10 Best Basketball Shoes

The 20 Best Basketball Shoes – Top Expert Picks

Finding your next pair of performance basketball shoes is tough!

Just in the last few years, Converse, Puma, New Balance, and a bunch of Chinese brands have entered an already crowded market dominated by Nike, Adidas, and Jordan Brand.

With so many brands to choose from, how do you decide what shoes to get?

On thehoopsgeek.com we collect and summarize professional sneaker reviews from Youtube channels and blogs to create an always up-to-date list of the most popular basketball shoes.

So far, we have watched or read 721 reviews of 153 different shoes to create the most comprehensive performance basketball shoe database on the web.

We are also automatically pulling prices from the most popular online shoe stores to help you find great deals!

Below you can see a quick overview of the top 20 sneakers, scroll down further to see a more detailed review of each shoe.

Overview of the 20 best basketball shoes currently on the market:

  • 9.1 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • An update to the Jordan 34 that performs just as well if not better.
  • The perfect shoe for players of every position who want a premium experience.

  • 9.0 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The lightest Air Jordan ever is a great all-around performance basketball shoe
  • A great option if you are looking for a light & stylish shoe with no real weaknesses

  • 9.0 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • The Kyrie 7 is an upgrade over the 6 with aesthetics to match.
  • Great for quick players like guards who are shifty and make a lot of cuts.

  • 8.9 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • Steph Curry's first shoe under his new brand is a standout.
  • Great all around hoop shoe for guards and wings.

  • 8.8 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • The "takedown" version of the Nike AlphaDunk is a very versatile performer
  • Suitable for all players, especially big guys looking for support and comfort

  • 8.8 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • Good traction, soft Lightstrike cushioning, and a fast, low-to-the-ground silhouette
  • Best for guards looking for a fast, low-to-the-ground, and supportive shoe

  • 8.8 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • Kyrie's 6th signature shoe is an evolution of previous models and probably the best Kyrie so far
  • Great traction and support with a low-to-the-ground, responsive cushioning

  • 8.7 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • Comfortable fit and premium upper materials
  • Best for players looking for a supportive shoe with well-balanced cushioning

  • 8.7 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • The KD 13 is a great all-around performer with one of the best cushioning setups available.
  • A great pick if you are looking for a comfortable shoe that will also work outdoors.

  • 8.7 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • New Balance's first basketball sneaker in a long time really knocked it out of the park
  • A durable performer with comfortable cushioning, good materials, and great traction on clean courts

  • 8.6 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • The huge Max Air unit in the heel and 2 Zoom Air units in the forefoot provide crazy cushioning
  • Top choice if you are looking for a comfortable, supportive shoe with a ton of impact protection

  • 8.5 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • The Jordan Jumpman 2020 feels like a cheaper version of the excellent Air Jordan 34
  • A great overall performer that comes at a very affordable retail price

  • 8.4 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • A great all-around performer with current Adidas technology for a good price.
  • Great for fast and quick players who need a supportive and minimal shoe.

  • 8.4 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • Donovan Mitchell's first signature sneaker is very affordable at only $100 retail price
  • Recommended for explosive guards looking for a supportive and responsive low-top

  • 8.4 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • Russell Westbrook's third signature shoe is still very flashy but feels a lot less bulky than the predecessors
  • Works great for explosive players who like to stand out on the court

  • 8.4 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • LeBron's 18th signature shoe has one of the best cushion setups available.
  • Great for big guys who like soft and comfortable cushioning.

  • 8.4 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • J. Cole's first signature sneaker is a solid performer and fun to play in.
  • Great for guards or big guys that need a supportive shoe.

  • 8.4 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • Super comfortable shoe with soft React cushioning and great traction
  • Works best for big guys looking for a lot of impact protection

  • 8.3 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • Paul George's 4th signature sneaker is one of the most affordable signature sneakers
  • Super comfortable and well-cushioned basketball shoes

  • 8.3 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • A solid budget shoe and an improvement over the D.O.N. Issue #1
  • Players looking for a very supportive shoe with good impact protection

Alright, let’s take a closer look at the shoes with the best average rating and see what shoe reviewers had to say about them:

The Top 20 Basketball Shoes:

