The 10 Best Nike Zoom Air Basketball Shoes

The 10 Best Nike Zoom Air Basketball Shoes

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Nike Zoom LeBron 4

No. 10 - Nike Zoom LeBron IV

Best For: Guards/Forwards

LeBron's fourth signature model with the Swoosh utilized a durable Foamposite-based upper which was perfect for King James' aggressive style of play. The wavy shell concealed an inner bootie which was constructed of breathable mesh, while a large carbon fiber shank provided support. But the real star feature of the LeBron IV was hidden inside, in the form of massive Zoom Air insoles. The removable insole was a great bonus for players who wanted to swap the loaded Zoom Air cushioning into less-comfortable models.Nike Zoom Flight 98

No. 9 - Nike Zoom Flight 98 aka The Glove

Best For: Guards

Set to return this fall, the Zoom Flight 98 was Gary Payton's signature model and also known as "The Glove." Its nickname was not only a reference to Payton, but the construction of the upper. The Zoom Flight 98 featured a full shroud with a zipper for lockdown. Sound familiar? The '90s model was suited for a speedy guard like Payton, and should make for a capable performance sneaker when it returns later this year.


Nike Zoom Flight 96

No. 8 - Nike Zoom Flight 96

Best For: Guards

Worn by Penny Hardaway during the 1996 Olympic Games, this classic model was retroed in 2007 in original colorways. With a classic gradient-style upper and bold branding that let everyone know exactly what kind of cushioning you were walking on, this is one of a handful of models that embodied the Zoom Air breakthrough.Nike Zoom Kobe 4

No. 7 - Nike Zoom Kobe IV

Best For: Guards

With the Nike Zoom Kobe IV, Eric Avar and Kobe Bryant raised the bar for basketball sneakers. Actually, they lowered it. At Bryant's request, the Zoom Kobe IV was designed with the goal of being the lowest and lightest basketball sneaker possible. The soccer-boot inspired model took the low-to-the-ground feel of Zoom Air lower than ever before.Nike Foamposite One

No. 6 - Nike Air Foamposite One

Best For: Any position

Revolutionary in its own right, Zoom Air has been associated with a number of groundbreaking models. The Foamposite One is a perfect example. Originally worn by Penny Hardaway (and to a lesser extent, Mike Bibby), the rugged sneaker was constructed of a molded upper which would form to the player's foot as it was worn. Although the Foamposite One would become a streetwear staple, it's still incredibly popular for basketball thanks to Nike's multitude of retro releases.Nike Zoom Hyperfuse

No. 5 - Nike Zoom Hyperfuse

Best For: Guards/Forwards

Worn by players like Kevin Durant as a member of the 2010 USA Basketball team, the Zoom Hyperfuse was the precursor for the construction technology which would become a Nike hallmark in the following years. The nearly seamless upper is built with three different layers, allowing for breathable mesh cutouts and added durability on the outer skin. With reliable Zoom Air cushioning, this model was the definition of a game changer.


Nike Zoom Kobe 6

No. 4 - Nike Zoom Kobe VI

Best For: Guards

Continuing the roll of groundbreaking Kobe sigs, the Zoom Kobe VI was yet another Eric Avar creation. The upper featured an eye-catching nod to the Mamba in the form of TPU scales. Flywire was then implemented under the shell for support. A molded heel cup provided further lockdown support, while Zoom Air helped to further shed the weight on this Kobe signature model.


Nike Zoom Flight 95

No. 3 - Nike Zoom Flight 95

Best For: Guards

Started from the bottom, now they're here—literally. The Zoom Flight 95 was the first basketball sneaker to officially feature the "Zoom Air" tag, and it set the pace for what has been one of the most innovative lines in footwear. With unmistakable Carbon Fiber-like overlays and midsole pods, the Zoom Flight 95 was worn by players like Jason Kidd. The model was re-released late last year in a Kidd tribute pack, offering the same responsive cushioning and support as the original.Nike Zoom Huarache 2K4

No. 2 - Nike Zoom Huarache 2K4

Best For: Guards/Forwards

What happens when you mix the snug fit of the Nike Air Flight Huarache with firm, responsive Zoom Air cushioning? Your result is one of the best basketball sneakers of all time. Worn by Kobe before his signature line, the Zoom Huarache 2K4 picked up where previous Huarache updates had left off and added Zoom Air cushioning. Although they aren't the most fashionable sneaker off courts, their performance traits can't be denied. The model returned in 2012 and was gobbled up by ballers who had been waiting on a retro for almost a decade.


Nike LeBron X

No. 1 - Nike LeBron X

Best For: Forwards

The latest and greatest. Although Zoom Air has been made visible before on sneakers like 1999's Vis Zoom Uptempo, the LeBron X is the first sneaker to feature full-length visible Zoom Air. Being able to actually see how the complex cushioning functions is pretty damn cool on its own, but that's only the tip of the iceberg with the LeBron X. King James' latest sig is unarguably the most tech-heavy Zoom Air sneaker yet. The LeBron X utilizes Flywire strands for support underneath of a tough yet breathable Hyperfuse shell. Even the tongue and lace system are designed to be as comfortable and efficient as possible. After a performance powerhouse like the LeBron X, it will be interesting to see whether King James sticks with Zoom Air cushioning again or reverts back to Max Air.

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