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Top 10+ Best Basketball Shoes for Small Forwards 2023

best basketball shoes for small forwards

Finding the best pair of basketball shoes for small forwards might be the most difficult of any position on a basketball court. Small forwards tend to be the most versatile players on the court and also display the largest variety of heights and builds. So, you should look for a shoe with a wide variety of performance features while taking into consideration the player’s physical attributes. Not an easy task.

Small forwards need to be able to do a little bit of everything on the court. They need to be able to slash and shoot effectively on offense, defend a variety of different positions, switch with ease, and even lend a hand on the boards. A good shoe for a small forward, therefore, needs to be as well-rounded as possible, with no glaring deficiencies or position-specific builds.

Then there’s the question of the player’s physique. In the NBA, small forwards on average stand at 6’7″ but players’ heights span from 6’5″ to 6’10” (roughly), which is a big gap. Depending on the players’ height and weight you might want to reach for a shoe that is better in one aspect than another. Taller, heavier players will probably need a bit more impact protection, while players who are quicker on their feet might want a little extra responsiveness and support.

Lastly, you might want to take into consideration play style. More defensive-minded players will probably enjoy more responsiveness and better traction, while scorers who live at the rim will want a little more impact protection. With all this being said let’s jump in and go over the best basketball shoes for small forwards that are currently available.

We’ve already listed the best basketball shoes for point guards, the best basketball shoes for shooting guards, the best basketball shoes for centers, and the best basketball shoes for power forwards. Now we’re going to dive into the best basketball shoes for small forwards. I you are just looking for the best all-around basketball shoe, you can check out that list as well.

Last Updated: 11.27.2023

Best Basketball Shoes for Small Forwards Overall 2023

Best Basketball Shoe For Small Forwards 2023

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, in particular, it is amazing for versatile positions like Small Forward. Barring any unfortunate surprises, this will be one of the top models this year, one of the most universal, and one of the most comfortable on court, as well as an attainable Kobe substitute. Read the full review. Price: $200

Total Score
Buy Nike LeBron 21

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.

Total Score
Buy Jordan 38

New Balance TWO WXY V4 

The New Balance TWO WXY V4 follows up, the best New Balance basketball shoe to date. There have been several important changes in tech compared to last year’s model, but the V4 didn’t disappoint with a few minor caveats regarding the Fit. Other than that, the V4 knocked it out of the park in terms of every aspect of performance. For its price point, this shoe is an absolute gem. Read full review. Price $120.

Total Score
Buy New Balance TWO WXY V4 

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.

This is one of the most versatile shoes currently on the market, and is one of the most solid performance models out there. A great shoe all-around for players with a well-rounded game. Read the full review. Price: $130

Total Score
Buy Puma MB 03

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 a great choice for Small Forwards. Price: $160

Total Score
Buy Nike KD 16

Way of Wade All City 11 V2

In the $150 price range, there really aren’t many shoes out there that will give you the same on-court performance, versatility, and all-around value as the Way of Wade All City 11 V2. The All City 11 V2 features an updated upper and enhanced lockdown, but, at the end of the day, it’s still the same very well-balanced, do-it-all hoop shoe, that the original All City 11 was. It is also a model that will work great for the immense majority of players out there, making it an easy choice for those who want to try their first Way of Wade model. Read the full review. Price: $150

Total Score
Buy Way of Wade All City 11 V2

adidas Harden Vol 7

The adidas Harden Vol 7 is also a great option for shooting guards, but the fact of the matter is that the Vol 7’s traction, excellent plush cushioning, and elite support features make this a great shoe for Small Forwards and SGs alike.  Read full reviewPrice: $180

Total Score
Buy adidas Harden Vol 7

Way of Wade 10

The Li-Ning Way of Wade 10 is as tech-heavy as it gets in a signature shoe from any brand. And what’s great is that Li-Ning provides you with a breakdown of everything in the package. For support, they have a full-length carbon fiber torsional plate that also acts as a spring plate. The cushion is also beefed up with the brand’s BOOM cushion. These are one heck of a shoe to play in. If you’re a fan of DWade or want to try non-mainstream shoes, this sneaker is for you. See the full review.

Price: $119-240

Total Score
Buy Li-Ning Way of Wade 10

Jordan Zion 2

The Jordan Zion 2 offers a nice blend of features that will work well for most small forwards. You get excellent traction, a great cushion setup that features forefoot zoom air and a heel Nike Air Stroble, and plenty of lockdown features to keep your foot secure as you move on the court. Read the full review. Price: $120

Total Score
Buy Jordan Zion 2

New Balance TWO WXY V3

The New Balance TWO WXY V2 is an upgrade on an already great performance model, the New Balance TWO WXY 2 . The stand-out feature on the New Balance TWO WXY V3 is the traction. As far as the cushion goes, the shoe features New Balance’s FuelCell which work very well. Lastly, the FitWeave upper is comfortable and moves well with your foot. See the full review. Price: $120

Total Score
Buy New Balance TWO WXY V3

Anta KT 7

The Anta KT 7 is 2022 NBA Champion, Klay Thompson’s signature shoe. Klay is one of the premier wing players in the league and does a little bit of everything on the court, and this shoe was designed to keep up with him. This shoe feels like what the Nike LeBron 19 should have been. Anta just threw every single piece of tech in there.

