11 Best Basketball Shoes in 2019 (With Guide)

best basketball shoes

This article will help you to find the best basketball shoes on the market at this exact moment! We have spent several hours of testing and research in order to provide you with this list of the best basketball shoes, enjoy!

Basketball has become a game where players not only show off their skills but also their footwear. This has made the sale of sneakers lucrative for big manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas. While the increased number of basketball shoes on the market is good, it’s becoming increasingly harder to choose. There are so many shoes that have almost the same features but different price points. This article will walk you through the best basketball shoes in the market. I hope you will find a pair that fulfills your needs. 

Basketball shoes Reviews 

1. Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive

Sale
adidas Men's Shoes | Crazy Explosive Basketball,...
  • boost's energy-returning properties keep every...
  • Lightweight synthetic and textile upper provides...
  • Mesh tongue and heel insert offer ventilation;...
  • Rubber outsole provides excellent grip
  • adidas

The Adidas Crazy Explosive comes with a unique outsole that features a coral reef pattern. The pattern comes in handy during transitions, especially from go to stop. However, when playing on a dusty court, it tends to become slippery, and you’ll have to wipe the outsole to regain traction. Aside from a few slips on tiled courts, the Adidas Crazy Explosive was exceptional on a clean court. 

Cushion 

The Adidas Crazy Explosive features the impressive Boost setup, which is on all Crazy Explosive shoes. The shoe is made for both young and older athletes as it has TPU caging that is more open, which allows the cushioning to expand for that much-needed responsive feedback when you hit the ground. 

Fit

The shoes feel good on your feet as it fits like a sock and doesn’t restrict natural movement. The tight fit also comes in handy as it hugs the different areas that need support. However, be sure to try out the shoe before purchasing since the fit varies from player to player. 

Speaking of support, the Adidas Crazy Explosive has a narrow construction that ensures your shoes stay in place as you play. In addition to the amazing foot containment, the shoe comes with a regular support kit that has a torsional stability shank, an internal heel counter, and a wide base. All these features help provide 360-degree protection and improve stability.  

Traction 

The traction is impressive, especially on indoor courts. It also works well on outdoor courts, but the treads tend to wear out faster. With no treads, you will have little to no traction. The soft, pliable rubber is ideal for indoor courts but not good enough for outdoors.  

Pros

  • Aesthetic design and coral reef pattern outsole is a nice addition 
  • Tight and comfortable fit 
  • Provide excellent ankle support
  • Impressive impact protection 
  • Responsive cushioning  

Cons

  • Poor ventilation 
  • Subpar traction on dusty courts 

2. Adidas Harden Vol 3

adidas Men's Harden Vol. 3 Basketball Shoes (12 M...
  • boost cushioning delivers energy return and...
  • Textile upper features overlays and webbing system...
  • Articulated propulsion plate delivers explosive...
  • Elastic lace closure for traditional lockdown fit
  • 3rd release of James Harden's signature shoe line

Adidas harden is a signature sneaker by James Harden, and it’s said to be the best in the collection of Harden’s signature sneakers. It features herringbone traction, which performs well on both clean and dusty courts. However, since the herringbone traction patterns are tightly spaced, you’ll have to keep wiping the soles to maintain optimal traction. The materials feel comfortable and premium. In addition, the shoe provides better support than the previous versions. Unlike the Harden Vol 2, the Vol 2 cannot last long on outdoor courts. The sole is made out of soft rubber and will start to fray the longer you play on outdoor courts. 

Materials

The Harden Vol 3 features a woven upper plus fabric backing, which is similar to the Vol 2 but more comfortable and pliable. Internally, the Vol 3 has its upper lined with fabric backing combined with an internal sleeve system. Both the heel and tongue feature a soft leather that creases immediately you out your shoes on. Also, the heel and ankle have thick padding as well as old-school terry cloth, which is comfortable and supportive.  

Support

Unlike the Vol 2, which was said to have very little support, the Vol 3 comes with improved support. It’s said that wearing these shoes is akin to wearing running shoes. Immediately, you wear them, your feet will feel in place, and the feeling never goes away.  

Another upside is the materials used as they don’t stretch. This ensures that your basketball shoes maintain lateral stability. 

Cushion

The Adidas Harden Vol 3 has a smooth heel to toe transition and provides ample protection despite having less Boost. Typically, less Boost would mean that the cushioning would be affected. However, this does not apply to the Vol 3 as it has less caging. The combination of impact protection and court feel is just perfect. 

