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10+ Best Basketball Shoes 2024. Expert-tested and Reviewed.

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

Each of our testers has their own personal top 10 basketball shoes, but the list provided on this page is created using their input, of course, but also with the needs of the majority of basketball players in mind.

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 are looking to buy new basketball shoes. You can also check our Weartesters en Español TOP 5 Best Basketball Shoes list as well.

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. You can find a brief summary of how we test all the basketball shoes that we get in at the bottom of the page, or you can check out a detailed breakdown of how we test all of our shoes as well.

Also, if you enjoy our content, you should know that we have a great community where we discuss sneakers, reviews, and all sorts of other topics. Community members also enjoy behind-the-scenes footage, invitations to WearTesters events, early access to merchandise, and automatic entry into shoe giveaways

Updated: 02/26/2024

Best Basketball Shoes Overall 2024

In this article, we will go over the best basketball shoes in several different categories, but to start everything off, we will go over the top 10 best basketball shoes overall. Whether you are playing indoors or outdoors, whether you are a shifty guard or an explosive forward, these basketball shoes will serve you well.

We have chosen these shoes because out of the hundreds of shoes we have tested this year, these offer a great blend of performance features that will accommodate most playing styles. Check it out.

The Best Basketball Shoe Overall in 2024

Nike LeBron 21

The Nike LeBron 21 promises to be a beast on court. It can be described as a remix of the Nike LeBron 20, and, that shoe was amazing, and in fact the best basketball shoe from last year. Barring any unfortunate surprises, this will be one of the top models this year, one of the most versatile, and one of the most comfortable on court, as well as an attainable Kobe substitute, making it one of the best basketball shoes of the year.

UPDATE: Make sure to buy a colorway that uses raw materials. Any colorway built with synthetics will not be with the while. Read the full review. Price: $200

9/10
Total Score
#nike_FV2345-500

Jordan 38

This year’s Jordan Flagship model is a beast and a big improvement on the Jordan 37. The Jordan 38 is lightweight and nimble, with tons of ventilation, a great no-nonsense traction setup (which in this colorway is etched into a translucent rubber sole), and a very well-balanced layered cushioning system. This cushioning system combines a Phylon midsole, a full-length Zoom Air Strobel, and a slab of Cushlon 3.0 nestled between the outsole and the midsole. The shoe retails for $200 which is steep but the Jordan 38 will be one of the best shoes of the year. Price: $200. Read the full review.

9/10
Total Score
#nike_DZ3356-100

Nike GT Jump 2

It’s nice to see the changes Nike made in this shoe. They have taken everything that was great in the first model and tweaked it to make the GT Jump 2 that much better as a performance basketball shoe. It also makes the Nike GT Jump 2 a more accessible model for the majority of basketball players out there who need the added reactiveness and stability.

The Nike GT Jump is a great hoop shoe, but it’s better suited for larger, heavier players, and the GT Jump 2 feels like a more well-balanced shoe, that a wider audience will enjoy. Read the full review.

9/10
Total Score
#nike_DJ9431-003

Nike KD 16

The Nike KD 16 is another great hoop shoe in Kevin Durant’s signature line. The Nike KD 16 is very different from the Nike KD 15 (which was also an amazing hoop shoe) but there really haven’t been any downgrades. We have a new gear-shaped traction pattern etched into a translucent rubber sole, an excellent cushioning system that combines a cushlon midsole a large zoom unit in the forefoot, and an Air Stroble that covers the midfoot and heel. Materials are nothing to write home about but the mix of textiles and synthetic leather works well on court, as do all the support features in the shoe. Read the full review. Price: $160

9.5/10
Total Score
#nike_DV2917-003

Nike Zoom Freak 5

The Nike Zoom Freak 5 just might be the best Giannis Antentoukoumpo signature we have had to date. The Freak 5 does away with the visible Zoom units in the forefoot of the shoe, which adds stability and responsiveness to the shoe. The Zoom Freak 5 is a very simple shoe in terms of tech and overall design, but it will offer above-average on-court. Read the full review. Price: $140

8/10
Total Score
#nike_DX4985-700

adidas AE 1

adidas has been having a bit of a resurgence in the performance basketball market. The Harden Vol 7 was fantastic, the Trae Young 3 was very solid, and now we have the AE 1 which is a top-tier basketball shoe and one of the best first signature shoes we have ever seen. The AE 1 might end up being the best overall basketball shoe of 2024, but even if it doesn’t end up at that level, it’s an excellent basketball shoe and easily one of the best adidas basketball shoes you can buy, if you can get your hands on a pair. Read full review. Price $120.

