Best Traction Basketball Shoes

The Top 10 Basketball Shoes with the Best Traction

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 305 different basketball shoes and consumed exactly 1551 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 3 expert reviews
  • The Curry Spawn FloTro mixes excellent traction with responsive cushioning and a comfortable upper.
  • This shoe is best for guards with fast play styles who benefit from the Flow traction.
  • 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.
  • 9.5 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 5 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 8 expert reviews
  • The Li-Ning Way of Wade All City 12 is a fantastic shoe with close-to-top-tier traction and cushioning.
  • The Way of Wade All City 12 is best for guards or players who play fast and rely on court feel and responsiveness.
  • 9.3 traction rating based on 7 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.
  • 9.3 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.
  • 9.2 traction rating based on 5 expert reviews
  • The Under Armour Flow FUTR X Elite provides stable cushioning and grippy traction with an innovative upper.
  • This shoe is best for players who prefer a wider, more accommodating forefoot area during play.
  • 9.1 traction rating based on 6 expert reviews
  • The Nike G.T. Cut Academy has pleasantly surprising traction, and the cushioning is comfortable.
  • This shoe is best for players looking for shifty and reliable traction.
  • 9.0 traction rating based on 10 expert reviews
  • The Adidas Harden Volume 8 is a fantastic performer with excellent traction on clean courts and comfortable cushioning.
  • The Harden Vol 8 is best for players who use powerful footwork to create space.
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Best Traction Basketball Shoes:
The Top 10

1. Under Armour Curry Spawn FloTro

Performance Rating:
10.0
The Curry Spawn FloTro mixes excellent traction with responsive cushioning and a comfortable upper.
traction rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Flow foam has top-tier traction
Responsive cushioning
Cons:
Materials retain heat
What do the experts think?
The Curry Spawn is the latest shoe to get the FloTro treatment. Flow foam remains one of the best traction setups on the market. The grip and performance are elite. The Flow midsole is responsive and light. Materials are light and well-padded, but the shoe retains heat and moisture. Support and lockdown are solid for the most part. You have to use all the lace holes to avoid potential issues. Reviewers were also surprised with how accommodating the fit of the Curry Spawn FloTro is, especially during play. The Curry Spawn FloTro is another impressive shoe in the FloTro line. The upgrade to the traction is well worth it.

2. Under Armour Curry 2 Low FloTro

Performance Rating:
10.0
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
Pros:
Excellent traction
Incredibly lightweight
Cons:
Lockdown could be better
What do the experts think?
Under Armour updates the Curry 2 Low with the Flow cushioning and outsole setup, making the traction excellent. The cushioning is smooth and comfortable. It feels similar to all other Flow model shoes. The materials are lightweight and breathable. This might be the lightest shoe in the Curry lineup. Reviewers mention the support and lockdown are adequate. Nobody reported any issues, but it is said that the lockdown is nothing special. The Under Armour Curry 2 Low FloTro is another successful update to an older Curry model.

3. Jordan One Take 4

Performance Rating:
9.5
The Jordan One Take 4 is a decently performing shoe with reliable traction.
traction rating based on 2 reviews
Pros:
Durable performing traction
Reactive cushioning
Cons:
Not much impact protection
Cheap materials
What do the experts think?
For performance, reviewers ranked the traction of the One Take 4 as the best feature. The herringbone pattern is grippy and stable. The cushioning is not plush, and there isn't much impact protection, but it is responsive. The materials on the shoe feel cheap and flimsy. Although, performance isn't affected too negatively. There were no complaints about support and lockdown. The stability held up well too. Overall, the Jordan One Take 4 is a decent performance shoe. The traction stands out, and it's budget-friendly.

4. Under Armour Curry 11

Performance Rating:
9.4
The Curry 11 remains a fantastic basketball shoe. The traction is excellent, and the cushioning provides more impact protection.
traction rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Improved impact protection
Flow traction
Cons:
Low volume, snug fit
What do the experts think?
Under Armour and Curry Brand continue to provide slight improvements to their main signature shoe line. The Flow outsole is excellent. The performance is elite, and it performs better on dust this year. Under Armour uses a dual-density foam setup for cushioning this year. It provides additional impact protection under the heel. The fit is snug, with some reviewers mentioning it feels like a 1-to-1 fit around your foot. The materials aren't premium but are lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. Like previous models in the line, the support is secure, especially around the heel area. The Under Armour Curry 11 sticks to the tried and true formula of the last three models. The traction remains the best on the market.

5. Li-Ning Way of Wade All City 12

Performance Rating:
9.3
The Li-Ning Way of Wade All City 12 is a fantastic shoe with close-to-top-tier traction and cushioning.
traction rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Comfortable and responsive Boom foam
Grippy traction on all surfaces
Cons:
Shoe retains a lot of heat
What do the experts think?
Li-Ning continues to put out top-quality performance shoes with this year's All City 12. The traction performs consistently well on all surfaces, and the rubber holds up outdoors. Li-Ning's Boom foam cushioning is a favourite among reviewers. It feels responsive and offers plenty of court feel. Reviewers had no complaints about any of the support and lockdown features. The materials feel sturdier than last year's model without sacrificing comfort. The Li-Ning Way of Wade All City 12 is a top-notch performer. It has no noticeable weaknesses, and the traction and cushioning excel.

