NBA All-Star Game Shoes 2016: Ranking the Best Kicks
NBA All-Star Weekend is a time when basketball fans get to take a break from the daily grind and kick back. Between the Three-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest and the game itself, the world will enjoy a consistent display of hoops greatness.
Along with the players and festivities, we also get to check out the glitz and glamour of All-Star Weekend-themed sneakers. Nike, Jordan Brand, Adidas and Under Amour all will put forth their best efforts with the hope of impressing those out there in the sneaker universe.
Scanning what's coming out and what will be worn in Toronto, let's rank the 10 best All-Star Weekend kicks.
Honorable Mention: Nike Air Audacity
There's a good chance, unless you play in them, that the majority of folks out there don't know about the Nike Air Audacity.
The shoe is an accessible model that hasn't been subjected to the hype machine quite yet. You can pick up a pair just about anywhere these days without shattering the bank—the shoes cost $110 on average.
In the NBA, the biggest proponent of these kicks has been New Orleans Pelicans' star Anthony Davis. He has given the Nike Air Audacity a name thanks to his rise through the ranks of pro hoops.
The shoe plays like a classic product of Nike thanks to a heathered textile upper and a breathable mid-sole.
In reality, the fact that these kicks have avoided mainstream coverage only makes them a better cop. Anyone who is looking for a solid, underrated basketball shoe could easily fall in love with the All-Star Game version of the Nike Air Audacity.
Kevin Durant's signature line has become synonymous with the NBA All-Star Game. As a six-time participant in the contest, Durant's shoes have continuously received All-Star treatment courtesy of Nike.
This year's version is a fresh take on the KD8. To start, these kicks were inspired by all of the flags that are routinely displayed around the city of Toronto. Melding all of those inspirations together, the KD8's Flyweave upper now features more of a graphic look.
Even if you're one of those who are not feeling this particular color scheme, it's amazing to see a Flyweave upper look like it was actually made out of leather.
Kudos to all the people over at Nike headquarters. This "All-Star" KD8 is a sharp-looking piece of footwear.
9. LeBron 13
A prolific color-blocking pattern using shades of green, touches of gold and black has turned this LeBron 13 "All-Star" sneaker into an idiosyncratic version of one of the NBA's most popular models.
It's important to remember that anything LeBron James touches in the footwear world turns to gold. The Stephen Curry media wave is real, but James remains the clear choice for kicks, as Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes reported.
Knowing all of that, All-Star Weekend wouldn't be the same without Nike releasing another LeBron 13 model for us to enjoy.
8. Air Jordan I 'All-Star'
Contrary to what you may have thought, the retro Air Jordan line isn't shying away from All-Star Weekend. Jordan Brand has pulled the curtain back on an All-Star edition of the Air Jordan I, and man, does it look clean.
A black leather base covers the body of the shoe. The only thing breaking that dominant slab of color is a silver Swoosh emblem and an intricate web-like pattern wrapped around the mid-sole and heel.
Everyone who has worn an Air Jordan I already knows exactly what they're getting: a comfortable, iconic sneaker. Those catching good vibes from the icy sole and clean upper this "All-Star" comes equipped with will be pleased by Jordan Brand's decision.
7. Li-Ning Way of Wade 4 'All-Star'
Think of Li-Ning's Way of Wade 4 as an outsider candidate trying to find its way in a world full of establishment brands. When Dwyane Wade made the decision to sign with the Chinese sneaker company in 2012, publications like USA Today deemed it "bizarre."
These days, that decision doesn't look so crazy in terms of performance. Li-Ning as a company has created a memorable line for Wade. The Way of Wade 4 "All-Star" brings that evolution to the grandest stage of them all.
The "All-Star" version used a metallic, iridescent upper to catch your eye. It works. The shine you get off these kicks is a cool change of pace from anything else on this list.
Performance-wise, the Way of Wade 4 holds up. Despite a bit of a clunky sole—which isn't much of a deterrent—the kicks remain lightweight, sturdy and well put together.
So, if you're looking for an outside sneaker candidate to challenge the establishment, take a chance on Li-Ning's Way of Wade "All-Star" edition.
6. Adidas Crazylight Boost 2.5 'Aurora Borealis'
Adidas' premier basketball sneaker is the Crazylight Boost 2.5. It's sensationally lightweight, protective and forward-thinking.
