Best Basketball Shoes

With an ever changing and evolving market, it can be hard to know which are the best basketball shoes for you and which are the best choice for your needs. Whether you play socially, get to the courts for a workout or are a training athlete, it’s important to know which of the many are the best basketball shoes ever for achieving your goals.

#1 PICK
BEST TRACTION
BEST SUPPORT
MOST VERSATILE
MOST COMFORTABLE
PERFORMANCE D ROSE 5 BOOST
AIR JORDAN XXXI
AIR VISI PRO
ZOOM DEVOSION
AIR FORCE 1 MID’07
The ultimate basketball shoe in our opinion
Stick-to-the-court traction that will keep you injury free
A safe, controlled feel that lends confidence to any player
Great for any position on the court
A great feeling shoe that you can wear for hours
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Fit

A good basketball shoe should be snug but not restrictive. At the end of a hard game your feet should be tired from running and jumping but not sore from your shoes. They should feel sturdy when you run and not loose or poorly put together. If your shoes are too loose the ankle collar may rub against your ankles causing pain or discomfort. 

The Adidas Harden Vol 3 seem to have found a way around this by removing the ankle cushioning completely. This also means that the Adidas Harden Vol 3 may not offer the same protection. Just some food for thought. 

Check to make sure you have the right size for your feet. A size 10 in the US is not the same as a size 10 in the UK. Check out our shoe size conversion table for more info. 

Break-in Time

Break-in time refers to the amount of time a new pair of shoes takes to form properly to your feet to where they begin to comfortable. The amount of time it takes to break in a new pair of shoes can vary wildly from brand to brand so try to give yourself a little time to break them in. I’m talking days not weeks. If they are not sufficiently broken in after four or five games, you may have a dud  pair on your hands.

Traction

deep shoe tread

Having a great and deep traction pattern is an absolute must for both indoor and outdoor game play. Looking for a traditional herringbone pattern or something similar will help ease your mind if you are one to worry about slipping. Having good traction patterns will help make your cuts faster and give your fakes more sincerity.  

Looks

Although not generally the number one reason to buy basketball shoes, there is definitely a strong urge to have shoes that function well without sacrificing looks. A good looking basketball shoe is going to be somewhat specific to each players taste so look for one that exemplifies who you are and underlines your personality with its design and colors.

Can you get hurt by having the wrong size shoes

ankle injury

The answer is a cold, hard YES. You can absolutely damage your feet, knees, back and other areas by wearing improper footwear. Podiatrist of the Utah Jazz National Basketball Association, Dr. Michael Lowe feels that people who play competitive basketball should be replacing their basketball shoes monthly. His study shows that the rate of injury drops as the player increases the frequency of replacing their shoes.

The sole of the shoe has a fatigue factor and after a while no longer provides the support and proper amount of cushioning needed to protect the athlete. The materials that cover the foot (the uppers) will stretch and lose their strength over time allowing the foot to move in ways it shouldn’t thus increasing the potential for injury.

Lacing System

shoe laces

Another way to limit injuries is to pay strict attention to your lacing system. Laces should snug your foot tightly into the shoe without cutting off any circulation. Proper lacing can make all the difference. 

Some of The Best Basketball Shoes Available

There are five shoes on the market right now that I consider to be the best. I’ve broken down their features to provide you with a closer look.

Air Jordan XXXI

Nike
Air Jordan XXXI

The Good

This shoe has an outsole that has been designed to enhance grip both on and off the courts. It has a full-length zoom cushioning for comfort, and solid support cushioning around the ankle. It comes in a range of colours and is a stylish and aesthetic choice. According to Run Repeat, the benefits far outIigh the disadvantages.

The Bad

While the outsole has been designed to enhance grip, this grip tends to be lost on dustier courts according to some players. The design collects dust easily and reduces overall traction. The Zoom protrudes and can feel unstable in some cases, and the collar around the ankle can rub into the back of the ankle in a way that becomes uncomfortable some have complained. Some shoes such as the Harden Vol 3 seem to take this too far in the other direction by removing the ankle cushioning all together. 

Stand Out Features

The Air Jordan XXXI utilises the latest in FlightSpeed technology. Where it really shines is through the cushion system that provides lasting comfort throughout training and games. The FlyIave of the materials allows for a wide range of foot movement whilst keeping your ankle supported and providing a snug fit that remains true to size. The perfect fit is reinforced even further with the Flywire that holds the middle of your foot to ensure you’re always in place. Overall it’s a shoe that provides lasting high quality material and stand out support while you play.

