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10+ Best Traction Basketball Shoes

Best Traction Basketball Shoes

Traction is the foundation of all basketball shoes. You can have great cushion. You can have quality materials. You can even have all the support features ever known to footwear. But without a proper outsole grip, all of those are meaningless. You’ll be slipping and sliding all over the place, unable to do anything properly. That’s why we felt it essential to make our list of the Best Traction Basketball Shoes.

To some people, this aspect of a basketball performance shoe is the most important. Understandably so. We hope you’ll find the shoe with the proper traction for you and your playing needs. Now, here are the Best Traction Basketball Shoes.

Last updated 11.25.2022


Best Traction Basketball Shoes Overall

Nike LeBron 20

Nike LeBron 20

The Nike LeBron 20 is one of the most hyped LeBron James basketball shoes ever. It strays away from previous releases like the Nike LeBron 19, even in the traction department. That shoe’s grip was inconsistent, but this one’s a beast. The pattern is multidirectional, covering you on all movements on both defense and offense. One of our testers, Bryan, said it could be on par with the Nike Kobe 9 – or maybe even better. Read the full review. Price: $200

9/10
Total Score
Buy Nike LeBron 20
Curry 10

Under Armour Curry 10

The Under Armour Curry 10 is an improved version of an already great shoe, the Curry 9. The shoe features Under Armour’s Flow cushioning/traction system. Flow offers great impact protection and a seamless ride from heel to toe. The traction is GOAT-level on clean indoor courts, and you only need to wipe when playing on extremely dusty courts.

It sort of feels like a running shoe that has been beefed up for basketball, and it’s perfect for guards. The Curry 10 also features an improved and updated upper with Warp 2.0 that feels even more comfortable than the Curry 9’s upper. Read full review. Price: $160

9/10
Total Score
Buy Under Armour Curry 10
Jordan Luka 1

Jordan Luka 1

The Jordan Luka 1 was highly rated by our team, and that’s saying a lot. Luka Doncic and the Jordan design team did well on this one. Jordan Brand used the Luka 1 to introduce its newest foam: Formula 23. Even though most colorways use translucent rubber, mainly to show the latest tech, the traction still performed well indoors. Outdoors, however, it was less than stellar. Support is an obvious priority, with the IsoPlate system acting as torsional support while beefing up lateral support. And at $110 ($120 for the special editions), you get a lot of performance for the money. Read the full review. Price: $110

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Jordan Luka 1
Jordan Zion 2

Jordan Zion 2

The Jordan Zion 2 is an excellent performance basketball shoe. It comes after a not-so-stellar performance from the Jordan Zion 1. The traction, particularly, shines in the Jordan Zion 2 as it grips the floor like nobody’s business (after a short break-in period). It’s best felt when going aggressively from side to side. The materials aren’t anything excellent, but at least the strap works to lock down your forefoot. Heel support is beefy and keeps you locked in at all times. Read the full review. Price: $120

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Jordan Zion 2
Nike Kyrie Low 5 no background

Nike Kyrie Low 5

The Nike Kyrie Low 5 follows the aesthetics of the flagship model, the Nike Kyrie Infinity, and follows mostly the same traction pattern and performance. The takedown model is supposed to provide an alternative should you be interested in spending less. And that rings accurate this time around. The outsole covers you on all moves, including complicated crossovers and quick changes of direction. It helps the shoe be agile and ensures no delay. Also, it’s easily one of the best basketball shoes for guards. Read the full review. Price: $110

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Nike Kyrie Low 5
Nike KD 15

Nike KD 15

The Nike KD 15 is a great performer, just like its predecessor. The same tech specs that we came to love are back, and a few minor improvements take this shoe to the next level. The traction is one of those things that they changed pattern-wise but performs similarly to the Nike KD 14. You may find that it resembles the Nike Kobe 9 a little bit, and it does, but it doesn’t perform as well. Nonetheless, it still beats out most of its contemporaries. See the full review. Price: $150

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy Nike KD 15
New Balance TWO WXY V2