Besides the intangible elements that make up this shoe, the athletes wearing them have helped shake things up. James Harden and Andrew Wiggins serving as the catalysts for this sneaker has given it life. That's why Adidas created the "Aurora Borealis" edition of the Crazylight Boost 2.5.
Harden will be the one to rock these on the court during the All-Star Game. He gets to fly around on that Boost sole and Primeknit upper. A Primeknit upper that's been dosed with vibrant shades of teal and a Xeno scale effect—which illuminates the sneaker at night.
The Crazylight Boost 2.5 "Aurora Borealis" is an attention-grabbing shoe that's been laced with a generous amount of technology. It's not a bad combination for Adidas to have, considering the brand is trying to carve out a healthier chunk of the basketball-shoe pie.
5. Nike Kobe 11 Elite
Reality is finally setting in. Kobe Bryant and Nike's Kobe 11 will be the last pair of kicks the Black Mamba will wear during his playing career.
Heading into his final All-Star Game, Bryant will don an ocean green and black pair of Kobe 11 Elites. The shoe shines. It uses a complicated tapestry of pearlescent fibers and thermoplastic polyurethane threads to create the most innovative basketball shoe around.
Saying farewell to a generational talent like Bryant won't be easy. But at least in terms of sneakers, we're getting another classic to enjoy before he says goodbye.
4. Nike Hyperlive
Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has turned the Nike Hyperlive into his own shoe. Even though it's technically not considered to be his signature sneaker, George's success as an NBA superstar has allowed him to stick a flag in these and claim them as his own.
The "All-Star" Hyperlive is the best version of the shoe we've seen thus far. Something about the way that distinct combination of colors lies out over the body of these kicks is eye-catching. A red upper, gum sole and golden, black Swoosh is rare—it's also something Nike should consider for other models.
The Nike Hyperlive stood out the most in a crowded line of Nike All-Star Game releases. It's great to see a talented player like George rock out in these in Toronto.
3. LeBron 13 'LuxBron'
Leave it to LeBron James and Nike to cook up two special kicks for All-Star Weekend.
We already touched on the army green stompers King James will be unleashing on the court. How about an off-the-court, high-fashion take on the LeBron 13?
The "LuxBron" is Nike's way of delivering a premium version of The King's signature shoe. Dressed up with a denim upper, hints of leather and an extensive, muted color-blocking pattern, the "LuxBron" is the cleanest looking LeBron 13 we've seen to date.
How dope is this shoe? Well, Kanye West—everyone's favorite anti-Nike personality—paid homage to the kicks on Twitter. Thanks for the endorsement, Kanye. Now, none of us will have a chance to cop the "LuxBron" on February 13.
2. Air Jordan X OVO 'Black'
Jordan Brand's second appearance on this list comes in the form of another Air Jordan OVO X. This one, dubbed "Black," is another avant-garde take on a historic Air Jordan silhouette.
Working with music pioneer Drake has given new life to the Air Jordan X model. And what better time is there to continue that rebirth than All-Star Weekend? That platform guarantees all eyes will be on this sneaker. From the hype surrounding it to the sumptuous materials used, this shoe is going to be nearly impossible for consumers to cop.
Speaking of those materials, the OVO X "Black" will be prepared with premium leather, a sleek black finish and a faded sole. The result of those elements is a shoe that could last a lifetime—thanks to its dark color base.
Though no one will play in these during the game—that we know of—the Air Jordan OVO X "Black" will destroy the Internet the moment these kicks drop on February 13.
1. Under Armour Curry 2 'All-Star'
Stephen Curry is rapidly becoming the new face of the National Basketball Association. That also means his personal line of kicks have started to catch fire, as John Kell of Fortune made public.
The Under Armour Curry 2 is easily one of the best—if not the best—pure basketball shoes on the market. It fits perfectly, doesn't compromise on craftsmanship and has been laced time and time again with vibrant colorways.
Enter the "All-Star" Curry 2. This sneaker takes top billing for NBA's impending weekend. The shoe in some weird, athletic way actually resembles the "Wolf Grey" Air Yeezy 2. Perhaps that's the reason why it jumps off the page.
In any event, this is a gorgeous sneaker from top to bottom. Not many shoes out there can compete with the ambition of the Curry 2 "All-Star."