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy adidas AE 1

Puma MB 03

The Puma MB 03, simply put, is the best LaMelo signature shoe to date, which is a huge compliment. In terms of on-court performance, the Puma MB 01 is hard to beat, but the MB 03 features better materials, and, in our opinion, a more refined and unique design, which definitely puts this model over the top. If you are debating which shoe to pick up for the season, this is one of the safest bets you can make. Read the full review. Price: $130

8.7/10
Total Score
Buy Puma MB 03

Puma Stewie 2

The Puma Stewie 2 is Bianna Stewarts’ second signature, and simply put it is just a great all-around performance model. This top-notch guards shoe boasts excellent indoor traction, a very well-balanced and bouncy cushioning system, and a very secure and natural feeling low-top build. It won’t be a great outdoor option, unfortunately, but as long as you keep them indoors, you will get a very similar on-court experience to the Puma Clyde All-Pro, which is an all-time great. KEEP IN MIND that in the US the Stewie 2 comes in woman’s sizes, so if you want the correct men’s size you will need to go 1.5 sizes up (ie: 12M = 13.5W). Read the full review. Price: $125

9/10
Total Score
Buy Puma Stewie 2

Puma All Pro Nitro

The Puma All Pro Nitro is quite different from the original model, but it is a more than worthy successor to an iconic performance basketball shoe. This iteration boasts outstanding traction, a bouncy and well-balanced cushioning system, and decent materials that effectively fulfill their purpose, resulting in an exceptional all-around performance basketball shoe. Read the full review. Price: $130

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Puma All Pro Nitro

adidas Harden Vol 8

adidas has created a more than worthy successor to one of their best basketball shoes in years, the Harden Vol 7. In terms of performance, the Harden Vol 8 should be equally as effective on court as the Vol 7. But, that’s just half of the story. In terms of overall design and overall build, the Harden Vol 8 maintained a common design language with the Harden Vol 7 while at the same time improving and refining several aspects. This is, admittedly, an odd-looking basketball shoe, but at the same time, it stands out. Truly memorable basketball shoes perform great and look different, and the Harden Vol 8 does just that. Read full review. Price $160.

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy adidas Harden Vol 8

Honorable Mentions

Curry 11

Under Armour’s approach to designing Curry shoes in recent years has apparently been “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. This has worked out well, as the Curry 8, the Curry 9, and the Curry 10 have all been excellent performance models, and each has improved slightly on the last. With the Curry 11 we might have reached the pinnacle of this approach. The one weakness of all the Flow Curry models has been the cushioning. Not that it was bad in any way, but Flow for basketball has been dense and neutral feeling underfoot, making the shoes that feature it fairly niche items.

With this new dual-density iteration of Flow, that one weakness has been addressed. This shoe has everything you know and love from the Curry signature line, with softer, bouncier cushioning, which makes it one of the best basketball shoes on the market. Read the full review. Price: $160

9.2/10
Total Score
Buy Curry 11

Nike Sabrina 1

The Nike Sabrina 1 is a great first signature shoe for Sabrina Ionescu and is one of the best basketball shoes Nike has to offer in 2023/24. It’s a shoe that visually, and in terms of performance, could easily be a Kobe shoe, so if you’re looking for a shoe that will give you that “Kobe” feeling on court this one is a safe bet. The Sabrina 1 is a top-notch guard-style shoe that will give you great traction (indoors), a speedy and reactive cushioning setup, along with elite lockdown and support. Read the full review. Price: $120

8.5/10
Total Score
#nike_FQ3381-301

Nike LeBron 20

The Nike LeBron 20 was one of the most hyped LeBron James basketball shoes ever, and it really did live up to the expectations. The LeBron 20 offers elite-level traction and some of the year’s best cushioning (and maybe even all-time). The midsole is full-length Cushlon with a forefoot Zoom Turbo unit and an additional standard heel Zoom Air unit in the heel. The upper is also lightweight and comfortable, and if all this weren’t enough, it is the best-fitting shoe of the year. Read the full review.

