Finding your next pair of basketball shoes to buy can be a pretty tricky task. This article aims to make the process of finding the best basketball shoes in the current market a lot easier for you.
Searching far and wide on the internet to see what the latest releases are, what shoes are highly rated and what the prices are can be tiresome.
We aim to provide the best recommendations and reviews to allow you to understand what shoes are most suited to your type of play. Obviously, finding good basketball shoes that are most suited to you is absolutely fundamental to reducing the potential of injuries, whilst helping you maximise your potential.
Price, quality and overall durability are the three main factors that we look at in the shoe, whilst giving you recommendations for what positions the shoe is most suited to.
Crazy Explosive PK
|Nike Lebron Soldier XI|
|UA Curry 3|
|adidas D Rose 8|
|Nike Hyperdunk 2017|
|Nike Kyrie 3|
|Air Jordan XXXI|
The Best Basketball Shoes
Buying basketball shoes, as opposed to regular running or sand shoes, are especially important because:
- Accurate traction for the right surfaces on which you play basketball
- Impact protection to cushion your feet after a rebound, layup etc.
- Tight and snug fit that doesn’t restrict your feet
- Ankle support to prevent rolls and sprains
- Stability to ensure you have confidence in your feet at all times
We’ll go through the factors you should look out for later on in the article. But for now, we get into the details of each shoe we recommend.
The first on our list is an absolute beast of a shoe in all aspects. The adidas Crazy Explosive Primeknit is a premium shoe made of high quality materials.
Popular, highly rated – adidas have really nailed it with this shoe. Traction is at it’s peak with these shoes.
The Crazy Explosive are extremely comfortable and supportive due to the adidas Boost cushioning and inside midsole TPU cage. Excellent lateral support is on offer here, on top of the premium impact protection offered by adidas’s Boost technology.
With outstanding traction, comfort and fit – these are also the most ideal, and best basketball shoes for guards. Fast turns, quick cuts and smooth layups are no issues here.
A great shoe that fits like a sock, and durable as anything. If you need it for outdoor purposes, the Crazy Explosive offer a synthetic option that we consider our best outdoor basketball shoe as well.
An all round contender, and suitable for all – you simply need to consider this shoe.
- TPU wrap over the midsole keeps your feet extremely stable
- Excellent cushioning
- Simply some of the best traction avaliable
- Primeknit version is not durable outdoors
The Nike Lebron Soldier XI is a masterfully designed basketball shoe by LeBron James in collaboration with Nike. A legend of a player, with a legend of a company.
Like all Nike shoes, the Lebron Soldier XI’s were designed by keeping in mind the big role that appropriate cushioning of the foot plays in a game of basketball. This is why this shoe comes with Zoom Air technology that gives your foot cushioning like floating on air, which makes running and jumping seem virtually effortless.
Comfort is really outstanding here – and support is exactly where you need it.
The outside of the shoe is made from comfortable and stretchy mesh that has elastic properties and gives your feet a snug hold. The mesh lining is also very breathable and prevents foot sweating.
Traction isn’t perfect, and is a leading reason why it isn’t our top pick – but that’s not to say that traction is bad. As a matter of fact, it’s better than a whole lot of alternatives out there.
Another fantastic shoe, and arguably the best basketball shoe for power forwards.
- Ankle foam padding for support, comfort and fit
- Air cushioning technology
- Extremely lightweight
- Traction could be better
The Under Armour Curry 3 shoe, designed by the NBA star Steph Curry, has been widely marketed to be a beast of a shoe. To be fair, it’s not far from being the best basketball shoe.
The design is pretty neat and simple. Steph Curry also has his logo engraved on this shoe, as is seen in the image.
One of the key features of the Under Armour Curry 3 is the Threadborn material that it’s made from. High tensile threads used on the lateral side of the shoes to add comfort to support. Lockdown is also provided all over the mid of the shoe – giving the ultimate stability to the foot keeping it fixed on the floor and not allowing it to slip.
Adding to this, traction is absolutely fantastic. It’s great for quick centers and guards. The herringbone traction is everything you need in a good, grippy shoe.
Since they are made from synthetic materials, they are extremely lightweight and allow the foot to move around freely without being held down.
The only downside is that the cushioning is on the firmer side of things; offering moderate impact protection. Not a deal breaker, but it’s something to be aware about.
- Traction is awesome
- Stability and comfort maximised
- Extremely lightweight shoe
- Cushioning is pretty firm
Designed especially by the star, Derrick Rose, the Adidas D Rose 8 is a shoe that can make you feel like a basketball pro.
This is a line of shoes that most avid basketballers know, or have heard about. Each model is usually highly rated, designed well, and performs to the maximum.
