Top 10 iconic basketball sneakers of 2021


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The stars of the NBA are among the most influential when it comes to fashion. From the pre-game walk to the locker room to the shoes they wear on the pitch, fans are always attentive to how the players are expressing themselves. Since the days of Michael Jordan, iconic shoes have been a key part of basketball culture, and in 2021 the league’s biggest stars have given us plenty to be thankful for.

From Adidas to Nike to Jordan Brand, we’ve seen some really amazing signature models this year, and with 2021 coming to an end, we’ve decided to celebrate the top 10 of the year that’s about to pass. If you don’t see your favorite model on this list, be sure to convey your anger below because we know you aren’t shy at all.

So without further ado, here is our list.


10. Adidas Dame 7 by Damian Lillard

Image via Adidas

The first entry on this list is the Adidas Dame 7 by Damian Lillard, which is certainly a solid model. The Lady line has always gone to great lengths, and Lady 7 is no exception. Sadly, the shoe doesn’t make it higher on our list because it lacks some noticeable colorways. Most of the offerings currently on the market cannot compete with some of the more extravagant shoes that Adidas are known to produce. One could look at the Adidas Trae Young 1 and understand why Dame would only occupy 10th place on the list. That said, this silhouette is perfect for performance and as many hooters have stated, the shoe is comfortable and gives you all the bounce you need while still getting buckets.


09. Adidas D Rose 11 by Derrick Rose

adidas D Rose 11 Brenda - FV8927

Image via StockX

While D Rose might not be the player he once was, you can’t deny the strength of his signature role models. Young hooters and even those on the pro scene have always had a love for his shoes, and the Adidas D Rose 11 is one of his best to date. In fact, it’s one of the few shoes on this list that could possibly serve as a lifestyle sneaker. The silhouette is nice and elegant, which makes it versatile for different outfits. As for the pitch, these are designed with performance in mind, and there have been no complaints from those wearing them game by game. Not to mention that some pretty colourways have already hit the market which is exactly what you want if you’re someone who wants to stand out in the field. For those who love Adidas basketball shoes, the D Rose 11 is a must-have.


08. Jordan Why Not Zer0.4 by Russell Westbrook

Jordan Why Not Zer0.4 Education DD1134-103 |  SneakerNews.com

Image via Nike

Russell Westbrook is one of the most colorful personalities in all of the NBA, so it makes sense that his shoes would have the same vibe. The Jordan Why Not Zer0 series has been a success for Westbrook and the Zer0.4 is the best. The color potential here is simply unreal, and the shoes immediately stand out on your feet, even if you’re wearing black. The layered elements here give the shoe a transformative type look, but it’s done in a very elegant way that doesn’t take away any of the performance elements. For years, fans have praised Westbrook for these shoes’ resistance to scrutiny, and the Zer0.4 is no exception. This shoe would be higher on our list, however, it is too similar to previous Zer0 models, and therefore we had to put it at 8.


07. Jordan Zion 1 by Zion Williamson

Jordan

Image via Nike

Much has been said about Zion Williamson’s availability with the Pelicans over the past two years. What cannot be questioned, however, is the fact that he gave fans an incredible first foray into the iconic sneakers. Zion is a big guy, which means he needs a big shoe that will give him a lot of support. In the past, the big guys have secured hideous signings. Zion, however, took that model off completely with the Jordan Zion 1. The shoe has a chunky midsole with a sleep upper that helps complement any build. While these could be aimed at a tall man, a playmaker could wear them as well, making them really versatile. Not to mention that these shoes have already gotten some really amazing colourways, which shows just how much range the sneaker has. Needless to say, we’re excited to see what Zion has to offer us in the future.


06. Nike PG 5 by Paul George

Nike PG 5 Multicolor CW3143-600 release date |  SneakerNews.com

Image via Nike

When Paul George started releasing iconic shoes, they were immediately hailed as some of the best in the league. With each new shoe, George was giving fans something truly exceptional. Unfortunately, with the PG 4, George and Nike lost the plot a bit. The figure was underwhelming and fans just couldn’t get the look. It was too fragile and the colors just weren’t very good. However, the Nike PG 5 is the comeback that fans have been hoping for. The PG 5 has a classic silhouette that lends itself well to any type of color scheme. As far as the tooling goes, we get a nice layout on the upper, while the midsole has everything you would need for a supportive basketball shoe. So far, the PG 5 has proven to be a commercial success, and if George continues this momentum, the PG 6 will be even better.