New Balance TWO WXY V2

The New Balance TWO WXY V2 is an upgrade from the last version and is even better than their flagship model for the Klaw. The traction is fantastic for as long as it lasts. You’ll want to really tighten your laces when you put these on because you might get caught off guard by how good they bite floors. The cushion with FuelCell and Abzorb DRS works well for most positions. The FitWeave upper is comfortable and moves well with your feet. Probably the best basketball shoe from New Balance, especially for outdoor play. Read the full review. Price: $130

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy New Balance TWO WXY V2
Puma Court Rider 2

Puma Court Rider 2

The Puma Court Rider 2 is the follow-up to the shoe LaMelo Ball wore before he got his own signature sneaker, the MB.01. Though he’s 6’8” and can jump, he’s still a point guard. And that usually means needing good bite for the multiplicity of moves needed to get the offense running. That’s what this shoe brings with its Puma-patterned outsole. No floor was safe. It bit all of them superbly and was durable enough to wear both indoors and outdoors. Read the full review. Price: $100

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Men's Puma Court Rider 2 Buy Women's Puma Court Rider 2

Best Traction Basketball Shoes: Budget Options

adidas Son of Chi 2

adidas Son of Chi 2

The adidas Son of Chi 2 may end up as the best adidas basketball shoe of 2022. The traction is a big highlight of its performance. Even with translucent rubber, the shoe gripped all floors well, regardless of court conditions. It’s also durable and will last longer than most rubber outsoles today. Even though it doesn’t look like much, it performs above its price class. Read the full review. Price: TBA

9/10
Total Score
Buy adidas Son of Chi 2
Best Budget Basketball Shoes: adidas Harden Stepback 3

adidas Harden Stepback 3

The adidas Harden Stepback 3 is not as good as the adidas Harden Vol. 6, but it’s still a fantastic cheap basketball shoe option. The best part is the traction. It grips every surface, outdoor and indoor. However, we would not recommend them as long-term outdoor basketball shoes. The Bounce foam midsole feels like the one we fell in love with a few years ago. The materials are basic yet comfortable. The fit is accommodating, and wide-footers will especially enjoy it. Read the full review. Price: $80

8/10
Total Score
Shop Harden at adidas

Best Traction Basketball Shoes: Outdoor Options

Li-Ning Sonic Team Low

Li-Ning Sonic Team Low

The Li-Ning Sonic Team Low is an outdoor basketball hooper’s dream shoe, especially if you’re a point guard. The outsole is made of what they call “Tuff RB” for tough rubber. And did it ever stick to that name. The shoe can hold up for not only hours upon hours but also months of outdoor play. The grip was never inconsistent and just looked dirty after all the hours put in it. See the full review. Price: TBA

9/10
Total Score
Buy Li-Ning Sonic Team Low
Nike Air Max Impact 4

Nike Air Max Impact 4

The Air Max Impact 4 is very similar to the Air Max Impact 3, and that’s a good thing. The Air Max Impact 3 was the best budget model of last year, and the Impact 4 will probably take those honors as well this year.

One stand-out feature of both shoes is the traction, particularly outdoors. You have a robust full-length herringbone traction pattern that is effective and durable, performing exceptionally well outdoors. See the full review. Price: $94

9/10
Total Score
Buy Nike Air Max Impact 4

Best Traction Basketball Shoes: Retro Options

Air Jordan 1 High 85

Air Jordan 1

The Air Jordan 1 is arguable the most recognizable shoe of all time. Once you see that big Swoosh on the side with the Wings logo, you know what you’re getting. And part of what you’re getting is terrific traction. Although most of the retros aren’t for performance, the traction is undeniably excellent. Right there in GOAT status. Quite fitting, don’t you think? Chris can vouch for how good it is. It might just pop your hip out. See AJ 1 reviews. Price: $180

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy Air Jordan 1
Nike Air Penny 2

Nike Air Penny 2

The Nike Air Penny 2 screams 90s, and so does its traction. Even though we can talk all day about the beautiful Uptempo-inspired outsole, we can also say that it’s functional. What’s remarkable is that it also gives insight into the tech in the midsole. Other tech specs include the large-volume Air Max unit and a forefoot Zoom Air unit. There’s also a carbon fiber plate that’s interestingly implemented to reduce weight. Read the full review. Price: $200

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy Nike Air Penny 2

Thinking of a shoe we should add to the best traction basketball shoes list? Comment below or message us on Instagram or Twitter.

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