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 99 shoes and read or watched a total of 540 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 released after June 2018 ranked by average review rating (as of Aug 24, 2019) that got tested by at least four different sneaker reviewers:

Overall Rating: 9.0
  • 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 $110.49
Overall Rating: 8.9
  • Great all-around performer at a very fair price
  • Versatile shoe that works for all positions
  • Deals from $110.00
Overall Rating: 8.9
  • Provides balanced cushioning, traction that works on all surfaces, and premium BattleKnit upper
  • Especially recommended for explosive and powerful wing players.
  • Deals from $148.74
Overall Rating: 8.8
  • Great overall-performer with awesome full-length Zoom cushioning
  • A well-balanced shoe that works for a wide array of basketball players
  • Deals from $150.00
Overall Rating: 8.8
  • Dame's best shoe so far! A great all-around performer at a very affordable price
  • The Dame 5 works best for quick guards who prefer responsive cushioning
  • Deals from $89.24
Overall Rating: 8.7
  • One of the best Curry signature shoes so far
  • Perfect for quick guards looking for a supportive, lightweight shoe with great court feel
  • Deals from $101.99
Overall Rating: 8.7
  • Traction pattern provides great traction on all surfaces
  • Great bang for the buck and should work well for positions 1-4.
  • Deals from $84.99
Overall Rating: 8.7
  • The herringbone traction grips on all courts - even outdoors
  • Great all-around performer at a very fair price!
  • Deals from $85.00
Overall Rating: 8.7
  • Retro look with very comfortable, modern Boost cushioning
  • Works for a wide array of basketball players
  • Deals from $84.99
Overall Rating: 8.7
  • A solid performer that started the low-top trend in basketball shoes
  • A very versatile shoe that will be most appreciated by players who had the OG Kobe 4
  • Deals from $175.00

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 Harden Vol. 3

PROS:
  • Amazing traction
  • Well-balanced Boost cushioning
CONS:
  • Break-in required to get rid of heel slip
Overall Rating: 9.0 (8 reviews)
Traction
8.8
Cushion
9.5
Materials
8.9
Support
8.8
Fit
9.1
Outdoor
0%
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:

2. Nike PG 3

PROS:
  • Great traction
  • Very supportive shoe
CONS:
  • Materials feel cheap in-hand
  • Long break-in period
Overall Rating: 8.9 (6 reviews)
Traction
9.1
Cushion
9.0
Materials
8.2
Support
8.7
Fit
8.9
Outdoor
25%
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:

3. Nike Lebron 16

PROS:
  • Premium materials
  • Traction works well even on dusty courts
CONS:
  • Expensive retail price
Overall Rating: 8.9 (8 reviews)
Traction
9.1
Cushion
9.0
Materials
9.0
Support
8.7
Fit
8.4
Outdoor
83%
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:

4. Nike KD 12

PROS:
  • Full-length Zoom cushioning
  • Much more stable than previous KD models
CONS:
  • Materials could feel more premium
Overall Rating: 8.8 (7 reviews)
Traction
9.0
Cushion
9.9
Materials
8.1
Support
8.4
Fit
8.4
Outdoor
20%
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:

5. Adidas Dame 5

PROS:
  • Responsive Bounce cushioning
  • Very comfortable
CONS:
  • Slippery on dusty courts
  • A little dead space in the toe box
Overall Rating: 8.8 (6 reviews)
Traction
8.7
Cushion
8.8
Materials
8.2
Support
9.0
Fit
9.1
Outdoor
88%
The Dame 5 is Damian Lillard's latest signature shoe, and it's also his best! The traction works amazingly well on clean courts, but the translucent rubber versions are a little too slippery on dusty courts. The full-length Bounce cushioning provides a great balance of responsiveness and impact protection. The materials are super comfortable and very supportive, but the felt that is used on some colorways receives very little love from sneaker critics as it feels cheap and gets dirty easily. Overall, this is a great performer, especially at the very affordable retail price of only $115.
Best Deals for the Adidas Dame 5:

