The 33 Best Basketball Shoes in 2023

Finding your next pair of performance basketball shoes is tough!

Just in the last few years, Converse,, 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 1470 reviews of 295 different shoes to create the most comprehensive performance basketball shoe database on the web.

We are also collecting ratings and reviews from users detailing their own experiences to create a user score, separate from the expert rating.

Below you can see a quick overview of the top 33 sneakers, scroll down further to see a more detailed review of each shoe.

Overview of the 33 best basketball shoes currently on the market:

  • 8.9 rating based on 10 expert reviews
  • The Nike LeBron 21 maintains its high level of performance while improving its support and stability.
  • The Nike LeBron 21 is fit for all play styles because of the mix of traction, cushioning and support.
  • 8.9 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • Following the footsteps of the original Puma MB.01, the low-top remains one of the top performance options on the market.
  • Players who want an all-around performer with no weaknesses.
  • 8.8 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The Curry 10 makes slight improvements and continues to be a top-tier performer.
  • Anyone that utilizes traction to maximize footwork
  • 8.8 rating based on 11 expert reviews
  • The Nike LeBron 20 excels with its bouncy cushion and solid traction, but it has something to offer every player.
  • Quick and explosive players will enjoy this shoe the most.
  • 8.8 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The tech-loaded Nike GT Jump's performance is outstanding.
  • Best for players with an explosive play style looking for good cushioning.
  • 8.7 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • The Curry 11 remains a fantastic basketball shoe. The traction is excellent, and the cushioning provides more impact protection.
  • The Under Armour Curry 11 is the perfect shoe for quick and shifty guards.
  • 8.7 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • Nike's G.T. Jump 2 has one of the best cushioning setups.
  • Any players who thrive with maximalist cushioning will love the Nike G.T. Jump 2.
  • 8.7 rating based on 9 expert reviews
  • The Harden Vol 7 feels quick because of the traction and cushioning setup.
  • The perfect shoe for those with versatile playstyles.
  • 8.7 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • The LeBron NXXT Gen has grippy traction and responsive cushioning.
  • This shoe is a good pick for players who don't need maximum cushioning but still want Zoom.
  • 8.7 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The TWO WXY V3 is one of New Balance's best basketball shoes because of its fit and traction.
  • Shifty guards who rely on traction will love this shoe.
  • 8.7 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Curry 4 FloTro continues the trend of outstanding traction and responsiveness in shoes that use a Flow midsole.
  • The perfect shoe for players who rely on footwork and quick movements
  • 8.6 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The Air Jordan 38 takes a step forward with improved support. The traction and cushioning are also solid.
  • This is a perfect shoe for players looking for maximalist containment.
  • 8.5 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Air Jordan 38 Low provides all the performance of the 38 with a lower cut.
  • All players can take advantage of the comfortable cushioning and reliable traction.
  • 8.5 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • One of Puma's best basketball shoes. The traction is outstanding, and the cushioning is comfortable.
  • Players looking for a versatile shoe that's not expensive will love the Puma All Pro Nitro.
  • 8.5 rating based on 10 expert reviews
  • The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 continues to offer plenty of cushioning and solid overall performance.
  • Shifty players who enjoy lots of cushioning
  • 8.4 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • The Curry Spawn FloTro mixes excellent traction with responsive cushioning and a comfortable upper.
  • This shoe is best for guards with fast play styles who benefit from the Flow traction.
  • 8.4 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • The New Balance TWO WXY V4 is a fantastic all-around shoe with improved impact protection from the cushioning.
  • This is the perfect pick for players seeking versatility in play style and court surface durability.
  • 8.4 rating based on 9 expert reviews
  • The Nike KD 16 is a versatile performer with comfortable, plush cushioning.
  • The shoe has something for all positions. There are no outstanding weaknesses.
  • 8.4 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Puma TRC Blaze Court offers strong traction and comfort at the expense of the materials.
  • Guards with a quick playstyle
  • 8.4 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The Nike Cosmic Unity 2s materials make the shoe an improvement from last year's model, but only slightly.
  • Players that want cushioning but also want to feel low to the ground
  • 8.4 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • One of the best Harden models to date
  • Great shoe for fans of the full-length Boost setup
  • 8.3 rating based on 10 expert reviews
  • The Nike Sabrina 1 is an excellent debut sneaker catering to low-to-the-ground players.
  • The Nike Sabrina 1 is best for shifty guard-type players.
  • 8.3 rating based on 9 expert reviews
  • Luka Doncic's second shoe sees improvements to the lockdown and support.
  • Guards and wings who make quick cuts and stepbacks will benefit the most from this shoe.
  • 8.3 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • The Puma Stewie 2 is similar to the MB.02. The traction and cushioning are the best features.
  • This shoe is best for players looking for a low-cut version of the MB.02.
  • 8.3 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The Jordan 37 Low offers the same performance as the 37 for a lower price.
  • A perfect selection for players who want bouncy cushioning in a low-top shoe.
  • 8.3 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The Air Jordan 37 is a top performer with bouncy forefoot cushioning and strong materials.
  • Recommended for forefoot-heavy players looking for a bouncy setup
  • 8.3 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • The Nike Zoom Freak 4 is a worthy upgrade in Giannis Antetokounmpo's line.
  • Players looking for solid performance and springy cushioning on a budget will enjoy this shoe.
  • 8.3 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The excellent traction and light materials make for an excellent budget-friendly option.
  • A great pick for players that rely on quick footwork.
  • 8.3 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The Kawhi 2 is an improvement on the 1 in almost every way.
  • Best for forwards and centers that need strong traction and stability.
  • 8.2 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Under Armour Flow FUTR X Elite provides stable cushioning and grippy traction with an innovative upper.
  • This shoe is best for players who prefer a wider, more accommodating forefoot area during play.
  • 8.2 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • The Adidas Dame Certified 2.0 is an impressive budget performer which excels in traction.
  • The shoe is for players who prefer thin, responsive cushion setups with grippy traction.
  • 8.2 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Nike G.T. Cut Academy has pleasantly surprising traction, and the cushioning is comfortable.
  • This shoe is best for players looking for shifty and reliable traction.
  • 8.2 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • Nike's G.T. Cut 3 is a solid performer with its comfortable ZoomX cushioning.
  • The Nike G.T. Cut 3 is a shifty shoe best for guards.
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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 33 Basketball Shoes:

1. Nike Lebron 21

Performance Rating:
8.9
The Nike LeBron 21 maintains its high level of performance while improving its support and stability.
Overall rating based on 10 reviews
Pros:
Bouncy cushioning
Upgraded support and materials
Cons:
Slightly narrow fit
What do the experts think?
Nike and LeBron hookup for the 21st entry in his signature shoe line. This time, with improved materials and stability. Most reviewers agree the traction performance is solid, especially on clean courts. Make sure that you wipe on dusty courts. The cushioning feels springy and bouncy. The Cushlon foam and Zoom units provide a balanced feel. The upper materials are where the shoe sees the most change. The leather feels more supportive, and the tongue is breathable, too. With the revamped upper, the support and lockdown are better. Lateral containment is incredible and secure. Nike continues in the right direction with the LeBron signature line. The Nike LeBron 21 makes slight tweaks to improve the materials and support.

2. Puma MB.01 Lo

Performance Rating:
8.9
Following the footsteps of the original Puma MB.01, the low-top remains one of the top performance options on the market.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Aggressive, grippy traction
Balanced cushioning setup
Cons:
Cheap feeling materials
What do the experts think?
Not much changed between the original Puma MB.01 and the low-top version. The traction is still reliable on all surfaces. Puma's Nitro foam is a balanced cushioning setup offering both impact protection and responsiveness. The fit can be narrow, but the materials are comfortable and get the job done performance-wise. The shoe also has solid support features to keep your foot secure and contained. Overall, the Puma MB.01 Low continues the trend of Puma releasing quality performance basketball shoes.

3. Under Armour Curry 10

Performance Rating:
8.8
The Curry 10 makes slight improvements and continues to be a top-tier performer.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Top-tier traction
Comfortable materials
Cons:
Impact protection isn't the best
What do the experts think?
As we've come to expect, the Flow traction is fantastic. It's some of the best traction available. The cushioning is responsive and low to the ground. The shank also offers some additional bounce. The materials feel similar to the Curry 9 from last year. It does feel a tad bit more comfortable, though. Support and lockdown are better than last year because of a better heel counter and more supportive construction. Overall, the Curry 10 improves on last year's model and remains a top performer because of the outstanding traction.

4. Nike Lebron 20

Performance Rating:
8.8
The Nike LeBron 20 excels with its bouncy cushion and solid traction, but it has something to offer every player.
Overall rating based on 11 reviews
Pros:
Bouncy cushion setup
Tacky traction compound
Cons:
Not much court feel
High price tag
What do the experts think?
The traction on the LeBron 20 is tacky, and it grips most court surfaces. The occasional wipe is needed, but it doesn't hinder performance. Nike toned the cushioning down from previous models, but it's still insanely bouncy. The materials are comfortable, thin, and breathable on foot. It also helps to keep you contained during play. On fit, some reviewers praised the LeBron 20 for its snug, 1-to-1 fit. Other reviewers had split opinions on how the shoe accommodates wide footers. The lacing and materials work together to keep your foot contained on the footbed. Reviewers didn't have any complaints when it came to the support of the shoe. Overall, the Nike LeBron 20 is an impressive all-around performer. The traction, cushioning, and support are versatile enough to offer something to most players.