Price: $200 $140

9/10
Total Score
Buy Nike LeBron 20

Serious Player Only Player 1

This brand-new hoop shoe (and brand for that matter) features some of the best traction we have seen in 2024. The shoe is equipped with a solid rubber outsole, with full-length herringbone traction. The rubber is tremendously grippy but soft. And that is the one drawback: these are exclusively an indoor shoe. But indoors this is one of the best traction setups out there. Read full review. Price: $159

8/10
Total Score
Buy Serious Player Only Player 1

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes 2024

If you play outdoors often, these shoes have the durability and cushioning to keep you going during long hours on the concrete or asphalt. If you want to know how to pick the best basketball shoes for outdoors, we also have an article that can help you out, and you can also check out our full list of the best outdoor basketball shoes.

Way of Wade All City 12

The Way of Wade All City 12 is a very solid all-around performance model with no real weak points, and several strong points. The full-length Boom cushioning is very well balanced, the multipurpose traction is excellent, and containment and support are top-notch as well. They are our top outdoor pick because of the combination of plush, shock-absorbing cushioning and their very durable outsole. The fact that they can handle any type of playing surface and that they will suit almost any position and playing style make the All City 12 stand out among other similarly priced basketball shoes. Read the full review. Price: $150

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Way of Wade All City 12

Best Budget Basketball Shoes 2024

When we are talking about the best budget basketball shoes, we are talking about shoes that the brands have marketed as their cheaper option. There are usually some hidden gems among those models that will give you a ton of bang for your buck. You can check out the full list here, as well as our list of the top basketball shoe deals currently available.

Nike Air Max Impact 4

The Nike Air Max Impact 4 was a big surprise. Easily the best budget model on the market today, and in general one of the best basketball shoes you can buy. The cushion setup is the shoe’s best feature. They are incredibly soft and comfortable and feature an upper that needs no break-in time. The shoe’s support is also a stand-out feature with two outriggers that make sure your foot is secure during play. There’s really no other shoe under $100 that performs this well, this consistently. Read the full review. Price: $90

9.2/10
Total Score
#nike_DM1124-001

Best Basketball Shoes for Wide Feet 2024

There are not a ton of great options for wide-footers out there. With the explosion in popularity of online shopping wide footers might not get the chance, to try on sneakers in-store. But, have no fear, Weartesters is here to help you find the best shoe for you. Here you will find our top choice for the best basketball shoe for wide footers, and you can also check out our full list of wide-foot-friendly options here.

Nike GT Jump 2

The Nike GT Jump 2 is one of the best all-around basketball shoes of the year and, as a bonus, for our wide-footed readers, they are a great choice for this foot type. The last they are built on is accommodating and the amazing forefoot cushioning makes for a silky smooth ride on court. Read the full review.

9/10
Total Score
#nike_DJ9431-003

Best Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support 2024

The main source of ankle support while playing basketball is provided by your ankle itself, and not necessarily from your shoes. If you are looking for a shoe to boost your confidence and get a little extra support, here is our top pick, and you can check our full list of the best basketball shoes for ankle support as well.

Puma MB 03

The Puma MB 03 might just be the best LaMelo signature shoe to date (in our opinion it is), which is saying something. In terms of on-court performance, the Puma MB 01 is hard to beat, but the MB 03 features better materials, and, in our opinion, a more refined and unique design, which might just clinch the W. On top of that it features amazing lockdown an a nicely sculpted and reinforced heel, making it elite in terms of ankle support. Read the full review. Price: $130

8.7/10
Total Score
Buy Puma MB 03

Most Comfortable Basketball Shoes 2024

Our choices for the most comfortable basketball shoes on the market will always have to excel in two key features: materials, and most importantly, cushion. This is our current top choice, but you can check out our full list here.

Nike LeBron 21

Yet another top spot for the Nike LeBron 21. The Nike LeBron 21 is one of the best basketball shoes of the year, if not THE best. One of the reasons it is so good is precisely because it is such a comfortable hoop shoe. Read the full review. Price: $200

9/10
Total Score
#nike_FV2345-500

Best Traction Basketball Shoes 2024

Traction is one of the most important features of a performance basketball shoe. It’s the foundation on which everything else is built. If excellent traction is your number 1 priority above any other feature, this is our top pick in regard to traction. Here you can see our full list of the best traction basketball shoes.

Serious Player Only Player 1

This shoe features some of the best traction we have seen in 2024. The shoe is equipped with a solid rubber outsole, with ultra-grippy full-length herringbone traction. The rubber is tremendously grippy but soft. The one drawback of the traction on the Player 1: these are exclusively an indoor shoe. But indoors this is one of the best traction setups out there. Read full review. Price: $159

8/10
Total Score
Buy Serious Player Only Player 1

Best Low Top Basketball Shoes 2024

Low-cut basketball shoes are some of the most popular styles of basketball shoes on the market. They feel sleeker and more agile than other styles and after Kobe Bryant re-popularized them back in 2008, hoopers can’t get enough of low-top basketball shoes. You can check our full list of the best low-top basketball shoes if you would like to as well.

