The 20 Best Basketball Shoes in 2022

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 1081 reviews of 229 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 shops to compare prices and 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:

  • 9.2 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Jordan 36 Low performs almost identically to the Jordan 36.
  • Awesome shoe for players with explosive play styles looking for the extra lift when jumping.
  • 9.1 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The Nike KD 15 is a shoe that has something for every type of player.
  • Best for players looking for a shoe that covers all the bases.
  • 9.1 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The latest Air Jordan mainline signature model is, once again, a top-performing shoe.
  • Great for players that are looking for a top-tier performance basketball shoe.
  • 9.1 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Puma Clyde All-Pro is another outstanding release from Puma.
  • Great for any position or player who likes responsive cushion and a minimal feel.
  • 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.
  • 8.9 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The Curry Flow 9 manages to improve on its impressive predecessor.
  • Great shoe if you rely on traction and court feel.
  • 8.9 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The KD14 is a great overall performer with no obvious weaknesses.
  • A versatile shoe that works for all type of players.
  • 8.9 rating based on 5 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 5 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
  • 8.8 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Li-Ning Way of Wade 10 features an outstanding cushioning setup alongside its grippy traction.
  • This shoe is an excellent pick for quick, explosive players who enjoy a bouncy feeling in their shoes.
  • 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.
  • 8.8 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The Nike Air Zoom G.T Cut is a great low-profile shoe packed with Nike's latest tech.
  • Players that like a fast and responsive shoe.
  • 8.8 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Nike Cosmic Unity is made from 25% recycled trash but doesn't perform like trash at all.
  • Best for players who need a good mix of impact protection and court feel.
  • 8.8 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • The PG 5 is a great all-around performer and a nice upgrade over the PG 4.
  • Works best for players that prefer a minimal, lightweight, and responsive shoe no matter what position they play.
  • 8.7 rating based on 3 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 Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 continues to offer plenty of cushioning and solid overall performance.
  • Shifty players who enjoy lots of cushioning
  • 8.6 rating based on 5 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.
  • 8.5 rating based on 9 expert reviews
  • The Jordan Luka 1 offers fantastic traction and tons of lateral support.
  • Recommended for players that use a lot of side steps and other lateral movements.
  • 8.5 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • Traction on the TWO WXY V2 is outstanding, but the other features don't disappoint.
  • Ideal for players willing to give up some cushion for the other performance aspects fundamentals will enjoy this shoe.
  • 8.5 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The Nike Kyrie 8 is a welcome improvement in the Kyrie lineup.
  • Best for players looking for a shoe with no real weaknesses.
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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 20 Basketball Shoes:

1. Air Jordan 36 Low

Performance Rating:
9.2
The Jordan 36 Low performs almost identically to the Jordan 36.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
More comfortable fit than the regular 36
Amazing traction
Cons:
Does not contain as well as the regular 36
Slight heel slippage
What do the experts think?
Jordan Brand's low-top version of its mainline shoe has an identical traction pattern but uses a solid rubber compound. It performs pretty much the same, which is to say it's great. The cushion also remains the same. It's bouncy and is potentially the best setup on the market. Some reviewers feel that the Low fits slightly better than the regular 36 because of the materials. The support is solid and hard to beat for a low-top, but some reviewers mentioned experiencing heel slippage. Overall, the Jordan 36 Low is just as good a choice for a performance basketball shoe as the mid-top version.

2. Nike KD 15

Performance Rating:
9.1
The Nike KD 15 is a shoe that has something for every type of player.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Amazing traction
Bouncy cushion
Cons:
Some heel slippage
What do the experts think?
The traction is a standout feature on the Nike KD 15. It bites to every type of court, performing amazingly. Reviewers agreed that the cushioning offers a unique combination of court feel, responsiveness, bounciness, and impact protection. The materials conform to your feet nicely and are comfortable to play in. The shoe also fits better than previous KD models and is more accommodating to different foot shapes. If there is any downside, some reviewers experienced a bit of heel slippage. Others didn't feel completely secure around the heel. The Nike KD 15 could be one of the best performance shoes available.

3. Air Jordan 36

Performance Rating:
9.1
The latest Air Jordan mainline signature model is, once again, a top-performing shoe.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Absolutely no issues at all with the traction
Cushion feels amazing
Cons:
The outsole can be a tiny bit unsteady
They fit narrow and snug
What do the experts think?
The Air Jordan 36 continues the recent trend from Jordan brand and picks up right where the last two models left off. The traction is phenomenal. It performs well on both clean and dusty courts. All reviewers agree that the cushioning used in the 36 performs amazingly, but they also agree that the Air unit protruding from the outsole is unnecessary. The fit is snug and narrow, so if that's not your cup of tea, consider sizing up. Materials are slimmed way down this year. They make the shoe lightweight without sacrificing much in terms of comfort and durability. The surprisingly strong upper and the outsole materials wrapping upward towards the midsole make the support in this shoe solid. Being the latest signature shoe in the lineup, the Air Jordan 36 delivers and is yet another high-quality performance basketball shoe.

