The Top 10 Best Nike Basketball Shoes

Nike – what started off as a tiny importer of Japanese trainers in 1964 is the biggest and most popular sports brand in the world in 2019 with a total revenue of almost $40 billion!

It’s difficult to keep track of all Nike basketball shoes that exist on the market: Nike not only designs the signature models of Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Paul George, but also popular team models like the Hyperdunks, or the Lebron Soldier series; not to mention the wide variety of cheaper budget models.

To get a good idea of all the models on the basketball shoe market I have decided to create a database with all basketball shoes where I could find at least three trustworthy reviews on Youtube or sneaker blogs. In total, I have added 233 shoes so far and read or watched exactly 1120 reviews in doing so.

The following list shows the ten best basketball shoes by Nike ordered by their average overall rating. Shoes were last updated on Dec 07, 2022

  • 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.
  • 8.8 rating based on 6 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.
  • 8.8 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.
  • 8.6 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 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.
  • 8.4 rating based on 7 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
  • 8.4 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • Paul George's signature shoe line continues its consistent run.
  • Best for players looking for a well-balanced performance shoe.
  • 8.4 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • Great shoe for traction and outdoor use
  • Good choice for players that are looking for a shoe to beat up outdoors
  • 8.3 rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • The Nike Zoom Freak 4 is a worthy upgrade in Giannis Antetokounmpo's line.
  • Players looking for solid performance and springy cushioning on a budget will enjoy this shoe.
  • 8.3 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The excellent traction and light materials make for an excellent budget-friendly option.
  • A great pick for players that rely on quick footwork.
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The 10 Best Basketball Shoes from Nike

1. 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.

2. Nike Lebron 20

Performance Rating:
8.8
The Nike LeBron 20 excels with its bouncy cushion and solid traction, but it has something to offer every player.
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Bouncy cushion setup
Tacky traction compound
Cons:
Not much court feel
High price tag
What do the experts think?
The traction on the LeBron 20 is tacky, and it grips most court surfaces. The occasional wipe is needed, but it doesn't hinder performance. Nike toned the cushioning down from previous models, but it's still insanely bouncy. The materials are comfortable, thin, and breathable on foot. It also helps to keep you contained during play. On fit, some reviewers praised the LeBron 20 for its snug, 1-to-1 fit. Other reviewers had split opinions on how the shoe accommodates wide footers. The lacing and materials work together to keep your foot contained on the footbed. Reviewers didn't have any complaints when it came to the support of the shoe. Overall, the Nike LeBron 20 is an impressive all-around performer. The traction, cushioning, and support are versatile enough to offer something to most players.

3. Nike Air Zoom GT Jump

Performance Rating:
8.8
The tech-loaded Nike GT Jump's performance is outstanding.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
The tech works well together for performance
Jump frame is as good as advertised
Cons:
A bit on the heavier side
What do the experts think?
The final release in Nike's GT series, the GT Jump, manages to find a way to make all of the tech Nike threw in it work well together. The traction gripped all the different surfaces that reviewers tested it on while still keeping up with the cushioning. When it comes to cushioning, if you're a fan of Nike Zoom, you're going to love these. It's bouncy, provides ample impact protection, and is very fast to play in. Nike uses Jumpwire combined with synthetics and meshes to keep the shoe breathable without compromising performance. Most reviewers also agree that the Jumpframe is a standout aspect of the shoe. It helps secure the foot so that the player doesn't feel unstable on top of the cushioning. Although the wait was long, the Nike Air Zoom GT Jump delivers, and it's one of the best shoes to come out this year.

4. Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2

Performance Rating:
8.6
The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 continues to offer plenty of cushioning and solid overall performance.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Plush and bouncy cushioning
Drop-in midsole offers a lot of support
Cons:
Not the most durable materials
What do the experts think?
The second installment in the G.T. Cut lineup features solid traction, but a break-in time is needed. It also isn't as good as the original. Cushioning for the shoe continues to offer some of the best bounce and impact protection. The drop-in midsole also features an improved liner for extra grip. The material used on the shoe makes it feel lighter, but some reviewers mentioned missing the plastic side wall previously on the lateral side. Players that enjoy a snug fit will enjoy the fit on the G.T. Cut 2. There's a lack of torsional stability, but the rest of the support and lockdown features perform well. The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 is a solid performer with fantastic cushioning.

5. Nike Kyrie 8

Performance Rating:
8.5
The Nike Kyrie 8 is a welcome improvement in the Kyrie lineup.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Consistent traction
Amazing forefoot Zoom Strobel
Cons:
Materials could feel more premium
What do the experts think?
As controversial as Kyrie Irving is, his signature basketball shoe continues to be a quality performer. The traction is what you come to expect from the Kyrie lineup. It performs well, similarly to the previous models. For the Kyrie 8, Nike implemented a forefoot Zoom Strobel that adds a new dimension of bounce while still remaining low to the ground. The materials used feel comfortable while providing quality performance. They're also thin and breathable. The lacing system helps to provide a fit that won't cause issues for most people. Reviewers also agree that the lateral containment and lockdown provided are excellent. When it comes down to it, the Nike Kyrie 8 is an excellent shoe that caters to many different playstyles.