Nike LeBron 21

The Nike LeBron 21 makes another appearance on our list, and that is because it is an excellent basketball shoe. It is our top low-top pick because it is the best hoop shoe out there, and it just happens to be a low-top basketball shoe. Read the full review. Price: $200

9/10
Total Score
#nike_FV2345-500

Best High Top Basketball Shoes 2024

Some people like low-top basketball shoes, some people like high-top basketball shoes, it all depends on your personal taste while on the court. If you are in the market for the best high-top basketball shoe currently on the market, this is our top pick and you can check out our full list of the best high-top basketball shoes available as well, for extra info and context.

Nike GT Jump 2

This is one of the best basketball shoes of the year, and its also a high top. It’s nice to see the changes Nike made in this shoe. They have taken everything that was great in the first model and tweaked it to make the GT Jump 2 that much better as a performance basketball shoe. It also makes the Nike GT Jump 2 a more accessible model for the majority of basketball players out there who need the added reactiveness and stability. Read the full review.

9/10
Total Score
#nike_DJ9431-003

Best Basketball Shoes for Flat Feet 2024

It is a big hassle to find good basketball shoes for people with flat feet. Close to 30% of the population is flat-footed, and finding proper footwear for flat-footed basketball players can be difficult. With this in mind, and after hundreds of hours and models tested, we have chosen the top basketball shoe for flat feet, and we have curated a full list of flat-foot-friendly options as well.

Nike LeBron 21

The Nike LeBron 21 is going to be a great on court model. It can be described as a remix of the Nike LeBron 20, and, that shoe was amazing. It also features a ton of great features for flat footers: a very comfortable cushioning system (Cusholon midsole + forefoot and heel Zoom Air), as well as great arch and torsional support. This will be one of the best basketball shoes all round of the year, and a good option for flat footed hoopers. Read the full review. Price: $200

9/10
Total Score
#nike_FV2345-500

Best Basketball Shoes for Jumping 2024

First off, no basketball shoe will help you jump higher. Any publication or company that alleges the opposite is lying. As simple as that. A basketball shoe can, however, help you jump faster and cushion the impact when you come back down. So, with that in mind, here is our top pick of the best basketball shoe for jumping, and you can also check out our full list here.

Nike GT Jump 2

Because the Nike GT Jump 2 packs such an impressive cushioning package, but at the same time remains tremendously stable and reactive, it is an excellent option to get you off the hardwood and in the air in a hurry and absorb the impact when you come back down. The Nike GT Jump 2 is a very versatile shoe that will work well for every position on the court. Read the full review.

9/10
Total Score
#nike_DJ9431-003

Best Value Basketball Shoes 2024

Here is our top pick for the best “bang for your buck” option currently available on the market. You can check out the full list here.

New Balance TWO WXY V4 

The New Balance TWO WXY V4 is an elite performance basketball shoe, and perhaps the most versatile model as well. For $120 you get a basketball shoe with excellent traction, top-notch cushioning and all around great performance, and, what makes these our top value pick in 2023/24 is that it will perform equally as well outdoors, and hold up well to the rigors of the blacktop. Read full review. Price $120.

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy New Balance TWO WXY V4 

Best Cheap Basketball Shoes 2024

Here is our top pick for the best cheap basketball shoes currently available. Budget shoes are specific type of shoe that is designed to be more inexpensive, best-value shoes are great performers with an amazing price and cheap basketball shoes are simply the best kicks with the lowest price. You can check out the full list here.

Nike LeBron 20

The Nike LeBron 20 was one of the most hyped LeBron James basketball shoes ever, and it really did live up to the expectations. It was one of the best basketball shoes last season, and now it is on clearance making it the top cheap basketball shoe available. Read the full review.

Price: $179.97 Discounted from $200.

9/10
Total Score
Buy Nike LeBron 20

Best Basketball Shoes by Brand 2024

If you have a favorite brand, here you can check out our top picks from the top brands. We also have a list of the best basketball shoes by every brand that we have reviewed in the last year.