Fit

The fit is perfect as it comes with an almost separate upper, which allows you to lace the upper to your preferred fit. However, the high heel piece may look uncomfortable but should break in quickly. Even the padding in the heel is also uncomfortable but will feel after a game or two.

Pros

  • Above-average impact protection 
  • Well-balanced Boost cushioning 
  • Great fit 
  • Amazing traction 

Cons

  • An uncomfortable heel that requires breaking in

3. Nike Men’s PG 3 

Nike Men's PG 3 Basketball Shoes (10, Black/Black)
  • sku=ao2607-003-10
  • Nike
  • 11.5 Women/10 Men
  • Black

Despite having a generic look, the Nike Men’s PG 3 offers impressive traction, and most of its users are impressed by its lightweight cushioning setup. Almost everyone who has worn the Nike PG3 is impressed by the shoe except the looks. The most talked-about feature is the Zoom Air cushioning, which is not only bouncy but also responsive. The materials might feel cheap, but they are very comfortable and will get the job done.

Traction

For its price, the Nike PG3 has surprisingly good traction. At first, the traction is not as good, but it gets better as you break-in. Even on a dusty court, you won’t have to keep wiping the shoe to regain traction. Unlike other shoes, the Nike PG3 offers consistent traction from all angles.

Fit

From experience, the Nike PG3 is true to size and maintains the fit even after the break-in period. Speaking of the break-in process, it’s brutal, especially the first three or so days. After the process is over, the shoe will fit like a glove. You will endure a little bit of pain during the break-in period, but once it’s over, the shoes will feel as if they were made specifically for you.

Cushion

The cushion setup is similar to that of the PG2 but feels smoother. According to the manufacturer, the PG3 comes with a softer midsole foam. However, the midsole feels a little bit too stiff, especially during the break-in period. It gets better as you break-in, and they will eventually smooth as silk.

Pros

  • Ideal for outdoor use 
  • The forefoot zoom is bouncier than the PG2 
  • Circular traction pattern provides all-round coverage
  • They hold the feet down and don’t slide off often 
  • Lightweight and breathable 

Cons

  • Materials look cheap 
  • Generic design 
  • Feels snug especially at the forefoot 

4. Adidas Performance Cloudfoam Ilation 

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adidas Men's Cloudfoam Ilation Mid Basketball...
  • High-top basketball sneaker featuring 3-Stripes...
  • Air mesh tongue, collar and rear quarter
  • CLOUDFOAM sockliner and midsole for lightweight...
  • Grippy rubber outsole
  • adidas

The Adidas Cloudfoam shoe features a modern shoe design that comprises of grainy leather upper and cloud foam cushioning. It also has molded foam outsole, lace-up style closure, breathable lining fabric, EVA foam midsole, and rubber outsole. Despite having top-of-the-line shoe technology, the Adidas Cloudfoam is surprisingly cheap. 

Traction

The shoe has decent traction on both indoor and outdoor courts. It features a zigzag pattern combined with a wavy pattern. This combination provides decent traction for the entire foot, thus eliminating common traction issues such as slipping.

Cushioning 

As the name suggests, the Adidas Cloudfoam comes with Cloudfoam cushioning technology, which enhances impact protection as well as the overall feel. It’s said that the Cloudfoam cushioning on this shoe is superior to EVA cushioning found in budget brands.  

Pros

  • Decent traction 
  • Classic stylish design
  • Great construction 
  • Decent ventilation 
  • Comfortable and soft cushioning 

Cons 

  • Makes squeaky sounds 
  • The lace is not durable 
  • The outsole wears faster than expected 

 

 

 

5. Nike Men’s Lebron 16 Mesh 

Sale
Nike Lebron 16 Basketball Shoes (10, Wolf...
  • sku=ck4765-001-10
  • Nike
  • 10
  • Wolf Grey / White-university Blue

The Lebron 16 Mesh is a huge improvement from its predecessors, as it has a versatile traction that works well on almost all surfaces. It has deep grooves that are widely spaced, such that very little dust is trapped between the grooves. It feels more like the 90’s shoes and holds up well on most floors. You will still have to wipe it a few times on extremely bad floors.  

