The most expensive basketball shoes on sale right now are a far cry from the gym sneakers of generations past.

Through a combination of branding and technological advancements, basketball shoe prices have exploded in recent years. Sure, you can still get a cheap pair to wear in your pick up game of neighborhood hoops. But if your aim is to turn heads when you’re out and about, prepare to spend hundreds on a pair of the most expensive basketball shoes.

There have been leading designer sneaker brands for decades. Fashionistas have dictated certain styles worthy of exorbitant prices in the past. These days, though, there are more of these ultra expensive options than ever. Some offer real, measurable advantages over cheaper, inferior shoes. Others are unquestionably geared toward the image they portray.

One thing is clear: no matter which of the most expensive basketball shoes you end up with, the market has spoken. These are shoes that people are willing to spend a premium for the luxury of putting them on their feet. We've found some of the top and most expensive basketball shoes for your footwear collection.

What makes them so expensive?

There's a reason so many basketball superstars lend their names to the most expensive basketball shoes. Actually, there are a few. First, they want the best tech for their own feet. That leads to a better game and more demand for their shoes. So if you're looking for the best performance on the court, these are great options to consider.

Then there's the fashion factor. Let's face it, shoes are a big part of anybody's wardrobe. Many guys are as dedicated to their collections as their female counterparts. You might look at the most expensive basketball shoes as status symbols. And many times they are. They can also help you increase your game in a big way. Whatever you're looking for in a basketball shoe, we're confident you can find the right pair here.

6 Pairs of the Most Expensive Basketball Shoes

Fitness or fashion, performance or asthetics, the most expensive basketball shoes offer something for all footwear enthusiasts. Check out these top choices before your next pick-up game.

1. Nike LeBron XI Elite

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Here’s an athletic option that really sells features as a justification for the price tag. Nike explains that its elite entry in the LeBron lineup is packed with high tech enhancements. LeBron James is establishing a shoe legacy to rival Michael Jordan. Of course, Jordans have long set the standard for the most expensive basketball shoes. Nike targets a slightly different market with these. 

Try on a pair and enjoy the comfort of Zoom Air cushioning. This full-length comfort feature makes intense physical activity less of an impact on your body. Further relief comes from what Nike calls Hyperposite. This refers to the lightweight construction of the shoe and provides a unique experience on the court. Synthetic fibers and other upgrades make this model more popular than some previous LeBrons.

2. Nike Air Jordan I

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We had to include the original Air Jordan in the list. This is the shoe that set the stage for some of the most expensive basketball shoes ever sold. These are still on the market as retro models. These days, however, you can pick them up for a tiny fraction of what they went for new.

Fans have continuously clamored for the latest versions and have been willing to pay a premium. Depending on your perspective, the cost is either justified or proof that it is an overpriced status symbol. Either way, there’s no question people were willing to pay top dollar for these shoes.

It is also clear that ballers find them especially beneficial in the paint. A dozen pairs released more than 30 years ago were especially valuable. They were a limited release signed by Michael Jordan himself and fetched some big bids.

3. Nike Zoom Kobe VII System

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Kobe Bryant is another basketball superstar who managed to break through with a Nike shoe line. He had been with Adidas early this century but left to explore more creative options with Nike. In 2003, he set out to create his own signature style. As it turns out, he picked the right year to launch. 

The following season was one of the best of any player in NBA history. It kicked off a cult following for that model and the shoes that have followed. That culminated in the Nike Zoom Kobe VII System.

Find it in a number of unique packs, including the “What the Kobe” option pictured above. It’s a unique shoe designed by a uniquely talented player. Make a statement about style and performance with a Nike Zoom Kobe. It might be a different take on the most expensive basketball shoes, but many consider it a welcome departure.

4. Nike Air Max Hyperposite

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You might recognize the name from our first entry. This shoe pioneers Nike’s Hyperposite technology for a brand new experience. Some see a bigger benefit in game performance than others. They continue to command a steep price on the market, though. People obviously love the look, style and feel of these shoes. 

Among the most expensive basketball shoes, this is a more understated option. Without the branding of a superstar player, it focuses mostly on features geared toward players. You’ll find tons of comfort boosters like a phylon midsole. All of the materials are geared toward keeping you going during a game. On or off the court, though, these shoes stand out as a stylish option. Prove your status in a neighborhood game or cruising on the weekend with a pair of Hyperposite shoes.

5. Air Force 1 High Supreme

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You might have guessed the iconic Air Force 1 would show up on this list of most expensive basketball shoes. Over multiple generations, they have consistently cost hundreds or more per pair. And many ballers believe they’re worth the price. Others want them for the style they portray. Plenty of collectors have placed their shoes behind glass or otherwise abstained from wearing them. That might be even more common among the styles geared specifically toward fashion. 

The Air Force 1 High Supreme is one such example. It might have the features you want on the court, but it’s also got a style you don’t want to scuff. Carrying the distinctive “Supreme” logo, these stunning shoes are not cheap. Supreme is already known for its steep prices. Anything with that font printed on it automatically skyrockets in value. Combine that with a pair of shoes already known for being expensive, and you get the idea. Expect to pay a four figure asking price if you want to be spotted in these exclusive kicks.

6. Reebok Question

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Nike does not have a monopoly on offering the most expensive basketball shoes. Reebok’s entry on the list comes the form of a Question. That is the shoe’s name and its existence has led some to question their shoe brand loyalty.

These are technologically advanced shoes designed to offer maximum support. Basketball players on all levels swear by the design. Reebok marches to its own drummer and that means the brand is not everybody’s favorite. But if you love what the company has produced in the past, the Question marks the next phase. Oh, and if you’re really just in it for the luxury factor, Reebok also has you covered.

Allen Iverson himself designed them and they contain 246 diamonds. With tons of other opulent touches, a pair sold at auction for $65,000. That's certainly enough to earn it a spot on any list of the most expensive basketball shoes. But fans of all versions of the Reebok Question will respond with the same answer. Underneath the sparkle of diamonds lies the heart of a great shoe.

If you grew up when athletic shoes were all called 'sneakers,' it's a brand new world.

For generations, these shoes have grown more fashionable, more functional, and of course more costly. But the most expensive basketball shoes nevertheless retain and increase in value. Each year, fans of all ages rush out to buy the latest version of their favorite brands. There are countless closets around the world dedicated to these basketball shoes. You might call it a waste of money, but you'll find plenty of people willing to argue the point. And next year, you'll see them shell out hundreds -- or more -- for the next generation. 

Whether it's the styling, the brand itself, or unmatched performance, these shoes are cool. And don't just take my word for it! Ask anybody shelling out big money for the privilege to wear them. What makes them cool might vary based on the wearer. Plenty of customers flock to the shoe offering the most performance.

Comfort, durability and lightweight construction all have their place. But the most expensive basketball shoes often offer something different. Strutting around in the latest style provides a value that can be hard to define. So sure, you can get a pair of basketball shoes anywhere, and they might suit your needs just fine. Yet if you want the whole package, here's where to start.

We hope you enjoyed our rundown of some of the most expensive basketball shoes available today. If so, share it with your friends and fans of fashionable footwear. Do you have a favorite brand? Let us know if the comments section below.

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