05. Trae Young’s Adidas Trae Young 1

Adidas

Image via Adidas

Trae Young went on to become one of the best playmakers in the entire NBA, and at a very young age he already led the Atlanta Hawks to an Eastern Conference Finals. With their CV in mind, it’s no surprise that the child already has their own signature model. The Adidas Trae Young 1 is at the top of this list because it’s fun. From the zigzag midsole to the wild PEs Young has worn so far, you can’t help but look at this shoe and smile. Young and Adidas have released a number of great offers so far, and each is bursting with personality. From the “Ice Trae” variation to the new “Christmas” colourway, fans have plenty to be excited about. Young’s signature shoe is by far the most exciting thing happening within the Basketball division of Adidas right now, and fans should be bracing for some really good models over the next few years.


04. Nike LeBron 18 by LeBron James

Image via Nike

LeBron James was someone who had to appear on this list, perhaps purely on the basis of his name. Fortunately for the king, his shoes are worth mentioning. The Nike LeBron 18 has that chunky knit upper that has rocked the LeBron line in recent years. From there you have that typical Air Max unit in the rear heel of the shoe, which always seems to add extra comfort to the figure. The LeBron line has focused on aesthetics as well, and that’s not lacking when you take a look at all the colourways that have come out over the past year. Nike puts a lot of care and effort into the LeBron line, and it has certainly paid off as sneakerheads are constantly getting dope deals. The only thing that really stands out about this shoe is that it is designed for a very specific body type, which is not exactly right for everyone’s needs. As a result, he was unable to make the top three.


03. The Nike Zoom Freak 3 by Giannis Antetokounmpo

Nike Zoom Freak 3 Orange Freak DA0694-600 release date - SBD

Image via Nike

Giannis Antetokounmpo just won an NBA title and, as it stands, he and the Bucks are looking to repeat some of that success. As for sneakers, Giannis has done everything possible with its Nike Zoom Freak series. Perhaps the best yet has been the Nike Zoom Freak 3, which is a perfect mix of chunky daddy’s shoes and iconic basketball sneakers. From the strap on the top of the shoe to the wavy tooling on the midsole, this is one of the most unique signature models on the market right now. In addition to its cosmetics, the shoe also got some pretty colourways that complement Giannis’ vibrant and colorful personality. The stuff of a great signature shoe is one that shows off the athlete’s personality as well, and the Nike Zoom Freak 3 definitely accomplishes that.


02. Nike Kyrie 7 by Kyrie Irving

Nike Kyrie 7

Image via Nike

Kyrie Irving is one of the most enigmatic players in the league, though his iconic shoes are still amazing. The Nike Kyrie 7 is no exception. We came across a really awesome silhouette that retains the features that made previous Kyrie silhouettes so great. From the tooling on the midsole to the mesh upper, this is easily one of the best and most detailed signature shoes on the market right now. Not to mention that each color is apparently better than the last. Kyrie is a guy with a great personality, and it all comes out with those kicks. While Illuminati obsessions may make you roll your eyes a bit, you can’t help but admit that this is all quite unique. Ultimately, most kids want a pair of Kyrie’s, and that must explain something.


Nike KD 14 DO6902-400 release info |  SneakerNews.com

Image via Nike

Kevin Durant is arguably the best player in the world right now, and his iconic sneaker line just happens to be the best, too. Since making his debut in the NBA, Durant has released some incredible signings, and KD 14 is a comeback. From the mid-rise silhouette to the strap on the top of the foot, the KD 14 will remind you of its best shoes from the OKC era. The shoe has a sleek and stylish look that is perfect for the street and the court. That being said, Nike has also released some extravagant colorways that showcase the range of this shoe. From Flower Power models to more streamlined Nets offerings, the Nike KD 14 has something for everyone. Maybe KD’s playing on the pitch has something to do with them being number one, but ultimately the aesthetic speaks for itself. Hope the KD 15 brings us more great looks.

Let us know which of these signature shoes you like best, in the comments below.

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