5. Nike Air Zoom GT Jump

Performance Rating:
8.8
The tech-loaded Nike GT Jump's performance is outstanding.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
The tech works well together for performance
Jump frame is as good as advertised
Cons:
A bit on the heavier side
What do the experts think?
The final release in Nike's GT series, the GT Jump, manages to find a way to make all of the tech Nike threw in it work well together. The traction gripped all the different surfaces that reviewers tested it on while still keeping up with the cushioning. When it comes to cushioning, if you're a fan of Nike Zoom, you're going to love these. It's bouncy, provides ample impact protection, and is very fast to play in. Nike uses Jumpwire combined with synthetics and meshes to keep the shoe breathable without compromising performance. Most reviewers also agree that the Jumpframe is a standout aspect of the shoe. It helps secure the foot so that the player doesn't feel unstable on top of the cushioning. Although the wait was long, the Nike Air Zoom GT Jump delivers, and it's one of the best shoes to come out this year.

6. Under Armour Curry 11

Performance Rating:
8.7
The Curry 11 remains a fantastic basketball shoe. The traction is excellent, and the cushioning provides more impact protection.
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Improved impact protection
Flow traction
Cons:
Low volume, snug fit
What do the experts think?
Under Armour and Curry Brand continue to provide slight improvements to their main signature shoe line. The Flow outsole is excellent. The performance is elite, and it performs better on dust this year. Under Armour uses a dual-density foam setup for cushioning this year. It provides additional impact protection under the heel. The fit is snug, with some reviewers mentioning it feels like a 1-to-1 fit around your foot. The materials aren't premium but are lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. Like previous models in the line, the support is secure, especially around the heel area. The Under Armour Curry 11 sticks to the tried and true formula of the last three models. The traction remains the best on the market.

7. Nike G.T. Jump 2

Performance Rating:
8.7
Nike's G.T. Jump 2 has one of the best cushioning setups.
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Top-tier cushioning setup
Improved mobility from the Jump Frame
Cons:
Materials quality could be better
What do the experts think?
The latest in the Nike Zoom G.T. Jump series is an impressive upgrade. The traction is reliable, and it performs well on all court types. Dust doesn't affect performance much, but make sure to wipe. Nike improved the cushioning setup too. The React is soft and comfortable, while the Jump Frame and Zoom Air provide outstanding bounceback. The material quality isn't the best, but they feel comfortable. Lateral stability isn't as secure because of the reduced Jump Frame, but the support is still fantastic and uncompromised. The shoe allows for more movement. Overall, the Nike G.T. Jump 2 is a maximalist shoe done right.

8. Adidas Harden Volume 7

Performance Rating:
8.7
The Harden Vol 7 feels quick because of the traction and cushioning setup.
Overall rating based on 9 reviews
Pros:
Traction is phenomenal most of the time
Impressive balance in cushioning
Cons:
The shoe is not breathable
Materials are not high-quality
What do the experts think?
The latest entry in Harden's signature shoe line features elite traction as long as you wipe on dusty courts. Adidas' use of Boost in the heel and Lightstrike in the forefoot provide a firm but bouncy and cushioned ride. The materials are comfortable but not high-quality or breathable. Support comes from the form-fitting materials and solid base of the shoe. Reviewers did not have any issues. The Adidas Harden Vol 7 is a versatile performer suited for most players.

9. Nike LeBron NXXT Gen

Performance Rating:
8.7
The LeBron NXXT Gen has grippy traction and responsive cushioning.
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Sticky traction
Comfortable and responsive cushioning
Cons:
Lower material quality
What do the experts think?
The Nike LeBron NXXT Gen features a map of Akron as its traction pattern. It grips nicely indoors and outdoors. The foam feels firmer than the LeBron 20, but the Zoom units and shank keep the shoe comfortable and responsive. Material quality is a downgrade, but there is no drop in performance. Support and containment are not issues either. The materials work to keep you locked into the shoe. The latest entry in the LeBron line of shoes has a lower price point than the flagship model and offers just as much performance.