4. Puma Clyde All-Pro

Performance Rating:
9.1
The Puma Clyde All-Pro is another outstanding release from Puma.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Top tier traction
Great materials
Cons:
Could have more impact protection
What do the experts think?
The traction on the Puma Clyde All-Pro is outstanding and was compared to the Kobe 9 by reviewers. The durability is solid and should be fine for occasional outdoor use. The cushion setup features the improved ProFoam+ which is softer and has more compression. This cushioning is still more on the responsive side though. Another highlight of this shoe is the upper material which is super minimal, lightweight, and very comfortable after breaking in. Going true to size will give you a snug fit that wraps around your foot really well. Reviewers had no issues with the support as it comes with all the standard features we've come to expect from basketball shoes: a wide base, outrigger, and a solid internal heel counter. Overall the Puma Clyde All-Pro is a fantastic all-around performer and a steal at $130!

5. 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.

6. Under Armour Curry 9

Performance Rating:
8.9
The Curry Flow 9 manages to improve on its impressive predecessor.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Traction is phenomenal
Improved materials
Cons:
Not the greatest for impact protection
What do the experts think?
The Curry Flow 9 continues to build on the performance that the 8 provided last year. The traction pattern and material are identical, but that's not a bad thing. Reviewers agree that the performance is phenomenal in this regard. For cushioning, the responsive and court feel are fantastic. The only thing the cushion lacks is impact protection which is just adequate. The materials are much improved from last year and feel premium for performance. It's lightweight, thin, and comfortable. The fit starts out snug and narrow, but the materials conform to your foot over time. Support and lockdown continue to be fantastic just like the rest of the Curry line. Reviewers agree that the Curry Flow 9 is one of the best shoes available on the market right now, and the shoe is a pleasure to play in.

7. Nike KD 14

Performance Rating:
8.9
The KD14 is a great overall performer with no obvious weaknesses.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Soft & comfortable cushioning
Doesn't have any weaknesses
Cons:
A little bulky
What do the experts think?
For some reviewers, the traction of the KD14 took a little to break-in, but they all agreed that it provides a ton of grip on clean courts and doesn't have much trouble with dusty courts either. The Zoom Strobel and Cushlon midsole provide a perfect mix of comfort, impact protection, and responsiveness. One reviewer coined it the softest KD to date. Materials are a little cheap to the touch but they are comfortable on foot and combined with the wide base and plastic enforcement on the sides provide a lot of lockdown and support. The fit is less narrow than previous KD's and should work for most players unless you have super wide feet. Overall, reviewers agree that the KD14 is a slight improvement over the KD13 and a great overall performer that is absolutely worth the $150 price tag.

8. Under Armour Curry 8

Performance Rating:
8.9
Steph Curry's first shoe under his new brand is a standout.
Overall rating based on 5 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!

9. Nike Cosmic Unity 2

Performance Rating:
8.8
The Nike Cosmic Unity 2s materials make the shoe an improvement from last year's model, but only slightly.
Overall rating based on 5 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.

10. Li-Ning Way of Wade 10

Performance Rating:
8.8
The Li-Ning Way of Wade 10 features an outstanding cushioning setup alongside its grippy traction.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Incredibly bouncy cushioning
Amazing traction
Cons:
High price tag
Soft rubber isn't suitable for outdoors
What do the experts think?
Reviewers describe the cushioning on the Way of Wade 10 as incredibly bouncy. It's easily the most raved-about feature of the shoe. Its outsole traction is soft and grippy, perfect for indoor play. The materials are lightweight and perform well, but reviewers mention they could be more premium based on the shoe's price. Support and lockdown aren't an issue. There were no reported problems from any reviewers. Li-Ning and Dwyane Wade's latest signature model, the Way of Wade 10, is an excellent basketball shoe that can contend for performance shoe of the year.

11. 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.

12. Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut

Performance Rating:
8.8
The Nike Air Zoom G.T Cut is a great low-profile shoe packed with Nike's latest tech.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Cushion is responsive yet bouncy
Plays very fast
Cons:
Heavier than expected
Unnecessary material around the heel area
What do the experts think?
A majority of reviewers agree that the traction for the Air Zoom G.T Cut performed very well on clean courts and only needs occasional wiping on dusty courts. The combination of the drop-in React midsole and the Zoom Air Strobel underfoot helps to create a very responsive ride that still manages to be bouncy. However, one reviewer did note that their React midsole felt a little bit firm. Materials on the shoe are breathable and feel comfortable on foot. The fit is snug and slightly narrow in the forefoot area. One reviewer recommended sizing up half a size if you have wide feet. Most reviewers agree that the Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut is an excellent performer loaded with tech that justifies the price tag.

