Basketball Shoes That Make You Jump Higher

Getting the perfect dunk is the dream of any baseball player. If you don't have the advantage of natural height, you need to work on your vertical jump. Dunking is an art, but any basketball player will tell you that having the right shoes for dunking will give you that extra push to get you off the ground and slamming that hoop.

We've taken a look at several products on the market today to find out if they can help you dunk. They may make you jump higher, but they're high-quality products that will provide excellent comfort, traction, and many other benefits even if they don't. 

Can Shoes Increase Your Vertical Jump?

NBA Bans APL Shoes

Every basketball shoe manufacturer will try to tell you that their latest product will maximize your dunking potential. There seems to be some truth to the claim since the NBA banned Athletic Propulsion Labs shoes for providing an unfair advantage.

However, before you go rushing off to buy a new pair of sneakers, consider that most people actually jump higher without shoes than with them. 

Other Factors Affecting Vertical Jump

Most of the factors that make you jump higher are physical. Larger calf muscles, jump training for explosive power, and body weight will influence how high you jump. But with competing shoe manufacturers adding a bit of technology to your basketball shoes, you may get a small edge over the competition. 

Factors to Consider When Buying Shoes

When you start looking at sneakers, you'll probably stick to what your friends and other basketball players consider the best shoes at the time. While these may be pretty good, you should also do some research of your own to find your perfect pair. 

Everybody has a different technique and jump style, and what feels right for one person may not work for another. If you want to give your best performance on the court, you need to buy products that work for your shoe size, vertical leap style, and overall fit.


If you play on an outside basketball court, you know exactly how much traction can affect your game. Slippery shoes aren't only dangerous; they'll affect your jumping skills and height.

When you start a vertical jump, you want as much force going into the vertical movement as possible. Low traction will push some of that force horizontally, and if you put too much force in, you'll end up slipping or getting a bad jump.

If you play on a dusty court, find a basketball shoe that offers excellent traction. Some manufacturers use specialized rubber to stick to the court like glue, helping you gain traction and jump a lot higher than ever before. 

Responsive Cushioning

Many basketball players make the mistake of buying shoes with a lot of cushioning because they're more comfortable and look nicer. While cushioning can help protect your joints, it will also kill your jump. 

The reason for this is that cushioning will absorb a lot of vertical force that would otherwise go into your jump. If you're looking for training shoes that help you jump, go for ones with a stiff sole and less cushioning than traditional basketball shoes.

The added advantage of less cushioning is that you'll get a better court feel and traction since you'll be much closer to the action without a layer of soft material between you and the court's surface. 

Materials and Comfort

When you buy shoes for dunking, you want them to last. Basketball shoes aren't cheap, so it's important to buy ones that use high-quality materials and manufacturing techniques that can withstand significant abuse. 

The best basketball shoes are the ones that you break-in and can wear for years to come as they adapt to your feet and your motion when you play.


Your shoes should fit your foot like a glove. Many players buy jump training shoes that are too big and end up having their foot slip around the entire time they play. 

Poorly fitting shoes are more than just an annoyance and a distraction. They can sap your momentum and energy and will noticeably affect your dunking style and height. 

If you've already spent a lot of money on basketball sneakers that don't fit right, you can add high-performance socks to get a tighter fit and better traction in your shoe. This extra traction will help you jump higher and give you better horizontal momentum and control when you play.


How much a shoe weighs can have a significant impact on its performance. The heavier the shoe, the more effort you'll have to spend when jumping. On the other hand, heavier sneakers make excellent strength shoes because they help you develop the muscles and explosive power you need to execute the perfect dunk. 

If you want to maximize your vertical jump, consider having a separate pair of training shoes. Your heavier shoe can be a training shoe you use on training days. While your jumps may feel harder for a while, you'll quickly get used to the added weight. 

Then, when you're playing to win, switch out your training shoes with your serious dunk pair. You'll be amazed at how much lighter jumping feels and how much more power and height you can achieve on your vertical jump. 

Nike Lebron 16

Offers from $136 - $417

The Nike Lebron 16 is the signature shoe of one of the NBA's greatest players and one of the best basketball shoes on the market today. As you'd imagine from such high-end shoes, they provide everything you need to take your dunking to the next level.

The Lebron is probably the best shoe for jumping and serious playing. The Battle 2.0 technology delivers strength and flexibility, with a solid sole to enhance your court feel. 

One interesting aspect of the shoe is the Max Airbag in the outsole, which gives you a bit of extra lift on your jumps. It may not take your dunking to the next level, but it's a useful feature when you're training your vertical jump and want to get as much air as possible.

