Our reviews of the best basketball shoes have you covered for outdoor and indoor courts. Get the ankle support you need to perform at your best.
You can’t play basketball without a quality ball. The same goes for a pair of basketball shoes. Wearing a low-quality, cheap pair of shoes isn’t going to get you anywhere with your skills. You need the best basketball shoes on the market.
Shoes aren’t just an extension of who you are but also an investment. The best basketball sneakers are going to match your personality and tell others who you are. They need to be able to work well outdoors and indoors so you have versatility in your game. The difference between a good pair of shoes and a low-quality pair of basketball sneakers could mean a win or a loss.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find the best basketball shoes so you can get in the game.
Basketball Shoes - Comparison Table
NIKE Men's Lebron XIII
Under Armour Men's Lockdown
Black/red/white, white/metallic silver, steel/black/white, black/white/steel
Adidas Performance Men's Crazy Explosive
NIKE Men's Air Force 1 High '07
Skechers Sport Women's Burst Divergent
Skechers Sport Women's Burst Ellipse Fashion
Under Armour Boys' Boys’ Pre School Jet Mid
Types of Basketball Shoes
There are many different types of basketball shoes on the market. You’ll want to be sure to pick the variety that best suits your needs.
The biggest difference you’ll find in a man’s shoe is that the heel to toe shape is wider and larger than a woman’s. In addition, most men are taller and heavier than women so shoes are made according to the extra pressure they will receive.
Overall a man’s shoe is going to have a firmer and wider feel. It will offer support for the shock and additional weight of a man’s body.
With the opposite in mind, women’s shoes tend to be narrower to accommodate a smaller foot. With women weighing less and being shorter overall, they don’t need as much support as a man would. Therefore, the sole of the shoe tends to be more flexible and lightweight.
If a woman struggles to find a pair of shoes that fit her comfortably because of a wide foot, she might want a man’s shoe instead. Just keep in mind that a women’s shoe size is about 1.5 times bigger than a man’s. For example, if a woman wears a size 8, she’ll want to look for a 6.5 in men’s.
A kid’s shoe is a miniature version of an adult shoe expect with a lot less of the support features included. Most children don’t require the use of that additional support, so it goes unused. If a child is nearing the sizes of an adult and prefer the fit, they could always opt to order an adult size instead. This would offer them some additional support and stability when needed.
This offers a modern and stylish look which appeals to those who want to be fast on the court. They’re lighter than a high top and lower your fatigue levels.
On the other hand, they don’t provide the support you want around your ankle so you’re at risk for more injuries. Overall, it seems to be more of a personal preference on while feels better for the user.
These are going to be heavier shoes but have some featured benefits to them. The laces go high enough to add some stability and support to the ankles. With additional support, they can even prevent other injuries such as stress fractures or plantar fasciitis.
Studies have shown that there are ankle injuries with both varieties of shoes. This makes it more of a personal choice which one is better.
The traction of an outdoor basketball shoe is going to be rougher. It doesn’t move easily which allows you to stop when needed. When you play basketball outdoors, the temperature isn’t regulated. That means you need a breathable shoe which most outdoor varieties offer.
Other than that, most outdoor and indoor basketball shoes offer the same features for comfort and fit.
The traction of an indoor basketball shoe is going to be smoother. This allows you to maneuver easily. If these are worn outside, you probably won’t have the traction you need and could slip.
Usually, breathability isn’t a top concern with an indoor basketball shoe. This is because the indoor environment is normally temperature regulated and sweating won’t be a major issue.
Aside from that, you’ll find many of the same features or fit between the indoor basketball shoe and the outdoor basketball shoe.
Choosing a Quality Pair of Basketball Shoes
Many people wonder if a quality pair of basketball shoes can improve their game. Here are some ways you might receive additional skills.
There are several ways to achieve a better support of your ankles with a quality basketball shoe. Torsional stability means that the forefront of your shoe doesn’t twist with the rearfoot. This provides the best stability to the ankle.
In addition, you can opt for a high top shoe which doesn’t always help with torsional stability but does feature additional support for the ankle.
Keep in mind if you suffer from ankle issues, it would be wise to get the okay from a doctor before participating in basketball. This sport is hard on ankles and might not be the best option for you.
