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 1216 reviews of 252 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 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.
- 9.0 rating based on 9 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.
- 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.
- 8.8 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.
- 8.7 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 5 expert reviews
- The All City 10 V2 is a versatile performer which excels in cushioning and stability.
- A great pick for players looking for maximum performance without a max price tag.
- 8.7 rating based on 6 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 8 expert reviews
- The Curry 10 makes slight improvements and continues to be a top-tier performer.
- Anyone that utilizes traction to maximize footwork
- 8.7 rating based on 9 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.
- 8.6 rating based on 8 expert reviews
- The Harden Vol 7 feels quick because of the traction and cushioning setup.
- The perfect shoe for those with versatile playstyles.
- 8.6 rating based on 5 expert reviews
- The Wade 808 2 offers fantastic traction and a versatile drop-in midsole.
- Players who are fans of the Kobe 9 traction and cushioning setup
- 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
- 8.5 rating based on 5 expert reviews
- The Son of Flash has solid overall performance with grippy traction well-suited for outdoor play.
- This shoe is a good pick for quick guards looking for responsive cushioning.
- 8.5 rating based on 5 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.
- 8.5 rating based on 11 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.
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
The Jordan 36 Low performs almost identically to the Jordan 36.
2. Air Jordan 36
The latest Air Jordan mainline signature model is, once again, a top-performing shoe.
3. Nike KD 15
The Nike KD 15 is a shoe that has something for every type of player.Overall rating based on 9 reviews
4. Puma MB.01 Lo
Following the footsteps of the original Puma MB.01, the low-top remains one of the top performance options on the market.
5. Under Armour Curry 9
The Curry Flow 9 manages to improve on its impressive predecessor.
6. Li-Ning Way of Wade 10
The Li-Ning Way of Wade 10 features an outstanding cushioning setup alongside its grippy traction.
7. Nike Air Zoom GT Jump
The tech-loaded Nike GT Jump's performance is outstanding.
8. Nike LeBron NXXT Gen
The LeBron NXXT Gen has grippy traction and responsive cushioning.Overall rating based on 6 reviews
9. Li-Ning Way of Wade All City 10 V2
The All City 10 V2 is a versatile performer which excels in cushioning and stability.
10. New Balance TWO WXY V3
The TWO WXY V3 is one of New Balance's best basketball shoes because of its fit and traction.Overall rating based on 6 reviews
11. Under Armour Curry 10
The Curry 10 makes slight improvements and continues to be a top-tier performer.
12. Nike Lebron 20
The Nike LeBron 20 excels with its bouncy cushion and solid traction, but it has something to offer every player.Overall rating based on 9 reviews
13. Adidas Harden Volume 7
The Harden Vol 7 feels quick because of the traction and cushioning setup.
14. Li-Ning Wade 808 2
The Wade 808 2 offers fantastic traction and a versatile drop-in midsole.
15. Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2
The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 continues to offer plenty of cushioning and solid overall performance.
16. Li-Ning Wade Son of Flash
The Son of Flash has solid overall performance with grippy traction well-suited for outdoor play.
17. Air Jordan 37 Low
The Jordan 37 Low offers the same performance as the 37 for a lower price.
18. Jordan Luka 1
The Jordan Luka 1 offers fantastic traction and tons of lateral support.Overall rating based on 11 reviews
19. New Balance TWO WXY V2
Traction on the TWO WXY V2 is outstanding, but the other features don't disappoint.
20. Nike Kyrie 8
The Nike Kyrie 8 is a welcome improvement in the Kyrie lineup.
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!
- 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-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 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:
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.
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 Pattern
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 2023”
Do you know the best basketball shoe for a very fast, defensive point guard?
As a defensive guard, I would look for shoes with great traction. You can check out the list at https://www.thehoopsgeek.com/shoe-reviews/ and sort for the best traction and apply other filters as well.
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.
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.
Thanks! Yeah, traction is priority #1 for me too.
I would recommend Harden vol 3 or Kobe Nxt 360
Any idea when the Dame 5’s will be reviewed and added to the list?
The Dame 5 was just released in the US. I will add it to the database as soon as the first reviews are dropping!
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
You’re welcome! Of course, you can use it for your school project. I am intrigued: what is the project about?
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.
Hey Tristan, check out the list at https://www.thehoopsgeek.com/shoe-reviews/ and sort the list by cushioning, I am sure you can find shoes that fit your criteria there.
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.
Very helpful thanks alot 💯
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.
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…