Hooping outdoors is an animal unto itself. From the style of game, to battling the elements, to the potential to earn a terrible nickname for life with one mistake, you really gotta know what you're walking into, literally and figuratively. Having the right outdoor hoops kicks is essential to not looking like just another geek off the street. It also helps if you have someone play Warren G's "Regulator" as you enter the court. If that's too hard to coordinate, you can at least not wear terrible sneaks. We've all seen that dude running around in soggy hiking shoes. He's not getting the ball. He's never getting the ball. Don't be that dude.
The shoes don't have to be flashy (unless that's your thing, then rock with it) they just need take care of your feet. A lot of traction and a thick sole is crucial to blacktop survival. I personally also like a lot of ankle support as injuries seem to happen a lot of more outside. The game is usually on a smaller court and played just as hard, if not harder, than indoors. For this reason, you need sturdy, tough and flexible leather on your feet.
Jordan Melo M10
This is a big boy shoe. The M10 has a great balance of lightness and durability, two adjectives that can also very accurately describe Melo’s game. The M10s holds up on both surfaces, not to mention that they’re super comfortable. Some players haven't always had the most comfortable experience hooping in Js, but they got this one just right.
Reebok Kamikaze II
A shoe built for arguably the largest human being ever to play basketball is going to get the job done anywhere. Period. Perhaps not the best shoe for the 1-3 players, as it might be a little too stiff for all the running around you guards do, but a great overall outdoor option for anyone that plays hard and wants a shoe to back that up.
Reebok Question Mid
This shoe is so tough. Hands down one of the best pair of hoop kicks Reebok ever put out, both for aesthetics and performance. They are obviously made with ball-handlers in mind, but they do not disappoint if you’re under the boards scrapping. Great support and thick sole with a lot of traction, it's been a favorite on the blacktop for decades.
Reebok Blacktop Retaliate
For some (myself included) this might only be child swag, but for others the Blacktop Retaliate is an OG streetball bruiser. It was built specifically to withstand the pace and conditions of hooping outside, whether your a 11-year old who's milking his mom for presents or a grown-ass man who actually needs them.
Nike Kobe 8 GC
Have you been a fan of Kobes since he went low with it? Good. For big men, this was the first low shoe that allowed players to confidently play as hard needed without fear of an ankle roll. Unfortunately, regular Kobes don't hold up well outdoors. Or rather, don't last long outdoors. They are purely an indoor shoe. Fortunately, Nike made the GC as a outdoor option of their beloved classic. They've got this XDR outsole and herringbone construction that will give you some longevity on the blacktop. One little hitch is that they were only released overseas. But whatever, that's why we have the internet. So hop on a message board and bribe some Eastern European sneakerhead with a pair of authentic Levis and you'll be good money.
Nike Lunar Hyperdunk
The Hyperdunk is a serious workhorse of a shoe. Take it from someone that religiously wore these things from their first release in July of 2008 up until about two years ago, for no other reason than they simply started wearing other hoops kicks. These shoes were made to be the lightest and strongest shoe on the market. These are still super light and super strong. If you want a shoe that will carry you through an entire season of outdoor ballin’, these are them.
Nike Zoom Hyperfranchise XD
The Hyperfranchise is like a Hyperfuse that hits the weight room 6 times a week and does pull-ups on scaffolding with reckless abandon. It was built tough for the streets, just like dudes with the aforementioned workout routine. It's got the same XDR outsole as the Kobe GC and a traction pattern designed specifically for outdoor use. So if you loved the Hyperfuse and don't have any pull in the overseas market to cop the Kobes, grab a pair of these muscly foot soldiers.
adidas Rose 4.5
For those that have never been the biggest fan of the aesthetics of adidas basketball shoes, remember that this list isn’t about what looks good on your feet. If you've played outside a lot, then you know some of the most dangerous competitors look like the biggest bums. Which is because they know how to hoop and that's their only priority. It's about proving yourself in any and all elements, and you can't do that without the right footwear. The Rose 4.5 have crazy traction on the sole and outsole to help you stay grounded on some of the dirtiest of courts. When all is said and done, traction is the supreme qualifier for outdoor kicks. Keep that in mind when some "scrub" is tearing you up left and right.
Under Armour Anatomix Spawn Low
Under Armour has always put the athlete first. And being someone who has no visible definition in his ankles anymore, this writer greatly appreciate that. Yeah they might look crazy and have a name that makes no sense to me whatsoever, but those soles and that traction are gonna stand the test of time. They're also super stable and can handle the demands of all positions, 1-5.
Nike Team Hyperfuse Pack
Nike made a perennial workhorse for ballers originally back in '11. If you don't wear them EVERY single time, they'll keep in great shape. The traction is amazing, they're super light and keep your ankles where they need to be. These shoes were built for the best streetballers in the New York City, which means the world, so even if you're just a lefty with a J and a strong up and under, they'll more than get the job done.