Ideal Uses

Due to the way the sole is designed, indoor courts can be too dusty to maintain a solid traction in this shoe. I suggest considering this as an option if you’re a primarily outdoor player. It’s a great shoe for those interested in playing socially, or training in an outdoor court on their own. This may very well be one of the best outdoor court basketball shoes on the market today. It’s only rival may be the Adidas Dame line. 

Due to its aesthetic appeal and design, it is also a great shoe for off the courts. If you’re more interested in the style of a basketball shoe than the function, this is a great option.

Prerequisites for Use

According to some players, the Air Jordan XXXI is not the best option for post players. They provide little protection when it comes to contact, and will be better suited to other positions.

Additional Information

For the quality that you’re getting in this shoe, it is an affordable option. They run a fair price for this calibre of basketball shoe.

The Air Jordan XXXI aren’t the cheapest shoe around, but in true Jordan style, they deliver in quality, durability, comfort, and style. Apart from their lack of traction when it comes down to dusty courts, if you’re wearing these outdoors or aren’t in a post position, these are an excellent choice.

I recommend these shoes for people who are serious about their game. Those who are training hard to improve and on the courts on a regular basis. There are better and cheaper shoes if you’re only looking for aesthetics. These shoes are all about the game and work to enhance your performance as you play.

If money isn’t an issue and you’ve been happy with Jordans in the past, these are the next step up that deliver the quality and style that have become synonymous with the Jordan name.

Pros

  • Air Jordans always have a great look to them and there is no exception here
  • They are both comfortable and durable
  • These shoes offer excellent foot support
  • Great ventilation incorporated into the uppers
  • Comes in a good size range of colours
  • Very comfortable and provides extra bounce

Cons

  • Some players say they run a bit small similar to the Nike Lebron shoes so you may want to try one size up
  • Some notice that the traction isn’t great for indoor courts

Nike
Zoom Devosion

The Good

The Zoom support system that protects your foot is comfortable and will be felt throughout your game. It sits under the ball of your foot and will provide you with a spring that you won’t find in all basketball shoes. The Phylon cushioning throughout the shoes allow for impact protection and comfort that will last throughout your game.

These shoes consist of a mesh layer over the top, which enhances ventilation thanks to the strategically cut fuse that backs it. The quality of material used means you won’t need to break in this shoe, it will mould to your foot as soon as you put it on.

The Bad

According to some players, the grip design isn’t strong enough to allow hard cuts or immediate stops. Slipping will occur even after the shoes are broken in. They are also a long fit, which means you may not be the size you normally are, and you may need to try a few size options to find the perfect fit.

Stand Out Features

One of it’s most shining qualities is the price. This is one of the best budget basketball shoes option, and its disadvantages do not outweigh the value you’re getting for your money. It provides basic support, traction, and durability on both indoor and outdoor courts. It features and interesting aesthetic thanks to the mesh fabric, and will be comfortable to wear in a variety of playing positions. Let’s not forget as well that these shoes incorporate zoom air!

Ideal Uses

This shoe is durable enough to withstand outdoor playing, but it’s a basic shoe option for whatever court you wish to play on. It’s not ideal for high level players due to the lack of traction on an indoor court, but it’s ideal for social and learning players who are after an affordable option.

Prerequisites for Use

The cushioning and fit of this shoe is great for all positions. It provides good impact protection and will ensure you’re comfortable in whatever position you’re playing. That being said, the way the support and cushioning is designed, it will provide speed positions with a good enhanced feel on the court. It should be noted that this is a good shoe for smaller men or those who do not prioritize having the highest level of cushioning available. There are more cushioned options out there that will provide a deeper level of comfort even though this shoe uses zoom air technology.

Additional Information

These shoes are an excellent option for people looking for a high value deal on the shoe market. They are priced right and the quality you’re getting is excellent.

This is an excellent choice in shoe if you’re a casual basketball player. If you’re someone who enjoys going to the courts socially or to keep on top of fitness, this is a shoe that provides the qualities required to keep your feet in excellent shape.

They are a comfortable shoe thanks to the Zoom support system. With their incredibly snug fit that doesn’t require any break in time, these shoes can go from the store to the courts.

They’re a budget shoe, but for the quality you’re getting, there’s nothing that seems to compare to them. Their ventilation is excellent, and they’ll allow you to play for an extended period of time without experiencing aches and pains that one might expect from a cheaper shoe.

They’re not the best shoe for hard cuts and intense games some say, which is why I recommend them to those who are just starting out or are not serious about playing at a higher level.

