The 10 Best Low Top Basketball Shoes

For the longest time, basketball shoes were bulky high-tops designed to provide support and protection. But as the game of basketball evolved to become quicker and more athletic, basketball shoes adapted and became lighter, more flexible using less material.

The shoe that made low-tops popular and mainstream among NBA players, as well as recreational athletes, was the Nike Kobe 4. Released in 2009, this Kobe signature sneaker started a trend that was quickly picked up by models like the Hyperdunk Lows or the KDs.

Nowadays, low-tops have gained widespread adoption among NBA players thanks to a few advantages they have over the traditional high tops.

Advantages of Low Tops:

  • They are lighter and more flexible
  • They offer a better range of motion
  • They make it easier to wear an ankle brace

These are the top-rated low cut 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 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.
  • 9.0 rating based on 2 expert reviews
  • The Under Armour Anatomix Spawn 3 is one of the best budget shoes you can buy.
  • Great for any position or player who wants a balanced cushion setup.
  • 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 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 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.
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Top 10 Low Cut 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. 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!

4. Under Armour Anatomix Spawn 3

Performance Rating:
9.0
The Under Armour Anatomix Spawn 3 is one of the best budget shoes you can buy.
Overall rating based on 2 reviews
Pros:
Awesome traction
Great cushion setup
Cons:
Heel curve causes some instability
What do the experts think?
The traction of the UA Anatomix Spawn 3 is great on clean and dusty courts and the outsole is durable enough for occasional outdoor use. The cushion setup is one of the highlights of the shoe and features full-length Micro-G with a great mix of court feel, bounce, and impact protection. Considering the budget price, the materials are pretty good and get the job done just fine performance-wise. These fit true to size and provide a slightly loose fit. The materials stretch out a little over time. The support is solid and has you covered with good lateral containment. Lateral stability is good overall but the heel curvature causes a little instability. Overall the UA Anatomix Spawn 3 is an outstanding performer for the price.

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. 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!

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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