6. Puma All Pro Nitro

Performance Rating:
9.3
One of Puma's best basketball shoes. The traction is outstanding, and the cushioning is comfortable.
traction rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Improved cushioning comfort
Outstanding traction
Cons:
Materials feel cheap
What do the experts think?
Puma's latest All Pro model picks up where the previous model left off. Reviewers agree the traction is phenomenal. The shoe performs whether the court is clean or dusty as long as you remember to wipe it. The Nitro foam is the softest iteration yet. It's comfortable with some bounce. The base is broader, and the lacing setup has improved eyelets to help keep you feeling stable and secure. Cheap materials are the only downside. Regardless, the shoe feels breathable and comfortable. The Puma All Pro Nitro is one of Puma's best releases.

7. New Balance TWO WXY V3

Performance Rating:
9.3
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
Pros:
Tacky traction
1-to-1 fit
Cons:
Not a plush cushion
Poor outdoor durability
What do the experts think?
The latest shoe in the TWO WXY lineup, the V3, has tacky traction that grips incredibly well on indoor courts. Reviewers agree that cushioning is the main drawback of the shoe. The foam is not as plush as other shoes, and there is minimal impact protection. On the other hand, reviewers agreed that fit is the shoe's best feature. The fit is near-perfect and close to 1-to-1. Because of the glovelike fit, the support and lockdown are also solid. There were no reports of issues with the stability either. The materials are thin, comfortable and supportive. One reviewer said the uppers are one of the best available. The New Balance TWO WXY V3 is an excellent performance basketball shoe with outstanding traction and fit.

8. Under Armour Flow FUTR X Elite

Performance Rating:
9.2
The Under Armour Flow FUTR X Elite provides stable cushioning and grippy traction with an innovative upper.
traction rating based on 5 reviews
Pros:
Stable foam midsole
Comfortable Intelliknit upper
Cons:
Stretchy forefoot materials
Non-optimal performance fit
What do the experts think?
The Under Armour Flow FUTR X Elite is a newly innovative performance basketball shoe. Flow foam remains elite on clean courts. As always, wipe on dusty surfaces. The midsole setup features a bulkier iteration of Flow. It feels more stable and secure. It's better for responsiveness. Under Armour's Intelliknit upper is also comfortable, lightweight, and breathable. The midfoot shank and stiff heel counter ensure support and containment are not an issue during play. The fit is divisive. Players who enjoy more freedom and stretchiness in the forefoot and toe box will enjoy the fit, but players who prefer a snug fit will not. The Under Armour FUTR X Elite steps up with a more innovative upper, and the traction and cushioning are what you expect from Flow, but make sure you like the fit beforehand.

9. Nike G.T. Cut Academy

Performance Rating:
9.1
The Nike G.T. Cut Academy has pleasantly surprising traction, and the cushioning is comfortable.
traction rating based on 6 reviews
Pros:
The traction is better than expected
Comfortable Renew foam cushioning
Cons:
Lower quality materials
Breathability can be better
What do the experts think?
The first takedown model within Nike's G.T. lineup, the Nike G.T. Cut Academy, makes its mark as a solid budget performer. Reviewers agree the traction is better than expected. Some even called the performance top-tier. Nike uses Renew foam and a forefoot Zoom unit for the cushioning. It's comfortable and geared more towards impact protection. The material breathability could be better, but the shoe is comfortable. There are no performance issues with the materials either. Support and lockdown are also solid. The shoe has the added benefit of additional lace holes for extra customization. The Nike G.T. Cut Academy is a worthy first takedown entry within the G.T. line of shoes, thanks to the impressive traction.

10. Adidas Harden Volume 8

Performance Rating:
9.0
The Adidas Harden Volume 8 is a fantastic performer with excellent traction on clean courts and comfortable cushioning.
traction rating based on 10 reviews
Pros:
The Jetboost cushioning feels plush
Traction is tacky
Cons:
Heavy shoe for modern performance standards
Picks up dust quickly
What do the experts think?
James Harden's signature shoe continues to be one of the best on the market with the release of the Adidas Harden Volume 8. All reviewers agree the traction performance is excellent on clean courts, but the outsole picks up dust quickly. After the rubber warms up, the performance on dust improves. The full-length Jetboost cushioning setup provides comfort and responsiveness. The materials are interesting, especially the EVA sidewall. The shoe is comfortable, but it retains heat longer than other shoes. The weight is also on the heavier side. Support and lockdown are not an issue. The shoe's construction keeps you stable and secure through lateral movements. Overall, the Adidas Harden Volume 8 is another impressive performer because of the tacky traction and comfortable cushioning.

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

If you don't want to get your hands dusty and dirty from all the wiping then this is a great alternative.
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.
Courtside Traction Mat

Get a pair of "Court Grabbers"

The Court Grabbers work similarly to a traction mat but instead of placing a mat on the side of the court you attach a pair of traction pads to the laces of your shoes. Before the game you apply a small amount of traction gel to these pads.
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.
Court Grabbers

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:

Lebron 15 traction

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!

1 thought on “The Top 10 Basketball Shoes with the Best Traction”

  1. Jack

    I myself have lebron 13 .. really like them.. I think i need an upgrade though haha! Nice review Andy

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