This shoe has a very distinct stylish look with its elongated tongue flap, mesh forefoot design and foam in it’s structure. A very nice performing shoe, durable on the courts not to let you down. Because of the mesh, ventilation is great. Your feet will remain reasonably cool at all times, allowing for maximum breathability.
Importantly, the ankle support on this shoe is also very good for those player who have a sensitive ankle or are prone to strains and injuries in their shin area. Naturally, ankle braces are always recommended if you have persistant ankle issues.
The cushioning and impact protection offered is pretty excellent. It uses adidas’s Boost cushioning which reigns supreme to most other cushioning available. Top tier. You won’t have any issues here at all.
Traction is the only downside here. It’s still better than a lot of options out there, but based on reviews and performance, it’s not as good as the D Rose 6 and 7s. It’s grippy enough, just don’t expect this high standard of grip to last forever.
- Excellent ankle support
- Cushioning is super comfortable using adidas Boost
- Stylish design
- Fit can run a bit small and snug
- Traction could be improved
The Nike Kevin Durant KDX (KD10) shoes are one of those shoes that help enhance the natural capabilities of your foot so that your performance can be maximized.
The no longer ringless KD has not only continued to excel on the court, he’s continously nailed his collaboration with Nike in his range of shoes.
These shoes are highly responsive offering great support in the midsole and heel areas. This shoe is designed to mould itself according to your foot so that it feels like your foot has the maximum contact with the floor. Responsive cushioning ensures comfort.
It also comes with a specially designed foam heel cushion to protect your heels when you land or lunge backwards on your feet during a basketball game. Oversized laces strap locks your feet down at all times.
Traction, however, again isn’t perfect. It’s not the best on offer, and is a little inconsistent – but it’s suitable enough for a position such as a powerful player such as a center or a power forward. Definitely deserves to be on this list of best basketball shoes.
- Support all over, specifically in the midsole area
- Air cushioning technology
- Oversized laces for foot lockdown
- Traction is average for quick players
- Easily gets dirty
The Nike Hyperdunk ’17 is a shoe that makes playing basketball into a breeze, making it look like a perfect art. Common among the WNBA players, and common across all male divisions – these are seriously good shoes backed with a fantastic history.
These shoes come with Nike’s patented react cushioning technology that gives both comfort and reactivity. Unlike other shoes where the foam either gets too lightweight but no bounce, or it goes the other extreme and gives a good bounce but with less comfort.
With react cushioning, your pressure on the foam is utilized to bounce your foot back up after sinking into the sole.
Traction is also an excellent part of this shoe. Reviews have pointed to the fact that these shoes won’t last long in an outdoor setting – traction will hold up on most, if not all gym floors. It rounds off the shoe nicely.
Again, another great shoe by Nike, and another excellent addition to the Hyperdunk range.
- Uses Nike’s React technology foam
- Good design that provides support for your foot
- Pressure optimized outsole
- Less ankle support than alternatives
- Cushioning takes a while to break in
It is no wonder that another Nike shoe makes its appearance on this list since the brand is dedicated to delivering the ultimate sportswear.
This shoe was inspired by and named after the star player Kyrie Irving who is known for his strategic play. We’re now up to the third iteration – the Nike Kyrie 3.
The Nike Kyrie 3 is designed for players who move around and switch direction rapidly. This is focused on a sole that is designed in such a sturdy way that it will give your foot maximum stability during rapid movements.
Add to this the excellent herringbone traction pattern. You should feel totally in control of your feet at all times. Excellent for a quick point guard or a short forward.
Mesh is also a primary material that is used in the creation of this shoe. Rubber is used at the rear. What does this mean? The breathability of the shoe is there.
Durability is also at it’s peak here too. Durable as anything. This shoe will last even on the toughest outdoor settings, but as expected, it’s not recommended to use them on abrasive surfaces.
- Great stability and traction for quick players
- Mesh material for maximum ventilation
- Works well outdoors
- Usually fits a bit tight
- Not the most ideal support available
Another classic. Most people, even without a basketball affiliation, have heard of the Air Jordan line of shoes. In particular, the Air Jordan XXXI is a shoe that has all the qualities of the perfect basketball shoe thrown in together.
As consistently mentioned on this list, comfort and stability are two extremely important traits in good basketball shoes. Here, the AJs have a specially designed front joint that uses Flyweave technology. This not only makes it flexible, but allows for the shoe to move along with the movement of your feet.
This is one of the only basketball shoes in the market that caters to the needs of an aggressive player. Cushioning and impact protection really stands out. It cushions your hard jumps, and lets you jump higher.
