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 219 shoes so far and read or watched exactly 1027 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 Aug 07, 2022

  • 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.
  • 8.9 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The KD14 is a great overall performer with no obvious weaknesses.
  • A versatile shoe that works for all type of players.
  • 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.
  • 8.8 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.
  • 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.
  • 8.5 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • The LeBron 18 Low comes with a few upgrades over the regular LeBron 18 model.
  • Great for forwards or centers who need a lot of impact protection.
  • 8.4 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • Paul George's signature shoe line continues its consistent run.
  • Best for players looking for a well-balanced performance shoe.
  • 8.3 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The Nike LeBron 19 is better in almost every way compared to last year's model.
  • Perfect if you enjoy extra cushion and impact protection.
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The 10 Best Basketball Shoes from Nike

1. 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.

2. Nike KD 14

Performance Rating:
8.9
The KD14 is a great overall performer with no obvious weaknesses.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Soft & comfortable cushioning
Doesn't have any weaknesses
Cons:
A little bulky
What do the experts think?
For some reviewers, the traction of the KD14 took a little to break-in, but they all agreed that it provides a ton of grip on clean courts and doesn't have much trouble with dusty courts either. The Zoom Strobel and Cushlon midsole provide a perfect mix of comfort, impact protection, and responsiveness. One reviewer coined it the softest KD to date. Materials are a little cheap to the touch but they are comfortable on foot and combined with the wide base and plastic enforcement on the sides provide a lot of lockdown and support. The fit is less narrow than previous KD's and should work for most players unless you have super wide feet. Overall, reviewers agree that the KD14 is a slight improvement over the KD13 and a great overall performer that is absolutely worth the $150 price tag.

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

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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Nike Lebron 18 Low

Performance Rating:
8.5
The LeBron 18 Low comes with a few upgrades over the regular LeBron 18 model.
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Really bouncy cushion
Good containment and lockdown
Cons:
Inconsistent on dust
Bad court feel
What do the experts think?
The traction on the LeBron 18 Low is basically inherited from the regular Lebron 18 but performs slightly better. It provides a consistent and hard stop but could do a little better on dust. The cushion setup features React foam and an Air Max unit in the heel that makes for a very bouncy setup with nice impact protection but lacks responsiveness or court feel. The Mesh materials are an upgrade over the regular Lebron 18 and perform well. The fit is true to size and but slightly narrow, so wide footers should maybe go up half a size. The support and lockdown are solid and do a great job but some reviewers had issues with lateral stability due to the high and soft cushioning. Overall the LeBron 18 Low is a solid performer, especially for big guys who need a lot of impact protection!

9. Nike PG 6

Performance Rating:
8.4
Paul George's signature shoe line continues its consistent run.
Overall rating based on 5 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.

10. Nike Lebron 19

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Nike LeBron 19 is better in almost every way compared to last year's model.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
They provide good support and stability
The cushion feels incredible
Cons:
Traction can be inconsistent at times
They fit a bit snug
What do the experts think?
The latest entry in LeBron's signature shoe line gets off to a shaky start with reviewers mentioning that the traction performs inconsistently. As always with the LeBron line, the cushioning is the standout performance aspect. The shoe has ample impact protection while still finding a way to feel bouncy due to the forefoot Zoom Air. The fit can be snug. However, the materials do loosen up once broken in. Speaking of materials, they are much improved this year. The upper feels light and is comfortable straight out of the box. There are no issues with support and lockdown. In fact, the lateral containment is even a highlight for the LeBron 19. Overall, the Nike LeBron 19 is a fun shoe to play in with its crazy cushion setup, improved materials, and solid support. The only downside is the traction.

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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