Materials 

The Lebron 16 comes with a mesh upper that doesn’t feel as premium for the price but still works fine. Fortunately, it breaks in well as it stretches a lot, making it comfortable even before the break-in period is over. Around the heel counter, you can see the lion’s head logo, which is engraved on the unfinished tan leather. While the lion logo might look good to some, it does not add much to improve the shoe’s performance. 

Support

A quick look at the midsole, you will notice that it doesn’t have a real midfoot shank. Typically, this would be a problem, but the Lebron 16 has a huge Zoom system thus doesn’t need the midfoot shank. In addition, the shoe has outriggers on molded into the midsole bubbles. This helps improve upright stability while reducing tipping while playing. 

Fit

Although the shoes are impressive in almost all aspects, its fitting is disappointing. Even after trying different combinations, the shoe doesn’t feel as comfortable as you would expect. Unlike your typical basketball shoe, the Lebron 16 has a unique lace system. Instead of crossing over the tongue, the laces go into the tongue and then to the sides. This lacing system locks your shoe tight while giving you enough room to wriggle your toes.  

Pros

  • Excellent grip on blacktop as well as hardwood 
  • Bouncy and responsive cushioning 
  • Durable and lightweight  
  • Soft and supportive materials 

Cons

  • The cushioning is a bit stiff at the beginning 

6. Nike Lebron Soldier XII

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NIKE Lebron Soldier 12 SFG Mens Basketball-Shoes...
  • Authentic
  • Nike
  • 11
  • Team Red/Team Red-gum Light Brown

Despite retailing at an affordable price, the Nike Lebron Soldier 12 features premium materials. It also has improved and more responsive cushioning than the Lebron 15. It’s amazing in almost all aspects except for the straps, which tend to get undone easily. You will have to keep restrapping throughout the game. 

Materials

Nike did their best to come up with a shoe for everyone by making over 20 color variations of the Lebron Soldier 12.  The Battleknit body construction is the same in all the shoes. However, the toe cap is customizable. You can either choose canvas leather, shiny leather, suede leather, patent leather, or synthetic leather. Of the five, suede leather is perhaps the best as it doesn’t show signs of tear as easily as the rest. The remaining options feel and look premium but easily get damaged by wear, tear, and scratches.  

Traction

The Soldier 12 has widely spaced grooves and maze-like traction pattern. This allows dust to escape, thus maintaining grip even on dusty courts. The traction was super nice on indoor courts, but it required a few wipes here and there. Unfortunately, the rubber outsole is not good enough for outdoor use.

Fit

If you want a perfect fitting, then look no further. The Lebron Soldier 12 comes with a stretchable mesh sock and a strap system as to a regular lacing system. The combination of the toe ensures that you get a perfect fit without leaving dead space on the sides or top of your feet. In terms of sizing, the Lebron Soldier 12 is true to size even for the wide footers.  

Pros

  • Traction pattern is ideal for dusty courts 
  • Strap system contains the midfoot perfectly 
  • The heel counter helps prevent foot slippage 
  • Comfortable and flexible toe cap

Cons

  • Not suitable for outdoor courts

7. Adidas Dame 5 

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adidas Men's Dame 5, Black/Shock red/Active...
  • Regular fit; Lace closure
  • Suede upper with a textile tongue
  • Bounce cushioning provides enhanced comfort and...
  • Rubber outsole for excellent grip

The Adidas Dame 5 is not your regular basketball shoe. Its performance is equated to that of Dame Lillard. It’s a great shoe, but it doesn’t feel as fun as the Dame 4. The shoe has impressive traction on clean courts, but they are slippery on dusty courts. In addition, the shoe features super comfortable and supportive materials. However, critics feel that the felt used on the colorways is cheap. 

Cushion

The Dame 4 had a few complaints, especially with the Bounce and forefoot being thin. Adidas has tried to improve the cushion by increasing the thickness of Bounce in the Dame 5. The shoe also has a thick midsole, and you can feel the iteration of the Bounce from the first day you wear it. The shoe also provides impact protection without compromising stability and court feel.

Fit

Like earlier mentioned, the Dame 5 is like the player Dame Lillard. It performs well in some areas and inconsistently in others. For example, the fit of the Dame 5 is off by about one size. The shoe is, however, perfect for wide footers as it’s long at the toe. There is also enough room above the toe. 