Traction and Grip
The traction and grip of a basketball shoe can make or break your game. With a wide range of court surfaces available, each shoe is going to offer a different experience. For outdoor courts, you’ll need a shoe with a rigid bottom. This prevents you from slipping when you go to stop.
In addition, the indoor shoe doesn’t need this feature so it has a smoother grip on the bottom. Stopping fast is an important part of the game. If your shoes don’t help you to have the traction and grip that you need, you’ll end up wasting time and energy.
Comfort and Cushioning
Comfort is of the utmost concern when purchasing any type of athletic shoe. That’s because you don’t want to play a game of basketball when your foot is in pain or sore. Aside from that, as your feet start to feel fatigued, you’ll be less likely to play a competitive game.
Cushioning is important when dealing with the shock on the feet. Many shoes will offer protection against this to provide optimal comfort. You’ll find this to be even more of a concern if you battle various foot ailments such as plantar fasciitis or heel spurs.
All athletes want to jump higher and often turn to shoes for help. While some manufacturers claim that they can increase jump height, not all of them live up to this statement.
There are strength-training shoes that you wear to practice. They put weight on the forward portion of your foot. Then, when returning to your regular pair of shoes, it’s said that you’ll jump higher.
Compression-spring shoes were banned by the NBA because they do increase jumping height. That’s due to the design of the spring located in the ball area of a shoe.
12 Best Basketball Shoes Reviewed
Without much further ado, here are the top basketball shoes reviewed to make it easier for you! We have covered all options including mens, womens, children's and position specific shoes.
Adidas Performance Men's D Rose 7 Basketball Shoe
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
These stand among the best Adidas Basketball shoes on the market because of their full-length BOOST cushioning, which helps you to keep a light and fast step. They also feature superior traction that almost feels like the shoe stops for you. You won’t feel like you’re slipping or sliding at all.
They are also very breathable owe to the engineered mesh and synthetic upper which will allow your feet to stay cool. This shoe is ideal for the explosive or bigger player who needs a lot of support and comfort.
When one of the users asked about the width of the shoe, Mark Shortencarier, an apparently super satisfied customer, answered the following:
Cushioning is exceptional. The fit is average, neither too wide or narrow. Some may say narrow, because of the outstanding lateral support of these shoes, they are a tad difficult to put on. Best shoes I've played in, in 30+ years".
I would also recommend this as an indoor shoe as it won’t stand up long to outdoor terrains.
There are three different colors available to choose from and a variety of sizes. What I didn’t see were any wider sizes for those with larger feet. These are the best Adidas basketball shoes available in our opinion.
NIKE Men's Lebron XIII Basketball Shoe
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
If you want only what the pros would wear then you need this pair considered one of the best performance basketball shoes around.
They were made famous thanks to LeBron James and they were rated highly even by some of his toughest critics.
With elite traction and superior durability, these shoes won’t degrade over time. The traction offers a unique pattern geared toward indoor use and it also offers high levels of ventilation as well.
If you happen to notice that the shoes squeak, don't worry about it, since it is not unusual on basketball shoes. One Quora user asked "how can I make my Lebron 13's Stop Squeaking from the bottom?". The answer, provided by the user Isaac Bonsu, explains:
The sound you are hearing is a result of the sticky mat-like surface on the bottom of the shoe. It is designed to do a few things:
1: Keep a grip on the ground. Especially on an indoor basketball court, so you don't slip and hurt yourself.
2: (...) Instead of walking on cement the bottom makes it feel like walking on rubber".
You do need to be prepared to pay the hefty Lebron James price tag. In saying that, you can be assured that these will you privode excellent performance on the court.
Adidas Performance Men's Crazy Explosive Basketball Shoe
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Ask anyone for a recommendation on the best men’s basketball shoes and you’re sure to hear about this pair.
The traction featured on this shoe is simply one of the best you can find. You’ll be able to stop on a dime no matter what direction you’re traveling in. Moreover, it is built to last, which is a big plus for many people.
This shoe isn’t geared toward the outdoor game but is superior when on a clean court. It also features the comfortable BOOST cushioning so you can feel energized all day long. Most people find that it’s extremely responsive to their every move. In addition, the anatomical lace system helps to relieve the pressure on the foot.
There’s an inner bootie that takes up dead space making the shoe feel like you’re wearing a glove. There’s also a wide variety of styles and sizes you can choose from, making these one of the best options in mens basketball shoes.