Nike Best Basketball Shoes

Nike LeBron 20

Nike LeBron 21

The Nike LeBron 21 promises to be a beast on court. It can be described as a remix of the Nike LeBron 20, and, again, that shoe was amazing. Read the full review. Price: $200

9/10
Total Score
#nike_FV2345-500

Jordan Brand Best Basketball Shoes

Jordan 38

jordan 38 review

This year’s Jordan Flagship model is a beast and a big improvement on the Jordan 37. It is lightweight and nimble, with tons of ventilation, a great no-nonsense traction setup, and a very well-balanced layered cushioning system. Price: $200. Read the full review.

9/10
Total Score
#nike_DZ3356-100

Puma Best Basketball Shoes

Puma Stewie 2

puma stewie 2

The Puma Stewie 2 is Bianna Stewarts’ second signature, and simply put it is just a great all-around performance model (possibly the best of the 2023/24 sneaker season). Read the full review. Price: $125

9/10
Total Score
Buy Puma Stewie 2

Under Armour Best Basketball Shoes

UA Curry 10

under armour curry 11 review

The one weakness of all the Flow Curry models has been the cushioning. Not that it was bad in any way, but Flow for basketball has been dense and neutral feeling underfoot, making the shoes that feature it fairly niche items. With this new dual-density iteration of Flow, that one weakness has been addressed. Read the full review. Price: $160

9.2/10
Total Score
Buy Under Armour Curry 11

Anta Best Basketball Shoes

Anta Shock Wave 5

Anta Shock Wave 5

If you liked Kyrie’s shoes with Nike you will like this one as well. Anta has thought of everything when designing this model and has created an elite guard shoe. Read the full review. Price: $115

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Anta Shock Wave 5

Use promo code WEARTESTERS for a discount.

Way Of Wade Best Basketball Shoes

Way of Wade All City 12

way of wade all city 12 review

The Way of Wade All City 12 is a very solid all-around performance model with no real weak points, and several strong points. The full-length Boom cushioning is very well balanced, the multipurpose traction is excellent, and containment and support are top-notch as well. Read the full review. Price: $150

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Way of Wade All City 12

adidas Best Basketball Shoes

adidas AE 1

adidas AE 1 Review

the AE 1 which is a top-tier basketball shoe and one of the best first signature shoes we have ever seen. The AE 1 might end up being the best overall basketball shoe of 2024, but even if it doesn’t end up at that level, it’s an excellent basketball shoe and easily one of the best adidas basketball shoes you can buy. Read full review. Price $120.

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy adidas AE 1

Best Basketball Shoes By Position 2024

A good place to start when searching for the best basketball shoes for you is checking out shoes that were designed to cater to players who play the same position as you, or that cater to your playing style. Shoes designed for smaller quicker players will tend to put more emphasis on traction and court feel, whereas sneakers for bigger more powerful players will include as much cushion and support as possible.

With this in mind, here are our top picks by position. You can also check out our full lists for each to dive deeper:

Best Basketball Shoes for Point Guards 2024

Nike Sabrina 1

The Nike Sabrina 1 is a great first signature shoe for Sabrina Ionescu and is one of the best basketball shoes Nike has to offer in 2023/24. The Sabrina 1 is a top-notch guard-style shoe that will give you great traction (indoors), a speedy and reactive cushioning setup, along with elite lockdown and support. If you’re looking for a basketball shoe with beefy and plush cushioning, this might not be the shoe for you, but that is hardly a drawback. This is one of the best basketball shoes for guards you will find. Read the full review. Price: $130

8.5/10
Total Score
#nike_FQ3381-301

Best Basketball Shoes for Shooting Guards 2024

Nike Book 1

The Nike Book 1 will be an awesome hoop shoe for some people. If you like 90’s style basketball shoes, this is a no-brainer. The Book 1 has everything you could ask for in terms of simplicity of design, quality of materials, and no-frills on-court performance, AND, surprisingly, it will hold up really well outdoors.

The Book 1 proves that lightweight textiles are more of a gimmick than a performance feature and they are widely used as a cost-cutting measure for companies and not to create better products for the consumer. They look good, they play good, and they just get the job done. End of story. Easily one of the best basketball shoes right now in terms of materials, and one f the best shoes for shooting guards. Read full review. Price $140.