10. New Balance TWO WXY V3

Performance Rating:
8.7
The TWO WXY V3 is one of New Balance's best basketball shoes because of its fit and traction.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Tacky traction
1-to-1 fit
Cons:
Not a plush cushion
Poor outdoor durability
What do the experts think?
The latest shoe in the TWO WXY lineup, the V3, has tacky traction that grips incredibly well on indoor courts. Reviewers agree that cushioning is the main drawback of the shoe. The foam is not as plush as other shoes, and there is minimal impact protection. On the other hand, reviewers agreed that fit is the shoe's best feature. The fit is near-perfect and close to 1-to-1. Because of the glovelike fit, the support and lockdown are also solid. There were no reports of issues with the stability either. The materials are thin, comfortable and supportive. One reviewer said the uppers are one of the best available. The New Balance TWO WXY V3 is an excellent performance basketball shoe with outstanding traction and fit.

11. Under Armour Curry 4 FloTro

Performance Rating:
8.7
The Curry 4 FloTro continues the trend of outstanding traction and responsiveness in shoes that use a Flow midsole.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Tacky traction
Materials feel high quality
Cons:
Lack of impact protection
Not very explosive
What do the experts think?
Like all shoes using a Flow midsole, the traction on the Curry 4 FloTro bites hard. It feels tackier than the Curry 9. The cushioning is responsive and smooth. The shoe feels low to the ground but doesn't have the best impact protection. The materials might be synthetic, but they feel premium. The shoe's construction makes it fit well for many different foot shapes. It accommodates wide footers well. The reviewer's only concern with the shoe is the slight sliding on the footbed caused by heavy cutting. Overall, the Curry 4 FloTro is a fantastic performer. The shoe offers some of the best traction on the market and plays well for footwork-reliant play styles.

12. Air Jordan 38

Performance Rating:
8.6
The Air Jordan 38 takes a step forward with improved support. The traction and cushioning are also solid.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Improved containment and stability
Comfortable full-length Zoom Strobel
Cons:
Price is expensive
Outsole durability
What do the experts think?
The latest entry in Jordan Brand's signature lineup improves on the previous Air Jordan 37. The traction grip is elite, but the rubber wears away quickly. It's not suited for outdoor use. Jordan Brand uses a full-length Zoom Strobel combined with Cushlon 3.0. It provides a comfortable and bouncy cushioning setup. Support is much improved this year. The lockdown and containment keep you stable and secure. The materials are comfortable and breathable. The upper feels more traditional in terms of materials. Jordan Brand paid attention to the details with the Air Jordan 38. The shoe is more reliable and secure this year.

13. Air Jordan 38 Low

Performance Rating:
8.5
The Air Jordan 38 Low provides all the performance of the 38 with a lower cut.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Improved containment and stability
Traction and cushioning remain unchanged
Cons:
Dust pickup
What do the experts think?
Jordan Brand did a solid job on their latest release, the Air Jordan 38 Low. The traction performance remains the same on the Low. It performs exceptionally well as long as players wipe the dust. The full-length Zoom Strobel remains a favourite amongst reviewers. This shoe has one of the best cushioning setups on the market. Reviewers also enjoyed the containment and stability of the 38 Low, especially around the heel area. There are no complaints about the material usage. Reviewers say the shoe feels comfortable on foot. The Air Jordan 38 Low delivers impressive performance in a low-cut form factor. The traction and cushioning combo remains elite.

14. Puma All Pro Nitro

Performance Rating:
8.5
One of Puma's best basketball shoes. The traction is outstanding, and the cushioning is comfortable.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Improved cushioning comfort
Outstanding traction
Cons:
Materials feel cheap
What do the experts think?
Puma's latest All Pro model picks up where the previous model left off. Reviewers agree the traction is phenomenal. The shoe performs whether the court is clean or dusty as long as you remember to wipe it. The Nitro foam is the softest iteration yet. It's comfortable with some bounce. The base is broader, and the lacing setup has improved eyelets to help keep you feeling stable and secure. Cheap materials are the only downside. Regardless, the shoe feels breathable and comfortable. The Puma All Pro Nitro is one of Puma's best releases.

15. Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2

Performance Rating:
8.5
The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 continues to offer plenty of cushioning and solid overall performance.
Overall rating based on 10 reviews
Pros:
Plush and bouncy cushioning
Drop-in midsole offers a lot of support
Cons:
Not the most durable materials
What do the experts think?
The second installment in the G.T. Cut lineup features solid traction, but a break-in time is needed. It also isn't as good as the original. Cushioning for the shoe continues to offer some of the best bounce and impact protection. The drop-in midsole also features an improved liner for extra grip. The material used on the shoe makes it feel lighter, but some reviewers mentioned missing the plastic side wall previously on the lateral side. Players that enjoy a snug fit will enjoy the fit on the G.T. Cut 2. There's a lack of torsional stability, but the rest of the support and lockdown features perform well. The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 is a solid performer with fantastic cushioning.

