The 20 Best Basketball Shoes 2021

The 20 Best Basketball Shoes 2021

At WearTesters, our team of expert reviewers test hundreds of basketball shoes each year. After testing, we collect the Best Basketball Shoes available and include them here for easy reference. 

We regularly update this page to feature the highest performing, currently available basketball shoes. The shoes listed are in no particular order. Check back any time you buy new basketball shoes.

We’ve also reviewed many other basketball shoes that didn’t make this page.  Every foot is different, so read the reviews carefully to find the best shoes for you. For details on methodology, see the detailed description at the bottom of the page.

Updated 5/19/2021

Best Basketball Shoes Categories

Best Overall Basketball Shoes

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Nike Cosmic Unity

What happens when you blend together the best performance features of the KD 12 and Kyrie 7? The Nike Cosmic Unity. The Cosmic Unity offers the Zoom Air strobel cushioning we love with beefy stability. Traction is grippy herringbone while the fit is true to size. There really isn’t anything to complain about with this shoe. Is the sustainability aspect a marketing gimmick? Yes. But overall, the Cosmic Unity is a well-rounded, great shoe. Read the full review.

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Curry 8

The Curry 8 is the first shoe from Curry Brand (an Under Armour sub brand) and the first shoe to use the new UA Flow foam. Flow is awesome and immediately becomes UA’s top cushion tech. The beastly traction also exceeded expectations for outdoor durability. To top it off, the lightweight sock-like knit upper is really comfortable and more stable than expected because of the typical wide platform that Steph Curry prefers.

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Puma Clyde All-Pro

The Puma Clyde All-Pro was a surprise best basketball shoe. It’s the Kobe 9 reincarnated and improved. Traction is fantastic in all situations. The cushioning combo of ProFoam+ and the Pebax heel puck is balanced and responsive. Also, they fit true to size, snug, and supportive. They aren’t a signature shoe but perform better than most of those. Read the full review.

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adidas DON Issue 2

The adidas DON Issue 2 is a surprise hit on court. While the outdoor traction isn’t great, they’re awesome on indoor courts. Fit is also very good. The cushion is good enough when you factor in the added mobility and range of motion received from the Feet You Wear system. At $100, the DON Issue 2 is a very good bang for your buck. You won’t break the bank and you won’t be sacrificing any performance attributes due to price. Read the full review.

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UA Embiid 1

A solid all-around shoe that can be worn by any player and position. If you play primarily outdoors then these will also make for a great pickup. They’re moderately priced at $120. They include enough cushion and traction to ensure you can enjoy them for longer than the typical modern day basketball shoe. Read the full review.

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Nike KD 13

The KD 13’s traction and cushion are standout features. The cushion’s Zoom Air strobel board provides comfort with every step. Forefoot containment and overall stability are lacking and as usual with KD’s shoes it’s a bit narrow. Not quite as good the 12, but close. Read full review.

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Anta GH 1

The GH 1 is a dependable all around shoe with grippy traction, solid materials, A-FlashFoam in the midsole, a sizable outrigger, and some fit issues depending on your foot shape. It’s a shoe from outside the big brands that performs really well in nearly every area. Read full review.

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Nike Zoom BB NXT

A fun shoe with killer traction and cushion. The triple-layered React and two large forefoot Zoom Air pods really impress. There’s a small stability issue and potential forefoot lace loop pinching but the the fit and sculpting from the tolling makes for a fun ride. Read full review.

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Puma RS Dreamer

The PUMA RS Dreamer is for sure one of the best looking basketball shoes of 2020. The cushion is the only thing that needs tweaking. They check all the other boxes with a great fit, solid support, and really good traction. Just add a cushy insole and you’re good. Read full review.

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AND1 Attack 2.0

Legendary streetwear brand AND1 brings us the Attack 2.0 doesn’t feature a mainstream brand logo but they offer a pretty powerful on-court performance punch. Traction is beastly and the cushion is nicely balanced. Modern materials along with a good support and fit combo top it off. Read the full review.