Despite its poor sizing, the shoe had an almost perfect score in fit. The high score is attributed to the lockdown and the lacing system. There is nothing unique about the lacing system, but it works perfectly. You can tie the shoe as tight as you wish without feeling uncomfortable as it has a pillow-lined interior.

Support

In terms of support, the Dame 5 is better than expected, although it comes with an ugly TPU panel that might be uncomfortable for some. In addition, the shoe boasts of a flat tooling and a wide forefoot, especially at the lateral and medial side.

Material

The shoe comes in two options; you can either choose mesh or leather. The leather version is heavier than its mesh counterpart, but it’s not significant. To keep the price low, Adidas uses synthetic leather, which performs well but feels cheap. It doesn’t have the premium look of leather you would expect.

Pros

  • Herringbone pattern works fine 
  • Ideal for wide footers 
  • Bounce Cushioning 
  • Comfortable and may not require break-in time 

Cons

  • Minor slips on dusty courts 
  • Looks and feels cheap 
  • The design is not aesthetically pleasing

8. Nike Jordan Zer0.2 

Nike Men's Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 Black/White...
  • Russell Westbrook's second signature on-court...
  • Mixed-material upper provides optimal support and...
  • Midfoot strap to secure your foot for added...
  • Forefoot Zoom Air unit provides lightweight,...
  • Jordan

The Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 is comfortable, supportive, and doesn’t require much break-in time. Its pricing point is perfect and feels like an upgrade to the Why Not Zer0.1. The shoe represents Russel Westbrook’s style of play, which requires a shoe that is not bulky and can run. Immediately, you put them on your feet you will feel a surge of energy pushing you to get on that court and show off some of your ankle-breaking moves.  

Support

It offers decent support, but it’s not as impressive as the original. It feels a little tipsy upfront, but you will get used to it. Unlike the Zer0.1, the Why Not Zer0.2 is geared towards speed, thus lacks the stability of its predecessor. However, the shoe has lateral stability, which is good enough. The Zer0.2 also features the FlightSpeed system, which comprises of the rear heel and midfoot support. 

Fit

The use of a mesh and knit combination eliminates the break-in period. The most significant improvement is the paneling, which comprises of three mesh panels on either side. These panels are connected to the lacing system, which improves the fitting of the best basketball shoes.

Since the panels are connected to the lacing system, they tighten up as you tighten the lace creating a perfect fit. In addition, the shoe is true to size.

Cushion

In terms of cushion, the Zer0.2 are similar to the AJ 33 as they both have Zoom Air cushioning technology. It’s the best cushioning technology in basketball shoes. With this cushioning technology, you can feel the difference on while on the court. The shoes are responsive to your moves, and the impact protection is decent.

Traction

The outsole has deeply grooved circles that grip the floor tight, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor courts. It also has small cutouts that help channel out dust, thus eliminating the need to wipe regularly. Since the outsole is made of rubber, try to limit playtime to indoors unless you are ready to replace the shoes in 2-3 months. 

Pros

  • Phylon feels great 
  • The shoes are bouncier than their predecessor 
  • Awesome traction 
  • Decent lockdown and support 

Cons

  • Rubber outsole won’t last outdoors 
  • The shoes are stiff 

9. Under Armour Curry 2.5

Sale
Under Armour Mens UA Curry 2.5 Basketball Shoes -...
  • Signature basketball shoe featuring Charged Foam...
  • Charged foam in the midsole adapts to your every...
  • Anti-Friction technology features a top cloth to...
  • Midsole foam is soft and pliable when you are...
  • Charged cushioning absorbs impact, converting it...

The Under Armour Curry 2.5 is a lot like the Curry 2. Both have impressive traction, cushion, and performance. . It’s difficult to distinguish which one is better since they offer different experiences. However, the Curry 2.5 offers better support while the Curry 2 allows you to move freely. 

Traction

The Curry 2.5 provides better support and has a small heel cup that may seem ineffective at first but does a good job keeping your foot in place. It’s stiffer than the Curry 2, which, according to some, increases your risk of an ankle injury.  Aside from the stiff upper, the Curry 2.5 features a wrap construction which keeps your foot in the line, thus preventing slipping.

Aesthetics 

The Curry 2.5 is more aesthetically pleasing than the Curry 2. Instead of using SpeedForm and Fuse, Curry 2.5 uses a Synthetic Wrap Construct. In addition, the shoe has a unique logo placement and simpler look.