16. Under Armour Curry Spawn FloTro

Performance Rating:
8.4
The Curry Spawn FloTro mixes excellent traction with responsive cushioning and a comfortable upper.
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Flow foam has top-tier traction
Responsive cushioning
Cons:
Materials retain heat
What do the experts think?
The Curry Spawn is the latest shoe to get the FloTro treatment. Flow foam remains one of the best traction setups on the market. The grip and performance are elite. The Flow midsole is responsive and light. Materials are light and well-padded, but the shoe retains heat and moisture. Support and lockdown are solid for the most part. You have to use all the lace holes to avoid potential issues. Reviewers were also surprised with how accommodating the fit of the Curry Spawn FloTro is, especially during play. The Curry Spawn FloTro is another impressive shoe in the FloTro line. The upgrade to the traction is well worth it.

17. New Balance TWO WXY V4

Performance Rating:
8.4
The New Balance TWO WXY V4 is a fantastic all-around shoe with improved impact protection from the cushioning.
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Improved impact protection and cushioning
Reliable traction
Cons:
Lack of internal padding
The fit can be tricky
What do the experts think?
New Balance continues to deliver impressive and reliable performance with its TWO WXY line. The traction provides excellent grip, and the rubber is durable enough for indoor and outdoor play. The combination of Fresh Foam and FuelCell provides improved impact protection and comfort while remaining responsive. It's an impressive balance. Reviewers called the materials light, flexible, and breathable. The only complaint is the lack of heel padding and sculpting. Some reviewers mention the fit is long. Others say the materials need to break in before the shoe fits well. Support and lockdown aren't an issue. The improved cushioning provides additional stability during play. The New Balance TWO WXY V4 is another solid performer in the TWO WXY lineup, this time with better impact protection.

18. Nike KD 16

Performance Rating:
8.4
The Nike KD 16 is a versatile performer with comfortable, plush cushioning.
Overall rating based on 9 reviews
Pros:
Well-balanced cushioning
Improved support features
Cons:
Traction takes time to break in and warm up
Slightly heavier and bulkier materials
What do the experts think?
Kevin Durant's latest signature model has slight tweaks to the tech in the shoe. The traction takes some time to warm up, but the performance is solid in all directions. There's no Zoom Strobel anymore. It uses an Air Strobel and a forefoot Zoom Air unit instead. The KD 16 provides plush and comfortable cushioning. The fit feels snug and tight. Some players will have to go up half a size. Heel containment and lockdown are improved. There's no noticeable heel slippage. The support and containment feel improved too. Overall, the Nike KD 16 is well-balanced. It's a versatile shoe.

19. Puma TRC Blaze Court

Performance Rating:
8.4
The Puma TRC Blaze Court offers strong traction and comfort at the expense of the materials.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Lightweight and supportive
Comfortable cushioning
Cons:
The outsole rubber is not durable
Materials feel cheap
What do the experts think?
The traction pattern of the Puma TRC Blaze Court performed phenomenally for most reviewers, but dust pickup can be an issue. Puma's Trinomic cushioning is soft and responsive, and one reviewer said it was the most bouncy cushioning they've tested. The materials feel cheap, but they do keep the shoe feeling lightweight on foot. The support features are strategically placed around the shoe to reinforce the lockdown and containment of the shoe. Overall, the Puma TRC Blaze Court is an exceptional performer that could've been even better if not for some consistency issues.

20. Nike Cosmic Unity 2

Performance Rating:
8.4
The Nike Cosmic Unity 2s materials make the shoe an improvement from last year's model, but only slightly.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Zoom Strobel cushioning
Lighter than last year
Cons:
Fit can be tricky
What do the experts think?
Like many other Nike shoes, the Cosmic Unity 2 uses a full-length Zoom Strobel. It performs terrifically, blending cushioning and responsiveness well. The traction performed well for most reviewers, and there were no complaints. The materials saw the biggest improvement as the shoe is lighter this year without sacrificing performance. There we no reported issues with support and lockdown. The shoe has all the features needed to keep you contained. Some reviewers reported that the shoe fits long and others reported that it fits narrow. Overall, the Nike Cosmic Unity 2 is a steady and balanced performer across the board and excels in cushioning.

21. Adidas Harden Vol. 6

Performance Rating:
8.4
One of the best Harden models to date
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
The traction is better than last year
Full-length Boost midsole is plush
Cons:
Materials don't feel premium
What do the experts think?
The Adidas Harden Vol. 6 is a much-needed improvement compared to Vol. 5. Reviewers agree that the traction performs very well, and is minimally affected by dusty conditions. Adidas's Boost foam makes a return on this year's iteration, and the shoe feels responsive. The court feel on the shoe is also fantastic. The materials start out stiff, but they quickly become foot-conforming and comfortable. The fit is also much more forgiving than previous Harden models. Most reviewers had no issues with the sizing. When it comes to the support and lockdown, the materials and fit combine to keep your feet secure no matter what movements you're making. Adidas returns to their roots with the full-length Boost, similar to the Harden Vol. 1, and they've revitalized the Harden lineup with the release of the Harden Vol. 6.