Pros

  • Zoom air cushion is incorporated into the shoe
  • Phylon cushioning is a great feature
  • Impact protection is fairly good
  • Mesh layer has very good ventilation
  • Fits to foot without having to wait for them to be broken-in

Cons

  • Some feel that the traction isn’t sufficient enough for hard cuts
  • Some players find that they fit a bit long sometimes

Nike
Air Force 1 Mid’07

The Good

These have a highly aesthetic appearance with a leather and textile mix forming the upper part of the shoe. They come in a range of colours that are appealing and they’re designed for durability and comfort. They incorporate the classic Nike air cushioning technology and the traction in the heel and forefoot allow for accurate pivoting in any direction.

The Bad

Some people have reported that their leather appearance could be working against them in some cases. The leather has creased easily in some situations, and the glue between the sole and textiles is visible in some shoes. The shoe does need to be broken in and may run larger than you’re used to so sizing could be tricky at first.

Stand Out Features

These are a classic mid-top style which gives a desirable silhouette to those interested in the aesthetics. They come with an ankle strap to ensure your foot and ankle are supported, and the range of colours ensure there’s something to suit every taste and preference. It’s a shoe that seems to equally balance style with function.

Ideal Uses

This is definitely a shoe for the player who likes to go from the courts to the streets. It’s not the highest quality for serious athletes, but it provides the cushioning and comfort necessary to enjoy a game. These are the kinds of shoes that go well with a variety of outfits and are vieId as a more stylish collectors choice.

Prerequisites for Use

There are no prerequisites for this particular shoe. They are suited to all positions in a social or non-professional setting. You’ll have the support necessary to play in comfort no matter where you are on the court.

Additional Information

These aren’t the cheapest shoe around, but they are decent value for money if you’re looking for a stylish basketball shoe. They come in a range of colours and are the kind of shoe that you’ll want to buy multiple pairs of so you can have choices in the aesthetic department. They’re great for low key game settings, and even better when they’re taken to the streets. They priced well and if treated well, will last you a long time.

This is the shoe for the style icons who like to take their shoes from the courts to the streets and vice versa. This shoe is not about the game play, but rather about allowing for your fashion statements to transfer to the courts when the opportunity presents itself.

These are a collector’s shoe, available in a range of colours and boasting a stylish appearance of leather and textiles.

They aren’t the cheapest shoe around, but considering that they are more for style and comfort than game play, the game enhancing technologies that they do incorporate help them stand out above other shoes of their kind.

The air cushioning technology allows for enhanced comfort and game play and the traction in the heel and forefront is fantastic and effective for pivoting and harder cuts.

I recommend these shoes for those who appreciate the aesthetic and creative capabilities of basketball shoes and don’t mind spending a bit of money on higher quality footwear.

Pros

  • Stylish. These shoes have a great look to them.
  • Range of colours available
  • Leather and textile appearance help with the looks as well
  • Air cushioning technology works well
  • Traction in forefoot and heel make them great for indoor and out
  • Durable

Cons

  • I found that these shoes need to be broken in a bit but wasn’t a big deal.
  • Some people find they fit a bit large

Adidas
Performance D Rose 5 Boost

The Good

According to Schwollo, you can’t beat the traction on these shoes. Their thick herringbone sole allows for excellent grip without going overboard. The cushioning and bounce is comfortable and responsive, and perfect for players who play game after game and train hard on a regular basis. They provide excellent support that holds your ankle in place and allows for flexible movements at the same time.

The Bad

You may experience too much space in the toe that may need to be fixed by replacing the insole with another. This is an easy fix if you have one that works, but could be a pain if this is the first shoe of its kind that you’re purchasing.

Stand Out Features

I love the addition of a torsion bar on the shoe that allows for extreme stability throughout your game. No matter how you land, the bar ensures that the boost feel is maintained and you never feel out of balance.

The Foot Frame consists of a foam lining along the foot that keeps you in place no matter what your movements are. They keep your foot securely contained and comfortable to prevent damage to both the shoe and your foot.

Ideal Uses

These are an ideal choice for intense game play. They provide support and comfort throughout multiple games, so if you’re playing tournaments or training heavily on a regular basis, these are an excellent choice. They do offer a stylish appearance, but they are made for the courts and will deliver the most benefits when worn to play.

Prerequisites for Use

Having been designed for a point guard, these are an excellent choice in shoe if you’re a player in that position. However, they’re a great option for a variety of positions thanks to their comfort and support. Their bounce doesn’t waver after several uses, so any shooting position will benefit from what these shoes have on offer.

Additional Information

For the price you’re paying and game quality you’re receiving, this is a top choice in shoe if you’re on the courts on a regular basis. They are reasonably priced nowadays and will last you a long time.

