Looking for a new pair of kicks? In this article we check out the best basketball shoes and talk about how to choose the perfect pair for you. Basketball players rely on their shoes more than almost any other sport. Uncompromising traction with the hardwood floors of the basketball court is a necessity.
Driving to the hoop, full court press, and sharp cuts across the key to get open are just a few of the instances athletes are at the mercy of their shoes’ design. On defense, nobody wants to look silly and break their ankles, especially due to poor traction. You want to give yourself the best chance to compete with the right gear, and rely on your skill for the rest.
So, let’s take a look at the top shoes for guards, forwards, and centers.
15 Best Basketball Shoe Comparison Chart
Here is our comparison chart of our top 15 picks for 2018. We’ve recently updated our chart and review section with the latest styles and price rankings, but keep in mind that the market and sales can fluctuate regularly, so use this only as a guideline for price. We’ve listen the table and reviews in price ascending order.
|AND 1 Men's Rocket 4.0 Mid Basketball Shoe||Mid Top||7|
|Champion Men's Inferno Basketball Shoe||High Top||3|
|Adidas Performance Men's Electrify Performance Basketball Shoe||High Top||6|
|Men's Cloudfoam Ilation Mid Basketball Shoe||Mid Top||9|
|ASICS GEL-Spotlyte Retro Basketball Shoe||Mid Top||2|
|Reebok Men's Royal BB4500 Hi Basketball Shoe||High Top||4|
|Nike Men's The Overplay IX Basketball Shoes||Low Top||9|
|Nike Men's KD Trey 5 Basketball Shoes/a>||Low Top||14|
|Adidas Performance Men's Crazy Explosive Basketball Shoe||High Top||17|
|Under Armour ClutchFit Drive High Top Basketball Shoes||High Top||12|
|Nike Jordan Rising High Mens Basketball Shoes||Mid Top||9|
|Nike Men's Lebron XIII Basketball Shoe||High Top||3|
|Under Armour Men's Curry 2.5 Basketball Shoe||High Top||15|
|Nike Hightop Basketball Shoe Hyperdunk||High Top||5|
|Nike Men's Kobe AD EP||Low Top||3|
Best Basketball Shoes Review Section
There are an incredible number of basketball shoes available today. Basketball shoes have even become a fashion accessory of sorts in pop culture. How do you know which will help you perform your best and not just look cool? The ideal shoes protect you from injury, enhance your game, reduce fatigue, are comfortable, and may even win you some style points to boot.
Picking the best from the numerous brands available can be tedious; which is why we’ve compiled a quick rundown of the best basketball shoes available. While it is hard to go wrong with a pair of shoes on this list, we still highly recommend doing your research before making a purchase.
Make sure the size and fit will be right for your feet — certainly, feet come in all shapes and sizes. Also, you want to make sure the shoes are right for your position. Whereas bigs want plenty of shock absorption for constantly rebound battles, small forwards want light weight shoes with a low profile for fast breaks and lateral movements.
With a dark and sleek look, this AND1 shoe is a great addition to your game gear. It comes in at a lower cost than options from Nike and Adidas for example. This is one of the best basketball shoes for guards with its low top design. It’s a recent upgrade from the AND 1 Men’s Rocket 3.0 Shoe, now
It’s a durable shoe, constructed with synthetic leather and breathable mesh lining. What sets this shoe aside from the competition is the amount of padding around the tongue and ankle. Even though it is a low-top style, it provides extra support to avoid ankle injuries.
Champion is a good mid-price range option for regular players. This high top basketball shoe is a modern style that is subtle enough to fit anyone craving a less distracting look. The fabric and mesh is great quality, and cleans easily.
Another great contender for the best basketball shoes for centers is the Adidas Performance Men’s Electrify. This hi-top shoe offers plenty of support and cushioning for all those rebound battles. These are a tad on the narrow side so if you have wide feet you’ll want to go with a different shoe.
It has a comfortable elastic sole that is produced using strong and flexible materials. Its made with a moisture-wicking material that helps prevent dampness and odor. Matched with perforation zones, the moisture control tech helps feet stay cool even through the most rigorous games.
If you’re looking for performance at a fair price, Adidas Cloudfoam Ilation shoe is a perfect choice. It will bring you next level comfort and agility without totally breaking your bank. Adidas makes our list quite a few times because they are fully vested in making incredible basketball shoes. With Basketball sponsee’s like Damian Lillard and James Harden- they have to keep up the hype.