22. Nike Sabrina 1

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Nike Sabrina 1 is an excellent debut sneaker catering to low-to-the-ground players.
Overall rating based on 10 reviews
Pros:
Comfortable materials
Grippy traction on clean courts
Cons:
Dust pickup
Not the best for impact protection and bounce
What do the experts think?
Sabrina Ionescu's debut signature sneaker with Nike is a pleasant surprise. There are a ton of features players will enjoy. The traction is grippy and performs well, especially on clean courts. Just make sure to wipe on dustier surfaces. Nike uses React foam and a wafer-thin Zoom unit in the forefoot. This setup is best for shifty players who prioritize responsiveness over bounciness. The materials are a feature reviewers all agree is a standout. The uppers feel comfortable and breathable while remaining supportive. The support and lockdown are also impressive because of the lacing system. It lets the shoe conform to your foot. The Nike Sabrina 1 is almost Kobe-esque. The traction, materials, and support all make the shoe feel like it belongs in the Kobe line.

23. Jordan Luka 2

Performance Rating:
8.3
Luka Doncic's second shoe sees improvements to the lockdown and support.
Overall rating based on 9 reviews
Pros:
Support and lockdown are outstanding
Beefed up materials improve comfort
Cons:
Inner padding becomes soggy over time
Increased weight from the first shoe
What do the experts think?
Luka Doncic's second signature shoe with Jordan Brand features impressive cushioning on clean courts, especially during lateral cuts. However, dust can be a problem. Jordan Brand improved the comfort of the Formula 23 foam. It feels softer for impact protection, and the forefoot feels bouncy. Support and lockdown are the star features among reviewers. The heel counter is beefy, and the lacing system creates excellent security. The materials see the most change from the previous model. The comfort is improved, but this also causes the weight to increase. Overall, the Jordan Luka 2 takes a step in the right direction, specifically catering to Luka's play style well.

24. Puma Stewie 2

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Puma Stewie 2 is similar to the MB.02. The traction and cushioning are the best features.
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Nitro foam is soft and comfortable
Consistent traction on clean courts
Cons:
Dust builds up quickly
Breathability could be better
What do the experts think?
Breanna Stewart's second shoe has consistent traction that grips well on clean courts. The shoe doesn't slide much, but dust builds up quickly. Puma's Nitro Foam cushioning is soft. The impact protection is excellent, and the shoe feels responsive too. The materials are flexible but still comfortable. The support is nothing special, but it has no issues. Reviewers mention the shoe is supportive enough for different play styles. The Puma Stewie 2 is an impressively cushioned shoe. It holds up well compared to other shoes, especially indoors.

25. Air Jordan 37 Low

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Jordan 37 Low offers the same performance as the 37 for a lower price.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Bouncy cushioning setup
Grippy traction on clean courts
Cons:
Traction picks up dust easily
Slightly narrow fit
What do the experts think?
The traction is grippy, especially on clear courts, but it can pick up dust quickly. Make sure to wipe. It seems to be a consensus among reviewers that the cushioning is explosive and bouncy. The materials don't feel premium but are still breathable and keep you contained within the shoe. Support and lockdown aren't an issue either. No reviewers reported any containment issues. Some reviewers describe the Jordan 37 Low as similar to a low-top Kyrie model. The traction is strong, and the cushion is bouncy, especially under the forefoot.

26. Air Jordan 37

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Air Jordan 37 is a top performer with bouncy forefoot cushioning and strong materials.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Bouncy forefoot cushioning
Materials are strong for performance
Cons:
Materials are not premium
Heel cushioning could be better
What do the experts think?
Jordan Brand switches up the traction to look more like the traction on the Zion 1, but the performance is still there. The double-stacked Zoom Strobel and Zoom Air unit in the forefoot provide plenty of bounce and responsiveness. Meanwhile, the heel cushioning is Formula 23, and it feels caged. All reviewers agree that the materials are not premium but excel in all performance aspects. The fit is improved compared to last year's Air Jordan 36. It accommodates slightly wide feet better. The support features are all there too. The materials work well to keep the foot contained during play. The latest mainline Jordan, the Air Jordan 37, offers innovative performance and has plenty of features to love.

