- Trae Unlimited
- Bounce Legend
- Dame Certified
- Court Rider Chaos
- BrandUnder Armour
- UA Spawn 5
- Curry 3Z7
- Lockdown 6
- Jordan One Take 4
- Giannis Immortality 3
- Air Max Impact 4
Some pros of this shoe include its forgiving and spacious fit, as well as top-notch comfort and cushioning for a budget shoe, thanks to the Bounce midsole. However, there are downsides to consider, such as subpar traction and performance. Overall, it's a decent budget option, especially if you prioritize comfort and fit.
The Bounce Legend is available for $85 and, as the name suggests, it features the Bounce cushioning, similar to Adidas' budget shoe formula. It's rated higher than the Trey Young budget shoe due to better traction – the grip is more consistent. Additionally, the Bounce Legend has a higher cut and provides a secure lockdown with its lacing system, enhancing the overall experience. This model doesn't have a signature athlete attached to it but offers some attractive colorways.
The Dame Certified is another excellent option, and while I consider the Harden Stepback 3 to be a close alternative, the Dame Certified edges it out slightly in my opinion. One standout feature of the Dame Certified is its exceptional grip – it's super squeaky and offers better traction than the Dame 8. The cushioning, with its use of Bounce technology, is decent, with the advantage of not being as stiff and heavy as the Harden Stepback 3. This shoe has been one of my go-to choices for outdoor play.
These shoes come in an all-gray colorway and are another option with a white base, making them suitable for people with wide feet, similar to the Trey Young budget shoes. However, like the Trey Young shoes, their traction isn't top-tier, lacking significant squeak, but it gets the job done. What sets them apart is their excellent durability, similar to other shoes in the Court Rider series. It's worth noting that both the Trey Young and Court Writer Chaos are on the heavier side in terms of weight.
The UA Spawn 5 is priced at $100, and it's part of the anatomic Spawn series by Under Armour. This series tends to be underrated but offers excellent performance. The shoe features Micro G cushioning, providing a smooth transition from front to back with its curved shape and excellent court feel. Compared to the previous version, the Spawn 4, which isn't ideal for those prone to ankle rolling, the Spawn 5 offers better stability and a flatter profile. However, some users might find that the support could be improved further.
The Curry 307 from Under Armour's Curry brand is a pretty recent release that has retained all the good features from the previous version while introducing changes to the cushioning and traction pattern. This is Steph Curry's budget shoe, and it features a full-length Micro G midsole cushion, which is top-tier for budget shoes. The upper is made of soft mesh, providing a smooth ride and comfortable feel on the feet. In terms of traction and performance, it's slightly better than the Curry 306.
The UA Lockdown 6, priced at $70, stands out as the best budget shoe below $100 in my opinion. It ticks several important boxes for performance: it's very versatile, with a soft and plush upper that's easy to break in. It offers great step-in comfort, has an above-average weight, and generally fits true to size, so there's no need to size up. The outsole is sturdy enough for rough court conditions. You can find them not only on Under Armour's website but also at sports retailers and even places like Famous Footwear. Overall, the Lockdown 6 is my top pick and, in my view, the most underrated shoe on this list.
The Jordan 124, which is the Russell Westbrook budget shoe, is a pretty rare case where the shoe moved up in my rankings compared to last year. It offers a lightweight and breathable design, good traction, and is suitable for outdoor play. The retail price for this shoe is exactly $100, and they've released a variety of colorways, some of which have unique and appealing color combinations. For instance, the black and yellow version gave off some Bruce Lee vibes. It's worth noting that I had a minor issue with my first pair, where one shoe was significantly heavier than the other, but I was able to get a replacement at a discount. What's interesting is that the signature athlete, Russell Westbrook, wears this budget shoe on the court, which adds to its appeal.
The Giannis Immortality Three comes in at a price range of $80 to $85. Compared to the previous version, which caused midfoot soreness and tightness, Nike has made significant improvements. They've widened the base, increased padding, and enhanced stability, making it a much better shoe overall. It's still advisable to go half a size up with the Immortality Three for a comfortable fit.
The Air Max Impact 4 is priced at $90 and features Air Max cushioning, which provides excellent feedback when you press downward, a feature not commonly found in this price range. Additionally, the herringbone traction pattern offers great grip and is durable for outdoor use, similar to the Air Max Impact 3. It's worth noting that the Air Max Impact 4 is a recent release and has retained the positive features from the previous version while introducing some changes.