6. Under Armour Curry 6

PROS:
  • Extremely stable shoe
  • Very lightweight
CONS:
  • Durability issues of the outsole
  • Lace pressure
Overall Rating: 8.7 (9 reviews)
Traction
8.7
Cushion
8.7
Materials
8.8
Support
8.7
Fit
8.5
Outdoor
20%
The Curry 6 is much better received by sneaker reviewers than its predecessor. The traction performs very well but showed some durability issues early on. The full-length HOVR cushioning is on the firmer side and offers a nice balance of impact protection and court feel. The knitted materials look great and need very little break-in time and stability and support are excellent like always in Curry models. Overall, reviewers are having a lot of fun with this shoe and rank it as one of the best Curry signature shoes so far!
Best Deals for the Under Armour Curry 6:

7. Adidas Pro Bounce Low

PROS:
  • Amazing traction
  • Well-balanced Bounce cushioning
CONS:
  • Materials feel a little cheap
Overall Rating: 8.7 (4 reviews)
Traction
8.9
Cushion
8.8
Materials
8.5
Support
9.0
Fit
8.3
Outdoor
75%
The Pro Bounce is Adidas' new team model similar to Nike's Hyperdunk line. One of the highlights of this shoe is the traction pattern that offers great bite on clean courts but also works well on dusty courts or outdoors. Adidas uses its Bounce cushioning system which gives you a nice balance of responsiveness and impact protection. The upper material feels a little cheap but it is very sturdy with excellent containment and support. Overall, the Pro Bounce Low is an awesome basketball shoe that offers great bang for the buck and should work well for positions 1-4.
Best Deals for the Adidas Pro Bounce Low:

8. Jordan Jumpman Hustle

PROS:
  • Great traction
  • Zoom Air & Phylon cuhioning
CONS:
  • Basic Mesh & Synthetic Materials
Overall Rating: 8.7 (4 reviews)
Traction
9.3
Cushion
8.9
Materials
8.6
Support
7.8
Fit
9.0
Outdoor
50%
The most outstanding feature of the Jordan Jumpman Hustle is the thick and hard herringbone traction pattern that provides grip on all courts - even outdoors. The forefoot Zoom Air Unit feels bouncy and the Phylon midsole is soft and comfortable. The shroud on top of the lacing system gives the shoe a unique look but also feels very comfortable while staying low-to-the-ground. The only downside of the Jumpman Hustle is the slightly stretchy upper and narrow base that doesn't give as much lateral support as some players might need. Overall, this is a great all-around performer at a very fair price!
Best Deals for the Jordan Jumpman Hustle:

9. Adidas Marquee Boost

PROS:
  • Well-balanced Boost cushioning
  • Very supportive
CONS:
  • Traction on dusty courts is problematic
Overall Rating: 8.7 (6 reviews)
Traction
8.2
Cushion
9.6
Materials
8.5
Support
8.8
Fit
8.4
Outdoor
63%
The Adidas Marquee Boost is a modern performance basketball shoe with a bit of retro flair. The traction sticks like glue on clean courts but can be problematic on dusty courts, especially in the beginning. The Boost cushioning provides a lot of impact protection in the heel and responsiveness in the forefoot. If you are looking for a shoe with a lot of ankle support then the high version has you covered with a firm and supportive ankle collar. The materials are rather basic but they look and feel nice and get the job done. Overall, the Marquee Boost is a very good all-around performer that should work for basketball players of all positions.
Best Deals for the Adidas Marquee Boost:

10. Nike Kobe 4 Protro

PROS:
  • Great herringbone traction
CONS:
  • No full-length Zoom
Overall Rating: 8.7 (5 reviews)
Traction
8.8
Cushion
8.0
Materials
8.2
Support
9.3
Fit
8.5
Outdoor
25%
The Kobe 4 started the low-top trend in basketball shoes and is the second shoe of the Kobe Bryant signature line that got the Protro treatment. Even though Nike promised full-length Zoom in this updated version, they disappointed by keeping it OG with Zoom in the heel and simple Phylon in the front. The old-school herringbone traction pattern still works like a charm and needs very little wiping - even on dusty courts. The synthetic leather and plastic overlays with Flywire cables perform well but feel a little cheap compared to modern knits materials. Overall, the Kobe 4 Protro is a very solid performer, but there are very little improvements compared to the original Kobe 4 and the retail price of $175 is very steep.
Best Deals for the Nike Kobe 4 Protro:

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:

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 if often performs much better especially on dusty courts.

Cushion

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.

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 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!

14 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.

  5. 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.

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