1. Air Jordan 35

9.1
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Awesome cushion setup
Very supportive
Cons:
Rubbing around heel/arch
What do the experts think?
The traction on the Jordan 35 is similar to the 34 and performs just as well. You will get consistently great grip and stopping power - just don't ruin them playing outdoors. The addition of a large volume Zoom Air unit in the heel makes the cushion of this shoe even more comfortable and responsive. The materials are premium and have a good mix of old school and new textile materials. They are breathable and don't need breaking in. The support is even better than the 34 and has nice lateral containment, stability, and ankle support. Overall the Jordan 35 is an awesome performer that lives up to the hype and the expensive retail price!
Colorways of the Air Jordan 35:

2. Air Jordan 34

9.0
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Super bouncy cushioning
Herringbone traction stops on a dime
Cons:
Expensive retail price
What do the experts think?
With the XXXIV, Jordan Brand decided to take less inspiration from their retros and instead focus on providing a lightweight, top-notch performer. Did they succeed? The traction of the AJ34 features a herringbone traction pattern that works well in all conditions. The cushioning isn't as plush as in previous models, but it's also much less clunky and provides a fun, well-balanced ride. The materials aren't super-premium, but they are flexible, lightweight and breathable. Even though the AJ34 is much lighter than other Air Jordans, support and stability don't suffer because of the wide and stable base and the Eclipse plate in the midfoot. Overall, the Air Jordan 34 is a great performer and by far the best Air Jordan since the AJ29!
Colorways of the Air Jordan 34:

3. Nike Kyrie 7

9.0
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Very supportive
Lightweight
Cons:
Inconsistent traction
What do the experts think?
The traction works well on clean courts but on dusty courts, you will need to wipe from time to time. Overall, the traction performance is a slight downgrade from the Kyrie 6. The Zoom Turbo unit in the forefoot feels responsive, bouncy, and provides some nice court feel and the cushioning in the heel feels much better than in the Kyrie 5 and 6. The materials are much more minimal than the Kyrie 6 with no forefoot strap and perform really well overall. The support is very good for lateral containment and stability. The Kyrie 7 also provides decent ankle support. Overall the Kyrie 7 is a great overall performer with some upgrades over the Kyrie 6.
Colorways of the Nike Kyrie 7:

4. Under Armour Curry 8

8.9
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Stop on a dime traction
Great cushioning
Cons:
Weird sizing
What do the experts think?
The Curry "Flow" 8 is the first signature shoe released under the new "Curry" brand and they get off to a good start! The traction is the best aspect of the shoe and features an all-foam outsole that is crazy grippy. The cushion is also nice and comfortable while providing great court feel and responsiveness. Reviewers considered it the best cushion of the Curry lineup. The materials consist of a flexible knit upper that is comfortable with synthetic overlays for structure. These fit short and a little wide - going up half a size should work for most people. The support and lockdown are what you come to expect from a Curry and will give you no issues. Overall the Curry 8 is a great hoop shoe that most players will enjoy. These are definitely worth the $20 increase to $160!
Colorways of the Under Armour Curry 8:

5. Nike Zoom Rize

8.8
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Super bouncy Zoom cushioning
Very well-fitting shoe
Cons:
Slight lateral support issues in the forefoot
What do the experts think?
The Nike Zoom Rize is a new medium-priced Team model and a takedown version of the more expensive Nike AlphaDunk. The traction works very well on clean courts, but on dusty courts, you will need to wipe from time to time. The huge 10mm Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot is super bouncy and comfortable but doesn't give you a ton of court feel. The materials start off a little stiff, but they provide a lot of lockdown and loosen up quicky. The support is great in the heel and midfoot but multiple reviewers mentioned slight issues on quick lateral cuts. Overall, the Nike Zoom Rize is a very versatile basketball shoe that performs well in all categories.
Colorways of the Nike Zoom Rize:

6. Adidas Harden Vol. 4

8.8
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
One of the lighter Adidas shoes
Great all-around performance
Cons:
No longer uses Boost cushioning
What do the experts think?
The Vol. 4 is the first shoe in the James Harden signature line that comes without Boost cushioning. But that's not necessarily a bad thing as the Lightstrike cushioning provides a much lighter shoe that still feels very comfortable to play in. The traction works great on clean courts and requires only minimal wiping on dusty courts. Materials differ between colorways, you can choose between Primeknit or Mesh uppers - they all get the job done! If you are looking for a supportive, fast, and low-profile basketball shoe then the Harden Vol. 4 is a great choice!
Colorways of the Adidas Harden Vol. 4:

7. Nike Kyrie 6

8.8
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Amazing traction
Nike Zoom Turbo cushioning
Cons:
Runs smaller than other Kyries
What do the experts think?
The traction of the Kyrie signature series is always great, and the Kyrie 6 is no different as you get amazing stopping power in every direction. The Phylon cushioning in the heel of the Kyrie 6 feels a lot softer than in previous models and the Zoom Turbo in the forefoot has a nice bounce to it. The materials are soft, comfortable, and provide a lot of support and lockdown for quick moves and crossovers. Overall, the Kyrie 6 feels like an evolution of the Kyrie 5 with a lot of small improvements that make up a great shoe - probably the best Kyrie so far!
Colorways of the Nike Kyrie 6:

8. Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2

8.7
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Premium materials
Comfortable fit
Cons:
Inconsistent traction
What do the experts think?
The first Under Armour HOVR Havoc was a hit with reviewers, so how does the second version perform? Unfortunately, the traction has taken a step back and is inconsistent, even on clean courts. The HOVR cushioning is a nice mix of responsiveness and impact protection, not too firm but not too soft either. Materials feel surprisingly premium in-hand, comfortable on-foot and do a great job locking your feet down. The mid-foot shank, outrigger, and heel counter provide a lot of support and stability. Overall, the HOVR Havoc is a good performer that could have been great with more consistent traction.
Colorways of the Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2:

9. Nike KD 13

8.7
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Comfortable full-length cushioning
Great traction indoors and outdoors
Cons:
Materials could be more premium
What do the experts think?
The nicest part of the KD 13 is the full-length Zoom Strobel which provides one of the best cushioning setups in basketball. The traction pattern does a good job in all directions and is tough and thick enough to last outdoors. The materials are thin, lightweight, and perform well but the quality doesn't feel premium in-hand. Support comes from the wide base and good fit however the minimal upper doesn't provide as much lockdown as previous KD models. As for most KD models, the fit of the KD13 is very comfortable if you have regular or narrow feet, wide-footers should go up half a size or look elsewhere. Overall, the KD 13 is a great basketball shoe with outstanding cushioning.
Colorways of the Nike KD 13:

10. New Balance OMN1S

8.7
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Comfortable Fuel Cell cushioning
High-quality and durable materials
Cons:
Rubber picks up dust quickly
What do the experts think?
The first New Balance basketball sneaker in a long time gets a lot of love from sneaker critics: The herringbone traction pattern has you stopping on a dime on clean courts, but the translucent rubber picks up a lot of dust if you play on dirty courts. The Fuel-Cell foam cushioning is the highlight of the shoe and provides you a very well-balanced and comfortable ride. The upper materials are of high quality and should last for a long time, even if you play outdoors. Overall, the New Balance OMN1S comes highly recommended for players of all positions that look for a well-balanced performer.
Colorways of the New Balance OMN1S:

11. Nike Lebron 17

8.6
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Insanely comfortable cushioning
Premium upper materials
Cons:
Steep $200 retail price
Heavy
What do the experts think?
The Lebron 17 is one of the most expensive basketball shoes on the market, does it justify it's $200 retail price? Reviewers' opinions on the traction were split: the Solebrother called it "god-levels" especially on a translucent rubber pair while Nightwing2303 didn't like the white solid rubber, even on clean courts. The cushioning, however, was loved by everyone. A huge Max Air unit in the heel is combined with Zoom in the forefoot and they provide a ton of impact protection and bounce. The new Knitposite upper material is thick, soft and comfortable - but it gets pretty hot after a while. Overall, the Lebron 17 is a great performer, especially you are a heavier player looking for a comfortable and supportive shoe.
Colorways of the Nike Lebron 17:

12. Jordan Jumpman 2020

8.5
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Very comfortable cushioning
Affordable retail price
Cons:
Slippery on dusty courts
What do the experts think?
The Jordan Jumpman 2020 looks like a budget version of the Air Jordan 34, but is the performance comparable? The traction is really squeaky and performs great on clean courts, but tends to attract a lot of dust on dirty courts. The Phylon cushioning in the heel is soft and comfortable while the forefoot Zoom gives you nice bounce and responsiveness. Materials are what you would expect from a budget model - they don't feel premium in-hand, but they absolutely get the job done! Overall, the Jordan Jumpman 2020 is a performer without real weaknesses and a great deal at a retail price of only $110.
Colorways of the Jordan Jumpman 2020:

13. Adidas Pro Boost Low

8.4
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Minimal and light
Very supportive
Cons:
Not as comfortable as other Boost shoes
What do the experts think?
The herringbone traction of the Adidas Pro Boost Low is consistently good but doesn't offer the "stop on a dime" bite you might expect. The cushioning is much firmer and more responsive than your typical Boost shoe but still offers decent impact protection. The materials are pretty nice for the price point, but nothing too premium. Reviewers liked the elastic band underneath the tongue for lockdown. The shoe is super supportive and reviewers had no issues here at all. If you need even more ankle support there is also a Mid version available. Overall, the Adidas Pro Boost Low is fun to play in and a great deal for the affordable price.
Colorways of the Adidas Pro Boost Low:

14. Adidas DON Issue 1

8.4
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Affordable price
High-quality materials
Cons:
Inconsistent traction
Heavy and bulky for a low-top
What do the experts think?
Donovan Mitchell's first signature sneaker is a divisive shoe among shoe critics. Some really like the traction, but others complain that they are slipping a lot - even on clean courts. The Bounce cushioning is responsive and offers a lot of court feel, but impact protection is only decent. Materials feel pretty premium in-hand and on-foot, especially considering the very affordable retail price of only $100. The shoe also provides a lot of support and stability, but this comes at the expense of added bulk and weight.
Colorways of the Adidas DON Issue 1:

15. Jordan Why Not Zero.3

8.4
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Big Zoom Air unit in the forefoot
Less bulky than previous models
Cons:
Lateral sliding on dusty courts
Materials don't feel very premium in-hand
What do the experts think?
Russell Westbrook's third signature sneaker is still as flashy as his playing style, but how does it perform? The traction gets mixed reviews: critics liked it on clean courts, but lateral cuts can be problematic on dusty courts. The forefoot Zoom Air unit gives you a smooth and responsive ride and the foam in the heel provides solid impact protection. Materials don't feel or look anything close to premium but they get the job done performance-wise and are less bulky than in the previous models. The support & lockdown are really good thanks to the traditional lacing system, midfoot strap, and huge Achilles pillows. Overall, the Why Not Zer0.3 is an evolution of Russell's signature series and will work especially well for explosive players looking for a nicely-balanced sneaker.
Colorways of the Jordan Why Not Zero.3:

16. Nike Lebron 18

8.4
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Outstanding cushion
Premium materials
Cons:
Poor lateral stability and containment
Uncomfortable tongue
What do the experts think?
The traction of the Lebron 18 is good on clean courts, but inconsistent on dusty courts. The rubber of the outsole is durable enough for outdoor use. The cushion is one of the best setups you can buy today! The combination of full-length Zoom Air, Cushlon, and Max Air offers top of the line comfort with solid responsiveness. The $200 retail price is justified by materials that feel premium and durable, but some reviewers had issues with the tongue rubbing at the top of the foot. The Lebron 18 fits true to size, but the Batleknit materials take a little to break-in. The support is the low point of the shoe as reviewers had issues with lateral stability and containment due to the soft and high-off-the ground outsole. Overall the LeBron 18 is a comfortable shoe that is more suitable for big guys who can take advantage of the cushioning and don't make a lot of hard cuts.
Colorways of the Nike Lebron 18:

17. Puma RS Dreamer

8.4
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Great traction indoors and outdoors
Very supportive
Cons:
Minimal impact protection
Pretty heavy
What do the experts think?
How does the first collaboration between Puma and hip hop legend J.Cole perform on the hardwood? The traction on this shoe was one of the highlights and it worked well indoors and outdoors. The rubber should be durable enough for outdoor use. The cushion lacked impact protection and wasn't super comfortable, but provided a responsive setup with a nice court feel. The materials performed well and are pretty nice considering the affordable price tag. The fit was good and provided a locked-in feeling without being uncomfortable. They ran a little long in the toe area. Another strong point of the shoe is the support. Reviewers had no issues with lateral containment or stability. For $120 the RS Dreamer is a really good performer and fun to play in.
Colorways of the Puma RS Dreamer:

18. Nike Air Zoom BB NXT

8.4
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Great traction even on dusty courts
Crazy-comfortable cushioning
Cons:
Lacks stability on lateral cuts
Expensive retail price
What do the experts think?
With the Air Zoom BB NXT, Nike included a lot of new technology focused on providing the most responsive basketball shoe ever. The traction is insane and the multi-directional pattern works well on clean and dusty courts. The cushioning setup is the highlight of the shoe with full-length double-stacked React and Zoom Air in the forefoot creating a super comfortable ride. The materials give good support and breathability but could be a little more premium considering the price point. The lockdown is nice, but the support suffers at times because of the high ride and plush cushioning setup. Overall, the Nike Air Zoom BB NXT provides great cushioning and traction with next-gen technology.
Colorways of the Nike Air Zoom BB NXT:

