Image via Nike
Image via Nike

Just like that, 2014 is coming to a close, which also happened to be one of the best years in recent memory as far as performance basketball releases. Just about every brand pushed the envelope this year, incorporating new ideas and technologies to produce some of the most advanced footwear to hit the hardwood. Of course some shined brighter then others including the performance-woven Jordan XX9, the fully-Flyknit Kobe 9 Elite, and the Boost enabled D Rose 5. With so many highly touted releases, it's incredibly easy to overlook some of the lower profile drops that may have slipped through the cracks, but still offer the high level of performance your looking for. That's where we come in.

We've compiled some of the best performance basketball kicks from 2014 that for one reason or another, got lost in the shuffle and ultimately ignored. Not only do the most of the shoes on our list come with the same level of technology and performance aspects your looking for from a Nike or adidas signature shoe, most of them come at a price point that won't break the bank. Here's 10 Performance Basketball Shoes You May Have Slept on in 2014. 

Danny Mitchell is a freelance writer from New York and contributor to Sneaker Report with an unwavering passion for the Knicks, sneakers, golf, and vintage 90′s gear. Find him on IG @dmitchhhh

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Image via Celtkicks
Image via Celtkicks

Anta Rondo 9

Worn by: Rajon Rondo
Key technology: A-Jelly techology

Anta is still trying to make a legitimate name for themselves in the basketball market, so overlooking the latest signature for Rajon Rondo is not surprising. Although Anta might not be on your radar just yet, there's major technical aspects that make a Rondo 9 a solid option for both indoor and outdoor use. The outsole features deep multi-directional treads for optimal traction and grip on many surfaces, and features a lightweight upper comprised of a breathable synthetic leather. The biggest standout comes from the A-Jelly technology which uses a bio-degradable gel material in the sole to give the Rondo 9 a high level of cushioning and responsiveness.

$90

Image via adidas
Image via adidas

adidas D Howard 5

Worn by: Dwight Howard
Key technology: Built-in compression bootee

OK, hear us out for a second. The first four signature shoes adidas has rolled out with Dwight Howard fell short of expectations, not for it's technical aspects, but more for just being a downright ugly sneaker. Although the aesthetics of the D Howard 5 might not catch your eye, it does have the tech features and price tag to make it worth considering. Built for fast, powerful big men, they feature a lightweight synthetic upper and a built-in compression bootee for a comfortable, yet locked-down fit, with a SPRINTWEB frame for additional stability and support. You may have dismissed all previous D Howard's, but it might be time to change your tune.

$90

Image via HiBasketballshoes
Image via HiBasketballshoes

361°Sport Kevin Love 2014 Winter

Worn by: Kevin Love
Key technology: Multiple-density midsole

Chances are most people still haven't heard of 361°, mostly because they just made their US debut in 2014. What we do know, is that if they were able to draw Kevin Love away from Nike, there's got to be some good reason. Although K-Love's shoes look rather clunky and more like an outdoor shoe with similar design aesthetics to the Nike Air Flight 89, they were built with strong, powerful big men in mind. The shoes are built with a sturdy leather upper, with mesh cutouts along the side giving some added breathability. The best feature comes at the multi-density midsole which provides the stability, cushioning, and responsiveness necessary to body up in the paint.

$80

Image via PeakSneakers
Image via PeakSneakers

Peak TP-9 II

Worn by: Tony Parker
Key technology: Pressure mapping outsole design

Just like Anta or 361°'s, Peak might not be on your radar just yet, but the latest signature shoe for Tony Parker might cement their spot. The TP-9 II has all the bells and whistles that your big box signatures have, but with a slightly lower price point. Ready to go right out the box, the shoes have no break-in time but are durable enough for both indoor and outdoor use. The highlight technology comes at the Gradient Dual cushion which offers solid impact protection, and the pressure mapping outsole design for top-tier traction. Only flaw here would be their not exactly built for every position on the court, but if your a quick cutting guard, the TP-9 II is one to think about.

$100

Image via Nike
Image via Nike

Nike KD Trey 5 II

Worn by: Kevin Durant (sometimes)
Key technology: XDR outsole

It's customary these days for major athletes with a signature shoe to have a secondary option that comes with a lower price tag, while maintaining most of the same technical aspects. The KD Trey 5 II falls into that category as it features the same low-cut design as the KD 7, along with many of Nike's performance technologies. Coming in a full mesh upper, the KD Trey 5 II is lightweight, while offering a locked-down fit with the use of Flywire cables and an adaptive fit system. Although they're slightly cheaper then the KD 7's, this secondary option may be more rugged and built for outdoor use with the XDR herringbone outsole, and a bonded overlay at the toe for improved durability. Just because it's the second option for KD doesn't mean it has to be for you.