The Lebron 16 and others in the series are on the more expensive side but make up for the price in terms of build quality, traction, stability, and support. These dunking shoes are an investment that you'll enjoy for a long time to come.

APL Boomer

Offers from $400.

Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) made their name with their Load and Launch technology, which significantly increased players' vertical jump height. After the NBA banned the Concept 1, the company took off as more people decided they also wanted to jump higher.

The APL Boomer is the latest offering from the company. While it won't make you able to dunk if you can't already, it offers plenty of support, cushioning, and traction to make it one of the best shoes on the market today. 

One big feature of the APL Boomer is the unique traction pattern that ensures an excellent grip on indoor and outdoor courts. You may need to spend some time cleaning the bottom of your shoes if you play a lot outdoors to keep the rubber clean and grippy.

The cushioning on the shoe is between the rock-hard sole of a Nike Kyrie 3 and the more casual basketball shoes. A potential issue for some players is that the Boomer has a large heel to foot drop, and many people find it difficult to get used to when they first wear them. 

Overall, the Boomer follows the APL tradition of making specialized basketball shoes and high-quality footwear packed with support to increase your vertical jump. 

Adidas Crazy Explosive

Offers from $60 - $132

Adidas explicitly wanted to make a shoe to help players jump higher, and the result is the Crazy Explosive. This shoe is lightweight, and the rubber outsole guarantees a comfortable and tight fit. It also has superior ankle support, allowing you to move around and turn on a dime whenever necessary.

One of the few areas where this shoe falls ab it short is the cushioning. Overall, the shoe has a lot of give, though the back does have an extra bouncy heel. You may appreciate the extra give, especially if your joints hate your aggressive playstyle, but you won't jump higher with these shoes on compared to similar products. 

Nike Hyperdunk

Offers under $140

The name says it all. The Nike Hyperdunk is the go-to shoe for dunking. It has excellent support thanks to the high mesh upper, giving you more mobility and explosive power when you play. If you like switching directions on a dime, the Nike Hyperdunk has enough traction and all the support you need. 

The sole has herringbone tread and high-end materials technology that can handle extreme dunking sessions as well as everyday play. 

If you love personalizing your basketball shoes to fit your personality and give you extra incentive to perform well, you'll appreciate how much customization these shoes offer. With so many color choices available, you may forget about dunking and spend more time admiring your latest pair of kicks. 

The main drawback of these shoes is their cost. Like many other Nike shoes, these come at a premium. They will last a long time and may make you jump higher, and it's up to you if they're worth the investment.

Nike Kyrie 6 

Offers from $95 - $259

Ever since the Kyrie 3, the Nike Kyrie series of shoes has been a top choice for basketball players. The Kyrie 6 isn't much different and provides excellent benefits with very few flaws. 

These shoes fit perfectly, regardless of foot size, meaning you'll spend more time dunking and less time worrying about traction, comfort, or anything else. The only flaw we noticed was that the Kyrie 6 is more of an iteration of the previous shoes in the series and doesn't do much in terms of innovation and breakthroughs. 

These shoes are perfect if you want some affordable dunking sneakers to handle heavy wear and tear with minimal fuss. Unlike other Nike items, the Kyrie series doesn't offer much in terms of thrills and accessories. Instead, you get a shoe that you forget about, allowing you to focus on perfecting your dunking skills. 

Under Armour HOVR Havoc 3

Offers from $49 - $110

The HOVR Havoc 3 has some serious changes over the two previous versions, and many of these changes are designed to provide an aggressive and adaptable shoe feel.

The brand's patented HOVR cushioning is responsive instead of pillowy, making it an excellent performance shoe at the expense of some joint pain. It's a shoe for players who want creative gameplay and pairs well with that type of playstyle. 

Under Armour spends a lot of time thinking about fit, and it shows in the Havoc 3. It provides a unique lacing system to tighten the shoe without putting pressure on your arch. The ankle collar angles away from your foot, which will cut down on blisters.

However, is the Havoc 3 going to make you the dunking master you've always wanted to be? Unfortunately not. But if you love shifty, moment-to-moment play, you'll find this shoe meets your needs. 


Your shoe choice will have an impact on your jump height, but probably not as much as you'd like. Most basketball shoes have similar designs, so your best bet is to find a shoe that you like. As long as they're comfortable, fit well, and have excellent traction, they'll enhance your entire game, not just your dunking skills.


I'm Patricia Baker, a kindergarten teacher turned stay at home mom. I enjoy researching and writing product reviews as a way to help other consumers (like myself) make informed decisions. signature

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