19. Nike PG 4

8.3
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Super comfortable cushioning
Affordable signature sneaker
Cons:
Lateral support could be better
Sizing is tricky
What do the experts think?
The 4th edition of Paul George's signature sneaker changes things up a little. A Nike Air strobel board that sits directly under your feet replaces the Nike Zoom Air cushioning. This setup gives you a softer and super comfortable, cloud-like feeling. The circular traction pattern works well in all directions and keeps performing solidly even on dusty courts. The biggest weaknesses of the PG4 are the support and lockdown: most critics reported sliding out off the footbed on sharp lateral cuts and some experienced mild heel slippage. Overall, the PG4 is a solid performer that works best for lighter players who don't rely on explosive lateral cuts.
Colorways of the Nike PG 4:

20. Adidas D.O.N Issue #2

8.3
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Very supportive
Solid cushioning
Cons:
Inconsistent traction
Bulky and heavy
What do the experts think?
Reviewers found that the traction is somewhat inconsistent and doesn't bite well on all surfaces. The outsole isn't very durable either. The cushion setup is bouncy and responsive with good impact protection. The court feel isn't great though. The materials are durable and thick, but kind of bulky. Overall, they are comfortable with good padding but don't conform to your feet very well. The support is great and the highlight of the shoe. You will feel very locked in with these! Overall the Don Issue #2 is a solid budget performer with great support and good traction.
Colorways of the Adidas D.O.N Issue #2:

Picking your next pair of basketball shoes

Picking your next pair of basketball shoes can be difficult. Finding out about the latest releases, reading reviews, checking prices, and getting the right size – it often takes me days or even weeks to settle on a new pair.

Now, maybe I am just really picky when it comes to basketball sneakers, but there is a reason why!

Good basketball shoes are important because:
  • They grip the floor and allow quick cuts and crossovers
  • They provide impact protection and reduce the stress on your knees and feet
  • They fit comfortably and lock down your feet tightly
  • They provide support and protect your ankles from rolling

In short: Good basketball shoes will help you to get the most out of your game!

 

How to find basketball shoes that fit your playing style

The list above is a great way to find basketball shoes that perform well overall, but not every basketball shoe will work the same for different types of players. Quick guards will need different shoes than big and heavy centers.

But how do you know what kind of shoe you need? In the following paragraphs, I want to go into more detail and tell you what to look for to find your perfect fit!

Let’s talk about the most important characteristics of basketball kicks and what you want to look for when you are in the market for a new pair:

Style of the silhouette

There are three different styles of basketball shoes out there: Low tops, mid tops, and high tops. Traditionally, basketball players used to play in high tops that completely covered the ankle of players, but nowadays, more and more players are wearing low-tops that look more like regular training shoes. Let’s take a closer look at each style and their pros and cons:

Low Tops:

Low-cut shoes provide maximum flexibility and are often very lightweight. They are perfect for guards who want to feel light and quick on their feet and don’t want to add unnecessary bulk. Bigger and slower guys don’t profit as much from low tops and might look for the protection of higher cut shoes. Low-cuts were made most popular by the Kobe signature line:

Mid Tops:

Mid Tops are a hybrid between low- and high tops and provide a little bit of both worlds: Good flexibility and mobility, but also a decent amount of ankle protection and more stability. Perfect for forwards or wings who don’t need all the flexibility of a low top, but also don’t like the bulkiness of true high tops. An example of a mid top basketball shoes is the Kyrie 3:

High Tops:

This is the way basketball shoes used to look like for decades. High Tops provide a lot of ankle protection, support and are often nicely cushioned. Perfect for big guys who are looking for maximum protection when they are fighting below the rim and don’t mind losing a little bit of flexibility in exchange for more safety. A popular example is the Lebron signature line:

Traction

If you plan to do explosive crossovers and quick cuts you need a shoe that provides excellent traction. Nothing is more annoying than slipping every time you try to change directions.

The amount of traction provided by a shoe relies on two factors: the traction pattern and the rubber compound used for the outsole.

Traction pattern:

A very popular traction pattern that is often used in basketball shoes is the “herringbone” pattern. Zig-zag lines of rubber provide grip in every direction and the empty space in between the rubber makes sure that dust doesn’t stick to the surface of the sole.

