It doesn’t matter how old you were in the 1990s. Child, teenager, or adult. NBA basketball shoes stole our sleep and an incredible amount of dollars. You may not even have been born then, but you have seen on the internet and social networks the great impact of these extraordinary models, awakening that desire to have them.
Besides, their style is timeless thanks to the fact that designers back then weren’t too creative, so the best 90s basketball shoes don’t clash with today’s outfits if you want to wear them. On the contrary, they make you look better.
Many shoes marked the decade, but here we compile the ones that we believe have the best design both visually and ergonomically, and of course, that can continue to exude style today. Get ready for a trip back in time to remember the
Table of Contents
10 Best Basketball Shoes That Made History In The 90s
Nike Air More Uptempo (1996)
With a 90s graffiti-inspired upper, these shoes may look too outlandish at first glance, but it’s undeniable that it gives it a unique touch.
Also, even though it looks heavy, it is quite light on the feet, and with its ventilation system, it allows you to do all kinds of activities without getting tired.
Its durability is another of its strong points, both internally and externally, so it is quite likely that you will see many original models from the 90s that look in very good condition today.
As for their style, it is more common that you will only see them on basketball courts as their groundbreaking design is not to everyone’s taste, but they have managed to form a loyal community of customers around them, especially because they were one of the favorite shoes of the legendary Scottie Pippen.
- Lightweight and durable cushioning
- Special elastic laces for a snug fit regardless of whether you wear them laced or unlaced
- Rubber outsole for durable traction
- Made with durable materials
Nike Air Max 2 CB (1994)
Designed to represent Charles Barkley’s aggressiveness on the court, these sneakers go beyond basketball, they look like they’re ready for war.
But don’t be fooled by their striking looks, as they are one of the best options on this list regarding comfort. This is achieved in 2 ways, with the central Air-Sole unit offering shock resistance while the other Air-Sole unit in the heel stabilizes the stride.
In addition, the Air Max 2 technology provides great cushioning thanks to the pressure in the 4 chambers of the midsole.
The Nike Air Max 2 CB certainly offer many benefits that make them suitable for any athletic occasion, from basketball games to gym sessions. They are ready for anything and always keep your feet cool thanks to their ventilation. Now you see why they’re ready for war?
- Great cushioning system
- Maximum protection for your feet
- Adaptable to any occasion
- Very comfortable
Reebok Kamikaze (1995)
A classic among classics and one of the favorite choices for men. The Reebok Kamikaze was made for the legendary Shawn Kemp during the 94-95 season.
The first thing that strikes you about these popular shoes is their design which made an impact in their day and after all this time is still totally contemporary.
Its tongue is large, like the canons of the time, and with small, almost hidden logos, something not very of the time that made these Kamikaze different. Kemp often wore a black and white model with a small touch of green to match the color of the extinct Sonics.
In terms of on-court performance, they’re doing well for shoes that are close to 30 years old, and that’s thanks to their Hexalite system in the outsoles, which is a bit outdated, but at the time those little hexagons in the outsole made all the difference in cushioning.
All in all, the Reebok Kamikaze were a great option in the 90s and still are today, as their design blends with almost every style, as well as being very comfortable on the feet.
- Timeless design
- Optimal performance in the game thanks to Hexalite
- Resist very well the passage of time
- Very good grip
Nike Air Zoom Flight 95 (1995)
With a style out of the future, the Flight 95 made players fly around the court, especially point guards like Tim Hardaway and Jason Kidd.
What’s most striking about this Nike model are the three exposed “googly eyes” on the outside of the shoe.
The mesh-like metallic details are softened by the combination of nubuck leather, added on the upper of the shoes. Its sole follows a simple wave pattern which is not the best for lateral movements but for all other abilities, it is more than fine.
Its eye-catching midsole is designed with carbon fiber and the outsole is made of rubber to offer increased traction and durability. And boy, did designer Eric Avar achieve his goal of making them look like speedy shoes even when static.
To this day, the Flight 95 is one of the most worn shoes on the market for street-style lovers, but at all times they are ready to hit the field.
- Retro look yet futuristic design
- Made with durable materials
- Comfortable fit on the feet
- Excellent in-game performance
Nike Air Foamposite (1997)
Don’t be fooled by its luxurious look, as these 90s shoes are one of the ones that best combine performance with style, and if you add to that new materials of manufacture for the time, you have as a result an instant classic.
Equipped with the Nike Full-Length Zoom Air Cushioning system, these shoes offer excellent performance cushioning, plus they are very comfortable, especially for people with large feet. It’s not for nothing that the Foamposite is known as the perfect shoe for basketball players.
Speaking of the materials, the foam in this model is durable and offers incredible protection that along with a double-stacked heel makes it an excellent choice if you are one of those who jumps a lot on the court.
As a final point, the Foamposite is one of the throwback shoes that stand the test of time, so much so that they can even survive the glue that holds their materials together. Released in 1997, These shoes are nothing more for looking good.
- A resilient outsole that offers great support
- Responsive cushioning
- Lightweight and very comfortable, especially for large feet
- Premium design
- They stand up incredibly well over time
Grant Hill Fila 96 (1996)
Combining comfort with classic retro style, the Fila 96 was one of the best basketball shoes of the 90s for fans looking for comfort, even though it may look too big by common standards, even for other basketball shoes.