$110

Image via Brandblack
Image via Brandblack

Brandblack J. Crossover

Worn by: Jamal Crawford
Key technology: Ultra cushioned jetlon midsole

Brandblack is only in their second year, but has already dropped a few solid basketball models under the radar. With Jamal Crawford as the primary ambassador, Brandblack might not have to flash or appeal of a Nike or adidas, but the quality and attention to detail remains the same. The J. Crossover catches the eye with a unique, ultra lightweight parametric upper, but has much more to offer. Cushioning is always a key point, and Brandblack delivers with a jetlon midsole that offers substantial impact protection. One complaint comes at the outsole, which could use slightly deeper treads, but based of aesthetics and overall performance, the J. Crossover should be in arsenal. Not to mention prices will most likely drop once they launch the J. Crossover 2 to kick off 2015.

$140

Image via FinishLine
Image via FinishLine

Under Armour Micro G Anatomix Spawn II

Worn by: Brandon Jennings, Steph Curry
Key technology: Micro G Cushioning

Under Armour's been making major strides in their footwear category, so much that they're nipping at the heels of adidas. Designed to work with the muscles, tendons and bones in the foot, the Anatomix Spawn II have a anatomical look virtually becomes an extension of your body. The lightweight, supportive fit comes from interwoven layers of flexgear to conform to your foot, which is supported by the highly responsive Micro G cushioning. While they're working towards the future with the Curry 1, Under Armour had an undercover hit on their hands in 2014, and hopefully next year's model lives up to the standards.

$90

Image via SneakerReport
Image via SneakerReport

APL Concept 3

Worn by: N/A
Key technology: Load ‘N Launch technology

APL made major headlines when they burst on the scene in 2010, as the Concept 1 became the first shoe since the Air Jordan 1 in 1985 to be banned by the NBA. Unlike the Jordan 1, which was banned for it's failure to meet the on-court dress code, the NBA banned the Concept 1 because of an "unfair competitive advantage" that helped players jump higher. As you could imagine, APL immediately drew attention from players outside the professional ranks, and have been improving on their design ever since. The Concept 3 still features their patented Load 'N Launch technology for an increased vertical, but makes improvements with a breathable FloZone upper, non-slip rubber outsole, and internal bootie for a personalized fit. Although the Concept 3 tops our list in terms of price, the aesthetics and technology stand up with the best of 'em.

$175

Image via Nike
Image via Nike

Nike Zoom Run the One

Worn by: James Harden
Key technology: Composite upper with Flywire technology

Along with their signature shoes lines, Nike also rolls out multiple series of basketball specific models each year with the Hyperdunk and Hyperfuse getting most of the attention. This year, Nike debuted the Zoom Run the One, specifically built for players who control the game and depend on responsive shoe to keep up with their quick cuts and lateral movements. The low-cut silhouette comes with a lightweight composite upper, that offers support and lockdown through Flywire and an inner sock. Nike added in a Zoom unit to the forefoot and a Injected Phylon midsole giving responsive cushioning when flying up and down the court. James Harden has taken on the Zoom Run the One as his unofficial signature shoe, and although we fully endorse him getting his own model in the very near future, the attention to detail and tech features perform to the level of any signature shoe on the market today.

$110

Image via Nike
Image via Nike

Jordan CP3.VIII

Worn by: Chris Paul
Key technology: Flight Web fit system

When your trying to compete with the LeBron 12 and Kobe 9, it's pretty easy for the CP3.VIII to get lost in the shuffle. Specifically designed for speed players like Chris Paul, the CP3.VIII has all the tech features while coming in with a lower price point than other signature shoes from Nike and Jordan. The shoes are highly breathable with a non-sew mesh overlay, and include cut outs to expose the Flight Web fit system to wrap around the foot for stability and lock-down. Lunarlon and Nike Zoom combine to make up the cushioning, and the outsole is supported with rubber pods to ensure strength and traction in high-wear areas. Simply put, its time to give the CP3 series it's shine as it hits on all levels and offers the most bang for your beck when it comes technology.

$130

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