Short on time? My pick for the best women’s basketball shoes and the best basketball shoes for girls is the Under Armour Jet Basketball Shoes.
Women’s basketball has been around as early as 1892. This was just a year after Dr. James Naismith invented it in 1891. Senda Berenson added some tweaks into the game to make it more appropriate for women. You can find more interesting women’s basketball milestones in the history of basketball. With the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and women’s basketball becoming an official Olympic sport, there are plenty of opportunities for women and girls to get exposure to the sport.
In this article, I will be reviewing the following best basketball shoes for women and girls:
- Under Armour Jet Basketball Shoes
- Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2
- Nike Women’s Hyperdunk 2016
- Nike Kyrie 6
- Adidas Pro Bounce 2019
Let’s start with what you need to look for when shopping for women’s basketball shoes.
Should you consider men’s basketball shoes?
Shopping for basketball shoes in the men’s section can give you more choices in terms of availability of designs and range of sizes.
How about the fit and sizing? Will a shoe created for a man’s foot work with a woman’s? A study on gender differences in adult foot shape in April 2001 by Wunderlich RE, Cavanagh PR noted that for the same foot length, a woman’s foot will have (1) a higher arch, (2) a smaller instep in terms of circumference, (3) a shallower height for the first toe, and (4) a shorter length of the outside ball of the foot. Refer to the diagram below to see which exact parts of the foot were measured.
While there may be differences, these are typically subtle and it remains to be seen whether including these small changes in a shoe design will actually result in a much better fit. So yes, you can consider men’s basketball shoes if you are unable to find anything suitable in the selection for women.
A good rule of thumb to get the equivalent women’s US size from men’s sizes is to subtract 1.5 from the men’s size.
Cushioning and Support
Basketball games require a lot of running and jumping. You need shoes that can absorb the shock and can give you proper support to sustain the constant pounding on your feet, ankles and knees. The two parts to focus on would be the midsole and the insole.
For the midsole, the most common material used for basketball shoe midsoles is ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA). This is a type of foam which is lightweight, durable, sturdy, and is great for withstanding hard impact. Another popular material is thermoplastic urethane (TPU) which is also lightweight and durable.
The insoles or sockliner that come as part of the shoe will usually be soft and made of foam. It adds a layer of cushioning to your feet. If you have a specific foot condition like high arches or flat feet, then it’s best to check out more specialized types of insoles for added support.
Traction and Stability
Traction is very important to prevent injuries due to slippage. The pattern on the outsole of a shoe is the key factor that determines how good the grip of the shoe is. A shoe with the traditional herringbone pattern is a safe and solid bet. Makers of basketball shoes have been innovative in the patterns that go into the outsole which can be as reliable as the herringbone pattern. These patterns can also be decorative and enhance the overall look of the shoe. The shoe outsole is commonly made of rubber.
Secured To Your Foot
Your basketball shoes must feel secure on your foot to ensure stability. You wouldn’t want your shoe to slip off your foot in the middle of a fast break.
Shoe laces are the best bet as they provide the best level of adjustment in terms of fit. Velcro straps are a convenient option but make sure that shoe fits well after you have fastened the straps.
You would also want to look for a padded heel and ankle collar as this helps keep your heel and ankle in place.
The perception of weight can be subjective so it is best to try the shoe to make a proper judgement. Having that thought in your head that your shoe is heavy will impact you more than the real weight of the shoe itself. I have tried on shoes that felt heavy to me which actually ended up being the same weight as others that I perceived to be lighter.
A thicker midsole and outsole contributes to the weight and bulk of a shoe. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the use of EVA and similar materials have made basketball shoes a lot less heavy.
Other features like moisture wicking sockliners and a soft and breathable upper material adds to the comfort that you get out of a shoe. You will get a lot more mileage and value for your money if you get a shoe that you love to wear.
High top, mid top or low top?
This is mainly a matter of personal preference. If you need guidance, I recommend that you choose based on the position that you play. Low top and mid top shoes work best for guards and small forwards as they are constantly on the move. If you are a power forward or center then high and mid tops are the preferred shoe cuts.
5 Best Women’s Basketball Shoes
Now that we know the different factors to consider, let us go and decide which best women’s basketball shoes to buy.
This is the women’s counterpart to the popular Jet Basketball Shoes for men. These Under Armour shoes are light, weighing only nine ounces. The outsole is made of rubber with a unique pattern, ensuring great traction and durability.
EVA is used for both the midsole and sockliner (insole) so you have ample cushioning for your feet when you land from those jumps. It has a shank (a thin piece of material between the insole and midsole) in the midfoot which provides additional support and structure.This shank plus the heel counter which cradles your heel ensures that your feet are secured and in place. The insole is removable in case you want to replace them with specialized insoles.
The upper of the shoe is made of leather and textile. The leather has perforations on it for breathability. The shoe is comfortable and generally doesn’t require breaking in. The upper is overlaid with durable TPU to prevent abrasions and help maintain its shape.
This shoe has a mid top cut which makes it versatile and will work for any position that you play.