But this shoe is more than just hype, aside from high-grade foam, they also feature ventilation that will keep your feet cool and your circulation good. They are light weight, but don’t sacrifice control, giving you efficient grip all over the court.
Asics isn’t known for keeping trend with modern styles, but we have to admit- their retro game is strong. This mid top basketball shoe for men is a blend of leather and synthetic materials. The upper is made out of a durable suede, that will help keep your ankles steady during active play.
The rubber sole will bring you added durability, and comfort. The longevity of Asics brand shoes is almost unmatched. They spend more on shoe science than marketing, and it pays off for the consumer. You’re paying for quality with these, not just a name.
This patriotic colored Reebok shoe sports a cool throwback style. If that’s not for you no need to worry — Reebok offers this shoe in four other color styles.
Reebok’s Royal High Top Basketball shoe excels in the comfort department. Ample padding on the tongue and collar ensure lasting comfort, keeping feet happy and fatigue at bay. Depending on how much support or flexibility you want, the option is there to lace them all the way up to the closure.
Many would argue this is the best basketball shoe for guards. Light and low profile, slashing to the basket in this shoe will leave all but the most agile defenders in the dust. This is the 9th iteration of this shoe, and year after year, it doesn’t let up.
It has a traditional binding system that is not overdone and still retains a secure feel. Its uncommon Phylon padded sole is helpful during high impact games and adds padding to cushion the blow on knees and ankles.
Nike strikes again with the KD Trey 5 basketball shoe design! This imported shoe comes with Nike’s custom Forefoot Zoom Air technology to deliver exceptional cushioning on and off the court. Plus, the dynamic lacing system means your feet are totally snug as the shoes adapt to your form.
The Nike KD Trey 5 comes in a variety of colors and offers superior performance and support. A great choice overall.
These shoes incorporate Adidas’ energy returning boost tech. Essentially, this cuts down on foot fatigue through long games and practices. Our favorite thing about this shoe is the anatomical lacing system. It feels like your entire foot and ankle is wrapped with a lightweight layer of just the right amount of support and protection. The rubber outsole is well designed with veins of texturing that provides excellent traction on the court.
This Under Armour shoe is unique and appearance and feel. Its exceptional UA ClutchFit innovation feels like a second skin on your feet. Be one with the shoe!
The newest ClutchFit Drive comes in a large variety of colors, and the high top has a more modern flare in terms of design. It’s one of the best basketball shoes that help prevent ankle injuries and sprains.
Now this is a shoe who’s reputation pretty much sells itself. Air Jordan is the top brand in the basketball shoe world. The downside is that Jordan shoe command the highest prices in the industry.
We can assure you that this shoe is a lot more than just hype. It boasts of amazing support, and is produced using a strong synthetic leather that will outlast the competition. It’s web-framework adds flexibility and enhances appearance. It’s an exceptional addition to the Air Jordan family of extraordinary shoes. Some players may find the high neck on this shoe uncomfortable. However it serves a great purpose if you need extra ankle support. This long neck reinforces the ankle and will prevent injury throughout the most grueling game days.
Lebron James is no doubt the king of modern basketball, so it’s only fitting this shoe would be a king among peasants as well. The design alone is streets ahead of the competition. With Flywire cables around your heel, and a low profile cushion helps keep you flexible and your arch comfortable.
The one thing we can say about this shoe, is that you’re paying for the name. While the quality is indisputably high, you’re still paying a premium for a premium shoe.
Launching it’s way onto our best basketball shoe list is The Curry 2.5 from Under Armour. The one thing you can be sure this shoe will bring you is ankle support, something very near and dear to Steph Curry himself.
The shoe is made completely of synthetic materials, with an upper that wraps tightly around the ankle to provide support. The heel is designed with intense shock absorbing material.
Nike has mastered shoes for all sorts of athletic purposes, and the basketball shoe is no exception. The Hyperdunk shoe has been made to provide support and speed to players. and the 2018 upgrade is no different. This is an ideal shoe for centers and power forwards.
The flywire material provides flexibility and support through the top of the foot. The high-top design adds necessary support and comfort but keep in mind that have a narrow design so order sizes accordingly. It’s also available in Nike’s Flyknit style, which takes comfort to an extreme.
These might be some of the best looking basketball shoes on the market, especially among Nike’s other sponsored shoes. This low top shoe is currently available in 3 different colors in the current release, and on Nike’s site, you can even customize the colors.
General Thoughts on Basketball Shoes
Basketball is a fast paced game that requires players to run, turn, pivot, and jump. That will put a number on anyone’s joints and knees. It makes sense to protect your body, especially if you plan on being in the game for the long term. Anyone that has played the sport knows how the feet and legs feel after a game of constant action, and the shoes play a huge part in that.
