The Best Basketball Referee Shoes

Jan 15th, 2021

The best basketball referee shoes for you depends on what you want in an on-court referee shoe. Pick which comment sounds most like you, and we'll tell you which are the best.

"Comfort is Most Important to Me"

Asics is a running shoe brand built on comfort. Any of the big name brands don't make a specific basketball referee shoe. However, as you do a great deal of running each game, it makes sense to consider a running shoe. Of course, it must look something in the ballpark of a traditional basketball referee shoe.

In weight, Asics is the lightest, followed by the new 3n2 VX1.

The top basketball referee shoes combining comfort and weight are:

  1. Asics GT 1000 9
  2. 3n2 VX1 Patent Leather
  3. Smitty Basketball Referee Shoes
  4. 3n2 Reaction Patent Leather

"A Professional Look is a Must for Me."

If a professional look is about either all-black shoes and/or having traditional patent leather, both 3n2 styles, cover those 2 criteria. If you don't like patent leather, Smitty looks most like a traditional basketball referee shoe. The leather is a rich black with a white S on the heel. Shoes with mesh, Asics, won't have the darker black.

The top professional looking basketball referee shoes are:

  1. 3n2 VX1 Patent Leather
    3n2 VX1 Patent Leather
  2. 3n2 Patent Leather
  3. Smitty Basketball Referee Shoes (#1 if you don't like patent leather)
  4. Asics GT 1000 9

"I Have a Wider Foot. Most Officiating Shoes are Too Narrow for Me."

Fortunately, you have options. 3n2 Reaction Patent Leathers have 2E (wide) options. Smitty's Basketball Referee Shoe has a "friendly" D width. I am between a D and 2E shoes, so narrow D's don't work for me. The Smitty shoe fit me best.

The top basketball referee shoes for wider feet are:

  1. 3n2 Patent Leather (D and 2E width options)
    3n2 Reaction Patent Leather
  2. Smitty Basketball Referee Shoes (Friendly D)
  3. 3n2 VX1 Patent Leather (True-to-Fit D width with no give due to the patent leather)


3n2 Reaction Patent Leather are the only shoes available in size 6-7.5 (men's) or 7.5-9 (women's).

"The Shoes I want should Last Multiple Seasons. I Don't Like Getting a New Pair Each Season."

The hands-down winner here are the Smitty basketball referee shoes. All the features, from the midsole down to the sole are extremely durable and made out of quality materials - including genuine leather.

The Top Basketball Referee Shoes in Durability are:

  1. Smitty Basketball Referee Shoes
    Smitty Basketball Referee Shoes
  2. 3n2 VX1 Patent Leather
  3. 3n2 Patent Leather
  4. Asics GT 1000 9


So, which are the best basketball referee shoes? Of the 4, only 3 are made specifically for basketball referees.

If you prefer patent leather and are a D width, the best is the 3n2 VX1 (if a 2E, the only choice is the 3n2 Reaction). If you don't like patent leather, the best is the Smitty's.

If you are thinking non-traditional, Asics is the way to go.

About the Author

Picture of Jim Kirk

President Jim Kirk

Jim is a leading expert, educator and author on umpire gear, safety & appearance. After playing baseball at Centre College, he worked as a high school umpire. He became involved in E-Commerce while working on an MBA in the early 2000s and bought in 2006, He eventually led it to the leading umpire gear & attire retailer worldwide, a “Best Places to Work in Louisville” honor in 2020 & 2021 and a National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Preferred Vendor. He maintained a long-standing relationship with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development & Training Academy for 10 years. He serves as an adviser to UMPS CARE Charities, the charity of MLB umpires, served as a 2-term board of director from 2012-2018, and was named their 2015 Ambassador Award recipient. A supporter since the inception of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, he was named to their Board of Directors in 2020.


Be the first to comment on this article!