This model was one of Grant Hill’s favorites… well they named it after him. With a sturdy base, it holds your feet firmly, although the same can’t be said for its traction.
If you’re one of those fans who want to show off your passion for the NBA, the Fila 96 are your perfect shoes, fitting in perfectly with your casual outfits and making you feel like a basketball player at the same time.
- Great cushioning and grip
- If you wear them on a casual outing, they are ready for an unexpected game
- Retro and very 90’s style
- Very comfortable on the feet despite being big
Nike Air Force Max (1993)
When Charles Barkley made his first NBA Finals appearance and won his only MVP award, he was wearing these sneakers, which were also a favorite of Michigan’s Fab Five. A sturdy silhouette with a mid-cut and strap that at the time managed to overshadow Jordan’s presence on the court.
Continuing with the mid-cut, it provides increased ankle coverage and the visible Nike Air unit in the heel offers impact protection.
In addition, this legendary shoe offers great stability and power, allowing you to make multiple plays without missing a beat and falling behind.
If they have a negative point, it’s their great weight, even though those materials provide you with long durability, so they are one of the best sneakers, especially for big men who want to dominate the streets with a classic look.
- Perforations that provide increased breathability
- Phylon midsole for comfortable cushioning
- Sleek, non-marking rubber outsole offers traction and durability
- Weather-resistant but adds weight
Nike Air Jordan XII (1996)
The Nike Air Jordan 12 is recognized as one of the most important sneakers in Michael Jordan’s playing career.
This model was released in 1996, the year in which he played the famous game against Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals playing with fever, still, this NBA legend managed to score 38 points, grab 7 rebounds and give 5 assists to his teammates to give a new NBA title to the Chicago Bulls franchise.
These sneakers are perhaps one of the most stylish in this line of Nike sneakers. Its upper with linear details and its reinforcement in the front lateral area has made it one of the most popular sneakers, and also one of the most resistant.
It is a model that not only triumphed on the court but also off it, as it is one of the most beloved by sneakerheads collectors in America.
In addition, they were the first Air Jordans to implement the Zoor Air system in the heel and forefoot, which provides great cushioning. Maybe its ventilation is not to your liking, but it makes up for it with its traction and support that makes you feel like you’re flying on the court.
The only thing this silhouette is missing is the Nike logo on the lateral side, but it’s still one of the best shoes of all time.
- Agility and speed
- Great traction and cushioning
- Made with durable materials
- A retro style that will make you stand out
Nike Air Jordan VI (1991)
This model was the one with which Michael Jordan won his first NBA title. This made these great shoes climb to total fame and were desired among all basketball fans, generating even more of a cult following for his brand.
The design was by Tinker Hatfield, who was inspired by a German automobile for the silhouette. Speed and class, that’s what he wanted to convey, and he succeeded, as the Air Jordan VI is still being reissued.
The classic silhouette is the “Black/Infrared”, which is shown high to the ankle with shiny reflections on the midsole and the blacked-out Air Valve on the back. Its rubber outsole gives you perfect traction on all types of courts and that’s not to mention the incredible feel it gives your feet.
All in all, this signature shoe is one of the most iconic Air Jordans that every man must have, especially if you are a fan of the greatest player of all time.
- Incredible performance on the court
- Lightweight materials
- Maximum responsiveness and lightweight cushioning
- Good support
Nike Air Jordan V (1990)
When it comes to elegance, performance, and timeless style, the Air Jordan 5 takes the gold medal.
Michael Jordan may not have won the NBA championship with these shoes, but that didn’t stop them from becoming overly popular, and their status remains intact to this day, making them one of the most expensive 90 basketball shoes you can find.
The Nike Air Jordan 5 was designed by the iconic Tinker Hatfield. To give rise to this silhouette, he was inspired by the planes of the Second World War, the North American model Mustang P-51 to be exact. It was mainly in the midsole that he made changes for this model.
Its success was immediate due to the new aesthetic touch offered to the sneakers in which the colors and the translucent effect stood out.
At the time of its launch, Jordan was having a magnificent season, which was characterized by its new aggressive instinct, which Hatfield wanted to represent in the sneakers, for which he added one of the most significant details of this silhouette, its serrated shape similar to shark teeth in the midsole.
Continuing with other points to highlight, the upper features synthetic material with very careful finishes and is endowed with magnificent support. In the lower area, a midsole with Air-Sole cushioning in the heel and Air Cupsole in the forefoot.
Without a doubt, the Air Jordan V is synonymous with the NBA and excellence, being as much of a show-off today as they were in the 90s when Jordan was at his peak.
- Timeless design
- It adapts to the foot easily
- A multitude of models in different colors and patterns
- Good cushioning
- High-quality rubber sole
- They are Jordans
The Last Word On Our Favorite 90s Basketball Shoes
Although I chose the Air Jordan V as the best basketball shoes from the 1990s, I must point out that all the models in this list are excellent, and there were many left out.
The 90s was a golden era for basketball and its fans, who not only enjoyed great games and players but could also show off their passion with an endless number of wonderful sneakers that continue to light up the streets and courts today.