However, one of the main complaints among customer reviews is that they are not very well cushioned and that they feel too flat. This often happens with sports shoes, and that's why the experts recommend orthotics, such as the specialists from South West Podiatry:
Some sports, such as marathon running and basketball or netball, may require special insoles due to the high impact made with the ground. This is so the insoles are durable enough and so they can control the foot to an appropriate level".
This is something you should always take into account in order to keep your feet healthy and pain-free.
Adidas Men’s Dame 3
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Adidas seems to be one of the leaders of the list and this pair of the best traction basketball shoes helps them to stay at the top. It can be worn by a player no matter what their size and shape. The traction on this shoe is superior to many others because of the blade design. With this, you can expect multi-directional coverage without slipping.
They also have bounce cushion which allows for some extra spring in your movements, and the padded tongue and collar add to the comfort of this shoe. With plenty of lace holes in the sneaker, everyone can get a comfortable fit with ease.
This shoe also features a TPU midfoot shank, stable platform, and an internal heel counter; as well as a textile lining combined with climacool technology for greater breathability. If you don't believe us, hear it from the customers themselves! Brandon Roy is one of them. He got his own pair and this is what he has to say about it:
These shoes are great to use for indoor and outdoor courts. If you're a guard who relies more on your explosive ability, then this is the shoe to go with. They have good traction and grip as well as a good feel when it comes to playing a game".
There are several colors and sizes available in this shoe so you can get the look you want.
Adidas Performance Men's Crazylight Boost Low Basketball Shoe
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Simply put, this is one of the best low top basketball shoes you’ll find. Not only that, but it offers some superior traction capability. With the herringbone pattern on the outsole, a molded heel collar for perfect fit and hard rubber compound, you won’t worry about slipping or sliding around the court.
This also includes a full-length BOOST cushioning made up of pellets in the midsole that bounce when you need the cushion. It works to absorb impact. Moreover, the jacquard synthetic and textile uppers are designed to provide ultimate comfort.
Some people have experienced heel slippage so you may want to order a size smaller. One of the customers who reported having this problem still says he loved the shoes, and here is why:
In spite of this issue, I do love the shoes because I have had plenty of foot and ankle problems in the past and these seem to provide good ankle support with a ton of cushioning while also being very impact-absorbent".
There are 19 colors and many sizes to choose from, some at reasonable prices. If you are searching for a low top option then these are for you!
Under Armour Men's UA ClutchFit Drive 3 Basketball Shoes
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Buying the best high top basketball shoes doesn’t need to wreck your budget. Under Armour created the ClutchDrive 3 as a lower cost variety that still offers superior performance.
The herringbone design covers the outsole in its entirety and offers optimal traction. There are also diamond shaped inserts located on the outsole to offer even more traction. This Under Armour features the Micro G layer which is located on top of the heel. This cushioning is especially useful as a guard.
The specialists from South West Podiatry explain how important it is to get shoes with adequate arch/ midfoot support:
Consider purchasing new, well-fitting shoes to help your aching feet. Shoes that provide proper arches can give your feet new life. Also, wear shoes that work for whatever activity you’re engaging in".
So, while this shoe provides great support to the heel, midfoot and forefoot, you’ll find that it lacks support to the ankle. As usual with Under Armour shoes, you won’t be with a lack of styles or sizes to choose from.
NIKE Men's Kyrie 3 Basketball Sneakers
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Here’s another Nike model for you that could very well qualify as the best indoor basketball shoe on the market. It offers a blend of Hyperfuse with mesh and an innovative mid-foot strap. The lightweight yet durable design is great for those who are quick on their feet.
You can expect fluid movement plus responsive cushioning through the entire game. It feels like you are walking on a cloud but still offers smooth transitions during your pivotal movements.
With the strap design that’s truly unique, your foot also feels like it’s locked in place. This allows for some extra stability when you need it the most.
Dhairya Pahwa is a Quora user who, when asked about the best basketball shoes, suggested the following: "If you're a small forward then look for a shoe with higher traction and a preferably a mid-length shoe". He also says that these Nike shoes meet these characteristics, which is great if that is what you are looking for.
Men's Nike Zoom Without a Doubt Basketball Shoe
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
When you’re jumping, you want your foot to be securely locked down in a comfortable position. That’s why you want to check out this pair of the best basketball shoes for jumping.