13. Nike Cosmic Unity

Performance Rating:
8.8
The Nike Cosmic Unity is made from 25% recycled trash but doesn't perform like trash at all.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Balanced cushion
Great support
Cons:
Inconsistent traction on dust
What do the experts think?
The Nike Cosmic Unity is part of Nike's sustainability push and made from at least 25% trash. Is the performance on the court trash as well? The traction features a traditional herringbone pattern that performs well on clean courts but struggles a little on dusty surfaces. The cushion setup uses the same Zoom Air Strobel as the KD 12 and 13 and provides nice impact protection and responsiveness. The midsole is very low to the ground and gives your great court feel. The knit materials are nice to the touch and very durable. Performance-wise you'll have no issues! The support provides everything you've come to expect from performance basketball shoes with solid lateral stability and containment. Overall the Nike Cosmic Unity is a solid performer in every category. Just watch out if you play on dusty courts often.

14. Nike PG 5

Performance Rating:
8.8
The PG 5 is a great all-around performer and a nice upgrade over the PG 4.
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Phenomenal traction
Responsive cushioning
Cons:
Cheap materials
What do the experts think?
The traction pattern of the PG 5 is very similar to the Kobe 9 pattern and provides top-tier traction indoors. Unfortunately, the outsole isn't durable enough for outdoor use. The cushion tech is similar to last year but feels pretty different. The PG 5 isn't as plush but provides a better court feel and more responsiveness. The materials are what you've come to expect from the PG line: They feel pretty cheap but they perform well and are comfortable on foot. The PG 5 fits like most PG models slightly narrow and snug. True to size works well. The support and lockdown are very good thanks to a wide base and large outrigger - reviewers had no issues here. Overall the PG 5 is a great all-around performer and a real bargain at a list price of only $110.

15. 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 3 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.

16. Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2

Performance Rating:
8.6
The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 continues to offer plenty of cushioning and solid overall performance.
Overall rating based on 7 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.

17. Nike Kyrie 7

Performance Rating:
8.6
The Kyrie 7 is an upgrade over the 6 with aesthetics to match.
Overall rating based on 5 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.

18. Jordan Luka 1

Performance Rating:
8.5
The Jordan Luka 1 offers fantastic traction and tons of lateral support.
Overall rating based on 9 reviews
Pros:
The traction bites hard
Offers plenty of support
Cons:
Materials aren't the most breathable
What do the experts think?
Luka Doncic's first signature shoe with Jordan Brand delivers an outstanding traction experience. It feels tacky and bites hard in all directions. The use of Jordan Brand's new Formula 23 foam feels like an upgrade from React. Reviewers mention that the cushioning feels low-to-the-ground and responsive. For support, the side pods and the unique shank plate implemented in the shoe keep you contained while also offering some bounce back. Most reviewers agreed that the materials perform well and feel comfortable on your feet. Overall, the Jordan Luka 1 is an admirable first entry into the signature shoe landscape for Luka Doncic.

19. New Balance TWO WXY V2

Performance Rating:
8.5
Traction on the TWO WXY V2 is outstanding, but the other features don't disappoint.
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
The traction bites hard
Materials are form-fitting and comfortable
Cons:
Material quality could be more premium
Not offered in wide fit options
What do the experts think?
Reviewers agree that traction is the best feature of the shoe. It bites hard on just about every surface. The cushioning is low to the ground and offers a good amount of court feel. The impact protection in the heel is adequate but could be better in the forefoot. No issues were reported support-wise. It gets the job done. The FitWeave Lite that New Balance uses for the upper is comfortable and conforms nicely to your feet during play. With its hard-biting traction and no glaring weaknesses, the New Balance TWO WXY V2 might be New Balance's best basketball shoe.

20. Nike Kyrie 8

Performance Rating:
8.5
The Nike Kyrie 8 is a welcome improvement in the Kyrie lineup.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Consistent traction
Amazing forefoot Zoom Strobel
Cons:
Materials could feel more premium
What do the experts think?
As controversial as Kyrie Irving is, his signature basketball shoe continues to be a quality performer. The traction is what you come to expect from the Kyrie lineup. It performs well, similarly to the previous models. For the Kyrie 8, Nike implemented a forefoot Zoom Strobel that adds a new dimension of bounce while still remaining low to the ground. The materials used feel comfortable while providing quality performance. They're also thin and breathable. The lacing system helps to provide a fit that won't cause issues for most people. Reviewers also agree that the lateral containment and lockdown provided are excellent. When it comes down to it, the Nike Kyrie 8 is an excellent shoe that caters to many different playstyles.

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 20 Best Basketball Shoes in 2022”

  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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