If your pockets are empty, the best bet is to go check out my picks for the best basketball shoes under 50 dollars.

Or if you’re willing to spend more on a quality product, browse through my shoe reviews and pick what you like!

I hope you enjoyed this article, it is an interesting topic to talk about. Share the post to inform others.