The lightweight and breathable midfoot cage are superior at locking down the foot without causing discomfort. Pair that with the Hexagonal Zoom Air unit and you can expect responsive cushioning in the forefoot. With the Herringbone pattern on the shoe’s outsole, you’re going to be able to achieve multi-directional traction with ease.
Julia is one of many customers who got a pair of these shoes. In her review, she tells that she bought them for her husband and that he loves them:
He uses them to play basketball and is very satisfied with them. In the very beginning they rubbed a little on the heel but once they were worn it that issue resolved itself. Great product, would recommend to anyone looking for a pair of basketball shoes".
This pair is some of the lower price Nike brand shoes I’ve seen but they still offer different color and size options.
NIKE Men’s Air Force 1 High 07 Basketball Shoes
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Don’t let your flat feet stop you from enjoying the sport you love. All you need to do is invest in the best basketball shoes for flat feet.
The Air Force 1 has been a popular shoe for a long time now. On their official website, their creators from Nike put it this way:
The Air Force 1 has defined shoe culture since the moment it stepped onto the court. And it continues to be a fashion staple thanks to clean lines, a strong midsole, and new and classic colorways in low, mid and high-top styles".
The high top silhouette of this Nike shoe offers an additional ankle strap for a secure lockdown of your foot.
In addition, it’s made from a leather and textile upper that provides durability and optimal fit. The additional Nike Air cushioning is ideal for comfort, but there is room for an insole if you need more support.
With the non-marking rubber outsole, you can expect excellent traction and durability of your sneakers. There aren’t quite as many color choices as with some other Nike shoes, but the price is good and there are plenty of sizes available.
Skechers Sport Women's Burst Divergent Demi Boot Sneaker
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Just because you want the best grip basketball shoes doesn’t mean they can’t be fashionable as well. Skechers sneakers are renowned for comfort and are an excellent choice for a casual game of pick up basketball.
The material is breathable and the lace-up vamp and wraparound midsole feature extra stability, so your feet will stay cool and in their place the whole match.
With a non-marking outsole and lightweight design, you can have superior movements on the court. The strong rubber sole provides extra traction when you need it the most.
They're also pretty sturdy but not hard or stiff, which contrary to what many people may think when it comes to basketball shoes, could be better to prevent injuries. As stated by Dr. Bruce Williams for Podiatry Today:
For some sports with a lot of side-to-side cutting movements, decreased stiffness can decrease overall injury risk in relation to ankle sprains".
There are so many fashionable styles to choose from; it might be best to order a few pairs. Thankfully, the price is low so it’s feasible to fill your entire closet with them!
While there are lots of styles to choose from, some people mention they run a little large. You might want to order a size down.
Skechers Sport Women's Burst Ellipse Fashion Sneaker
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
With the flexible rubber outsole and cushioned collars, you can expect this pair of Skechers to be one of the best basketball shoes for guards. This style is best suited to recreational players with models above better for serious ballers.
They’re fashionable, lightweight, practical and durable mixed up in one package. In fact, they’re so adaptable you can easily play in different positions on the court.
With this pair of sneakers, you can expect to move easily in all directions, feel stable owe to the lace-up closure while making quick turns and have the cushion you need to be comfortable. This makes the shoe perfect for guards.
One of the top 500 reviewers on Amazon bought this pair and is presumably blown away:
Five stars for unbelievable comfort. The first time I put them on, I went on a 2-mile walk. The next day, they took me on a 4-mile walk. I never would have suspected they were brand new shoes had I not known. My feet and knees sure didn't know it".
As with the previous pair of Skechers, there are lots of styles available at reasonable prices.
Under Armour Boys' Pre School Jet Mid
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Under Armour is a leader in the industry so it makes sense for them to manufacture the best youth basketball shoe. This high top style is available in a variety of colors plus features a rubber outsole, faux leather, EVA and fabric design.
The full-length EVA midsole allows the shoe to be lightweight and comfortable. This pair also keeps your feet cool and fresh, thanks to the engineered perforations that increase ventilation inside the shoe, as well as the anti-odor technology that prevents the growth of microbes and the molded quarter panels built for greater breathability and support.