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Li-Ning Way of Wade 8

Although priced steeply at $225, the WoW 8 is a really nice playing shoe. Li-Ning didn’t cut any corners and the shoe is damn near perfect. This is probably the most supportive shoe of 2020 with cushion, traction, and premium materials. It runs long so size 1/2 down. Read full review.

Most Cushioned Basketball Shoes

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Nike LeBron 18

The cushioning is amazing. Cushlon foam, a full length Zoom Air strobel, and the heel Air Max unit work together for extreme impact protection. The comfort, lockdown and traction are also great. The only issues are some lateral instability and the stiff, annoying tongue. But the LeBron 18 features a bounce that made our testers feel younger. If cushioning is the most important part of a shoe for you, this is the shoe you’ll want. Read full review.

Best Budget Basketball Shoes

The best way to get the best basketball shoes on a budget is to buy last year’s models when they go on sale or clearance. You can find great deals on high performing basketball shoes if you don’t need the new, hot shoe. We even have Deals pages to track brand and retailer sales.

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Nike Kyrie 6

Though they run small (go a 1/2 size up from your normal size) the lockdown is great, the Zoom Turbo in the forefoot is responsive and bouncy, nice materials, and tacky traction that you don’t need to wipe to keep clean. Read full review.

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Puma Clyde Hardwood

Puma blends the old with the new in a way that should be ideal for most players. Softer textiles combine with genuine leathers and suedes for a great fit. The cushion is basic but the traction grips everything and they look great off court too. Read full review.

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Under Armour Curry 7

Steph Curry’s seventh signature shoe is a beast on court. Cushion is mediocre (Curry likes a firm setup) but the traction is great. Materials work wonderfully despite not being premium. The fit is near perfect and the support is awesome. Read full review.

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

If you play outdoors often, these shoes have the durability and cushioning to keep you going during long hours on the concrete or asphalt. Also check out our tips for picking the perfect outdoor basketball shoe and to see more of our top picks. 

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UA Embiid 1

A solid all-around shoe that can be worn by any player and position. If you play primarily outdoors then these will also make for a great pickup. They’re moderately priced at $120. They include enough cushion and traction to ensure you can enjoy them for longer than the typical modern day basketball shoe. Read the full review.

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Nike Court Air Zoom GP Turbo

The Zoom GP Turbo isn’t even a basketball shoe, it’s a tennis shoe. Tennis is played outdoors on hard courts similar to where many people play basketball. The full length Zoom Air strobel, herringbone traction, and sleek fit provide a uniquely comfortable ride. Read the full review.

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Nike Zoom BB NXT

A fun shoe with killer traction and cushion. The triple-layered React and two large forefoot Zoom Air pods really impress. There’s a small stability issue and potential forefoot lace loop pinching but the the fit and sculpting from the tolling makes for a fun ride. Read full review.

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Nike LeBron Soldier 14

Due to the hidden lacing system and bootie upper, it’s not an easy shoe to put on. But the fit’s good anyway. The outsole has XDR rubber made for outdoor play while the forefoot and heel Zoom combined with a Cushlon foam midsole will save your knees and back. Read full review.

Most Hyped Basketball Shoe

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adidas Yeezy QNTM BSKTBL

After spending years teasing it, Kanye West finally released his own basketball shoe. The years of build up made the Yeezy BSKTBL highly anticipated. And it ended up being a solid performer by including a full length Boost midsole and a herringbone outsole. Read full review.

Keep in mind that all of these basketball shoes will accommodate any position or player as long as the shoe in question meets your specifications or requirements. Detailed information on each shoe is featured in its respective performance review. Performance reviews feature an in depth look at each shoe’s pros and cons, price, weight, technology, and other performance specifics. Click on the image or link to read the full performance review for each shoe.

If a model isn’t featured, it’s either because the model has yet to be tested/reviewed or because we feel it does not belong among the current top basketball shoes. Please reach out via Twitter if you have any follow up questions.