6. Nike Cosmic Unity 2

Performance Rating:
8.4
The Nike Cosmic Unity 2s materials make the shoe an improvement from last year's model, but only slightly.
Overall rating based on 7 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.

7. Nike PG 6

Performance Rating:
8.4
Paul George's signature shoe line continues its consistent run.
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Grippy traction
Plenty of court feel
Cons:
Slightly narrow forefoot
No Air cushioning
What do the experts think?
Nike's latest entry in the Paul George signature shoe lineup continues to deliver on performance despite the cushioning changeup. Similar to previous models, the traction bites hard. It grips like glue on clean courts and still performs on dustier courts. The switch to a React foam midsole is the biggest change compared to last year's model. Reviewers agree that the cushion provides responsiveness and impact protection. The materials on the shoe are breathable and comfortable. Support is also not an issue due to the lacing setup and outsole construction. Most reviewers had no issues recommending the Nike PG 6 because it suits many different playstyles.

8. Nike Air Max Impact 3

Performance Rating:
8.4
Great shoe for traction and outdoor use
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Traction for the price is great
Stability and support are solid
Cons:
Materials feel cheap
Not the best impact protection
What do the experts think?
The Nike Air Max Impact 3 provides great traction at a budget price, and reviewers agree that it bites hard on all surfaces. The cushioning is firm, but the Air Max unit feels more stable than similar setups in Nike's lineup. Like other budget shoes, the materials aren't the best quality, but they don't hinder performance. For support and lockdown, the shoe provides solid lateral stability and containment. The firm cushioning helps to keep your foot secure. Overall, the Nike Air Max Impact 3 is a decent offering at an affordable price point.

9. Nike Zoom Freak 4

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Nike Zoom Freak 4 is a worthy upgrade in Giannis Antetokounmpo's line.
Overall rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
Reliable traction after break-in
Cushion feels springy
Cons:
Torsional support is not the best
What do the experts think?
The traction on the Zoom Freak 4 takes time to break in, but once it does, it performs reliably afterwards. The two forefoot Zoom Air units are bouncy but can take a lot of force to feel them. The foam feels springy regardless, though. Material quality is a letdown. Nike didn't use premium materials, but they hold up for performance. One improved feature is the fit. The shoe accommodates more foot shapes and is better for players with slightly-wide feet. Reviewers mentioned the torsional support isn't the best, but it didn't take away from the lockdown and stability of the shoe. The Nike Zoom Freak 4 performs well in all performance basketball categories while being a shoe for price-conscious players.

10. Nike Kyrie Low 5

Performance Rating:
8.3
The excellent traction and light materials make for an excellent budget-friendly option.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
The traction is amazing
Cushion is balanced
Cons:
Materials do not feel premium
Narrow fit can cause pressure on the foot
What do the experts think?
The Nike Kyrie Low 5's traction is the best performance feature of the shoe. It sticks to all types of court conditions. Nike uses a full-length Phylon and a forefoot Zoom unit to provide a balanced feeling cushion. The materials are similar to the Kyrie Infinity, but they feel less premium. Reviewers agree that the shoe fits narrow, but it doesn't hinder performance. The narrow fit helps contribute to the support of the shoe. It keeps your foot locked in and secure. Overall, the Kyrie Low 5 is an improvement from the previous Kyrie Lows and is a solid performer for the price.

5 Reasons to buy Nike Basketball Shoes

1. Great Fit

Nike has been in the basketball shoe business forever and they have really perfected the fit of their shoes in my opinion. All versions of a specific model run similarly long and wide. That means if last year’s Kobe model fit you perfectly in size 10, then it’s highly likely that the next model will too!

There is no need to find a sneaker store to try on each pair. I bought Kobe models online for years on and never had any problems, the same can’t be said about every shoe brand!

2. Your Favourite Basketball Player is with Nike

Most of the great basketball players have signed a signature deal with Nike. If you’re a fan of Kyrie Irving, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George or Kobe Bryant then you’ll definitely want to go with Nike and rock their latest signature models.

3. Great Tech

Nike has always been a driver of innovation in the world of performance basketball shoes. The debut of Nike Zoom Air revolutionized the cushioning of basketball sneakers in 1995 and even over 20 years later it’s still the most responsive cushioning system on the market!

Nike Zoom Air

4. The Iconic Swoosh

There is no denying that Nike makes some of the best looking basketball shoes on the market. Phil Knight bought the design of the now-famous Nike swoosh for an incredible $35 from design student Carolyne Davidson – that’s got to be one of the best investments of all time!

5. There’s a Shoe for Everybody!

Nike releases so many basketball shoes – they truly have a model that works perfectly for every type of basketball player. Big and heavy guys pick the Lebron 17, quick guards the Kyrie 6 and if you like cushioning and have narrow feet then the KD 13 is perfect!

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