With the right shoes, you can cut down recovery time and reduce risk of injury. If the shoes don’t have the right fit or flexibility, what follows will be unnecessary aches, pains, and elongated recovery time. Not to mention, they can and will slow you down on the court and give your competitors an edge. To pick the best basketball shoes for you, you need to see how the specific parts of a shoe will influence your game and make sure you are the one with the advantage.
Many of the top manufacturers will design their basketball shoes for specific positions or play styles. Before making your decision, evaluate your position and what kind of wear and tear you’ll be putting on your shoes — your game may be influenced by a shoe’s construction and material.
Getting the right fit is key when purchasing basketball shoes. You don’t want your feet slipping around in too large of shoes but you don’t want your toes pressed up against the end of the shoes either. Ill-fitting shoes will have a negative impact on an athlete’s performance and may even increase the risk for injury.
Getting the Correct Fit
Basketball shoes should be comfortable, yet the also need to allow the foot to have some flexibility to move naturally. When fitting basketball shoes, its a good idea to get your foot measured using a Brannock foot measuring device. You want about a thumbnail’s distance between the end of the shoe and your toe. When trying on basketball shoes, players ought to press their thumb into the space between the end of the shoe and their big toe. If space accessible approximates about length of the player’s thumbnail, the shoe is a good match.
When looking for your basketball shoes, go late in the day or promptly after a workout when your feet are conditioned. Feet tend to swell after activity or late in the day, and you need your basketball shoes to stay comfortable all through practices and games. Wear the socks you plan to use with the shoes to guarantee the best fit. Other elements to consider are: low/high/mid top, materials for the upper, and closure type.
The Basketball Player’s Style
Before buying basketball shoes, athletes should consider their position and play style. Centers and power forwards who constantly are crashing the boards should opt for a heavier shoe with more cushioning. Point guards favor speed and agility above all and tend to go with lighter shoes with a lower profile. View our section below on types of basketball shoes by position for a more in depth discussion.
Top Benefits of the Best Basketball Shoes
- Prevent injury
- Consistent traction on the court
- Support ankles
- Cushion feet from frequent jumping and running
- Enhance jumping and cutting ability
If you’re thinking of playing basketball, the most important thing besides the ball itself is your shoe. Your shoes do more than protect your feet- they provide support to all the joints and muscles in your legs and even support your back. Having a high quality shoe is crucial to making your game better and your recovery time post-competition quicker. Without the right basketball shoe, you are putting yourself in danger of getting injuries. Even a player with a high level of experience and skill can be negatively impacted or injured by the wrong shoe.
Make sure that you try on your basketball shoes and give them a test run before you take them to the court. Many stores won’t take returns after the shoes have been worn on the court, so if they aren’t comfortable after wearing them around your house for a day- don’t take the risk.
While we fully support any decision to find the best deal, do not sacrifice the well-being of your ankles, knees or back for saving a couple of bucks.
Physical therapy isn’t cheap either! A knock-off pair of basketball shoes isn’t going to perform as well as a shoe that is backed by sports science research. Though you don’t have to go with brand names such as Nike, you at least know you’re getting a decent shoe for the money.
There are two principle sorts of injury that can happen without the right shoe. One of these sorts of injuries is a chronic pain that is caused by wear and tear overtime. If you’re wearing the wrong shoes on the court or at practice, wear and tear on your ankles or knees can come about gradually throughout the whole season, and might not even be noticeable until years of playing the sport. A few sorts of perpetual injuries are stress fractures, blisters, shin splints and numerous others.
Another sort of injury is severe sprain or fracture. This will sideline a player for multiple games or even a whole season. A large percentage of these injuries happens from jumping and landing the wrong way, something that has already plagued the 2017-2018 season.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what type of shoes you’re wearing, it is just a stroke of bad luck. However, ample ankle support and well-built shoes can prevent the worst from happening in some instances.
Protect your body by finding the right shoe for your position and make sure it fits by getting a snug size. You need to have satisfactory support to keep your lower leg from turning and landing wrong, enough padding to absorb the shock in order to take the stress off of your knees and back, as well as strong construction to keep your foot and ankle stable.
Types of Basketball Shoes by Position
You’ll commonly see the following positions wear each specific style, but a lot still comes down to personal preference. This is why you will still see some point guards wearing high tops and centers rocking low tops. Genetics, play style, and body type help determine the best shoes for each player.