27. Nike Zoom Freak 4

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Nike Zoom Freak 4 is a worthy upgrade in Giannis Antetokounmpo's line.
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Reliable traction after break-in
Cushion feels springy
Cons:
Torsional support is not the best
What do the experts think?
The traction on the Zoom Freak 4 takes time to break in, but once it does, it performs reliably afterwards. The two forefoot Zoom Air units are bouncy but can take a lot of force to feel them. The foam feels springy regardless, though. Material quality is a letdown. Nike didn't use premium materials, but they hold up for performance. One improved feature is the fit. The shoe accommodates more foot shapes and is better for players with slightly-wide feet. Reviewers mentioned the torsional support isn't the best, but it didn't take away from the lockdown and stability of the shoe. The Nike Zoom Freak 4 performs well in all performance basketball categories while being a shoe for price-conscious players.

28. Nike Kyrie Low 5

Performance Rating:
8.3
The excellent traction and light materials make for an excellent budget-friendly option.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
The traction is amazing
Cushion is balanced
Cons:
Materials do not feel premium
Narrow fit can cause pressure on the foot
What do the experts think?
The Nike Kyrie Low 5's traction is the best performance feature of the shoe. It sticks to all types of court conditions. Nike uses a full-length Phylon and a forefoot Zoom unit to provide a balanced feeling cushion. The materials are similar to the Kyrie Infinity, but they feel less premium. Reviewers agree that the shoe fits narrow, but it doesn't hinder performance. The narrow fit helps contribute to the support of the shoe. It keeps your foot locked in and secure. Overall, the Kyrie Low 5 is an improvement from the previous Kyrie Lows and is a solid performer for the price.

29. New Balance Kawhi 2

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Kawhi 2 is an improvement on the 1 in almost every way.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Improved materials
Grippy traction
Cons:
Not the best for impact protection
No additional width options with this model
What do the experts think?
Kawhi Leonard's latest signature model with New Balance is a solid step in the right direction. The traction bites on just about any surface after an initial break-in period. New Balance keeps the shoe feeling low to the ground and responsive with the full-length FuelCell setup. It isn't the plushest, but it helps players feel nimble. The materials used on the upper of the shoe are lightweight, breathable, and make the shoe feel very supportive. Working together with the materials, the heel counter and outsole tread that wraps up the shoe, keep your foot feeling secure. These features make support and lockdown a non-issue in the shoe. Most reviewers had no issues with the fit, but they did mention that New Balance doesn't seem to offer this model in extra widths. Overall, the New Balance Kawhi 2 is a strong performer that provides excellent traction and stability.

30. Under Armour Flow FUTR X Elite

Performance Rating:
8.2
The Under Armour Flow FUTR X Elite provides stable cushioning and grippy traction with an innovative upper.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Stable foam midsole
Comfortable Intelliknit upper
Cons:
Stretchy forefoot materials
Non-optimal performance fit
What do the experts think?
The Under Armour Flow FUTR X Elite is a newly innovative performance basketball shoe. Flow foam remains elite on clean courts. As always, wipe on dusty surfaces. The midsole setup features a bulkier iteration of Flow. It feels more stable and secure. It's better for responsiveness. Under Armour's Intelliknit upper is also comfortable, lightweight, and breathable. The midfoot shank and stiff heel counter ensure support and containment are not an issue during play. The fit is divisive. Players who enjoy more freedom and stretchiness in the forefoot and toe box will enjoy the fit, but players who prefer a snug fit will not. The Under Armour FUTR X Elite steps up with a more innovative upper, and the traction and cushioning are what you expect from Flow, but make sure you like the fit beforehand.

31. Adidas Dame Certified 2.0

Performance Rating:
8.2
The Adidas Dame Certified 2.0 is an impressive budget performer which excels in traction.
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Stop on a dime type of traction
Improved structure and stability
Cons:
Thin forefoot cushion lacks impact protection
Breathability is not good
What do the experts think?
Adidas and Damian Lillard continue their non-signature shoe releases with the Dame Certified 2.0. It may not be a signature model, but the traction performance plays like it is. It's reliable on clean and dusty courts. The cushioning is Bounce foam, and it feels responsive. The impact protection could be better, but the shank provides plenty of bounceback. The material usage improved on the 2.0. The shoe has more structure and stability but sacrifices some breathability. Reviewers mention the fit is accommodating, but the shoe does fit slightly long. The width also feels spacious enough for most feet. The support and lockdown are solid, and it gets better with more playtime. The Adidas Dame Certified 2.0 is another step in the right direction for Adidas budget models. The traction shines on this pair.

