Finding the basketball shoe with the best traction is not an easy task. There are so many different models to pick from and shoes often perform differently depending on the quality of the court, your playing style, and even the rubber compound used on a specific colorway.
Fortunately, the web is full of shoe reviewers that can provide you with different opinions and give you a good overall idea of the performance of a basketball sneaker. To save you the time reading and watching all of these reviews I am continuously checking out all significant shoe releases and read or watch all shoe reviews I can find.
So far I have collected ratings of 283 different basketball shoes and consumed exactly 1403 reviews in doing so! New reviews are added all the time to create a basketball shoe database that is complete and always up to date.
The following overview shows the ten basketball shoes with the best traction ranked by the average grade they received for it. Scroll down further to read a more detailed summary of each shoe.
- 10.0 traction rating based on 2 expert reviews
- The Under Armour Curry 2 Low FloTro is the latest Curry model to receive the Flow upgrade, and the shoe performs as expected.
- The shoe is a solid pick for fans of older Curry models who want modern tech.
- 9.6 traction rating based on 8 expert reviews
- The Curry 10 makes slight improvements and continues to be a top-tier performer.
- Anyone that utilizes traction to maximize footwork
- 9.6 traction rating based on 5 expert reviews
- Traction on the TWO WXY V2 is outstanding, but the other features don't disappoint.
- Ideal for players willing to give up some cushion for the other performance aspects fundamentals will enjoy this shoe.
- 9.5 traction rating based on 6 expert reviews
- One of Puma's best basketball shoes. The traction is outstanding, and the cushioning is comfortable.
- Players looking for a versatile shoe that's not expensive will love the Puma All Pro Nitro.
- 9.5 traction rating based on 2 expert reviews
- The Jordan One Take 4 is a decently performing shoe with reliable traction.
- Players who mainly play outdoors and prefer responsive cushioning will enjoy this shoe.
- 9.4 traction rating based on 11 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.
- 9.4 traction rating based on 11 expert reviews
- The Jordan Luka 1 offers fantastic traction and tons of lateral support.
- Recommended for players that use a lot of side steps and other lateral movements.
- 9.4 traction 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.
- 9.3 traction rating based on 3 expert reviews
- The Curry 11 remains a fantastic basketball shoe. The traction is excellent, and the cushioning provides more impact protection.
- The Under Armour Curry 11 is the perfect shoe for quick and shifty guards.
- 9.3 traction rating based on 7 expert reviews
- The TWO WXY V3 is one of New Balance's best basketball shoes because of its fit and traction.
- Shifty guards who rely on traction will love this shoe.
Best Traction Basketball Shoes:
The Top 10
The Under Armour Curry 2 Low FloTro is the latest Curry model to receive the Flow upgrade, and the shoe performs as expected.traction rating based on 2 reviews
The Curry 10 makes slight improvements and continues to be a top-tier performer.traction rating based on 8 reviews
Traction on the TWO WXY V2 is outstanding, but the other features don't disappoint.traction rating based on 5 reviews
One of Puma's best basketball shoes. The traction is outstanding, and the cushioning is comfortable.traction rating based on 6 reviews
The Jordan One Take 4 is a decently performing shoe with reliable traction.traction rating based on 2 reviews
The Nike LeBron 20 excels with its bouncy cushion and solid traction, but it has something to offer every player.traction rating based on 11 reviews
The Jordan Luka 1 offers fantastic traction and tons of lateral support.traction rating based on 11 reviews
Following the footsteps of the original Puma MB.01, the low-top remains one of the top performance options on the market.traction rating based on 4 reviews
The Curry 11 remains a fantastic basketball shoe. The traction is excellent, and the cushioning provides more impact protection.traction rating based on 3 reviews
The TWO WXY V3 is one of New Balance's best basketball shoes because of its fit and traction.traction rating based on 7 reviews
Frequently asked questions about traction:
How can I improve the traction of my basketball shoes?
There is no magic formula that makes old basketball shoes stick to the floor like glue, but there are a few things you can do to improve traction:
Wipe - a lot!
This one is self-explanatory. The grooves of the traction pattern become more and more shallow with time, which means you will need to wipe a lot more to get the dust off the surface of the rubber.
Get a courtside traction mat
A courtside traction mat is usually placed close to the bench and you just step on it when you get subbed in or if you want to refresh your grip during timeouts.
A lot of basketball teams use these traction mats to get an advantage over their opponents, especially on dusty and slippery courts.
Get a pair of "Court Grabbers"
Now, if you want to improve the grip of your shoes, you just slide the bottom of your shoes across the pad to restore the traction. If your traction is really bad and you need to wipe after every other possession then the Court Grabbers are much more practical because you don't need a break in play.
Which basketball shoes perform best on dusty courts?
If you are not a professional basketball player who gets to play on pristine, freshly waxed hardwood courts all the time you are probably familiar with basketball courts that could easily be used as skating rinks. No sneaker will grip the floor well if your court is covered with a thick layer of dust. But some sneakers work better than others:
Get solid rubber colorways
While it is not true for every shoe and every brand, in general, translucent colorways seem to attract a lot more dust than solid ones.
Look for a traction pattern with deep and wide grooves
If the grooves of the traction pattern are too narrow and shallow they will be clogged with dust quickly. As soon as this happens you will be sliding like crazy because the rubber of your shoe is no longer able to make contact with the floor.
Another problem of narrow grooves: Wiping dust becomes so much harder!
What's the best traction pattern for basketball shoes?
There are so many different traction patterns - it's impossible to keep track. But there are a few things you can look out for:
The pattern should be multidirectional
A multidirectional pattern has grooves in every direction which allows for grip not only when you accelerate straight ahead, but also when you do lateral moves like crossovers or defensive slides.
A very popular example of a multidirectional pattern is the herringbone traction:
On the other hand, the Lebron 15 is an example of a shoe that doesn't provide you with a lot of lateral traction because of the way the traction pattern is set up:
Don't fall for crazy storytelling
Sometimes signature sneakers go crazy with elaborate little details and storytelling that look nice but actually hurt the performance. Don't fall for flashy design if you want a basketball sneaker that performs well on the court - functionality should always come first!