8/10
Total Score
#nike_FJ4249-400

Best Basketball Shoes for Small Forwards 2024

Nike KD 16

The Nike KD 16 is another great hoop shoe in Kevin Durant’s signature line. The Nike KD 16 is very different from the Nike KD 15 (which was also an amazing hoop shoe) but there really haven’t been any downgrades. The combination of the KD 16s plush cushioning system alongside the shoe’s other features that keep it reactive on court, make it one of the best basketball shoes for Small Forwards. Price: $160

9.5/10
Total Score
#nike_DV2917-003

Best Basketball Shoes for Power Forwards 2024

Puma MB 03

The Puma MB 03 makes another appearance on our best basketball shoes list. The MB 03 is an extremely well-rounded basketball shoe, with above-average cushioning, which will make it a great option for skilled bigger players, and therefore one of the best basketball shoes for Power Forwards. Read the full review. Price: $130

8.7/10
Total Score
Buy Puma MB 03

Best Basketball Shoes for Centers 2024

Nike GT Jump 2

It’s nice to see the changes Nike made in this shoe. They have taken everything that was great in the first model and tweaked it to make the GT Jump 2 that much better as a performance basketball shoe. But this shoe is still one of the best-cushioned shoes we have ever seen, which, combined with the upgraded materials and fit make it one of the best basketball shoes for centers (if not THE best) you can pick up right now. Read the full review.

9/10
Total Score
#nike_DJ9431-003

Best Basketball Shoe Insoles 2024

Move Insoles

Move Insoles come with the backing of the likes of Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, and Jamaal Crawford. If that weren’t enough they come packed with performance features including Shock-Free foam for step-in comfort, DS37 foam as the main cushion booster, a forefoot grip layer, a EVA torsion plate, and a Nylon-based torsion plate on Game Day Pro. They are easily one of the best basketball insoles on the market. There are two models to choose from. The Game Day and the Game Day Pro, check them out!. Price: $39.99 or $59.99.

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy Move Insoles

How do we choose the best basketball shoes?

We utilize an in-depth methodology to test all of the shoes and equipment we test on this site. When it comes to basketball shoes, in particular, we test them on court for at least two weeks each. This gives us enough time to break in the shoe and thoroughly put them through their paces. We also always test the shoes both outdoors and indoors to test how they perform on different surfaces.

We concentrate on 5 main characteristics of the different models we test: traction (how the shoe grips the court), cushion (what level of impact protection the shoe provides), materials (quality of materials used), support (level of support you will experience in the shoe) and fit (how the shoe fits). These 5 features are analyzed on how they perform independently and how they perform together, which will give you a very good feel for how good the shoe is.

Our goal is to offer the best and most unbiased information at all times to help our audience find the best basketball shoes for their particular needs and playing style.

Keep in mind that all of these best 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, technology, and other performance specifics.

What are the best basketball shoes?

The best basketball shoes will always be the ones that allow you to perform at your highest, but finding that pair of hoop shoes isn’t as easy as it may seem. Even if you’re a seasoned basketball player, you may not be sure what features are best suited for your playing style, and which of the many basketball shoes you could pick up actually have the features you need. 

You might prefer just to pick up the best basketball shoes from your favorite brand, but a shoe that caters to your playing style, physique, and foot shape really can enhance your performance on court and help prevent injuries. 

A great basketball shoe should be able to: 

  • Grip the playing surface in a way that allows you to cut, change directions, and stop on a dime. 
  • Provide a level of cushioning that protects your joints from the multiple impacts you will suffer while playing. Every time you land after a jump, you’re putting stress on your joints. On average a player jumps 50 times during a basketball game. Without the proper impact protection, your joints will feel it later. 
  • The shoe’s upper should be comfortable but at the same time lock down your foot. If the materials are too soft, your foot will likely slide over the top of the midsole. Too tight and the shoe might be too painful to play in. 
  • The shoe should also provide support and give you confidence in more explosive movements. A shoe’s support will come from a mix of several features, but the main source of support is your own ankle. 
  • Lastly, you will want a shoe with durable materials worth the hefty price tag of many shoes nowadays, and that are ready to handle the court you play on, whether it be indoors or outdoors. 

What is the best basketball shoe of all time?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. The truth is that there isn’t just one “best basketball shoe” of all time, especially when we’re talking about performance basketball shoes. If we’re talking most iconic, you could probably argue it’s the Jordan 1 or maybe the Converse All-Star, but when we go into on-court performance, the conversation gets more nuanced.