There was a lot of hype about these shoes when they were first released, and that, unfortunately, worked to their disadvantage in a lot of cases. People were expecting too much.

When you look at this shoe for what it is, they are a truly outstanding piece of work. When it comes to budget gameplay options, these shoes are perfect for intense training, game after game. This may be the best traction basketball shoes available.

They provide excellent support and comfort, and are durable on indoor and outdoor courts. They’re stylish in appearance, but this is far from their purpose as a shoe. These are shoes for the dedicated and training athletes.

Their bounce provide shooters with an advantage and they’re a top contender if you’re looking for an inexpensive shoe that you can rely on for stability, support, and enhanced game play.

Pros

  • These shoes have excellent traction
  • Thick herringbone sole adds to that traction
  • Comfortable cushioning technology
  • Bounce that lasts several games
  • Support on ankle and foot
  • A very flexible shoe

Cons

  • There are complaints about extra space in the toe
  • Some player have found that the foam framing can be uncomfortable at times

Nike
Air Visi Pro

The Good

These are a shoe you can trust to last you a long time, they’re durable and designed to stay looking good through several wears. They’re made of leather and synthetic materials giving them a unique and stylish appearance, and thanks to the Tri-vis Air-sole and Phylon support, you’ll experience comfort and spring that will enhance your overall game. These are a lightIight shoe with a decent traction to aide pivots and cuts.

The Bad

These shoes do not feature any mesh meaning that both the ventilation and fit could suffer. They’re a stylish shoe, though not the most popular when it comes to regular and intense game play.

Stand Out Features

These shoe feature a collar design to provide support, comfort, and style. They’re synthetic sole supports the foot through daily wear as well as game play, making this a shoe that can easily transfer between the streets and the courts.

Ideal Uses

This is an excellent choice for casual and social players. While it’s not the first choice for on-the-court gameplay, it will provide the support and comfort necessary to enjoy yourself in a social setting or when training on your own. They’re stylish and will complement a fashionable appearance in a variety of settings.

Prerequisites for Use

They are an excellent choice of shoe for people who enjoying playing in any position on the court. They have the traction and spring back necessary to enhance players wherever they’re playing.

Additional Information

You can pick up these shoes online for a decent price, making them an excellent choice for those who like a stylish appearance that doubles as an indoor/outdoor court shoe.

An affordable shoe that is excellent if you’re looking for something to transfer easily between the courts and the streets.

This is a shoe that features a collar design that is not only stylish, but provides ankle support. They are durable and excellent for daily wear as well as game play on both indoor and outdoor courts.

They keep your foot in place while providing Tri-vis Air-sole and Phylon support to help prevent discomfort when you wear them for an extended period of time.

I recommend them to more casual basketball players because there are other affordable options on the market that are better for training and more intense play.

They provide comfort and support, and provide an aesthetic that looks good with a variety of styles of clothing in a casual setting.

If you’re looking to keep fit, play socially, and enjoy basketball-inspired footwear, these are an excellent and inexpensive option that will last you a decent amount of time if they are properly cared for.

Pros

  • An extremely durable shoe
  • These shoes still look good after several wears
  • Leather is always a pro in my book
  • Tri-vis Air-sole and Phylon support help give this shoe extra power
  • Light weight
  • Decent traction

Cons

  • I noticed that there is no mesh in the upper which may indicate that there is less ventilation than other mesh shoes

Final Verdict - What are the best basketball shoes?

When it comes to basketball shoes, style is a large part of their niche, but I believe that the best pair on the market will be more about the game play than the street fashion.

With that in mind, I think the top shoes on the market have to be the Adidas Performance Men’s D Rose 5 Boost. These could possibly be the best basketball shoes of all time.

While they are not as stylish as some of the other options, they still provide an interesting and unique aesthetic that will appeal to players.

They provide similar qualities and game enhancing technologies as the Air Jordan XXXI, but ring up with a significantly lower price tag.

They stand out from the competition in terms of traction and support, allowing you to play multiple games and endure intensive training sessions without experiencing the same aches and pains or wear and tear as one might expect from a less expensive shoe.

Some other honorable mentions to shoes that didn’t make our list include many shoes from the Nike Lebron line, the Adidas Dame, the Adidas Harden Vol line, Nike Lebron Soldier, Nike Kyrie and the Nike Air lineup. 

Bottom line is that for an option that you can purchase without breaking the bank, you can’t go wrong with the performance enhancing Adidas Performance Men’s D Rose 5 Boosts. They may end up being the very best pair of basketball shoes you ever wear!

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