The cushion is again the highlight of this model. Anta describes it as a nitrogen-infused foam. The foam is bouncy yet stable at the same time, which is exactly what you want out of a foam-based cushioning system. The midsole is wrapped on the lateral side and exposed on the medial side, similar to Adidas’ previous setups with Boost. Support is also on point. The shoe features Anta’s 3D Hug system that works in conjunction with the carbon fiber torsion plate. The KT 7 features the best of everything Anta has to offer. See the full review. Price: $150

Total Score
Buy Anta KT 7

Nike Air Zoom GT Jump

The Nike GT Jump will be an amazing option, for certain types of small forwards. If you are the type of player that crashes the boards incessantly and are all about slashing to the rim, you will enjoy these. The Nike GT Jump has some of the bounciest cushion of all time. Nike designers describe them as “what the Shox should have been”.

The GT Jump comes with 2 large volume Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot, a cushlon midsole, and a full-length zoom air strobel on top of that. That’s just an INSANE amount of cushion. To top it off, the GT Jump features a synthetic upper that requires no break-in time and is very breathable and lightweight. The shoe is probably better suited for bigger players that need a lot of cushion, but without a doubt, they are the most comfortable shoe out there. Read the full review. Price: $200

Total Score
Buy Nike Air Zoom GT Jump

Adidas Dame 8

Damian Lillard’s 8th signature shoe is another very solid performance model within the Dame line. the shoe is designed for a guard, but Dame’s playing style and body type make this shoe perfectly suitable for forwards.

For the first time in adidas’ basketball lineup, they decided to showcase Bounce Pro in the midsole, which feels soft and fluffy right off the bat, but to improve stability, adidas also included another foam compound on top of that. The upper materials are breathable and malleable, which makes for a short break-in time. The tongue is also nicely padded and the traction is mostly wave-bone. Read the full review. Price: $120

Total Score
Buy Adidas Dame 8

Best Budget Basketball Shoes For Small Forwards 2023

nike air max impact 4 performance review

Nike Air Max Impact 4

The Nike Air Max Impact 4 is our favorite budget model of the year here at Weartesters, and it’s versatile enough to keep up with any small forward out there. The shoe is incredibly soft and comfortable and features an Air Max Unit in the heel. The upper is very malleable and needs no break-in time which means you have a great-feeling shoe. Support is terrific with two outriggers and the fit is wide-foot friendly. Read the full review.Price: $90

Total Score
Buy Nike Air Max Impact 4

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes For Small Forwards 2023

New Balance TWO WXY V4 

The New Balance TWO WXY V4 is also a very good option for small forwards if you are planning on hooping outdoors. Read full review. Price $120.

Total Score
Buy New Balance TWO WXY V4 

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

  1. We are going to have to see what’s up with these Spawns; they have placed above top 5 in all three lists so far. The bigger guys at the 4 and 5 probably won’t see these on their lists though.

    Nice to see the HyperDunk ’13 break more ground in this category.

    Who didn’t see the Super Fly 2 coming?

    Ok so Howard 4 for the 4 & 5 top spot? Place your bets!

  2. damn NW you killing us with the suspense for the performance review on the Under Armour Anatomix Spawn. It placed 2nd,3rd,4th on the best SG, PG, and SF list respectively. I didn’t wait anymore for the review and asked my relatives at US to get me one.

    1. yeah your right the anticipation is killing me as well! I just hope its because NW likes playing in them so much that he cant find time to review them 🙂

    2. I had a chance to try them on in Sports Authority and they feel great!!! The Spawn felt like a glove on my feet and I’m going to pick up a pair. A basketball shoe you can wear from the 1-3 maybe 4 position is a great combo all around shoe! And the price!! I think NW has put his stamp of approval on the Spawn with his placement of them in his past 3 lists.

  3. Hi Nightwing!
    You have any personal preference between HD2013 and UA Spawns??
    I am still struggling between the two…i wish I could get them both but already got no more space for it…and I still gotta save the quota for LBJ11 lol

    1. Go with Under Armour so you can help support the company. The more support they get, the more likely they are going to be able to keep making great shoes that can compete against Nike.

  4. UA is worth our attention. The ball shoes they’ve released so far are not that bad at all. Lookin at the anatomix you could tell that UA is going the right direction.

  5. Are you waiting to do a joint review with Kickgenius NW? they mentioned doing one in one of their vids and the Spawn performance review is taking abnormally long to release. I’m guessing you finished up your part and are waiting on them. Everyone is waiting in anticipation for the review.

    1. No I agree that the Hyperdunks ’13 are better than the Superfly 2. The Superfly 2 toe box chaffed the top of my toes pretty badly. Unfortunately that has kicked them down further in my rotation.

    2. When I play ball like I’m all into into it like really hyped and I feel that shoe describes how I play plus the comfort and lockdown is beast

  6. In fact I rather would get the hyperdunk 2012 because they are comfortable and i like the look and again I’m gonna get alot of hate for this comment I’m

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