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.
  • 9.0 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 5 expert reviews
  • The Curry 10 makes slight improvements and continues to be a top-tier performer.
  • Anyone that utilizes traction to maximize footwork
  • 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 Wade 808 2 offers fantastic traction and a versatile drop-in midsole.
  • Players who are fans of the Kobe 9 traction and cushioning setup
  • 8.8 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 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.
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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:
9.0
The Nike KD 15 is a shoe that has something for every type of player.
Overall rating based on 9 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. Under Armour Curry 10

Performance Rating:
8.9
The Curry 10 makes slight improvements and continues to be a top-tier performer.
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Top-tier traction
Comfortable materials
Cons:
Impact protection isn't the best
What do the experts think?
As we've come to expect, the Flow traction is fantastic. It's some of the best traction available. The cushioning is responsive and low to the ground. The shank also offers some additional bounce. The materials feel similar to the Curry 9 from last year. It does feel a tad bit more comfortable, though. Support and lockdown are better than last year because of a better heel counter and more supportive construction. Overall, the Curry 10 improves on last year's model and remains a top performer because of the outstanding traction.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Li-Ning Wade 808 2

Performance Rating:
8.8
The Wade 808 2 offers fantastic traction and a versatile drop-in midsole.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Traction grips courts hard
Comfortable drop-in midsole
Cons:
Cushioning on hard impact can be better
The fit is slightly long
What do the experts think?
The traction of the Wade 808 2 is grippy and reminiscent of the Kobe 9 traction. The rubber is also hard enough to take outdoors. Li-Ning's drop-in midsole is comfortable, and it feels bouncy. The only downside is the impact protection on hard landings. Reviewers describe the materials on the shoe as minimal and breathable. Despite not having an outrigger, the shoe has plenty of lateral containment and stability. Overall, the Li-Ning Wade 808 2 is a versatile shoe with enough traction and cushioning for most players.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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