Your kids are going to experience maximum support with this design so you won’t have to worry about ankle injuries. Nic Tan is a customer who bought these shoes for his son and says that they enhance his performance when playing basketball:
My 7 year old loves this shoe. He cuts, he drives and he jumps that little bit higher in this pair of UA basketball shoes".
In addition, the design is quite lightweight making it easy for kids to move fast. Some of the designs are even low cost.
When you are searching for the best basketball shoes of 2018, you must choose a reliable brand. Settling for less could have disastrous effects on your ankles, heels and toes if they aren’t supported properly. Here are a few of the best brands on the market.
Nike offers a large range of basketball shoes that have been used and endorsed by many professional players. With their signature editions, unique color combinations and the ever-changing innovation, you can expect to find the top of the line products from Nike.
Some of their more popular lines include LeBron, Zoom, Kobe and of course, the iconic Air Jordan. From kids playing at the corner playground all the way through the ranks of the NBA, you’ll see Nike basketball shoes on a majority of players.
While Adidas has been better known for their line of soccer shoes, they are still competitive on the basketball market. They have several features that provide optimal comfort and stability to any player. With many choices of styles and colors, they give Nike a run for the money in the design department.
Just like Nike, you can expect to find some collections that are sought after by many players. These include Harden, Dame, Rose and Crazy Explosive. No matter what position you play, you are sure to find an Adidas basketball sneaker that suits your needs.
Under Armour is becoming a rising star in anything athletic. That’s why it’s no surprise to see them ranking the charts on some of the best basketball shoes available. They offer some unique styles and choices for both kids and adults. Many of them are at better prices than the Nike or adidas brand.
Under Armour is also the carrier of the well-known Curry line which has been a favorite among players everywhere. We expect that as the years go on, Under Armour will continue to be an innovator and potential leader in the basketball shoe industry.
Do Different Positions Need a Different Type of Shoe?
Each position should pick a shoe based on what they will be doing. This is the best way to protect the foot and ankle as well as offer the features that are needed to excel.
The center player needs a durable and strong shoe that can absorb impact. This is most important during a jump or when there is physical contact made.
A center will also want to find a shoe that offers great ankle stability and a lightweight design. This will protect the foot and ankle from injuries during a game.
The point guard needs to run fast so you don’t want a shoe that is going to slow you down. When looking for the best basketball shoes for point guards, you’ll want to watch for a lightweight design.
This will enable you to make fast and quick moves when needed. Durability is also key as you don’t want the shoes wearing down after extensive play.
As a forward, you’re looking for a combination of durability and speed in your shoe. Your basketball shoe should also feature optimal support and comfort to get you through the jumps and extensive running.
Which NBA Stars Have Their Own Shoe Line?
Many NBA star will come out with their own line of basketball shoe and each of them is sure that it’s the best basketball shoe ever.
With all the varieties out there, how do you know what are the best basketball shoes? Here are a few that you’ll want to take notice of.
Michael Jordan may have stopped playing professional basketball in 2003, but his shoes haven’t. He is still the king of the basketball shoe market and offers some of the best-rated basketball shoes out there.
With a record 28 pairs of shoes offered since 1985, the Jordan has been popular with both the players and the fans thanks to his partnership with Nike.
Nike gave LeBron James the biggest shoe deal ever as a rookie and his success just keep getting stronger. Some of his famous sneakers include the Nike Air Zoom Generation, the Nike Air Zoom LeBron, the Nike Air Max LeBron and the Nike LeBron X.
Durant made a seven-year shoe deal with Nike worth $60 million and then added a 10-year extension worth $300 million.
His shoes continue to grow in popularity and have been hailed as some of the best basketball player shoes around. You can expect to find these on many aspiring athletes across the country.
Bryant is another star that has a line of sneakers while in retirement. He’s the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer so it makes his Kobe line an easy sell for Nike.
Surprisingly, his shoes are insanely popular in China where sneakers continue to be a hot commodity.
This is the first star on our list that didn’t go with Nike but chose adidas instead. His first shoe was released in October of 2015 and sales ranked number five among the active players of the season.
You’ll still find that his line is a popular seller that retains a high price point. Many people feel they’re the best looking basketball shoes on the market.
When searching for the best basketball shoes, you no longer have to question what’s important or where to find them. With the detailed reviews we’ve provided, it’s easy to find exactly what you need for a quality pair of shoes.
Now all you have to do is get out there and play like a pro.
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