32. Nike G.T. Cut Academy

Performance Rating:
8.2
The Nike G.T. Cut Academy has pleasantly surprising traction, and the cushioning is comfortable.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
The traction is better than expected
Comfortable Renew foam cushioning
Cons:
Lower quality materials
Breathability can be better
What do the experts think?
The first takedown model within Nike's G.T. lineup, the Nike G.T. Cut Academy, makes its mark as a solid budget performer. Reviewers agree the traction is better than expected. Some even called the performance top-tier. Nike uses Renew foam and a forefoot Zoom unit for the cushioning. It's comfortable and geared more towards impact protection. The material breathability could be better, but the shoe is comfortable. There are no performance issues with the materials either. Support and lockdown are also solid. The shoe has the added benefit of additional lace holes for extra customization. The Nike G.T. Cut Academy is a worthy first takedown entry within the G.T. line of shoes, thanks to the impressive traction.

33. Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 3

Performance Rating:
8.2
Nike's G.T. Cut 3 is a solid performer with its comfortable ZoomX cushioning.
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
The ZoomX foam feels bouncy
Lightweight
Cons:
Poor material quality
Dust affects traction
What do the experts think?
Nike releases the third entry in the G.T. Cut lineup using full-length ZoomX foam for the first time in a basketball shoe. Reviewers agree the traction performs very well on clean courts, but dust causes some slipping. ZoomX makes its debut in a basketball shoe. The cushioning feels shifty and springy, but it doesn't have as much impact protection as Zoom. The materials are a disappointment, especially considering the shoe's price. They don't hamper performance much, but they feel cheap. The fit is solid as long as you tighten down the laces. Support and lockdown are decent, but be aware the containment has some give to it. The Nike G.T. Cut 3 is a solid enough performer because of the traction and cushioning.

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!

16 thoughts on “The 33 Best Basketball Shoes in 2023”

  1. Do you know the best basketball shoe for a very fast, defensive point guard?

  2. Sergio Zamora

    Thank you for this. It is nice to see a good comparrison that isn’t just “Nike” driven. I like good traction and this helps me ID which shoes provide that traction and support for ankle injury prevention.

  3. This is a amazing website. Thank you for taking your time to make this because this really helps me what my new pairs of shoes would be. I have a pair Kyrie 5’s right now and i hate the traction on them. i will for sure consider what my next pair of shoes will be it will most likely be the one with the most traction. Yes, i’m a traction freak.

    1. Andy

      Thanks! Yeah, traction is priority #1 for me too.

  4. Tyler

    Any idea when the Dame 5’s will be reviewed and added to the list?

    1. Andy

      The Dame 5 was just released in the US. I will add it to the database as soon as the first reviews are dropping!

  5. Javier Barron

    Hey Andy, I really want to say thank you for making this page. I am using it for a school project if that is okay with you

    1. Andy

      You’re welcome! Of course, you can use it for your school project. I am intrigued: what is the project about?

  6. Hi Sir Andy! I’m a forward player who plays wingman and stretch 4 position. I like a shoe which is light for me because i always want to feel light whenever im playing but also i want a shoe with a great cushioning which will secure my landing. What can you recommend to me? Thanks a lot in advance.

  7. Nate

    I’m torn. I’ve been through a lot of different sneaker types in 2 decades of playing ball. I’ve had ankle issues for years now due to playing in Nike Shox b-ball sneakers way back when. I switched to low top Kobes for a long time but after another ankle issue started going back to higher tops like the Kobe Elites and now the Hyperdunk 2017’s. Ankle and heel still and issue so was thinking about the Adapt BB but wasn’t sure if it was worth the $. Need to feel locked in and free to cut, jump, and hustle like I want to.

    1. Abood Aj

      Very helpful thanks alot 💯

  8. dlouth

    First, I appreciate this site – the right shoes are critical to how you play, especially how long/often you can go. But I do think a couple of additions to the ratings would go a long way.

    I think weight is a key characteristic that is missing here. I expect there is a tradeoff between weight, materials & support. I tried and loved everything about the Harden V3, but it measured and PLAYED heavier than any shoe I’ve played in since the 90’s. I’d rather have super light shoes made with materials that some would consider cheap. The 2012 Hyperdisruptor is still the lightest and my favorite of all time – 35% lighter than Harden V3.

    I have similar take on cushion. This is inversely proportional to how high off the court the bottom of your foot is, which in turn is directly relatable to ankle stability. I love bouncy shoes, like 2019 Hyperdunk played awesome except in extreme lateral moves, the sole was too thick.

    You could increase usefulness of ratings dramatically if you added weight and total sole thickness under ball & heel of foot. Thickness may be complicated – would need fixture to measure this under some reference player weight.

    1. Andy

      I agree that weight would be a useful addition but shoe brands don’t publish this information and I can’t weigh every shoe myself. On top of that weight differs from size to size, so it’s even harder to find comparable information. But on top of that, I don’t think shoe weight makes as much of a difference as many believe, a few grams more or less should be barely recognizable considering how much your legs weigh without shoes…

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