To give as concise an answer as possible, we’ll go over some of the top performers of all time, keeping in mind that personal preference and playing style are huge variables to keep in mind:

Air Jordan 12

To start things off, let’s go with a retro Jordan. The Air Jordan 12 is one of the greatest performance models of all time, and a shoe that was way ahead of its time. The Air Jordan 12 was originally released in 1997 and featured tech that, even by today’s standards, makes it a great on-court shoe. The Air Jordan 12 features herringbone traction, full-length Zoom Air, and a super supportive leather upper (the OG’s feature full-grain leather). An all-around awesome performer. Read full review. Current Retail Price: $200

Buy on Ebay

Air Jordan 29

A more modern Jordan model, the Jordan 29 was released back in 2014. Its predecessor, the Jordan 28, was an amazing performance model and the Jordan 29 improved on the blueprint established by the 28. With the Jordan 29 you will get great traction, one of the best Air Zoom setups in the forefoot for cushion, one of the best uppers on a basketball shoe of all time, and all the lightweight support you can handle. Another all-time great from Jordan Brand. Read full review. Original Price: $225

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Nike Kobe 9

First off, the Nike Kobe 9 features the best traction of all time. Period. The Nike Kobe 9 was a very technologically advanced shoe at the time. The traction pattern was thermally mapped and engineered to adapt perfectly to the foot’s anatomy. On top of that, the shoe featured a Lunarlon drop-in midsole (a very innovative set-up at the time) and an engineered mesh upper. All these features allowed the shoe to remain extremely lightweight and supportive. Probably the best performance Kobe you can buy, and one of the best basketball shoes of all time. Read full review. Original Price: $160

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Under Armour Curry 4

The Curry signature line is one of the most consistently great signature lines out there. The Under Armour Curry 4 is one of the best guard shoes ever produced. The shoe offers great traction, responsive low-profile cushioning, and hall-of-fame level support and fit. The shoe was meant to conform to your foot like a sock, so finding your correct size is crucial. Once you do, you’ll have one of the most agile and responsive shoes ever created. Read full review. Original Price: $130

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adidas Harden Vol 3

One of adidas’ greatest contributions to performance footwear is Boost cushioning. Boost is one of the greatest cushion setups of all time and the Harden Vol 3 features one of the best iterations of it on a basketball shoe. Aside from flawless cushioning, James Harden’s 3rd signature shoe also features great traction, a highly supportive and Hall-of-fame-level fitting woven upper. The fit and support of the shoe are generated primarily by the upper itself, keeping everything lightweight. James Harden shoes can be a bit hit or miss, but the adidas Harden Vol 3 is definitely the line’s greatest hit to date, and one of the best basketball shoes ever. Read full review. Original Price: $160

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Which sole materials are the best for basketball?

Outside of the different rubber compounds shoe brands use, which might too technical a differentiation, there are two main types of rubber used on basketball shoes: translucent and solid rubber.

As a general rule of thumb, solid rubber is a safer bet when it comes to traction, but that is not to say that there aren’t some really great translucent rubber options out there (ie: Jordan Luka 1). Solid rubber tends to bite the court better and offers the best performance.

Then there is the question of the hardness and durability of the rubber. This is especially important when you are trying to find a good basketball shoe for outdoor play. In this case, what you are looking for is a harder rubber compound with a deep and aggressive traction pattern. To this end, Nike’s XDR rubber is always a safe bet.

What’s a good weight for a basketball shoe?

To give a short easy answer: any weight is good for a basketball shoe.

It just depends on your preferences on the court. Heavier shoes are just slightly heavier, and don’t really affect performance in any way. Lighter shoes do not make you any faster or explosive on court. Weight differences between basketball shoes are miniscule and really give you any edge either way, its just a preference.

How many types of basketball shoes are there?

There are many different ways to categorize basketball shoes: by brand, by surface, by position, etc. But one differentiation that is common to any type of hoop shoe is the cut. Basketball shoes can be high cut, mid cut or low cut.

The differences between the three don’t really have any effect on the performance of the shoe, it is more of an aesthetic difference. Check out the full breakdown on Highs, Mids and Lows here.

What are the best basketball shoe brands?

It is very difficult, or maybe even impossible to pick one brand and designate it as the best for basketball. First off, that depends 100% on you and your needs on court. If you are a small shifty point guard, you would of course need a shoe that fits your needs regardless of the brand.

Then there is the issue of the time period we are talking about. In recent years, Puma has emerged as one of the most consistent producers of high quality performance basketball shoes. But they just re-entered the market in 2018. Historically, Nike might have the longest list of all-time performers, but maybe also the longest list of on-court duds.

