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 2017 with a total revenue of almost $35 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 107 shoes so far and read or watched exactly 568 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 Oct 19, 2019
The huge Max Air unit in the heel and 2 Zoom Air units in the forefoot provide crazy cushioning.
Top choice if you are looking for a comfortable, supportive shoe with a ton of impact protection.
Great all-around performer at a very fair price
Versatile shoe that works for all positions
Provides balanced cushioning, traction that works on all surfaces, and premium BattleKnit upper
Especially recommended for explosive and powerful wing players.
The "takedown" version of the Nike AlphaDunk is a very versatile performer
Suitable for all players, especially big guys looking for support and comfort
The Lebron Soldier 13 provides awesome traction and no real weaknesses.
A great all-around performer that works very well for heavier players.
A solid performer that started the low-top trend in basketball shoes
A very versatile shoe that will be most appreciated by players who had the OG Kobe 4
Bouncy forefoot Zoom Air cushioning and traction that performs even on dusty courts.
Affordable all-around performer without any weaknesses.
The first Kobe model with the FastFit lacing system
Great shoe for quick, low-to-the-ground players who are into futuristic looks
Amazing traction and great cushioning
Poor ventilation is problematic if your feet sweat a lot
The second Puma basketball shoe of 2019 is a solid all-around performer
Worn by players of all positions in the NBA
The 10 Best Basketball Shoes from Nike
- Insanely comfortable cushioning
- Premium upper materials
- Steep $200 retail price
The Lebron 17 is one of the most expensive basketball shoes on the market, does it justify it's $200 retail price? Reviewers' opinions on the traction were split: the Solebrother called it "god-levels" especially on a translucent rubber pair while Nightwing2303 didn't like the white solid rubber, even on clean courts.
The cushioning, however, was loved by everyone. A huge Max Air unit in the heel is combined with Zoom in the forefoot and they provide a ton of impact protection and bounce. The new Knitposite upper material is thick, soft and comfortable - but it gets pretty hot after a while.
Overall, the Lebron 17 is a great performer, especially you are a heavier player looking for a comfortable and supportive shoe.
Best Deals for the Nike Lebron 17:
- Great traction
- Very supportive shoe
- Materials feel cheap in-hand
- Long break-in period
Sneaker reviewers like almost everything about the PG3 - except its looks. The "moon crater" traction pattern works very well on all surfaces but might take a little while to break in. The Zoom Air cushioning in the forefoot is responsive and bouncy and the foam in the heel provides decent impact protection. Materials feel a little cheap in-hand, but are comfortable on-foot and absolutely get the job done.
Overall, the PG3 is a great performer that will work for a wide array of players and comes at a very fair price of only $110.
Best Deals for the Nike PG 3:
- Premium materials
- Traction works well even on dusty courts
All sneaker critics agree: The Lebron 16 is a huge improvement over the XV and one of the best shoes of Lebron's signature line in a long time. The traction works on all surfaces, the cushioning is a little more versatile but still very comfortable, and stability is much-improved thanks to the use of tiny lateral outriggers on the outsole. The Battleknit 2.0 looks and feels very premium and provides great lockdown and containment.
Overall, the Lebron 16 is an outstanding performance hoops shoe that is especially recommended for explosive and powerful wing players.
Best Deals for the Nike Lebron 16:
- Super bouncy Zoom cushioning
- Very well-fitting shoe
- Slight lateral support issues in the forefoot
The Nike Zoom Rize is a new medium-priced Team model and a takedown version of the more expensive Nike AlphaDunk. The traction works very well on clean courts, but on dusty courts, you will need to wipe from time to time. The huge 10mm Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot is super bouncy and comfortable but doesn't give you a ton of court feel. The materials start off a little stiff, but they provide a lot of lockdown and loosen up quicky. Support is great in the heel and midfoot but multiple reviewers mentioned slight issues on quick lateral cuts.
Overall, the Nike Zoom Rize is a very versatile basketball shoe that performs well in all categories.
