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Any serious basketball player will tell you that the apparel they wear during competitive games can make all the difference to their performance. Sure, they want to look good, but they also want uniforms that help them to perform well.
This has led to the development of sweat-repelling, loose-fitting basketball apparel that provides comfort on the court, allowing the players to focus on their game.
Similarly, the right shoes can make or break a basketball player’s performance as well. While there is still much attention to style, quality, and fit, technology and traction are setting the bar high for basketball kicks.
When putting together your basketball kit, your jersey, pants, and shoes are where you need to spend the most.
Let’s take a look at how to choose the best basketball apparel to help you play your best game, or, to look like a pro.
What material is best for basketball apparel?
The current trend, backed by a four-year study researching basketball apparel, is uniforms made of wicking material. This type of material efficiently absorbs sweat (pulling it away from the body) while ensuring it evaporates faster. It importantly provides ‘mechanical stretch’, allowing for an extended range of motions.
Made from 60% – 100% recycled materials, the shirt weight is reduced by replacing the dense material that is used for numbers on the back with mesh patch embroidery technology instead.
Moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics include:
- merino wool
Best Basketball Jerseys
Whether you want a home jersey, road jersey, throwback, or special edition jersey, you’ll always be looking for a basketball jersey made of breathable, moisture-wicking, lightweight material.
Best Professional, Authentic Basketball Jersey
Authentic NBA jerseys such as the Nike Kobe Bryant 24 Lakers Authentic NBA All-Star Jersey is our top pick if you’re ready to splash out for the best.
The benefit of buying an authentic jersey is they’re made of top-line fabrics that are breathable and maximize comfort.
Another feature is the lettering and numbers are stitched on (as opposed to screen printed), which means they’ll still be there after many years of wear.
Authentic basketball jerseys also guarantee a more contoured, streamlined fit than other options.
Best Basketball Fan Jersey
If you don’t want to splash out on an authentic NBA jersey, consider the most popular jersey among NBA fans, the Nike Swingman Jersey. It has a slim, athletic fit.
What is a swingman jersey? It’s a type of NBA fan replica jersey that doesn’t have all the premium finishes of an authentic jersey, but still closely mimics the jerseys the players wear.
Best Basketball Shorts
Did you know that in the 70s and 80s basketball apparel consisted of knee-length, tight-fitting shorts and padded tights? That all changed when Michael Jordan – and later the hip-hop culture – hailed in the trend that can still be seen today: longer, loose-fitting shorts in bright colors.
As with basketball jerseys, the best basketball shorts are made of lightweight, breathable materials that wick sweat before it can settle on the skin.
Best Professional Basketball Shorts
Our top pick for basketball shorts are those worn by one of the NBA’s all-time stars, Steph Curry. Made by Under Armour, the Men’s SC30 Core 11″ Shorts are great value for the price.
The shorts are made of 100% polyester that wicks sweat quickly and dries super fast. The elasticated waistband is encased and supported by an internal drawcord. Roomy mesh hand pockets are perfect for storing small essentials.
Best Basketball Fan Shorts
If you’re looking for a pair of comfy shorts to train or lounge around in, we recommend the five-pack Liberty Imports Men’s Athletic Basketball Shorts.
They’ve had a ton of great reviews on Amazon, praised primarily for being super lightweight and comfortable to train and shoot hoops in. The colors and detailing vary on each pair of shorts, ensuring you look good five days out of seven.
Compression Pants Worn Under Basketball Shorts
We’ve written about the best compression pants for basketball before, so you might want to check out our verdict on the best ones out there, who wears them, and why.
Best Basketball Shoes
When buying basketball shoes, you’re looking for a pair of sports shoes that will provide good traction on hardwood floors – the type of flooring most often used in indoor courts.
They also have to provide adequate ankle support whether you’re dribbling, shooting, or rebounding.
Factors that influence which basketball shoes you buy include your game style, position on the court, your weight, and your balance. Combine that with non-negotiable sports shoe qualities such as fit, technology, and traction, and you’re on your way to investing in a pair of basketball shoes that will really up your game.
Best Professional Basketball Shoes
In 2022, the Nike Kobe 5 Protro still holds the number one spot for the second straight year as the most popular basketball shoe and is worn by players like Zach LaVine and Jaylen Brown.
Nike Kobe 5 Protros sport synthetic uppers that are held together by Nike’s Flywire technology. This technology allows sneakers to remain lightweight and quick on the court, without sacrificing necessary support or adding bulk to the shoe.
Best Basketball Fan Shoes
Another highly popular (and more affordable) basketball shoe is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s signature basketball shoe, the Nike Zoom Freak 3.
It has a number of features that make it a solid choice, including a grip rubber sole, cushioned footbed, lace-up closures, a cushioned tongue, and a handy heel-pull tab (they are also unisex).
Like every other sport, basketball comes with specific gear to make your game more fun and increase your competitiveness.
With our top choices for basketball apparel, you’ll take your game to the next level before you even set a foot on the court.