Fit

The Curry 2.5 is true to size, and since it has a wrap construction, you should have no trouble fitting the shoe. The wrap construction comes in handy by accommodating your ankle brace. Although the shoe has a better fit than the Curry 2, it has a break-in period during which the shoe feels very stiff.

Pros

  • Fluid heel-to-toe transition 
  • Wrap construction combined with asymmetrical lacing ensures that the player feet are locked throughout the game
  • Better traction than the Curry 2s 
  • Durable materials 

Cons

  • The wrap construction makes it harder for some to put it on 
  • The shoe is archless

10. Nike Hyperdunk 2016 Low 

Sale
Nike Men's Hyperdunk 2016 Low Black/White -...
  • Fashion Trend: Ankle-High Synthetic Basketball...

The Hyperdunk 2016 Low features lightweight construction, solid performance as well as improved mobility. Overall, this is a solid shoe that offers better performance and traction than the previous version. It offers ample support and a nice fit, which makes it suitable for almost any position.  

Fit

The shoe is slightly asymmetrical and features a lacing system that hugs your foot nicely. It is true to size and but tends to be a little wide. This extra room makes it ideal for wide footers. The shoe also has a solid heel lockdown and extra padding in the heel area to ensure that your heel is comfortable without compromising heel support.

The regular footer should try the shoe before buying. A wide footer can buy true to size.

Cushion

Its predecessor, the Hyperdunk 2015, had horrible cushion despite having Zoom Air cushion. The 2016 version has better cushioning, which is not only responsive but also low profile. The 2016 Hyperdunk comes with a denser Phylon foam, which allows you to feel the capabilities of Zoom Air. Some say that the setup feels similar to the 90’s setup.   

The Phylon foam layer adds a better bounce to the shoe without affecting the court feel. Overall, the cushion setup is versatile, thus can fit different play styles.  

Traction

Unlike its predecessor which had inconsistent traction, the Hyperdunk 2016 feels consistent throughout. It’s like Nike fixed the translucent outsoles, which had a few issues. At first glance, you’ll notice the multi-directional herringbone which grips the floor with its deep grooves. The rubber outsole is quite durable; thus, it is ideal for outdoor courts.  

Pros

  • Flexible and lightweight upper 
  • Decent stability 
  • Amazing court feel 
  • Durable enough for outdoor courts 
  • Multi-directional herringbone pattern works well on dusty courts 

Cons

  • The upper feels cheap
  • Takes time to break-in 

11. Adidas Crazylight Boost 2016 

adidas Men's Crazylight Boost Low 2016 Basketball...
  • boost's energy-returning properties keep every...
  • Jacquard synthetic and textile upper for ultimate...
  • Molded heel collar piece for perfect fit
  • Continental Rubber outsole for extraordinary grip...
  • adidas

Wearing the CrazyBoost 2016 is equated to wearing the upgraded versions of the Kobe 5. It’s the kind of shoe for those who prefer low tops. This is a shoe that everything perfectly designed except for the ventilation. The shoe is also narrow; thus may not be a perfect fit for everyone.  

Support

During its release, the Crazylight Boost 2016 had more Boost than all other Adidas sneakers. Not only did this improve responsiveness and impact protection, but it also maintains the renowned Adidas stability. The shoe is designed to be perfect for your foot as it comes with a torsional bar, an external TPU heel counter, and nylon lacing. All these come together to ensure your heel, and midfoot remain in place as you play. All the features work together to ensure that your foot is comfortable. 

Cushion

The midsole feels a little firmer than you would expect, which is probably due to the Boost pellets in the midsole. This means that it is not as bouncy as the previous models. Instead, you get a midsole that can absorb more impact. In addition, the cushion setup feels more stable, and the transition is smooth regardless of how your foot lands on the ground. Every time your shoe strikes, the shoe provides the necessary impact protection. 

Fit

The Boost 2016 is true to size but has a narrow base, especially at the forefoot. If you have wide feet, you might want to choose ½ size up. The shoe will break-in while playing, but after a few days, it starts to feel snug.

