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 and 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 that 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: 09.25.2023
Best Basketball Shoes for Small Forwards Show
- Best Basketball Shoes for Small Forwards Overall 2023
- Best Budget Basketball Shoes For Small Forwards 2023
- Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes For Small Forwards 2023
Best Basketball Shoes for Small Forwards Overall 2023
Best Basketball Shoe For Small Forwards 2023
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
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.
Nike KD 15
The Nike KD 15 is an excellent performance model and another great shoe within the KD signature line. The Nike KD 14 could actually be featured in this top slot, but since it is last season’s model, we went with the 15. The KD 14 was already a pretty flawless performance model, and the KD 15 improves upon it.
The cushioning system is the shoe’s best feature. Cushlon is the primary foam carrier and on top of which sits the full-length Nike Zoom Air Strobel unit to provide impact protection under your feet. The shoe also features excellent traction that’s reminiscent of the pattern featured on the Kobe 9, which offered some of the best traction of all time. This shoe is tremendously well-rounded and has everything a dynamic small forward would want. See the full review.
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 review. Price: $180
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
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
The Air Jordan 36 pops up a lot on our lists, and with good reason. Jordan brand stuffed a ton of tech into its flagship shoe for 2022. The shoe features a full-length Zoom Air Strobel unit along with an extra forefoot unit. The Eclipse Plate that has been featured on previous models makes a return for maximum energy return and torsional support. The Jordan 36 also boasts a leno weave upper which keeps things as lightweight and supportive as possible.
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
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
New Balance Kawhi 2
The New Balance Kawhi 2 is as solid as Kawhi Leonard himself. No one feature stands out, particularly above the rest, but everything on the shoe works very well.
The cushion is more dense and responsive than it is plush, so stability is this model’s best asset. The Kawhi 2 also features FitWeave along the upper which helps reduce a lot of the weight in comparison to the previous Kawhi model. It’s a great option for versatile small forwards that compete on both ends of the floor. See the full review. Price: $160
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
Jordan Zoom Separate
The Jordan Zoom separate is another shoe that was designed with a “guard” in mind but is perfectly well suited for a forward. The guard they were designed for was Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic, who is built more like a traditional SF than a point guard.
The Zoom Separate is a very solid all-around performer. It may not wow you in any particular department, but all in all the shoe performs very well. Read the full review. Price: $120
Best Budget Basketball Shoes For Small Forwards 2023
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
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes For Small Forwards 2023
Nike LeBron Witness 7
The KD 14 and 15 are also great outdoor options, but since we have mentioned them before on this list, here’s another pick for you.
The Nike LeBron Witness 7 is a great outdoor option. The shoe features full-length Air and a very durable outsole for just over $100 (which is a lot more than you will get in other models at that price). On top of that, the Nike LeBron Witness 7 offers some beefy support features which help you feel confident cutting and changing directions on the blacktop. Read the full review. Price: $115