So with this in mind, here is a list of the current top brands for basketball shoes (in no particular order:

How do I find a basketball shoe that fits my playing style?

No two basketball players are the same. Everything from a player’s height to their weight, to their build, their skill level, etc. are factors that will determine their playing style. And even players that seem very similar, can have different tastes in what they like from their footwear. Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving for example have vastly different signature shoes, but somewhat comparable styles on court.  

Smaller, more agile players will usually favor shoes that can accommodate their shiftier style of play. This means that they will need great traction, great support features, and reactive cushioning. The Curry line and the Kyrie line are good examples of this type of setup. 

For bigger, more powerful players, on the other hand, the main focus will probably be a plush cushioning system that will absorb a lot of impacts and a very supportive build. In this case, LeBron’s signature line is the best example available.

This of course is a general rule of thumb, and each player will have their individual tastes, but this is a good starting point to find the best basketball shoes for you. 

Indoor Basketball vs Outdoor Basketball 

This is the question of where you’ll use your shoes. If you play primarily indoors, durability won’t be a huge issue. But if you’re an outdoor hooper, that’s a different story

The best basketball shoes for outdoor basketball will need more durable materials along the upper, harder rubber on the outsole, more cushion to protect against the hard blacktop, and an appropriate traction pattern. We have a full guide on how to choose outdoor basketball shoes that you can check out. 

High-tops, Mid-tops, and Low-tops

Lastly, there is the question of the cut of the shoe. The issue of the cut of a basketball shoe is a bit of a myth. High tops and mids are perceived as offering more support for your ankles and will supposedly help you avoid ankle injuries. 

This is not true, however. Low-tops are as supportive as high-tops because the main source of support when playing basketball is actually your ankle itself. NBA players have been playing in low-top basketball shoes for decades, but Kobe Bryant was actually the player who most notoriously debunked this myth

But there is something to say about the placebo effect that mid-tops and high-tops can provide. Especially people who have already injured their ankles feel safer in mids and highs, and confidence is essential when stepping on the court. So, in this case, stick with what works for you. 

Finding the best fit for your basketball shoes

With the boom of online shopping, going into your local sneaker shop and trying on a pair of shoes is practically a thing of the past. If you aren’t going in and trying on your shoes, fit can be more of an issue than you might think. 

For starters, different brands fit differently. In particular, adidas is notoriously inconsistent with its sizing and is the most different fitting of any of the major brands. But even within more traditionally fitting brands, different lines within each brand might fit wider or more narrowly

Fortunately, at WearTesters we break down the fit of every shoe we review. And we actually wear and test every shoe we review. That’s not something a lot of other shoe review websites do.  

How much should a basketball shoe cost?

As much as you are willing to pay. You can find basketball shoes from under $50 all the way up to around $300 for retail. And there are good basketball shoes at any price point, and if you start sifting through basketball shoe deals, even more so. It is more a matter of what you are looking to spend.

But $100 is a good average price point where you will find a lot of really good basketball shoes. In that rage of $90 to $110, there are a lot of really good basketball shoes that are worth the money.

Also, at that price, you aren’t shelling out too much cash just for the marketing or hype around the shoe either. Making basketball shoes, believe it or not, is quite expensive, and $100 is a fair amount to spend on a pair.

How much room should be at the end of a basketball shoe?

This is another aspect of a basketball shoe that depends greatly on your personal taste in shoes. Performance-wise, a 1-to-1 fit is the best way to go. You want your hoop shoes to fit like a glove, this will give you the best support and lockdown on the court.

As far as how much room should be at the end of a basketball shoe, at most you want to leave a thumbs width of space at the end of your shoe. Any more, and you are giving your foot too much space to slide within your shoe.

How to break in a basketball shoe

Nowadays, performance basketball shoes are usually made using synthetic textile materials along the upper, which cuts down on break-in time dramatically. However, there are a few quick tips to break in your basketball shoes even quicker. 

Wear your hoop shoes casually 

Before taking your basketball shoes out on the court, you can wear them casually or around the house for a couple of days to get them formed to your foot. You can also wear them to the weight room for light exercise. After 2 or 3 days, you should be ready to take them to court. 

Wear your basketball shoes to practice 

Before you break out your new kicks during an official game, take them for a test drive in a more controlled environment. Use them for a shootaround. Or get a few practices in before game day.  

If you follow the above recommendations, your shoes should be nicely broken in and ready for action.

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