Pros

  • Runs true to size
  • Durable rubber outsole
  • Great traction on different surfaces
  • Cushion setup comprises of a softer heel and firmer forefoot

Cons

  • Some of the additions are useless one of which is the Neoprene piece 
  • Minimal ventilation 

13. Under Armour ClutchFIt Drive 3

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Under Armour Men's ClutchFit Drive 3 Basketball...
  • External heel counter & internal shanks deliver...
  • Innovative bear-trap lacing system connects to the...
  • Under Armour
  • 11.5
  • Black/Red/Metallic Silver

Despite not having outstanding features, the Under Armour Drive 3 is a decent shoe that performs well and has responsive cushioning. It’s also comfortable, has decent support and solid traction. The Drive 1 was well-received, but the Drive 2 wasn’t as popular as expected. So, how does the Drive 3 perform? 

Traction

The Under Armour Drive 3 features the herringbone pattern that covers the entire sole. Interestingly, the shoe is completely flat from the front to back. Some will quickly dismiss the Drive 3, saying that its flat profile means that it has no bite ability. This, however, isn’t true since the shoe sticks well on different courts. It is not as impressive as the Rose 7 or Curry 2, but it offers decent traction.  

Fit

Instead of using the standard lace system, the Clutchfit Drive 3 features a lace system where the lace runs through the tongue as opposed to down to the midsole. This means that once you pull the laces, the foot will be sucked into the midsole creating a stranglehold. It’s not new, but it works as expected. In addition, the combination of high lacing and ankle cut ensures that the heel doesn’t slide around.  

Support

The main weakness of the Under Armour Drive 3 might be its support. Its support is great for the better part apart from ankle support. The midfoot, heel, forefoot, and under the midfoot, all have great support. On the other hand, ankle support is underwhelming as it’s stiffer and higher than expected. Most players prefer low tops as they are safer and provide better support. Overall, the Drive should be good enough for average size players. Bigger players will need more support and stability. 

Pros

  • Excellent traction 
  • Shoes break in easily 
  • Good performance 
  • Run true to size 
  • Aesthetically pleasing 

Cons

  • Users complained about the ankle support
  • The upper is not breathable 

14. Under Armour Curry 3Zer0

Sale
Under Armour Men's Curry 3 Basketball Shoe (9)...
  • Meta-wing carbon fiber shank provides locked-in...
  • Anafoam delivers body-mapped fit, lightweight...
  • Under Armour
  • 9
  • Black

The Under Armour Curry 3Zer0 may not be better than the Curry 3, but it’s more refined and offers the perfect balance between protection and stability. Other standout features include improved traction and forefoot stability and heel support.  

Cushion

The Curry 3Zer0 features the UA’s MicroG foam in the heel and midsole. This is a compound that’s not ideally comfortable. However, the inclusion of the Micro G foam feels better and offers more impact protection than the Curry 2. And although the midsole is not lightweight, it’s overall more comfortable. Typically, a heavier midsole would weigh you down, but in the Curry 3Zero, it feels bouncy.  

Fit

The Curry 3Zer0 runs true to size, but if you’re a wide footer, be sure to try them on before making the purchase. Its lockdown is just as impressive as that of the Curry 3. The only big difference between the Curry 3 and the Curry 3Zer0 is that the latter has a heel area that can accommodate ankle braces. This means that even with braces, the shoe should remain true to size. The same applies without ankle braces.

Support

Instead of TPU wings, the Curry 3Zer0 has a small TPU piece that offers ample support and ensures that your foot stays in place while playing. In addition, it comes with an exaggerated midsole and internal heel counter.

Pros

  • Durable even in outdoor conditions 
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition 
  • Excellent ankle support 
  • Great on-court performance 
  • Stylish colors
  • Soft upper that breaks in nicely

Cons

  • Short laces 
  • Firmer cushioning than the Curry 3
  • Traction requires regular wiping

15. Nike Air Jordan XXXI

Nike Mens Air Jordan XXXI Varsity Red/Black-White...
  • 100% Authentic
  • Varsity Red/Black-White
  • Vietnam
  • Nike
  • 8.5

Since the introduction of the Jordan Brand, it has remained a consistent brand in the performance basketball sneakers. The Jordan XXXI is said to be a reboot of the Air Jordan 1, but in terms of features, it looks more like the modern version of the Air Jordan 18. For starters, they have the same designer, similar fit, traction, and cushion. Also, the Air Jordan XXXI is suitable for wide footers.

Traction

Although its traction is better than that of XXX, it has proven to be very inconsistent. You will find that it has solid traction on some clean courts and slippery on others. This is because the rubber outsole works best on specific finishes. 

