10 Best Basketball Shoes

The 10 Best Basketball Shoes – Top 10 Expert Picks

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!

In this article, I am going to show you the top 10 basketball shoes which are currently on the market and help you to find the model that is perfect for you!

How did I come up with this list?

There is no way I can test every shoe on my own, and even if I did, some shoes might be a great fit for me personally, but might not work for you at all. To accurately judge the performance of basketball shoes you need more than one opinion!

Fortunately, you can find a ton of shoe reviews on sneaker blogs and Youtube channels! This way you can get a much better idea of which shoes will work for you and which won’t.

But reading or watching all of these reviews takes an enormous amount of time, believe me, I did it! To spare you the time of doing the same, I decided to create a website that sums up all reviews of the most popular shoe models. So far I checked out 83 shoes and read or watched a total of 488 reviews to create the most comprehensive shoe database on the web.

This website is also automatically pulling prices from the most popular online shoe stores every day and checks available discount codes. This way you can find great deals without having to browse every shop on your own.

Alright, let’s get to it! These are the 10 best basketball shoes ranked by average review rating (as of May 10, 2019) that got tested by at least four different sneaker reviewers:

Overall Rating: 9.0 (8 reviews)
  • Comfortable Boost cushioning, premium materials and great traction
  • Works for players of all positions
  • Deals from $79.99
Overall Rating: 9.0 (8 reviews)
  • Amazing performer with outstanding cushioning and top-notch traction
  • Perfect for players of all positions who value court feel and freedom of movement
  • Deals from $89.24
Overall Rating: 9.0 (4 reviews)
  • Amazing traction, well-balanced cushioning, and very good fit
  • Perfect if you are looking for an affordable all-around performer with no weaknesses
  • Deals from $67.99
Overall Rating: 8.9 (6 reviews)
  • Very supportive leather upper, great traction, and responsive Zoom Air cushioning.
  • Perfect if you like old-school basketball sneakers
  • Deals from $148.75
Overall Rating: 8.9 (6 reviews)
  • Great overall-performer with awesome full-length Zoom cushioning
  • A well-balanced shoe that works for a wide array of basketball players
  • Deals from $127.50
Overall Rating: 8.9 (6 reviews)
  • Great all-around performer at a very fair price
  • Versatile shoe that works for all positions
  • Deals from $93.50
Overall Rating: 8.9 (8 reviews)
  • Provides balanced cushioning, traction that works on all surfaces, and premium BattleKnit upper
  • Especially recommended for explosive and powerful wing players.
  • Deals from $139.99
Overall Rating: 8.9 (4 reviews)
  • Affordable low-top with excellent traction, great support, and solid cushioning.
  • Works best for quick guards in need of excellent traction
  • Deals from $105.00
Overall Rating: 8.9 (8 reviews)
  • Low-top with eye-popping design, perfectly-balanced cushioning and great fit
  • Best for players looking for flashy, cutting-edge performance shoes
  • Deals from $170.00
Overall Rating: 8.8 (10 reviews)
  • The combination of Air Max and Zoom provides an insanely comfortable cushioning
  • Works extremely well for big guys that need a lot of impact protection.
  • Deals from $157.25

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

The 10 Best Basketball Shoes:

1. Adidas Crazy Explosive PrimeKnit 2017

Average Expert Rating: 9.0 (see all 8 reviews)
Succeeding the very successful and much beloved 2016 model is a difficult task, but the Crazy Explosive 2017 pulls it off! Reviewers love everything from the excellent (but slightly firmer) cushioning, to the premium materials, great fit and excellent support. The only slight negative is the stiffer upper that takes a while to break in but then becomes really comfortable. One of the best-reviewed shoes in 2017 so far!
Best Deals for the Adidas Crazy Explosive PrimeKnit 2017:
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2. Adidas Harden Vol. 3

Average Expert Rating: 9.0 (see all 8 reviews)
The Harden Vol.3 is by far James Harden's best signature sneaker. The traditional herringbone traction pattern performs extremely well - even on dusty courts. The Boost cushioning is low-to-the-ground, comfortable, responsive, and definitely the best implementation of Boost in a basketball shoe. Materials feel premium and comfortable and support is much improved compared to previous Harden models. All sneaker reviewers agree: the Harden 3 is a huge improvement in all areas and one of the best basketball shoes of 2018 in general!
Best Deals for the Adidas Harden Vol. 3:
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3. Jordan CP3 XI

Average Expert Rating: 9.0 (see all 4 reviews)
Chris Paul's 11th signature sneaker is very well-liked by sneaker reviewers. The traction has amazing bite and works well even on dusty courts. The low-to-the-ground cushioning setup provides a nice combination of impact protection and responsiveness. The forefoot strap helps to lock down your feet tightly, and the lacing system makes sure that there is zero heel slippage. Materials aren't premium but they do their job (even though ventilation could be better). Overall, the CP3.XI is a great all-around performer that should work well for positions 1-5 and comes at a very affordable price!
Best Deals for the Jordan CP3 XI:
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4. Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro

Average Expert Rating: 8.9 (see all 6 reviews)
The performance retro of the original Kobe 1 Protro turns out to be very divisive. Some reviewers love the retro materials and sturdy feel of an old-school basketball sneaker, while others complain that these are too heavy and bulky compared to current performance sneakers. Traction and cushioning perform very well and the support is absolutely amazing because of the solid materials used. The fit is more problematic as the leather doesn't conform to your feet as well as modern textile materials do. If you like old-school basketball sneakers then you will love the Kobe 1 Protro, but if you are looking for a minimal and fast shoe then this isn't for you.
Best Deals for the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro:
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5. Nike KD 12

Average Expert Rating: 8.9 (see all 6 reviews)
The KD12 is a huge step up from the disappointing predecessors. The full-length Zoom sits directly beneath the feet and provides a ton of response and bounce. The cushioning is a bit divisive, some reviewers are raving about it, others found it to be a bit too inconsistent on dusty courts. The look and feel of the materials aren't very premium, but the performance of the flywire upper is top-notch. The fit should work for most basketball players as it isn't as long and narrow as we are used too from the KD line. Overall, the KD12 is a great performer with outstanding cushioning and no real weaknesses!
Best Deals for the Nike KD 12:
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6. Nike PG 3

Average Expert Rating: 8.9 (see all 6 reviews)
Sneaker reviewers like almost everything about the PG3 - except its looks. The "moon crater" traction pattern works very well on all surfaces but might take a little while to break in. The Zoom Air cushioning in the forefoot is responsive and bouncy and the foam in the heel provides decent impact protection. Materials feel a little cheap in-hand, but are comfortable on-foot and absolutely get the job done. Overall, the PG3 is a great performer that will work for a wide array of players and comes at a very fair price of only $110.
Best Deals for the Nike PG 3:
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7. Nike Lebron 16

Average Expert Rating: 8.9 (see all 8 reviews)
All sneaker critics agree: The Lebron 16 is a huge improvement over the XV and one of the best shoes of Lebron's signature line in a long time. The traction works on all surfaces, the cushioning is a little more versatile but still very comfortable, and stability is much-improved thanks to the use of tiny lateral outriggers on the outsole. The Battleknit 2.0 looks and feels very premium and provides great lockdown and containment. Overall, the Lebron 16 is an outstanding performance hoops shoe that is especially recommended for explosive and powerful wing players.
Best Deals for the Nike Lebron 16:
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8. Under Armour HOVR Havoc Low

Average Expert Rating: 8.9 (see all 4 reviews)
The HOVR Havoc Low is the first basketball shoe that comes with Under Armour's new HOVR cushioning technology. The HOVR foam in the outsole is heavily caged and starts off very firm but gets more comfortable after the (considerable) break-in time. The outsole is made from a hard and durable rubber and sports a traditional herringbone traction pattern that impresses on all surfaces. Materials are standard Mesh and synthetics that provide a ton of support and lockdown. Overall, the Under Armour HOVR Havoc Low is a great performer for quick guards looking for an affordable low-top with excellent traction, great support, and solid cushioning.
Best Deals for the Under Armour HOVR Havoc Low:
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9. Nike Kobe AD NXT 360

Average Expert Rating: 8.9 (see all 8 reviews)
The Kobe AD NXT 360 is constructed completely different compared to other basketball sneakers on the market: If you take out the drop-in midsole you have a 360-degree Flyknit construction that is extremely lightweight, completely transparent and easily foldable. The 360 Flyknit material doesn't stretch at all, provides great lockdown and is extremely breathable. The Lunarlon / React drop-in midsole provides some of the best cushioning ever and finds the perfect mix of responsiveness, bounciness and impact protection. If future releases with solid rubber outsoles attract less dust, then the Kobe AD NXT 360 could be the best basketball shoe of all times!
Best Deals for the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360:
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10. Nike Lebron 15

Average Expert Rating: 8.8 (see all 10 reviews)
Shoe reviewers almost unanimously call the Lebron 15 the best Lebron signature shoe yet. The combination of Air Max and Zoom provides an insanely comfortable cushioning that works extremely well for big guys that need a lot of impact protection. The new premium Battleknit upper is very comfortable and provides excellent fit and containment. The only slight downside is the traction which needs a while to break in and has slight problems with lateral cuts. Overall, this is the perfect shoe for heavy and powerful guys looking for maximum cushioning and comfort.
Best Deals for the Nike Lebron 15:
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How to find the best 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:


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 if often performs much better especially on dusty courts.


The cushioning of a basketball shoe becomes more the 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 fair much better with a more comfortable cushioning like full-length Zoom Air or Adidas Boost.


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.


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.


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 you 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!

12 thoughts on “The 10 Best Basketball Shoes – Top 10 Expert Picks”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

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