Basketball shoes can be broken down into three broad categories:
1. Low-Tops – Best Basketball Shoe for Point Guards
Low-top basketball shoes look like standard athletic shoes, yet they are intended for running and sharp cuts on the court. These shoes don’t offer substantial lower leg and ankle support. They allow more flexibility in movements for players who are in positions that require more agility and sharper movements (Guards). Oftentimes point guards will choose a low profile basketball shoe. Thanks to less materials being used in their construction, low tops are the lightest style of basketball shoes.
2. Mid-Tops – Best Basketball Shoe for Small Forwards and Shooting Guards
Mid-tops work for players who still need to move quickly, but are going up for shots and rebounds a bit more (Shooting Guards, Small Forwards). Mid tops are a great balance between flexibility and support. Sometimes point guards will opt to wear mid tops to help shield against injury.
3. High-Tops – Best Basketball Shoe for Centers and Power Forwards
High-tops are favored by the bigs (Centers, Power Forwards). Power players are constantly jumping and battling for rebounds and dominance around the hoop. Additional lower leg support and plenty of padding in their shoes helps absorb the shock from all the jumping activity. These shoes are a relatively heavy weight when compared to low and mid top variations.
Brand Gossip: The Best Basketball Shoe Brands
Basketball is a game of managing energy. Wearing the right shoes helps players convert that energy to a rebound, steal, cut to the basket, or a dunk. The top brands have devoted countless amounts of money to the study of sports science and creating the perfect basketball shoe.Popular basketball players know a lot about what they need in a shoe, which adds to why the shoes many of them have helped design sell so well (obviously the name helps a bit, too!).
Between all the brands and player endorsement deals, there are a ton of options out there all competing for your hard earned dollars.
Here are some brands — that many of you will already be familiar with — that year in and year out create some of the top basketball shoes out there.
- Nike: Nike is the king of basketball apparel and it doesn’t like they will be dethroned anytime soon. This organization has an incredible assortment of basketball shoes for men, ladies, and children. Presently Nike is working 338 retail locations in the USA. Nike basketball shoes accompany a normal cost of $180. It is a decent quality shoes organization in a reasonable cost.
- Reebok: Reebok is another well-known basketball shoes brand everywhere throughout the world for basketball shoes. Reebok was the primary maker of the basketball shoes. Since beginning of the organization, Reebok is giving lifelong and super fine quality shoes.
- Adidas: Adidas is the Germany-based organization giving each kind of games types of gear to the world since 1948. Verging on each American prominent player is the aficionado of this brand and trust it. This organization does not give just basketball shoes; it is additionally the maker of outfits of 3o franchisees.
- Air Jordan: Numerous basketball players like to wear Air Jordan shoes. This organization has an extensive assortment of basketball shoes. Since numerous years, this organization is performing great in the matter of basketball shoes. It’s positioning high in the rundown of main 10 basketball shoe brands in America.
Aside from the rundown above, there are plenty of other popular brands including:
Basketball Shoe Design 101
This section isn’t going to make you the next Phil Knight, but it will help you identify the basic composition of the basketball shoe. Knowing the in’s and out’s of footwear can help you customize your shoes to your game as your skill and play style evolves. For history of the evolution of the basketball shoe Complex has an awesome article.
The upper is true to the name. This is the top of the shoe where you’ll find the closure system — usually laces but some manufacturers will incorporate a strap such as velcro in addition. Usually soft materials are used for the upper as this part of the shoe doesn’t take much of a beating.
AKA the cushioning, is regularly seen as the most essential part of a basketball shoe, the padded sole is the part of the shoe that gives support while a player is in movement. The padded sole is layered between the upper and the outsole of a basketball shoe and is often produced using the latest technologies in shock absorbing materials. Ethylene-vinyl acetic acid derivation (EVA) and polyurethane items are often used, solely or in a mix, to give the best measure of shock absorption. Jumping, running, changing directions, and other such moves all put pressure on your feet and therefore it is the midsole’s job to keep your feet in top shape.
EVA and compacted EVA are lightweight however can’t give as much solidness as polyurethane. Polyurethane is thick and can give a considerable measure of the pad, yet may slow down a player’s response time as a result of its weight. A few companies deliberately join EVA items and polyurethane, layering them in the regions of the shoe that most need certain insurances.
The outsole is the bottom of the basketball shoe. This base is another extremely important part of the basketball shoe because you rely on it for traction. The greater part of basketball shoes on the market are made to be used on indoor courts. Outside court players should look for extra durable basketball shoes with outsoles that can withstand the friction and hard surface of outdoors courts.