Best Deals for the Nike Zoom Rize:
- Awesome traction
- Very supportive
- Cushioning could be more comfortable
The laceless Lebron signature model is very well-received among sneaker testers. The upper material is comfortable, durable and provides a ton of lockdown, in part because the straps do a great job and never come undone. The simple solid-rubber herringbone traction pattern is deep, attracts very little dust and works well - even outdoors. The cushioning is a little bit divisive, some like the forefoot and heel Zoom units, others would have preferred a more comfortable setup.
Overall, the Lebron Solider 13 is a great allrounder with outstanding traction and no real weaknesses.
Best Deals for the Nike Lebron Soldier 13:
- Great herringbone traction
The Kobe 4 started the low-top trend in basketball shoes and is the second shoe of the Kobe Bryant signature line that got the Protro treatment.
Even though Nike promised full-length Zoom in this updated version, they disappointed by keeping it OG with Zoom in the heel and simple Phylon in the front. The old-school herringbone traction pattern still works like a charm and needs very little wiping - even on dusty courts. The synthetic leather and plastic overlays with Flywire cables perform well but feel a little cheap compared to modern knits materials.
Overall, the Kobe 4 Protro is a very solid performer, but there are very little improvements compared to the original Kobe 4 and the retail price of $175 is very steep.
Best Deals for the Nike Kobe 4 Protro:
- Great price
- Improved cushioning
- Impact protection in the heel
The second signature sneaker of Paul George improves on all aspects compared to the PG1. The bigger Zoom air unit in the forefoot provides more cushioning and the traction works better on dusty courts. Lockdown and lateral containment have been improved by the use of sturdier materials and the introduction of forefoot wing-straps.
Overall, the Nike PG2 is a great allrounder without any weaknesses. At $110 retail it is one of the most affordable signature sneakers on the market but performs just as well as much more expensive models.
Best Deals for the Nike PG 2:
- Amazing Traction
- Easy FastFit lacing system
The Kobe AD NXT Fast Fit is one of the most futuristic-looking basketball shoes in a while, but how does it perform? The best feature of this shoe is the amazing nub traction pattern that really bites the floor and allows you to stop on a dime. The React drop-in midsole provides balanced cushioning but works best for players who are low-to-the-ground and prefer court feel over impact protection. The upper materials are super thin and comfortable but could feel a little more premium and provide more support.
Overall, the Kobe AD NXT FF is a great performer, especially if you can get it at a discount from the whopping $200 retail price.
Best Deals for the Nike Kobe AD NXT FastFit:
- Very good traction
- Well-balanced cushioning
- Stiff suede upper material
- Break-in period
The narrow (and very squeaky) traction pattern of the Kobe AD Mid performs amazingly on clean courts but has slight issues on dust courts. Outdoor use is not recommended as the rubber is very soft and will wear off quickly. The full-length lunarlon cushioning setup with an Air Zoom unit in the heel is universally liked by reviewers. The colorways with synthetic suede upper have very poor ventilation and the material needs a little while to lose its initial stiffness. Overall, the Kobe AD Mid is a solid performer, but at $150, there are better performance options out there.
Best Deals for the Nike Kobe AD Mid:
- Comfortable fit
- Works outdoors
- Firm cushioning
- Materials feel cheap in-hand
The Uproar improves on the Puma's Clyde Court Disrupt solid comeback to basketball shoes. The traction isn't perfect but works on all surfaces - even outdoors. The fit is very comfortable and supportive, there is absolutely no side-to-side movement or heel slip! Materials differ from colorway to colorway and could be a little more premium considering the $130 retail price. The Puma Uproar's cushioning is firm and not very comfortable but provides a ton of court feel.
Overall, this is a shoe that stands out from the crowd, provides solid all-around performance and can be worn by players of all positions.
Best Deals for the Puma Uproar:
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!
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 players. Big and heavy guys pick the Lebron 15, quick guards the Kyrie 4 and if you like cushioning and have narrow feet then the KD X is perfect!