Herringbone traction almost always works; unfortunately, other traction patterns are often hit or miss. Sometimes designers try to get too innovative or focus on storytelling, and you end up with a shoe that needs endless wiping or feels like playing on skates.

Herringbone Traction

Herringbone Traction Pattern

Rubber Compound

The quality of the rubber compound is much harder to judge than the traction pattern. Softer rubber will often work better indoors but attract a lot of dust, hard rubber is a lot more durable but doesn’t provide the same grip on pristine hardwood courts. As a rule of thumb, if you have the option between colorways with translucent and solid outer soles, always go with the solid option. A solid rubber outer sole might not look as nice, but it often performs much better especially on dusty courts.

Cushion

The cushioning of a basketball shoe becomes more important the heavier you are. If you are a 5’6″ guard who weighs 140 lbs, you won’t need a lot of cushioning, and you will probably prefer the responsiveness and court feel of a firmer setup. But bigger and heavier guys put a lot of pressure on their joints and profit immensely from a softer and more forgiving cushioning.

There are countless cushioning technologies on the market, and every company has different styles for different use cases or budgets. The most popular tech is probably Nike Zoom Air cushioning which is made of tightly stretched tensile fibers in a pressurized “Air” unit embedded in the midsole. Other cushioning setups like Adidas Bounce, Nike Lunarlon, or UnderArmour MicroG are foam-based and provide impact protection by distributing impact forces more evenly.

Nike Zoom Air

Nike Zoom Air

Other than traction, cushioning really comes down to personal preference. If you are a quick and light guard, you want to look for a firm cushioning setup like Nike Lunarlon or Adidas Bounce. Cushioning that is too soft will only make you lose court feel and responsiveness.

However, if you are a bigger player or you have a history of knee problems, you will fare much better with a more comfortable cushioning like full-length Zoom Air or Adidas Boost.

Support

If you think of supportive basketball shoes, you probably imagine a bulky high top with a lot of straps and laces. Fortunately, modern basketball shoes have found other ways to provides athletes with the necessary safety and stability. Just look at the shoes which are worn in the NBA today – a lot of players wear low tops that were unimaginable only 20 years ago.

A common support feature used in almost every modern basketball shoe is the outrigger. Usually placed on the lateral side of the shoe, this extension of the outer sole makes the base of the shoe wider and provides a stable platform that protects your feet from rolling.

Other often-used support features are midfoot shanks that provide torsional support and heel counters that lock you into the shoe. But one of the most significant support factors is the fit and lockdown of a shoe. All the support features in the world will not help you if you are sliding side-to-side on every cut because your sneakers are just too wide.

Lateral Outrigger

Lateral Outrigger

If you are recovering from an ankle injury and need even more support around the ankle, you should look into getting an additional ankle brace.

Fit

The fit is one of the most important things to consider when buying new shoes. You want to be firmly locked in and not sliding left-to-right or front-to-back at all. If you can, it’s always a good idea to try on shoes in a store. If that’s not an option, I like to get shoes in two different sizes, keep the better fitting pair and use the return policy for the other one.

If shoes are a little tight in the beginning that’s okay, they usually widen and become more comfortable as you break them in. If you are unsure which size to get, or you have unusually wide or narrow feet and you are looking for a particular fit, then check out this list of shoes. You can filter shoes to only include narrow-, or wide-fitting shoes, and find out which model runs large or small by reading the more detailed review.

Material

There is a wide variety of upper materials used in basketball shoes these days ranging from traditional nubuck leather to synthetic mesh or high-tech textile materials like Adidas PrimeKnit or Nike Flyknit.

Cheaper materials like Mesh or other synthetic uppers often start out rather stiff and need a little time to break-in. High-tech materials are often reserved for more expensive signature lines like Air Jordan’s or Kobes and are really soft and comfortable from the beginning.

Aside from aesthetics and comfort, modern materials used in basketball shoes all do a very nice job and don’t differ too much when it comes to performance. Just pick whatever material you personally prefer and can afford.

Take a quiz to find your perfect pair of basketball shoes

If you are a little overwhelmed by all the things you need to consider, then you might be interested in a simple quiz I developed. You answer a set of simple questions about which type of player you are, whether you plan to play outdoors etc. and the quiz will automatically recommend the best-rated shoe that fits all your criteria. This way you can find a good basketball shoe within minutes instead of browsing the web for hours!

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