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 176 shoes so far and read or watched exactly 823 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 01, 2021

  • 8.8 rating based on 6 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 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.

  • 8.7 rating based on 4 expert reviews
  • The Kyrie 7 is an upgrade over the 6 with aesthetics to match.
  • Great for quick players like guards who are shifty and make a lot of cuts.

  • 8.7 rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • The KD 13 is a great all-around performer with one of the best cushioning setups available.
  • A great pick if you are looking for a comfortable shoe that will also work outdoors.

  • 8.7 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.

  • 8.7 rating based on 2 expert reviews
  • A great budget performer from Lebron with no real weakness.
  • Great for players of all positions looking for a <$100 hoop shoe.

  • 8.5 rating based on 5 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.

  • 8.5 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 2 expert reviews
  • The low version of the Lebron 17 switches to React foam in the forefoot and Mesh materials in the upper
  • A great choice for Lebron fans who prefer low-tops compared to Lebron's pretty bulky high-tops

  • 8.4 rating based on 2 expert reviews
  • An update to the LeBron Soldier line without the forefoot straps.
  • Great for big guys who like forefoot cushion and need a lot of support.

The 10 Best Basketball Shoes from Nike

1. Nike KD 14

Performance Rating:
8.8
The KD14 is a great overall performer with no obvious weaknesses.
Overall rating based on 6 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.

2. 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.

3. Nike Kyrie 7

Performance Rating:
8.7
The Kyrie 7 is an upgrade over the 6 with aesthetics to match.
Overall rating based on 4 reviews
Pros:
Very supportive
Lightweight
Cons:
Inconsistent traction
What do the experts think?
The traction works well on clean courts but on dusty courts, you will need to wipe from time to time. Overall, the traction performance is a slight downgrade from the Kyrie 6. The Zoom Turbo unit in the forefoot feels responsive, bouncy, and provides some nice court feel and the cushioning in the heel feels much better than in the Kyrie 5 and 6. The materials are much more minimal than the Kyrie 6 with no forefoot strap and perform really well overall. The support is very good for lateral containment and stability. The Kyrie 7 also provides decent ankle support. Overall the Kyrie 7 is a great overall performer with some upgrades over the Kyrie 6.

4. Nike KD 13

Performance Rating:
8.7
The KD 13 is a great all-around performer with one of the best cushioning setups available.
Overall rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Comfortable full-length cushioning
Great traction indoors and outdoors
Cons:
Materials could be more premium
What do the experts think?
The nicest part of the KD 13 is the full-length Zoom Strobel which provides one of the best cushioning setups in basketball. The traction pattern does a good job in all directions and is tough and thick enough to last outdoors. The materials are thin, lightweight, and perform well but the quality doesn't feel premium in-hand. Support comes from the wide base and good fit however the minimal upper doesn't provide as much lockdown as previous KD models. As for most KD models, the fit of the KD13 is very comfortable if you have regular or narrow feet, wide-footers should go up half a size or look elsewhere. Overall, the KD 13 is a great basketball shoe with outstanding cushioning.

5. Nike PG 5

Performance Rating:
8.7
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.

6. Nike Lebron Witness 5

Performance Rating:
8.7
A great budget performer from Lebron with no real weakness.
Overall rating based on 2 reviews
Pros:
Comfortable materials
Good stability
Cons:
Outsole isn't durable
What do the experts think?
The traction on the Lebron Witness 5 performs well on clean courts but picks up dust easily. It won't last on outdoor courts as the outsole isn't very durable. The cushion setup is subtle but gets the job done with full-length Phylon and two forefoot Zoom pods. The materials are an improvement over the Witness 4 and provide good comfort and performance. The Witness 5 fits well and reviewers found it to be true to size, but slightly narrow. The half booty construction provides a snug overall fit. The stability and lockdown don't disappoint and provide consistent lateral stability, containment, and decent ankle support. Overall, the Lebron Witness 5 is a great hoop shoe for any player and budget.

7. Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut

Performance Rating:
8.5
The Nike Air Zoom G.T Cut is a great low-profile shoe packed with Nike's latest tech.
Overall rating based on 5 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.

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 Lebron 17 Low

Performance Rating:
8.4
The low version of the Lebron 17 switches to React foam in the forefoot and Mesh materials in the upper
Overall rating based on 2 reviews
Pros:
Great traction even on dusty courts
Very good impact protection
Cons:
Stiff upper materials
Really hard to put on
What do the experts think?
The Lebron 17 Low departs significantly from the design of the original Lebron 17. But is it for the better? The traction pattern remains largely unchanged but has additional ridges on the rubber which give you a little bit of added grip. The Air Max cushioning in the heel is a little firmer and the React foam in the forefoot is also less bouncy than the original Zoom unit. The upper material was changed from Battleknit to a pretty firm and not super premium-feeling Mesh. Overall, the Lebon 17 Low is a solid performer but can't quite reach the performance of the high version.

10. Nike Lebron Soldier 14

Performance Rating:
8.4
An update to the LeBron Soldier line without the forefoot straps.
Overall rating based on 2 reviews
Pros:
Very supportive
Huge forefoot Zoom unit
Cons:
Inconsistent traction
Stiff heel cushion
What do the experts think?
The traction of the Lebron Soldier 14 performs pretty well but takes some breaking in and doesn't hold up very long outdoors. The cushion setup features a really nice forefoot Zoom unit that reviewers liked, but court feel and heel cushioning could be better. The materials are really nice at this price point and conform very well to your feet. They are also good in terms of ventilation. The fit is close to 1 to 1 and fits true to size. Reviewers thought they were hard to put on at first and didn't like the shroud over the laces. Once they are put on, they are very supportive and lock your feet in-place nicely. Overall the LeBron Soldier 14 is a very solid performer at a reasonable price and a lot of fun to play in!

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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