Support

The XXXI would have been one of the best basketball shoes if it were not for the little shortcomings in the support. For instance, the shoe has a wide toe box that does not feel as snug as you would like unless you are a wide footer. The foundation of the unlocked Zoom Air also feels wobbly, which will affect lateral support. Apart from the wide toe box and wobbly foundation, the rest works fine.

Cushion

While the unlocked full Zoom Air does feel comfortable, its impact protection isn’t comparable to the KD 9. The shoe is responsive, but it feels unstable. With time you’ll get used to the wobbliness, but it’s better to play without it. If the stability were to improve, then the shoe would rank higher.  

Fit

Although the Air Jordan XXXI runs true to size, it best fits wide footers. Its toe box looks squared and requires lace adjustments to get the perfect fit, but once you get it, the shoe fits like a sock. Everything else fits perfectly from the heel to the synthetic leather wrapping and anatomical pillows.

Pros

  • Incredible cushioning
  • Comfortable 
  • Easy to break-in
  • Fits true to size 
  • Clean and minimalist style 
  • Breathable and lightweight 

Cons

  • Wobbly and unstable 
  • Uncomfortable especially on the ankles and Achilles

16. Adidas Dame 3 

adidas Dame 3 On Tour Shoe - Men's Basketball 18...
  • BOUNCE provides energized comfort for all sports,...
  • Breathable mesh upper with TPU-coated yarn for...
  • Open collar for easy entry; Multiple lacing...
  • Comfortable textile lining; Signature Damian...
  • Rubber outsole with tread pattern showcasing...

The Dame 3 feels and looks different from its two predecessors. It looks more futuristic but still features the Bounce Cushion setup. It also has a unique upper that allows you to play with the lacing holes until you get the perfect fit. Despite being an upgrade to the Dame 2, critics complained a lot about heel slippage and fit. Most of the players who loved the shoe had wider feet as it prevented heel slippage.

Traction

Blade traction is similar to the herringbone traction as it offers multi-directional coverage. This means that regardless of the moves you make, the Dame 3 has got you covered. The Blade traction in the Dame 3 is more aggressive than the D Lillard 2. Interestingly, the traction pattern is denser on this shoe but still performs better. 

Fit

Although the shoe isn’t true to size, it still has a good fit, especially for wide footers. For instance, the show feels a little bit longer in the toe. However, due to the addition of a napkin, you will probably not notice the additional length. Its fit can be compared to the Lillard 2; thus, you should pick the same size as before. In case you haven’t tried the Lillard 2, you should probably choose ½ size down. 

Support

The Dame 3 is definitely an improvement from the D Lillard 2 despite the support system being similar. It has the typical basketball shoe support features such as TPU midfoot shank, stable platform, internal heel counter as well as a great lockdown. In addition, the shoe has a new lacing system that allows you to customize the fit, which results in even better support.  

Pros

  • Great support 
  • Comfortable enough for all-day use
  • Bounce cushioning provides a balanced feel 
  • Easy to break in upper 
  • Affordable 

Cons

  • Uncomfortable fit especially at the ankle

17. Nike Kyrie 3 

Sale
Nike Kyrie 3 Men's Basketball Sneaker (12,...
  • sku=852395-007-12
  • Nike
  • 12
  • Black/Team Orange-concord

The Nike Kyrie 3 is part of Irving’s signature line which comprises of basketball sneakers that are not only affordable but also comfortable. They may not be fancy or contain unique technology, but their performance rivals even the best basketball shoes.

Traction

The Kyrie 2 had among the best traction in 2016, and it was expected that the Kyrie 3 would be just as good or better. It features the aggressive herringbone traction pattern combined with multi-directional Pods that will improve your grip as well as the ability to change direction. Many will argue that it’s the best traction pattern of 2017. With this shoe, you can make aggressive moves and still enjoy optimal traction. This is a shoe that boasts of almost zero slippage problems. Even on outdoor courts, the shoe is perfect.

Support

The support setup of the Kyrie 3 is arguably the simplest. It only has an internal heel counter and an internal shank. Nothing fancy. However, you’ll be surprised at its performance. You see, the internal shank provides midfoot support while the internal heel counter ensures your feet remain in place. 

Cushion

Just like support, the Kyrie 3 has no fancy features and technology in the cushion setup. Instead, the manufacturer seems to focus more on-court feel. If you prefer court feel, then this your shoe. The shoe also has a Zoom unit that protects your shoe after a rebound or landing.

