The 30 Ugliest Basketball Shoes Ever Made
Until recently, basketball shoes have been notoriously ugly. We’re all a little bit closer to the subject than most, but the general consensus amongst pretty much everyone on earth is that hoop shoes are hideous.
I can’t disagree, after all, they’re designed for performance first, aesthetic second. And while we’ve come a long way in the aesthetic appeal of the on-court crep, history shows us the ugly past our present has left behind.
And while we do understand that tastes, designs and trends change, we also like to look back and give a fair roasting to designs that have aged badly — like we somehow could have done it better.
So we’ve gone back through the archives for you, found the worst basketball sneakers we could remember and packed it into one concise, definitive guide to the worst basketball sneakers ever made.
30. BBB Zo2 (2017)
I know we just said old designs that have aged badly, but this hit the market as a 90-year old veteran. Shapeless, unimaginative, a straight rip off of adidas and Nike and likely designed by Big Baller LaVar himself — this is hideous.
29. British Knight Kings SL (1988)
There’s a reason British Knights was left behind in the 1980s — and here’s a good reason why. If you can’t tell, the Kings SL greatly rips off the Air Jordan 3 and the Air Tech Challenge II at the same time. But they did so by removing the shape and flexibility. Add to that a back that sits up straighter than a well-behaved student and you’ve got yourself a certified brick.
28. Converse Wade Slash (2009)
Dwayne could sure slash to the hoop back in 2009, but these should have just been that — slashed up.
27. Nike’s Lebron Soldier III (2009)
Geez — 2009 must have been a bad year. I really didn’t think anything could be worse than the previous Wade Slash. But I was wrong. C’mon King! These look like something between wingtips, baseball cleats and tap dancing shoes. IDK what to think.
26. Nike Total Foamposite Max (1998)
Look, we know Tim Duncan is no fashion aficionado, so when he takes a liking to a sneaker, you just know it’s going to be something hideous. And if it wasn’t the renowned Foamposite Pro, it was these — things.
25. Nike Lebron V (2007)
Whilst LeBron has some bangers in his collection, it’s true to say that the King also has some of the ugliest signature snekaers in history. Exhibit A here looks like And1 had a baby with Dwayne Wade’s Converse series.
24. Karl Malone’s LA Gear Light (1993)
Why on earth would an NBA superstar align himself with a light up shoe company? Luckily, that tech got banned from the NBA court, but these Huarache x Air Jordan 5 knock offs didn’t. The Mailman may deliver, but LA Gear definitely didn’t.
23. Air Jordan 20 (2005)
When Tinker left the Jordan Design team after an unforgettable Air Jordan 15, we all thought his return on the 20 was going to be something spectacular. Unfortunately, the great Hatfield picked up where he left off.
22. Allen Iverson’s Reebok Answer XIII (2009)
This is definitely not the answer.
21. Joakim Noah’s Le Coq Sportif (2011)
Firstly, why did Joakim even get a signature sneaker? Secondly, what the hell is this?
20. Adidas T-Mac 4 (2004)
I feel like I’m talking into the drive-thru speaker box here.
19. Kevin Garnett’s Adidas Bounce (2006)
These are so weak, I don’t even know where to begin the roasting.
18. Air Jordan 2010 (2010)
ANOTHER pair where I feel like I’m ordering a McChicken just by looking at it.
17. The Reebok Blast (1996)
If you were to show me these in a Rorschach test, you don’t even wanna know my answer 💦
16. Nike Air Max-a-Lot (2010)
Patent leather + gradient Rasta colors +weird shape = exactly what this list is about.
15. Starbury 1 (2006)
I love what the Starbury brand is about. But I suppose if you’re aiming to make the price points low, you have to sacrifice some areas of the business to make a profit. It seems like Marbury cut the designer out of this one. Shapeless, faceless and bland. This sneaker has no character.
14. Starbury 2 (2007)
I’ll give this to Stephon — this had a lot more design input than the first edition — which made it easier to get totally wrong.
13. Baron Davis’ Li Ning (2009)
Yeah, Baron Davis had a signature line. It wasn’t great, but that tongue icon is lit as, and truly encapsulates the period. Unfortunately, we can’t speak for the rest of the sneaker.
12. Nike Air Jordan XV (1999)
This some Aliens-looking shit. I feel that if I put these on, one of those face fucking hands will come and lay it’s eggs in my gut.
11. Glen Rice’s Nautica Competition (1997)
Glen Rice had that “Midday Tennis at the Nursing Home” drip.
10. Every Jordan Fusion Ever Made
WOW — Speaking of hideous, the entire Jordan Fusion range is right up there with the worst of them. Let’s use this pair as an example. How did you manage to ruin the Air Jordan 8, Air Jordan 12 and Air Force 1 all at once? Let’s hope Jordan Brand never — ever — revisit this concept.
9. Latrell Sprewell’s DADA Spinners (2004)
I know I’ll upset a lot of people on this one, but gimmicks age badly. Spinner aside, the rest of the shoe is lifeless — dead. Kind of like Spinning rims today.
8. Dwyane Wade’s Converse 1 (2005)
Freddy Kreuger 1s.
7. Nike Sharkley (2008)
Mike meets Chuck — if they ever had a baby, this is what it would look like. I was actually trying to find an image of the all black pair that looks like the final touch to a gimp suit. Luckily I couldn’t find one and didn’t have to put you through such trauma.
6. Chris Webber’s Dada CDubbz (2002)
5. And One’s Chosen One (2006)
How this Donald Duck lookin’ ass Croc made it to market I’ll never know.
4. Nike Flightposite III (2001)
Foams are notoriously ugly. And this is the worst of the bunch. What an achievement for the designer!
3. Gilbert Arenas’ Adidas Lightswitch (2007)
I’ve got a lot of love for No Chill Gil, so let’s keep it no chill — these look like those plyometric training shoes from the 90s that promised to make you jump higher. Or for you Seinfeld fans: Jimmy’s open! Jimmy makes the shot!
2. Reebok Preachers (1996)
There’s not one thing about this sneaker that I can say is good. Not even OK. it looks like it’s growing barnacles FFS.
1. Adidas Kobe Two (2001)
Would any ugliest sneaker list be complete without the adidas Kobe 2 at the top? No we’re not just talking about basketball shoes — we’re talking all shoes. It’s like Kobe said to the Three-Stripe design team “Yo guys, what I want is a 1987 household Hoover-themed sneaker.”
And that’s what we got, something that really sucks, complete with the cable retracting button on the toebox.
For more of our ugly sneaker lists, be sure to check out: “17 Seriously Ugly Sneakers” // ” Yikes! 20 of the Ugliest Jordan Retros Ever” // 15 of the Worst Hip-Hop Sneaker Collaborations in History