- Good cushioning, arch support and traction
- Attractive price point
- Less popular brand for basketball shoes
This is another mid top offering from Under Armour which will work for any basketball position.
The midsole for the Havoc 2 is made of HOVR. HOVR is a unique foam material created through a collaboration between Under Armour and Dow chemicals. You can think of this as Under Armour’s response to the React by Nike and Boost by Adidas. HOVR is extremely light and soft and gives excellent cushioning.
The HOVR midsole is wrapped with an Energy Web compression mesh to help keep its shape and provide responsiveness and bounce. The Energy Web mesh as the name suggests, captures the energy from your foot’s movements and returns it back to you. There is also a TPU shank between the midsole and insole for extra stability.
The shoe has a rubber outsole with the traditional herringbone pattern for great floor grip. The upper is made of molded textile which is comfortable and breathable. It has a traditional tongue construction made of mesh which helps increase the airflow and makes it easy for the wearer to slip the shoe on.
The shoe stays secure on your foot when making a dash for a loose ball thanks to the webbed lacing system and half bootie lining.
- Innovative HOVR and Energy Web technology for excellent cushioning and bounce
- Good arch support and traction
- Higher price point than the Jet
The Nike Women’s Hyperdunk 2016 is an iconic shoe released in the same year as Nike’s way of celebrating the history of the Women’s USA Basketball program. Fun fact: the Women’s USA basketball team has won the gold in the Olympics since 1996 and has not been beaten. The low top version of this sneaker was worn by the Women’s USA basketball team in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The one featured here is the mid top version for ultimate versatility.
The midsole is made of Phylon foam which is made of compressed EVA that was heat expanded then cooled in a mold. This is a very lightweight and responsive material that provides excellent cushioning. There are Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot for even more bounce. The outsole has a traditional herringbone pattern for the ultimate traction and grip.
The Nike Hyperdunk has Flywire cables integrated with the shoelaces for a very secure and locked-down fit. The upper is made of breathable textile and comes in a huge range of color choices. This is one shoe that does not only perform well, you can also match it to the color of your team’s uniform.
- Lightweight and responsive
- Fits securely thanks to Flywire cables integrated with the shoelaces
- Iconic shoe to commemorate the dominance of the Women’s USA basketball team in the Olympics
- Difficult to put on due to the narrow fit on the ankles
4. Nike Kyrie 6
Inspired by Kyrie Irvings quick moves, the Kyrie 6 shoe is made to give you that extra spring in your step. This is one of my recommended basketball shoes from the men’s section. A very versatile shoe that can work for all basketball positions.
The midsole is made of lightweight foam which is soft and supportive. Nike Air Zoom Turbo cushion units under the ball of the foot adds to the comfort factor and enhances your on-court speed. This foam midsole perfectly complements the curved outsole and gives you that swift and smooth heel-to-toe transition. This is everything you need for support and performance.
The curved outsole extends towards the side of the upper and has a unique multi-angle blade pattern design providing excellent grip. This makes the shoe a great choice for cutting through opponents and making fast lateral movements.
The Kyrie 6 comes with an adjustable thick midfoot strap which holds down your shoe laces and keeps your feet stable. It has a padded collar and heel counter to keep your ankle in place and ensure it is properly aligned. The shoe will stay secure on your foot while you execute your fancy footwork to get that opening and make that shot.
- Exceptional support and cushioning
- Lightweight and responsive
- Excellent traction with patterned outsole extending all the way to the sides of the upper
- Runs narrow. Take a size up after converting to women’s size.
These shoes are comfortable, lightweight and responsive. This is another one of my picks from the men’s section that can be suitable for women. The shoe has a minimalist and clean design making it a crowd pleaser.
The Adidas Pro Bounce 2019 features a Flexible Bounce midsole cushion, a type of foam that is meant to be soft, flexible and bouncy hence the name. The Bounce cushion was designed in-house by Adidas with performance as the primary consideration.
The outsole features a Zonal herringbone pattern with flex grooves for outstanding traction. It has a padded ankle collar with additional cushioning for added stability. The lace closure ensures a secure but pleasant fit. The upper is made of two-tone textile material and has a textile lining. It is secured to your foot with a lace closure.
The sizing on this shoe can be tricky. I recommend checking at least 2 sizes to try and get the right fit.
- Lightweight and responsive
- Great cushioning and support
- Clean and minimalist design
- Sizing can be tricky
The Awesome Choice
My choice for the best women’s basketball shoes is the Under Armour Jet Basketball Shoes. These shoes are simple and reliable. I love that these shoes provide exceptional cushioning and support through the EVA midsole and midfoot shank. A solid rubber outsole with a unique pattern provides excellent grip to keep you steady as you make your cutting moves. The use of perforated leather and textile for the upper overlaid with TPU achieves the right balance between comfort, style and durability.
This shoe presents an outstanding value for money. It comes at an attractive price point without compromising on features. This is also my recommendation for the best basketball shoes for girls.
Before you go, let’s check out this video to look at some of the top plays of the decade in the WNBA to get an idea of how women’s basketball has progressed and the type of basketball shoes they wear.