Fit 

It fits true to size and thus may not be suitable for wide footers. The shoe also has a simple but effective, simple, but effective throat. The shoe may not have padding, but it’s still comfortable as it’s not extremely tight in some areas. It has great lockdown and pain-free ankle structure. Everything else is perfect except for the laces as they are too long.

Pros

  • Awesome court feel
  • Great value for money 
  • Breathable 
  • Durable outsole  
  • Awesome traction 

Cons

  • Stiff toe box
  • Little cushion 

Basketball Shoes Buyers Guide 

picture of basketball shoes

What are the vital features that differentiate the best basketball shoes from the rest?

Aesthetics 

Aesthetics is more than just the look; it is also about how the shoe is designed and made. You want a functional shoe that also makes a statement while on the court. The colors you choose will bring out your personality, taste, and preferences. Bold colors are best for those who want to stand out. If you’re going to a school game, you might want to colors that represent your team.

In case you’re buying the shoes not as part of your gear but as a lifestyle choice, you can experiment with the colors and designs. Choose colors and designs that not only make you feel good but also look good.

Traction 

Basketball games often involve a lot of movement up and down the court. The will also be a lot of twists and turns. For such an intense game, you want the best basketball shoes. These are shoes that have great traction, thus preventing you from slipping and aiding you in movement control. Shoes with wider grooves will not accumulate dust as fast as shoes with closely spaced grooves. Also, opt for solid rubber over translucent rubber.

Comfort

You can’t play an entire game with uncomfortable basketball shoes. Basketball is an intense game that requires your concentration, and you can’t concentrate on the game if your shoes are uncomfortable. Therefore, the shoes should neither be big nor small; instead, they should have a perfect fit. Knowledge of your shoe size is recommended when purchasing the best basketball shoes.

Design 

The design of the shoe is also a key consideration. Basketball shoes come in plenty of designs that are both functional and attractive. Choose a design that pleases you. 

Brand 

Although brands don’t necessarily mean quality, it’s advisable that you consider reputable brands such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Reebok, etc. Also, some of the major brands have shoe lines named after NBA players, which cost more than the typical basketball shoes.

Sole 

The sole is part of all your movements, from jumps to lateral movements. You want shoes with thick soles that can absorb the movement shocks and prevent slipping.

Cushioning 

Since you will either be running or jumping all over the court, you want a shoe that has enough cushioning for the landing, strikes, and impacts. Preferably, choose a basketball shoe that can absorb movement shocks.

Fit 

The fit will determine how the player plays and if it comes naturally. The best basketball shoes are seen as part of the player and work to improve the player’s game. Always try the shoes before buying to get that perfect fit. Also, if the shoes are intended for kids, make sure they fit. Don’t buy a bigger shoe in the hope that they will grow into the shoe only to have the kid play in uncomfortable shoes.

Position 

What position do you play? You see, the position that you are accustomed to will impact the shoe you buy. For example, point guards require a lot of lateral movement as well as speed. Such players prefer shoes that have better ‘court feel’ as it allows them to make smoother transitions. Remember, the point guard will spend the bulk of playtime running around with occasional jumping. To them, cushioning is not that important.

A shooting guard will require a shoe that has traction and perfectly balanced lateral support and cushion. Forwards require both lateral support and cushion. They, however, need more cushion than shooting guards. 

Power forwards require great cushioning, traction, and lots of support features. Traction is not a key requirement since they don’t make a lot of lateral movements. As for the centers, they are bigger and heavier than the rest of the players. They require more cushioning and support features.

Conclusion 

With all the different brands available today, you can easily be tempted to choose the flashiest shoes on sale. You will look and feel great showing off, but it’s imperative to understand that shoes are more than just aesthetics. The best basketball shoes will offer more than just support and aesthetics; they will also have optimum flexibility, better traction, and superior cushioning.

You want a shoe that offers great ankle support and stable enough for running on the court. Also, don’t forget to check the size. Check whether the shoe runs true to size, or you will have to pick a size up or down.  Additionally, you want the shoe to be made of smooth and comfortable materials.

Ask any pro basketballer, and they will all tell you the same thing that shoes have a huge impact on their performance. That’s we’ve compiled some of the best basketball shoes to help you choose the right shoe for your game.

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