The shoe is also very light in its weight and has enough flexibility to move around the court with speed and agility.
However, traction isn’t fantastic, and overall support has been said to be lacking. Whilst each individual part of the shoe does it’s job exceptionally well, putting it all together hasn’t created the ultimate shoe. Yet, this is still a fine addition to the Air Jordan line.
- Lightweight and compact
- Excellent lockdown for your feet
- Great cushioning for the aggressive player
- Usually runs a bit higher in costs
- Traction and support isn’t the greatest on this list
Things to Consider
Like we said at the start of this guide, there’s a whole lot of things you NEED to consider when buying the best basketball shoes. Buying expensive or cheap basketball shoes are still an investment, and thus requires a full understanding of what to consider.
Before you can go and buy yourself a shoe for basketball, you need to know some basics.
There are certain important factors that make a basketball shoe good and they should be kept in mind when buying any basketball shoes. Here are some important factors you may want to consider for buying basketball shoes:
There are three different styles of basketball shoes, the low top, the mid top and the high top. Each of these not only have distinct looks, but they also serve different functions in a game of basketball.
Low Top Shoes
The low top shoes are those that look like regular running shoes in the sense that their ankle areas are cut to a lower length. Because they have no extra material in the ankle area, these shoes can be very light and allow maximum flexibility while playing.Players who play as guards will find this shoe best fitted for their game since it allows them to gain maximum speed and flexibility in their movements. In essence, these shoes are best suited for speedy players.
With a low top shoe, don’t expect much ankle support. We always suggest an ankle brace to maximise ankle stability with low top shoes.
Mid Top Shoes
These shoes have a slightly bigger ankle area than low top shoes, but expectedly, it’s not not as high as high top shoes.
Having a mid top offers the flexibility of the low top, but at the same time give you a small amount of ankle stability and protection as well. These shoes are more suited for forward players who desire flexibility in their shoe, but also want to pair it with some ankle support without the need to buy a brace.
Usually these shoes are the best choice for people who have trouble deciding between getting a low top or a high top. The mid top provides a good compromise between the two.
High Top Shoes
These are arguably the most common shoe that people think of when they see the phrase ‘basketball shoes.’Due to the high rise nature, these type of shoes have the best ankle support out of all three. Typically, shoes of this nature come with good padding in the ankle area for comfort. This aims to protect from sprains and twists caused by lateral movements.
This is the best style for players who are big in size and are also quite harsh in their playing tactics because it provides the maximum protection. These shoes will also give the best stability, but at the compromise of some flexibility and freedom of movement.
We typically recommend high tops over all other style of good basketball shoes.
Cushioning is another very important factor that enhances the quality of basketball shoes. The better the cushioning system of a shoe is, the more comfortable you’ll feel moving around the court. This ties in with impact protection – good cushioning limits the damage to your joints upon landing.
With every shoe quirk, each brand has come out with their own signature cushioning. The most notable ones include the Nike Air Cushion Technology, or the adidas Boost cushioning. Both these aim to equally distribute pressure across the sole.
Alternatively, if you want more responsiveness from your shoe, for the more agile players, bounce style cushioning could be much more ideal for you. Look out for these.
A good basketball shoe needs to have a good amount of support in it so that you can play comfortably. This doesn’t just mean ankle support though.
Supportive shoes are more stable, and they grip your foot properly so that it doesn’t slip around inside of the shoe throwing you off balance.
The best supportive shoes come with shanks and counter patches on the heel area that give your foot a snug fit. With the help of all these locking technologies, your foot stays in its place and the shoe moves with it.
Traction is a very important factor in any basketball game. The only way you can strategically play and move around more swiftly on the court is if your shoe has enough traction in it. Without proper traction, your foot can be prone to slipping on the court. This creates injuries.
The key to traction lies in the type of rubber and the design of the rubber used under the shoe.
If the quality of the rubber is poor, or the outer sole isn’t designed in a proper way, then you get poor traction. This naturally comes with higher risks of slipping and losing your balance on the hard floors.
If you will be playing your basketball game indoors, then a soft rubber sole shoe will provide you better traction and balance. Herringbone and other complex patterns have historically provided better traction on indoor surfaces.
However, if you play your game outdoors on the rough gravel, you will need a harder and more rugged rubber sole particularly focused on durability.
Final Words and Recommendation
As you can see, there are a multitude of different brands and styles that you can consider when buying basketball shoes.
Here, we’ve outlined the major factors that we consider to be important, whilst providing a list of best basketball shoes for every position.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a guard, center or power forward – there’s a shoe here for you.
Simply said, we just can’t go past the adidas Crazy Explosive – and we recommend you check them out.